EXCITING NEWS!!!

OK, the news I’ve been waiting to share with you!!! (*drumroll, please*)…    photo-4

I. JUST. SIGNED. A. BOOK. CONTRACT. WITH. THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS!!!…Oh my, how dreams REALLY DO come true!

But, let me tell you a little somethin’-somethin’ about this because just a few months back, I was having a REALLY hard time believing they actually do.

There will always be a time along the road of seeing our dreams come true where all hope gets lost. And, it’s at this stop where the mark of “impossible” is clearly established. It’s also the place where our hearts find true surrender in trying to make the dream possible through our own strength with understanding that it will ONLY be the move of God bringing about the impossible.

One evening at church a few months ago, I found myself in that deadened, hopeless place.

Here’s a little bit of a back-story:

Last Fall I self-published a book called, “Caterfly,” a book about identity and how to live confident and free in this image-crazed world; A book that took over seven years to write.  (Oh and side note: it will be available to purchase until Spring of 2016 which is when my newly “renovated” version will be released by Thomas Nelson—yeeees!!) I was eager to get this needed message out to women of all ages, which is why I chose to publish it myself. BUT, in order to truly spread this message to the nations, as I have dreamt, I knew I needed the help of large, reputable publisher. I did my research and set my sights on the best, the well-known publisher–Thomas Nelson. Here is a list of just a few of their authors: Billy Graham, Max Lucado, Karen Kingsbury, Donald Miller, Lysa TerKeurst, Dave Ramsey, John Maxwell, Bob Goff, Judah Smith, Craig Gross, Charles & Andy Stanley, Neil Anderson, Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Henry Cloud, and so many more!! But, seriously…talk about the IMPOSSIBLE and me getting published by them?! I was told they would NEVER look at my book because I was not famous enough, so might as well give up hoping for this to ever happen until then. And, honestly, 99% of me did.

Until the divine moment at church a few months back when my pastor, Henry Seeley gave an invitation for those of us who felt hopeless in our dreams to respond in faith to believe again. My heart began to swell with tears. It took so much for me to believe again. I felt SO beat down and such a failure. Just four months prior, I took a crazy leap of faith and quit my job to pursue better health (Lupus challenges), as well as go after my dreams. But instead, I found myself living a life of a sojourner, like Abraham did staying in temporary dwellings, no income, living on food stamps, and battling disease in a fierce way. The thought of seeing my dream come true of being published by Thomas Nelson was consistently mocked in my head. It was hard to see beyond my circumstances and many times, I felt much despair trying to fight to believe. YET…I had a 1% hope left in me that JUST MAYBE, He has more for me!

God has a beautiful way of taking what’s seemingly dead and undeniably impossible…and bringing it to life!  photo-2

(Get ready for this next part because it’s SO good!)

Just…two…days…after the night I prayed at church to believe again for the dreams God had for me…an editor from Thomas Nelson contacted me and said they came across my manuscript and are interested in it. (*INSERT: CRAZY-WILD- DANCING-JUMPING-AROUND-SQUEELS OF JOY!!*)

They weren’t quite sure exactly how they got their hands on my book….but, I did ; ) His name is Jim Armstrong. I met him over a decade ago in a Kansas bookstore. He was a salesman for Zondervan publishers that I struck up a conversation with and can now see the divine appointment it turned out to be! He and his wife supported my ministry throughout the years and when he got ahold of the rough draft of my manuscript–he became one of my greatest cheerleaders. I will be forever grateful for his help in opening this door of a dream come true!

Since the initial contact with Thomas Nelson, it went fast with meetings, lunches, board meetings, conference calls and then officially signing a contract as one of their authors. WOW. GOD IS SO GOOD!

I hope you are encouraged by my story and pray that you, too, will believe again for the dream, the miracle you’re waiting on! Just because it doesn’t happen in your timing, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Trust His plan for you. He will ALWAYS have your very best in mind. And, when it gets tough (and it will)…DON’T GIVE UP!! NO matter how dark, HOLD on! God has not forgotten you. And what is impossible with you…IS POSSIBLE BY GOD!

Your miracle awaits you!!<3

“I can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams.” (Jesus Culture Devotional)

 

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FOR YOU…I WILL WAIT

(Some days I just need to break open my special “Hope-List” journal and remind myself of what God has waiting ahead for me : )

THE MAN OF MY HOPES

Processed with RookieI desire…

A handsome man after God’s heart❤

A man who boldly lives his faith in Christ; who is 100% sold-out for His cause; who is completely unashamed of the Gospel (the FULL Gospel) and will exercise his gifts; a man who is a leader and someone of noble character; a man who is a doer of the Word & not merely just a hearer; a man who is obedient to God & His word no matter the cost; a man who will weep with those who weep and care for the broken-hearted, the destitute, the lonely, the sick, and hurting; a man who will be able to teach & preach God’s word and who really lives out what he believes; a man who is hospitable; a man who is accountable to other godly men for his life, heart-attitude, and actions; a repentant & humble man and someone I can laugh together with; a man with a clean & pure heart; a man who respects and honors me, women, and authority and also someone who loves children & the rejected of society. And most importantly…a man who reveres, honors, and loves the Lord above anyTHING or anyONE else!

And, for this man…I will wait.

 

CATERFLY CAPTURES–AUTUMN

“My name is Autumn and here’s a snapshot of my Caterfly Story….    

photo cred: Kara Dicarlo

photo cred: Kara Dicarlo

So many people ask me why I am obsessed with butterflies? Why they are in my room, on my walls, and in my car? Why they are tattooed all over this “perfect” pastor’s daughter and why they are so important to me? Well, this “perfect pastors daughter” didn’t always have it so perfect–still don’t and that’s what people don’t see. It’s also the beginning of my Caterfly story…

I’m 19 years old and I used to feel like I’ve lived 100 years…fear will drain you like that, if you let. When I was little, I struggled with something called, “Separation Anxiety Disorder.” It wasn’t that bad…Or so I thought. It started when my mom became pregnant with my little sister. Then we needed to find a new home. Then my parents BOTH got a new job. And, THEN I had to go to a different school and THEN, the panic started. That was a lot of change for me then and my life also dramatically changed from that point on.

I can remember my dad pulling up to the school in our car and me just sweating bullets in the leather seats. Fear would come up through the palm of my hands and bottoms of my feet–it was a never-ending nightmare. My dad had to walk me into school while I was sweating and squeezing his arms each step of the way. The whole dropping me off for school thing…no longer worked for me.

Everyday I walked into that school making eye contact with my teachers, principals, and counselors and everyday I’d hear the same question, “Autumn, are we gonna have a easy day or hard one?” Funny thing is, there never had been an easy day. I would turn my head and start to panic and waited to feel more than just my dad’s hand wrap around my small body. I waited to feel them rip my arms away from him…and this was every day for 2-3 years.

AutumnI became physically sick every day at that elementary age because the panic attacks and adrenaline were tearing my body apart. The day came where my mom said, “We just can’t do this to her anymore, we are done.” I left school that day and didn’t return until seven years later. Seven years of not leaving my mom’s side. Seven years of panic attacks and horrible moments. Seven years of going on every date, pastors conference and counseling meetings with my parents. Seven years of doing whatever my mom was doing and going WHEREVER she went because…I couldn’t be without her. Seven years of sitting on the toilet while my mom showered because being outside the door would just be way too far away.

During those seven years, I felt like I completely lost my identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I didn’t care. I wanted this life to just stop, even if for only a couple of seconds.

How did I come out of the fear hole? Continue reading