Mea Cupla from Video Woman and a DVD Give-a-Way of Heart Wide Open

I’ve had zero qualms about chatting up the world about Heart Wide Open, at least in the book format. The DVD teaching? Not so much. And that’s not right.

My relative silence doesn’t do justice to do the message of Heart Wide Open and it definitely doesn’t honor the self-sacrificing labor that so many people poured into the DVD’s release. This, then, is my mea culpa to all involved. My hope for  this transparent post is to blow my own cover about this thing once and for all. To join me on this odd little journey, you’ll need some back story.

Producing a DVD teaching wasn’t on my radar when I finished writing Heart Wide Open.  My friend, Jonathan Wiggins, senior pastor of Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland, CO had been a call in guest on my radio talk show the evening the opportunity surfaced. I was driving home, still thinking about our discussion when my phone rang. It was Jonathan and he wasted no time hitting me with his big idea.

“I want you to come to Loveland and teach Heart Wide Open,” Jonathan said. “We’ll build you a first rate set and invite our women to the recordings.”


You tell me. Whatever is a girl to say to an invitation like that– especially when she’s told the whole thing will be a gift, that the church will not only record and produce the DVD, but will give full rights of distribution to her publisher?  This belle said, “Yes!” and “Thank you!”

It’s important to note that from the get-go I never ever anticipated the DVD to be released on the retail market. The offer itself was so unheard of, so unusual. My editor even had a hard time embracing the idea when I called with the news.  And I got that.

I understood my publishing house being flummoxed by Resurrection Fellowship wanting to invest all the effort and expense involved in making the DVD and then promptly waive all rights to it. I couldn’t blame my publisher for being cool about the idea since they had no prior relationship with Resurrection Fellowship or their top notch media department. How could they know if the results would be retail worthy or if Rez (as the church is known in Loveland) planned to video me on a stool in someone’s back yard? So, yes, I totally understood when my publisher expressed polite enthusiasm over the offer without making any commitment to market the final product.

That’s not to say I took the opportunity lightly. Far from it. I crazy love to teach God’s word and I endeavored to teach the material of Heart Wide Open as well as I could.


I also tried to present the best appearance possible. My darling friends and family put themselves out offering fashion advice for the taping and they traveled to Colorado with me to make sure I had my lipstick on and my stomach sucked in when the camera started rolling, (more on that to come.)

I’m only saying that I looked at teaching Heart Wide Open to a committed group of girls over the course of several days as a great opportunity to teach the material in a concentrated way before I spent the next year traveling and speaking on its various themes. At the extreme reach of my imagination I envisioned a possible scenario of offering clips from the DVD on my website. But, that was it. Over and out.

My traveling buddies and I had a great time in Colorado. The set was fall down gorgeous and the audience could not have been kinder or more receptive. For brevity’s sake, we’ll fast forward several months.

See me there, in the comfort of my own home previewing DVD’s from the taping. Footage I knew had been sent to my publisher at the same time, footage of which my editor had graciously said, “The team will review it for possible use.”

I can’t over exaggerate the discomfort I experienced as I watched myself teach on that screen.

It was painful.

By painful, I mean excruciating. By excruciating, I mean I could barely stomach Video Woman.  Why DID she make those expressions? And did she HAVE to do her eyes like that? And for the love of heaven, WHY didn’t she wear a Spanx with that clingy green shirt? (I’ve since forgiven the “stylists” who were traveling with me for overlooking that fashion disaster because Jesus said I must. Besides, they claimed it was an accident and they stuck to that story like white on rice.)

It didn’t matter what session I watched,  how far away I held my laptop, or which outfit Video Woman was wearing, everything about her bothered me and that very discomfort took me by surprise.

I’ve produced video commentaries for my readers for years. Those two to three minute clips have been posted to my website and they’ve aired on our local CBS affiliate.  My reaction was confusing precisely because I’m not only comfortable in front of the camera, I actually enjoy it! What was this? I wanted to figure it out, but I just couldn’t take anymore. Confident that my publisher wasn’t about to sign off on what I’d just witnessed, I closed my laptop and breathed these now infamous words to my darling man.

“Well, baby. I’m just glad I don’t ever have to see that again.”

You know God has a fantastically wonderful sense of humor, right?

In less than forty-eight hours I received an enthusiastic email from my publisher. They loved it. They wanted to retail it. Oh, joy.


So, there you have it. The back-story for why, sans a tweet here and a Facebook post there, I haven’t touched last month’s DVD release with a ten-foot pole. I’m willing to look that poor attitude full in the face, so to speak. I’ve come to believe that the difference in viewing this DVD and the other projects I’ve been involved in boils down to the vulnerability and personal nature of the subject matter.

I’m calling myself out, y’all.

I may not like how I look or sound but the truth is, I’m only the messenger. If I believe in the message of Heart Wide Open, and I do, I should welcome every opportunity to get it out there.

On that note, I want to offer anyone who leaves a comment an opportunity to win a DVD teaching of Heart Wide Open for your personal use or to enjoy with your ladies’ group.  It comes with a downloadable study guide. To put your name in the hat, share your experiences with seeing your face in pictures and video, or your voice on audio. Do you like it? Dislike it? Why, or why not?

The winner will be drawn Monday, June 16th.

Hugs, Shellie


  1. Judy Acker says

    Oh my I know exactly how you fewl. I hardly ever let anyone take my picture. It is my mouth. I don’t know what happened to it. It just droops. You know that button Delete I use it alot on my camera.
    On another note. I know the crazy southern belle, you I just love on stage talking to me.

  2. Paula Cribb says

    My dearest Shellie I can relate to those feelings..When our youth and youth leaders traveled to Jacksonville Florida last year our beloved youth pastor just had to have a video of our experiences while there to put on the big screen at church and wouldnt you know he would ask me to share mine?? Now me being me,thought YES sir I will tell the world what a life changing trip it was so we set it up.Well the kids did theres and they were just so precious and so humble and so…youthful looking…When it was time for mine,I sat down on that red couch and told all of creation how my life had changed and how this trip had impacted me forever..Sunday after,they showed it..on that HUGE screen at church and then there I was…I sank down in my chair in my corner in hopes no one would look at me cause I found I didnt like all that hoopla and seeing my self and hearing myself was not something I was comfortable with.Why?? Because I didnt like everybody and their momma seeing me like that.Me.Strong me up there blubbering on that screen because of the goodness of God and how HE moved through our kids and leaders on that trip,But now,I dont care.I want to tell the world how much HE loves! Wait till I come back from Africa in August!!

    • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

      Aw, sweet Paula! I just love you. Can’t wait to hear about your trip upon your return! You go, girl!

  3. Jessica Knott says

    I do not like hearing my voice AT ALL lol and have never been very photogenic. But as I’ve gotten a little older I’ve tried to retrain myself to appreciate the good in all things. So now when I hear my voice rather than cringe a at the tone I smile because of a very strong southern drawl that I no doubt picked up from my sweet Mama. And when I see pictures of myslef, instead of dissecting my appearance, I think my children will cherish those pictures when I’m gone, like I do of loved ones who have gone on to Glory.

    • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

      Ohhhh– what a wonderful thought. I think we are all MOST generous about seeing those we love in old pics. I love that “goes around, comes around” thought!

  4. Dianna Murchison says

    You did a great job!!! I on the other hand struggle with being on-screen….I start talking really fast and forget the most important thing…..breathing! The ladies of Open Range in Krum sure would love to do Heart Wide Open as our next devotional!

  5. Carol Mills says

    Shellie, I don’t believe anyone of us likes to hear our own voice on tape or any other way than the way we hear it through our own ears. I think each one of us thinks we look entirely different than we see ourselves on film or in a picture. The truth is we are all beautiful in the eyes of the only one who matters, “God”. Your voice gives me a reassurance of God’s love for all of us. You are one of his many messengers. You are one of the messengers who gets our attention, who we can all relate to if we live in our precious part of the world known as the south. This dvd will be just one more way God uses you and blesses all of us. Thank you for all you do.

    • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

      Carol, your words are precious, sweet, and treasured by this writer girl. THANKS!

  6. Jay Posey says

    Can’t wait for your DVD! We saw you at Cowgirl Get Together in Tyler this spring. Wonderful woman with a great message! Hate my voice on recordings, I sound sort of like a 6 year old Minnie Mouse! Oh my! It’s really painful!! Continued success with your Bible studies and teaching! You definitely have a gift!

    • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

      A Cowgirl friend? COOL! It’s great to see you here. That is hands down one of my favorite engagements on my calendar. See you in 2015. (And I just bet you do NOT sound like Minnie Mouse.) :)

  7. Clarenda Gulde says

    I always dislike any photo, recording or video of me, whether alone or in a group setting….I think it all stems from the fact that we invision ourselves as twenty or thirty years younger and ALWAYS with our stomachs sucked in and our lipstick perfect!….and of course our voices ALWAYS soft and appealing! Lol!! Would love to share your DVD teaching with our bible study group!

    • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

      Sarah, we have another person in this thread who thinks she sounds like Minnie! :) I have a sneaky feeling neither of y’all probably do. :)

  8. Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

    Fredakaye Womack– you’re the big winner! Shoot me your physical address and I’ll get your DVD to you!

  9. Jay Posey says

    Got your dvd and book — am so excited! The book is wonderful! Our little study group is going to do a weekend retreat with your dvd! Soo excited!!!
    Thanks for being you and for your wonderful gift of writing that you share with the world!!

    • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson says

      THANK YOU for those kind words. You bless me! FYI, I’ll be happy to skype in for a “hello” that weekend if the schedule allows. If you want to make that happen, email me the date. :)

      • Jay Posey says

        I will — we haven’t set a firm date yet– probably the end of July. They will be so blown away if we can get that arranged!!

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