Archive of ‘Anything Goes’ category
How many books do you have inside of you?
Probably a few.
So start with the one you know. Your own.
Because more and more writing friends in my network have been asking me to help them take next steps, I’m going to offer a 4-wk online coaching course that will help you get your life story on paper.
It’s not exactly a business endeavor at this point, but I need to streamline it to serve people and still make the best use of my time as a mom.
Expect it to be personal. Not expert-behind-the-desk stuff, but common sense tips from a friend who has been there before you.
You’ll be able to work on your memoir through learning sessions designed to help you get the basic plot and key pieces of your story onto paper in four weeks.
There’ll be lots of daily opportunity for one-on-one interaction, as well as 8 learning sessions you can hold onto permanently and do at your own pace. And if you live in the Midwest, you can join me on an optional coached work day here in Michigan.
To get information, just go over the My Facebook Page and leave me a comment or send me an email (sarahraymondcunningham -at- gmail -dot- com).
The price point for the starter course is $119. I tried to make it accessible (less than traditional coaching services and less than even one credit of a college writing course), but I’m also making discounts available so leave your excuses behind and come write with me.
That good, good blog series
It’s Saturday morning. Here you are browsing, looking for that good blog series to replace the morning paper of eras gone by.
There’s a few going on here:
- In the News – An ongoing collection of news stories related to relationship, community and connectedness
- Social Media – An ongoing collection of social media stories about connecting online
- Learning Hospitality – a series of challenges to invest in your hospitality skills each week. This month, the focus is food.
- Congratulations on Being Human – examples of humans doing something “extra” ordinary for the benefit of others
- Where I’m Stuck – Advice (currently from Shasta Nelson) related to friendship and community
- Attention to Detail – a brand new weekly column that features two influencers (think bloggers or authors or speakers) who give us recommendations on books, TV shows and even cooking
- Portable Faith – a series of exercises about living out faith beyond the four walls of a church
Also check out these most-visited posts:
I know, this post is a little late coming.
But you’ve noticed probably that I’ve switched things up around here.
I’m the Queen of De-Cluttering. So it’s hard for me to approach spring without paring down just about everything I touch. [Read about my haptic spring cleaning adventures from a few years ago here.]
Hence a new face for the blog. It’s more streamlined and more functional, which makes the revamp a win in my book.
In any case, hope you feel as at home as always in the new digs.
What I’m Writing On
I’ve dabbled in a few kinds of posts over the years, sometimes doing series about writing or teaching urban high schoolers or creativity. But slowly I began favoring a new menu of topics that fit with where I project my future writing projects are going.
And where I am going.
This blog now fits best at the crossroads of community and connectedness, I’d say, with its anthem being “Finding Extraordinary Friendship In a Sometimes Too Ordinary World.” (I talk about what that means to me here.)
And here are some topics I see hovering under the community and connectedness umbrella: Breaking Ranks, Nurturing Community, Connectedness, Neighboring, Hospitality, Family, Friendship, Social Media, Teaming, Being Church, Living As Church With Each Other, Bullying, Oppression, Church Unity and Division, Vulture Culture, Grace, Social Change, Theology or Current Events (as it relates to these topics), Helping People, Mentoring, Social Skills, Disillusionment, Changing the World, Peacemaking, Love.
And no, may the Clairol rumor mill cease to spin, I don’t have red hair.
When the blog got a new face, I decided to put up a new face too. But after posting a new pic for my Twitter and Facebook page profile, I got a few (possibly panicked) texts from people who apparently don’t see me much around the Christmas holidays when I tend to go dark or go home–hair wise.
Breathe easy, friends. I’m still rocking the all-American brown…for now.
Those red-loving pics are from winter-time past. (Hence why my frozen self is excelling at being even more awkward than normal during the photo shoot.)
There’s even a rare photo in specs. It’s a throwback to the nerd-happy days of my youth. And for those of you balking at the red, there’s a few black and whites in tribute to Glamour Shots gone by.
(Come on. You know better than that. I never did Glamour Shots.)
Here’s some select snapshots for your photo-clicking enjoyment.
Tony Campolo has made a dear contribution to my life for many years, first as a speaker and friend of my alma mater and then as a veteran of faith who intentionally invests in young leaders like myself. I’m honored he endorsed my book that comes out Monday.
This Good Friday, please enjoy hearing him speak as much as I do. I can’t think of a better line to commemorate this special holy day than the one this sermon is built around: It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming
Much love to you, my good people, this fine 14th day of February. If you’re looking for a Valentines Day post, I’m afraid I’ve come to disappoint. But here’s an I Hate Valentines Day offering from last year. (It’s less crabby than it sounds.) Plus there’s a little V-day book giveaway at the end of this post.
This year, I’m living and dreaming in Times New Roman and red-crinkly spell-check lines as I beat the deadlines on this last book project in a series.
While these books are faith titles, each one captures a facet of the drive for extraordinary relationships, and they’ll provide some extra blog topics plus some pretty cool chances to interact in the months to come.
Here’s the Books:
Portable Faith (Abingdon, March 2013)
In December, I put the finishing touches on Portable Faith: Taking Church to the Community. This book provides practical insights and dozens of hands-on experiences that small groups and churches can use to build relationships with the diverse groups of people in their communities. It hits the shelves in March of this year, thanks to Abingdon. If you’re interested in being part of a group who will get some of the exercises emailed to you for personal or group use, in exchange for sharing your feedback, please drop me a note on email (sarahraymondcunningham-at-gmail) or Facebook. Put something clever in the subject line to make me laugh.
Dear Church: An Updated Version (January, 2014)
In January, I wrapped up the the updates for a second edition of my first book ever, Dear Church: Letters From a Disillusioned Generation. The new version, which will have a new cover (so not the one to the left) may also be re-titled. It’s a handbook for the journey beyond angst and cynicism to more healthy spiritual days.
The Donkey in the Living Room (B&H Kids, December 2013)
This week, B&H Kids signed on to take over the redesign and wider distribution of the children’s book I stumbled into writing this past Christmas, The Donkey in the Living Room. The book and an app will bring families together in ten days of holiday traditions prior to Christmas.
The Well Balanced World Changer (Moody, October 2013)
And then at the end of this month (or thereabouts) I’ll be completing The Well Balanced World Changer: A Field Guide for Staying Sane While Doing Good, which releases this fall with Moody Publishing. This book is a collection of wisdom aimed to support visionaries in maintaining health and balance as they aspire to nobility and greatness.
Don’t want to wait to read? Pick up Picking Dandelions (Zondervan, 2010), a quirky non-fiction narrative about evangelical childhood and an ever-changing faith. [Read an excerpt]
Or check out Inciting Incidents, a book I curated for Moody which we launched at STORY last September.
You can read an excerpt of Inciting Incidents here. Or grab a free, full copy of the e-book for a limited time when you subscribe (via email) to the Moody Collective.
You can also listen to the NPR-style stories we pulled together around this series for Moody Radio or catch the flighty pregnant version of yours truly in the promo video. Prepare to be amused.
So please hold tight. Good things are in the works. After a few sparse weeks and a slower blogging rhythm, more of the regular relationship-loving blog content will be on its way, including occasional themes related to these titles.
And not long after that, I’ll be pursuing a whole different direction in my writing that flows out of the current themes of this blog. More to come…
Until then, I’m in production mode and, even more importantly, event planning a V-day toddler sleepover for my 3 year old and his cousins. So raise your glass of strawberry milk and heart-shaped cookie in cheers to what’s ahead.
Interested in any of these books? Leave a comment on which book appeals to you most and I’ll select a random winner to send a sample package (Dear Church, Picking Dandelions and Inciting Incidents) for Valentines Day.
I’m participating in a 100-item auction to benefit friends, Evan and Koren Farmer (who are also the good people behind Jackson’s locally-owned coffee house, Cuppa). The farmers just celebrated the birth of another little boy, who joins existing twin brothers. The proceeds of the auction go toward unexpected medical costs associated with this most recent delivery.
Come Write With Me
Writing for Publication – 1 Coaching Session (at Cuppa -OR- on Skype)
* Plan next steps to break into publishing your work in articles, magazines or books.
* Review a sold book proposal to learn technique (if relevant to your aspirations).
* Talk through an existing proposal you’re working on –OR– get advice on how to create your first one. Including help weighing the cost/benefit of self-publishing options.
* Think through platform–marketing, social media etc.
* Any experience-level welcome, including beginners.
-If you live out of the area and would like to meet by Skype, you may still bid to benefit the Farmers.-
Bid here on the Auction’s Facebook page by commenting under my item.
3 Things to Keep In Mind When 2013 Taxes Are Due
Dunh-dunh-dunh. Today, I received my first tax-related piece of mail.
Can’t say I was counting down the minutes until it arrived.
But… all is not lost. For the same reason I offered up the Thanksgiving Sanity Pledge, Chuck and I try to keep our tax processes simple, so we can sink our energy into the things we value…which aren’t things at all, of course, but relationships with people.
Namely the Emperor. And his newly appointed Chief of Staff. Not to mention a few of you we like a lot.
For us, that means having a greater amount deducted from our regular paychecks than is necessary as well as setting aside a healthy chunk of my 1099 payments for freelance work. By showing restraint throughout the year, we don’t get saddled with unexpected expenses at the end of the year.
Which equals less stress, reduced pressure and helps dethrone one of the three things married couples are most likely to fight over.
We also go the quick and free (or low cost) e-processing route, using a service like Turbo Tax which keeps time and mental energy spent to a minimum.
All of this frees us to hopefully feel more reflective than resentful come Uncle Sam’s knock on our door.
1. Some years are lean. And in these hard economic times, this reminds us that we have a choice to choose faith over fear in stretches of uncertainty. We also try to nurture awareness that on historic and world scales, even our lean years are blessed.
2. Some years we are blessed with well more than required to meet our bills. In these years, we feel gratitude while remembering that a steady paycheck is just the illusion of certainty. That there is nothing to stop a company from being downsized, layoffs from being issued or entire industries from folding. This reality reassures us of why we’ve staked our lives in stirring goodness not accumulating wealth. Dollar amounts, whether high or low, are not necessarily indicative of the quality of one’s contribution to this planet.
Just two days ago Monday, one of my current clients admitted their financial difficulty was going to impact my work income (and everyone’s) for the coming year. I believe in trying to do well by them, even in their challenges, because when we demonstrate we are generous with our investments, others are more likely to work with us and other income sources are more likely to arise. (I do event and communications work in addition to my writing in case you’re wondering.)
3. Regardless of the year, we reflect on how and where we spend our money. A.W. Tozer once said that regardless of a person’s stated values, you can tell what they really believe by looking at how they spend their time and their money. From fast food to toys to entertainment to charitable contributions, our consumer dollars are sometimes our loudest voices.
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold