About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

A Time to Laugh ~ (Under the Sun) ~ by Marion Ueckermann

Who is Marion Ueckermann?

Not only is Marion the author of A Time to Laugh, she is a personal friend, and is quite the most prolific writer I know. I have totally lost track of how many books she has written, or how many stunning book covers she has designed, both for her own books and for other authors.

So why am I writing about her today? Because we have an exciting adventure coming up in a few months, and she is helping me head it up. As writers in Southern Africa, we have a number of problems.

Some of our issues:

  • Many readers across the globe know very little about life in Africa, apart from what they read or watch on the media which can vary from a little-bit-accurate to wildly out of touch.
  • Authors of Africa seem to live under a sort of radar, with readers either not knowing about them, or not realizing they are from Africa.
  • Most American publishers require their book stories to be based in America, or if they are located overseas, to at least have American heroes and heroines.

Several of us are banding together in the near future to tell you a bit about ourselves, our writing, and in particular, to promote one book written about Africa. There will also be a number of freebies on offer, so don’t lose out! A Time to Laugh takes place in a beautiful seaside town in Africa, called Ballito Bay. It will not, however,  be the one covered in the event, but you’ll hear more about that later . . .

Watch this blog, and sign up for my newsletter for up to date information.

Here is one of Marion’s books which I absolutely love . . .

 

About the Book, A Time to Laugh:

For thirty years, Brian and Elizabeth Dunham have served on the mission field. Unable to have children of their own, they’ve been a father and mother to countless orphans in six African countries. When an unexpected beach-house inheritance and a lung disease diagnosis coincide, they realize that perhaps God is telling them it’s time to retire.

At sixty, Elizabeth is past child-bearing age. She’d long ago given up wondering whether this would be the month she would conceive. But when her best friend and neighbor jokes that Elizabeth’s sudden fatigue and nausea are symptoms of pregnancy, Elizabeth finds herself walking that familiar and unwanted road again, wondering if God is pulling an Abraham and Sarah on her and Brian.

The mere notion has questions flooding Elizabeth’s mind. If she were miraculously pregnant, would they have the stamina to raise a child in their golden years? Especially with Brian’s health issues. And the child? Would it be healthy, or would it go through life struggling with some kind of disability? What of her own health? Could she survive giving birth?

Will what Brian and Elizabeth have dreamed of their entire married life be an old-age blessing or a curse?

MY COMMENT:

A Time to Laugh is a delightful novella written by Marion Ueckermann.

There are a number of references and similarities to the story of Sarah in the Old Testament, yet this story line is fun while at the same time serious. Brian and Elizabeth Dunham have just returned from the African mission field where they cared for orphan children. They experience more than a little trepidation when Elizabeth develops symptoms indicating pregnancy. She is in her sixties. Is it possible? And if she is, will the baby be normal?

A beautiful story, well thought out. Well done, Marion!

Read More:

Read more about Marion and her amazing selection of ever-publishing books here.

And don’t forget to sign up for my twice-a-month newsletter including snippets of home fun, writing updates, recommended reading and listening, and occasional freebies. Please note, you can unsubscribe at any time, no questions asked, and your emails are totally safe. I will never share them with anyone else. For information about my privacy practices, please see here.

A New Baby in the Home, and a Hungry One at That!

For some reason, I can’t get rid of the gap on the right, but here’s introducing the new baby in the home, seven-week-old Coco. As you can see, he’s totally starving. Three feeds of CHOCOLATE porridge a day . . . he would happily settle for six! Whoever invented a chocolate porridge for a white bird? There’s nothing quite as bedraggled as a washed bird! (For best effects, make sure your sound is on!)

Baby Cockatiel

No longer a baby. He’s turned into a real beauty . . . not to mention a chatterbox – with a mind of his own! Love him to bits!

God In Africa – About the book

This entry is part 1 of the series God in Africa

God in Africa About the book

How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Psalms 104:24

There is nowhere quite like Africa

“Africa is more a feeling than anything else. Once you’ve gone—and you get the feeling—you understand . . . In short, it’s a life-changing place to visit. It changes you, for the better[1]

From its immense grasslands to its modern cities teeming with people, Africa is a continent of extremes. With its breathtaking landscapes of mountains and valleys, deserts and forests, mighty seas, beautiful beaches, and dense jungles, it is truly a magical and exciting land. And God is in this land.

At the beginning of the month of April, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I shared a cyber cabin with several writers from the CIA. And no—not that CIA! The Christian Indie Authors’ Group on Facebook.

During that month I wrote, from start to completed draft, a book tentatively called GOD IN AFRICA – 90 Daily Readings of Hope and Inspiration.

GOD IN AFRICA - 90 Daily Readings of Hope and Inspiration. Book in Progress Click To Tweet

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

In this book, I will show you a little of how much God is IN Africa. He is evident in the life of the colossal elephant, the upside down tree of the Kalahari, and the tiny chameleon clinging to a branch of a thorn tree in the desert, and so much more.

During the pages of this book I will give you glimpses of this land which I call home. You will see God at work in this continent of majesty and beauty, and how the many topics can relate to you and your relationship with God.

I am currently editing the book, and then I plan to publish it firstly as an e-book. Next, I will publish it in print, both on Amazon and in South Africa.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN AFRICA?

It is my hope that over the next ninety days, as we bounce around the continent, you will learn about Africa: the countries, the people, and some of the amazing creatures and facts of this vast and fascinating land. I trust that you will see God’s hand in each of the scenarios.

God is evident in the life of the colossal elephant, the upside down tree of the Kalahari, and the tiny chameleon clinging to a branch of a thorn tree in the desert. Click To Tweet

Are you interested in beta-reading this book when it’s complete? Would you like to receive an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) for early reading with a view to leaving a review, I’d love you to join Shirley’s Book Brigade, my Street Team on Facebook of people who enjoy my books and are eager to help me promote them. Read more about Street Teams here.

Towards the end of the month, I was running short of ideas (and time) so I asked the Book Brigade for ideas. Those whose suggestions I used as topics for the book will receive a free eBook on its completion.

  • If you would like to be part of this select group, write me a note in the comment section and explain why you’d like to join, and I’ll invite you.

GOD IN AFRICA IS A WIP (work in progress)

The title may change. The cover most certainly will. I needed a cover to put up on the Camp NaNoWriMo site, so I put this one together as a temporary measure.

I’d love your input:

Do you think the cover should have one picture only (as in the WIP) or several pictures, like the idea of the picture above?

Please respond in the comment section below.

  • Regardless of whether you want to join the street team or not, would you like to be kept in touch through my newsletter? Don’t forget to check the box marked email. I know, it’s silly. But if you don’t, I cannot legally send you the newsletter! I promise never to share your email with anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time. I won’t fill your inbox with spam, and you will only hear from me at the most, once a week.
[1] Keon Robertson, former U.S. Marine and wildlife photographer and writer:
http://wildfolio.blogspot.com/

 

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

This entry is part 3 of the series Motivational Quotes

Motivational Sayings with a Twist:

 

Two weeks ago, we looked at: If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly! 

Last week, we saw the cure for procrastination was Do the Next Thing!

Today, we’re looking at a topic close to my heart: Motivation!

According to an ancient Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

We need to be motivated to start out if we’re going to achieve our goals. read more

Do the Next Thing

This entry is part 2 of the series Motivational Quotes

Stop the World! I Want to Get Off!

Have you ever gone through a stretch when life threatens to overwhelm you? There are just so many things to do, so many challenges to overcome, so many demands on your time, that it just seems impossible. You want to throw up your hands in despair and shout, “I’m outa here! I can’t do it all!” I’ve been here many times, and I suspect you have too.

Elizabeth Elliot

I recently read an excellent article by Elisabeth Elliot, the influential author and missionary widow of the martyr, Jim Elliot.

Elizabeth describes how, following the death of Jim, she faced a life full of confusions and uncertainties. She lived alone on a jungle station with an entire church of new believers now looking to her for guidance. She had a ten-month-old baby daughter, fifty newly-converted believers and no spiritual leaders, a diesel generator to operate if she wanted electricity in the evenings, an airstrip to keep clean, a boy’s school to supervise, a women’s literacy class to teach, and medical work to do. Not to mention the normal duties of a young mother and dealing with her own grief in the loss of her husband. read more

“If a thing is worth doing….”

This entry is part 1 of the series Motivational Quotes

If a thing is worth doing

I was brought up with the saying, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

So I grew up thinking if I couldn’t do it well, it obviously wasn’t worth doing at all!

Why do anything if it wasn’t going to turn out perfectly?

Then the other day, I was startled to stumble across this expression:

'If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.' G.K.Chesterton. Really? Click To Tweet

As I pondered this unusual expression, I came to see the danger in the original belief. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Doesn’t that paralyse us with a fear of failure? Isn’t only the Lord perfect?

Confession time here:

I hate to fail! I would rather not tackle a project than do it and fail. It puts me under an inordinate pressure to perform to the best of my ability.

Last year, I faced a book deadline, which I was battling to reach, followed with an already planned Book Launch (for the book that wasn’t yet published), I had family traveling to join me for the Book Launch—and I got flu. All at once. Just before, and immediately after the flu, (and before the Book Launch) my husband and I went on two family visits in different directions, but both approximately four hours drive away from home.

I had computer problems. (But of course! That’s inevitable when there is a deadline involved!) And my blood pressure shot off the charts, involving three trips to the emergency room.

You think that was bad enough?

D’you want to know the real killer?

I had signed up to do the A to Z Blogging Challenge! And that meant 26 posts on one topic, ranging from A to Z. I had to do it! I had to produce a good post on each letter on the topic, which I may add required a good deal of research. Why did I have to do it? Because I’d committed myself to doing it. All the well-meaning teachings of my childhood flooded in.

  • You can’t break a commitment.
  • Your word is your bond. You said you’d do it.
  • You believe the topic is worth doing . . . and if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!
  • I’m a Christian. If I don’t complete it on time, I will let the Lord down.

Now you understand, each of these were important!

  • The Book Launch was organised. It would be very inconvenient to a lot of people to change the date.
  • There couldn’t be a launch for a book that was not yet available. So it had to get done.
  • The family visits? Both could probably have been postponed to a more convenient date, but I really wanted to see my brother and family on the one visit, and my son and family on the other.
  • And the A to Z? I love the A to Z Challenge. But how important was it? I could have dropped from the challenge and still covered the topics at a later stage! But that would have meant failure! And that would never do! If the job was worth doing . . . it was worth doing well!

Right?

WRONG!

As I thought of G.K.Chesterton’s rendition of the phrase, I saw this so clearly. I could still have done the challenge. But I could have done it badly! I could have said, “No way! This is too much pressure. It is causing too much stress. I believe in the topic, and I want to do it. But I’m going to do it after the book launch!”

I started to think of all the other times I’ve persevered with projects for really one reason only: to give it up would have meant failure! I had started it. I needed to do it well! Which meant I had to complete the task.

Renewing of your Mind?

I’ve always taken this passage of Scripture to mean I must make everything perfect. But is it perhaps saying, take another look at what you’re doing? Maybe it’s time for a fresh approach. A renewed way of thinking?

The article I was reading (and unfortunately, I can’t remember where this was) gave several examples.

  • If you don’t have time (or motivation) to take a bath—rather wash your face and hands than do nothing.
  • If you can’t face making a well-balanced meal—eat an apple instead of going hungry.

I can think of others.

  • If you can’t get a full-time job—get a part-time job. Just do something!
  • If you can’t get up early in the morning— get up later! But get out of that bed!
  • If you can’t be bothered getting up and getting dressed—get up! And wear your PJs.
  • If I can’t visit someone in hospital every second day—I can at least go once and show I care.

The idea of doing things badly frees me up. It doesn’t mean I need to turn out shoddy work, but it does give me a license to try something new. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter! I don’t have to wait until the perfect moment to start.

If I try a new restaurant and it doesn’t work out well, that’s fine. I’ve learned for next time.

If I start out on a book topic and realise it’s not going the way I’d hoped, I can change my mind. I may come back to it later, or I may never come back to it. And guess what? The world will keep on turning!

A cure for stress and anxiety?

Since coming across this expression, I’ve found a huge relief from stress.

If we allow ourselves the freedom to avoid always needing perfection, we will find it is true. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth the risk that it might not be perfect. But at least we’ll have tried!

So how about adopting this attitude for a period and see if it doesn’t free you of some anxiety and pressure?

What do you think? Can you think of something you could tackle if you take this attitude? 

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!

Tell me what you think in the comments below, and as always, if you leave a URL, I will get visit you back!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miriam Part II ~ Gifted Leader

Miriam Part II ~ Gifted Leader

is another Out of the Shadow book.

Meet Miriam, the gifted leader!

Would I find enough information to fill an entire book? That was my question when I first set out on this journey with Miriam. Imagine my surprise when one book became two.

Most of us know about the little girl who watched over her three-month-old brother as he sailed in a basket boat on the crocodile-infested River Nile. Her story is told in Miriam Part 1 ~ Devoted Sister, which ends as the Children of Israel gather at the exit to Goshen, their home for many decades, and prepare for their trip to the Promised Land.

Miriam ~ Gifted Leader takes up her story at around eighty years old. Yet, as we will see, this was no fragile, elderly woman. She had far more energy than I have, and I imagine more than you. About to embark on an incredible journey that would take the rest of her life, she faced adventures and horrors of terrifying magnitude. Throughout that time, she showed herself to be a gifted leader. This in a time when women were not regarded as capable of taking the lead.

This story commences as the previous book ends. I invite you to pick up your bundles and get behind our leaders as we prepare to take our leave of Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the life of slavery. We will follow Miriam as she steps out of the shadow of her famous brother, Moses, and becomes a true leader in her own right.

If you recognize this elderly lady from the previous Miriam book, you are right. She’s the same person. She’s just aged as we all do!

If you have read this book, please will you pop over to Amazon and leave an honest review? Thank you.

Thankful Thursday ~ Week 8

This entry is part 5 of the series Thankful Thursday

Week 8 of Thankful Thursday Challenge

Hello all you thankful people! How many of you are keeping tabs on how grateful you feel about the small things? Honestly, since embarking on this challenge (2018 thankful points in the year 2018) I astounded at the many things I have to say thank you for! That includes items or events I normally take for granted.

If you have a post about thankfulness or gratitude, do link to the end of this post. All I ask in return is that you visit at least two posts from the others who link up, and share at least three of the other linked posts on at least two social media of your choice. read more

The Entertainer Blogger Award

About the Entertainer Blogger Award

A special thanks to Debbie Harris for nominating me for this Entertainer Award, along with many other entertaining and inspiring bloggers. I’m delighted to be part of this line-up! Deb writes an entertaining blog that covers adventure, travel and beautiful photography. Read her application for this award here, as it gives you some insight into the person behind the name!

read more