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Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry

~~Suzie's note: this post is longer than usual because we have not just one, but four special guests~~

Writing can be a lonely business, but when four Christian writers came together to write a book of devotions, they became much more than on-line friends.

Though they hadn’t each met, these ladies were well acquainted before they set out to write this book. Andrea Boeshaar was once a literary agent who represented Sandra D. Bricker and Loree Lough. Andrea and Debby Mayne co-authored a Christmas novella. Sandy and Debby were writer buddies. But friendship doesn’t necessarily lead to writing a book together. At least not for most writers.

Ladies, welcome. I'm so glad you're here today. Tell us how the idea for this book came about?

ANDREA: I was at the nail salon getting a manicure, and had to wait a pesky 6 minutes for my fingernails to dry. I felt so impatient. SIX WHOLE MINUTES I had to wait! Then I recalled the Bible passage in which God tells us, "Be still and know that I am God." And I thought, I need to be still...and let my nail polish dry. So I guess you might say it was a God-thing!

SANDIE: When Andrea called and told me the idea she’d had, I didn’t realize she was thinking about inviting me to join her. I just bubbled up and said, “You’ve got to write that! What a killer idea!”

DEBBY: One morning I woke up, put on a pot of coffee, checked my e-mail, saw Andrea's message about her fabulous devotional idea. By the time the coffee finished brewing, I'd agreed to join Andrea and Sandie in the proposal. Her enthusiasm for the project was infectious. I didn't expect anything to come of it because it sounded like too much fun. The fun factor was what kicked me into gear to work on the proposal. I wanted to do this, even if it didn't sell.

LOREE: I’ve contributed to a couple dozen devotionals, and found myself uplifted by the spiritual themes. This one, however, is wonderfully unique because it’s written especially for busy Christian women who are struggling to juggle faith, family and work in a world that sorely needs more God in it, not less!

So, Andrea, what made you decide to make this a multi-author project?

ANDREA: I contacted Sandie with the idea because I love her comedic, sassy writing voice, and I knew if Sandie liked the idea it was probably a good one. She did, and we asked Debby to join us, and then Sandie recruited Loree. We've all worked together in one capacity or another, and we thought teaming up for this project would make it just perfect!

I know co-authoring a book can sometimes be difficult. What was it like for four people writing together?

ANDREA: Actually, I was a bit miffed at first because the other 3 women stormed ahead and handed in their devotions while I was still in the middle of writing mine. I had hoped we would work more closely together on each one. But after I had handed in my 23 devotions, the copy editor said she couldn't believe how well they fit together! Another God-thing.

SANDIE: It was a little intimidating for me at first, but I’m a pretty organized person. HEY! No comments from the peanut gallery! So I made up an Excel spreadsheet and listed the verses I was planning to use. Then I passed it around to the other ladies, and we worked together to make sure everyone had their choices without overlaps. That was really the hardest part, as it turned out.

DEBBY: After we chose our verses, we did our thing – each of us with a different process. My daughter and her husband needed me to come help them since they were about to have their first child. Due to complications after the birth, all three of them went back to the hospital, while I had the pleasure of staying in their house with their lonely dog and cat. With Cody the yellow lab at my feet and Haley the cat in the windowsill watching the first snow of the year, I sat at the kitchen table and wrote about half of my devotions over the next week and a half.

LOREE: With every keystroke, I felt intense pressure to create something extra-special, something not only uplifting, but enjoyable. Partly, because we promised our readers short, prayerful essays that would improve their walk with the Lord. And partly, because we’re donating part of the proceeds to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). We hope sales will help them stop that silent killer before it takes the life of even one more mother, sister, daughter, or friend!

I understand that since writing this book, the four of you were finally able to meet face-to-face. I can only imagine what a joy that must have been.

SANDIE: After all these years, we met for the first time at the ACFW conference in Denver this September. I was such a dork, and I cried like a girl.

ANDREA: It was like being reunited with your best high school friends ever! We laughed. We talked. We shared our hearts on different subjects.

LOREE: Hearing their voices on the phone has been wonderful. Reading their articles and novels, well that’s been terrific, too. E-mailing back and forth? I’ve loved it! But nothing can compare to being in the same place at the same time, where we could look into one another’s eyes.

DEBBY: There wasn't a moment of silence as we instantly fell into a comfortable camaraderie, like high school kids who hung out every day. Based on the looks we got from others, I'm sure we were quite a spectacle, but that's okay. We had a blast.

There’s a wide variety of devotionals in the book, and I’ve picked favorites from each one of you. They range from the simple pleasure of eating chocolate, to the ability to trust God in the face of cancer. Do you have a favorite devotional from the book?

ANDREA: I do. My devotional called Awesome God was really special to write. It's written in first person, present tense, and it tells the story of how God rode alongside me in my van during a horrible snowstorm. I was on my way home from work and I really panicked when I realized that I might not make it home safely.

DEBBY: By nature, I'm a worrier, so of all my devotions, I like Chicken Little because it reminds me to trust God to be in control of my life. I'm working hard at not thinking the sky is falling and accepting that what seems to be a disaster just might be an acorn plunking me on the head to get my attention.

SANDIE: I think my favorite is The Character of True Love. It was the first time I’d ever written about my cancer experience. I wrote about how my very best friend at that time just couldn’t handle the idea of going through cancer with me, and she walked right out of my life. It was so devastating, but at the same time the Lord brought Loree Lough deeper into my life to counsel me, encourage me, let me cry and vent. We really grew closer during that period, didn’t we, Loree?


LOREE: We certainly did! I came terrifyingly close to losing one of my dearest and most beloved friends when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The Almighty performed a glorious miracle and saved Sandie, and we should probably say that it’s in her honor that I and my co-authors are happy to contribute a generous portion of our personal proceeds to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Friendship is a great thing, isn’t it? I know the four of you were close before, especially after you went through cancer, Sandie. Did working on this book together draw you closer to one another?

SANDIE: The friendships I have in my life are everything to me. I don't really have much family left, and none in the immediate vicinity, so the Lord has done what His word says He will do: He has "set the solitary into families." He's created a family for me, so I think I'm far more grateful because of that. These three women are each so special and unique, and each of them plays such an important part in my life. But yes, doing this book together solidified our relationships in a really profound way. There was always a sort of spiritual "touch" on the book, and I think bringing us together the way it did was a big part of that.

What did you learn about yourself, God, or each other while writing this book?

ANDREA: I learned that Sandie, Loree, and Debby are true friends of mine. We work exceptionally well together and because we genuinely love the Lord and want to please Him, we can all be very pleased with our Be Still... devotional because He's in it!

SANDIE: For me, it was a double blessing. … Hey, isn’t that the name of one of Debby’s books? … Anyway, it was a great writing experience, but it also allowed me to thrive in this community of women. I mean my co-authors, of course, but also the many women who have come to the Be Still... blog and told about their own cancer stories, or encouraged and thanked me for telling my own.

DEBBY: I learned a lot. First, I learned that I can write devotions. Second, I got to know my co-authors really well and discovered some things about them that will make us friends for life. I dug deep to come up with ideas other women can relate to, and when I looked in the Bible for relatable verses, I realized He has given us answers to everything we ever need to know.

LOREE: I learned that our Father loves us deeply and completely, and that He wants to be intimately involved in our lives, from the daily minutia like errand-running to life-altering things like cancer…and that He roundly approves of fellowship—the official in church kind and the type that made this warm and spirit-filled devotional possible.

From the cover art to the pages inside, this book is beautifully written. Summerside Press did a fantastic job of designing this book. Did you have any idea it would be so well done?

SANDIE: We had a very special editor on this project named Connie Troyer. Connie played a huge part in the design of the book, and she shared it with us as it went along. We were all so excited when we saw the layout, but you know what, Suzie? There's just NOTHING like holding it in your hands and seeing it in person. If you could have seen the phone lines buzzing between the four of us the day we received our authors' copies! We were like little kids on Christmas morning.

I love the way each devotional starts with a scripture and ends with a heart-felt prayer. As I was reading this book, one notion struck me repeatedly. Each of these women let down their guard and revealed a level of vulnerability I don’t often see in devotionals. There’s so much truth in this book. And, as an added bonus, they’re no longer just names on the cover of a book. I feel like I know each one of them. Not only is this book a must-read, it would make a perfect Christmas gift.

I’ll be giving away a copy of Be Still, so if you’d like to be entered in the drawing, leave a comment or question for our guests, along with your e-mail address by 6 pm PST tomorrow (Sunday) night.

For a review and giveaway of Sandie’s newest fiction release, Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida, visit my personal blog at
http://suzieswritingplace.blogspot.com.

Be sure and visit the Be Still group blog at
http://bestilldevos.blogspot.com, and the authors’ websites: www.AndreaBoeshaar.com; www.SandraDBricker.com; www.LoreeLough.com; www.DebbyMayne.com.
Pictured from top to bottom: Andrea Boeshaar; Loree Lough; Debby Mayne; and Sandra D. Bricker.

Comments

  1. Hi Ladies,

    Thanks so much for visiting. This books looks like so much fun. I can't wait to check it out. Sounds like it would make a great Christmas gift too.

    Oh, and since we're talking devos, a bit of shameless self promotion. I'm really excited about my devo tomorrow. It's one of my favorite topics that I've taught on in small groups again and again.

    Come back everyone and visit. Sunday's usually a down day here, but stopping by for our weekly devo is my favorite new part of my Sabbath.

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  2. Hey Suzie, I really like the sound of this book. And from such wise women, too.

    Thank you for posting about it.

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  3. Good morning Dina and Anita. I'm embarrassed to say I slept late today. I've only been up an hour. Of course, it's only 10 am where I am, but it still feels sinful to have slept so late!

    The book is lovely. Each devotional is truly heart-felt and special. And it's pretty to look at, too. It's truly a treasure.

    I believe the ladies had a book signing this morning, so hopefully they'll be showing up this afternoon.

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  4. Oh, Dina, I meant to add, I can't wait to read your devo for tomorrow. Devo Sunday has become an important part of my week, too.

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  5. So glad to have you ladies around the Inkwell. I am so impressed with those who can make themselves vulnerable. It's so counterintuitive, and yet so necessary if we are to grow into the people God desires. Here's to transparency!

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  6. Suzie, what a beautiful post. I am reading one of Karen Kingsbury's new devotionals called Miracles; a 52-week devotional. It's beatiful but not personal as the one these ladies have done. I look forward to reading Be Still very soon. It's one of my favorite passages. Be still, and know I am. Thanks Sandie, Loree, Debby and Andrea for sharing with us.

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  7. This sounds like a wonderful devotional -- like Dina said, for me and for a gift!

    I also appreciate the story behind the devotional. It's always encouraging to me as a writer to see how God unfolds these things.

    Lovely, Suzie! Great questions for the authors!

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  8. PHew, finally got here.
    We had a power outage here this A.M., which took me up to the time I left to go out of town. Sorry to be so late to the party.

    I recall reading the story of "the meeting" in person at ACFW, somewhere. I can understand why it got teary! I think I lost a pint or two myself there.

    You've chosen such a worthy cause for your donation. Ovarian cancer is a sneaky killer.
    Thanks for sharing with us today, ladies.

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  9. Oh Suzie, what an incredible post. And I just loved hearing how you Andrea, Debby, Loree, and Sandie worked together to write these devotionals. The words BE STILL, mean so much to me.

    And Dina, I'm looking forward to reading your post tomorrow. Reading our Sunday posts has also become an important part of my day as I prepare for the week ahead.

    I'll have to check out http://bestilldevos.blogspot.com, and put this book on my wish list for Christmas.

    Many blessings all and an awesome Thanksgiving.

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  10. Lisa, I so totally agree with what you said. By being vulnerable, we can really grow into the kind of people God wants us to be if we turn to Him in our vulnerability.

    Connie, I really like the Karen Kingsbury books I've read. I've not seen her devotional. But I do like the personal touch these ladies have put on theirs.


    Thanks Susanne! I always like the story behind the story, too. There's almost always something there that can inspire us.

    Deb, I teared up over that story, too, the first time Sandie told me about it. I'm glad you got your power back! The wind is picking up here again, for our seventh windstorm of the week...our lights have blinked a few times, but so far we've been lucky.

    Hi Jillie. I really do think this book would make a nice gift for a friend, sister, or mom. I plan to buy a few more copies. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, too.

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  11. Thank you so much for the lovely comments from everyone! I'm so sorry I'm so late in stopping by, but Debby and I had a really great signing of Be Still at our local Lifeway bookstore today. We met so many women with stories to tell, and it really made me think about how much strength we can get from each other. No problem is unique; only the way we respond to it. Thank you so much for sharing our stories, ladies!
    Sandie

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  12. Suzie, this books sounds amazing and I enjoyed reading your interview :-) Andrea, Sandie, Debby and Loree, thanks for sharing from the heart your experiences in putting together your wonderful devotional.

    [narelle] at [narelleatkins] dot [com]

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  13. Hi Sandie. I'm glad your booksigning went so well. I think you will have a great response to this book and make lots of sales. Don't be surprised when you start receiving fan mail saying this book touched someone deeply.

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  14. Narelle, thanks for stopping by. I'm waving at you from acoss the sea. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. It really was fun.

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  15. I've actually been to the Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry website a few times. I thought the part of how Andrea Boeshaar came up with the idea was funny.

    gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

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  16. Great post ladies,
    What is more fascinating to me is that you were able to work together with great harmony. You sounded like you really like each other.
    Can I request that your next book be about working together to produce good writings and then we can send free copies to all spiritual leaders and politicians :)
    very encouraging...
    Keep up the good work.

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  17. Sorry I'm arriving so late. After the signing, I came home for a few minutes then went to church. I just got back home. As someone who crams too many things into my already busy days, I need to pay closer attention to the title of our book. Being still for anything doesn't come natural to me.

    Thank you, everyone, for so many kind words and encouragement. We pray that this book will be a blessing to other women who need to be reminded to take a breather each day and spend time with the Lord.

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  18. Dani! What a great idea. We could call it Be Still ... and Kumbaya. LOL

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  19. Dani, what a great idea! I love it!

    Adge, thanks for stopping by. Their Be Still blog is great, isn't it?

    Hi Debby. Being still doesn't come naturally to me, either. I'm glad you had such a wonderful booksigning tody.

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  20. Hi Susie,

    What an incredible post...I enjoyed every word of it.

    And Andrea, Loree, Debby, and Sandy are truly blessed ladies...I love the inspiration behind this fabulous devotional. "BE STILL" has always been a theme in my life.
    I look forward to reading this book.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Blessings,

    Karen K

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  21. Karen, thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you have a great weekend as well.

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  22. this sound slike a great devotional by a great group of ladies, so sign me up! thanks! crmcc at setel do com

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  23. This sounds like a great devotional book -- and it was great to hear the story behind it too! I married later in life (in my 40s)and am really finding it challenging balancing my relatively new marriage, my job, my ministries and yet still taking time for God! That scripture verse about single people being able to devote themselves more to God really is true! I will be looking for this book at our local bookstore!
    Elaine King
    elaineking1 (at) hotmail dot com

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  24. What a fun interview!! I can tell how close you all are. What a wonderful releationship!

    I just love your cover. :)

    Missy

    missytippens [at] aol.com

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  25. Missy, Rose, Elaine, thanks for stopping by. Elaine, you sound so busy. I wish you lots of blessings in your marriage.

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  26. You are all so wonderful to stop by and post comments... and so generous with your praises of this project!

    My sincere apologies for stopping by so late to put in my two cents. I'd spent a long, happy "girls' only" day with my 6 year old granddaughter, then came home to welcome 10 dear friends for a quiet dinner party. By the time the dishes were done, my brain was more tuckered than my body!

    But isn't that just more proof why this devotional is a Godsend: It only takes a few minutes to let friends and family know how much they mean to us, just as it takes but a few moments to distract us from what needs 'doing'.

    I pray the Be Still devo will bless each of you with little reminders that it also just takes a few minutes to touch base with our Father and let Him know how grateful we are for His always-there presence in our lives...

    ...and how blessed we are that He forgives us when we allow our busy lives to distract us from HIM.

    Praying you'll all have a beautiful Sunday!
    Loree

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  27. Wow, what a beautiful interview! I'm privileged to have met most of them and they're all so nice and sweet. I'm not a devotional reader but I'm going to try this one out because I know these ladies are Godly and they're also great writers. :-)
    Thanks for sharing, ladies!!

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  28. Loree, I'm so glad you were able to spend the day with your grandaughter. However, 10 dinner guests after a long day? I would have fallen asleep in my soup!

    Jessica, thanks for stopping by. I don't read many devotionals, either, but this one is great. If you want to be in the drawing, please drop back by and leave your e-addy so I can contact you if you were to be the winner.

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  29. The winner of the drawing for Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry is Narelle. Congratulations Narelle. I know you'll love this book.

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  30. Wow, thanks Suzie! I'm look forwarding to reading this book :-)

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