Biography Books Press Room Amy Wallace Books Life Resources Blog Events

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An early Christmas present

Last night, I received one of the best Christmas gifts ever. It's one that will keep on giving long past the holiday season.

And no, it's not a year's supply of Godiva. Although that would be incredible. :-)

Before I reveal this incredible present, I need to paint a little picture to offer some perspective.

Imagine with me a frustrated writer an hour before a major deadline who’s still short ten thousand words. And this deadline will make or break his or her career.

Imagine too that this author spent the months preceding this deadline deliberately avoiding the computer, research, reading, and thinking about the book that was due.

Then imagine that this author's gracious and kind editor extended the deadline. Not only that, this editor gave the author a number of amazing suggestions to help this author past the writer's block and plot problems.

But what if this author ~ instead of receiving this gift and working diligently to meet the extended deadline ~ turns off the computer and decides to ignore the editor's help? Not only that but the author again waits until the day before the deadline to even think about doing the necessary work.

Would this author deserve another deadline? The editor's gracious help?

Now imagine the above author is me. Only the issue isn't a deadline but a command from God that looks as insurmountable as writing ten thousand words in one hour. And that after being extended over-the-top grace many times.

Enter the above mentioned early Christmas present.

What is it?

A huge box.

Exciting huh?

How about if I mention this box is just my size? In fact, it perfectly fits around me and squeezes until the only thing I can do is fall on my knees and look up.

This box is in reality a set of circumstances that only God could orchestrate with the sole intention of "encouraging" me to stop running from His command to forgive.

And once I opened this gift, I realized it's one of the best presents I've ever received.

Because yesterday, those box-like circumstances forced me to see that my running in fear from the one thing God was asking of me~ for my good~ was not only foolish, but was also hurting me and everyone around me.

Thankfully, God is even more gracious than the above example of an awesome editor's deadline extension. No matter how I tried to avoid the one issue that was eating away at my soul, God never gave up on leading me back to the truth.

He never gave up on me either. Even when I was sure I deserved nothing more than his disapproval and scorn.

What's even more amazing is the freedom and peace that comes along with obedience. Especially the obedience that tastes of salty tears and humble pie.

I don't know where you all are this holiday season or what gift (or box) you need to "encourage" you to visit the place you need most~ the arms of Jesus. But I'm praying you receive it.

Open it with care, knowing the One who loves you best and knows you completely sent it for one very important reason ~ to lead you deeper into Him.

And then, once you've unwrapped this gift, share it.

We're all in need this holiday season.

And you never know how much the lesson you've learned from opening your holiday box will influence the lives around you.

It might just fill the stable anew with kneeling shepherds and awed wise men giving their gifts to the Lord.

So come and see, and join me there. It's the only best place to be for Christmas and all year round.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful hearts

My kiddos sing this song about how there's "so much, so much, so much, to be thankful for!"

I'm thankful for a ton of things this year, some easy to give thanks for and some much harder to lift my head and say, "Thanks, Daddy."

But for both, I'm gonna join in my kid's song and share some of the things I'm thankful for this year. I hope as you read my list, you'll think about what God has done in and around you this year too.

I'm heart thankful for...

The everyday reality that my Daddy has never and will never give up on me.

A husband I love, hate, and would never be the person I am without. Iron sharpening iron is never a fun or painless process. But I would not know the Lord like I do if not for the man God put in my life as my soul mate, partner, and best friend. Even when I sin in my anger and say things I shouldn't, I know my husband loves me and forgives me. He knows I do the same for him. Life is richer and far bigger because I have a husband who always points me back to the Lord.

Three precious daughters who love well, laugh a lot, and hold a mirror up so that I see not only my sin and am led to repent, but they also show me God at work in all five of the Wallace clan.

Living a dream. Holding my first novel in my hands and knowing God alone brought me to this place for my good and His glory. It hasn't often felt "good" but I've always had a sense that God was at work in the good, bad, and sometimes ugly parts. It's beautiful to look back over this year and see God's fingerprints in everything.

Heart chocolate. Friends and words that remind me just how big and rich God is and what life abundant looks like.

My best friend, Jen. She tells me when I'm sinning and when I "done good." She knows so much about me and loves me anyway. And she never lets me forget just how much she knows. ;-)

My loving journey buddy, Sharon. She and I have shared holy laughter and painful tears. And just getting to talk reminds me what an awesome heavenly Daddy we have~ even when the road is marked with suffering.

My incredible church family. We've finally found a place where it's safe to be messy and forgiven and in need of prayer.

My prayer group. They've prayed me through what felt as close to hell as I'd like to touch and into the loving arms of our God who died so that we might know life abundantly.

An amazing group of friends all across the US and into Canada and Australia. I'm so honored to call so many amazing women my friends.

I'm also very thankful for every person who makes up this blog community~ you all are a joy to connect with in cyberspace.

I'm thankful for every reader of Ransomed Dreams and for those who've written to say God used it in their lives. What a humbling thing to know God is on the move in hearts and I get to be a tiny part of that amazing work.

A few more reasons to give thanks...

We live in a free country because men and women are willing to give their lives to protect us.

We serve a God who will strengthen our backs instead of taking away the painful parts of life Because He knows the good He's doing in our hearts and in the lives of others we may never know this side of heaven.

No matter where you are this Thanksgiving week, I pray you'll think of at least one thing for which you can truly lift your eyes to heaven and say thank you from your heart.

Sometimes that's a painful sacrifice to praise in the midst of pain. You're not alone.

You have nail-scared hands holding up your weary ones. I pray you'll rest in them.

And give thanks.

Let's encourage one another today and share... what are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Writer's Joy

If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a car trip with two incredible authors is worth millions of stories!

And oh the stories I could tell! But I won't. Because there are reciprocal stories I'd rather not see on the internet. ;-)

I will suggest talking to Creston Mapes about his feelings regarding Burger King and their mayo issues. And you'll get a good story if you ask Cindy Woodsmall about the turkey's thoughts on Thanksgiving....

But instead of telling stories that will get me in trouble, I'll show you some highlights....

First off, every good trip starts with establishing who's in charge. In our case, we're all kings and queens...

A good road trip continues with Starbucks...

And more Starbucks. We don't have pictures of these stops because all authors were too busy getting Venti cups of Joe to go. ;-)

Another thing a good road trip needs is a wonderful destination. We had that in spades because we got to stay with another amazing author, my friend, Beth White.

Besides the tears from laughing so much, the times when all three of us were on cell phones, and the awesome time we had just hanging out, we were privileged to be a part of a multi-author booksigning and teaching time at Crossroads Books and Gifts in Mobile, Alabama.

Everyone there was so wonderful! If you're ever in Mobile, stop by and say hi to these great folks!

Do notice the chocolate I brought just for our new friend, Joan, WPAS 89.1 radio host of Morning Light with Joan Hill.

After a fantastic time meeting some wonderful folks, the three of us headed home, passing up a Starbucks right across the street from the bookstore. A choice two of us were desperately regretting as we searched on Cindy's GPS for the nearest Starbucks.

We waited miles and miles to reach a city with the hope of coffee ahead.

Nearing a major road change from I-65 to I-85, we desperately searched for the green and white sign.

We kept our eyes focused on the goal.

We prayed. Hoped. And looked some more.

Then...praise God we found one! And again all three authors loaded up with Ventis and got on the road with cell phones in hand.

Our road trip continued with more brainstorming, talking, and laughing till we cried.

One of the most important things I learned this trip was what a gift author-friends are. Just like my mom-friends and the awesome friends at church and my homeschool group, they "get" me. And life is so much sweeter shared with people who understand and love you for who you are.

As we enter into Thanksgiving week, I pray we'll all look up and around and see so many things~ both the big and the small~ that have made our lives richer because God has blessed us over and above all we can imagine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

lessons from sick land

In the Wallace home, we've all been slammed with allergies turned super nasty. My youngest even ended up in the ER with croup. Praise God, she's okay and we're all in the recovery process now.

It's funny listening to little one's perception of how long sickness lasts. "I'll NEVER be well again!" and "I'm gonna cough till my lungs are gone." have all been heard this week. Add to that my own three-year-oldish demands at 2AM~ "God! I NEED sleep!"

Thankfully, He's good and He understands. Even when sickness dissolves us into little kid perspectives.

Last night was a tough one because I REALLY needed sleep. Today I have an interview that I've been looking forward to for weeks and a road trip to Alabama this weekend with two other authors to teach.

And I'm almost voiceless and so tired I nearly fell asleep at lunch.

But you know what?

God is still good. And He will provide all we need for everything He calls us to do.

The first time I vividly saw this lesson lived out was at my first writer's conference in 2002. Due to things beyond my control, I got a total of maybe one hour of sleep the night before I had three big meetings with editors and agents.

I was well beyond exhaustion and looked it.

Dragging myself through breakfast and morning classes, I finally arrived at the door to my first very important appointment.

I'll never forget the energy that surged and how God showed up. Each of my meetings went well and I ended the day more alive and in awe than I'd been in a long time.

God provided just what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

I'd still prefer a good night sleep most days. ;-) But I try to remember that I've seen God do so much more than I could imagine in the midst of my weaknesses.

I have a feeling I'll get to see God in action in the midst of my weakness once again this weekend. And I'd SOOOO appreciate your prayers for this Saturday! Here's the scoop...

November 17, 2007 - The Art of Fiction Writing with Cindy Woodsmall, Creston Mapes, and Amy Wallace at Crossroads Books & Gifts in Mobile, AL

We'll also be doing a booksigning after the teaching time. So any of you all in or near Mobile, come on out and join us! I'm bringing chocolate. ;-)

In the meantime, it’d be a huge encouragement to me to hear how you’ve seen God in action through your weaknesses. Please share your story in the comments!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Little Things Count

I used to tell my high school seniors at church to never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word. In a world where most people are too busy to look anyone in the eye, let alone smile, the “little” gesture of a quick grin or a kind hello might seem inconsequential. But it’s not. It matters.

It used to be that around the holidays people would smile more and exchange friendly greetings. I don't know about you all, but I've seen that change in the last few years. More people are in a hurry, on cell phones, or texting people as they do their rushed shopping.

I was thinking about all this the other day and remembered a story from back in my younger days. (I'm a little sad that I can actually use that phrase ;-) ) This story illustrates just how much little things count.

Way back when, I existed on the fringes of the “in” crowd in high school. I never quite fit completely anywhere. So when we settled back in the States my sophomore year, I took what I’d learned from being an Army brat and put it to work.

How to Make Friends 101 was a hard lesson, learned quickly, when my friendship pool changed often in overseas military schools.

Finding myself back in Kentucky for tenth grade, I decided that instead of trying to find a spot in that elusive “in” crowd, I'd talk to and smile at people from all the Breakfast Club groups. I never thought it made much of a difference to anyone because no matter how much I smiled, I still remained on the fringe of all the groups.

Then I graduated and had to start all over in college. But I came back to my high school for a visit my freshman year and ran into a guy I’d only said hi to a few times when we were both sliding into classes right before the bell. I remembered him being a loner in school and always wondered why he looked so sad most of the time.

It shocked me that he remembered me. Called me by name even. I guess my surprise registered on my face because he shrugged and said quietly, “Sure I remember you. You always smiled and took the time to say hi.”

I’ll never forget that flicker of acceptance in his eyes that day. Or his smile.

A grin and a greeting. Simple gestures. Little things. But it’s amazing how in God’s economy those little gifts yield a huge return.

They make us more like Jesus to a hurting world. And they serve that hurting world as a reminder of a powerful truth. Each and every one of us matters.

So how about you all? Have you been the recipient of a smile and a greeting that made a difference on a hard day? Please share that in the comments!

Also, do any of you all have plans for ways to make little gestures of kindness count this holiday season? If you're anywhere in the Georgia area, I can guarantee your smile to this sometimes hurried mom with three little ones will make a huge difference!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My favorite book

I've hinted about this book for a while now, so I thought it only fair to fess up and share not just my #1 favorite book, but #2 as well.

First I'll give you some clues....

Book #1 tag line is: "In a fierce struggle for survival, don't mess with a mom." Amen!

Book #2 tag line is: "Chosen to save a people, called to serve an enemy."

Next I will tell you that I'm a pretty mainstream reader. I have a few favorite authors in the genres I like best. Those would be humor, some chick lit, some suspense, and a whole lotta non-fiction.

But my top two favorite books of all time are none of the above.

What captured me about these two stories is that no other author has taken me to another world and given me an exciting story, a little humor, characters I want to have as friends, and made me cry and worship the Lord at the same time.

All this in one book? Absolutely.

There are word pictures and things that happened to these characters that will stay in my mind and heart for a lifetime. Things that God uses over and over to remind me of truth.

That's powerful writing.

Know who I'm talking about yet?

Time for a hint~ these books are both by author Sharon Hinck

Here's what I had to say in the two Amazon reviews I wrote:

The Restorer is a Calgon escape which renews your spirit, refreshes your soul, and reminds you of truth all wrapped up in an engaging and well-written novel.

I loved the well-developed characters, intense action, and enthralling story world Sharon Hinck created. But even more than that I loved how Sharon wrote a story that reveals God's awesome character in so many exciting ways. In every page I could see His fingerprints, and in every plot twist God opened my eyes to truth I could apply to my life. Mind poison and things not being what they seem are not solely for alternate worlds; we fight battles similar to Susan's every day.

Sharon Hinck has successfully written a novel that will inspire the hero in all of us and remind us of the redemptive hand of God in the most difficult situations.

So there you have it~ The Restorer is my #1 book of all time.

Now for #2...

This is a story for anyone who's ever felt the sting of rejection and the hunger for something more.

Kieran's journey and the twists and turns of this story are beautifully portrayed, action-packed, and full of real-life emotion. From incredible sword fights to the passion and pain of fulfilling a calling, this story captivated me from page one and kept me up late at night.

Whether you're a fantasy fan, a mom-lit reader, or someone who simply enjoys an excellent novel, The Restorer's Son is sure to establish Sharon Hinck as a beloved favorite author.

Now you know my top two books of all time. And because I love these books so much and want my friends to enjoy them too... I have a copy of The Restorer's Son just for you!

Leave me a note in the guestbook and I'll pick a name the end of next week.

Happy reading you all!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Starting something new explained

Here's the short list of big things God has been doing:

God lead us to a church home and an awesome home group

My baby's getting baptized

I'm back to writing again and LOVING it

We have a full calendar~ not of "stuff" to get through, but of things we're LOOKING FORWARD to doing with people we care about

I have an idea for my next series that I'm EXCITED about

My family is developing friendships like we've prayed to have for a long time

I can wear T-shirts again (Just imagine an elephant sitting on your shoulder roasting marshmallows any time you lift your arm and then you'll understand why this is a huge praise!)

I've seen God do miracles

We're undergoing some iron sharpening iron stuff in the Wallace home again

All of the items on this list, some great and some challenging, are all things I'm praising God for~ especially after the very difficult last four months of life.

But you know what? Without these last painful months, these awesome things might not have seemed quite as amazing.

Funny how pain makes you even more thankful when the trial is over. Even more open to seeing the everyday miracles that God showers on us.

I didn't look for everyday miracles when life hurt so much. But looking back, I see so many of them. Days when I made the deadlines despite the intense pain. Moments when my kids and hubby stepped in and did something special to encourage me.

Times when I know it was God's presence alone that gave me my next breath.

So I guess I will add this to the above list....

I'm thankful for trials and the rainbows God reveals when the showers begin to fade.

And I'm thankful to have some perspective on this past year. It's been a tough one. But God never left. He never gave up. And He allowed the trials to stay only long enough to reveal His hand in it all.

God is good all the time. In trials and pain. In moments of calm. In the sunshine and the tears.

Thanks, Daddy. You knew what You were doing all along.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Starting something new

Today I'm finally back to writing after seven months of promotion and editing work. I'm SO excited. And a little nervous.

I'd appreciate your prayers.

After this weekend, I hope to get back to blogging too. God has been on the move in my life and my family's, so I have lots to share.

Plus, I have my absolute favorite book of all time to give away soon....

Abundant grace you all! See you soon!
Designed by: MasterDesignsArt by: JaggedSmile