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Why We Renewed Our Vows (+ Valentine’s Giveaway)

DSC04306This past October, Hubby and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by renewing our marriage vows in front of family & friends at our church.

We chose to renew our vows for one simple reason–we wanted to reaffirm those promises we said so many years ago…years that have been shaped, refined and molded by laughter, by tears, and by standing together to face the many challenges that came our way.

Our courtship was quite unique. We met in May 1988 when Hubby came into the family restaurant where I had been working as a waitress for the summer. The moment I saw him, I knew my life was about to change. He had a presence about him and the way he carried himself that exuded confidence…he still has it. We became friends, and we communicated long distance for a couple of months by writing letters. Then he came home on leave, and we started dating. By that time, I was so in love with this man who made my heart swoon. I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

We talked about a traditional wedding, set a date, and started making plans,. I even picked out the most beautiful wedding gown. Then we realized we didn’t want to want another six months to get married.

Wedding photo copyWe chose to elope three weeks after getting engaged. I wore peach, he wore gray, and we promised to love, honor and cherish one another in front of a judge, two friends, and the judge’s secretary. I tell people it may not have been my dream wedding, but I married the man perfect for me.

Like most married couples, our relationship hasn’t always been the fairy tale. We experienced challenges that could have broken us, but we refused to give up. Instead, we worked hard to turn those trials into triumphs. We’ve used the life lessons from our mistakes to help us to become a stronger couple and better parents to our incredible sons.

The beauty of the past twenty-five years is knowing the young love we first shared has matured into a deep-seated devotion that will outlast anything life hurls our way. Each day I spend with him is an incredible gift, and I’m so blessed.

 ~*~

I’m teaming up with fellow Love Inspired authors Jill Lynn and Jill Kemerer, fellow Books & Such client Jennifer Major, and romance author Jen Turano for a Valentine’s Giveaway.

Valentine's Giveaway finalThe giveaway includes:

  • After a Fashion by Jen Turano
  • A Recipe for Romance collection by Jill Kememer
  • Falling for Texas by Jill Lynn (her debut novel–Yay!!)
  • Lakeside Redemption by Lisa Jordan
  • Hand-stamped cards
  • Chocolate
  • $10 Starbucks gift card

Enter here for your chance to win: 

Lisa Jordan
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Entering the MBT Frasier Contest: Rejection From a Judge’s Point of View

the-frasier-logo

Rejection, though undeniably painful, does not have to hold us back from accomplishing what God wants us to do. 

~Jennifer Benson Shuldt

After entering one of my first writing contests, I was determined never to enter another. After all, my low scores attested to judges’ inabilities to recognize talent, right?

Uh huh…

Actually my own inflated view of my words and lack of growth as a writer contributed to those scores. 

Looking back, entering that contest gave me an initial taste of rejection in the publishing world. I could have given up at that point because, after all, why bother?

But I didn’t. I know I was supposed to be a writer because I could feel God’s calling in my life.

That contest entry motivated me to learn, to grow as a writer.

As a previous judge for the Frasier, and for other writing contests, I’ve been able to see how agents and editors can read just a couple of pages before they’re able to determine a writer’s level of ability. 

And I know the low scores I’ve given entrants have caused discouragement. I promise it was not my intent. 

As a contest judge, I’d like to offer three bits of wisdom:

  • Judging is subjective. What I love, another judge may dislike. What I dislike may resonant with another judge. Reading is subjective. Trying to write a story that pleases everyone is impossible. Write the story of your heart. 
  • Low scores encourage growth. Would you prefer to have a contest judge say your entry isn’t ready for publicatioin, or would you rather risk that one shot with your dream agent or editor? Feedback offers you an opportunity to improve your craft so when it’s time to submit to an agent or editor, then you will have a stronger chance to gain a publishing contract.
  • Rejection shows your courage. You’re willing to put your work out there for others to read. This leap of faith doesn’t go unnoticed by editors and agents seeking wonderful stories. When you take steps to strengthen your skills, that tells them you’re willing to grow as a writer and improve your writing abilities. It shows you have a teachable spirit and you’re willing to invest in your career.

As you ponder writing contests this season, I recommend entering the Fraiser. My Book Therapy is an organization of integrity, and Susan May Warren has a heart for helping new writers find their voices and developing their talents. 

Entries for the 2013 MBT Frasier Contest for unpublished novelists will be accepted through Sunday, March 31, at 11:59 p.m. The contest is open to Voices members. The winner will receive a scholarship to a My Book Therapy coaching retreat ($500 value). Final round judges are award-winning author Susan May Warren; literary agent Steve Laube; and Shannon Marchese, senior fiction editor for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. For more information, FAQs and to enter, visit http://www.mybooktherapy.com/frasier-contest/.

Your Turn: Why do you enter writing contests? How much stock do you place in judges’ feedback? What value do contests hold for you?

Lisa Jordan
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