Speaking event and Book Signing in Kansas: The Gift of Words

Do you ever struggle with your thought life or the words coming out of your mouth? I know I do! In fact, I believe that Joyce Meyer may have written her book, Me and My Big Mouth, just for me!

For my entire life, I’ve battled speaking impatiently, in anger, thoughtlessly, or too bluntly. My wise husband Ray says it’s not necessarily what I’m saying (because I speak truthfully and honestly), but that it’s the way I say it, how I often come across to others. His title of endearment for me is La belle dame sans merci. (The beautiful lady without mercy)

My precious sister Maria, who drips with the gift of mercy, calls it my “bull in the china shop approach!”

I’m working on it! 

As a professional, Christian speaker and author, I’m well aware of the power of words.

The American adage that children often recite in response to bullying in school, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply not true. Words can hurt deeply. Words can also heal and impart life.

God created the world and everything in it with His words. (Genesis Chapter 1) In fact, Jesus Himself is called “The Word” in John 1:1. 

Because God created everything with His  words, and we are made in His image, the words of our mouths are powerful, too. In fact, each word is a gift. This is especially true for speakers and writers!

I’m going to be speaking on this topic at a Christian Women’s Writers’ Workshop, The Gift of Words, in Hutchinson, Kansas, with my friend, author Missy Hoffman, on September 21, 2019.

The workshop will be 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Hutchinson Public Library. 

The address is 901 N. Main Street, Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501.

Missy and I would LOVE to see you there! Admission is free, but seating is limited. If you’re interested in coming, please email Missy at missy@missyhoffman.com or contact her here on the Facebook event page to save your spot. 

Missy is a self-published author of three books, and she will also share about her own writing journey. Our hope is to encourage Christian women to share the story God has given each one of us and to help each woman experience healing through her own writing journey!

We will meet in the Library Conference Room #1.

The book signing for both of us to sign our books is that same day, September 21, at Metropolitan Coffee shop from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Join us for some delicious coffee and fellowship!

The address for Metropolitan Coffee Shop is 1329 E 17th Ave, Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501. (There is no charge for the book signing! Our books will be available to sign and/or for sale!)

We can wait to see you there! Remember, each word you speak is a gift from God and for God’s glory! Your story matters.

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Lord, Order My Steps

Lord, Order My Steps
Amber Welton, Beth Jones, and Sue Wilt
Amber Welton, me, and Sue Wilt
Archie Baptist Church ladies’ tea

Yesterday, I spoke at the ladies’ tea at the Archie Baptist Church in Archie, MO. The theme and my speaking topic were Lord, Order My Steps. God surprised me there!

Archie is a small, rural town so I thought not many women would attend. I’d only made 15 handouts (figuring only 15 to 25 at the most would show up), and to my shock and delight, the room was FILLED with women!

God spoke to me through this:

  • Stop thinking small
  • Dream big because He’s a big God
  • Raise your expectations!

The ladies made me feel so welcome and were so friendly, especially Amber, Tracey, and Sue Wilt who was hilarious. Sue was, I found out later, one of my friend’s aunts! Small world. I was so grateful to my daughter Heather’s friend, Amber Welton, who thought of me as a speaker and invited me to speak there!

Sue commented that she noticed Leah was “taking notes” as I spoke. What Leah was actually doing was drawing/doodling on her handout. 🙂

Leah's drawing and doodling
Leah’s drawing and doodling

Below is a pic I snapped before we began. Our daughter Leah (in blue top, center) is checking her phone, of course!

Archie Baptist Church ladies' tea
Archie Baptist Church ladies’ tea

Here were more women standing in line to register before we began.

Ladies in line, Archie Baptist Church
Ladies in line, Archie Baptist Church

Linda Bogart did a beautiful job decorating the tables with cloth yellow or white tablecloths, with shoes centerpieces draped with jewelry, and with programs whose colorful shoes cover had been drawn by one of the artistic women in the church. I love seeing God’s creative gifts in His people. Each shoes centerpiece was unique, just as God made every one of us “wonderfully and fearfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

Shoes centerpieces and crystal plates & cups
Shoes centerpieces and crystal plates & cups

The tables had crystal glass plates and cups for the yummy hors-d’oeuvres and delicious punch.

Yummy hors d'oeuvres and punch at ladies' tea
Yummy hors d’oeuvres and punch at ladies’ tea

Gwen Knibb sang the precious solo, “Via Dolorosa” (God knows I love Israel!) and the “Tea Time Singers” beautifully sang “Footsteps of Jesus.” Are you walking in all God has planned for your life?

"Tea Time Singers" Vicki Williams, Amber Welton and others singing "Footsteps of Jesus"
“Tea Time Singers” Vicki Williams, Amber Welton and others singing “Footsteps of Jesus”

Christina McGinnis offered the blessing and gave us a poignant reminder, through the shoes she wore that she said weren’t her most comfortable pair: our “shoes” won’t always be so comfortable. God often calls us out of our comfort zones to obey Him. When we do, we’ll experience His blessing.

One of the beautiful, precious women who talked with me before we started was Victoria, who’s in the marketing business for speakers, writers, and other business owners. She shared with me that she’d love to start publicly speaking, teaching women what she has learned in her life about God’s unconditional love (no matter what you’ve done wrong!) and about the beautiful relationship she has with Jesus Christ.

I encouraged her that God gives us the desires of our hearts, and as she seeks Him and walks in obedience, He will open doors and give an outlet for her to speak ~ just like He has with me! God is the DREAM GIVER and the DREAM FULFILLER! Amen. Selah.

Another woman I spoke with, Donna, shared about a friend of hers, who has visited Israel numerous times and she had visited Israel herself. I’d mentioned during my presentation time that Ray and I visited Israel several years ago. This little tidbit was something that connected me with a woman in the audience. I hadn’t planned to talk about Israel, but do you know that God will put His right-on time word in your mouth?

One woman told me after I spoke that what I shared “was exactly what I needed today.” 🙂

At the tea, I shared 5 tips for God ordering your steps, using the acronym STEPS, and here they are to encourage you:

S- Spend time with God daily in prayer, reading the Bible, and worship. This is basic Christianity 101, but do we faithfully do it? The first step for God ordering your steps is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  All you have to do to be saved is call on the name of Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:13) Spend time with God every day, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. As you pray, your hunger and thirst for God’s presence and His word will grow and you’ll want to spend even more time with Him.

T – Time Management. Learn to manage your time wisely. Don’t waste your time or your spiritual gifts. Are you on Facebook or Pinterest all day long? Sometimes God wants us to just relax and have fun; at other times, He wants us focused solely on Him and His purpose for your life. Are you procrastinating or holding back in fear from doing what God has called you to do? Take your calling seriously.

E – Examine Your Life and Heart. What is going well? What needs to change? Do you need transformation in your life? If so, pray about coming to the Released Women’s Conference on April 27 just outside Kansas City, MO. (Click here to find out more.) How are your relationships? Are you being all God designed you to be? Are you using your gifts for Him?

P – Priorities and Planning. Remember that Mary chose the best part which wouldn’t be taken from her – sitting at Jesus’ feet, learning from Him. We women are like “Octo-mom” – an octopus with many arms, doing many things at once, great at multi-tasking. But even though we can do lots of things at once, that doesn’t mean it’s best. Usually there are one or two important tasks that God wants us to do each day. He may want you to spend more time with your husband, child, or a friend. He may want you to speak somewhere or to work on writing your book. What is your next step? What steps are God telling you to do right now to fulfill your life purpose?

S – Stay The Course. Don’t get distracted or let your faith be shipwrecked. Don’t doubt but trust God. Like Jesus told Peter after the resurrection, don’t worry about anyone else or compare yourself to him or her. You follow Jesus. Fulfill the God-given calling that is on your life.

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SOS: Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers (Intro Tips)

SOS: Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers (Intro Tips)

This is part 3 of my blog series on public Speaking. You can read part 2, SOS: Starting Out Speaking For Beginner Speakers , here.

You’re on stage, smiling and energized. You’re prayed up. You know your story and have gone over your notes many times, so you feel ready. Your bottle of cold water and visual aids are on the little table by the podium within easy reach. Sound has been checked. The audience is attentive, leaning in, eager to hear what you’ll have to say because they’ve heard about this event.

You open your mouth and out it comes, “Wow, it’s so much hotter here than it is in Kansas City! Well hi ya’ll, I’m Beth Jones and I’m so excited to be here today! I want to thank Sherry for inviting me here.”

NO, NO, NO!

Your opening and ending lines are critical to a successful speaking presentation! Don’t start talking about the weather, the building, or introducing yourself with your name and trivia about your family! (Ask me how I know these things?! I’m learning from my mistakes.)

You want to immediately grab them, not lose the energy in the room. That first impression and the first few seconds are vital for the rest of your speaking presentation.

Here’s a few tips for a great intro to quickly engage your audience:

  • Share a great story. This can be funny or not, but make it relevant to your audience and to your topic. Sounds obvious, but if you want to be a speaker, make sure you have something interesting to say! Stories interest people. Jesus told parables to teach. When I attended CLASServices professional speakers’ and writers’ training, speaking legend Florence Littauer talked about the power of story and demonstrated it well with her hilarious but poignant stories, such as how different hers and her husband Fred’s personalities were. She’s a flamboyant Sanguine who loves to talk and to have fun. Fred was a moody melancholy who only became excited when half a school wing burned down. Nothing short of tragedy moved him and he liked to focus on the negatives. ( Personality Plus, Florence Littauer, p. 108) Draw in your audience with a good story in your intro.
  • Ask a question. Frame it in a way that people know exactly what you want. If you are talking about fear of public speaking and ask them to raise their hand if they’ve ever experienced this fear and what bodily symptoms they get that shows they’re nervous, they’ll know what you mean and will be able to answer quickly, “Sweating, rapid heartbeat, feeling faint or nausea, dry mouth, etc.” etc. Make sure your question isn’t vague. Use their answers so they’ll want to continue contributing and never humiliate them with the answer they gave. Asking a question stimulates the audience and connects you with them. Don’t make the question too obvious, too complicated, or too deep theologically/philosophically or you’ll get the blank stares and an awkward silence. You want them to be able to answer so you connect.
  • Use an inspirational quote. A great quote can jumpstart you into your topic immediately. Quotes from Christian leaders such as Zig Ziglar or John Maxwell or author Maya Angelou are good examples. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou. Sharing that quote might be the perfect intro for you to share your story of childhood sexual abuse and how you overcame that tragedy to become healed and empowered through your faith in Christ, and the way God is using you today to minister to women who have gone through that same pain.
  • Start with a current event (or popular person) or something another speaker said. When I spoke at Doreen Penner’s women’s retreat in Canada, Doreen, Karen Wells, and I referred to each other during our presentation times. It united us and connected the audience with us. Popular news items will hook your audience right away.  If you speak about gun control or how the cardinals are electing a new pope, or about Beyoncé lip syncing at the Inauguration, most people will have at least a little idea of what you’re talking about and will be engaged immediately.

These are just a few tips for your speaking presentation intro. I hope you’re enjoying these SOS Speaking Tips for Beginner Speakers. I’d love to hear your comments about what you think of this topic below. What’s the best or worst intro at a speaking engagement you’ve ever heard – or have done yourself?!

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