Monday, November 30, 2009

A Lemon Fresh tour with humorist and author James (Jim) Watkins




Sour circumstances left you feeling down? Unemployment, foreclosures, divorce, bankruptcy and cancer don't even begin to peel the skin off all the bad news in our world today. At a time in history when the evening news contains more bad than good, people wonder if sweeter days will ever come. In steps James (Jim) Watkins. With a fresh perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness, Watkins serves readers a refreshing cup of encouragement and hope.
Written from his own experiences with cancer, unemployment and other life-puckering crises, Jim prompts readers to look at the cup of suffering with eyes focused on the true thirst quencher--Jesus Christ. Readers will be pleasantly surprised at the balance of readability and deep wisdom offered within the pages of Squeezing Good Out Of Bad. With scripture references, humor-filled lists, and a creative manuscript, Watkins brings the bitterness of hard times and blends it with the sweetness of God's presence. He's been there. His transparency is as refreshing as, you guessed it, a tall, cool glass of lemonade.

A book that will make you laugh, think, and start looking at
those sour places of life in a whole new way.
I really enjoyed reading it. ~ Martha Bolton





James N. Watkins is the author of sixteen books and over two thousand articles. He is the acquisition editor for Wesleyan Publishing House, an editorial advisor for ACW Press, instructor at Taylor University and a sought-after conference speaker. He’s won Campus Life’s Book of the Year award and various other awards for writing and editing. He’s married to Lois. They have two children and four grandchildren. His family is the lemonade in his life.


Author Interview:
1. You've been in the literary world for a while, give us a quick recap of how you got started to where you are today.
By second grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I felt the suspension of disbelief was stretched too thin when the real-live puppet Pinocchio became a real live boy. So I rewrote the ending having the wooden puppet die a painful, prolonged death of Dutch elm disease. (At that point, I'm sure my parents and teachers weren't sure if I'd become a writer or a life-long patient at a psychiatric hospital.) I later went on to become the editor of my high school paper, worked at a Christian publishing house as an editor during college, and then dabbled in writing while holding down a real job. Since 1988 I've been writing and speaking full-time.

2. In Squeezing Good Out Of Bad you give many insightful tips on how to turn around sour circumstances. Share a practical way we can be encouraged during tough times.
My "top ten list" of chapter titles 10-4 provide practical steps for dealing with lemons, but the real secrets are found in chapters 3-1. (Yes, like a true top ten list, the chapters are numbered backward.) Romans 8:28 promises that that God is working all things out for our good to accomplish His purpose in our lives. But we have to read on to verse 29 to find that purpose: "to be conformed to the image of His Son."

3. No life is perfect. Can you give us an example of how you got through a challenging situation and were able to use these principles to see the good in it?
I think it's so important that we take our faith seriously, but I certainly don't want to take my situation or myself too seriously. So I create a mental "top ten" list of what good can come about in this situation. For instance, last year I had radiation for cancer and it totally depleted me physically and mentally. My family dubbed it "radiation retardation." Because of that, I was fired from a wonderful part-time job because I just couldn't do it. So, "Top Ten Great Things about Losing My Job": 10. I'll be paying less taxes next year. 9. I've got twenty hours a week of free time. 8. . . .

Our family is going through something right now that is far worse than cancer, and I can't see a single good thing that can come out of it. So, at those times, you just keep hanging on--with white knuckles--to the fact that God loves you and the Romans 8:28 is still in effect.


4. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spare time? What's that? I'm a firm believer in "redeeming the time" so I try to keep busy doing things that matter for the Kingdom. But after my little brain is worn out--usually around 7 pm--nothing beats a session of "Freecell."

5. What's the last book you read and why?
Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, the only real reading for pleasure is on airline flights. The King book is research for a book I'm proposing as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

6. What do you hope readers will gain by reading your book?
I wrote the first draft nine years ago, and even though I have a great agent, we just couldn't find a publisher. That was before cancer, family crisis, unemployment. . . . So it's a much more comforting, honest book. And it forced me to not be so flippant and casual about the serious issues people are dealing with. Henri Nouwen talks about "wounded healers." I think, because of the lemons that have piled up in my life, I can more compassionately offer comfort to those buried under a pile of lemons.




When life gives you lemons . . .

10. Don't confuse them with hand grenades (Identify the problem)

9. Check the delivery slip (Determine if it's your problem)

8. Sell them on eBay (Profit from the problem)

7. Paint smiley faces on them (Laugh at the problem)

6. Join a citrus support group (Share your problem)

5. Use as an all-natural, organic astringent (Grow from the problem)
4. Don't shoot the delivery driver (Forgive the problem-maker)

3. Graft to a lime tree for a refreshing, low-calorie soft drink (Take the problem to a higher level)

2. Grow your own orchard (Live a fruitful life despite—or because of—the problem)

1. Give off a refreshing fragrance (Live a lemon-fresh life)






Blog Tour Giveaway:
The blog host with the most comments will have the opportunity to send in one commentor's name for the grand prize giveaway. Here's what they'll win:
First prize: Jim will stop by your house with fresh-baked lemon cake and hot lemon tea. (Disclaimer: Offer available only to residents of Corn Borer, Indiana. Alternate prize includes a copy of Sqeezing Good Out Of Bad, mixes for lemon tea, lemon cake, lemonade and assorted lemon candies. Not available where taxed or licensed. Winner responsible for safe and proper use of products.)


For your first comment tell me. Have you faced a challenging situation in your life and how did you get through it (OR) maybe you are facing one right now; what are you doing to get through?

Be sure to leave me a way of contact in case you are the winner. Drawing will be on Dec. 18th.

Since I'm in the holiday spirit, I'll give you a bonus try if you tell me your favorite fruit flavor. Be sure to leave this in a separate comment for your bonus.





Shining the Light on
Edna Tollison






NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of Squeezing Good Out Of Bad via Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, gifted to all participants in this blog tour.

This blog tour is through:



books

5 comments:

Charity said...

I have to say the most challenging thing in my life so far has been when a very dear friend went to be with the Lord. And the way I got through it was lots, and I mean lots, of prayer and knowing he was with the Lord.
esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

Charity said...

And my favorite fruit flavor is Cherry:)

Edna said...

I am trying to leave a comment to enter the challenging situation contest but I didn't see a place under it to leave a comment.
I am have a very difficult time right now, I have depression and it always gets worse at Christmas because 2 of my sons and their families will not have anything to do with us and there are grandchildren and great-grandchilden involved.
Also I just lost a brother a month ago, my other brother is in very bad shape with his heard and dibetics. I have one sister left and she has alzheimer's and just trying to get over a broken hip she is 89. There were 10 of us kids now we are three, please pray for me during this trying time, I will enjoy Christmas with the other 2 of my children and their families

mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

Edna said...

comment number 2: My favoirte fruit is Peaches,


mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

Linda said...

Having (3) back surgeries and and ended up with 'failed back syndrome.' I didn't fuse/along with other issues. I find other ways to do what I need to do. Have prayed and had others pray for me.
This book goes beyond the 'if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' So practical!
Please enter me. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com