On Being Uncommon

by Laree Lindburg, owner/manager Electric Moon Publishing, LLC and Signal Speakers

Do you ever feel different, out-of-place, odd? Possibly you have felt as though you didn’t fit in with the crowd? The thing is, we are all different and made to be just that—unique and one-of-a-kind. But often times we don’t embrace this truth about who and how God has created us. Instead, we insist on being the same. Cookie-cutter. Common.

Carey Scott’s newest book Uncommon: Living a Life of Purpose and Pursuit takes the reader on an explorative journey. Using actual examples from Scripture, Carey builds a case that those of us who feel different are actually supposed to feel exactly so because we are meant to be uncommon—and in God’s point-of-view it’s all good.

Being uncommon contradicts the world. The world insists we stay in our weakness and worry dependent upon nothing or no one but ourselves. This leads to sure and steady failure. Which is exactly what the world wants! To be uncommon is to lift up our eyes to the mountains where our help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121: 1,2).

We can and should be uncommon in the areas of courage, forgiveness, generosity, obedience, leadership and more. “Fear is a virus,” Carey writes on page 38, “that spreads, and so often it’s what keeps us from choosing the uncommon way.” On page 47 she continues. “But regardless, having the uncommon courage to overcome fears and live different than the status quo takes guts and grit. And God.”

Uh, does anybody else feel like Carey just jumped into your head with a notepad and pencil, wrote down your inner thoughts then published them? And that, friends, is who Carey Scott is. A wife, mother, writer, speaker, and child of the Most High God who does not mince words. She loves Jesus. Studies the Bible because she longs to know her Creator. She’s genuine—the real deal in a world of plastic pretenders. She is uncommon.

And I think I’d like to join her.

This post was inspired by the book Uncommon: Living a Life of Purpose and Pursuit by Carey Scott. You can learn more about the book and order at http://careyscott.org/uncommon/.

The Nudge Part 3: Open Doors

By Jeannie McPherson, Emoon author

Have you heard the story about St. Peter closing certain doors in heaven, at least those labeled” missed opportunities”?  It seems the new resident to heaven did not pay much attention to the earthly nudges God was sending his way. 

I’ve heard many St. Peter jokes, but this one touched my heart when it was shared in church.  My pastor asked, “How many doors has God opened and how often have you turned away due to excuses like time, resources, or skill?”  Previous to this sermon, I gave momentary thought to offering to be a lay servant in an effort to give Pastor a long-needed break.  It likely was not just a coincidence in timing. 

Was God nudging me, yet again?

I casually acknowledged my willingness to the pastor, thinking he really would not take me up on the idea.  And, for Pete’s sake, he did.  What I discovered is writing a sermon is like writing a good story. And, I see myself as a good story writer. 

The Christmas following 9/11, I included a short story in my holiday cards about Olivia, a dove, who kept watch over the manger the night of Jesus’ birth.  She represented the peace that only Jesus can bring to us individually and globally.  It was written with the plea, “peace begins with me.”

The comments from friends were positive.  The next Christmas I wrote another story, different animal, different characteristic.  Eventually a pattern emerged and I began intertwining the animal characters with one of the Fruits of the Spirit.  My real horse, Charlie, a very big horse, is also called a Gentle Giant (English Shire). He represents gentleness.  Max and Maggie, Labrador dogs, were faithful until their call to eternity.  Eventually I had nine stories written about nine animals and nine fruits found in Galatians 5:22.

Periodically, I would feel a nudge to compile a child’s book with illustrations.  I considered self-publishing, but ran into roadblock after roadblock finding an illustrator.  The nudge grew stronger when I began attending Christian Writer’s Conferences, where I met Electric Moon Publishing.

Even during life stressors, the staff have been there to encourage, give me hope, andwait patiently (one of the short story titles) until I was financially and emotionally ready to put one foot in front of the other.  Even though I had been warned by other authors, I became bent out of shape by the editing process and have come to believe it is an expectation in the publishing world.

I’ve given this project over to the Lord to do something good with it.  He owns it.  I am only the messenger.  This means letting Emoon take leadership when I could not.  If all goes well, I will contribute at least half of the order to churches in high-poverty areas, where few children own even one book.  The remaining first publish run will also be used to serve Jesus, in programs like Samaritan’s Purses’ Operation Christmas Child.  Though only published in English, the illustrations can be understood in multiple languages. 

I don’t know what other earthly “opportunity” doors will open, but Luke 11:9 “….knock and the door will be opened to you” (NIV) is my guide.  From the Sunday I heard the St. Peter story, I made a vow there will be few missed-opportunity doors when I enter heaven.  Instead of looking at a project as work, I try really hard to look at it as a blessing 

The title is still a mystery, even to myself.  If any ideas, please give a shout-out!!! 

The Nudge Part 2: Master Nudger

By Jeannie McPherson, EMoon Author

With dreams, come nightmares. Not that we necessarily want them, realistically they happen. When God nudges us toward and through our dreams, we celebrate and express thankfulness. After many decades, I realize God also nudges through nightmares. After all, I don’t do a very good job thanking God when life is difficult.      

Test-taking was not just figuratively a nightmare for my young self, I had nightmares about the real thing. Writing was my academic salvation and more than once my letter grade went from a B to an A or even a C to a B when essays were a major component of a course. My first college English class was a disaster and no number of nudges were going to help me learn grammar, in all its confusing glory. In other academic areas, professors liked my unique way of expressing thoughts, facts, opinions, or positions. But, I still struggled through test taking.

My first graduate class required writing an essay question on why I would be a good school principal.  In no fewer than 10 rewrites, I shared my story precisely, concisely, and convincingly, to the extent the professor wrote, “You need to write and publish.” Writing was again the easy part.  In my career, I was typically successful writing grants, memos, and emails. In my personal life, I wrote Christmas letters and short stories and dabbled with a few manuscripts, but the word publish was as scary as test taking and nightmares. The word written on a note card was just… a nudge a long time ago.  

I found my career path, and soon started a family. I had fulfilled all the dreams I had conjured up, except for one; becoming a published writer. Retirement brought new opportunities but nothing that pushed me to attempt to concur the publishing world. For fun, I took a week-long writing class with a published author at my alma mater, the University of Nebraska. The writing I submitted brought me more positive compliments and assignments, like “write every day at least 550 words.” We discussed how to get an editor’s attention, thoughts on self-publishing, and lots of “stick with it, you can do it.” All these were nudges, but apparently, these were not enough to fulfill the dream of holding a book with the author’s name, Rogene McPherson.

In April 2015, God connected me with Rebecca, also a writer and survivor of personal tragedy. The complexity of this meeting could have only been organized by God and His angels. This nudge was not subtle. God definitely sent me a message that day. Then only a year later, God was at work, again at Christian Writer’s Conference in Omaha, when I met Laree Lindburg and her sister Erin with Electric Moon Publishing. I was immediately impressed by what Emoon could offer me:

  • Wide basis of technology without my becoming a techie, a valuable asset in the writing world
  • Multitude of services provided by Christian sisters including an editor and illustrator
  • Consistent support even when the proverbial nightmares interfered
  • Honest and educationally sound support when needed

I better stop before I sound like a marketing expert trying to get a job. I really only want to write. All of the Emoon Team providing the support indicated above have been like a gentle nudge. God in my world has a new name, Master Nudger.