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!

6.     How can readers connect with you?

I LOVE connecting with people! Readers can find my blog on my website:

They can also find updates on my Facebook author page:


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!


  1. Looking forward to reading this book!

  2. Just reading this reminded that nothing happens by chance. God has a perfect purpose for me in everything that happens in my life. Just reading this reminded me that Romans 8:28 is still my verse of encouragement to go the distance even though I grown weary. However God chooses to provide this book, Broken Umbrellas, to me, I know I'll use it to further deepen my relationship with Him and encourage others.
    Shannan Stevens

    1. Shannan, your comment is like a song to my heart! I pray buckets of blessings fall on you :-)

    2. Thank you, Emma, for your comment also! :-) That brings a tear to my eye and warms my heart because it is something my dad used to say whenever he'd hear my voice and liken it to water bubbling over rocks in a mountain brook. The way I talk and the things I say speak soothing peace to the hearing heart and I credit it all to Jesus. My dad has been in Heaven for six years and I'm still working on coming into my own identity if you know what I mean. PTL that my comment was a blessing to write and read, as was yours in return, Emma! Also, say hello to Sandi for me, as I used to go to the FRCW group in Loveland, but haven't had the means to make the journey in two years. I hope she remembers me, I was a student at CCU in Dr. John Fischle's class and know his wife Bobbe too. I'm waiting for God to heal me so once again I can do great things without the heartache heavy in my heart almost every day. I know Jesus is with me every day though and walking beside me and I'm so grateful.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Shannan, you ARE doing great things, I just know you are! Sometimes those great things are simply being still and knowing God is God. And I think we are all working on coming into our identity, because we are a work in progress. I love knowing this about your dad and that special connection you two had; SO sweet.

  3. I have to say good morning from Iowa, and say I love the pics here, and the details about your friendship, Sandi and Wendy. So glad I'm connected w/both of you, and since I already have a lovely copy of Broken Umbrellas, I don't need to be in the drawing. Bless you both,

    1. Gail, you precious thing you! Thank you for hopping over here and chatting with all of us :-)

    2. Hello Emma - it's the other "umbrella lady" here - your cheerleader, Joyce Graves! As you already know, I have read "Broken Umbrellas and found it to be so healing - I am in the middle of re-reading it to make sure I didn't miss anything!

      I am so thankful that God brought you into my life in such a special way - as my sister in Christ and I cherish our friendship. Wonder how many "healed" umbrellas I have shared with you?

    3. Joyce, fancy meeting you here :-) You precious sister. I love the stuffin' outa you! And I don't know how many umbrellas you have shared with me, but when we get to 101, we should celebrate! ha, ha Thank you for reading BU. I treasure that always!!

  4. Emma, I love how you discovered, in such a touching way, the symbolism of the broken umbrella. That in itself is a lovely story. Cheers

    1. Thank you Marilyn, there were so many beautiful treasures I took away from that painful experience. Many I could not see at the time.

  5. Because I live far away in Oz, I don't expect to win...I know Wendy shared her heart in this book because I have already read it... I also know that because she is so truthful in all those many hurtful memories, it will bring healing to the hearts of other women who have suffered similar. As a Christian it is hard when you appear to fail, at least in the eyes of other Christians. Because of this, Christian women stay quiet about their sufferings because its easier than being a woman cast out. Praise God, Emma had the courage to speak out. I have two daughters. One is forty three and the other forty eight, both are Christian and both have been extremely hurt by men they wanted to trust. I have spoken to each about Emma's journey which they need to read for themselves to get the full understanding. Since my copy of Broken umbrellas is on Kindle, I feel I must also purchase the paperback for them. Gosh this sounds jumbled... So, to finish off....this is a must book for very woman because we never know how Emma's story will help us from making the same mistake OR will help us to heal on that already tragedy in our life.

    1. Crystal, that is my hope, that BU leads the reader to Jesus, the only one who can heal. Thank you for this gorgeous comment, for always supporting and encouraging me. You are a Godsend.

  6. Hi Wendy aka Emma. Loved reading your story and journey so far. Bless you for writing the book and I know God is already using it powerfully.I would love to win a copy of your book. I too have written a "similar" book called 'Dancing in the Rain' which emerged out of a season of grief. Waiting to get it published but meanwhile have been sending chapters to bless friends and family going through hard times. So what you've written is very much on my heart.

    May God use your book in awesome ways to bless and minister to many.
    Warm congratulations Wendy and many blessings to you.

    1. Anusha, I did the same thing when Broken Umbrellas was just a document on my computer! I sent it to anyone who wanted to read it, or who needed to read it. I know your book is amazing, because you allowed God to use you through your grief. Praising him for sisters who share their story without fear of what others will think. Or who share in spite of that fear.

  7. I love this kind of book! I so identify with Wendy, because I could never do relationships either. The summer before I retired from my job as rural route mail carrier with the Post Office, the Lord told me, "We will be working on relationships after you retire." The 11 years since then have been one step after another in that process. Now doing tasks all day without significant connections with people bores me to tears!

    1. Oh Veronica, I can so relate! I need that deep connecting and it makes me sad when a lot of my interactions are on a superficial level. But I have to remember that God meets everyone where they are. I love how the Lord spoke to you and told you what you were going to work on. We were meant to be soul sisters :-)