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Over the period of April 27-30, Cec spoke several times in the Jamestown, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania, areas. Here are a few pictures from that trip.
with Sally Ferguson
With Sally Ferguson, Cec's hostess and the one who extended the invitation for him to come
with Gloria Clover
With Gloria Clover, Director of Writing Success
with Mark Cooper
With friend Mark Cooper
Two Kinds of People
A friend once said, “There are two kinds of people—givers and takers.” His comment obviously put him among the givers and seemed a little harsh toward others unlike himself.
I’ve been thinking about two classes of individuals since Kayleen Powell, a scholarship recipient, sent me a beautifully hand-decorated quotation from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “. . .  we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude.”
More impactful to me was the latter part of the quotation: “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”
That forced me to review my life—from early childhood to the present. It amazed me to realize how many people did so much for me—something most of them probably weren’t aware of doing.
I thought of the wonderful, self-giving teachers—and that eliminates only two from first grade through grad school. I’ve been having a delightful time reminding myself of the kindness of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers.
My first book contract came because a friend told a publisher about my writing; I signed with my literary agent because writer Mark Littleton suggested an agent I’d never heard of (who was then new in the business). On and on goes my list.
Often the giving is only a few words, a hug, or something seemingly insignificant. Last week, Sharon Fincannon said an acquaintance made a casual remark that radically changed the direction of Sharon’s life. I’ve experienced a few myself.
I thought of my monthly newsletters, which I’ve been sending out for ten years. Each time, anywhere from five to fifty people email and tell me how touched they were. That was my giving to them, but I doubt that they have any idea how much affirmation they show me.
Personal News
  • May 5-6 I’m scheduled to speak at PENCON, a conference for editors that will happen this year in Atlanta.

  • Outside my home church, I have no more speaking or teaching commitments. And I smile when I think about it. I keep saying that I’m easing into retirement, and it’s becoming a reality.

  • Two books I completed writing months ago will come out sometime in 2018. I have three book commitments in progress. And that’s the end.

  • In recent weeks, I've passed book project offers on to others. And smiled. It's getting easier to say no. 
More pictures of Cec's trip
preaching at Busti Church of God at Busti Church of God with Fergusons and Smiths at Jamestown Public Library
Top left to right: (1) Speaking at Busti Church of God. (2) With Pastor Roy and Sally Ferguson and associate pastors, Scott and Danika Smith, of Busti Church of God. (3) Author talk and book signing at Jamestown Public Library.
Bottom left to right: (1) With librarian Beth Hadley at Sinclairville Public Library. (2 and 3) Meeting with Write Circle Writers Group at Sinclairville Public Library.
with Beth Hadley, librarian of Sinclairville Free Library Write Circle Writers Group at Sinclairville Public Library
The Twila Zone--
News from My Assistant, Twila Belk
As you can see from the picture on the left, my big news this month is that I became a grandma again on Wednesday, April 26. I was thrilled to be able to meet little Samson Richard Belk before I left to teach at the WordSowers Conference in Omaha. Babies make everything so much better, don't they?
I've enjoyed my opportunities to speak in the last several weeks, and I have a few more coming up. On May 10 I'll be interviewed on the morning show of Moody Radio WDLM, and on May 20 I'll speak for a ladies' day event at Our Savior Presbyterian Church in Argo, Iowa. The last event on my calendar before reconstruction surgery in July is the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference June 22-24, where I'll give three keynote talks. 
I continue to contribute bi-monthly articles to Positive Note Magazine, and I recently received an invitation to join a team of writers who will provide two devotions each month for a high-profile radio and TV commentator's website. I'm thrilled for the opportunity to brag on God to a much larger audience. My first devo appeared on April 18, tax day, and just happened to be about Zacchaeus, a tax collector. (And no, I didn't plan that.) The title of that devo is "In the Way." I also continue to be a panelist for The Writer's View, a forum for professional and aspiring writers. I look forward to finishing my manuscript for The Power to BE (BroadStreet Publishing) and holding the book in my hands at the end of the year.
With Cec's full retirement getting closer, I'm on an exciting adventure with God as He reveals little by little what my next steps will be. 
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