Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why Did I Write My Books?

Why did I write the books?
I wrote The Mystery especially for highly sensitive people because I know how it feels and I do not want you or someone you love to have to live one day longer with a sense of sadness that seems bottomless. I don’t want inner pressure to build to the point where you are tempted to cut yourself to release it, or do something else self-destructive to numb the pain you feel. It is most likely not all yours! You are one of God’s “Special Forces.” Your nervous system is different than most. You are uniquely designed as a highly sensitive person, one who can join Jesus in the work He began, and continues to do, reconciling people to God, to themselves, and restoring relationships between people.
But, most of us do not know how to begin! You will need to learn how to bear burdens rightly, how to use the equipment you were designed with. From unraveling my own mystery of spiritual sensitivity life experiences, I explain our unique design to help you understand yourself. Understanding what it looks and feels like, how it affects you, and discovering common reflex reactions to high sensitivity—physical, emotional, and spiritual—will allow God to use your sensitivity to develop spiritual maturity—yours and others. I am talking about empathetic burden-bearing intercession. The high sensitivity required to sense and feel what other people experience can make life painful; it also makes it possible to sense, feel, and hear from God.
Being a pastor’s wife, mother of two lively girls, and a college instructor was a full plate. However, I experienced an exhaustion that my circumstances could not explain. That’s when I heard Mark Sandford of Elijah House Ministries teach about burden bearing. I was desperate for an answer so I said, “Okay God, if there is anything to this, let’s do it.” I began to pray through my life, period by period, cleaning out the residue of burdens I had accumulated throughout my life. When I finished, I felt 40 pounds lighter! My learning curve began at that point, and I share those learnings, well salted with scriptures.
I wrote this book because I learned that many people do not have the words to express the ball of emotion they feel inside. I want you to know that you are not crazy; different than 70-80% of the general population—but just different, not crazy. I want you to know that any struggle you may have can be redeemed. Hurt you have endured can be healed. You may feel your sensitivity is a curse, but it can become a blessing. I want you to know that you have value and a purpose. And finally, I wrote The Mystery because I told Rev. Sandford I would.
Why I wrote Highly Sensitive, is a much shorter answer! Originally, both books were one manuscript! A publisher pointed out that it was a very large book and wanted to know if there was a place where it divided naturally.
In very broad terms The Mystery is about the concept of burden bearing: how it feels, looks, how to do it, how it affects us, what goes wrong, how to heal the hurts that come because we are sensitive, a chapter full of sample prayers, the blessings of burden bearing, and finally another perspective on it. The Mystery is mostly about what God’s domain; what He has done and is doing.
Highly Sensitive is about our domain; the everyday practicals of what it looks like on Monday morning, changes we can make and things we can do to help us survive all day Monday without being overwhelmed. It is about what we can do to cooperate with God and our design to rein life in to where it becomes manageable. So there are guidelines and very practical questions to help a person learn to live a joy filled life—learn to live with the gift before it kills them! The two books are companion volumes. You can purchase them on my website www.fromgodsheart.com. They are also available at Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.com.
Sassy Pants I wrote as a way to cope with my mother! She had several strokes which affected her short term memory. Trips up and down “memory lane” are her chief form of recreation. Pig stories were prominent for a while, so rather than tear out my hair with yet another repetition, I whipped out my laptop and began to write. Sassy Pants borrows bits and pieces from several pig stories—the rest is a sheer flight of fancy! Interestingly, after the story was written the pig stories stopped!
I belong to a writers group. One of the “rules” of belonging to the group is that you must bring something with you to read to the others. Failing that, bring popcorn! The group leader encouraged me to enter the manuscript in a contest that included publishing in the prize. Wouldn’t you know, every contest I cared to enter was for literature one year and poetry the next. You guessed it! I caught the poetry year. I nearly filed the manuscript—I’d written it mostly for the grandkids amusement. Then I thought, “Oh, what the nuts. See if there is a publisher who would be interested!” Tate Publishing picked it up and is safely keeping the rest of the series—three titles. We will be launching them one at a time, so watch for Sassy Pants!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

About My Books

What I would like people to know about each of my books?
The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity: This book will help you understand yourself, your friends, and your weird relatives better—your co-worker, boss, etc. That is, to the extent that high sensitivity is a part of what’s going on! Sometimes rotten behavior is just rotten behavior! I have encountered many, many people who labor under the burden of feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth, and have a poor self-image, battle with sadness, various addictions, depression, and thoughts of self-harm. Learning that their central nervous system picks up more data than 70-80% of the population and that they are designed to be highly sensitive, may just be why they experience life the way they do has been a big help for many. You can find some of their testimonies on my website. If this is you, I want you to know that you may be different than most, but there is nothing “wrong” with you—you are not defective. Half the craziness you feel may not even be your own! Reading this book may be one of the most helpful things you do for yourself.
Highly Sensitive: There are areas in which you can make changes that will help rein life in so it is manageable. Life can be overwhelming, but it does not have to remain that way! To assist you in reining it in, I developed a guide to help you work through the material in this book so that it can become a part of you—not just head knowledge! You can find this on my website, on the “downloadable” page. www.fromgodsheart.com
Sassy Pants: I’d like people to know, and tell their friends, that I have a  parent/teacher manual that can be downloaded free of charge on my website (listed above). Go to the "downloadables" page. This has suggestions that can help parents talk with their children about various situations they encounter. I call it a parent/teacher manual because so many parents also home school. This Sassy Pants series works well to supplement in several subjects.
I also want to let folks know that Sassy Pants is the first in a series of four Sassy Pants stories. Watch for Sassy Pants Makes Amends—about fixing a friendship when you are the one who broke it, Sassy Pants and The Strange Creature,—about getting along with those different from yourself, and Sassy Pants and The Boss Hog—about finding her place in her father’s heart and her place in the herd. Knowing we have a “place” in someone’s heart, in a family, a group, a tribe is something we all need! The need to belong is a human thing, not just a pig thing!
To order copies of these books visit my website at: http://www.godsheart.com/. Until next time ~Blessings, Carol

Monday, June 20, 2011

Local Signing!

Well, Muskegon isn't exactly local, but close enough! Just received an email from my marketing rep. from Tate Publishing. Barnes and Nobel is putting on a regional sort of booksigning. There will be eight Michigan authors present! This should be an interesting time of networking and sharing ideas as well as hopefully selling some books.

If you are a book-aholic, a bibliophile, or curious, I encourage you to stop by Barnes and Noble to browse, chat, and purchase your very own copy! Here is the information.

Author: Carol Brown

Title: "Sassy Pants"

Event Date: Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Event Time:11:00 a.m.

Store Address: Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 5275 Harvey Street, Muskegon, MI 49444

Phone: 231.798.0187

 I'll talk with you about how Sassy Pants messed up and the lessons she learned the hard way, but I also want to let you know that she learns how to fix what she broke in the second book in the series! Yay, second chances! Sassy Pants Makes Amends will be coming out at the end of the year. I'll talk with anyone who will listen--so many good lessons in this funny little book! It was written as an early chapter book, for about 3rd grade, but a good reader in 2nd grade would do well with it. Those younger and older also enjoy it, including adults!

A wonderful feature about this little book is the free audio version. Perfect for road trips or for the struggling reader who can "read along" with me. Download with the code in the back of the book, burn your own CD, plug Jr. in and turn him on to reading! Be sure to visit my website www.fromgodsheart.com for a free downloadable parent/teacher manual with suggestions for how to discuss the book with your child. Sensitive children identify with Sassy Pants and worry about her headstrong choices so they will need time with a parent to process the story! It provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss behavioral issues without blame!

Although this signing features Sassy Pants, if you would like to chat about either of my other books, The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive, I'd love to!

B & N has a coffeeshop . . . what could be better than coffee and books, right? How about coffee, books and chatting with the author! Hope to see you there.

Blessings, Carol

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Did I Get My Start Writing?

How did I get my start writing?
Several factors wove together to bring me to the point where I am now an author. First of all, I started storytelling as a means of crowd control! I had three younger very active brothers, all of whom loved a good story. I began telling stories when I had enough brothers for an audience! The love of stories has been there from the very beginning. In the one room school I attended until grade 8, you could read any book the teacher brought from the county library—if your work was done! Weekly she made the trip to the “big” library until she caught on and began to bring Greek mythology and classics, works that were far beyond my grade level!
I so enjoyed reading and helping others learn to read that I wanted to be a teacher; always knew I would be a teacher. Naturally, after high school I went to university. Universities have a way of requiring lots of writing. You would think they wanted you to acquire a working knowledge of the English language! Certain subjects require more than others—anthropology is one of those! One of the ways I earned my way through college was doing secretarial work. I put the high school office practice class to good use.  Without any calculated conscious effort on my part, God was building into me the skill set that I would need to be His author!
The second factor was our children. I always read to them, putting in all the voices for the different characters, so they too loved stories. A key turning point was when they came to me all bright eyed one day asking, “Mom, will you tell us about the “old days,” when you were a kid? Did Grandpa ever discipline you like you sometimes discipline us?” My response to their question put my mind in gear. Later that night I had to get out of bed to write the story, Grandpa’s “Helping” Hand, (yet to be published) so that I could stop laughing and go to sleep! I wrote several stories for our children and a bit of poetry. At this same time I had a mentor who kept asking, “What do you want to do? What do you want to do? What do you want to do?” Finally, I blurted out, “I want to write!” At the time, it felt an unattainable goal.
A third factor was that for a time I was the Educational Director for Elijah House Ministries. At a staff luncheon John Sandford, the founder, rather wistfully said that he hoped that various ones of us would pick up one or more of his core teaching and take it further—deeper and wider than he had. I rather tentatively raised my hand and volunteered to take the teachings on Burden Bearing. After that life kept happening and I never had the time to write those books. That is until 1996.
The fourth and final factor leading me to put the skills, the syntactical know how, and the innate penchant for storytelling to work writing was a severe attack of multiple sclerosis at the end of 1995. When I woke up after 5 months of sleeping 14-16 hours a day, I needed something to do to keep my sanity. I was well enough to do something, but not well enough to do anything! It seemed like a good time to learn to knit! Then, I remembered telling Rev. Sandford that I would write that book. Every time a story or concept floated up into my consciousness, I would toddle over to the computer to capture a picture, an event, or a concept with words. I accumulated a very large pile of disconnected pieces and more or less coherent thoughts. At one point I felt the Lord said it was time to turn that pile into a book. I turned to a friend who had worked with me when I was Education Director—Debra helped me dig the MS out of the manuscript!
We edited that manuscript until I didn’t want to look at it any more. Finally Debra told me she did not want to see it again until she could take it off a bookshelf. So began my search for a publisher—which will be another blog!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Encouraging Reluctant Readers

 “If you had to choose between being able to read and being able to walk, which would you choose,” my instructor asked? She chose being able to read over being able to walk because reading could take you places your legs never could! And, legs wear out, but you can always read. Reading is that important? Well, in our society it is pretty much essential. She broke it down. There are three basic problems: word recognition, word meaning, and phrase comprehension—comprehending the relationship of one part of the sentence to the rest. But what do you do when the problem is none of the above? What do you do if it is an interest problem?
“Reading is boring!” If given a choice, Craig would rather play video games. Micaela, his mom, an avid reader, worried. Feeling being a good reader essential to school work, she poked through libraries and book stores looking for readers he would enjoy. The key for Craig was finding a topic he related to. She found Henry Winkler’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid—he identified and his reading ability soared.
Sassy Pants is a little early chapter book for grades 3-6. Younger readers also enjoy it, as do adults! The idea that choices have consequences is essential for children to learn if we parents take seriously the admonition to train them up to be successful adults! This little book comes with a free audio download so a struggling reader can “read along.” Parents can also download a parent/teacher manual for ideas to springboard conversations.

About Sassy Pants the story:
Sassy Pants is a cute little pig—little being the operative word. She was the runt, the littlest and the last to be born. The problem was that Mrs. Pig had 19 piggies but only 18 place settings! The other pigs in the litter “hogged it all!” Poor Sassy Pants would get none if it hadn’t been for Farmer White who quickly appraised the situation, snatched her up and took her to the house to be bottle fed. She quickly outgrew her box, the furnace room, the house and made a mess doing it, but she neither noticed, nor did she care! She thought it all great fun and games.
And it was, but it was that one game too many for Mrs. White that ended her stay in “The Big House.” However, Sassy Pants saw herself as one of the family, not a pig; most especially not a dirty pig! She has a terrible time adjusting to being back with her own kind. She resents being where she is, cannot accept what she is so she keeps trying to go back to a time and place that no longer exists! Her resentment and unhappiness turn into bullying the other small barnyard animals. They do everything in their power to do, but with no avail. Finally they turn to Farmer White for help. A flick of the wrist turns the electricity on in the electric fence. One shock blows all the “hi-falutin,” “better than you” ideas completely out of Sassy Pants head. She becomes a reformed pig—she notices and she cares!
How you can use Sassy Pants:
Story themes have been listed as “talking points.” Parents can use them as conversation starters with children. Teachers may use the talking points for classroom discussions and essay topics. More suggestions are available from the website, www.fromgodsheart.com as a free download.

Talking Points:
·         Choices and consequences
·         Different kinds of “sorry”
·         Respecting feelings, boundaries and authority
·         Character traits: stubbornness, self-centeredness versus thoughtfulness, kindness, wisdom and self control
·         Listening to others
·         Bullying
·         Learning the easy way versus the hard way
Choices and consequences is a very strong theme in the story. For children to be successful members of society they must learn that consequences always follow choices! Since the story is about animals there seems to be no defensive reactions to seeing that issue clearly. Children can laugh and while they are laughing, the lesson hits home. It is not a large step for children to make the connection to their own lives. Even adults love the story, identifying with various characters or situations along the way.
The different kinds of sorry fit with choices and consequences nicely.
Several character traits are easily identified in the story. As the child reacts to the different characters it can quickly go to, did you like it when . . . ., how would you feel if someone did that to you? To, how did that work for him/her? Was it a good idea? And how would you want to be treated? Is that how you are going to treat others? What kind of consequence will follow?
Learning the easy way rather than the hard way becomes abundantly clear in this story! This theme is also is woven through other stories in the series.
The final issue is that of bullying which has become such an issue today. Again, the consequences of Sassy Pants’ bullying are very stark: no one liked her or wanted to play with her or be around her. The story makes it quite clear that Sassy Pants chose to learn the hard way. She was given ample opportunity to change her ways and much advice to do so—yet she continued in her headstrong direction! Book I ends with her soaking her tush and her throbbing snout in the mud wallow with no one to console her! The second book in the series begins with her friendless, crying her eyes out down in a little ditch where no one could see her cry—but she does not remain there long!

Parents/Teachers can assign Sassy Pants as extra reading in coordination with:
·        Geography (latitude and longitude, path of the glacier and effects of glaciations)
·        Social studies and language arts or creative writing
·        American History—the periods of the early settlers and the American Indians who lived in northeastern Iowa along the Mississippi River, The Mound Builders
Additional suggestions are posted on the website, www.fromgodsheart.com as a free download.
On occasion vocabulary may be new, but the meaning is readily understood from context. The idea educationally for vocabulary expansion is to aim the vocabulary just a bit above the reading level of the child and make the meaning clear from context.
Other titles to follow:
·         Sassy Pants Makes Amends—about fixing a friendship when you are the one who
broke it—Available fall of 2011
·         Sassy Pants and the Strange Creature—about getting along with those different from
·         Sassy Pants and The Boss Hog—about finding her place in her father’s heart and the
A great series for your child or the “child within!”

Friday, June 3, 2011


We are all distracted from time to time, because we are too tired, have too much going on, lots of reasons. The Lord may have shown me another reason! He has asked me to do this blog from the perspective of a highly sensitive person to encourage others who might be new to the idea that they are highly sensitive and that it is okay to be that way!
My project the other day was to make significant progress on the manuscript that I’m working on. No matter how I tried I could not concentrate—could not put two coherent sentences together! Nor could I come up with an alternative plan for the day, and there were probably 15 other things I could have done. I was sooo frustrated with myself! I think I would have played solitaire if I hadn’t already removed that temptation from my computer!
A friend came by mid-afternoon. We didn’t chit-chat; we went right to the meaty God stuff! She asked how much of my spirit was present. My answer shocked me—50%—and that answer came quickly! Light bulbs went on. When my husband came home I asked how his morning meeting went; was there a time during the day when he felt himself “helped?” He asked the time of day that I became aware that I was not being fully “here.” It was at a time he was in emotional pain. At the time he had glimpses of God helping him. With hindsight he remembered that he was starting to vent his pain and could have gone on spewing, but perspective came to him and helped him settle so that he did not say things he would later regret. He was able to see past the words presented and remember who the people were. He saw their hearts. Neither of us was aware of my spirit being present with him. I was only conscious of distraction, and he of being “helped!” We believe the Lord pulled this one off through the “oneness of spirit.”
The Lord was reminding me once again that when we take marriage vows He joins us in our human spirits—it is more than a “one flesh” thing![1] Because we are one in spirit, my spirit sensed his need for added strength and grace. My human spirit was with him to help him through a difficult patch. I was able to be his help-mate. We say those words “help-mate” but do not think much about what being one might look like on a day to day basis. Maybe it looks like being distracted! Maybe when we have an “off” day there is more going on than we are consciously aware of. We are very aware of our bodies, emotions, and minds but woefully unaware of our spirits. God is calling us to become more aware of our actions/reactions on the spiritual plane. We have a hard time recognizing the call and/or knowing what to do about it.
I made a mental note to be more observant on my “off” days. I made a commitment to God that He could call on me whenever, so I am going to start tracking what Holy Spirit and my spirit are up to! I wonder if being “off” is a symptom that my spirit, or at least some of it, is busy elsewhere—like helping my husband. It may mean my spirit is otherwise engaged, like when I’m in intercession for someone and I stumble over words or the rug I see plainly. My quiet time may be done. My conscious prayer about the issue may conclude but my spirit sensing more is needed, keeps interceding in the background and I start missing beats! It may actually be God’s call to come back into conscious intercession.
I am trying to remember to be kinder to myself and remember that all the feelings I feel are not necessarily mine! High sensitivity means that I take in more data. Computers slow down when they have lots to process. I am also a “dual processor”—natural and spiritual—would I not also slow down somehow? When I become inefficient, being frustrated with myself is only going to further complicate my day! Oy!
I’d like to hear from some of you. Does this ring true for you? How do you process your “off” days?
Blessings, Carol

[1] For more on this issue see the chapter on marriage in The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity.