"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Thursday, July 06, 2006

 

Passionately Making a Difference!

Day Four of Seven
July 6, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Connie Pombo


Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some things before our trip to Canada next week. The parking lot was full, so I checked around the corner next to the Bible bookstore (I wanted to pick up a copy of Allison’s new book, A Stitch in Time, and read it while we're on vacation). Both parking lots were full, so I circled around again and ended up in another “country" (okay, okay--another parking lot!). It was pouring down rain, but I still managed to smile at the “greeter” in Wal-Mart. He’s blind, but he recognizes people by their voice, so I always make a point to shake his hand and ask how he’s doing. I hurried through the store, picked up a "few" things, and headed for the self-checkout (not always the fastest route!). It stopped raining, so I ran into the Bible bookstore, picked up Allison’s book, and out the door I went (that’s no small book!). When I got back in the car, I checked the rearview mirror and screamed! It was my reflection, but who was "that"? I had mistakenly put on “waterproof” dark brown “eyeliner pencil” on my lips, and never filled it in (I guess that would have been worse—right?). I thought of Marita and Florence Littauer who taught us in CLASS to always put on a darker shade of lipstick—it shows up better in pictures (I don’t think that's what they had in mind!). Thankfully, no pictures were taken and I have a healthy sense of humor!

But taking a hard look at ourselves is so difficult, isn’t it? We miss all the "small stuff" that others see so clearly. The “joy mentors” that John Ortberg speaks about in his book, The Life You Always Wanted, make the “truth” feel like a warm blanket instead of a cold wet towel. Two of my “mama” mentors are now with the Lord, Juanita Hiestand and Edith Keener, but they were my prayer warriors through my many years as a young pastor’s wife (oh, how I needed their prayers!).

And now, a whole “new world” of mentors in the area of speaking and writing that I would have never met had I not discovered my “passion.” Some I have not been introduced to personally—only through websites and blogs—and others I’ve had the privilege of meeting at conferences and book events. And still others I feel as though I have known all my life. At the top of the list is the incredibly faithful servant of God, Joni Eareckson Tada. As writers we are all too busy—most days—and Joni more so than most! But as a 17-year-old reading her first book, Joni, I got a rare glimpse into the world of “suffering” and “passion.” Through her tragedy, pain, and loss, she discovered her passion of speaking, writing, and art. Her words made an indelible mark on my heart and life. The original paperback, Joni, has joined my items of timeless treasures.

When I was writing Trading Ashes for Roses last year, I e-mailed Joni a permission release to use a quote from a Billy Graham crusade that she had spoken at several years ago. Not expecting to hear for weeks—and most likely from an assistant—I filed it away. On June 22, 2005 at 3:50 PM, a personal e-mail appeared from Joni.

“Dear Connie, thanks so much for contacting me regarding using my name and my quote in your new book. I am always amazed—always so thrilled—to learn how God has used this wheelchair to inspire or encourage others. I’m humbled that those few words I spoke on a Billy Graham crusade touched you so deeply. Because of the brevity of the quote, no formal written permission from me is required. Many blessings as you publish this book and as others are inspired to a closer walk with Jesus Christ through reading your words.” ~Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni has been my “mentor” in suffering. How could I know at the age of seventeen that her words would penetrate so deeply? And then when my greatest trial came, her words came pouring back like a spring rain to refresh my parched soul. We never know how God will use our “suffering” to touch the lives of others.

As writers and speakers our words have impact, and sometimes we will never know who our audience is. But the truth is—words matter! They have the power to change lives. I know the “greeter” at Wal-Mart will never see my face, but he knows my voice!

Let me close with some marvelous speakers and writers who are making a difference in my life and others: Allison Bottke, the U-Turn Poster Girl, and "sister" to us all, who is so incredibly gracious and generous with her time and resources; the ever quirky, hillarious, and incomparable Julie Ann Barnhill; the eccentrically wonderful,Charlene Baumbich; Liz Curtis Higgs (who loves all things “Irish” as I love all things “Italian”); the elegant Marie Barlow (thank you for the privilege of working with you last year at Mt. Gretna--your voice is a national treasure); Debra White Smith; Gracie Malone, and the list goes on . . . Oh, "Ms. Personality”—Kathryn Robbins! Did I mention she is hysterically funny, but so refreshingly real! And my CelebrateMoms Team, especially Kathy Pride, who can make writing and talking about the most difficult subjects seem so easy!

But the ability to share with others what I’m learning is the best part of the journey: Katherine Bowers you have taught me so much more than I could ever impart to you! I can't wait to read your next book: Don't Drink the Water Under the Outhouse! By far, the most incredibly talented writer I know—you are the genuine article! Funny, funny, funny--did I mention she was funny?

And to my U-Turn Sisters: Susan Kelly Skitt, Carolyn Ruch, and Tammy Gehman—I’ll meet you "girls" at the “tollbooth” (see post for July 3, 2006).

Living Life Passionately,


Connie Pombo
My Blog: Living Passionately!

Challenge for the Day: Take some time today to write an e-mail, note, letter, or postcard to someone who has made a difference in your life. I know they will appreciate it! And, Joni, if you’re reading today, my heartfelt appreciation for showing me the way!

Postscript 1: Oh, I almost forgot, my editor friend, Gregg Dubbs. You always clean up my mistakes and make me look so good on paper (oh, how I needed you this week!).

Postscript 2: This almost sounds like the “Academy Awards of Writing”; I know I forgot someone . . . oh yes, my husband, who hears me “clack, clack, clack” all night long on the keyboard. How are those new earplugs working for you, honey?

Tomorrow: Don't let your passions pass you "Bye": Avoiding Burnout!
Allison
Comments:
Connie,

You are so amazing! To be able to share moments like these and laugh at yourself gives me hope that I'll learn do that, too. I'm getting there, but God still has a lot of work to do! :)

Waiting patiently for your next post....

Jill Hart
Christian Work at Home Moms
CWAHM.com
 
Connie, thank you for your passionate heart and for the invitation.This is great, you have stayed in touch w/me and been an inspiration for me to write.I've had a block.Thank you for your encouragement since the classy dinner group met.You have made a difference in my life

Selma Johnson Kaleidoscope Paths
 
Thanks for the encouragement to thanks those who inspire us, Connie! I'll be sending out some e-mails this afternoon to those who lift me up. My heart's desire is to be an inspiration to today's youth who are around me, but I often forget about those who put the wind in my sails. I'll try not to take them for granted in the future.
 
Connie, Keep living and writing passionately for Him...and I wish there had a pic of your brown eyeliner lined lips!!! : )
Love in Christ,
Pam
 
Connie,
Keep writing and living passinately for Him! AND I wish there had been a picture of your eye-liner lined lips!!! : )
Love in Christ,
Pam
 
Hi Connie,
Thanks for your encouraging posts this week! God is using your words to bless so many people. I just finished reading Allison's novel and loved it. You'll laugh and cry! I'm looking forward to reading more of your stories.
 
I'm getting ready to log off my computer for the entire week and I feel oh so confident that our blog is in very good hands while I am in Denver. Connie, what a blessing your words are! God has truly gifted you - and in so doing He has gifted us! Have a blessed week and I'd love to hear from readers if you'd like us to feature more of Connie's writing here on the U-Turns blog!
 
Yes, people do make a difference in our lives!!! I was just reading in Acts 14:22 about Paul's ministry, (He was quite the travel journalist)! He "strengthed the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." Connie, thank you for being an encouragement to others. Thank you for being an encouragement to me, brown lined lips and all!
Hugs,
Susan
 
Jill,

No, you amaze me! I love CWAHM, and I can't believe all you are doing with "little" ones at your feet! A sense of humor is God's greatest gift to me and I try to share it with others as much as I can. I've certainly had a lot of practice!

Blessings to you!

Connie
 
Angie,

How I miss you! Your gentle grace and warm touch are so needed in today's world, not only with youth, but with everyone! When my editor is out of town--like this week--I'm giving you a call! You are so kind to always thank everyone along the way; I can imagine that you missed anyone!

Blessings and Joy,

Connie
 
Pam,

What a great picture of you! Should I really send you a picture of the dark "eyeliner"? Do you know, I laugh everytime I think about it? I wonder what the folks at the Bible bookstore thought? Didn't we all have fun at CBA in Nashville? Let's do it again--okay? So good to hear from you!

Blessings,

Connie
 
Dear Heather:

Thanks so much for your encouraging words! My week is almost over and I have so many more stories to tell--some of tears and some of laughter. When you mentioned Allison's book, "A Stitch in Time," making me "laugh and cry," I've been tempted to get it out of the suitcase and start reading it! But I will be patient just a little while longer!

God bless you richly. Thanks for posting a comment!

Joyfully,

Connie
 
Allison,

I hope you're having a fabulous time at CBA in Denver! My heart is so torn, but now that I have your book as something to look forward to during our long "roadtrip," I'm not feeling sorry for myself any longer. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Have a safe trip back!

Blessings,


Connie
 
Susan,

I think you and I could be stand-up comics without too much difficulty! You've been a blessing to me these past few months; we need to get together soon! Let's don't let our passions pass us "bye"!

See you at the "tollbooth"!

Blessings,

Connie
 
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