Tag Archives: The Book Salvaged

Salvaged Around The Web

Check out these great articles that were posted today about the Salvaged Web Series.

 

http://www.realtvfilms.com/blog/?p=14900&utm_content=buffer6288a&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Buffer

 

http://randomwritingrants.com/2013/10/08/what-is-a-web-series-and-how-can-it-help-sell-your-book-interview-with-stefne-miller/

 

http://www.lindanewtonspeaks.com/blog/check_out_this_new_web_series

Two Teaser Clips from Salvaged

The Salvaged web series is now only 12 days away! To celebrate the countdown AND the fact that it’s Friday, I thought I’d share two brand new teaser videos from the series.

Be sure to spread the word by sharing the videos with your friends. To make sure you don’t miss any of the videos we upload, go to our YouTube channel and subscribe!

Clip number one – one of the first scenes in the book and the scene that came to me in the dream that introduced me to Attie and Riley.

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Clip number two – Attie’s first night at the Bennett’s.

When Riley realizes that Attie is scared to sleep in Melody’s old room, he invites her to sleep in his bed… with him on the floor, of course. ;)

 

Behind the Scenes of Salvaged Series: Writing For a Cause

The story of Salvaged centers around a girl named Attie Reed whose mother and best friend die in a car accident. The novel revolves around the impact of that accident on Attie’s life and how she recovers. How the Lord literally salvages her life. Restores. Brings value to something once deemed as having little to no value at all.

That in and of itself if a powerful message and one that I’ve written about time and time again over the last four years ( herehereherehere are a few), spoken about at numerous speaking engagements and discussed with fans via e-mail, Facebook messages and if local, even over coffee.  I have always loved that I had the opportunity to weave such an important message into such a powerful story. Salvaged. It’s a life changing concept.

But when I approached writing the script, I had the opportunity to get out another message. Four years ago, the web series’ Executive Director, Teena Webster’s son died in a car accident. After just having received the worst news imaginable, Teena and her husband and family had to make a decision: whether or not to donate his organs to others. They chose to make the selfless decision and turn the loss of their son into a gift to others. In his death, just as he lived his life, he was a hero.

It was Teena’s wish, and ours, that her son be honored in some way while at the same time informing viewers about organ donation.  It then became my responsibility to honor those wishes and do so in a way that fit within the story line, added impact but didn’t over-power.

Below, you see an envelope. It is woven in to every episode of the series. Barely noticeable in some scenes, a major fixture in others. In it, another hero is born.

On Sept. 25th, as you begin to watch the Salvaged Series, be on the lookout for this envelope and prepare to be a part of something very powerful.

Oh, and random fact: The handwriting on the envelope is mine. It’s my cameo in the film. :)

13 Days

Video From Stefne… and more!

 

Don’t forget to spread the word that there are four E-Book copies of Salvaged up for grabs! Go here to register:

 

And last but not least…

16 Days

20 Days (1)

Let’s Talk the “F” Word – Part 3

If you would’ve looked at my life over the last ten years or so, you would have said that “forgiveness” was one of the major areas in my life that I needed to work on. No need to go into specifics, but let’s just say I had many moments of hurt (as we all do). Many of those hurts I held on to and a few I let go. The one’s I held on to turned into some serious forgiveness issues and it impacted many areas of my life. I needed to deal with it but I also knew it would require some work – and trust me, I didn’t want to do it but I knew it needed to be done. I also knew that I wasn’t quite sure how.

Do you know what the Lord did? First, he gave me yet another major offense that I needed to work through – a little fresh meat so to speak. Then he taught me forgiveness in the strangest way ever – he had me write about it. I started writing a story about a girl who had some things happen in her life that required her to forgive. Her issues weren’t necessarily similar to mine, but I was able to walk through the entire process through the eyes and the “spirit”of someone else. It was fascinating. Somehow, that story became a book. Then, I wrote a second book  about the same characters and found myself writing about forgiveness again, although for a different type of “offense”. Again, learned the process through my character.
I can honestly say that for almost a full year, I studied forgiveness, wrote about forgiveness, pondered the topic of forgiveness and tried to live it out in my life. Here’s the interesting thing though, I’m as interested in what forgiveness is as much as what it isn’t.
Why? Because for so many years I had people telling me that if you’ve truly forgiven, you should be able to reconnect with the person(s) that hurt you. I battled with myself about it for years. I felt guilty, I felt like a failure and I feared that although I believed I forgave people, maybe I’d been wrong. Maybe I never really had.
So, I went back to the basics and looked up the word.
Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. (That was completely copied off of Wikipedia so I’m not sure if the links will work or not).
Have you noticed what the definition doesn’t include? It doesn’t say you have to go back to how things were. It doesn’t say you must remain friends or close to the person who committed the offense. It doesn’t say you aren’t allowed to still hurt when you’re reminded of the offense and it doesn’t say that you have to explain your decisions to anyone else. All it says is that you will stop harboring resentment and anger and that you won’t spend your time hoping for some type of punishment to rain down from the heavens.
God knows we’re human. He knows we’re weak and although he asks a lot from us, he doesn’t ask the impossible. He doesn’t necessarily say we have to forget – otherwise he wouldn’t have given us a memory. He just says we need to forgive.

Sometimes we’ll reconnect with people and sometimes we’ll cut ties. Either way, as long as we’ve forgiven – we’ve done all that God asks us to do.

I’d be a total loser if I didn’t point out that the Lord isn’t asking anything of us that he hasn’t already done – time and time again. He’s quick to forgive . . . and forget.

There are losses in my life through offense that still hurt – 20 years later, 10 years later, 5 years, 1 year . . . we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been wronged. AND – we’ve all hurt and we’ve all wronged. We’ve been on both sides of the coin – we’ve needed to forgive and we’ve needed to be forgiven.

The major lesson I’ve learned is: Forgiveness is a gift for us from the Lord. It’s a gift he gives us and it’s a gift we give ourselves. When we chose, as painful as it is, to forgive someone else – we free ourselves. We free ourselves from thinking about them, from dwelling on the offense and we free ourselves from any hold they had on our lives.

As a person whose finally dropped some chains of forgiveness – chains that have been attached to certain people, I feel a lot less pressure and weight on my shoulders and on my spirit. I wish those people well and I move on – and it feels good to have done so.

That’s it for my posts on the dreaded “F” word – unless of course the Lord prompts me to write something else. My prayer for you is that the Lord will reveal those places in your life that a little (or a lot) of work might need to be done. Where a gift needs to be given — or received.

I hope you’ll be willing to drop the chains and free yourself.

Let’s Talk the “F” Word – Part One

I kinda knew this post was gonna be heavy when I woke up at 4:30 in the morning feeling the need to write it.
Here’s my problem: I made the mistake of praying before I went to bed last night. I told the Lord that I was under the impression he didn’t want me writing about anything right now because I wasn’t really getting anything from him – but, should he change his mind he should just let me know and I’d be glad to follow his direction.
Big mistake.
So here we go – the message he gave me… the grandaddy of all topics…
 F-f-f- forgiveness.
Let’s all slap our foreheads and groan in unison.
Forgiveness? Come on! Can’t we talk about patience or community service or something . . . seriously, did we have to go there?
Unfortunately yes. You see, I have this fear of blatantly ignoring the Lord and since you’re crazy enough to take the time to read my ramblings, you’re stuck having to read what I get stuck having to write.
So let’s just walk down this road of misery together- shall we?
Forgiveness . . . does anyone actually even like the word? Personally, just hearing it gives me the willies.
I wonder why that is? . . . Could it be because the process can be downright painful? Could it be that our flesh would forever enjoy holding grudges, dreaming of revenge and plotting the destruction of any and all people who’ve ever wronged us? Well yes, there’s that.
From where do you think so many novels come? Someone’s sick and twisted revenge dreams played out on paper since they can’t actually do it in real life – not that I’m talking about myself or anything . . .
Anyhoo - I’m starting to believe that the topic of forgiveness gives us the willies cause we just flat out aren’t very good at it and we know it. Many times, just when we think we’ve mastered the concept, the Lord lovingly gives us yet another situation that demands it from us and we again realize how human and pathetic we truly are.
Personally, I’m figuring out that forgiveness and our difficult time in doing it, is one of the Lord’s ways of reminding us that we aren’t him. We tend to look at our lives when all is going well and prance down the street whistling Dixie saying- “Look at me, I’m great. I’ve got this life thing all figured out”. Then we walk into the completely unnoticed glass door of offense, get stuck with the throbbing pain of realizing the need to forgive and we’re right back to admitting – “I’m pitiful and I can’t do this alone.”
Don’cha just love it when God reminds us of our crapiness?
So, forgiveness . . . for – giv - ness. Fo – rgi - ven - ess. Okay, no matter what em-phas-is you put on which ever syl-abble, the word still stinks.
No more avoidance- Forgiveness is demanded of us! And do you know why?
–Uh… so we can bless other people?
     — Sort of but that’s not THE reason.
–Uh… so we’ll be forced to pray for our enemies?
     — Not really, but if that actually happens,  I think you get bonus points up in heaven.
–Uh… so that if we run into them in public, I’m not tempted to run over and rip their eyeballs out of their skull.
     — Bingo! No, not really.
Here it is. The reason God wants us to forgive…
For you.
So that you can throw off that weight and walk around carrying so much less of a burden.
So that you aren’t spending your time thinking about and pondering on things that wrap you up and keep you from doing what you’re meant to do.
So that you can get a very teensy-weensy glimpse of what it is that the Lord does for you practically every single second of every single day.
So that you can witness your own miracle – and in return, increase your faith.
Forgiveness, a miracle?
I think it is, yes… and I’ll explain more in my next post.
There, enough for one day. Come back tomorrow for more FU-U and I’ll serve you up another stinkin’ heaping of forgiveness stew.
(By FU-U I was referring to Forgive U University . . . what did you think I was referring to? Geesh.)

“Verb”age!

I love how God works! I would scream that, but I’m sitting in Starbucks and I might freak out the customers – so I’ll just shout it this post. “I love how God works!”

I sat down this morning to answer e-mails and messages in my Facebook inbox. Collision has been out a few weeks now  and feedback is streaming in. I’m getting questions, comments and amazing proclamations. All of it is amazing, and I love responding (although it can take me some time).

But, there’s something about this book and the story told inside that is compelling people to want more. To discover their purpose. I’ve had several people say they put the book down and signed up for a mission trip. I’ve had more say that they are now really thinking about what it is they are meant to do with their time on this earth. It’s gotten people thinking and that’s exactly what I was hoping it would do.

In answering these notes, one of the things I’m trying to tell people is, just do something! Act. Start. Believe. Search. Say “yes” when God says “Go”!

So, I went back into the archives of my blog and found this post from a few years back. This is for all of you out there that are waiting for God to speak to you – to give you direction. I hope my confusion and wandering of a few years back, will encourage you in a  new way. It sure does me.

I love you guys, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you! And please, if you’re feeling compelled to head a certain direction, let me know so I can be praying for you on your journey! It’s the least I can do for all that you do for me!

Have you ever sat around and waited for God to do something for you? Have you prayed, begged, questioned, ranted and raved? “Where are you?” “Why aren’t you doing something?” “When are you going to act?”

Maybe I’m the only one.
I was thinking about that today. Not that I’m sitting around and asking God those questions during this season of my life. Actually, right now all is going well. But I know that I have asked those very questions and I have a lot of friends that are asking those questions. So, being snowed in as I am, and having nothing better to do, I sat and pondered. Then, I decided to re-read the book of Exodus (for some reason I’m going there a lot right now).
Once God and Moses have made their formal introductions, God gets right down to business. He tells Moses what he has planned. He is going to rescue the Israelites.
Now, do you think God really needed Moses to “help him” do it? No. Obviously he didn’t, but he chose to use him.
But here’s where it gets interesting. I am going quote the first or first several words of every single time that God speaks to Moses. Are you ready?
“So now go” 3:10
“Go back” 3:19
“Say” 6:6
“Go” 6:10
“Bring” 6:26
“Tell” 6″28
“See!” 7:1
“Throw” 7:9
“Go” and “Wait” and “Take” 7:15
“Say” 7:16
“Tell”, “Take”, “Stretch out” 7:19
“Go” 8:1
“Tell” 8:15
“Tell” 8:16
“Get up!” 8:20
“Go” 9:1
“Take” 9:8
“Get up” 9:13
“Stretch out your hand” 9:22
“Go” 10:1
“Stretch out your hand” 10:12
“Stretch out your hand” 10:21
“Stretch out your hand” 11:1
“Up!”, “Leave”, “Go Worship!” 12:31
I think you get the point. Do I really need to keep going? There are a lot more chapters in Exodus, but I’ll spare you the list.
Even with the parting of the sea, God required Moses to hold up his arms – the entire time!
Do you see a pattern here? God requires action. He may have wonderful plans for you – all of which he could very well do on his own and with no help from you. But, that’s not the kind of God he is. He requires verbs! He requires your action. If you can’t step out and act on your own behalf, why would you expect him to?
So many times we sit around and wait for God to deliver us. All the while he’s sitting around waiting for us to get up off our butts and put some action behind our demands.
You’re called to a purpose. It might be to impact the life of your neighbor or it might be to change nations! But you’ll never know until you act. Take a step of faith. One step. Show God that you’re ready, willing  and able to be used by him. God loves a willing spirit, but I’ve gotta think that it thrills him to the bone when someone is actually willing to put action behind that willingness.
Let yourself be used by him! I can promise you that no matter how far outside the box the “mission” might be, you won’t ever regret taking part!

In The Mist

I originally wrote the post below on July 27, 2009 – right after the loss of two children we’d been trying to adopt for close to two years. I’m so grateful that I wrote this post in a horrible time of pain because I can look back now and see that we made it through and God still had a plan for our lives. It wasn’t the plan I thought it was, but it was still a plan.

It’s nice to know that you’re missed when you’re gone. So, thanks to all of you who have been asking where I was and when I would write on my blog again.

Do you really want to know where I’ve been? I’ll warn you, it’s not pretty. The actual physical location I’ve been in was beautiful, but where I’ve been mentally and spiritually has been really ugly. You know, that lock yourself in a room, lights off, curtains drawn, watching daytime television and eating nothing but very unhealthy snack foods (I gained 10 pounds). That’s where I’ve been since July 4th week.
I’ve come to lovingly refer to it as “In the Mist”. It’s sort of a play on words for the saying “In the Midst”. So many friends, family and supporters have given me the “In the midst” speech since the loss of Karim and Phiona. Not that I don’t appreciate every one’s efforts of trying to make me feel better by looking for positives in a crappy situation, but I must admit that when they say “In the midst of your pain” all I picture is mist. Misty air clouding my vision.
There are different levels of mist – have you ever thought about that? There’s the light mist that hangs over your yard in the early mornings. There’s a slightly heavier mist that hovers even higher and seems a little thicker but you can still see items above and below. There’s the mist that encompasses everything and blurs your vision but you can see through it; and there’s the mist that is so thick that you literally can’t move in it. Highways and roads close, planes can’t fly, your vision is almost completely impaired – that kind of mist. I guess the proper term would be fog ~ but mist sounds more poetic.
Personally, I’ve been in some misty life situations before. I’ve had bad things happen that clouded my vision, or I’ve had an unexpected change of plans that caused the vision of my future to blur and become unclear. But until recently I don’t think I’ve ever been in the type of mist that was so thick and heavy that I couldn’t see a foot in front of me let alone for any distance.
Almost nothing seemed familiar or recognizable and that was a scary place.
One year ago my husband and I were on a path. We knew where we were going, we had an idea of what our future looked like. Things were good. In October we made some difficult yet necessary decisions that left things a little less certain – like the early morning mist covering the ground. Although our path was less clear, there was bright sunshine above and we were certain of our choices (and still are). In January I was given a wonderful opportunity to start a new life. Crazy as it sounds, my company was laying off and I wanted to be one of those people who received a pink slip. I had two new little ones about to enter my world and a year off with pay would have been the perfect way to devote the time and attention needed on the little ones while still having my income. My wish came true and my name was pulled out of the hat. I was laid off. The mist seemed to clear, my purpose seemed to reveal itself. I was meant to stay home for a while and really focus on the children – all five of them. Over time a few more not so positive events happened which brought the mist back in and this time it was the heavier kind but we still felt certain that we could see our path ahead.
Enter July 4th week and the loss of Karim and Phiona. The mist crept in. All the plans we had made – destroyed. The very thing that I thought had become my purpose – gone. The idea of thinking that maybe I’d figured out why I’m on this planet, why God put me here – obviously wrong. For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a job to go to, or a purpose to fulfill.
(For all of you out there screaming “You have three other children!” – I realize that, so don’t misunderstand that I don’t see impacting their lives as part of my purpose. Nobody said that you think rationally when “in the mist”.)
So where has being “In the Mist” left me? Dazed, confused, concerned? Certainly. But finally, the mist is beginning to evaporate. It’s becoming lighter. The people and things that I know and love are back in focus and close by and although I can’t see any type of path ahead, I can now see what’s standing right next to me. That in and of itself is enough for now. And I know that although I can’t see my path, God can. He knows the plans he has for me. He knows the path I’m on and as the mist continues to dissipate I become hopeful, curious even as to what he has up his sleeve.
In the midst of the uncertainty I can rest in knowing that life was and still is good, very good. And one day I’ll look back and be thankful for my time in the mist.

I hope this post can give you encouragement to push on through the mist when it enters your life. When life seems to blow up and make zero sense or when circumstances seem unfair and are downright painful – God is still there. He’s still directing your path- even if he’s harder to see than normal.

Don’t let the enemy rob you. Don’t let him cloud your vision to the point that you won’t allow yourself to have any vision at all. Don’t give up. Push through the mist and victoriously walk through the other side.

Blessings,

Stefne

True Friendship

After spending my first three years in the same high school, my family up and moved the summer before my senior year. My dad had a new military assignment in Carlisle, PA and this wasn’t your ordinary move, it had some highly unusual circumstances. Carlisle is where The Army War College resides and much like a real college or University; only a certain number of attendees are permitted each year. Carlisle Barracks is a small post of a couple of hundred soldiers and their families and other than a handful of faculty, everyone moves in at the same time the summer before the school year begins and then they all move out together the following summer.

After a few days of sitting at home I realized that it was going to be a very long summer if I didn’t make some friends and make them quickly. I had my dad contact the biggest wig on post to ask for a list of all the families with kids entering either the 11th or 12th grade. One hour later, armed with a list of a dozen or so addresses, I started on my way. My first stop was the house located directly across the street from mine. Andy Smith (a senior) and his brother Mark (a junior) met me at the door and after introducing myself I invited them to join me on my “friend making journey” – of course they came along for the ride. Within the hour a gang of kids made our way around the small military establishment and by the end of the day all the juniors and seniors had met each other and were starting to become friends. We spent the remainder of the summer hanging out at the bowling alley, swimming at the pool and sitting under the street light in front of my house until all hours of the night. It was one of the greatest summers of my life.

When school finally started, although we were the new kids, we weren’t isolated and the transition ended up being rather smooth. Sadly, once the outside world penetrated our close circle we began to disburse and form new friendships and groups. The once common denominator of our lives was no longer, well – common. I remember being sad that all of my summer friends wouldn’t also be my “school year friends” but I quickly realized that those friendships had a reason and they were only meant to last for a particular season of my life.

Even though I’d already had my license for more than a year, in order to graduate I had to take Driver’s Ed and for my lessons my teacher would have me drive him around town to run errands. During one of our drives I was lamenting about the loss of my wonderful summer friendships and he responded with one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard: “Stefne, you will only have a handful of ‘true’ friends in your entire life and one of those you will marry. You will have many, many people who enter and leave your life but only a couple at a time will be ‘true friends’, so pick them very carefully. Be friendly to everyone and have many people in your life that you spend time with but don’t give your friendship away to just anyone.” Now that’s some powerful advice – and from a Driver’s Ed teacher no less.

I’ve tried to remember his advice all these years and although I’ve had many great friendships, only a few have ended up being what I would call “true”. By “true” I mean good, solid and trustworthy. They are really, really hard to find.

Now, at 40 years old I have a litmus test of sorts, something by which I can look at the relationships in my life and determine not only if they are “true friendships” but if the relationship is good for me. I believe that this list is good for people of all ages to use as a guideline.

1. Is the friendship a positive influence on my life? Are the decisions I make when I am with this person better or worse than if I were to make these choices alone?
2. Do we bring out the best (behavior/talk) in each other?
3. Am I free to be myself around them or do I feel like I have to pretend to be someone I’m not? Do we accept each other flaws and all?
4. Do they encourage and allow additional friendships or do they prefer to remain “closed off” or “clique-y”. Hint: Do others around us feel included or excluded?
5. When together, do we lift other people up or tear them down?
6. Is the relationship give and take or does one side take more than give?
7. Do I ever feel like the friendship is conditionally based?
8. After spending time together do I feel energized or drained?
9. Am I free to (lovingly) point out their “crap” without fear of retaliation or rejection – or vice versa?
10. Are intimate conversations kept private or are the details shared with others?
11. Here is a hard one: Do I believe God looks forward to me spending time with these people or deep down do I know that my behavior when we’re together grieves Him?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that in “true” friendships everyone acts like perfect angels. Heck, we all need to vent at times and everything that comes out of our mouths isn’t going to be wonderful. Every decision we make isn’t going to be the right one, but as a whole, the answers to these questions are a good indicator of the health of a friendship. By “health” I mean: is this relationship good for me or bad for me? Is this friendship one that should continue or should the amount of time I spend with this person be limited or possibly even cut out all together? Maybe a friendship is still “positive” but its season is over and God is taking you in another direction. Every situation is different.

God created us to be relational people and He wants our relationships to glorify Him. So, run through your list of friends in relation to the eleven questions above and ask yourself: Does this friendship glorify God? If not, is it worthy to be called a “true friendship” at all?

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