Oh friends, all the things: Advent is here (breathe, breathe, breathe). Today’s post also begins the last month of Author Tuesday posts, at least for now – although you KNOW more book talk (including free book giveaways and love for all the authors of this world) are still in your future. But for now, author Jody Collins wants YOU to experience the gift of living the holiday season well. I got to meet Jody for lunch a couple of weeks ago, and can’t wait for her to encourage you as well. So, read this interview with her, and then leave a comment at the end to win a copy of Living the Season Well!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I’m a retired Elementary teacher in the Seattle area (20+ years), but I’ve always been a writer—Letters to the Editor, pieces for our local paper when we lived in California, lots of rejected poetry. But it wasn’t until this second act of my life as an empty nester with loads of free time (smile) that I delved into writing online. I’ve been a Christian since the 70’s—part of the Jesus People movement in Southern California—and my writing has grown along with my faith. I’m more of a cheerleader and encourager and communicator than anything—I love seeing other people grow into the gifts God has given them.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? My book is about how to reclaim Christmas from the craziness of commercialism, weaving the liturgical traditions of the church year into today’s family practices. When my husband and I were raising our son and daughter, the denomination we grew up in mentioned little about the rhythms of the church year or the liturgies and practices of the season of Christmas. The pinnacle of the holiday has always been that singular morning of All.The.Presents. and it’s hard to get away from that, even as people who know that the point is celebrating Christ’s birth.
When I started blogging in 2012, I was introduced to other faith traditions that embraced the church year rhythms of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany and the way they seemed to help slow down the holiday season. My hope is that Living the Season Well would be a bridge between my Evangelical peers and the rich traditions woven into the church calendar liturgies.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? The inspiration for Living the Season Well-Reclaiming Christmas was seeing how my son and daughter-in-law were impacted by the pressure to supply all those presents on Christmas morning. (They have 5 children). I also could see from my grandkids’ reactions last Christmas that they were overwhelmed by the overload of the holiday. My little red and white book offers a course-correction for parents and families like theirs.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? My prayer is that readers will be encouraged to ‘start small, start now’ by making changes, not so much in what they do, but what they don’t do—to make room for more of God’s presence by doing less, not more this Christmas season. To welcome the slowing down provided by observing Advent, which begins December 3rd, and looking for ways to make Christmas more about others first. To simplify their celebrations, lessen the trappings that want to ensnare us and make us busy and instead, find ways to be still, a little more reflective, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. My book has some very practical tips about how to do that.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? Someone said once, “If you want make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” When I set out to write this book in January I had what I thought was a perfectly sensible time line. A scribbled notebook with like 15 pages of content and a sorta-outline. I took myself and my brilliant ideas away for a week-long retreat and thought, “I’ll write the draft of my book this week.” (The authors reading this are smiling, I’m sure.) Although the finished product is around 125 pages—smallish—It took me a good six weeks to come up with a final draft. Then I sent it to my beta readers and they gave me awesome feedback, including one friend who basically encouraged me to dump all the pieces and start over. What I ended up writing turned out much different than I had in mind.
The biggest change in me is learning how to carry my big God-ideas with wide open hands.
How and where can we find you on the internet? You can start at my blog www.jodyleecollins.com. I’m on Twitter as @jodyo70 and Instagram as @jodyo52.
Well, there you go! If Living the Season Well sounds like your kind of book, be sure to leave a comment for Jody. Otherwise, head over to Instagram for more chances to win! Contest ends on Friday, December 8th – good luck!
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