30 Days of Thankfulness

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.

Hugs, Shellie

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 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
Gilbert 08c-2
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 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 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’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 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
Julie-7 (2)_06_03_2013
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is the author of two children’s books as well as Into the Free, which received Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and Book of the Year 2013 as well as the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, released September 2013.
Tammi is the anchor of the Rural Evening News for RFD-TV/FamilyNet/RuralRadio80 based out of Nashville, TN. She’s also been a freelance reporter for Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and Tennessee Crossroads.  She’s also been cast in a few movies and TV shows(Dukes of Hazzard, Breaking Dawn:Part 2, Star Crossed, Enemies Among Us, Flag of My Father)
Echo Garrett smiling headshot
Echo Garrett is the co-founder/Board Chair of Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, a nonprofit that does life plan coaching with homeless youth and teens aging out of foster care based on her multi-award winning book My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change. She frequently speaks on how we can help our nation’s most vulnerable teens become self-sufficient. She has written or contributed to 12 other books, including Why Don’t They Just Get a Job?: One Couple’s Mission to End Poverty in Their Community, and has been published in more than 75 national outlets including Parade, Delta Sky, and Business Week. Married to photographer/writer Kevin Garrett and mom to two sons Caleb and Connor, Echo has been interviewed on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, NY-1 and served as editor-in-chief of Atlanta Woman magazine.
DENISE_a12_071_1Denise Hildreth Jones, and University of South Carolina Journalism graduate, is now launching her eighth novel. Secrets Over Sweet Tea  and her second non-fiction book, Reclaiming Your Heart: A Journey back to Laughing, Loving and Living. Featured twice in Southern Living, recipient of the Bronze Medallion Foreword Magazine Book of the Year and chosen recipient of The Inspy’s General Fiction award, Jones has enjoyed sharing her gift of story with readers. She also leads a ministry called Reclaiming Hearts which helps point people back to the alive heart God has called them to. She leads Bible Studies in her hometown in Franklin, TN, does a yearly VBS for Women event and is co-partner of the powerful and evangelistic outreach called Love Nashville. She makes her home with her husband Philly, her five bonus children, her dog Sophie and loves good food, good conversation, good books and cold Coca-Cola.  
RachelHauckPhotoRachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.  A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time in 2004. Rachel serves on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is ACFW’s 2013 Mentor of the Year. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Her latest book release is Once Upon A Prince. He next book, Princess Ever After, releases in February 2014. Visit her web site at http://www.rachelhauck.com
Author pic and bio coming from Kathryn Casey.