INTERVIEWER: Jackie, tell me about yourself.
ME: (Slurping tea) I live in Kansas City, Missouri—grew up within 50 miles of here in the country, a small town named Faucett. Worked in my mom’s garden (against my will), collected all the stray dogs and cats in the neighborhood, had a huge crush on Donny Osmond and played sports in high school.
I was saved in a Baptist revival when I was six. My life has been a God pursuit with some discouraging results along the way. My father was emotionally unavailable and my mother, while as kind as she could be, was extremely legalistic and hyper-religious. I grew up fearing the “big hammer God in the sky.” The grace of God was a foreign concept in our house.
I am 58 and am still peeling off the proverbial onion layers of brokenness: Renouncing lies like, “He’ll work through others, but not through me” or “I must perform to be loved.” Trying to connect with Him, hear His voice and experience His love for me has been a long process. I sometimes wish the Lord would do a Jimmy Stewart, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me so I could see all the ways He’s intervened, guided and cared for me even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
It’s interesting, in Angels of Humility the antagonist, Pastor Paul, is patterned after me on my worst days and my protagonist, Sarah, is me on my best days. I still have my ups and downs. I’m learning that two steps forward and one step back is still forward progress and I’m learning that God loves the process.
INTERVIEWER: (Yawning) That’s all very interesting, Jackie. Is there a particular saying that means a great deal to you?
ME: Great question. (Quoting from memory)
“For the wonderful thing about saints is that they were human. They lost their tempers, got angry, scolded God, were egotistical or testy or impatient in their turns, made mistakes and regretted them. Still they went on doggedly blundering toward heaven.” – Phyllis McGinley
INTERVIEWER: Wow, Jackie, I’m really a healed individual, I can’t really identify with that at all.
ME: I love the part about doggedly blundering toward Heaven. I grew up believing that God hated me and was eagerly waiting for me to mess up so He could send me to hell. Walking in the knowledge that God doesn’t require perfection but loves to forgive, and that He enjoys us in our weakness has been freeing and challenging.
INTERVIEWER: Hmm. Jackie, you’re really a whiner.
ME: (Big sigh) Sorry. I just wanted people to know that if God can use me then He can use them too. I was also practicing being vulnerable. My first tendency is always to hide. Thanks for affirming me in my effort. You’ve made it easier for me to share my heart the next time, really.
INTERVIEWER: Glad I could help. I’ve heard good things about Angels of Humility and I just wanted to know what prompted you to write this book. I really didn’t want all your personal details.
ME: I wanted to help people understand the importance of living with their eyes on eternity so they will not be shocked when they stand before the Lord and discover that giving a cup of cold water with love, or praying in obscurity is, in the Lord’s eyes, much more valuable than striving for prominence, promotion or a platform on earth. AOH demonstrates the key to standing before His throne and hearing, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Surprisingly, this is within reach of every believer. In order to be great in the world you need beauty, money, a name, a talent, etc. God’s kingdom is the only kingdom where everyone has the opportunity to be great whether we are well known or hidden in total obscurity. AOH is very much a multi-year labor of love to the reader.
INTERVIEWER: I figured you as someone who just did it for the money.
ME: Well look at the time, you really must be going.
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask a few more questions before I go. What do you enjoy? What are your hobbies?
A: I enjoy:
- Reading (OK, it’s more than enjoyable, it’s an addiction)
- My Australian Shepherd, Rex (a.k.a., “the Rexer Doggie,” “The Bestest Doggie” or “Rex, Rex, Rex.”
- Learning new things
- Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
- Decorating cakes
- Garage sales and thrift stores (I LOVE a bargain)
- Victorian decorating (From garage sales and thrift stores)
- Vintage rhinestone jewelry
- My son Calvin’s great wit and creativity
- Eating healthy
- The clear blue water of the tropics and the exquisitely beautiful fish that reside there
- Good conversations
- Miracle Whip (not mayo)
- Tea (not coffee)
- Milk chocolate (not dark)
- Animal documentaries
- No Bake Chocolate cookies (recipe below)
- Funny quotes–my current favorite: “DESTINED FOR GREATNESS–Just pacing myself.”
INTERVIEWER: Some things you don’t like?
A: I dislike:
- House cleaning (If you’re allergic to dust you would die at my house)
- Cooked turnips (but I like them raw)
- Cold temperatures (Anything below 72 and I’m dressing in layers)
- Horseradish, wasabi, hot peppers, anything hotter than mild sauce at Taco Bell
- Waste of any kind
- Arrogant people with Y chromosomes
INTERVIEWER: You say you love humor. Do you have a favorite joke?
ME: Yes, but I put them in the book.
INTERVIEWER: Have you always been a writer?
ME: Not at all. I began writing Christian humor about 20 years ago. I was a starving, single mom with an unreliable car that frequently left my son and I stranded. I kept pouring money into it for several years because everyone said, “Diesel engines will run for 250,000 miles.” My car had a stick shift and one day when I put it in reverse I couldn’t get it out. From then on I had to execute all my parking so I could pull forward, as backing up was now out of the question—quite a challenge. I finally took my car to a Volkswagen specialist who said my car’s engine had a terminal disease called “blow by” and that it wouldn’t run much longer.
“My durable diesel engine! The whole reason I kept this car and now it’s giving out on me.” I drove home crying but decided to try to squeeze something of value out of this horrible situation. I wrote a humor article called “My Car Is Driving Me Crazy,” chronicling the demise of my car and Single-Parent Family magazine published it! I went on to write more humor articles for them about the continual challenges of being a single mom. Next I branched out to some other Christian magazines.
I attended a large church and people started seeing my articles and asking if I would read their book. Then people started asking if I would write their book. That’s how I ended up being a ghost writer. (To my high school English teacher, Ms. Amthor, I had no idea I’d be a writer and I really, really wish that I’d listened gooder in class!)
I started AOH about 12 years ago and let it sit for about a decade. During that time I was in two traffic accidents (neither were my fault) and ended up with neck, back, wrist and shoulder problems. I didn’t write much for about 6 years. A couple of years ago I dusted the manuscript off and spent about a year and a half finishing it.
Then I started on The Designer Bag at the Garbage Dump. It’s about a middle-class, very nominal “Christian” named Julie. The Lord disrupts her manicured, pedicured, designer life in a very surprising way. He transports her against her will to India to rescue 11 orphans living on a garbage dump. To her dismay, she can’t return home until she finishes this disgusting, divine assignment.
INTERVIEWER: Any closing comments before I wrap this up?
ME: Thanks for visiting my web site. I pray you were blessed. Let me know how the Lord touched you when you read Angels or Designer Bag. Be sure to listen to the audio prayers of blessings and sign up to be reminded to pray each day for those who are going to die. Check out the cookie recipe below.
UNBAKED CHOCOLATE COOKIES
- 2 C. sugar
- ½ C. cocoa
- 1 stick butter
- ½ C. milk
Boil for 4 minutes then add:
- 2 C. oatmeal
- ½ C. peanut butter
- ½ tsp. vanilla
Drop by Tbsp. on waxed paper and let set then try to eat just one!
Click here to contact Jackie.