Christmas Week Guest Blog and Giveaway DAY 4: Twila Belk
UPDATE: The winner of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson is Sarah! Congrats! Please send your physical address to contests(AT)knightagency.net.
A Note from Jia (a.k.a. the wizard behind the green curtain of this blog): Don't forget that we're having our annual online holiday party TONIGHT @ 9pmET. Chat with the CHRISTMAS MIRACLES authors Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson, along with contributors like Twila Belk! More than a dozen "presents" will be given out, in addition to a first chapter manuscript critique by one of our agents! Click here to bookmark our chat room. *hands mic to Twila*
Deck the halls with Christmas miracles, fa la la la la la la la la.
As I sit here trying to come up with a brilliant blog entry, I could use a couple Christmas miracles right now. Number one would be that I actually get the blog entry written before it needs to be posted. Number two would be that my house would miraculously decorate itself. Am I the only one in the world with a naked Christmas tree and zero decorations on display? I shouldn’t be concerned—I have at least another week before Christmas, right? Then there’s the pile of presents to wrap. And the cookies and banana nut bread and bran muffin mix I wanted to make. There’s a ton of stuff hanging over my head right now.
But as I think about it, that’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t really matter in the long run. Christmas isn’t about decorations or presents or bran muffins. It’s about miracles—and one miracle in particular that happened in the little town of Bethlehem many years ago when a baby with the name of Immanuel (God with us) came on the scene. That was the first Christmas miracle, and God has been doing Christmas miracles ever since.
The dictionary describes a miracle as “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.” I describe a miracle as “a big wow.” “Wow” is about the only thing I can say when something that doesn’t seem possible in the physical realm happens.
I work full-time with bestselling author Cecil (Cec) Murphey as his manager and personal assistant. He and author Marley Gibson joined forces to work on a wonderful book project called CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, published by St. Martin’s Press. It was already in its third printing before it released on October 13. I did a lot of behind-the-scenes work on the book. I’ve handled much of the publicity for it. I’ve worked very closely with the 44 contributors. And, because I’ve personally experienced many “wow moments,” I was able to contribute two of my own stories: “Poinsettias from God” and “It Took a Miracle.”
The book has 48 real-life stories of everyday people who have experienced life-changing moments of hope, comfort, and transformation. Some of the stories involve God’s perfect timing. Others showcase God’s provision or loving care at a difficult time. Some make the reader smile. Others bring tears to the eyes. They all serve as reminders that God still does miracles TODAY. They serve as reminders that GOD IS WITH US. That’s an encouraging message.
As I’ve corresponded with the contributors, I’ve learned of a few heartwarming stories that have happened because of the book.
The contributor copies of the book were a bit late arriving because of going into the third printing. Here’s what one contributor said: “I couldn't wait, so I ran to Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES. It's beautiful! My friend and I were perusing it when a homeless man asked us about it. Long story short, God used that wonderful little book to bring a lot of hope and encouragement to him. It really was transforming for him. He went from very discouraged and depressed to eyes brimming with tears and filled with hope. He even started talking about his lost dreams and who God had created him to be.”
In a note I received this week, another contributor mentioned that she had a couple of memorable experiences because of the book. Her story, “Sean’s Question,” is the last story in the book. It’s about losing a child and how God touched her during that time. She said, “I happened to be sitting next to a man in a public place who had lost a child. I knew that this person had struggled with anger and other emotions due to the circumstances of the loss. Because someone talked about the book and he overheard, we were able to have a conversation about our common experience. I told him about sharing my story in the book and gave him a CHRISTMAS MIRACLES postcard. A week later I received a phone call from him at work, and he told me that he had gone out and bought the book after we talked, and that he had read my story and some of the other stories in the book. He said he didn't think it was a coincidence that our paths had crossed and that we had talked. He wanted me to know how much he appreciated it. He seemed very touched by the book.”
Isn’t that just like God? He does miracles around the book about miracles!
Are you longing for a touch of the miraculous in your life right now? I’m not talking about the finish-the-blog-entry type of miracle or the getting-the-house-decorated miracle. Maybe you’re discouraged because of circumstances beyond your control. Maybe you’re wondering how you’ll make it through the next few weeks. Maybe you’ve run out of hope. I want to encourage you to remember that God is with you. He’s still in the miracle business. And Christmas is the perfect time to let God show you Himself in a fresh and new way.
May your eyes and heart be open to the miracles God wants to do on your behalf, and may your days be filled with joy, peace, and hope in abundance.
BTW—You’re invited to join us for lots of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES talk tonight in the TKA chat room. Cec, Marley, and many of the contributors will be there. We’d love to “meet” you.
CHRISTMAS WEEK CONTESTS: Remember, there are TWO ways to win! Each day this week (December 14th - 18th) a guest blogger will give away a signed book to one person randomly chosen from the comment section. Today's prize is CHRISTMAS MIRACLES by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson! Check back in this post tomorrow morning to find out if you are the winner!
Also, at the bottom of each post there is a scavenger hunt question. The answer can be located somewhere on the author's website. Send in all 5 correct answers* to the scavenger hunt questions, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a TKA Surprise Christmas Stocking filled with books and holiday treats!!!
SCAVENGER HUNT QUESTION (4 of 5): Which one of the CHRISTMAS MIRACLES authors (Cec or Marley) once worked as an elementary school teacher? Visit www.ChristmasMiraclesBook.com to find the answer!
*Please note, that the correct answers to the scavenger hunt questions must be sent in at one time. You must collect all 5 answers and send them in one email. Entries for the scavenger hunt will be accepted from Friday, December 18th thru Sunday, December 20th at midnight. The winner will be announed on this blog Monday, December 21st, 2009. If you have any questions about this contest, please contact contests(AT)knightagency.net.