Thursday, September 03, 2009

Meet Shirley Kiger Connolly

Book Bonanza Banner

We have some winners here at Patterings! :-) ROFL In more ways than one, too. ;-)
The winner of Joyce Magnin's book, The Prayer of Agnes Sparrow is Cherie J and the winners of Judy Gann's book The God of All Comfort are Joanne Sher and Laury! Congratulations, ladies! Enjoy your books! :)

Joyce and Judy, thank you ever so much for being with us this last week! It was a pleasure having both of you!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Shirley Kiger Connolly.

After spending over 25 years in the ministry with her husband, Shirley Kiger Connolly, a teacher, speaker, wife, and mom all rolled into one wears two more hats as a writer. If she isn’t penning historical fiction romances laced with nuggets of inspiration for the growing believer and searching nonbeliever, she’s creating nonfiction lighthearted devotionals filled with reflection aimed for women of all ages.  At other times she enjoys interviewing new and established authors over at her blog, A Penny for your Thoughts.

Shirley is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FHL and Hearts through History-RWA, and lives with her husband on the Southern Coast of Oregon with their devoted dogs, cats, and chickens.

Thank you for being with us, Shirley! Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing.
I was serious about eventually becoming a writer way back when I was in second grade. Perhaps it came in part because my dad was a short story mystery writer, and I wanted to be just like him. I think I got more determined about pursuing it when I was able to accept the fact it meant more than just using my creativity, it also required a time of discipline, commitment, and organization. In the 1980s when my husband and I went into the ministry, and I started teaching women’s studies and speaking at annual retreats, the yearning to write took deeper roots. Although I started exercising my craft later than so many others, I completed a correspondence writing course in 1999 then, in 2001 started my International Women’s Ministry website which lasted for several years. Those old desires I had to pen books came blooming back full speed. As far as I’m concerned I’ve only just begun. The Good Lord willing, I plan to stay at it till I’m at least one hundred.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
For fiction, I imagine it’s probably starting something new after I have all these ideas in my head. After I’ve brainstormed on a thousand note pads, I sit down at my computer to get started and my mind suddenly goes into overload. The only way I can overcome it is through prayer and determination to just begin writing words down on the page.

For nonfiction devotionals it isn’t much different, except that I don’t brainstorm ahead of time. Once I start writing at my computer, knowing I have to get something down with meaning, it soon develops into whatever message the Lord wants to give me at the time.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
That’s funny! Maybe it’s because my life is made of continuous unpredictabilities. The better question for me might have been, “What is the most normal thing you have ever done?” Because I’m terribly shy, one sign of quirkiness might be when I stand in front of a group of women at look as if I am completely in control yet know deep down I’d rather be on the moon at the moment. Or those years when I dressed up as a giant hymnal and called myself “Psalty” which stood for Psalter then danced around a stage as if acting for me came second nature. Second nature? Hardly. Nothing for me could have been further from the truth.

You're Psalty? My older kids and nephews loved Psalty! Truly! :)
What would a perfect day for you look like?

Start my day right, first with prayer, then with a time in the Word and study, and with an already clean house. Be able to sit down to write and see the words just flow. Not get too caught up in my emails. Finally, I would be able to go a good while without having one of my Shirley Day headaches that cause me not to be able to focus on anything, and I mean anything.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Patty, I love your line of questioning! I love to read writing helps books, historical fiction (inspirational or secular if it isn’t too steamy), devotionals written by others, my Bible, commentaries to help me with teaching, biographies, classic literature, an occasional mystery, and even chick lit. What else is there? You can see I love to read, and much of what I read is to help me hone my own skills as writer, speaker, or teacher—depending on what I’m doing at the time.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
Not chocolate…unless it is full of nuts, perhaps. For me, probably coffee (good coffee) and one of those Sweet & Salty bars I get through Weight Watchers. (Weird, huh!)

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?

Not to stress out over everything but to lean more on Him for absolutely everything. This is a lesson I can easily teach, but when I get personally tested I don’t always pass that test.

Oh yeah. It's so much easier talking that than walking that, which I know from experience! *yikes*
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

Right now it’s the second in my devotional series, I See God in the Thorns~n~Thistles which is due out end of November. (and will be spotlighted here at Patterings on November 30th!)I write these reflections to bring my brain back down to earth after escaping in the world of fiction, which is the use of the other side of my brain. We all need a touch of reality now and then. I know I do. All my devotionals not only offer light-hearted lessons, they also give the reader an opportunity to journal personal thoughts, do individual word studies, and spend some time in prayer. The third in this I See God series is I See God on That Narrow Road. It comes out next year.

I See God
in the Simple Things

In all we experience through simple daily living, God faithfully shows us more about ourselves and where we are in our spiritual walks. Too often we allow complicated days to dominate our lives, making it difficult to cope. What lesson is God teaching you about your life today? This lighthearted book of reflections, I See God in the Simple Things: (A Devotional Journal), illustrates through words how everyday situations can turn into opportunities for encouragement and spiritual growth. Each lesson provides us with a moment to go to God for answers, to gain insight from His Word, and to share our own personal thoughts no matter how mundane or troublesome they appear. We know God speaks through His Word. He also speaks through people, and He’ll speak to you as well, when you talk to Him directly and take the time to write a simple something about yourself. If you expect to hear from Him, you will.



Here is an excerpt from one of Shirley's lighthearted devotionals.

A Romantic at Heart
Intreat me not to leave thee…
Ruth 1:16b

I just finished refreshing my way through the Book of Ruth after a long absence from that portion of the Bible. 

You remember Ruth and Boaz…the beautiful romance of redemption, right? To me the Book of Ruth contains one of the most beautiful love stories God gave us in His Word. 

I am a romantic at heart, anyway. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing historical romances as much as I do.

But here in this small book, the Book of Ruth, there is so much to enlighten a person, and I believe every word reaches deep into a person’s heart.

Sometimes, I have to read between the lines to see the golden nuggets that are waiting there for me. That’s the Book of Ruth…filled with that pure fine gold. 

Boaz (the hero) was a man of honor—a man who greatly loved the Lord God. Boaz served God with all of his heart as we all should.  

I know I should.

Oh, that there were more men like Boaz in this world today.

Some people don’t know Boaz was not a priest or anything like that. He didn’t even have a heavy duty ministry.

He simply loved the Lord, and it showed by everything he did in his life.

Everything.

The way Boaz represented his family was well respected by everyone.  I loved the way he stood for something. 

You know what? I appreciate when men stand for something. It usually means they are standing for an important issue for their lives, or maybe for someone else’s. Although men don’t oftentimes consider their lives these days as types of Christ, spiritually speaking, when I look back at Boaz, I realize he was oftentimes considered that very thing. 

When people read the story about him and Ruth they begin to see the comparison.

Boaz was several years senior to Ruth, the heroine of this particular book, she, quite a bit younger.

But God still chose to bring this handsome couple together in the most, lovely way—in a way to where Ruth could bring a fresh sparkle to Boaz’s life, while Boaz brought to her life a joy and refreshing. 

When Ruth lost her husband she needed solidarity, so she went to a different place from where she’d lived to get it. The truth was, where she came from she had no one to whom she could entrust her life.  

It’s interesting how she could have easily turned around and gone the other way.
But she didn't.  

Ruth listened to the spirit speak to her heart and by doing so became obedient to God's call in her life.

Isn’t that great.

Because of her obedience when Boaz entered the picture…and boy did he, she saw God's better way.

So did Boaz.

From the minute Boaz spotted Ruth and she him, and because of their deference to the will of God the Lord could fulfill the plan He had for them both. Naturally, God knew exactly what was going on between those two.

He also knew what they would do before they did it.

God obviously wanted Ruth, when He ordered her steps, to leave the land she came from and go to a distant land where she could come upon Boaz—where he would come upon her.

Just think if she hadn’t. How it might have changed!

I mean the entire course of history.

There are so many loving details to this story a person can discover by reading about Ruth.

Here you see love at first sight.

Here, you learn to ask certain questions about yourself.

Here, you find out how willing you truly are about leaving the things of the world for the will of God in your life situations, even when you have no idea where it might lead to.

Ruth was willing to do all those things.

I sometimes wonder how willing I would be to accept a man several years my senior if I knew nothing about him.

Ruth showed me she was not only willing she soon learned this same man several years her senior was soon to become her husband.  She could have sought after a younger man, but in the 10th verse of chapter 3, it reveals she was eager to accept God's choice for her by accepting Boaz’s hand and proposal. 

Of course God knew she would. 

I also liked how Ruth was more than eager to show her trust in the Lord here. How eager am I to show my trust in God in all things?

She listened to Him speak to her heart and as He did she followed through with His direction as taught to her by her former mother-in-law.

How often would I do that?

Ruth and Boaz in time became one, and later…much later, Ruth became great grandmother to the famous King David, who by lineage takes the reader of the Bible right down to our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ. 

What a great example of how I need to show my obedience and willingness to trust the Lord in all things and then be blessed beyond reason because of it.

And what better ending to any love story can there be than that? 


A Romance of Redemption!
"Sit still my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out...
Ruth 3:18a

By the way, how much do you to listen to the Lord and obey Him?

Do you ever question the ways of God? 

How do you respond when you doubt God?

A few things to think about, huh.

You know what?

Sometimes I find I don’t necessarily want to see what’s really in my heart.

Are you ever that way?

Shirley Kiger Connolly
For “I See God in the Thorns ~n~ Thistles”



You can purchase I See God in the Simple Things from Amazon.

Shirley is giving away a copy of her devotional I See God in the Simple Things. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Wednesday, September 9th to see if you've won. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar. OR you could sign up to have Patterings updates delivered to your inbox. If you do, it will give you a bonus entry in the giveaway, otherwise you can enter twice--once for each post you leave a comment on. :^)

Don't forget to check out and enter Dana Mentink's giveaways that are still going on!

Tomorrow we meet Kay Marshall Strom. See ya then!

11 comments:

  1. Shirley, your book, I see God in The Simple Things, has intrigued me since I first saw it. It's on my TBR list. Glad you pursued your love of writing. Please enter me in your contest. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful devotional. I have gotten back into having a daily devotional time and this would be a great book to use in my routine. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  3. SO excited that I WON :D And this one sounds good too. You've got quite the lineup here, Patty!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the journal-devotion format! How convenient. You could even use it twice, and see how you've grown. Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful lady, Patty. She's an inspiration.
    :)
    Cat

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  5. This book sounds like a wonderful read, please enter me, I would love to win.

    Thanks
    ejxd95@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow... I loved the whole post!! It sounds like a blessed book. I hope I win. Please, enter me ^^

    Thanks for the interview and for the giveaway!

    marthanadnny(at)hotmail(dot)com

    God's great blessings

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awwww, the simple things. I want in!

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  8. Would love to be entered in the contest! It looks like a wonderful book! Thanks!

    mollydawn1981(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really enjoy your blog and enjoy the interviews with the authors I would love to win one of their books.

    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd love to win this book!

    lelou2(at)ymail(dot)com

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  11. Peej - I didn't know I won the contest. LOL. What a surprise today when I got home from school and a book was waiting. Wow! Love it! Thanks, Peej. I can't wait to start reading it.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you.

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