Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Signing at The Reading Tree

This event occured on Dec. 2010, it was one of those “divine appointments.” It began with an email from Jeff, my marketing rep. from Tate( Tate has published Sassy Pants. They work like beavers! Jeff had contacted the Fox channel 17, a local TV station here in Grand Rapids, MI and lined me up for an interview for their morning show! That was my first experience being on TV. The interviewer, Emily, was a little bit of a thing whose favorite animal is a pig—she thinks they are so cute. She was fun and I was able to highlight a unique feature of Sassy Pants, the free audio download! When you buy the book there is a code in the back that allows you to download an audio version, you can burn your own CD. It is wonderful for a child who struggles with reading to be able to read along. It helps with fluency in reading and can help build vocabulary and word recognition.

Another perk with this book is the parent/teacher manual with suggested talking points to help a child process the various lessons Sassy Pants learned. Such processing will be needed for those tender hearted children who tend to feel sorry for Sassy Pants! Yet, as the second book, Sassy Pants Makes Amends shows, the tough love was just what she needed to learn her lessons!
The divine appointment? That happened after the interview. The weather was so nasty there were very few shoppers that day so I was able to chat with the store owner. Hers was an amazing story of faith and overcoming monumental obstacles. With the economy being what it is, many retailers wonder if they will be able to meet the bottom line month by month, or if they will succeed. I thought her daughter’s words were a wonderful testimony to her walk of faith and responding to what she felt was God’s call to her. She said, “Mom, there is no way you can fail. You have already succeeded—you took the risk. Lots of people want to do things but never take the risk; now, that’s failure! You did it; you are already a success.” That would make any mom cry! If I hadn’t sold a book, the time would have been well spent! What an encouragement to me to keep moving forward!
Janet is so passionate about reading that she left a sure thing position as a reading specialist in the public school system to go out on a limb to start this wonderful store. It isn’t filled only with books—there are games and puzzles—all kinds of teaching materials and resources as well as places for kids to sit and try things out. It’s the kind of place a parent can take a child and not worry about them for two hours while browsing. There isn’t any pulling on the coat sleeve and “Can we go now?” No, it is more like “Do we have to go now?”
Janet knows her stuff and will not put a product on the shelves that she does not personally approve of. Shoppers can be assured that their children will find books that will have a positive influence on character and development. Check it out! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Grateful Heart

This past week I have spoken to a number of readers who have been helped with the understanding of what it means to be a highly sensitive burden bearer. The emails and phone calls bless me. These readers were expressing gratitude for the help in understanding themselves, the comfort they felt, and for knowing they were not the only one in the world so highly sensitive! (We do need and want company.) The understanding brought burdens up and out that had been carried for years and years unknowingly. Sweet relief! And sweet gratitude to Jesus for all He did and continues to do! But also to be blessed with now knowing what to do!

I join them in expressing gratitude for I too am grateful for the comfort, the help, and the difference that learning about burden bearing has made in my life and relationship with Jesus. Just as readers have thanked me for all the work involved in the writing, so I want to thank John Sandford for all the work he did in forming the concept so many years ago. And my thanks for his son Mark who expanded the teaching and for his unique ability to edit which comes out of a very close relationship with the Lord. I want to thank our loving heavenly Father who filters all that comes to us so carefully. How well You know us, Lord. How greatly You love us. I am in awe of You. My heart overflows with gratitude.

It is my hope and prayer that we are able to stay in aplace of gratitude!

Blessings, Carol

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Other Resources on High Sensitivity

Other Resources on high sensitivity.
I did read books on high sensitivity, but not until the manuscript for The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity was over half done. At that point someone gave me Elaine Aron’s book[1]The Highly Sensitive Person and asked if that was what I was talking about. Then we went looking for Dr. Aron's other books,The Highly Sensitive Child, and HSPs in Love. I was encouraged to find a psychologist who had done studies and had figures to back up her statements. She gave some very helpful strategies for coping with high sensitivity.  Her comments for parents and teachers of highly sensitive children are very helpful. However, she is a secular psychologist and did not address the spiritual side of the issue of high sensitivity, so I didn’t stop writing because someone with more, or different degrees than I, had already written. Her information added credence to what I felt the Lord gave me to say. My stance is that I don’t want to cope; I want to thrive, and joyfully! As believers in Jesus, we need to understand the design that our loving creator gave us! Why are we this way? What is our function? How does it work?
I was delighted to find that someone else had observed and studied this “phenomena” of high sensitivity. And, to find that our observations where almost identical! The only issue I had with her writing was that in her later books, she began to sound as though she was sliding into a New Age stance, which a believer should steer clear of. If one is able to keep the meat and spit out the bones, her books are a good resource.
Since The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive have been released I have found more authors writing in this genre. Daniel Siegel is a child psychologist who is able to translate the heady cutting edge brain research at least down to the post graduate level! If Dr. Siegel was heavy reading, can you imagine reading the original sources of the brain research? I have studied Greek and the Romance languages and feel I have a pretty good grasp of English, but reading that stuff I felt I needed to be fluent in English, German, French, Latin and Greek, and having a medical degree in neurology would have been helpful!
Jim Wilder’s little book, Living From the Heart God Gave You is another look at the same thing.

[1][1] Aron, Elaine, The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Child, and HSPs in Love,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I'm Working On Next

Next Book(s)
The book I am working on right now is a compilation of “Lessons From The Wilderness”—the experience of living with a chronic disease. When I was diagnosed I slid off the exam table and declared my position. I was not in any hurry to find healing. I wanted to learn everything I could possibly learn from this disease and apply it in my life. My idea was that I wanted all the character development and spiritual maturity I could possibly wring from the experience. I did not want to miss a thing, I did not want to have to repeat a lesson; nor did I want to live with it one day longer than necessary!
Within the first year four different people whom I respected came to me and had exactly the same conversation. First they asked how I was doing, how was I being treated medically, etc. Before ending the conversation each one said, “My sense is that you are carrying this disease for others. Be sure to write your experiences because this is important and for people other than yourself.”
What do you do with that! I didn’t feel I had any message. I didn’t figure people wanted to hear me say, “MS sucks!” Or, maybe people need to hear/see me openly admit that, but at the same time not surrender or quit. Just because my body cannot support my vision for my life or the career path I had chosen does not mean that life is over or that I have no value or purpose. I have to look around, determine the parameters of my playground, and assess my resources for solving the issues of my life. Life is not ruined, it is just different now than what I had planned and strove to make it. Some people may say you have to re-invent yourself.
Periodically over 15 years of living with MS, I would “understand,” and write up that particular understanding, or lesson. Dec. of 2010 I felt the urge to begin putting it into book form—which is quite a process! I am into a “rewrite” as of Jan. 2011. I am seriously considering publishing this one as an ebook only.
 I firmly believe that a kind and loving God does not allow more than we can bear. So, if I find myself in this situation I must have the resources to deal with it! My job is to find the resources and turn this thing around, to use these experiences like a vaulter uses his pole. The result being that I will end up further along in character development and spiritual maturity than if I had not had this experience! Yup, it’s a rough way to get there . . . but rough as compared to what? Seems like everyone has something to contend with!
In the children's genre, the next Sassy Pants will be Sassy Pants Makes Amends. It follows Sassy Pants, a story in which our not-so-sweet main character destroys just about every relationship she has, and reaps the consequences: no one wants to be around her or be her friend. Old Clyde becomes her mentor/counselor and teaches her how to fix the relationships she broke—much to the relief and delight of everyone in the barnyard and out of it!
In Sassy Pants Makes Amends, she models how to make a clean apology and ask forgiveness. One of the gals in writers group leads a recovery group. Every year since hearing me read Sassy Pants Makes Amends she has had me come read one chapter in particular to her group—the chapter in which Sassy Pants makes her first attempt at amends! These two titles as a set within the series.
The Sassy Pants series is written for children grades 3-6, but children of all ages (from 3 to 93) enjoy and benefit from it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Sponge Effect

The Sponge Effect

This morning when I woke, I found the Lord had left me instructions for the day. Someone or ones needs to read pages 14-15 of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity in this blog! When a person does not understand that they are highly sensitive, how high sensitivity affects a person, or the purposes God has in mind for that design, it is difficult to view it as a gift--we want not to be that way! High sensitivity makes it possible to bear other people's burdens as we as Christians are commanded to do in Gal. 6:2. Below is the excerpt the Lord indicated.

"The burden bearing design is such that, like a sponge, you sop up a portion of someone else's emotional load. A sponge retains dirt after water evaporates. As I said earlier, you retain residue of another person's trouble even with time and distance from him or her.  This is true whether it is a positive or a negative load. You probably know people who are light and bright and you always come away from times with them feeling lifted up. It is a blessing to absorb and retain some of their positive emotion. In the same way, when you are around negative people--you come away feeling heavy, sad and confused, angry or depressed. This is true for Christian and non-Christian alike--empathy, that drawing, absorbing, retentive quality of your spirit operates whether you realize it or not. Any created being must operate according to its design--watches tick, wheels roll, birds fly, and your spirit connects through empathy whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, and whether you intend to empathize or not. It is something your spirit knows to do and does. Like gravity or the laws of physics, the absorbing qualities of your spirit operate whether you know, understand, or believe.

Whoa, this is way too much sensitivity!

When you do not know that you absorb what is in other people, you walk about like a sponge with your spirit open and unprotected.  You indiscriminately attract all sorts of things!  You fill up with other people’s emotion, trouble, and turmoil and it feels like your own.  When you look at your home life and work life you see no reason for the feelings you have.  The family life is smooth, your schedule isn’t crazy—there is no reason for feeling grief and sadness, confusion, anxiety or rage.  There is nothing in your own life to cause any of those emotions.  The confusion from the disparity between what you feel and what you intellectually know your circumstance to be multiplies the feelings, which compounds emotion to the point of excruciating intensity.  People look at you and shake their heads when you share such feelings.  You hear comments like “It’s not all that bad!”  “What is your problem?”  The problem is the weight of an overwhelming, crushing load you did not even know you were carrying!" (end excerpt)

God designed you to be highly sensitive so that you could come alongside those who are experiencing difficulties, sense their struggle--then with the sensory information you have, you are able to encourage and help lift their load to Jesus who can carry the heavy end. The whole purpose is to connect others with Jesus. Many people do not have words for their feelings, others do not know they have the right to ask for His help, others forgot in the crush of the overwhelming load, so God sends you to help them and connect them with Jesus!

High sensitivity is one of the reasons so many people feel confused, heavy, crazy, and overwhelmed, to name just a few. It makes you feel different than those around you--and that is accurate, you are different! Your desire to belong and be like everyone else will drive the desire to want to shut your sensitivity down, or off! If we turn away from the design God gave us, we turn away from Him and go off course. If you would like further information on living with high sensitivity go to Half the craziness you feel may not be your own! You are different than most, but that is a good thing!

Blessings, Carol