Frequently Asked Questions   ~ Inspired by great conversations with great folks ~ thank you!

Is your book Fresh Hope … Cleveland strictly for Cleveland?

No. My book is not just for Cleveland. There are about 12 things in the first section that strictly relate to Cleveland. However, you can find those resources in your city too wherever you live by Googling that resource. Wherever you live, the information in my book will point you in the right direction to help you find what you need.  My book isn’t really just for Cleveland you know!

Nanci found her gift was writing. How do I find my gift?

First of all, seek to know God and His will for your life. Trust God to show you your gifts and talents by listening to what people say as well as what you enjoy doing. What are you good at? As you develop your gifts and talents (and commit your way to Him), God will show you what He wants you to do with your life. Above all else, obey God whatever He tells you to do!

Everything in life that you do is valuable whether you work at McDonald’s or the golf course. Working with others will teach you many things if you are listening. Just follow the breadcrumbs for your life. They will lead you to places of great adventure especially if you follow Christ!

I know Nanci’s a breast cancer survivor. What do I need to know?

Nanci discovered the lump in her breast while having her routine mammogram in October 2003. It was stage 1. Because the cancer was in the early stages, she did not need chemotherapy or radiation. However, she did experience lots of orthopedic problems and continues to do physical therapy as a result.

Note: On January 21, 2013, Nanci officially celebrated being a nine-year breast cancer survivor. She thanks God for all the things she has learned and she’s grateful for her life. Below is some advice for both men and women. About 1,500 men each year are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. So men, wise up and do your exams as well.

Advice: Do your monthly self-breast exams and get your Pap test. Besides that, don’t smoke, get your rest, eat a well-balanced diet with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, and stay away from sugar! While researchers are not saying there’s a correlation between stress and cancer, it does play a part in weakening your immune system. Therefore, find healthy ways to reduce your stress like walking, gardening, or cycling. These obviously are just a few examples. The point is, get regular exercise and develop healthy attitudes towards the challenges that come your way in life.

Today with all the treatments and drugs available, cancer isn’t the death sentence it used to be. If you are experiencing pain or feel something just isn’t right, see you doctor right away.

In your book you mention God and the term born-again. What does that mean?

Born-again is a term that comes from the New Testament in the Bible -John 3:3  where Jesus says, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.” When you invite Christ to come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, you have a new birth, a new life. This term refers to your spiritual birth.

I’m a new Christian. How do I find a church that preaches the Word of God?

Look at a church’s website to see what they believe. Usually they will mention things about their doctrine. They should mention things about helping others, sharing their faith, the Word of God ~ the Bible, ways to help you grow spiritually. Look for Bible studies, community groups, prayer groups, missions, and Bible reading plans for the year. However, don’t look at just one thing; look at everything! For the most part, these churches preach the Word of God:  Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Christian Missionary Alliance, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, and Methodist. Typically Catholic churches do not preach the Word of God. You will find many independent churches too. That’s fine as long as they preach the risen Christ. Make sure their foundation is Jesus Christ. If the truth is changed or altered even in some very small ways, what you have is not Christianity. Therefore, stay away from: Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witness, Scientologist, Unitarians, or Mormons. Some of these are considered cults.

How can I get started writing?

If you enjoy writing, while in middle school see about becoming involved in the Power of the Pen. This program helps seventh and eighth graders develop creative writing skills and gives students the opportunity to compete interscholastically.Then write as much as you can and submit things to magazines and your local newspaper for publishing. You can also get into writing groups at local libraries or bookstores. Taking classes will further develop your skills. Also take advantage of paid and volunteer internships during college or while in high school.

Helpful Writing Exercise

A writer’s job is to be as concise as possible. Try writing a paragraph of about 50 words using three non-related objects like an orange, rubber band, and a contact lens. Make sure the paragraph makes sense. After you’ve written that, eliminate 15 more words and really tighten up the paragraph.

Advice to Parents, Family Members, and Teachers

Many times while growing up well-intentioned family members or teachers make less than positive comments about a child’s artwork, writing, and other abilities. These comments can stick with children over their lifetime. Life is about nurturing others. Choose instead to nurture your child or student’s abilities. You will be making a better contribution to a young life and those around you in that way. You never know what may develop if you bring out the best in someone else.

Practically speaking: Please encourage your children. Choose words that are positive and make them feel good about themselves when you talk to them. And if you aren’t sure what to say, ask them to tell you about their art work or writing. Have them explain what they are working on. Comment on the colors they are using or simply say, “You’re doing a great job!”

Writing Advice: Sharpening Your Skills

Look at the book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.  It’s a very helpful reference book on writing. Goldberg says “Find a sentence you like that comes from you, feel its integrity. Just lay down the next line and the next, one line at a time. Let the structure unfold. Find the quiet place (slow down).”

Advice from the Experts:

From: February 2013 ~ SPAWNews ~ Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network Newsletter

Bobbie Christmas is an successful author and shares this about a writer’s work:

Writers have to do so much more than write. We have to write, rewrite, edit,
revise,   submit,  or self-publish,   and  we must  keep  track  of  all  our  files,
processes,  and  materials. I can’t  begin  to list all  the  things we  must keep
organized, but I will say this: if you plan to submit manuscripts to agents or
publishers,  do your research  carefully. Find  out  exactly what  the agent or
publisher wants in a submission. Each one has different guidelines.

A few other thoughts about writing:

  • Be concise
  • Use active language
  • Review the Writer’s Market for publications and submission requirements
  • Plan time into your weekly schedule to write

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