Defining Your Story

I remember the wonder I felt the first time I watched the movie Forrest Gump—the feather floating into the lap of a mentally challenged man to a haunting piano theme is forever embedded in my brain. Forrest was a man who floated through a life filled with woes and and blessings, was obsessed with a girl named Jenny, and who seemed inordinately favoured by good luck (in good part due to his generous and open nature).

"Mama always said that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know which one you're gonna get," philosophizes Forrest.

Ain't that the truth. No matter how blessed we are, tragedy can strike at any time. And no matter how many disadvantages we begin with, luck can make a career in moments.

That being said, "Fortune favours the prepared." And just because you've got a whole box of chocolates doesn't mean you have to eat every one.

What am I getting at?

I am currently working on a class for writers to help them create a cohesive brand, and a key part of that is defining the story they want their brand to tell. This is a process I went through several years ago as I was trying to figure out how to continue to write, design knitwear, make music, be a mom, and simplify as much as possible so I would not lose my mind.

But really, that's something each of us can do, whether we have a "brand" or not. It's called "being intentional." And until we do this—until we decide what story we want our lives to tell—we will be just like Forrest and his feather, floating from event to event with no real idea what could happen next or how we intend to handle it.

Oh, I don't mean that we can choose what curve balls destiny throws our way. But I do mean that we can choose how we grab them.

We can choose what defines our story.

Will we handle tragedy and triumph alike with love? Hatred? Pride? Arrogance? Humility? Bitterness? Selfishness? Selflessness?

For me, I want my story to be defined by how I love and encourage people. That is the principle that guides how I handle my business, my social media presence, and my real life. Everywhere I appear, I want people to see the loving God that I worship reflected in my actions, words, and life.

This is not an easy principle to adhere to at times. Sometimes, it means telling hard truths. Sometimes, it means taking a hard look at myself. But no matter how difficult it may be, it is always worth it.

What defines your story? Have you ever thought about it? If not, I encourage you to take some time this week and think about what you want the basic guiding principle of your personal "brand" to be. Because everywhere we go, we're promoting something.

I pray that, at the end of your life, when you look back, you believe you chose something worth promoting.
"Finding Heaven" in the wild
Reader Lara O. posted this lovely photo of her copy of Finding Heaven at a "heavenly" British Columbia location. She's been reading a chapter or two each time she manages to get away and relax, and it's been so fun to follow her progress. Tag me on your own photos of my books in the wild with @talenawinters to be featured.

Current WIPs:

YA Fantasy: The Mermaid's Tear

I am about two-thirds through the first draft of The Mermaid's Tear. I am at the point of making some hard decisions—do I want to go ahead and publish this series under my own imprint, or would this be a good time to give the traditional publishing model a try? There are pros and cons to both, but the most appealing part of traditional publishing is the potential reach. If you're the praying type, please pray that I would make the right decision.

New Short Story: The Giving Secret

I normally suck at short stories, meaning, I can't seem to keep them "short". That being said, I think I will soon have a short, stand-alone freebie story to offer you as a newsletter reader.

If only I can keep it simple enough to keep it that way! Haha.

I'll keep you posted.

Making Love Work

Inspired by my sister-in-law's recent wedding, my 7 "no-duh" tips for a happy, healthy marriage (or any other relationship).

Read the Post

What I Read this Month:

Links go to Goodreads.

The King's Horse - Adam Dreece (YA Steampunk Fantasy), 4 Stars
As you go enjoy your summer, I hope you choose to be intentional with your story. What are the qualities you want to be remembered by? And are you applying those traits during your current activities? Only you can answer those questions for yourself.

Seek beauty, spread sunshine!

P.S. If you found this newsletter through a social media link or your browser, I'd love for you to stick around. Go to to join my community. Free gifts! Fairy dust! Happy thoughts! And more like this once a month. :-)
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