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Summertime and the Reading is Dreamy

Becoming Us

My newest novel is available now! Just in time to kick off your summer reading. If you grew up reading the stories about Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen, you’ll find these familiar friends on the pages of this first novel in the Haven Makers Series.

How difficult is it to make friends after you’ve moved or when you’re in the season of toddlers and newborns? What if you’re not married but want to hang out with women your age? The five women in Becoming Us find that when they gather and spend time sharing their hearts with each other they are becoming the moms, sisters and friends that some of them never had and now desperately need.

I really hope you enjoy this new novel and that it will encourage you to value the women in your life who have made their friendship a haven for you.

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Christy Miller in Brio Magazine

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A new short story about Christy Miller appears in

Brio’s April/May Issue

Christy’s Promise

The short story, “Christy’s Promise” takes place right before Christy leaves Wisconsin to spend the summer in California with Uncle Bob and Aunt Marti.

I think you’re going to love going back in time and reading what happened before the opening page of “Summer Promise”, the first book in the 12 book Christy Miller High School series.

You can read this original short story, “Christy’s Promise”, in the April/May issue of Brio.

Don’t have a subscription to Brio Magazine yet? No problem. Visit www.Brio.com and sign up soon so that your first issue will be the April/May issue.

 

Christy Miller Website

Need a list of all the Christy Miller books? We created a FREE downloadable list at www.ChristyMiller.com. Click on the Series Timeline and you’ll see all the titles in the order in which they were written. You’ll also find a list of all the books I’ve written or contributed to over the years. My new novel, Becoming Us is book # 101!

 

California, Here I Come

 I look forward to seeing some of you at the West Coast Christian Writers Conference this month. From there I’ll be traveling on to Los Angeles for meetings with a film producer. Many of you have prayed with me about more of my books going into film and television. Please keep praying!

As I head into the conference and meetings this month, I keep returning to the verse below. I wrote it in my journal the first week of January and it continues to echo in my heart.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.   

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Whatever you’re walking into this month, I hope this truth brings some encouragement to you, too.

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Working Your Side Hustle While Raising Your Kids

Are You a Young Mom Building a Career at Home?

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It really is possible to do it all!   Pace yourself.   Stay courageous.

As promised on my RobinGunn Instagram, here are my notes from the talk I gave at Maui MOPS on January 18, 2019. 

Many of you know that I’ve been a published author for over 30 years and have written 100 books. When our kids were little I had to figure out how to work at home and still be the wife and mom I wanted to be in the fullest way possible.

May I share with you some tips of what helped me along the way? Now that our two children are grown and married and have children of their own I look back at this career I’ve loved and I feel content. Very content. I want you to look back decades from now and feel the same contentment of a job well done in both the home arena and the career arena.

Start With Truth

All the best truth comes from God’s Word so that where I always start by having a foundational verse for whatever I do. Each book I write has a different verse that inspired or challenged me as I was writing. Today’s verse for you is from Galatians 6:4-5 MGS

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given,

and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself.

Don’t compare yourself with others.

Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

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Let’s break it down and see what needs some attention in your life right now.

 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given

How well do you know your own strengths and abilities? Be brave. Be attentive. Make a careful exploration by asking those who know you best. What talents do they see in you? Follow the trail of compliments over the recent years. What do you do well that others comment on?

It’s all a gift. The work has been given to you. Only do what only you can do.

and then sink yourself into that

You will need to go deep and work hard and be focused if you hope to succeed. Sink yourself into “that”. Not “this and that and maybe a little of whatever”. Sink yourself into one thing. If you go all in and it’s a disaster, decide ahead of time that it’s okay. You gave it your best. The reward is that you won’t always wonder if you could’ve done something. You will know that you went after it and that wasn’t it for you. Why?

The next part of the verse might help explain the why.

Don’t be impressed with yourself.

Develop a realistic view of your abilities, understand that the unique thing you can do is a gift. Be grateful. Humble yourself. Be teachable. Don’t swing the other direction and put yourself down or underestimate the way God has created you. He made you just the way your are and the possibilities of how He might use those gifts in you will only be discovered when you have a healthy confidence growing in your heart. Let your expectations become realistic but always leave room to dream a bigger dream.

Don’t compare yourself with others.

There will always be someone ahead of you and someone behind you in all areas. Have you let jealousy sleaze its way into your heart and derail you because someone else is doing what you’re trying to do and is wildly successful in terms of numbers or dollars?

Take a step back and look to the Author and Finisher of your faith. What is God asking you to do? It will always be different than what He asks anyone else to do. Comparing yourself with others robs your joy. Don’t compare. Tend your own garden and stop looking over the fence. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 If you let the enemy rob you of your joy, all your strength to keep going will seep out your pores and you’ll be trying to figure out why you’re so depressed.

Here’s why you should keep going. Learn, grow, fine tune, take heart, pay attention to what does work and go back at it because …

Each of you must take responsibility

Yep. This is big girl stuff. You’ve been given this gift and this opportunity to develop it and see how it might be useful to provide income or a blessing to others or maybe just so you can initiate something useful or create art for art’s sake.

You must be the one who takes responsibility for it. Don’t expect someone else in your field of interest to help you out or provide training or promote you. If you need something like education or mentoring or advice, be willing to pay for it. 

We have a beautiful word in Hawaiian that we’re familiar with here on Maui – kuleana. It embodies the power and beauty that comes from being pono (doing what is right) and being a good steward of your gifts and talents and skills. Everyone gives and does what they can do from a place of strength and we don’t try to find short cuts by expecting someone else to do the preparation work  or inside connection that is our responsibility to work on.

And what is it that we are to take this sacred responsibility for?

doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

I find so much joy in this! Doing the creative best. Yes! There is such freedom in that. When we are creative we aren’t copying others or trying to make our foot prints fit into theirs in the sand. We are moving forward at our own pace in our own way and doing it creatively.  Oh, the possibilities!

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Three Essentials 

Now may I give you some ideas of what I think you need as an entrepreneur working out of your own haven?  You’ll probably think of others that are important to your particular area of interest but this will get the conversation started.

1. SPACE

A Corner  –  You need your corner of the house to create your art and know that your work space is waiting for you. When I started writing many years ago in our tiny rental house I bought a narrow folding table and my husband wedged it into the only open space we had. I had a typewriter, a coaster for my tea cup and a notebook and pen. The typing paper was in a box under the table. I wrote my first 20 books with those simple tools.

A Chair – My other essential space is a snuggle chair and it’s still with me.I bought it new over 25 years ago and had it recovered when we moved to Maui. This is where I have spent thousands of hours dreaming, thinking, writing, praying, reading. When our two kids were in grade school they knew that if mom was in her snuggle chair and if I’d lit the votive candle on the end table next to me it meant I was not there. My imagination had flown to the other side of the world and I was scribbling in my journal. Or I was sitting there typing away on the laptop. When the candle was blown out I was back and fully available to them.

You don’t need a lot of space or equipment but what you acquire must be designated as yours and it must not be played with or used like any other chair or table. Your children will learn lovely lessons in honoring boundaries when you are firm about this.

Time – I had to find space in the day to work so I started getting up at 3am three days a week. I got so much done in those early, cobwebby hours of the morning. My career was fairly invisible to our kids for many years. Whenever I could, I took them with me when I traveled. I found ways to create the space I needed without taking away from the space and time my family needed.

2. EVALUATION

You must learn how to evaluate everything in an objective way so that you can be wise about business decisions, opportunities, colleagues, clients, expenses – everything. Learn to separate your feelings from the process. Step back and look at what you’re doing, what you’re creating, selling, promoting and evaluate it unemotionally. Ask yourself the hard questions. Ask others who have proven to be wise along the way to give you their insights and not hold back. Learn to take criticism and be flexible.

My husband is a counselor and he always says that flexibility is a sign of good mental health. I have certainly found that to be true, especially when I have been stuck on an idea or a project and have closed myself off from taking any advice. When I step back and listen without getting crushed in spirit, I always see options, openings, alternatives. I see brand new possibilities I couldn’t see when I was so fixated on what I thought was right.

Figure out the voices you can trust and listen to their wisdom. Be honest with yourself and if something isn’t working, call it what it is and step away. No shame. Be brave. Learn and go on.

3. Relationships 

At the end of your days all that will matter, truly, will be the eternal souls that surround your life. Your spouse, children, extended family and friends — these are the people that can fill your inner circle or what I call the garden of your heart. Tend your garden first. Always.

Be careful! Whenever you start collecting humans simply for the purpose of selling them something or hoping to glean something from being attached to their success, you will dilute your own worth as a friend. Understand the deeper value that must always be given to those in your inner circle. Open your arms wide to all those in the outer circles but don’t ever put their needs, wants or demands ahead of those in your own garden.

Cultivate sweet, non-competitive, supportive relationships with those who are in the same field of interest. Be generous. When you know how to discern you’ll have no trouble giving extravagantly to the right people and you’ll feel no guilt about turning down requests from others.

The need is not the call, as Oswald Chambers said. You already know how to order your priorities. You just need to do it. Put into practice what your gut is already telling you.

Mama Art

I’d like to close with an excerpt from my gift book for moms, “A Pocketful of Hope For Mothers”. I had the fun of narrating the audio version of this book. It’s made my heart happy to hear from so many young moms who got the audio book just so they could hear me give them some encouragement on days when they wanted to sit down and cry. 

So, take a deep breath and let me give you this bit of encouragement from my piece called “Mama Art”.

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Every mother is an artist.

She is a co-creator.

A receiver and a giver of life.

On drab days when all the colors on your motherhood pallet seem gray, and your imagination seems to have evaporated, remember this:

You are infused with the resurrection power of the Master Craftsman, who knit together your molecules with such ingenuity that no one else in all the universe is exactly like you—nor will there ever be.

You are empowered with the vast resourcefulness of the One who scooped out the oceans with His hands and formed the delicate wings of the hummingbird with those same fingers. He spoke, and all the stars took their places in the heavens, ready for their celestial dance, playing to a full house every night for thousands of years.

You are rich in possibilities.

The Great Gardener has planted rows and rows of tiny inspirations in your heart. When you feel the nudge to try a new recipe, capture a sacred moment in a photo, or make up a silly song with your little one, it is because His Spirit is alive in you, stirring up your ingenuity and encouraging you to harvest the abundance of inspirations He planted there.

You are His workmanship–His poem–His creative expression.

In your lifetime, in your singular way, with your gifting, you are perfectly positioned and abundantly equipped to express life in an art form that is distinct only to you.

What is your form of Mama Art? Do you create…

art on a plate with vegetables from your own garden?

a haven with paint and furniture, window coverings, and pillows?

words, music, and stories under indoor tents on rainy days?

clothing and beanies, cuddly quilts and bows?

love notes in lunch boxes or colorful charts on the kitchen wall?

with silence, the gift of listening, the tenderness of a soothing touch?

laughter, silly songs, and funny faces that make the tears go away?

Only you, unique you, can create the beautiful art you do in the way that you do.

Don’t hold back. Go be a co-creator today.

Explore the endless possibilities of your Mama Art.

Express the beauty fully with love, confidence, and sweet abandon.

Copyright 2018 Robin Jones Gunn, “A Pocketful of Hope For Mothers” published by Tyndale House Publishers

Please note: You are welcome to share the link to this blog post but permission cannot be given for excerpts to be taken without crediting the original source.

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Christy Miller Shop

Big News!

You know how you can tell when God is prompting you to make strategic changes?

I listened to that prompting and closed my BookShop.RobinGunn.com so I could launch the new

Christy Miller Shop

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I listened to you, Beautiful Readers. You made it clear that you come to my shop for new releases and because we are the EXCLUSIVE seller of complete Christy Miller book sets.

The new shop will carry all the Christy Miller books in the High School, College, Married, Baby Years and new Christy releases. You can easily order an entire collection at a discounted price with a single click.

I’m so grateful for all of you loyal readers who have shopped at with us over the past ten years. All my other books are still available at major online retailers.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be announcing the Grand Opening of the Christy Miller Shop and include a special discount code just for you. The biggest news will be the start of presales for my newest book.

Happy 2019 to all of you!

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Advice For Beginning Writers

Is this the year you’re going to pursue your dream of becoming a published writer?

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You’ve known for some time that you should do something with your unquenchable desire to write. The inkling won’t go away.

Here are some suggestions to help start your writing journey.

Attend a Conference

Writer’s Conferences are gold mines of information and connections with others in the publishing industry. It just so happens I will be keynoting at two conferences this year.
It would be a delight to meet you!
West Coast Christian Writers, February 14-16
Northwestern ChristianWriters Conference, July 12-13

Join a Training Program

Online training programs provide invaluable classes for those who are ready to commit to learning the craft of writing.
Tricia Goyer’s “Write That Book” Facebook Group is brimming with videos, worksheets and access to accomplished writers who answer your specific questions.
Jerry Jenkin’s Writers Guild has provided tried and true training for beginning writers for many years. This program is ideal for those who are ready to get serious about using their talent as a writer.

 A List of Excellent Resources

Visit Books & Such Literary Agency. 
You’ll find a list of helpful resources compiled by a premier team of literary agents. I highly recommend the book “The Inside Scoop: Two Agents Dish on Getting Published.”

Above All, Pray
Ask the Lord to direct you as you seek how to use the gifts He’s given you.
After being in the publishing world for over 30 years I can tell you this with all my heart — 
God answers prayers.

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4 Survival Tips for Young Moms at Christmas

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When my daughter-in-law sent me this picture and wrote, “It was worth a try” I smiled.

Every young mom has moments like this at Christmas when their reality

Here’s what I’ve learned, dear young mamas. This is what really matters at Christmas.

  1. Take delight along with your children in all the twinkling silliness of the season. Then do this.
  2. Tell your wee ones that Jesus is the best gift God ever gave to us. Tell them that at Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birthday in lots of fun ways and also in some special and quiet ways.
  3. Take your children on YOUR lap and sing to them. “Away in a Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Joy to the World”, “O Holy Night”. Let them feel the wonder of the holy reason for Christmas when they hear the truths coming from your lips.
  4. Now lean in close and whisper, “Thank you God for baby Jesus.” Your heartfelt act of simple worship will make your children feel as if you just told them the ancient secret of what all this means. That’s because you just did.

Truth slices like an arrow. Truth cuts through all the tinsel. You hold the bow, little mama. Take aim at your child’s heart and let the sacred arrow fly.

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Christmas 2018

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Last week our daughter asked their toddler, “Why is your helicopter at the nativity?”

His answer? “To take the baby to the hospital.”

This was his 3 year-old reality because in October his infant brother was taken on a life flight to LA Children’s Hospital for heart surgery. In his little world, stories of newborns include helicopters.

When my daughter sent me this picture I thought about the intensity of the past year. I know our family is not alone. Many of you have had helicopters and fire trucks and broken hearts in your family story this year. Yet the truth of the Christmas story has never changed through the ages.

God sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.

We all need a Savior.

Immanuel. God is with us.

In and through and beyond everything we go through, God. Is. With. Us.

Perhaps our grandson has it right. The first nativity was a messy place, cluttered with animals and shepherds. In the midst of the mess, God was there.

Go ahead. Call your reality what it is this Christmas. Bring it all to Jesus. Not just the gold, frankincense and myrrh of your days. Bring Him your helicopters, broken bones and empty bank accounts. Leave it all with Him.

He knows. He sees. He hears.

Then repeat this ancient, sacred truth until it echoes in your battered spirit —

Immanuel. God is with us.

Forever.

For those of you who have asked for more details about our grandson here’s a link to the Go Fund Me account that was set up for him.

https://www.gofundme.com/stone-schwartz-surgery

 

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Marrying Father Christmas

Marrying Father Christmas

Airs November 4, 2018

Hallmark Movies & Mystery Channel

“Marrying Father Christmas” is the third movie based on the characters in my Father Christmas novels. Erin Krakow, Niall Matter and Wendie Malick will warm your heart in this sweet love story. It was an honor getting to be on set with this talented cast and crew.

Did you know that my agent, Janet Grant, and I got to be extras in “Marrying Father Christmas”? See if you can spot us in the movie when you watch on Sunday night.

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Lots more great news to share!

Movie Night 2018

  • Our grandson came through his heart surgery! He was only 3 weeks old and is home now and doing well. God has answered so many prayers! Thank you dear social media friends for your encouraging notes and generous support as our daughter and her husband get back on their feet after this emergency life-flight experience.     https://www.gofundme.com/stone-schwartz-surgery
  • Robin’s Nest BookShop will offer the best prices of the year on my books, Rancho Corona hoodies and more. Start shopping on November 23rdhttps://BookShop.RobinGunn.com
  • On February 15-16, 2019 I’ll be speaking at the West Coast Christian Writers Conference in Northern California. I look forward to seeing some of you there! www.westcoastchristianwriters.com

More pictures from the set of

Marrying Father Christmas

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Love That Lasts Podcast with Alyssa Bethke

Do you listen to the Love That Lasts Podcast with Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke?

Alyssa and I met 8 years ago and snapped this photo. She grew up reading the Christy Miller books and recognized me. It felt so random at the time.

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We never dreamed we’d stay connected, share many deep conversations, write a book together titled, Spoken For and then end up living near each other in the same small community.

Alyssa and her husband Jeff invited me to come over last week and chat for one of their Love That Lasts podcasts.

Well, Alyssa and I started sharing the way we do whenever we meet up for one of our from-the-heart talks. Let’s just say we ended up recording enough to fill several podcasts.

The first one airs this week on Love That Lasts podcast with Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke. I’m so happy to invite you into the conversation!

If you follow me on social media you’ve probably noticed that we’re celebrating the Christy Miller series with a giveaway each week during the month of July. Can you believe it’s been 30 years since the first book, Summer Promise released?Married Years Month

This week you’ll find the Christy & Todd: The Married Years series on sale for only $10 a book in my Online Shop.

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Christy Miller’s Birthday Month

Did you know that it took me 2 years to write the first Christy Miller novel and it was rejected by 10 publishers? 

It would have made sense to give up. But at just the right time, with just the right publisher Summer Promise went into print and released on July 5, 1988. That first book led to a series of 12 stories about Christy in her High School years with 3 cover changes over the years.

Which cover was on your first copy of Summer Promise?SummerPromiseCovers

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I’ve continued writing stories about these characters and there are now 43 books about Christy and her Forever Friends.

You can read summaries and listen to a few pages in my Online Shop.

Moms who grew up with Christy are now reading the stories again with their own daughters. Young girls who love to read are discovering the books for the first time.

 

What’s Next?

The Christy Miller AUDIO BOOKS will be available soon!
The Christy Miller WEBSITE will launch in a few weeks!
The Christy Miller Series Official account is now up on INSTAGRAM!
The possibility of the stories going into film production keeps riding the roller coaster of maybe yes — maybe no. I keep praying and I know that many of you have been praying with me for years. Don’t stop!

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God’s hand of blessing has been on this series and that’s why we like to celebrate every July. Our favorite way of saying thank you and God bless you to all you Beautiful Readers is by making the books available in my Online Shop at the lowest discounts we’re able to offer.

Perhaps you know a young girl (or guy!) in this generation who would benefit from these books. The verse below is the one I wrote on a card when I was writing Summer Promise. I framed it and put it in the kitchen windowsill where I looked at it every day and prayed for you Beautiful Readers before that first book was even finished — before many of you were even born!
God has extravagantly answered my prayer. Now I’m asking Him for MORE!

Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.

Psalm 102:18

 

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