It’s Not About Me

Hello, readers! Although usually I write mysteries and romantic suspense set in the South, recently I wrote a story set in an Amish community. My characters use their faith and trust in God to solve their problems. My hope as an author is that my fictional stories will encourage readers during their own times of tribulation. Shortly after I began my writing career, and experienced a modicum of success, I made a sign to hang over my desk of a favorite Scripture:  “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12 NLT

My mother had her own version of that particular passage: Stop tooting your own horn. And her favorite: The less said about one’s self the better. The immortal maxims of my late mother still ring in my ears today, making me smile. The problem is Mom was a stay-at-home housewife, not a published author. How does a Christian balance being humble with the necessity of self-promotion, essential in the world of publishing? Not only writers, but musicians, dancers, actors, salespeople, public speakers, sports figures and of course, politicians must do quite a bit of horn-tooting to stay in the game. Even doctors and lawyers appear on TV enticing us to file that lawsuit or get that tummy-tuck expressly from them. Often this type of marketing isn’t just expected but required in the fine print of contracts.
I have struggled with the dilemma of promotion vs. setting oneself above others. I don’t like having to say: “look at me and what I’ve accomplished” even though I’m expected to blog, Facebook and participate in author interviews. So I must walk a narrow path between not puffing myself up, and spreading the word that a book about God’s infinite grace, mercy and love has just been released.  I focus on one undeniable truth: God gave me whatever humble abilities I possess. As long as He continues to put words into my head, I will continue to turn them into gentle stories meant to inspire. I hope I never forget: It’s not about me. It’s all by His hand and for His glory.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving, readers!!   Mary Ellis

Thoughts on Being Adopted

Happy Thursday, readers. The holidays are behind us. I thought I’d share something personal with you.AmishMiracle 1

Turn on a made-for-TV movie or one of those “reality” shows about adoption and you’ll find adult children in serious angst over being given up. Everyone seems to be frantically searching for natural mothers and birth siblings. Invariably during the program’s second segment, after the commercial break, the viewer meets the long-suffering mother. Apparently she never stopped loving, worrying about, and searching for the baby taken from her or surrendered during a momentary lapse of judgment. These stories have always rung false for me, or at least overly “Hollywood” dramatic.

Do I believe such situations exist in real life? Yes, indeed. But are they the norm as the producers would have us believe? Not by a long shot, in my opinion. I’ve known too many adopted friends and siblings who suffered disappointments or faced disaster after discovering their “roots.” Personally, I hold no grudge or latent hostility for the woman who gave me up, but I also possess no buried affection either. She is a stranger. Throughout my life I’ve been offended by the predictable question: Don’t you want to know who your real mom is? I’ve always replied, “No, because I know who my real mother is—she’s the one who wiped my runny nose, fixed my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and put up with my sassy mouth as a teenager.

As a writer adopted from Children’s Services as an infant, I chose to explore this issue from another viewpoint…as the woman who gave up her child. In Always in my Heart, my novella from An Amish Miracle, Hope Bowman believes God has punished her for giving up her firstborn son. And she’s hidden this secret from her husband. Although Hope is thankful for three daughters, she still prays for a son. But instead of a new baby, God sends her the fifteen-year-old boy she abandoned.

Writing this novella turned out to be therapeutic, even though I’m well beyond the normal age for therapy. Tackling a sensitive and personal issue from another angle allowed me to come full circle. I experienced a bit of catharsis at my fictional story’s conclusion. My adoptive parents were the only parents I ever wished to know and were as “real” as any birth parents. But I hope you’ll look for my tale about a young man who chose a different path than mine. An Amish Miracle anthology is available everywhere in print and electronic download. Always in my Heart novella will be available on February 14th at Amazon for Kindles. Always in My Heart cover

http://www.amazon.com/Always-My-Heart-Miracle-Novella-ebook/dp/B00E68O026/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1388707155&sr=1-3&keywords=always+in+my+heart