Tuesday, May 19, 2015

And the WINNER is . . .

The winner of Emma Broch Stuart's book, BROKEN UMBRELLAS, is Shannan Stevens!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!




Shannan, be sure to check your email for further instructions.



May you be blessed by Emma's story.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Book GIVEAWAY: "Broken Umbrellas"

Please welcome new author, Emma Broch Stuart (and best friend, a.k.a. "Flower"). I'm so excited to FINALLY be able to host my bestest friend on my blog! This is a lady who has a heart for people, who loves those who are downtrodden, who is willing to bend over backwards, upside down, and inside out to help another in need. This is my Flower. She blooms wherever she's planted. I'm so honored to have her as my guest today!



In her book Broken Umbrellas, Emma shares her passion for seeing women and men released from bondage and healed from relational wounds.  Her newly released book, BrokenUmbrellas, takes the reader on her personal journey from the pit of despair and brokenness to the healing arms of Jesus. Along the way, she allows the reader an intimate look into the relationship baggage she hauled around most of her life from relationship to relationship—even crossing the Atlantic with it—before surrendering to God’s radical healing. 



1.   Tell us a little more about your nonfiction.

Well Sandi, as you know, once upon a time, brokenness claimed so many areas of my life, and every one of those areas were relational in nature: bitterness and shame from past intimate relationships; wounds and scars from abuse; insecurities from relating with women I felt had it together when I did not; feelings of failure as a mother. It was all relationship stuff. When I realized that humanity tries to relate with one another in spite of their brokenness, God asked me to write about my own personal struggle with broken areas of my life. And voilà! Broken Umbrellas was born.

2.     What was the driving force behind writing Broken Umbrellas?

This is a good question. I feel most people are really bad at one thing in life like sports, or math, or sewing. For me it was relationships. Even becoming a Christian didn’t save me from a broken marriage. And I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I get this right?” And God showed me that when we have unhealthy hearts, we have unhealthy relationships. (That goes for friendship relationships too.) Then he took me on an incredible 13-month journey that healed me in the most radical way. I wrote Broken Umbrellas because I don’t believe I’m the only one who has struggled with relationships.

3.     What do you want your readers to take away from reading your book?

Hope. Pure and simple, yet profound hope. Hope for all their hurting relationships and a desire to be healed, healthy individuals. I want my readers to see—and believe—that God is bigger than any brokenness they have suffered or caused. And I pray Broken Umbrellas is a tool to bring my readers into a deeper knowing of God, the only one who can heal them.

4.     What writing projects are you working on now?

I’m working with WhiteFire Publishing on a fun and inspiring  piece called Barn Doors. Barn Doors is a collection of short stories about everyday life and how God speaks to me . . . and how I hear him. It releases next spring.

I also have a children’s series with DeWard Publishing called The Keeper Series. The Windkeeper is the first in the series and looks to be ready for this fall. An illustrator has it as we speak, bringing my words to colorful life. The Starkeeper will follow, and The Rainkeeper will complete the series. One way God speaks to me is through the pages of his Word, and I incorporate that into these stories.

5.     Where can readers learn more about your book?

Broken Umbrellas is for sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle version. Here’s a link!
http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Umbrellas-Emma-Broch-Stuart/dp/1939023475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431110016&sr=8-1&keywords=broken+umbrellas

6.     How can readers connect with you?

I LOVE connecting with people! Readers can find my blog on my website: http://emmabrochstuart.com/

They can also find updates on my Facebook author page:

Twitter:

Or by emailing me:

7.     Where did you get the name Broken Umbrellas?

At my precious grandson’s funeral, I spotted a broken blue umbrella flapping in the winter wind. The woman holding it was oblivious to the fact that snow was falling on her. When she moved her broken umbrella to offer protection to the man beside her, my heart was overwhelmed with the symbolism of humanity doing the same thing—“protecting” (or loving, serving, relating) in spite of our brokenness.

8.     Tell us about living overseas.

Out of all my experiences living overseas, one of my absolute favorite and cherished experiences is meeting my Sandi Flower. She lived in Holland, me in France. She and her family visited me, I went and visited her. She and I met in Paris one weekend where we climbed the stairs of the Eiffel Tower to the middle level, we painted our toenails on the lawn outside Sacre Cœur, oh and picnicked under an umbrella beside the Louvre. Goodness we had so much fun! We packed a lot of memories in those few days.



I’m not sure Sandi wants me to share the story of how I lost her—for over an hour!—in the middle of Avignon in the south of France. It was one of the worst feelings in the world when I couldn’t find her. I left her on a street corner to run into the tourist office for a map, and I “circled around the block” only the block turned into a maze that made it impossible for me to find her until I parked and searched on foot. I was bawling as I ran toward her, and she laughed at me! It took me a long time to be able to laugh about that.

***Sandi's reply: No, I don't mind you sharing that, Flower. I was laughing as you drove off, thinking, "I wonder if she'll really be able to just "circle around the block." LOL Too funny! During that time, I got hit on by another foreigner, so it was good for my pride and low self-image. :-)


***Back to Wendy: Now that I think about it, she and I haven’t spent a great deal of time face to face in our 10-year friendship. Our friendship has blossomed mainly by doing laundry together over the phone, praying over the phone, celebrating and grieving together over the phone. Sandi and I fleshed out a lot of scenes over the phone when she was writing The Master’s Wall. I feel personally attached to those characters. It just goes to show you how God can bring people together despite distance. It’s a heart thing, and that is so beautiful. 

I credit a lot of who I am today on my experiences in Europe. There’s something about getting out of your comfort zone that forces you to relate differently, engage in the world around you at a different level. And most importantly, see beyond yourself. I have dipped my toes in the Mediterranean, hiked mountains in the French Alps, drank wine with my baguette and cheese, breastfed under the Eiffel Tower, and made a complete fool of myself many times as I butchered the language. I have been misunderstood, ignored, lost in a big city, and served fish with the head still attached. But I have also been kissed by complete strangers, given free bus rides when I didn’t have exact change, served delicious cuisine, and most importantly, blessed with knowing Christ at a deeper level. My daughter was born there, my first grandchild buried there, and collected more than a decade of memories—both good and bad.

Living in a foreign country shows you just how strong you really are.

9.     What inspires you to write?

Everything! Seriously, I am so awed at the world around me, people and seasons, humanity and compassion, love and tears. I always want to look with eyes that really see. See beyond the surface to the beauty that is often hidden. I’ve been on the battlefield and I know that is why I love and live and dream with a fierceness that carries over into my writing. Sometimes I think I could fill an entire book about how a dandelion touches me. ha, ha  They are such a sight for sore eyes after a long winter, yellow dots spring up and feed the bees, and droop in chubby hands as a bouquet of flowers for mama.  And oh how us mamas love them. Yes, God uses everything to inspire me.


The following are questions taken from guests at Emma’s launch party


What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Write what you are passionate about, what is bubbling from the heart. I would also say to not worry about mistakes, or an outline, or anything else. Just write! The rest will come.

How does your family feel about you writing a book that shares your journey to healing?

I relied on God to help me word things just right so the reader sees the healing more than the pain, and I was very respectful of anyone I talked about, showing that I am in a good place, a godly place. I had to be vague in a few areas, and that’s okay! The reader will understand that. I have never prayed about anything more in my life than Broken Umbrellas. Well, maybe prayers for my children outnumber prayers for BU.

Who would you consider to be your writing mentors or authors who inspire you?

I admire every single author at WhiteFire, they are the best group of people ever! I also admire anyone—published or not—with the courage to write and share their story. Published authors who inspire me are Beth Moore, Carolyn Custis James, and Francis Chan—to name a few.

What was your favorite part about writing this book?

The blessings God poured over me as I wrote it is by far my favorite part. Also discovering a few areas that hadn’t quite healed, and God using my own writing to encourage me to turn those areas over to him.

Also, making my chapter titles unique and relevant to the content of each chapter was a lot of fun.


When did you know you had to write this book?

I knew in May 2010 that God wanted me to write this. And he confirmed it so very sweetly through a lovely friend. I share that confirmation in a middle chapter of Broken Umbrellas.  The truly amazing part? When God confirmed it, I was smack dab in the middle of my healing journey, and there was no way I could string even 10 words into a comprehensible sentence. But God used two words that brought me so much comfort. He told me we were going to do this healing thing and then we were going to write about it. And then. Believe me, I didn’t believe I could write it! And God carried me all the way through to this very day where I’m here talking about it to all of you. YAY God!


Did you have an outline? How did you put the chapters together to make sense?

I wrote the beginning to the middle and then took a few days to process all of that. Lots of tears as I relived those old wounds. Lots of grateful prayers for how far I’ve come. When I was ready to start where I left off, I felt led to write from the end and meet up in the middle. No outline, just wrote what leapt out of my heart and organized as I went along, which goes against my OCD for organizing, list making, and “going in order.”

Why did you choose to write under a penname?

Because Broken Umbrellas gives the reader a very intimate and vulnerable look at my past, I chose to write under a penname out of respect for the people I speak about. Of course, I did not have to, and if any of them were to read my book, I have written it in a respectful way that they should not take offense. And I have decided to keep my penname for all of my writing projects. The name Emma Broch Stuart is very special to me; it is the middle name of each of my 3 children.

When writing for the Lord, he often reveals things to us we didn’t know when we started. What’s something you learned about God or yourself during this process?

There are so many things that I have learned! One would be that He is trustworthy. He makes beauty out of ashes. And I am never too broken or lost to come back to Him and be redeemed, restored, and repaired.

Leave a comment along with your email address written like this: YourEmail AT gmail DOT com, and you will be entered into a drawing to win Emma’s book Broken Umbrellas.

The winner will be announced next week!




Saturday, February 14, 2015

Misconceptions about the Bible

I would like to clear up some misconceptions about the Bible.

You see, so much is “done” in the name of “God.” So many are hurt, killed, murdered, or whatever in the name of some religion (namely ISIS at the moment), and since I’m a Christian and believe in the Bible, I feel compelled to share with you what IT (the Bible/God, our Creator) actually says about how we are to treat one another.

When someone asked Jesus what the “greatest commandment” is, here’s the answer He gave in Mark 12:30-31, “… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

These verses are the crux of how a true Christian should behave. Anyone behaving otherwise, is not portraying how Jesus taught us to be. Period. And the fact that this commandment originated from God Himself, tells me what kind of Person He is: all good and all loving.

As it says in 1 John 4:8

“The one who does not love does not know God,
for God is love.”

If someone claiming to be a “Christian” commits an abominable act in the name of God, please know, they are doing something despicable in God’s sight.

So, whether or not you’re a believer of God and/or the Bible, and especially if you DO believe, let’s try to love one another.

Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

One last thing, I may be throwing around scripture, but that doesn’t make me any more “perfect” than the rest of us.

That’s why we ALL need Jesus.

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”


John 3:16

“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him

should not perish but have eternal life.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

I'M A CONTRADICTION

I don't know how God puts up with me. When I had cancer, I KNEW He could heal me. I had no doubts! I KNEW IT! I just didn't know if it was His WILL. I remember talking to Him about it, saying, I knew He could cure me. And if it wasn’t His will to do it, He'd have to find someone to raise my kids, someone who would love them as much as I do and bring them ALL to heaven. If He could do that, then I’m ready to go. (Just a side note: He could have done that, you know. He is GOD, the creator and inventor of EVERYTHING, after all.)

Then . . . God healed me! Now I'm living my life!!! But there are times, I get in such a tizzy of worry and feeling overwhelmed. Today, I was driving to the store for the umpteenth time and I said out loud, “I’m overwhelmed. I have so much to do, I don’t know how I’m gonna get it all done.”

My little Chelsea (who’s seven, btw) heard me from the back seat and declared, “Take it one day at a time, Mommy. Just one day.” Then she went on to remind me that I taught her that when she’d get overwhelmed because she had to read all those words on one page. She said, “You told me to just read one word at a time and don’t look at all the other words. Just read one word at a time. You taught me that, Mommy!” If she wasn’t in her booster seat, she probably would have patted me on the shoulder as if we were “girl friends” and given me a hug.

My response: “And now you’re teaching it back to me.” She’s my blessing. God is teaching me through her. From the mouths of babes.

Before this, I was worrying about something the other day, and close to freaking out about it, then I remembered to PRAY, asking God what I should do. That’s when Philippians 4:8-9 came to mind:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and THE GOD OF PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU (emphasis of all-caps is mine).

It’s so NICE to know God loves me! He answered that prayer immediately by giving me that verse. And He loves me through my precious little girl who re-teaches me the lessons I’ve taught her. I’d say this is also a blessing of homeschooling. She’s reading with fluency now. So, so proud of her! But more importantly, so glad I get to be her mother.

Thank You God. Thank You my precious, heavenly Father for letting me LIVE. Now I just ask for the same kind of faith I had over the great big ugly cancer . . . that I can apply it to these trivial things in life. Silly that I don’t, huh?


One thing I learned about getting sick and not being able to function. Life goes on. With or without you. Somehow, things get done. And what doesn’t get done . . . isn’t the end of the world. Just trust in God. TRUST in HIM. He is able!!!
WHEN THE WORLD SAYS YOU CAN'T, FAITH SAYS YOU CAN!