Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Seizing the day

Years ago, I remember seeing the movie ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ and being very stirred by it. For a long time afterwards, those Latin words ‘carpe diem’ and their English translation ‘seize the day’ which actor Robin Williams so passionately uttered to his young student audience kept ringing in my head. And this month they have come back to me as my sixth novel, The Inheritance, has been released.

The reason they have, I imagine, is that they are a little reminder to me to ‘seize the day’ once again—to promote this new novel as best I can and to use the opportunity to be able to speak about the things God has put in my heart and mind to share with others. In one way, this is easy for me to do. Firstly, I love this novel of mine. I have become quite attached to the main characters in particular and still enjoy reflecting on how their journeys unfolded! You see, my hero Michael Trevelyan faces quite a struggle as he tries to come to grips with the past, be reconciled with himself, his family and ultimately God, and to face the future with courage and integrity. Meanwhile, my heroine Alexandra Hope has a different struggle on her hands—to stay true to her faith in God and pursue God’s purposes for her life.
Secondly, I love the main theme of The Inheritance. As a result of God’s prompting, I believe, and also as a result of many situations I have seen in ministry, I wanted to write a novel that shows how anger, bitterness, hypocrisy and pretence can have such an adverse effect in our own lives, as well as in the lives of others, and keep us from experiencing God’s amazing grace. As I wrote, the words of Hebrews 12:15 kept ringing in my ears: See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. So in promoting this novel, I have the great privilege of sharing more about God’s amazing grace and about walking into all the freedom God’s forgiveness has for us.

Finally, I think the gratitude I feel to God—and to my publisher, Even Before Publishing—that The Inheritance has actually been released also spurs me on to hop into promoting it with all my heart. Even now, I find it hard to believe that, under God’s hand, I have had six novels and one memoir, Soul Friend, published in the last seven years. So surely it is up to me to go for what God has given me to do at this stage of my life. I have loved all the other roles I have had in earlier years—high school teacher, full-time mum, editor, front desk person in a busy church/community environment, local church pastor. But I believe God has melded all that experience together now for a reason—and that is to go for it with my writing and speaking as best I can, to ‘seize the day’ while the opportunities are there.

May you all be encouraged, wherever you are at with your own writing, to listen with all your heart, to hear what God has for you at this stage of your journey and then to step out and ‘seize the day’ in God’s strength. God has good things for you to do, writing or otherwise!
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information or to purchase her books, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.

19 comments:

  1. Hi Jo - Congratulations on your new book. I'm sure it will be a blessing to many. Thanks too for the reminder to "seize the day". My husband and I are at the stage of launching out into something God has prompted us to do. It's a bit scary, but we know we have to also "seize the day" for the opportunities God is bringing to us. Hope you have a wonderful week.

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    1. Hi Nola,
      I too like Jo-Anne am very interested in hearing what God has prompted you and your husband to launch. Sounds very intriguing. Just wanted to wish you the very best with it. And I look forward to hearing more about it at the conference. :)

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    2. Hi Anusha - Will tell you all about it at the conference if not before. Just waiting on some news before we go public, but it's in the writing area. Exciting and scary at the same time :) God Bless xx

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  2. Thanks, Nola. I hope our paths cross at the CALEB Conference so I can hear more about what you and your husband are about to undertake at God's prompting. Sounds very exciting! God bless you both.

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    1. Yes, I'll be there Jo. Will be good to catch up. Just waiting on some news before we make it public, but it's in the writing area :)

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  3. Hi Jo-Anne,
    You are definitely a person who comes to mind when I think about seizing the day. The new book looks and sounds great.

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    1. Wow, that's a lovely compliment, Paula! Thanks so much. Am about to 'seize the day' again and go bake some food for my upcoming book launch here in Sydney!

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  4. Loved your post Jo-Anne and congratulations on yet another book. That's awesome. It's lovely to see how God has used so many different seasons in your life for good and how you have seized the day at each point. Bless you. Thanks also for the encouragement to seize the day.

    I often hear people saying they are waiting for this or that - like - till their kids grow up or when they retire or whatever. And yet that seems a wrong way to live. When my son was little I told myself to enjoy every season with him as special because he would grow up too fast. And of course he did. And so with all else in life.

    So yes, I too am a great believer in seizing the day. Thanks for the lovely encouragement Jo -Anne.
    Blessings.
    Anusha

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    1. Thanks so much, Anusha. You definitely seem another 'seize the day' person to me! I think God has give me so many unexpected opportunities in my life so, while they have involved lots of hard work, I am very grateful for them all.

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  5. Great post, Jo. Imapatiently waiting for your book to arrive!

    See you soon

    Lots of love & congratulations

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    1. Thanks, Rita. And I sure hope your copy arrives soon. Looking forward to seeing you at my launch.

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  6. Congratulations on your new book, Jo. Good reminder that nothing gets down unless we start doing something. BTW did you use a passage from the inheritance in your editing workshop at Word Writers in October last year? I loved your presentation - both for the tips and for your gentle spirit. God bless.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jenny. And wow--you have a good memory! Yes, I did use a very early version of the beginning of Chapter Two of 'The Inheritance' in that workshop. I remember you were all curious to know where it came from! Most of that was thrown out in the end and what wasn't was kind of woven in a bit later in the novel. Funny, but I was just reading over that workshop yesterday as I have been asked to present it again this Saturday at the Aust Christian Writers' Fellowship meeting here in Sydney at Eastwood. So your comments about my presentation really encourage me that Saturday will go well, Jenny. God bless!

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  7. Sorry I didn't get to read earlier... Hearty congratulations not only on your latest book but also on your many other achievements over the years, Jo! Your godly influence in so many arenas of life is encouraging. Also thanks for the chat today; I have seized the day, set up a guideline template and sent it off to await the response :)
    Hope all of you attending the CALEB conference will be encouraged and blessed!
    And finally, I hope Nola will make public the details of her latest adventure... I am curious...

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  8. Thanks, Margaret--good to talk with you too today. And well done to you for setting up that guidelines template! Now you've spurred me on.

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  9. Hi Jo-Anne.....I am sitting here catching up on my reading of CWD and your post has stirred warmly in my heart.
    I tend to be constantly looking for the 'right time'but I believe God has reminded me thru you, to seize the day....
    Congratulations on your new book!
    xx Di

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    1. Thanks so much, Di! I like your point about the 'right time' though too. Sometimes I have ''seized the day' too quickly and run with something that wasn't on God's agenda for me, I believe. But I've found even then that God is always so gracious and rescues me from falling flat on my face! God bless!

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  10. Congratulations on your book. It's interesting how the themes of our writing speak to us first, before they speak to anybody else.

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  11. Thanks, Adam! And yes, I agree. I think the theme any book we write HAS to do this really so we can write with passion and integrity. Otherwise it's just a kind of empty story we are making up and is unlikely to impact our readers much at all.

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