Category Archives: Inspiration

Life Legacy Books – What will you leave?

Life Legacy BooksSharing your life with someone else is the greatest value of writing a book. If you want to leave a legacy, consider writing a book that will stay around long after you’re gone. Life Legacy Books can share family history, teach moral values, or spread an idea to influence a generation. It can communicate your heart, and share the essence of who you are.

Life Legacy Books

Where do I start?

First of all, define your vision. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Is the legacy you want to leave spiritual, emotional, or financial?

Secondly, identify your audience. Will you write primarily for your family, your community, or a particular group of people?

The third step is to make a list or an outline of the topics you want to address. Do you have special stories from your life you want to share, particular beliefs to emphasize, or a desire to create a product that is sellable on a large-scale?

The next step is to set a goal. When do you want to start writing? When do you want to finish writing? How much will you write per week? Where will you write?

How do I move forward?

Many people have a vision for their book and can answer all of the questions I’ve asked above, but they just don’t know how to move forward to make it happen. There are many things you can do to motivate yourself to follow through and put in the hard work it takes to write a manuscript. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Read! Read the kind of books you want to write. Find inspiration. Feed your mind.
  • Join a writing group, or take a writing class. Taking a class is of particular importance if you lack grammar and creative writing skills. Participating in a writing group is essential to produce accountability and motivation. It is much easier to stay committed to the long haul when you are a part of a community of creative people.

Where do I find help to make my book sellable?

  • If you lack confidence in writing your manuscript, or maybe you’re too busy, or can’t stay focused, consider hiring a ghostwriter. Many authors hire a writer to assist them. Taking this route, you would: provide the information, work in close collaboration with the writer, have the final say, make any changes you want, own the copyright, and have your name on the cover of the book. Think about it like building a house. If you’re building a house, you may hire a contractor to do the actual work. It’s your plan, your vision, your product, but the builder brings expertise and artistry.
  • Find an author coach or editor. Working with an author coach or editor is less expensive than hiring a ghostwriter. An author coach or editor can provide accountability, deadlines and professional feedback. As a result, they assist you in producing sellable products and life legacy books.

For more on this idea of books as a legacy, read Brian Feinblum’s post on BookMarketingBuzzBlog.

Life Legacy Books

Rachael Hartman Interviewed on Blog Talk Radio Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT)

Blog Talk Radio Christian Authors on Tour


I was honored to be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio today with Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT). I spoke about my upcoming book Plastic Reality, my first book, Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, the beginnings of Our Written Lives and the authors I’m working with. You can listen to the interview, which was recorded live, via the link below.

Blog Talk Radio Christian Authors on Tour Interviewed with Rachael Hartman

Contentment You are Enough

Contentment—You have what it takes!

Contentment—You have what it takes! In Christ, you are Enough, and you have enough strength to accomplish God’s will.

There are many situations in each of our lives that have unanswered WHY questions. We all face really tough, really real, difficult, and life-crushing circumstances. How is it possible to be content in these situations? No one in their right mind would expect us to be content with these circumstances! How can we be? Our lives are being crushed and the pressure is so strong. How can I be content?

If you are experiencing discontent, I want to say I understand. It’s okay. All we can do is be where we are at, and trust in God.

Psalms 23 has brought comfort to discontented hearts over thousands of years. I’m going to add in my own interpretation after each verse.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. [I want right now, but I SHALL not in the future.]

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. [He MAKES me. I don’t want to wait in the quiet, but that’s where He’s got me.]

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. [I want to fix my soul right now. I want peace and calm and joy . . . But I can’t restore myself.]

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. [YES, I’m in a dark place. It’s not looking good. I’m afraid, but I WILL fear no evil, in the future, because right now, God’s with me and comforting me in the darkness.]

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. I shall be content.

There are two scriptures on contentment many of us are familiar with:

  1. 1 Timothy 6:6 & 8 (KJV), “. . . Godliness with contentment is great gain. . . And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
  2. Hebrews 13:5 (KJV), “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

The Greek word translated into the English word “contentment” is Arkeo. The original definition is very close to ours, but it also takes the meaning of the word to a new depth. Arkeo is defined as “to be satisfied or contented with, to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing…”

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .

Discontentment can be summed up with one word—a sin that is so easy for our human nature to fall into, that God issued the 10th Commandment against it: Coveting (lust).

It’s the itching feeling you have—that anxiety, lust, desire for different circumstances, better times, even a desire for the past or the future . . . It’s discontentment. In my discontent, I began complaining, comparing, creating contention, and falling into complacency. I’ve lived in the rushed, frantic, state of being that says, “I have to work more, do more, be more, fix this, save the day.”

In Ruth 1:20, Naomi said: “Don’t call me Naomi. Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.” It’s God’s fault. He did this to me. Naomi means, “Pleasant.” “Mara” means “bitter, angry, discontent.”

In my discontent, I would cry, alone, and no one was there to comfort me. I felt like God didn’t love me either. If He loved me, why would life be so hard? I came to the place where my dreams died, and I just didn’t have any more desire. No dreams to reach for. Life’s disappointments hurt me so much. I WAS BITTERLY DISCONTENT.

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

In the middle of many things I am upset and discontent about, God was preparing a table for me in the presence of my enemies. I may not have had actual people who were my enemies, but I had situations, emotions, and the enemy of my soul—all out to destroy me. BUT GOD WAS WITH ME.

In the middle of all that happened, God kept putting something else in front of me to do. Something for His kingdom. He gave me school to focus on, knowledge, experience and training. He gave me His love in the middle of my loneliness. He gave me His Word when everything else failed me. He gave me opportunity to use the skills and talents He had developed in me in the dark times.

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I remember a word God gave me when I was living alone in Texas. My dog Danny had Parvo and was at the vet’s office. It was Sunday and I couldn’t visit him. I was on my way to church. But I was so worried about my dog. He had his shots, but the shots didn’t work . . . The vet gave him a less than 30% chance of living. I was crying on my way to church. I was in the middle of a layoff. How would I have the money to pay for the vet bill? How would I be okay emotionally if he died?

I was playing the piano in the service that day. As I drove to church, Lord spoke to me and said, “I’ve put the piano in your hands, now you put Danny in My Hands. . .”

Contentment. Arkeo: “to be satisfied or contented with, to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing . . . ”

2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I had a revelation—my life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to find contentment! That was a very new idea for me. I learned how to take all of that negative energy from the discontent, all of the pain, all of the disappointment, all of the heartbreak, all of the trouble . . . And I gave it to God.God’s strength was made perfect in my weakness. Through God’s grace and power, I turned my discontent into creative energy, and I worked for the Lord with it.

Whatever situation you find yourself in right now, whatever difficult circumstance, disillusionment and broken dream, whatever it is you don’t like about your life and circumstance, and however justified you are in your anger and discontent . . . YOU ARE ENOUGH.

In the middle of your angry, bitterness, YOU ARE ENOUGH. God loves you in your brokenness and imperfection. God loves You and His strength is here for you. With Jesus, You have enough, you are enough, and you possess sufficient strength for all of these things.

Whatever He has put in your hands to do right now, do it. You are enough; you have enough grace to accomplish God’s will. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

 

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman, Publisher at Our Written Lives. Lover of Jesus. Helper of writers. Sharing inspiration and publishing for the Kingdom of God.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” ~Isaiah 52:7 KJV

 

Contentment You are Enough

GiveForward Estrada Barrera Family Cancer Support

The Estrada women have always been strong and independent. But right now, they are in great need of our support. Please join me and support Mary and Beth Estrada and Miranda Barrera.

 




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GiveForward Cancer Support Estrada Barrera Family

Please join me in supporting Miranda Barrera, and Mary and Beth Estrada.

Mary Estrada spent her life as a single mom raising her two daughters Elizabeth (Beth) and Miranda. The girls grew up and the family of three stayed close. All they had was each other. They live in the Fayetteville, NC area.

Life was going along and Miranda married a man named Ruben; they had two children. Beth remained single and worked at a childcare center as well as helping care for their mother, Mary.

In 2010, Miranda’s son, Keegan Barrera, was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer at age 2 and a half. He started treatments and is now in remission. He continues with check-ups for five years until he can be declared cancer free.

In 2013, Elizabeth Estrada (Miranda’s sister) was diagnosed with Stage Four Ovarian Cancer at age 32. She immediately had surgeries to remove tumors and had a complete hysterectomy. She is currently in on-going chemo treatments.

In 2014, Mary Estrada (Miranda’s mother) was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 66. She has been moved to in-home hospice care.

Miranda has taken a leave of absence without pay in order to care for her mom and sister.

The Estrada women have always been strong. They’ve always cared for each other and for the people around them. But right now, they need our support. They need our strength. There’s only so much each person can take, and this family is at that place of need.

Join me in supporting them financially, emotionally and spiritually as this family fights for life and caregives in the face of cancer. Let’s raise enough to make a difference.

Are You Healed Enough to Publish Your Story? Ready or not . . .

Are you ready to publish? Are you healed enough to be the public face of your story?

healed enough to publishI often meet people who have a desire to write their story, but they are anxious about it. They know their story and their pain holds meaning. They want to bless the world and encourage others who may be in the same place they once were, to help shine a light on how to get out of difficult and dark places.

I believe we all have a story to share that is important. All of our pain is sacred. All of our experiences hold meaning. But do all of our stories need to be written and shared with the world? No. And even when we do share our stories with the world, we don’t share every detail.

There’s a couple of things I want to say to encourage you if you’re considering writing your story, but you’re unsure of the next step, or you feel uncertainty.

1. Writing is a process of healing for the author. Even if you’re not “healed” totally from your experience, write. It will help to sort things out, and is very safe and therapeutic.

2. Write your story, honestly. Then wait. Pray. Go back and rewrite.

3. Writing is safe. Publishing is a risk. Are you ready to take the risk? Publishing involves marketing, selling your story, and being the “face” of your book in a very public way.

4. You may not be ready to publish, but you ARE ready to write! Don’t bog yourself down with the stress of thinking of publishing. Just write. When it’s time to publish, you will know it.

Writing is a process of re-writing. It takes time and commitment, and a person really has to be ready to share their story before it is published. They have to be strong enough to view it not as an extension of themselves, but instead as a product they want to share and sell. To publish, you must be healed enough, and have strong enough boundaries to be ready to be vulnerable. It’s a huge deal, and not to be taken lightly. You need to be sure you are ready and strong enough to tell your story. If you aren’t ready to verbally testify in a group setting, you’re probably not ready to share your story in published print form. But that doesn’t mean you should not write. Write. Write now.

A lot of times our family members are the ones that have hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally. This is a very important fact to consider. You love your family member and you don’t want to do anything to hurt them further. What they did to you was probably because they were hurting. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but we want to write from a place of healing, not pain. We don’t want our writing to cause pain, but to be helpful and healing. At the same time, your story is your story. A lot of the decisions you make about sharing your story will depend on your relationship with your family member, where both of you are at in the healing process, and what is important and valid to share.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “Hurt people hurt people.” I recently heard it with a twist, “Healed people heal people.” I am reminded of some wisdom from a 12-step workbook… First, we write our story and share it with someone safe. We talk about how much we want to share in the group. We pray about it. If we feel any kind of anxiety associated with sharing certain parts of our story, then it isn’t the right time to share publicly. We share when we feel safe. And that is the number one most important thing.

I’ll be praying for you!