Monday, November 15, 2010

So Long for Now!

Dear Blog Followers,

This post is in the form of a letter because that's how I've communicated my plans with my other friends and colleagues.

The Lord and I have had a few come-to-Jesus moments in the last month, and He finally won. My husband Mike is in 100% agreement.

After much thought, prayer, pushing, and prodding, I have cancelled all freelance work, workshops, conferences, and blog postings for this next year. In short, I'm retiring . . . for now.

Some of you may know that I battle fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and probably chronic fatigue syndrome, but what you don't know is that those conditions aren't under as much control as I wanted people to believe. Over the years I've learned to compensate and push through the pain and disguise it from employers and friends.

But I never know when I'll have a bad day or week, and when I do my life comes to a grinding halt. Not a good thing when I must work on deadline. Work stress has played a large part in exacerbating my problems.

Rest and restoration will be my bywords for the next year.

I'll finish out the 2013 contracts for Abingdon, and then after selling our house we'll head to Florida to live near our granddaughter. I wish I were there now walking on the beach.

I don't know what God has for me on the other side of this season, but the Lord has made it abundantly clear this is the right choice. A dear friend and author, Cynthia Ruchti, shared a Scripture with me that will carry me through.

"But we encourage you . . . to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands . . . so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone."
--I Thessalonians 4:10b-11, Holman Bible.

I've never given myself permission to lead a quiet life; hard work is all I've known since I was 19. I'm now 62.

The NIV version of that verse reads to make it your "ambition" to lead a quiet life. I’m seeking a quiet and peaceable life. It’s a foreign concept in today’s world where position and money are the yardsticks of success. Yet Jesus encouraged His followers to store up treasure in heaven.

Interesting . . . my decision to retire comes during our 30-Day Prayer Challenge for the Christian publishing industry, which ends tomorrow. As I’ve prayed, I’ve changed, and I've observed a few major changes in the book business:

  • Christian books sales have dipped for the fourth straight month.
  • Summerside Press has been sold to Guideposts.
  • The sales of digital books are increasing.
In Christian Retailing, David Almack, U.S. Director of CLC International, which publishes books and runs CLC Bookcenters in the Philadelphia area and New Jersey, has called on book sellers to return to their first love.
"In our current economic environment, I have come to the conclusion that we must all become avid readers or we will die," he said.
He challenged book sellers to turn off their televisions, put down their cell phones, and take a fast from Facebook. I would add, if you don't read, how can you sell books?

Doom and gloom? Not at all. I think the CBA industry faces challenging times, but bold new leaders will emerge. They will take the baton and run the next lap of this race. Will one of them be you?

So long for now, dear friends. May the Lord bless and keep you and make His face to shine upon you. In Jesus name, amen.

Blessings,
Barbara

* * *

This is day #29 in our 30-day Prayer Challenge for the Christian book industry. What changes have you noticed? Please share your prayers and thoughts with us in the comment section below.

34 comments:

  1. May God bless you in the quiet and as you walk on!

    ~ Wendy

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  2. Barbara, I read this post with mixed emotions. I'll miss you (although I hope we can stay in touch), but I rejoice that you're going to be out from under so much of the stress that's plagued you since we've known each other. I pray for healing, rest, and peace. Blessings, friend.

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  3. Blessings to you Barbara! I hope you find rest and quiet and that your soul will be refreshed and renewed.

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  4. I will miss your blog, but I understand. You are in my prayers. I've loved your heart for God. It shines through your words. Traveling, working, producing while in the midst of pain and fatigue is difficult. Take good care of yourself.

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  5. I wish you joy and contentment in your new life. We'll miss you. Come back to visit if the mood strikes.

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  6. Hi Barbara!

    It was a pleasure meeting you at the Philly Conference in August. Although I am sad that we may not meet again this side of Heaven, I am thrilled that you are being obedient to the Lord. I wish you much happiness and blessings!

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  7. Will miss this blog. Having Rheumatoid Arthritis, I completely understand your need to rest and recoup. Best blessing on your health. Come back to us.
    Jan

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  8. Oh Barbara, you will be missed. However I am so grateful you are taking the time you need to rest and recover. I'm praying God grants you much joy as you begin this new journey of walking in still soul-fed places. You will remain in my prayers.

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  9. Being the fly on the wall, I have enjoyed your postings in silence, Barbara. However, I wanted to speak-up to say "thank you." May you enjoy Christ's uplifting blessings as you rest in His presence on this new path.
    Carolyn

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  10. As a fellow freelance editor I've looked up to you for the past year and have devoured your posts when they've popped up in my reader. Thanks for sharing all of your wisdom and allowing us to be part of your life.

    I wish you nothing but the best in this new phase of your life. May you have lots of rest and recuperation and may you be renewed.

    <3

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us on your blog over the last few months, Barbara. I wish you a new season of rest and renewed mental, physical, and spiritual strength.

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  12. Praying today that whoever takes your place will have the same sensitivity to our Lord that you have shown. May the Lord bless you with new horizons, new friends and new disciples. Thank you for your service and for blazing a path for others. Lord Bless you.

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  13. Thank you so much for your prayers! It has blessed me to write and post on this blog and to read your comments. And who knows? In a year or so, I may be back. I don't know what I'll be writing about, but the Lord knows. That's enough for me. In the meantime, I plan to read a lot and enjoy a quiet life lived in obscurity. :)

    My dad would never say good-bye to me when I left after a visit. He would always wave and say, "So long. See ya later."

    See ya later!

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  14. Barbara

    You must be feeling a mixture of emotions! Hope that FL beach will be your home ever so soon. And maybe now you'll have the time and good health to come back to the UK and see all the things you missed last time? (Guest room at the ready!)

    Every blessing to you and yours.

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  15. I'm an avid reader of your blog although I've never commented before today.
    Thank you simply for being you! Your words are a light shining in the darkness. You've uplifted and encouraged me on my journey, and I pray that God will uplift and encourage you in this new phase in your life. May our Lord cause His face to shine on you and give you peace. God Bless you. Enjoy your granddaughter! :)

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  16. I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I pray that you will feel God's healing hands as you take the time you need to relax and enjoy yourself. God Bless:)

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  17. Thank you for your honesty and frankness in your postings. I looked forward to reading your thoughts--no matter what the issue. I pray that you have a wonderful time of healing and rejuvenation on your life vacation. The beaches here in Florida are amazing. Don't forget your sunblock! :)

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  18. Thanks, Barbara, for sharing your wisdom and experience here over the last months. Joining my prayers to others that the next chapter will be a sweet new beginning for you and your family.

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  19. Thank you for being my editor, my mentor, and friend, Barbara. I cannot explain how much you have influenced my writing career. Always encouraging. Always honest. Always available.
    I pray that in this new season of your life, you will find peace, rest, and joy. Perhaps the next time we meet will be in the air! 'Maranatha.'

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  20. I love that verse! Many blessings to you in this new part of your life. :)
    I have a writer friend here in Florida who also battles fibromyalgia and other things. She and her husband like to travel in their rv.
    Maybe you two can hook up sometime. :-)
    God bless, Barbara!

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  21. Thank you Barbara, for the way YOU burst onto the Christian fiction scene and changed so much. Since the launch in 09, Abingdon has been making waves across the country. YOU are one of the major reasons every Christian fiction writer has had Abingdon on his/her lips. You really do deserve credit for a bunch of the success. And if book sales are down, let's all work harder, pray smarter and help support God's work in print (or in digital. Go with God, Barbara. Along with my poor post-polio body, I wish you pain-free energy on the beach as you walk in light and love and rest. Love you! Linda Clare

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  22. Barbara,

    I hope you keep this little window between your soul and the writers who adore you open.

    An occasional Blog post may end up being relaxing, comforting and keep you connected to the people you've loved to shephard. I'm sure during your strolls on the beach God will provide you with great wisdom and inspiration.

    If so...we'll look forward to you sharing those seashells with us. But as everyone else has said, most of all we'll be praying for God's healing touch and encouragement in your life.

    Thank you for all you do.

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  23. Barbara,

    I must mimic Rita and say thank you for being my editor, mentor, and friend. You have taught me immeasurable things about who I am as a writer, and I hope I make you proud with what I've learned.

    I will miss you as an editor, but you will always be a dear friend. I will continue to pray for your healing and continued peace.

    I luv ya girlfriend! Thank you for being you.

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  24. Barbara,
    You will be missed! I will keep you in my prayers. I do hope that from time to time, like Michael said, you might drop back in to give us an update! Thank you for the footprints in the sand you have left for us!

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  25. Barbara,

    So many of us have mixed emotions about your "leaving" but know that since we love you we are happy for you to have a chance to slow down and enjoy life. I say "leaving" because you may not be as visible to me any more with this decision but you won't be far from my thoughts. I think of you every day as I write and thank God again and again for your appearance in my life.

    I will always remember how at ACFW when I told you that I'd been accidentally signed up to see you but felt I should give up the time so a new writer so she'd get the chance to talk to you, you looked deep into my eyes and asked me if I was sure. You were trying so hard to make sure that if I needed something you were there to give it to me -- whether it was encouragement, reassurance, whatever. Well, that is a wonderful, God-given quality but it also meant a lot more stress for you. I hope that you give yourself the gift of time for yourself and you enjoy every minute of it.

    Love you!!!

    PS: I like Michael's suggestion that you still blog occasionally if you feel you can!

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  26. Enjoyed our talk a few months ago, Barbara, and the encouragement you offered. May you walk in peace in this new direction in which God is leading you. It would be great to hear from you with an update occasionally. Thanks for your genuine interest in writers and their stories.
    Numbers 6:24-26

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  27. Thanks everyone! I'm deeply touched by your comments. I'll keep an "open mic" here just in case the Lord gives me a nudge. :)

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  28. I hope you feel better soon.

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You :-)

    ~Ron

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  29. Barbara, I can only imagine the challenges that you faced in making this decision. I do know that God is faithful and that he will meet you and strengthen you in this season. I am also sure that the folks at Abingdon are already feeling the void you will leave. Take care of yourself.

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  30. Barbara I truly felt blessed by our brief meeting at the small workshop in PA - where I won the entry to attend on scholarship. It was a God-ordained meeting, for sure! I took copious notes and drank in your shared wisdom. I appreciate your commitment to furthering the careers of Godly writers - and now I am confident that God will bless you as you nurture yourself and your husband and family. I am also confident that I will one day have a published book in hand, and would love the opportunity to send it to you when it comes out! Beth G.

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  31. Be well and be in comfort, the Lord will always be there for you.

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  32. As someone who is Pagan and not really all that knowledgable about the Christian fiction genre, can you answer me two questions? You can do so in email if you wish-- assuming that you haven't already deleted this because I am not a Christian.

    I heard that there are Christian fiction authors who have written fiction with their version of vampires. What is your opinion on that?

    As a Pagan OC I am concerned at the portrayal of non-Christian beliefs in Christian fiction ( and non-fiction) books. Do you think Christian authors' depictions of non-Christian religions is a good or bad thing>

    My email addie is fvrnite@yahoo.com

    BTW I welcome anyone else discussing these two questions with me.

    Thank you.

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  33. Thanks for everything you have done for me Barbara. May God bless you and your family. May you make many wonderful, blessed and memorable moments in the new year. Merry Christmas. Michael J Sullivan

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  34. Barbara, I wish you well. DH and I took a backseat from UK stress in 2005. We also took a major cut in all finances and worldly goods. We will never go back.

    May 2011 give you all you seek. :) Happy New Year.

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