An excerpt from “Called to Write; Chosen to Publish,” by Rachael Hartman

Hello, Friends. I’m working on a free e-book I’ve titled “Called to Write; Chosen to Publish.” I’d like to share a quote from what I wrote tonight. The e-book will be available via my websites and is an inspirational resource for writers. Let me know what you think; leave a comment and encourage me as I write for you . . .

What you write may be the key for someone to unlock understanding; it may be one more step in the right direction; the one more breath of fresh air they need. The words you write may be the bone marrow match for a reader’s situation, the water they need to live another day, the money to pay a bill.

So write.

Write, even if millions of people have access to the words, but only hundreds read it.

Write, even if writing bares your soul and you’re left alone and exposed.

Write, for your life was meant to bring the hope of Christ to those who know and read it.

And so, God provided “Our Written Lives of Hope . . .”

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Christian Authors on Tour – Blog Talk Radio Interview with Rachael Hartman

pr-halfsheetI was honored to be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio today with Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT) ~ The interview is now available online. 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.

A Writer’s Approach to Life

1af10e2In graduate school, I had to cite an academic source for everything that I wrote. If there wasn’t research to back it up, then I couldn’t use it. Common sense, my opinion and personal beliefs were never enough to give validity to anything. I admit that I would often purposefully look for research that backed up my opinion, and I could usually find it. This type of research is what I am going to dub “top-down research.” I wasn’t really learning anything new, I was only validating that I knew what I was talking about.

“Bottom-up” research occurred when I started reading research without an end goal in mind, or when I stumbled upon something new, or when I couldn’t find research to back up my opinion and had to change my opinion.   I was thinking about my approach to grad school research last night, and came to the conclusion that my approach to life should be “bottom-up.” Instead of going around looking for answers to validate my opinions and prove to myself that I am someone special because I “know,” a bottom-up approach to life makes me teachable.

More importantly, the way I approach God must be a bottom-up approach. Instead of coming to God and listening for the answers that I want to hear, or even searching the scriptures of verses to validate my personal beliefs, I want to prayerfully read the Bible and allow the illumination of the scriptures to inspire me with new concepts from God’s perspective.   I often used top-down research when I was in a rush. It didn’t take me long to plan the outline of a research paper when I knew what I want to write about and I knew the point I want to prove. In 15 minutes I could plan a 30 page paper, in a few hours I could find all of the sources I need to back me up, and in a few more hours, I could have the paper completed.

When I wrote Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, it was bottom-up learning. In each interview, I had no idea what new information or insight was going to come at me next. I listened to the information, then I wrote it, and the organization came naturally. I was amazed at how the chapters naturally ordered themselves to approximately the same lengths as each other. The order of the book swiftly came together as well. When all of the information was in front of me, the patterns practically jumped off the page and I was able to sort it out and put every puzzle piece in place.

Life comes at me in the way that Angel’s story came in the interviews. I never know what to expect next. It feels like a jumbled mess as I first begin to process my life. Over time I’m able to look at it and see how everything seems to come together and make sense. Yes, I’m still waiting on some missing pieces. And there are some pieces of my life that seemed to have been put in the wrong puzzle box. I want to reject those pieces, say they don’t belong to me, but they do, and one day, I will see God’s plan and how it will all come together to make a complete picture.

Fences ~ a poem by Rachael Kathleen Hartman

Fences
© Rachael Hartman
for My Brother, Jeremy Hartman
March 1, 2014

Fences
With barbed wire
Line the entrance to
Keep us safe from attack
While loved ones fight
Far away for freedom
And we wait behind
Fences
Living in homes
Built for heroes’ families
Playgrounds, commissary, PX
All there, the card-carrying
Community inside
Fences
Rising in rank
To reach the top
The Flag flies, bugles play
Reveille and Retreat
At the center of
Fences
Always the sign
Of home away from home
American soil around the world
Always moving, meeting new
Friends, remembering
Old ones waiting by
Fences
And one day
No longer a child yet
Still feeling the draw of Green
Hearing calls of cadence
As we are kept out of
Fences
Wandering, lost
On the outside, with
No orders and nowhere to go
We search aimlessly
Fit nowhere and
Fences
Draw us, call us
Until violence ensues and
We once again are surrounded,
Bound to the security found
On the inside of
Fences
With barbed wire
Lining the entrance and
Exit of this new cold place
That keeps the world
From those behind
Fences
Towering high
Uniforms of new colors
And chains no longer on necks
Are now on hands and feet
Locking us in and out of
Fences
A community of
Criminals with recorded
Histories we know not of but
Now are brothers of the
System built with
Fences


Rachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

I have a Life Coach; His Name is Jesus

I have a Life Coach; His Name is Jesus.

What’s a Life Coach? A Life Coach is someone who helps someone else overcome roadblocks in their life in order to reach their goals. My goal is to grow my business for the glory of God and His Kingdom. My obstacles are many, but with God guiding me I have no doubt I’ll reach my destination.

TheHopeCoachI recently interviewed for what many would consider an “amazing job” at a Fortune 500 international corporation. I was nervous as I waited for the interview and the nerves grew when I was escorted to a room with six people waiting to grill me and my resume. Overall, I felt like the interview was positive. They people were very nice, smart, respectful. At the same time, I didn’t really feel like I fit.

I sent a thank-you email as my job coach instructed me to. The hiring manager respectfully replied he was still interviewing candidates and they would notify me when they make their decision. I don’t expect to hear back anytime soon. I know in my gut I won’t be selected for the position, and I’m at peace with that. I don’t have an aspiration to make a ton of money, or to rise in leadership and be in competition for a higher paying job. Thinking about that world stresses me out. I wasn’t made for it.

Since my interview, I’ve done a lot of praying about what I am supposed to be doing for work. I feel at peace when think about focusing on my business. That peace is the spiritual confirmation I need to know I’m right where I need to be.

The rational part of me says I need to find a job and make enough money to pay all of my student loans off in a year (haha!)… I know that’s not going to happen. As I apply for job after job and the doors continue to slam shut, God continues to open doors for me through my business.

Today, I made some great contacts. It looks like I’ll be starting another book project soon! I have two potential books waiting for contracts with their authors and one potential ghost writing job. I have two freelance jobs I’m working on now and one book that is in the publication process.

I also just started a Life Coach certification course which I’ll use to teach classes in my community on life skills such as anger management, stress management, grief processing, self-talk, attitude, motivation and desire, goal setting, communication, time management and more. I will also be able to take on individual clients that want to work one-on-one to reach their goals.

Today I met a lady who runs a girls home in north Georgia; she has three life coaches on her staff. I am already making plans to go there to visit and observe, and to talk to the life coaches on staff. I can see how being a life coach and working with my publication clients goes hand in hand. It’s the missing piece to my business and career. It’s a good fit.

I’m so thankful for my Life Coach and the doors He opens for me. He provides for me daily and I have everything I need. Living for God – it’s amazing! I love the peace I have when I’m in the center of His will. I don’t have to make anything happen; God will guide and open the doors.

Rachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

No fear in love . . .

there-is-no-fear-in-love“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

I’ve experienced a lot of fear in my life. I’ve questioned why I have fear. I used to read this verse and believe that if I felt fear at all, then I must not be a loving enough person. I thought if only I loved more, the fear would go away.

One day I came to the point where I started seeing this verse in a whole new light. It was something about this part of the verse: “He that feareth is not made perfect in love…”  The sentence I just quoted passive. “He” is not the “maker” of perfection. “He” is the object of the sentence. If “He” is fearing, WHO hasn’t made him perfect (mature) in love?

The subject (the doer of the verb “made”) is not in this sentence, but is found throughout the chapter. The “WHO” of Verse 18 is the other believers who are not true, or the false prophets.

Here are a few key scriptures that I’d like to bring to your attention from this chapter:

Verse 1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Verses 7-8, Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

Verse 11: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

Verse 21: “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

After studying 1 John Chapter 4, I came to realize that when I fear, it is a good possibility that I am not around people who are loving me. We fear when we are in danger. We fear when we are insecure. We fear when we believe people are out to get us or are attacking us. We fear when we are rejected, neglected or forgotten. We fear when we are abused. We fear when we are not loved.

That doesn’t mean there are no irrational, sudden over powering fears that have nothing to do with other people. There are, as seen in Proverbs 3:25-26, “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” In this verse, God was telling us not to have irrational fears about things that haven’t happened yet, even if they are on the way. God is our confidence.

I wish there were enough room on this blog post to type out all of 1 John, Chapter 4. The chapter is about love: God’s love and the church’s love for one another. If this blog post speaks to you, I recommend you read the entire chapter and allow the Spirit of God to put the message of 1 John 4 into your spirit.

Rachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

Greater Love . . .

1

Have you ever had an awkward moment that makes you think, why me, AGAIN? How about having a random stinky, old man kiss you? It’s happened to me twice, once several years ago and again a few weeks ago.

Both times I went out of my way to show kindness to someone I deemed as “needy.” I must have touched these people’s hearts because of their response, but honestly the unexpected pecks on the cheek made me feel the need to bathe in rubbing alcohol, or maybe bleach. I still get the hibigeebies when I think about it.
3
I have to admit my “random acts of kindness” resulted in feelings of disgust, humiliation, embarrassment and shame. How could my desire to be Christ-like bring out so much pride in me? Other people give their lives to missions and serving the less fortunate. When I try to do something simple, I feel inadequate and ill-equipped to selflessly love people.

2I remember a story about Mother Teresa that made an impression on me. In the 1950s she opened a home for the dying. She brought in many dying people off the streets of India. She found one man in a gutter, brought him to her hospice, bathed, clothed and fed him. She held him as he died and he said, “I have lived like an animal, but now I am dying like an angel.”

6Along with Mother Teresa I think of Princess Diana. I’ve seen so many pictures of both of them loving people that I would have be uncomfortable to show affection to… I wonder if Mother Teresa ever felt the way I did when the homeless man kissed me—uncomfortable? But she remained full of grace, and moved on to their next act of service.

4The day I showed kindness to the homeless man that kissed my cheek, I ended up buying my sister’s lunch. She wasn’t homeless, destitute, or dying, but she was hungry. I fed a hungry person. She wasn’t someone I was embarrassed to be with, or someone that made me feel gross. She was someone I loved—not because I was “going out of my way to be a saint,” but because God put her in my life to love.5

Who has God put in your life to love today? Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

Maybe loving people is not just about going out of my way to help those in need. Maybe it’s about loving the people that are in my life daily, instead of just when I’m trying to be a saint.

 

God Can Use It For Good

201db10a2fc5c7980132e41281802428Today I met with a woman named Nancy whose four month old daughter died. It happened several years ago, but the pain is still there. This woman inspires me so much because she’s using her pain to help others. She’s starting a non-profit organization to provide financial support to displaced parents with a critically ill child.

To help raise money, she’s compiling a book of stories to bring hope and encouragement. She’s looking for stories from parents who’ve lost a child, and who have experienced supernatural comfort that assures them their child is in Heaven.

If you have a story you’d like to share as a part of this project, please contact me and I will put you in touch with Nancy. You can email me at rachael.k.hartman@owlofhope.com

Genesis 50:20 (KJV), “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Difficult things happen life. I wish I could change that. There’s hope in knowing that one day, in Heaven, there will be no more sorrow or tears. God will wipe all the sadness away. Revelation 21:4.

We will all experience heartbreak, heartache, grief, sadness and disappointment. It’s not easy. It’s painful. But it’s not the end. The question is, what will we do with it? We can use our pain to bring good into the world.