November is fast approaching and I’ve been trying to make a decision that concerns the All Things Southern community. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve asked God for wisdom with as much sincerity as I know how to muster. I thought I needed more answers to proceed. I’ve known the when and the why. The how, who, what and with whom were blanks.
If I were going to do it again this year, I wanted it to be because I knew HE was in it. If He wasn’t, I didn’t want to be.
Last week, after spending some back porch time with Jesus about this particular matter and a host of other things, Dixie Belle and I struck off down the road for our morning walk.
That’s when I found this.
At my feet. A discarded water bottle, full, unopened– and thrown away.
I understand if that seems inconsequential to you, but for me, it was startling, unexpected, and crystal clear.
I’d been praying about how to proceed with our annual 30 Days of Thankfulness Drive. Briefly, for new friends, this is a specified time where I ask my readers and listeners to walk into the holiday season with me sharing a common purpose. To determine that we won’t just express our thankfulness, but to commit to show our gratitude in a physical and tangible way to those who could never ever in their wildest dreams conceive of the type of holidays you and I will enjoy.
It won’t take a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving and Christmas, with brightly lit trees heaped in presents or tables heavy laden with delicious food to far outpace the hopes of many. If you’re watching your children drink from the same stream where village livestock defecate, clear uncontaminated drinking water is the stuff of your dreams.
Which brings us back to the water bottle. There are places in our world where full water bottles would never be thrown away.
There are people in our world who would be beyond grateful to find one at their feet.
Among other common goals All Things Southern has undertaken in our past drives, one of the most rewarding has been our partnership with the Water for Life program sponsored by Life Today. Together we raised money to drill a well for a village on the other side of the globe who live without this most basic need.
You may be wondering then, what was at the root of my earlier consternation? Good question.
The last couple of years I’ve invited other authors to participate in our season of thankfulness. My vision was to see the literary world unite in a charitable drive in much the way other artists and entertainers have joined together in the past. I called it Writers and Readers Reach Out. My dream was to see other authors call out to their circle of readers to join them the way y’all have so graciously come alongside me. I could see all of these small circles overlapping and rippling until we created one big tidal wave of love.
Some authors did join us! Where I was successful in getting the word and the details out (which was admittedly the problem), other caring writers caught the vision. I’m grateful for those that put their efforts with ours.
I still believe Writers and Readers Reach Out is a great idea, but frankly, it proved bigger than me. I’m not trying to be self-effacing, it’s just obvious. Writers and Readers Reach Out didn’t take off the way I had hoped because I don’t know how to “start a movement.”
All I know how to do is move.
So, this year, I will once again ask you as a member of the All Things Southern community to join me in 30 Days of Thankfulness, beginning November 1st. If other authors hear of this and want to participate, I’ll do everything I can to help them get started.
All of our efforts will go to drilling wells with Life Today.
One well costs $4,800. How many can we drill? Two? Ten?
I’m asking each of you to make a one-time donation, or a weekly donation, or whatever you can do throughout the month of November– and to retweet, share, and spread the call.
Large amounts, small amounts, anything and everything counts. Every single gift matters.
There will be details to come but for starters, here is a button you can push that will allow you to donate online where your gift can be tracked and verified.
You’ll also be able to mail your check or money order to me here at All Things Southern if you would like.
This is just the first post. I had to get it out of my heart and onto the screen so I could sleep.
We may not have done all we wanted to do in the last few years, but for the child in that village who lives today because he or she has been able to drink fresh water from our well, we did it all.
Let’s do it again.
For any authors who may happen by, feel free to contact me for more details and idea as to how to engage your communities. I know full well how hard we have worked to create our platforms. Let’s use them now for a greater purpose. You can find all of my contact info at http://www.allthingssouthern.com
Pray about it and let me know who’s in….
10/24/13 UPDATE: Here are the detailsrs who want to jump in http://www.shellierushingtomlinson.com/30daysdetails/
10/24/13 UPDATE: Early list of authors who are participating includes:
NICOLE SEITZNicole Seitz is the author of six novels, her most recent title, Beyond Molasses Creek. An artist as well as a writer, her paintings are featured on the covers of her books. Nicole lives in the Charleston, SC, area with her husband and their two children, teaches art at a local private school, and is currently working on her next novel. Learn more about Nicole Seitz at http://www.nicoleseitz.com KELLIE COATES GILBERT A former legal investigator and trial paralegal, Kellie Coates Gilbert writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Her stories are about messy lives, and eternal hope. Her next release, A WOMAN OF FORTUNE, will be available this June. For more information, go to www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com KAREN SPEARS ZACHARIAS Karen Spears Zacharias is an author, road warrior, and journalism instructor at Central Washington University. Karen is known for writing nonfiction that makes people laugh, cry, and throw things, although she doesn’t recommend throwing things. She recently debuted her first work of fiction, Mother of Rain. You can discover more of Karen’s words at http://www.karenzach.com CARLA STEWART Carla is a novelist with a passion for times gone by. She believes we all yearn for the place in our hearts we call “home.” Her novels are meant to take you there. Carla released Sweet Dreams in May 2013 and her next novel, The Hatmaker’s Heart will hit stores June 3rd, 2014. You can meet Carla and find more information about her work at http://www.carlastewart.com JOLINA PETERSHEIM Jolina Petersheim’s debut novel, The Outcast, was an ECPA and CBA bestseller and garnered a starred review in Library Journal; her sophomore novel, The Midwife, will release in Summer 2014. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Whenever she’s not busy chasing this adorable toddler, Jolina is hard at work on her next novel. You can visit with her at www.jolinapetersheim.com RENEA WINCHESTER Renea Winchester grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina girl and now lives in Georgia near the land her great-grandpa once farmed. She is an award-winning author, whose first book, In the Garden with Billy, earned her the honor of the Atlanta Pen Women’s Author of the Year. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release Farming, Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She is passionate about literacy and volunteers at the local library. Contact her at www.reneawinchester.com