Archive for the ‘the Bondfire Blog’ Category

Viral Post Inspires E-book

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by bondfireadmin

The day after his marriage of 16 years ended in divorce, Gerald Rogers sat down and wrote a heartfelt Facebook post. In it, he expressed deep regret and outlined 20 principles he wished he’d lived by as a husband. Much to his surprise, the post went viral, and was picked up by media outlets around the world, including Huffington Post and The Today Show, on which he later appeared.

In his new e-book, The Marriage Advice I Wish I Would’ve Had, Gerald expands upon the principles in his original post, offering with both wit and wisdom practical ways to create an EPIC marriage, that is, one with deep Emotional, Physical and Intellectual Connection.

Q+A with Carol James

Posted on: February 20th, 2014 by bondfireadmin

Recently, Bondfire had the privilege of releasing Rescuing Faith: A Novel by first time author Carol James. Carol was kind enough to answer some questions about the story and her journey as an author.

1) Tell us about how this book came about and why you decided to write it.

I believe God gave me this story to write. Rescuing Faith was born out of years of watching beautiful, accomplished, godly women struggle with feeling inadequate. Had they been loving enough wives, attentive enough mothers, faithful enough employees, good enough Christians? And when real life didn’t turn out to be an episode from Leave It to Beaver, they often blamed themselves. Surely there was something they could have done better.

Society and self place many demands on women today. Airbrushed images all around us are constant reminders of unrealistic goals and expectations that can never be met, yet are held forth as ideals to strive toward. And, as women, we often buy into it all. But now for the good news: who we are is not defined by the world’s standards. We are image-bearers of a perfect God.

2) What’s been the biggest thing you’ve overcome as a writer and what would you say to other writers who are struggling?

For me, as for most writers, I think the biggest obstacle is just making yourself keep writing in the face of rejection. Pursuing publication can be an extremely discouraging process. Rejections are many and quick. And giving up is easy. But you just have to find that one person who believes in your work.

My advice is:

  • Surround yourself with other writers. They understand what you are going through.
  • Join literary groups. I have found authors to be an extremely encouraging and generous group, and the networking opportunities and advice are helpful.
  • Enter your work into contests where agents and publishers that you would like to approach are the final judges. Even if you don’t final, the feedback you receive from the first round judges can be very valuable. And, if you do final, you’ll bypass the query process and your work will be moved to the top of the stacks of inquiries waiting for responses.
  • And while you are waiting, keep writing. Strive to improve and perfect your craft.

One time when I was struggling, a fellow writer sent me a quotation that is push-pinned to the cork-board above my desk, and many days, my eyes rest on it and absorb the wisdom:

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.” - Harriet Beecher Stowe

3) Tell us four things about yourself that people may be surprised to know. 

  • I cannot walk or drive past a used bookstore without stopping and browsing, at the least.
  • I collect antique children’s books.
  • I’m probably the only Texan who doesn’t own a cowboy hat or pair of cowboy boots.
  • I have walked among the huge monoliths of Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the replica slabs at Permian Basin Stonehenge in Texas, and the gray painted steel representations at Carhenge in Nebraska.

4) What motivated you to begin writing?

My interest in writing began later in life for me than for most. About three years ago, I began writing inspirational/Christian romance. My goal? To encourage others the way Christian fiction writers had encouraged me. But, my writing journey really started ten years earlier, when the idea of writing anything, much less a novel, sounded as grating to me as fingernails on a chalkboard. I needed to change jobs, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to move to a new position I knew that by leaving teaching I’d be giving up more than a job. I’d be losing what had been my personal ministry for eight years.

One morning I sat in a local park reading my Bible. I came upon Isaiah 43:18-19, and on that day, at that very hour, that passage was meant for me.

 

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland.”

God had something new for me to do. I just had to find it. After a decade of trying various ministries, the idea of writing to encourage others began to nudge its way into my heart. A song? A poem? A novel? Surely not. Anything but writing, Lord . . . Yet when I typed the first words on the first page of my first manuscript, I knew this was the “new work,” my “stream in the wasteland.”

Thanks for your great answers, Carol! Remember, you can like Carol on Facebook and get your very own copy of Rescuing Faith at Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble.

Q+A with Andrew Lam

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by bondfireadmin No Comments

What do you do after a long day in the operating room? Renowned eye surgeon, Andrew Lam, writes books, and we at Team Bondfire are glad he does.

Before the holidays, we had a chance to chat with Dr. Lam about his latest historical novel, Two Sons of China.

1. Why did you write this book? How did the story come about?

Like a lot of people, I’m fascinated by World War II. I also love watching sweeping, romantic war movies where we get to see how cataclysmic circumstances affect ordinary men and the women they love. I wanted to write a novel like this, but set in a place completely new: China.

Too few people know about the war in China, and after I learned about the many Americans who served there, it felt natural to center this story on an unlikely friendship between an American soldier and a Chinese Communist guerilla fighter who, despite their clashing convictions, form a bond of brotherhood in battle.

 

 2. American soldiers in China during World War II? Tell us more.

World War II actually began in 1937, when the Japanese invaded China. Thousands of Americans served in China, supporting Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist armies and hoping to keep as many Japanese troops as possible busy in China instead of fighting in the Pacific.

What’s special about this story is that it’s based on a little-known, real-life expedition called the Dixie Mission, in which American soldiers ventured north to Mao Zedong’s stronghold of Yenan to see how effectively the Chinese Communists were fighting the Japanese, and to consider arming them with U.S. weapons. Anyone who learns about the heroic Americans who went on this mission will be enthralled, and I hope my novel helps to spread their story far and wide.

 

 3. You’re a successful eye surgeon and bestselling author. That’s a pretty rare combination. Tell us a little bit about your passion for both and how they intersect.

My two passions are history and helping people. The latter might sound a little cliché, but it’s the reason why, after studying military history at Yale, I decided to go to medical school and ultimately became a retinal surgeon who fights to save sight every day.

My goal as a writer is to shine a light on stories that deserve to be more well known. In my first book, Saving Sight, I profiled medical innovators whose inventions were ridiculed but ultimately saved the sight of millions around the world.

With Two Sons of China, I hope to bring attention to unsung WWII heroes who served America with honor in a difficult and distant land. That, and captivate readers with an action-packed, romantic tale of love, betrayal, honor and sacrifice, of course!

To get your very own copy (e-version or print) head over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes and grab a copy. You won’t be disappointed!

Two Sons of China Media Attention

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by bondfireadmin

In honor of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we recently released a World War 2 novel. Written by eye-surgeon Andrew Lam, Two Sons of China is a fascinating tale of love, friendship, war, and survival during a little known battle in China. The media attention has been fantastic. We wanted to give you a chance to read what others are saying:

Here’s a great review from Asian Books Blog.

 

Allen Yeh, a professor at Biola, also shared his thoughts.

 

Here’s a four-star review from blogger Irene.

 

If you’re not convinced this book is worth reading, make sure you check out what our friends at Amazon are saying. You can get your copy for only $9.99.

Q+A with Rob Stennett

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 by bondfireadmin

Recently, we got a chance to hang out with The Living and the Undead author Rob Stennett. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about this book. Amish Vampires? What kind of novel is this? We thought it best you hear it right from the man who created this incredible story.

1. Why did you write this book? How did the story come about?

I thought of combining the two-bestselling elements on the market and creating a Vampire Amish mashup. But when I started writing it I realized that someone who has been forbidden for his entire life from committing any sort of violence—and now he has to kill to survive—is the beginning of a great thriller.

Even if Eli’s nature wanted him to kill I think the way he was raised would not let him just start acting like a full-blown vampire. I guess that’s part of what makes this story so different. Most times a person is bit and then they start acting like a vampire the next day sticking their fangs in the necks of anyone who walks. But this lifestyle goes so fully against Eli’s worldview, I don’t know if he would ever willingly kill someone to survive even though that’s what vampires are “supposed” to do.

2. Why should people read TLAU? What do you hope we take away from it? 

I’ll give three quick answers here:

1)    The story. When I read something I want it to be a great story, to keep my interest, and to be surprised by the ways the characters twist and turn.

2)    It’s episodic. You can read the full story in the time it takes you to watch a season of TV. This is so different for a novel series. Harry Potter lasted around 10 years; it took a few years in between each Twilight book; it took 36 years between the Shining and Dr. Sleep; but this story happens so quickly you can engage with it. You can read and episode, guess what is going to happen next, and a couple of weeks later another episode is released. It lets the reader experience fiction in the same way we experience other episodic story telling. And that’s exciting.

3)    I think in life any of us can have certain desires that we know are disastrous, or at the very least they go against the way we were taught to behave, but those desires are still there. How do we wrestle with those things? What does that say about us? This is story that explores those questions.

He has to learn what it means to be a vampire. And here’s the thing: If you or I were turned into a vampire we would have some idea of what we’re supposed to do.

But he’s Amish. He didn’t grow up reading Ann Rice or watching Dracula. He has no idea what vampires do—let alone how to act like one. I think you’re going to be surprised by some of the ways he reacts to what he has become.

 

Thanks Rob! Now, is your curiosity piqued? Lucky for you, the book is available for only $3.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. And check back in just a couple weeks for Episode 2 to be released. You’ll find out what happens to our favorite Amish va… Oops. Don’t want to give away too much!

Promoting Your Book: Resources and Tips for Every Author

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by Patton Dodd

Note: This post contains a bunch of terrific links to blog posts and affordable books/ebooks that amount to a terrific, actionable set of resources for learning how to promote your book, developing a specific plan of action, and executing that plan. If you’re in a rush, skip this intro and head straight down to the list of links–we won’t be offended (much). 

We spend a lot of time around here planning and executing book promotions and marketing, and that work can take many forms: running newfangled ad campaigns, sending mass emails to targeted lists, partnering with high-traffic websites, leveraging social media accounts, and doing contests, giveaways, press releases, and so on. We’ve dropped postcards in coffee shops and bars. We’ve announced book endorsements from A-list authors. We’ve had authors stand up in front of 7,000 people and announce their book launch.

Depending on the title, we can do a lot for our authors. But there’s one thing we can’t do, and that thing is perhaps the single most important factor in their book’s ultimate sales: We can’t make them promote their own book.

Fortunately, most of our authors are happy to do the work of promotion. That’s good, because author-led promotions are powerful. In many cases, authors are the biggest difference-maker in a book’s performance. Read publishing news sites, book blogs, and industry interviews with successful authors, and the constant theme you’ll hear from top-sellers is that the authors got involved and stayed involved with the promotion of their books. Some best-selling authors were already celebrities or authors with strong writing credentials and deep experience. But many of today’s top authors were relative nobodies who (1) had a killer book and (2) simply did the quiet, careful, and (at times) frankly ordinary work of book promotion.

But what is that work, exactly? Especially for lesser-known writers? How can authors help sell their own books if they don’t have 50,000 followers on Twitter and a million fans on Facebook? What can be done by the writer whose speaking opportunities are few and who won’t be getting an invitation from Terry Gross anytime soon?

Lots, actually. The links at the end of this post will point you in many useful directions. To begin, however, it’s important that you don’t ignore the obvious assets you already have at your disposal. No matter who you are, if you have a book that’s being published (even if you publish it yourself, though we hope you’ll talk to us first), and you have any sort of network of friends, family, and colleagues, then you already have the two starting points of any successful book promotion: your book, and your network.

Your Book

Don’t overlook the obvious: If you think about it the right way, your book itself is a powerful sales tool. The title, subtitle, and cover were designed with the book’s value in mind. Every good book makes a value proposition to the reader: If you read this book, you will . . . X. Your job is to solve for X. You will laugh. You will cry. You will turn pages until the wee hours. You will learn about the history of China. You will be inspired to make more money. Make less money. Teach underprivileged children. Become a better mother. Stop drinking. Start cooking. Understand economics. And so on. Every book makes a promise of bringing some value to the reader’s life.

The best book promotions make value propositions clear and specific. They can be stated simply and succinctly. To promote your book successfully, you must know your value proposition backwards and forward. Look to the title and subtitle you chose for clues–and make those better and clearer if need be. Think about the marketing description that was written (or is being written) for the book’s landing page or back cover. Isolate the terms that are most likely to move people, to meet some felt need, to answer some aching desire or question.

Write it down. If you read my book, you will X. You’ll be stating this in a variety of ways as you talk, Tweet, blog, and etc. about your book, so you want to know it backwards and forwards.

Your Network

The other powerful sales tool you have right now is your network. Whether that’s a huge Twitter following or simply a list of email addresses in your Contacts folder, it’s important to recognize it and decide how best to use it. You likely need to build a bigger and stronger network in order to really maximize sales, but it’s crucial to start with what you’ve already got.

So, capture it. Make lists of the people you know. Think about the categories of your life–family, work, church, gym, neighborhood association. You can’t and should not treat all these people in the same way–it might be appropriate to force your sister to email-blast all her friends with a link to your book’s Amazon page, but your coworkers might not do the same favor–but you should familiarize yourself with the size and reach of your network so you can begin to think about its full potential.

With those two basic assets in hand, you’re ready to learn about the many tasks of book promotion that you might want to do.

To educate you on those tasks, we’ll give the mic to 7 (mostly) short posts, in order of reading priority. (If you read only one, read the Hyatt post.) If taken seriously and applied, these resources will help you to sell far more copies of your book than you would otherwise. Some of the guidance you’ll find here is general, some of it highly specific. Some of it won’t apply to you, depending on your situation. All of it is malleable–a set of suggestions that you should adapt and put to use in a way that makes sense for you.

1. “How to Launch a Bestselling Book” — Michael Hyatt

2. “Let’s Get Visible” – David Gaugrahn (promo page for his ebook, which we highly recommend)

3. “A Checklist for Marketing Your eBook” — Jane Friedman (skip down to the subhead “Promotion” in particular)

4. “Why Is My Book Not Selling?” — David Gaugrahn

5. “The Ultimate Guide to Goodreads for Authors” — Joanna Penn

6. “Stats from My Latest Book Launch” — Nathan Barry

7. “How Readers Discovered a Debut Novel” — “Otis” at Goodreads

 

I Feel Beautiful When…

Posted on: August 19th, 2013 by bondfireadmin No Comments

When we released one of our newest books under the title Beauty and the Bitchwe were unsure what the reaction would be. Thankfully, we had the brilliantly talented Jan Meyers Proett at the helm of this honest and vulnerable book, and she delivers on both the honesty and the promise of the book’s subtitle: “Grace for the Worst in Me.” And it took no time at all for positive reviews to begin pouring in. Not only that, but our Facebook page as well as Jan’s were flooded with stories of readers’ experiences with both beauty and bitch. As Jan says, bitch can overwhelm beauty, but if we let it, beauty always wins.

So it got us thinking—when do you feel beautiful? Is it when your family enjoys dinner at the end of a busy day? Is it reading a book to your kids before bedtime? Is it when you reach the top of a mountain you’ve climbed? Or maybe it’s when you’ve completed a new painting? All of these moments, along with countless more, blend together to make up the beauty inside each of us. Beauty is not celebrated enough. We want you to tell us when you feel beautiful.

From now until September 2, we want you to send us a picture, a story, a short phrase, a video, or however you want to express yourself finishing this sentence: “I feel beautiful when…” Once we get all of your submissions, we’ll highlight them on the website and our social media streams. We want to take time to celebrate beauty, and we want your help.

You can send your submissions to Rachel at rmueller(at)bondfirebooks(dot)com, post them on our Facebook page, or tweet at us using the hashtag #celebratebeauty.

 

 

Interns Wanted!

Posted on: August 16th, 2013 by bondfireadmin No Comments

We’re looking for creative people to intern with us. We’re currently accepting applications for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters. If you’d like to apply, please submit your resume to Rachel at rmueller(at)bondfirebooks(dot)com.

Check out the job description below:

If you’re an innovative and creative person who loves books and technology, put your talents to use for an up-and-coming publishing company located in the heart of Colorado Springs. Bondfire Books is looking for insightful, motivated interns who have an interest and passion for publishing, marketing, and digital/social media. We work with everyone from New York Times bestselling authors to first-time authors. Our passion is good books, and our mission is to help shape the future of reading.

We’re a small company, so you’ll get experience in a wide range of areas. Our company provides a casual and friendly work environment. We can work with you to establish flexible working hours that suit your schedule and keep you on track academically. This is a great opportunity for college students to build their resumes and establish themselves in one of the most exciting new media markets.

Some of the ways you’ll help us:

Social media marketing communications on Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, forums & blogs // Conducting research on articles associated with new marketing best practices // Compiling and analyzing consumer demographics // Market and competitive research // Brainstorming new book campaigns // Administrative duties

If this sounds like you, please apply. Requirements include:

Excellent writing and communication skills // Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications // Familiarity with social media and blogging applications // Good organizational skills  // Interest in social media marketing // Able to commit 10-20 hrs per week // A great sense of humor is a plus!

Compensation: College Credit (with approval of your institution)

Q+A with Lois and Steve Rabey

Posted on: July 30th, 2013 by bondfireadmin

When Lois and Steve Rabey set out to write the stories of hospice workers, they had no idea what to expect. Hospice care is arguably one of the hardest jobs in the healthcare field. Would they find disgruntled employees working long hours only to have their patient die? Would they find sadness and heaviness? Or would there be life and light in the midst of sorrow? What they found was a common thread among workers and the dying alike. They all had stories to tell and wisdom to impart. The power of human connection and desire to matter was palpable with each story. As they wove these stories together, they saw the life in dying and the joy in sorrow.

We recently had a chance to catch up with Lois and Steve to ask them a few questions about their experience with this book.

1.Why are you writing for Bondfire?

We have known some of the folks involved with the creation of Bondfire for a long time and appreciate their commitment to excellence in writing and publishing. We’re excited about the world of eBooks and the opportunity to get helpful material out to the reading public quickly and at a high “editorial standard.” We don’t want our writing to get lost in the overflowing stream of content online that CAN be published with the click of a button but without the care that the team at Bondfire provides to its writers.

 

2.Why did you write this book? What inspired you?

In the last few years we have suffered the loss of several close friends and one family member…Steve’s 93-year-old mother. Hospice care played a role in the last days of each of the people we loved. One friend passed away at home with hospice home care. The other friend was in a hospice facility at the end, and Steve’s mother was in a nursing home that provided hospice care. We were inspired by the loving presence of the hospice workers we came into contact with and appreciated that our loved ones could easily talk to those hospice workers and share what was on their hearts as their lives were slipping away. We also benefited from the care that the hospice workers gave to us. They were sensitive and informative and provided comfort in the most difficult of times.

 

3.Why should people read Lessons for the Living from the Dying? What do you hope we will take away?

We think that most people reflect on the deep issues of life when they become aware of their own mortality. The stories in this book reveal what hospice workers learned from their patients as they shared their dying thoughts: things they wished they had done differently; things they were grateful for; how they felt as their chances to make changes in life were over.

We believe we can all benefit from their words. If you are reading this book, you still have time to make significant changes in your own life or to validate that you are creating a legacy that will impact your family and loved ones positively.

While death is a difficult subject, it is an arena where the truth shines through. The hospice workers we interviewed have witnessed the vulnerable reflections of those with whom they have worked. Pretenses are gone and helpful insights are recorded for all of us to learn from.

 

Check out this beautiful and thought provoking book for only $2.99 on AmazoniBookstore, and Barnes and Noble. And while you’re at it, feel free to leave a review and tell us what lessons you need to learn before you die.

livingdying

Dear Abba Days 29 and 30

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 by bondfireadmin No Comments

It’s been a great month studying Brennan Manning’s Dear Abba. For this weekend we wanted to give you two last days for free. And if this is your first time reading the Dear Abba devotional, welcome! Available at all the major retailers for only $3.99 on Amazon and iTunes. Or download directly via Ganxy.

TWENTY-NINTH DAY MORNING

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.”
—1 Corinthians 3:1-3

The obsession with erotica in book, film, play, and entertainment signals entrapment in the sensation center. The carnal man is blatantly in the flesh and lives and walks according to the flesh. Yet many committed Christians who decry the rampant pornography of our sensate culture still dabble discreetly in the fleshpots and paralyze the power of the Spirit in their lives! An ambivalent “prudence of the flesh” seeks a sort of gilded mediocrity where the self is carefully distributed between flesh and spirit with a watchful eye on both. Paul calls these “men of imperfect spiritual vision.” They have received the Spirit, but they remain spiritual men in embryo because they do not subject themselves fully to the domination of the Spirit; they yield to sexual passion and other drives, thus confining themselves to an infantile spirituality.
—The Gentle Revolutionaries

Dear Abba,
It’s not You, but me. I’m the one who dilutes Your power in my life with my measured yielding to the demands of the flesh. I’m the one who wants to have the very best of both worlds. I’m the one who has been in Your family for years yet I’m still an infant, carnal, worldly. Help me this day to not even have a hint of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed about me. Yes, I know, Lord; it’s time to grow up.

 

TWENTY-NINTH DAY EVENING

“This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” —Matthew 22:38- 40

In order to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must come to recognize our intrinsic worth and dignity and to love ourselves in the wholesome, appreciative way that Jesus commanded when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The tendency to continually berate ourselves for real or imaginary failures, to belittle ourselves and underestimate our worth, to dwell exclusively on our dishonesty, self-centeredness, and lack of personal discipline, is the influence of our negative self-esteem. Reinforced by the critical feedback of our peers and the reproofs and humiliations of our community, we seem radically incapable of accepting, forgiving, or loving ourselves. In his opening address at the regional charismatic conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Father Francis McNutt touched an exposed nerve when he said, “If Jesus Christ has forgiven you all your sins and washed you in His own blood, what right do you have not to forgive yourself?” —The Importance of Being Foolish

Dear Abba,
“Are you letting Jesus love you?” I’ve asked that question of others for years; it has become almost a signature phrase for me; people expect to hear it. But most of them have no inkling the degree to which that question has haunted me for years, and still does today. I was hard on myself today, I focused on my sins to the exclusion of Your mercy; my trees overshadowed Your forest. If You were to stand before me, right now, and ask, “Are you letting Me love you, Brennan?” I would have to say, “I’m trying, Lord. I’m trying.”

 

THIRTIETH DAY MORNING

“My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.’”
—Song of Songs 2:10-12

The furious longing of God is beyond our wildest desires, our hope or hopelessness, our rectitude or wickedness, neither cornered by sweet talk nor gentle persuasion. The furious longing of God, as Dan Berrigan writes, is “not to be reduced to a thing, a grand ideal; it is not to be reduced to a plaything, a caged songbird, for the amusement of children.” It cannot be tamed, boxed, captivated, housebroken, or templebroken. It is simply and startlingly Jesus, the effulgence of the Father’s love. The seldom-stated truth is that many of us have a longing for God and an aversion to God. Some of us seek Him and flee Him at the same time. We may scrupulously observe the Ten Commandments and rarely miss church on a Sunday morning, but a love affair with Jesus is just not our cup of tea.

—The Furious Longing of God

Dear Abba,
To think that You seek intimacy with me leaves me in shock bordering on disbelief, wonder akin to incredulity, and affectionate awe tinged by doubt. I’ve used those words over the years and I stand by them; I cannot find others more suitable to describe this daily, dogged pursuit of my heart. Forgive me for playing hard-to-get. And thank You for not giving up on me.

THIRTIETH DAY EVENING

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
—Matthew 20:26-28

Ragamuffins don’t sit down to be served; they kneel down to serve. When there is food on their plate, they don’t whine about the mystery meat or the soggy veggies, nor do they whimper about the monotonous menu or the cracked plate. Glad for a full stomach, they give thanks for the smallest gift. They do not grow impatient and irritable with the dismal service in department stores, because they so often fail to be good servants themselves.

Ragamuffins do not complain about the feeble preaching and the lifeless worship of their local church. They are happy to have a place to go where they can mingle with other beggars at the door of God’s mercy. “Beggars know how to open their hands,” writes Sue Monk Kidd, “trusting that the crumb of grace will fall.” Humbly acknowledging that they are proletarian folks powerless to achieve their heart’s desires without divine help, they are grateful for the smallest crumb that tumbles from the preacher’s mouth.

—The Ragamuffin Gospel

Dear Abba,
Today I’ve whined about everything from soggy veggies to sorry sermons. I’ve really let out the length of the reins, securing my place in the minds of a few family and friends as the embodiment of the words irritable, complaining, and grumble. I’ve been an absolute bear, Lord. So first of all, I’m sorry; please forgive me. And secondly, I’m opening my hands to You, trusting that the crumbs of Your grace are sufficient for bears like me.