I was reading a post over at Chip McGregor’s website titled Overcoming Doubt. I was relieved to learn that I am not the only writer who has doubts about this whole writing venture. Chip gives advice to writers in how to overcome doubt and one of his suggestions was to create what he calls “My Sunshine File.” Here is an excerpt:
My “Sunshine” file. Yeah, it’s true. I keep a file of emails people have sent to me that basically say, “You helped me” or “Thanks for being wise.” For years I kept a file folder of cards and letters people had sent, just to perk me up. I might be a total putz TODAY, but I can always look back and remember, “Hey…you were BETTER THAN A PUTZ that time!”
Now that my book “From the Sanctuary to the Streets” has been in print for several weeks, a handful of you, have actually read it and emailed me your comments. So I have decided to create a “Sunshine” post periodically to keep me motivated and remind me that this writing thing is worth the effort it takes. The following comments are from the early birds – the few who ordered their books early and read them quickly.
Tammy McClure writes “Oh my gosh Wendy. I couldn’t put the book down! The one word I would use to describe this book is POWERFUL! You are drawn into the stories in an amazing way and feel like you are actually walking the journey with you. It is amazing how the Lord took seeds from a group of suburban moms looking to learn the Word and He grew them into Embrace Richmond with the furniture bank and now without.. WOW! There are so many lives that have been changed because of your willingness to step out. I believe you should have a WARNING to your readers. Your vision will change by reading this book. Thanks for your faithfulness!”
Cindy Marchese posted on her facebook account “Just finished reading my sisters book….it was awesome…very eye opening and inspiring. Takes you to places that most of us just close our eyes too and pretend that they don’t exist….real peoples stories of hope and heartache and how when we break down all the cultural and racial barriers how we can all come together in faith and teach each other so much! I’m so proud of everything that you do Wendy and I hope that many people who read your book are inspired to live the dreams that God is calling them to do…just as you did!”
Joe Torrence wrote, “It is interesting because as I read “From the Sanctuary to the Streets “ by Wendy McCaig I realized that even though I know most of the folks in the book their story really came to life for me. I have seen first hand from my experience with Embrace Richmond that hope is a powerful force and when hope is teamed with the power of resurrection incredible things happen. I have spent the last fifteen years in youth ministry in the local church and one of the things that we in the Church have lost is the power of the Resurrection, the power of a God sized dream that is at work redeeming the broken and shattered pieces of life. In the Church the Resurrection has become more about more people than normal showing up then it is about God restoring Hope to the world, restoring life from death and victory in the face of defeat. Wendy has reminded me that there is great power in the dream because a dream means we have not yet given up the fight, there is still a chance and more importantly there is still hope. It is the possibility of things unseen. A city united to embrace all is a crazy dream one that by our power will not happen but a God sized dream reminds us that God is in control and wants to do in us more than we thought possible. We must hold on to that hope to dream God sized dreams , believe that the impossible is possible and live as people of a resurrection story.”
Sissy Luther wrote “I was so excited when the man in brown (UPS) brought my books. He knew I was looking for them and he had a great big smile on his face. I gave one to each person in our store, then went home to a quiet corner and read, and read, and read. I was so full of wonderful amazement of my daughter, WOW what a God Given understanding of the real meaning of life she has. I learn everyday from her. Thank You Wendy, Your mom loves and is of awe of you.”
Yvonne McCarrol wrote “I finally finished your book and it was rewarding and inspiring to me in several ways. It was heartwarming to know you have had and continue to have the perseverance to take the journey. I know you did not want your book to be a “how to help the homeless manual” but it really could be. It’s just filled with insights from so many experienced travelers who aren’t afraid to admit the potholes they ran over along the way. I liked the insets that emphasized the profound and meaningful thoughts and ideas and quotes. I liked the references to the Bible passages that encouraged you before and after certain experiences. I liked the way you gathered up your knowledge you obtained through your education and others and intertwined it into your journey. Most of all, I felt the love you have for Jesus and how you never doubt his love for you and those less fortunate. I can tell you never lost sight of the reason for the journey. The only negative thing I have to say is that I feel inadequate. I’m that person that drives past suffering people and hopes someone will help them, just not me. Hopefully that will change, because I can’t tell myself it’s okay, Wendy’s helping them and I’m related to Wendy therefore: I’m excused! You’ve inspired me to be a better person. As MLK said, “but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
I want you to know I got my yellow highlighter out and marked all my favorite places in my book. I may have to read those yellow words daily and remind myself of what’s important and I thank you for giving me the words. Your book is wonderful, and I wish you much happiness and success. You are truly a blessing to us all.”
I want to thank those of you who have shared your comments so far. I would love to hear from those of you who are not my blood relatives or who are not currently connected to the ministry of Embrace Richmond. Those of us close to the ministry have lived these stories and are writing new chapters every day but I am curious if the book has the same reception from those who not as connected.
For those of you outside the Richmond community or who only know of Embrace from a distance, what are your thoughts on the book? What parts would you like me to expand on? What parts do you wish I would have left out of the book?
I look forward to getting feedback from all of you. This is what keeps me going. I will likely never make a dime on the book and am donating 100% of local book sales back to Embrace so your comments are what keeps me going. Don’t be bashful, even if you did not like the book, your comments will help me grow as a writer but please speak the truth in love!