Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Job loss is hitting several of my friends and their families. It stirs fears I've tried to bury - of the challenge our family has gone through several times with long stretches of unemployment. The experience is so potentially isolating and frightening, that when I wrote my first contemporary women's fiction story a few years ago, I chose unemployment as the major dramatic conflict for the family.

The Secret Life of Becky Miller is full of Becky's whimsical day dreams and desire to do something big for God as she tries to hold together her "super mom" ideal. But some of her bravest scenes involve quiet choices to support her husband after his job loss, instead of give way to panic.

If you have friends who have been "downsized" or are fearing lay-offs, or if you are job-searching and wondering if this journey means you've "missed God's will" somewhere, I suspect that The Secret Life of Becky Miller might provide some encouragement, and a fictional character you can relate to.

Right now, Christian Book Distributors is offering copies of the novel at their site for $2.99! Now that's a great gift in a time of tight family budgets.

Here's an excerpt:

We continued to pray as December moved along. I'd always been good at pinching pennies, but now I had to squeeze them and wring them out.

Selling the van brought in some money and lowered our car insurance. Kevin swallowed his pride and admitted to broader circles of friends that he needed a job. He called it networking, but I knew he believed it was begging. I saw the strain growing in him as each day passed.

My fear grew at the same pace as our pile of bills. Kevin swung between honest discouragement and a more frightening self-containment and withdrawal.

My attempts at cheerleading sometimes slipped into nagging. "Have you checked the bulletin board at the unemployment office again? Did you go through today's paper? What about the Internet? Did you submit your resume to companies that way?" No wonder he seemed more irritable every day. I hadn't realized how much strain his job loss could put on our marriage.

No matter how much I reassured him, he admitted he felt like less of a man.

No matter how confident his swagger as he headed out for another interview, I worried we'd lose the house and end up in a cardboard box on skid row.

We both put our best faces on for each other, but the effort was pushing us apart.

Whatever job situation you are facing today, I pray that God will send you reassurance that He cares about you deeply and is absolutely capable of providing for you.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Minnesota Readers and Writers...

...Come chat with me!

Saturday, February 21st, 11:00 a.m.
I'll be signing Stepping Into Sunlight at the
Northwestern Bookstore
Cobblestone Court, Burnsville, MN

I love visiting with readers and other writers, answering questions, talking about good books, sharing ideas, and connecting one-on-one. I'd love to see you!

Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (2007 ACFW Book of the Year - 2nd place, Lit category)
Renovating Becky Miller
(2008 Audie Award Finalist, ACFW BOTY finalist)
The Restorer
(2008 Christy Award Finalist, ACFW BOTY finalist)
The Restorer's Son (ACFW Book of the Year Winner, Romantic Times 4.5 stars, Reviewer's Choice Award - Road to Romance)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Now Available:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Spoonful of Empathy

Lately I've had a few challenges in my life. I've tried to be brave and patient, and I work on focusing on things I'm grateful for.

But today I mentioned my struggles in an email to a friend. When she emailed back she said, "I can't imagine how frustrating that must be!" Her empathy literally reached out of the email and hugged me.

As much as I have tried not to be a big sympathy-seeker, I confess I was about a quart low and needed a good infusion of compassion. Her words were exactly what I needed.

Lord, help me offer precious spoonfuls of empathy to my hurting friends today, as this precious friend gave to me. Help me stop myself before offering advice, explanations, or empty comparisons, ("at least your problem isn't as bad as XYZ. Could be worse.") Let me simply wrap my friends in love and say, "I can't imagine how painful that must be. I'm sorry it's so hard. I care." Thank you for my friend's example today, and how much it warmed me. Amen!

Sharon Hinck