Ever find a blessing in a mistake?
Last November, I made a mistake. Trying to provide more value for you as readers of this blog, I have been offering on some posts, an additional free item to deepen whatever the day’s theme featured. For example, last Tuesday I offered a one page printable called Monthly Musings, to record your learnings and observations for the month. All I ask for in return is your email address.
Well, not if how you set the system up is wrong.
My fault. My error. My goof-up.
I didn’t follow the instructions correctly so when someone clicked on the button requesting the freebie, entered their email – well, they got nothing… crickets…WHERE’S MY GIFT?????
Ironically what item they were requesting was my 50 Questions to Nurture Gratitude. I certainly didn’t feel very grateful once I learned the system wasn’t working.
A fellow blogger was the one to let me know – thank you, Martha – and I soon corrected it (though to be honest I still don’t think it works like it should, but that is another story).
I get an email notifying me when someone made a request so I knew about 10 people never got what they asked for. Sigh. I wrote each one, apologizing for my error and sending them individually the printable they requested.
My mistake – hanging head in shame moment. Not very professional. They will all hate me now…
Then I started hearing back from them. I received some very gracious thank you’s for following up and not one angry- not understanding-you idiot note in response. Everyone was so nice. I was blessed with your kindness.
But then came an even bigger blessing: through the miracle of email, I “met” Anna Johnstone from New Zealand.
You see, she was one of the unfortunate people who didn’t get the freebie they requested. She wrote me. I wrote back and she sent me her e-book.
I found a blessing in a mistake: I was the fortunate one to begin a wonderful correspondence with her. So I want you too to get to know Anna today – you will really like her.
Anna lives in New Zealand and as you can see is a beautiful soul both inside and out. We have had delightful conversations about how the weather for each of us is quite opposite and she is writing first thing in the morning in her country as I read her email in the evening in Ohio.
Anna went to Teachers’ College in Christchurch and taught in state and private schools for many years. Called into Christian Education, Anna loved the freedom to teach the truth about God, eventually being involved with Christian teacher training and visiting many trainee teachers in schools in NZ. She is married to Kerry with whom they share a love for photography. She writes in her journal and of course, I have a special place in my heart for a fellow journal keeper.
Anna has written five eBooks available in her “Walk” series that you can purchase in PDF format from her website. The words and photography took my breath away and warmed my cold winter evening as I read them. Check out her website to learn more about her and her books.
Her books are: The God Walk, The Freedom Walk, The Cross Walk (which I am reading for Lent this year), The Psalm Walk, and the Jesus Walk
Here is a sample from The Psalm Walk and one of my favorite passages from the Bible. The photograph is by Janine Ross-Johnstone – http://www.jphotographic.co.nz. If you get this post by email you will have to visit my site to see the page. Also if you are on the site, the page takes a few minutes to load.
I asked Anna about her faith, writing, and photography. She gives us a peek into how God touches our lives through our pens, words and images.
“I have been keeping a spiritual journal for about 30 years, writing screeds and screeds and filling large, thick books. Suddenly, one day, I wrote a piece about Jesus walking out to his disciples on the water (The God Walk) in the style I now love, short lines and deliberately open punctuation and that was that. I’d suddenly come home to myself. I call them reflections. Often people call them poems.
They’re dialogues with God about anything and everything. It’s an adventure to pick up my pen. Like digging for treasure, exciting and satisfying, never knowing what I’ll come up with.
It often starts with Scripture. I can read something I may have read hundreds of times, but suddenly a few words will stop me, so I linger. Sometimes the first line of a reflection pops into my head so I write it down. The rest comes, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Sometimes it’s like eating creamy risotto, other times like gnawing on a bone.
Often I’m surprised when I finally finish and glance at the clock. It’s as if time has floated over me, while I’ve been wrapped in a cocoon, totally oblivious to anything else.
I’m often amazed at what comes. New questions I’ve never considered, encouragement, insight, more understanding of and love for God. Sometimes I’m in tears at what I see.
This quote made me smile: Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way. E.L.Doctorow
Why do I write?
I realised that I can’t not write. I write to make sense of life.
Some people have tidy minds, can think things through, their thoughts neatly filed, and get everything sorted.
My thoughts are like butterflies flitting from flower to flower, not at all in an orderly fashion. I have to lasso them and pin the words down on a page to help me make sense of what’s happening in my life and in the world.
What has this practice of writing and photography taught you?
The two main things in my writing are discovering more and more about God’s heart, and how to live in the now, more and more in the freedom God longs and dreams for us.
Actually, these two things sum up the whole of life for me!
In my writing, I try to help people find their own stories, often, healing through their pain. To encourage them to paint their own pictures, to dream their own dreams. To know how precious, how valuable, how loved we all are by God.”
See how Anna’s words refresh your soul and how getting to know her has blessed my journey. Isn’t she delightful and full of wisdom?
Will be meet in person someday? The distance may prevent that for now, but I have a feeling we will hug someday as we walk with the Lord in heaven.
This is one mistake that continues to shower me with blessings and I am grateful for Anna and to God for that.
What blessing have you found in a mistake?