Tag Archives: christian

I am a Speaker: My Refresh U 13 Story.

woman-jumpingAccording to Merriam Webster Dictionary, Refresh means :to restore, or maintain by renewing supply.

So a few weeks ago I bought tickets to attend a “networking/wellness in all areas kinda event” called Refresh. You see I’ve heard of Ekene Onu ( the brain behind Refresh) but never went to a Refresh event. This was her third event in Atlanta and I’ve been in Atlanta for years. Not that I didn’t wanna go, but “networking” wasn’t my kinda of thing.

In keeping with my goal of getting out there more and exercising my God-given talents, I decided to buy tickets. I mean, if I want to impact lives by spreading the message of Christ, I have to actually meet people…right? Even if I do it through written word, people would want to see the face behind the keyboard.

So this morning, I got dressed and decided to head out. Truthfully, even though I paid for the tickets I almost didn’t go. One of the reasons is, I work so hard during the week that my Saturdays are for me to just unwind a little. And secondly, I was scared…I don’t do such…meet people. I write, so I’m best behind my laptop. But my hubby who is my number one cheer leader said, “Come on…go now.”

And I had a fabulous time!!. It was as if I was hanging with my homies and we were all letting it hang out.  From me to you…here  are a few pointers:

  • “The space between how you FEEL and how you ACT is very powerful.” When Akilah Richards said this the first time, it didn’t make sense, then I thought about it. HUGE! For me it meant, I can use that space to evaluate before acting, then my Christian walk will be a little easier. When Christ was being lead to the cross, I’m sure  He was in pain, tired, weak but HE still subjected Himself to the hands of His creation because HE loved us. He could have been like..”Look, I made these people, how dare they do this to me. Yo’ Dad, I’m not doing this anymore..but HE didn’t!! Lesson 1: When I FEEL down or discouraged, I will use my space to will myself to  ACT in faith.
  • “How do you want to show up.” Then Kelly Green gets up and gives a branding lesson. We all know that the two most popular phrases in the last few years are passion/purpose and branding. Those simple words..made my brand clearer. She also said something interesting  “Everyone has a story, what’s yours and how are you using it? Doesn’t have to be big, but its yours”.  Part of the reason I told myself I wasn’t a speaker was because, I felt I had nothing to say. Why will people want to listen to me? But I do. I have a story, might not be yours, might not be mind-blowing, but its mine. Lesson 2: I have learnt to tell my story, but never again will I belittle it. It’s mine!.
  • “When you allow people to have a vote in your life. They always vote wrong.” I ‘met’ Jai Stone through her Emotional Nudity brand. I loved her authenticity. You see I’m a firm believer that most people prefer to show you their mountains and not their valleys. They wanna tell you they have arrived but not that it was a struggle. When she entered the room, it was like a rock star entered the room for me…and she “preached”!!!!!. For years, I  struggled with how much to blog about my Christian walk. If I say that sometimes I loose faith or I’m mad at God would people judge me as not being a ‘true’ Christian. Then I decided to blog but I’d be so careful but Lesson 3: I can’t allow what people will say or think stop my true authentic self. It’s through my authenticity, I can hopefully affect the world. If I want to be a Christian example and not religious I have to be true to me. It was validating, so once again, I say..I’m navigating my imperfect life serving a perfect God.

Now to my aha moment!!! I always tell my hubby and people who have encouraged me to speak in public that I’m not a speaker…I’m a writer. My husband always says, “Babe..that’s what you think, now. Just watch God.”  But I’m adamant about it…I do not speak in public. Here is the kicker…. I got up and told my a story today. I actually held a microphone and spoke in a room full of people. I gave the same speech “I’m not a speaker. I’m a writer.”  And guess what? When I sat down, 3 people walked up to me and said, “Your story touched me, and you are a speaker.” How about that?!

My name is Unoma Nwankwor, I am speaker…and this is my Refresh U Story. Thank you Ekene!

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Blurb 1440 x 1440

The Romantic Hero~ The Christian Way

male modelFound this wonderful and helpful article I might add on the Christian Romantic Hero for all us fiction writer…via socialpolitan.org

What attributes and characteristics make a romantic hero? Does he have broad shoulders tapering to a trim waist? Is he tall and dark? Is he blond and witty? Each author and each reader has her own answer to these questions. Yet in creating a hero, authors are wise to know the more defined guidelines of most Christian publishing houses.

A Hero’s Past

The past creates who he is today. The past formulates his present needs, goals, and weaknesses. Even if he is a Christian, he has flaws, sorrows, and shames. Christian’s sin and so does the hero. He’s behaved in ways that makes him feel unworthy or makes him feel unforgiven. A perfect hero is a cartoon, not a believable, compelling character. Give your hero an event in his life that he wants to forget, deeds he fears others will learn, secrets that smother his growth. Then love moves into his heart through the heroine and the workings of the Holy Spirit and the character will grow.

In Loving Ways, December release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired, the hero’s present life is paralyzed by his past.

Ken winced. Annie’s attitude jarred his memory. He’d been a drinker, created fear in others, embarrassed his family, and caused them shame. For better or worse. Annie’s words crept like tendrils through his conscience. His life had been worse not better. Since running into Gordon, the old days kept niggling at him and brought back fear of discovery. He wished the guy hadn’t remembered him.

Physical Attributes

Though physical attributes are highlighted in most romances, Christian romances tend to focus mainly from the chest upward. The hero might have broad shoulders, a square jaw, raven black hair, mesmerizing blue eyes and an expansive chest, but references to the lower extremities is avoided except for a specific purpose.

Any physical description is most effective when it appears for a greater purpose: drawing out emotion, deepening characterization, or providing details important to the story. Kate Davis sees her friend the arms of a stranger in Secrets of the Heart is jolted by his appearance which brings back unwanted memories and serving an important purpose to the stories conflict.

Not his near six foot stature, but his broad, square frame like a football player. Thick neck, powerful chest, strong muscular legs, and bulging arms she saw wrapped around Phyllis.

In the novella “Better To See you” in Barbour’s Once Upon A Time, the heroine recalls her earlier relationship with the hero.

The arm holding her dropped to his side, and he raised the other, running his fingers through his thick, wavy blond hair. His near-center part tugged at her memory–the way she’d kissed his forehead just below his hairline.

No matter how tall, dark, and handsome the hero is in Christian fiction, the physical attributes are not the most important characteristic to the heroine.

Attributes of the Spirit

The qualities that are enjoyed by most people-compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, all gifts of the spirit-are the qualities that a heroine looks for in a hero. In the romantic suspense, Adam’s Promise, a July release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Adam is depicted as a handsome, arrogant surgeon, but Kate’s description deepens the characterization.

Kate’s heels clicked along the hallway as her thoughts swung from her frustration with Adam to her admiration. The man could be self-centered one minute and filled with compassion the next. . .when it involved the patients. Beneath her irritation, she admired the man. He’d come from a prestigious family in Colorado Springs. His father was the mayor, and yet, here he was in Venezuela providing health care to the poor in the rustic community so many miles from the comforts of home.

Notice what is important to Kate-his compassion, his willingness to leave family wealth behind-attributes most women would cherish in a husband.

In “Christmas Moon ,” in the two-in-one, That Christmas Feeling, released in November by Steeple Hill, the hero sees the heroine with new eyes.

The truth settled over him. For the first time since Della died, he was looking forward to Christmas. Rose had been the catalyst. They’d become friends. Their lives had become entwined. Blest be the ties that entwine. The words twisted in his head.

As they’d spent more time together, Paul sensed a kind of like-minded spirit they shared. The painting came to mind. They’d both been drawn to it immediately. But it was more than that. He felt comfort in her presence. She exuded compassion and evoked from him a new tenderness.

Is he a Christian?

Is the hero a believer? At times the novel will present a weak Christian, one who believed and allowed his faith to waver, but who is brought back to the Lord through his own growth and change. Being repentant and seeking forgiveness is often part of a hero’s struggle. A Christian hero who is flawed makes a Christian novel realistic as in this selection from Adam’s Promise.

“Is it me, Kate? Can’t you forgive me for my egotism. I can only promise you that I’ve changed. For the first time in my life, I realize that God is the only power in my life. He’s my only hope and strength in this world. No one can do it all alone, and no one can take credit for success because the Lord gave us the abilities. The gifts. It’s as simple as that. . .and somehow I missed learning that in my spiritual journey.”

If a hero is not a Christian, he must be by the end of an inspirational romance, but a full conversion must be through the hero’s own struggle, and not the result of the heroine’s “missionary” dating. In “Better To See You,” a novella in the Barbour anthology, Once Upon A Time, the hero learns through th heroine’s example of Christian living.

Was this God’s work? He wondered. He’d been such a difficult person back then, not only disbelieving, but scorning those who believed…except Lucy. She had made her faith so desirable, so sincere that he had a difficult time taunting her. 

Still, her happy heart and open arms had instilled a small seed of question, of wonder about her beliefs. And he’d done the rest, fertilized by memories of her joy in living, he’d stumbled along until one day, alone in a motel room, he’d picked up a Bible. That day was only the beginning. Lucy would never believe how much he’d changed.

Make the hero realistic. Give him flaws and give him a past that shows his weaknesses and shames. Show how the past molds the hero’s goals and motivations, then how overcoming them changes him for the better. No matter what qualities and characteristics you give your hero, limit the physical description to above the waist and give the hero spiritual gifts that arouses the heroine’s love and respect for him.

 

© Gail Gaymer Martin


About the Author

Gail Gaymer Martin was born and raised in Michigan, Where she live with her husband, Bob, who is her greatest fan and the best proofreader in the state. Second to writing, she enjoy music, especially singing as a soloist and choir member at her church and a member of the Detroit Lutheran Singers. She also play handchimes and handbells. Visit Gail at:http://www.gailmartin.com.

Nice article via socialpolitan.org

In the Meantime..

Jeremiah 29 vs. 11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Oh how I love that verse. In earlier days after finding Christ, anytime I didn’t get what I wanted from God, when I wanted it,  I would use this verse to encourage myself that it will come just how I want it because as the verse said “….plans to prosper you….” I would read that and be encouraged after all, what I wanted was all that mattered (now I can’t believe I had that mindset). For a couple of days or even weeks, I would be the ‘most righteous’ Christian chick out there, singing and praising like no man’s business, with the belief that ok, now very soon the thing I wanted so bad will come through after all …”plans to prosper me”. Whatever I wanted at the time in my mind was just the thing to make me prosper. Days, weeks, even months will go by with me keeping the ‘faith’, but I still didn’t get what I wanted. So I will go and read that verse one more time, then couple it with what Jesus said, if   we humans give the best to our children how much more the Father? You know the verse….Mathew 7:10  “if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him”. Putting those two passages together, I will be encouraged to push on a little further.

In the end, sometimes I will get what I want, sometimes I won’t. When I don’t, get whatever it is I thought would make me prosper I will sulk and not pray for days, but just like the prodigal son (well daughter in this case), I will find my way back to Him. Why? Because another need has presented itself- you know we humans are constantly in want of one thing or the other. In times like this I tend to forget all the good things He has already done, the fact that I’m alive, healthy, have a job, a roof over my head, a family, can walk, see, hear, taste, smell and other numerous blessings often taken for granted.

Sometimes we forget to praise Him ANYWAY, in the midst of whatever we are going through or whatever it is we want and haven’t yet received. The story of Job is a very popular one; it tells us how a man though stricken with all kinds of adversity, unwarranted for that matter stuck strong to his faith, refusing to curse God regardless of what He is going through. I’m quite sure that any of us going through adversity will not actually ‘curse’ God but I’m certain that we will, just like I used to do…push Him to the curb or just sulk till we get over whatever it is we are trying to get over, then we are back again wanting more, – a never ending cycle of fickleness-#realtalk.com#.  Job’s response to his wife’s demand that he curse God and die in Job 2: 10 was that if we rejoice with God in the good then why we can’t do it in the bad. Being a wonderful Father, He knows what is best for us, Jeremiah 29vs11 says He knows the plans He has for us, not the plans we have for ourselves, but the promise is we shall prosper and have hope for the future. I’m also reminded of Hannah who stayed steadfast and kept the faith year after year of not getting what she wanted- a child.

 The ‘big’ question is how do we conduct ourselves in the meantime? Before we come to our ‘promised land’ how do we act? Do we act flaky like the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land, letting every wind of adversity sway us to the left or right, or do we stand firm like Job and Hannah? Knowing that HE is the I AM that I AM, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega, the ever knowing God who commanded the universe be formed with just spoken word. Job had everything but God took it away and despite pressure from friends and family he stood firm and steadfast believing in the Lord his God. Hannah didn’t have that child yet but she trusted in God with the knowledge that someday her prayer would be answered,

Ok yes , we haven’t gotten that job, that husband, that contract, that promotion, that house, that child, or whatever it is that you are waiting for or going through…..God sees and HE knows, just as He told Jeremiah in 1:5,“before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…….” your plan and His plan just might not be the same or it isn’t time for the plan to come to pass. The challenge is for us to be steadfast and hold on seeking, praising and thanking Him wholeheartedly while we are in our meantime.

Blessings..

Unoma