AUTHORS I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Eileen is a wonderful author and I highly recommend any of her books. She isn't afraid to write about the difficult subjects in life and I greatly admire her for it. She is a veteran homeschool mom, like myself, which is another reason I admire her.
"Healing words for hurting hearts," is how Eileen Rife describes her books. Whether through fiction or nonfiction, Eileen wants readers to come away with love that extends beyond themselves, faith that can see the impossible, and hope that endures against all odds.
As a child, Eileen loved writing and telling stories. Walking to school every morning, she created characters, then talked to them as she ambled down the road, which was often her way of dealing with grief and loss. After the death of her brother, Eileen learned to empathize with the underdog. Many of Eileen's stories revolve around issues that many find difficult to talk about--death, homosexuality, sex trafficking. Through her characters, she offers readers an opportunity to draw close, peel back the layers of their own hearts, and examine what lies within.
And added to the mix--romance, always a romance around one corner or another!
An alumna of Christian Writers Guild and member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Eileen has published several nonfiction books, written newsletters, a marriage column, and over ten church dramas. Her byline has appeared in magazines, such as Discipleship Journal, Marriage Partnership, Mature Living, Christian Home & School, Drama Ministry, and ParentLife, as well as other print and online publications. Her fiction works include Second Chance and the Born for India trilogy (Journey to Judah, Restored Hearts, and Chosen Ones). Look for Laughing with Lily and Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones--coming soon from OakTara. She and husband, Chuck, a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist conduct marriage seminars for churches and organizations in the states and overseas. They have three married children and six grandchildren.
I asked Eileen to talk about two of her favorite books today. Here are the books she chose and the reasons why she wrote them:
Why I wrote my novel, Second Chance
As I brainstormed characters and plot for my fourth novel, I knew I wanted to honor the Christian inner city ministry God had led my daughter and son-in-law to be involved in. Thus, my fictional ministry, Second Chance, was born.
In addition, a few years prior to this project I entered the empty nest with all its adjustments and confusing emotions. Now that I had a better handle of what was occurring in my life during that transition period, I decided to include a character who was fresh to the empty nest. She actually shared the protag position with an African American teen who was also going through a transition of his own—trying to leave a gang he didn’t want to be a part of.
Mave, empty nest mom, and Dareece, inner city teen, seemingly have little in common, yet this thread of transition binds them in a way that surprises them and provides a second chance for both of them.
Though my empty nest journey was only partly similar to Mave’s, I discovered continued healing in my own life as I unpacked the pieces of both Mave’s and Dareece’s stories. And I gained a greater appreciation for the work of inner city ministries around our country, especially our own right here in Roanoke, Virginia: Straight Street led by long-time friends.
In fact, I’m so passionate about this ministry that I have a children’s book in the works that revolves around an inner city theme. This book will be part of my Missionary Kid collection, as all my grandchildren are missionary kids and provide me with much fodder for stories.
I love how God works a theme into my heart and uses that passion to stimulate additional stories and articles. Second Chance has been that type of project.
Mave wants the life back in her marriage. Dareece just wants a life. Could they be the answer to each other's dream? Mave Robertson, a recent empty nester, wants the fire back in her marriage, but her husband, Jerry, remains aloof. Is he having an affair? A midlife crisis? When a neighbor suggests she 'get a life' Mave accepts the challenge and volunteers at an inner-city teen ministry where she is thrown into a culture of drugs, gangs, and unwed teen moms. She soon discovers someone she can help, but might he also be the cure for both her stale marriage and her crumbling relationship with her father? Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave's purse...and he'll stop at nothing to get it. A poignant story of middle age, surprising friendships, and unexpected places.
You can buy your copy HERE.
Why I wrote 4R Rejuvenation Retreat for Women (nonfiction)
Perhaps the best way to tell you why I wrote 4R Rejuvenation Retreat for Women is to take you to the book preface . . .
Rest. Seems an illusive word for most of us. Yet if there was ever a time when women needed to rest, it’s in the day in which we live. Even with all the conveniences we own, like microwaves, cell phones, fax machines, and other electronic equipment, we’re busier and more stressed than ever. Our work-saving devices haven’t reduced our load one iota. We’ve merely taken on more work, because after all, our plethora of gadgets has saved us time. Right?
Even well-meaning Christians can fall into this trap, substituting much-needed R & R for just one more ministry project. But I wonder: Does God applaud all our crazed activity?
Finding balance in relationship, work, and recreation has been a passion of my heart for several years. Because truth be told, I’m task-driven. I love to check off items from my daily to-do list. If someone enters my office and strikes up a conversation, I inwardly wilt and often outwardly rant and rave. Sadly, my husband, Chuck, can testify to this. “Just let me get this one thing done,” I groan. But that one thing leads to another . . . and another, and soon I’m spiraling down an endless funnel of activity, robbing myself of rest, relationships, and recreation.
Indeed, I’ve noticed a pattern over my 60 years of living. Transition times are the hardest. Instead of taking a deep breath and pulling back to rest and consider my options, I plunge full steam into more work. The activity becomes my addiction of choice for soothing my jumbled emotions and uncertainty over what lay ahead.
At no time did I experience this to a greater degree than when I entered the empty nest. Several life dynamics converged over the course of a year. I turned 50, entered menopause, graduated my last daughter from home schooling, married two other daughters off within two months of each other, wrote a novel, increased my speaking engagements, redecorated our home, entered into a new business with Chuck, helped care for my aging parents, and lost my mother. The previous year Chuck and I placed our oldest daughter on a plane to pursue career missions in India.
My emotional thermometer registered on high, but I kept right on ticking, until I rounded the corner into a new year. The activity level plummeted, but my head was still reeling. I felt unsteady on my feet and very uncertain as everyone and everything else seemed to whirl around me at a frenetic pace. Kinda like the feeling you get when you step off a merry-go-round or spin your grandchild around the room.
Stuffed emotions now rose to the surface in unhealthy ways, spilling out in the form of obsessive-compulsive tendencies. My need to control my out-of-control feelings coupled with an honest fear of the future propelled me into anxiety-driven depression.
In hindsight, I now know I should (ah, the “shoulds” of life) have taken a personal retreat to reflect, remember, renew, and release. Just a little R & R and R & R. Indulge me—like I said I tend to obsess. Even a weekend to wrap up with the Lord, let Him love on me and I on Him, would have been great. But I was so busy celebrating everyone else’s milestones and achievements that I denied myself the joy of celebrating a few of my own. Even when deep inside, I knew I ought to.
Perhaps you can identify. No matter your season of life, transition, or loss, you can benefit from your own personal 4R Rejuvenation Retreat. But please, don’t wait until some catastrophic event takes place in your life to realize you desperately need to get away. Treat yourself on a regular basis before a crisis of need arises. If you’re the type that doesn’t enjoy going it alone, pull in a girlfriend or two with whom you can share the time.
The information provided in 4R Rejuvenation Retreat for Women serves as a guide for your retreat. But consider it just that—a guide, not a hard and fast formula for rejuvenating your body, mind, and spirit. As you read, you may think of other ideas tailor-made to your personality, situation, and time frame. Wonderful! Jot them down. If you’re like me, make a list and check it twice.
Above all, take your retreat! Don’t just dream and plan. Follow through. You won’t regret the investment. You’ll only regret not doing it.
Learning to rest,
“Oh, for a little time to myself!” Hasn’t every hurried, harried woman uttered those words at some time in her life? Eileen Rife shares how a 4R rejuvenation retreat just might be the thing you need to refresh body, mind, and spirit. Bonus feature: Women from around the world share their secrets on reflecting, remembering, renewing, and releasing via the Scriptures, prayer, exercise, diet, decorating, and beauty regimens.
You can buy your copy HERE.
Eileen has graciously agreed to give away a copy of each of the two books mentioned above to two commenters. So, leave a comment below AND your email address in order to get your name in the drawing. Winners can choose either an ebook or paperback...paperback for US residents only.
I wish to thank Eileen for allowing me to feature her on my blog.
More of Eileen's books and a link to her Amazon.com page:
CHECK OUT EILEEN'S AMAZON PAGE TO SEE ALL OF HER BOOKS.
AND YOU CAN ALSO FIND EILEEN HERE:
CONGRATULATIONS TO CARYL FER WINNIN' ONE OF ELAINE COOPER'S BOOKS. ELAINE WILL BE CONTACTIN' YE SOON, MATEY!
Thanks fer coming aboard! God bless.