Hi Friends! As we’re getting on into this new year, I’ve been reflecting back on my journey in the world of writing and publishing. It’s been filled with so many ups and downs, learning and growing, and having lots of creative fun! I have gained some beautiful new friends along the way, and I wanted to take the time to give a little more of the back story of my book SEEING Christmas, and my publishing company Little Bird Press.
Many of you know that this book started out as a poem that I wrote for my family when I wanted to convey to my adult children and grandchildren my perspective on the Christmas season. I have always had a lot of deep thoughts…a lot of inner things going on…that have been hard for me to put into words. Through writing, I have found it easier to share my thoughts and my heart, specifically through poetry. I had written other poems for our family before I wrote SEEING Christmas, and that’s always been a great way for me to express my heart or my perspective with them. It was so special to me that my Christmas poem blessed them so much…and they, in turn, blessed me by encouraging me to put the message out into the world in book form.
I’ve always loved children’s picture books for their ability to get a great message across in a short and simple way. I feel like we all need more of that right now…simple direct messages that go straight to the heart and lead us back to Jesus. I have also always loved giving children’s books as gifts…even for adults, if I think the message is something that resonates with me and I want to share it. So it’s been incredibly fun to now have published a children’s picture book, with an inspiring message for children AND adults, that can be given as a gift!
When this all started stirring in my heart a few years ago, it was at a time when it seemed like everyone was saying that Christmas had become too materialistic, and as I prayed and thought about it, I realized I actually disagreed…because I see Jesus in everything…not just spiritual things, but material things as well! So as I put my heart and thoughts toward writing this poem, it wasn’t exactly a new perspective for me.
My love for Jesus and seeing the Fruits of His Spirit in everything started long ago in my life. Looking through the lens of His Fruits has become an anchor for me in every aspect of my life - my marriage, my motherhood, my ministry, my work and my hobbies… Jesus is in ALL of it…through the Fruits of His Spirit!
I established Little Bird Press as a way to inspire families to see, experience and practice the Fruits of the Spirit, in their everyday lives, which is the hidden message in SEEING Christmas. For those who don’t know, the Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We learn this in the book of Galatians in the new testament of the Bible. These are where I see Christ in my life. It’s His Spirit we are seeing when we see all of these things.
This is something I have been doing within myself for a long time. It actually started when I was in college. I read a book by Brother Lawrence called Practicing His Presence…a book about trying to stay connected to God in every single moment of life. It became a foundational book for me. Right around the same time, my mom had cross-stitched and framed the Fruits of the Spirit, and gave it to me as a gift. I had it hanging on the wall in my dorm room, and somehow it just connected for me - the Fruits of the Spirit are where God is, and if I can see the Fruits of His Spirit in my life and stay connected to them, then I can stay connected to God, and connected to Jesus…because they are the Fruits of His Spirit…the Holy Spirit.
Another thing that I love about this, that I find so important, is continuing to read on in the verse in Galatians where it says “against these things there is no law”. There’s never going to be a law against any of these Fruits. You can do any one of them, at any time, and know that you are within the will of God, walking with Him and doing the right thing…which is our ultimate goal as Jesus followers, right? We want to walk with Him and stay connected to Him. Sometimes we get confused about should I do this? Should I do that? Well…is there peace there? Is there love there? Are we acting patient? So I think it is a true test. If you are wondering “am I in God’s will?”, I would suggest you ask yourself…are the Fruits of His Spirit present?
I recently had the realization that I have never really talked about doing life this way with others, and yet it has been an anchor in my daily life for over 40 years. I definitely see it as the foundation of my book and my publishing company. I’m trying to share more about this perspective in various ways, and I hope and pray it’s a blessing to all!