Friday, September 14, 2012

Secret #9: Jody Hedlund's Blog Tour!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting my dear friend, Jody Hedlund, as she continues her "Secrets" blog tour for her latest release, Unending Devotion!

Unending Devotion is an inspirational historical romance set in an 1880's Michigan lumber camp. Since I come from a long line of lumbermen and am in awe of Hartwick Pines, a massive state park in Michigan with towering white pines and a logging camp museum, I've been counting the days until Jody's latest released!

Catch all of Jody's "Secrets" on her blog tour by heading to her Events page!
 
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Secret #9: An aspect of my personality that I've struggled to accept

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

I confess that I'm a nit-picking neat-freak. Clutter causes me to convulse. Messes make me mope. And disorder drives me to distraction.
For as long as I can remember, I've been a tidy person. In fact, I can remember dusting the bookshelves in my bedroom as child—without being told! My handwriting was meticulous, my underwear folded, and my Barbie's hair combed.
Of course, I went through a period of time where I felt odd for being neat, and I "tried" to be messy so that I could fit in with what I perceived as the normal way of living.
But eventually, I realized that I'm special just the way I am—neat-freak and all. God made me unique. And I needed to accept and appreciate myself the way I was and not be ashamed of any part of the package that makes up who I am.

So, once again I began to dust my bookshelves. And I felt no shame. In fact, I relished the peace of having an organized and clean house.

Then I had five kids.

I became a full-time teacher to my kids.
And I delved into a career as a published author.

As much as I'd grown to appreciate the neatness aspect of my personality, I've also learned that we grow the most in character when we're stretched.

Over the years, I've learned to be flexible, patient, and to be able to work in the midst of chaos. I've had to prioritize. I've had to learn that when time is limited, relationships take precedence over fingerprints on the walls, mammoth dust-bunnies under furniture, and  crumbs lining the refrigerator shelves.
The busyness of life and the messes of living in a large family have made me into a better person—someone who can handle more stress, be more flexible, and live life with more purpose.

Sure, I've trained my kids to pick up after themselves.  We keep the house in order as best we can. I'm still a neat-freak. I haven't changed who I am.
But I've become a more mature and balanced neat-freak.

Isn't that what character growth is all about—becoming more mature and balanced in who we are?
How about you? What character quality have you found difficult to accept about yourself? Is there any trait in which you've grown or become more balanced?
 
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Jill's review of Unending Devotion:
 
Ooo-la-la, love the premise! And the execution made me swoon!
 
I'm a huge fan of Jody Hedlund's historical romances. This one is set in 1880's Michigan around a lumber camp and all the vices that go with it. Lily, the heroine, burrowed into my heart from the first page. I found her to be so sympathetic, so heroic, but she had real feelings, real flaws, and very real problems. I also loved Connell and how he grows into the man he was meant to be--all because of the courage of Lily.
 
This book tackles heavy themes and portrays a realistic vision of the push/pull between the wealthy and the poor, one of the biggest problems of the era. The romance ribboned throughout, leaving me satisfied and smiling in the end. I also liked that not every problem gets tied up with a pretty
bow. Actions have consequences. But God's love is always with us. Excellent book!
**I received an advanced reader copy of this book with no obligation to review it. Opinions are my own--and I urge you to give this one a try!**

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Publisher's Weekly calls Unending Devotion "A meaty tale of life amid the debauchery of the lumber camps of 1880s Michigan . . . exciting and unpredictable to the very end."

To celebrate the release of Unending Devotion, Jody is giving away a signed copy. Leave a comment (along with your email address) to enter the drawing. Valid only with US or Canadian addresses. Giveaway ends Sunday, September 16, 2012.
For more secrets about Jody and additional chances to win her newest release, visit her Events Page to see where she'll be next in her "Fun Secrets About Author Jody Hedlund" blog tour.
Also join in the Pinterest Photo Contest she's hosting. Find more information about it on her Contest Page.

Jody would love to connect with you! Find her in one of these places:
Website: http://jodyhedlund.com/




 
Thank you all for stopping by! Don't forget to leave a comment with your name and e-mail address to be entered in the giveaway. I'll be selecting a winner on Sunday (using the trusty picking-a-name-out-of-the-hat method) and announcing the winner on Monday, September 17, 2012!
 
Have a wonderful weekend!



45 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read it. It's my number 1 once I get back from ACFW and I don't have quite so many things interrupting me. Which is the trait I dislike most. I get crazy stupid when I'm interrupted. And I have two kids and job that is always bringing them. That's terrible isn't it? lol

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    1. Jessica, I hate being interrupted! You are sooo not alone on that one. :) And don't even think about bugging me when I'm reading a book. I become a monster!

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  2. Love the cover! I loved it when Jody first revealed it. Still love it.

    Let's not even discuss dust and dust bunnies. I think they're planning a huge party at my house this weekend. :(

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    1. Ha, ha, Stina! The dust is partying it up at my house too, but the worst room right now? Our master bath. I HAVE to clean it soon. Gross!

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  3. I confess to be a neat freak too. It is amazing what children and a busy schedule can do to build character. :) I confess to be a work in progress seeking a good balance.

    Loved Jody's book! It was interesting to read about the lumber camps and all that went on. Jody, thanks for sharing, and Jill, thanks for hosting!

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. I'm definitely a work in progress too, Karen! Thank goodness for grace! :-)

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  4. I'm a neat freak wannabe! LOL My sister got the tidy gene, and although I like a clean and organized home, it's something I have to work at. But the calm, peaceful feeling that results is worth the effort.

    You asked about a character quality we struggle with about ourselves. I so want to have a quiet and ladylike demeanor. My mother is the perfect example of the gracious Southern Lady, and she has that type of personality. But I have what others call a very outgoing and bubbly personality. Not sure about such a nice description, but I love to be involved and talk to people. Emphasis on the TALK part there. However, although I still want to be who God made me to be, I am really trying to cultivate a more meek and quiet spirit! :)

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks Jill for hosting!
    ~Amy O'Quinn
    oquinn1(at)windstream(dot)net

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    1. There is that 'apostrophe' thing again. Blogger does not like that symbol in my last name! LOL

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    2. Amy, "meek" and "quiet" could NEVER be used to describe me! I think we'd get along great!! Thanks so much for popping in!

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  5. While I wouldn't consider myself a neat freak, I do have a problem with "stuff." Having too much in my house makes me feel weighed down and every so often I have to spend an evening or a day going through things finding stuff to get rid of. Unfortunately my husband is the opposite. He's a pack rat and doesn't want to get rid of anything because either it has sentimental value or he thinks me might just need it someday. Try balancing those two traits in a marriage!

    I'd love to win a copy of Unending Devotion!

    shellclem@hotmail.com

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    1. Shelly, it's really hard when one person is a pack-rat and the other isn't. My mom struggles with this dilemma too! :)

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  6. Heeheee, this doesn't surprise me about you. :-) When I was a kid I was so jealous when my bestie would play with my sisters. lol I feel like I've grown in this area (lucky for my husband, teehee!)

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    1. Jessica, I'm the baby of the family, and my friends always wanted to hang out with my older sis! I can relate! :)

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  7. I have to confess to being a neat freak also. When I was a child, my room was always spotless. When I would go to my friend's house, her room looked like a tornado hit it. Raised five children also and had to learn to let some things go, but now that they are all gone still love things neat and clean. There must be a special neat gene some people are born with. When playing the game Apples to Apples the other night, the word neat came up and all my grandkids yelled out, "Grandma's house". Have the book Unending Devotion and really enjoyed it.

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    1. "Grandma's house!" Too funny, Noreen! I like what you said about still loving things neat--I think there are different seasons in our lives. When the kids are young, it's a season to let go of some rigidity, but when they're older? Bring it back!

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  8. I totally think this is a genetic trait--I have 2 girls, and one is a neat freak and the other is more like her mom...she saves EVERYTHING and can't let stuff go!

    Yes, balance is so hard when you're HS-ing AND writing. Keeping house can be a nightmare. It is great when your kids get old enough to manage some serious household chores. I live by the motto that my house is "clean enough to be safe, but messy enough to be comfortable" or something like that. When it comes right down to it, I'd rather work outside than inside the house. When kids are looking for their lunch/supper, that isn't an option, though!

    I'd love to enter again to win this book. My email is vikingmoma@gmail.com! Thanks for this fun interview, Jill and Jody!

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    1. Heather, I love being outdoors too. :) I just do my best to keep up with the essentials--laundry, groceries, dishes, and general tidiness. :)

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  9. (And when I said work OUTSIDE the house, I meant weeding in flowerbeds! Grin.)

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  10. I neeeed to read this book.

    A character trait I have to fight is my tendency to freeze when I get frustrated. When I have too much on my plate, I have this tendency to just go into panic mode and shut down...and do nothing. Bad Melissa! :) I need to get better at just focusing, doing one thing at a time and knowing that everything is going to get done eventually...or that even if it doesn't, probably no one is going to die and life is going to go on. Hehehe...

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    1. I understand! My husband and I have been very overworked with moving and remodeling. A few weeks ago, we sat in the living room and watched movies all day. We didn't care what was on. We just flipped channels and sat around. We never do that! But I think we needed it!

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  11. I'm not so much a neat freak, but I am a worrier. That's the trait I hate most about myself. I tend to overanalyze and overthink EVERYTHING...which makes it difficult to give things to God, even in this writing thing.

    I LOVED Jody's book. One of my favorites of the whole year, and her best book yet.

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    1. I loved Jody's book too, Lindsay!! One of my favorite books is actually a parenting book, and I always apply one piece of advice not just to my kids but to myself and how I view things. Basically, it's rename the trait that you think of as negative into a positive.

      You're a worrier? Nope! You're results-oriented. It probably eats you up until something is done. See what I mean? Results oriented sounds better than worrier, but they describe the same attribute. :)

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    2. So Jill, what's a more positive way of saying
      "I'm a defensive, stubbornly temperamental jack***?" (...Insert Awkward blushing and frowning here...)

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  12. I'm a super shy person and I've never liked that about myself. With God's help I have become better about it though as I've grown up and gone through school. I can't wait to read this book!

    ecriggs1990(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Liz, shyness and introversion just aren't appreciated or celebrated in today's culture. But I don't think either trait is negative. Some people are just more social than others. I need a lot of time alone to recharge my batteries. :)

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  13. I'm smiling at your revelation, Jody. Being neat wouldn't be on my list of negative characteristics at all! But I guess the "all things in moderation" admonition applies there, too. Procrastination is what I have to battle all the time. I tell myself I'm prioritizing, but often as not I'm only choosing to do what I want to do, not what I should be doing. I can ignore some tasks until they totally disappear off my radar! LOL!

    (No need to enter me in the draw as I already have all of Jody's books.)

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    1. Aren't her books wonderful, Carol? Love them!

      And I can procrastinate with the best of them! Ha!

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  14. Neat freaks, unite! I love having things organized. My spices are alphabetized, my canned goods sit in straight rows by category with their labels facing front, and my clothes are grouped by color and sleeve length and all face the same direction.

    Ever since I began writing, though, I've developed a case of Pile-itus. While I keep the things in my cupboards and closets in great shape, the flat surfaces such as my desktop, countertop, and tabletop sport mounds of papers, books, etc. It drives me batty to see those piles, but I've learned to look the other way. It's so much more fun to write than to file. =)

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    1. Keli, I'm really struggling with the piles lately too. I'm thinking of getting some desktop organizers. I need to do something!

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  15. P.S. Please don't enter me in the drawing. I have two copies of Jody's book--one to keep and one to giveaway on an upcoming post of my own.

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  16. Hi Everyone!! I'm really enjoying your comments today! It's so fun to learn more about each of you! I guess it shows that we're all a work in progress! I'm thankful for how I've been able to grow but know I still have a long way to go! :-)

    Keep sharing everyone! I think one of the best things about this blog tour has been getting to find out more about YOU! :-)

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  17. Hi Jody!
    Once more thank you for sharing. And thank YOU, Jill for sharing this review.

    Three cheers for those of us who like order. Add my name to the list (maybe not the part about being a freak) but disorder definitely trows me off balance. I remember this time when, in the middle of the night, I was sleeping and I suddenly woke up I don't even remember why. But what I do remember was seeing the disorganized things around me! Now I'm not sure, but I'm thinking it's either I forgot about sleep and actually started cleaning or first thing in the morning I got right to business.

    Yeah. :-)

    Thank you for this post and the giveaway!

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    1. Too funny! Organizing in your sleep! Love it!! I got your e-mail addy, so I'll add you in!

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  18. oh.. email! Sorry.

    g.gclermont AT gmail DOT com

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  19. Jody: Thanks for sharing your secret. It's amazing you can dust after 5 kids! Jill: Thanks for hosting. My secret is I'm a control freak. It's very difficult to let others help when I'm drowning in piles (love the pile-itis!) and dust. Good luck on your blog tour, Jody.

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    1. You? A control freak, Shay? No! Ha! Ha!

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  20. Great post, Jody! Thanks Jill for having Jody over here...I'm having fun reading this blog tour -- I probably have more blogs to visit, don't I?

    I'm also very neat and picky about things. I prefer things to be just so or perfect. I agree sometimes it gets messy and I have to deal with it. But there's always a solution to most things! :)

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    1. Do you love the organizer sections in stores? I do! I love pretty bins!

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    2. Jill -- yes, I love the organized sections in stores! I would love my house to be that organized but it isn't ;)

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    3. Mine isn't either, Livia, but I can dream! :)

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    4. I love some of the organizational ideas I see over on Pinterest. There are a lot of cool ideas! I just don't have the time to implement them! :-)

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  21. Thanks again to everyone for stopping by Jill's blog and sharing more about yourselves!

    And a BIG thank you to Jill for hosting me!! I truly appreciate having a spot on your lovely blog! :-)

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  22. I had to speak to this. But last week was "Hard" to put it mildly, and I know I need to stay away from blog and forum discussions because I could not temper or subdue my rage.

    My biggest issue is how intense I feel emotions, in particular the negative ones.

    There rarely is a "Grey area" as people often preach to me about. It's either happy or sad, silly or serious, etc.

    While I never want to be devoid of all emotions, feeling joy and (sadly more often lately) pain in such a intense manner alienates me from others and I see no way to spin this into a positive bent, and not for lack of trying for my own sake.


    Things that may a minor gripe for some is a CRISIS for me, and when you're the only "heart on one's sleeve" type in a sea of almost surreal serene pragmatic folks, it's nothing if not frustrating.

    It's hard to see the "benefits" of who you are when the downsides are all anyone around you notices, or you can see yourself.

    I know I often come off harsh to people, and I'm too quick to anger, and FAR too defensive, but lately silence is the only way I can avoid dishing out attitude unfairly.

    As for where I stand in the "Neatniks" debate-

    I'm afraid I'm the odd apple in the vast majority of self-proclaimed "Neat Freaks" as being the messy pack rat in my family.

    I draw the line at letting flies and moths take over the house (They're really bad this year with the demonic weather mood swings we've had so far) but I can put up with FAR more clutter and chaos than my grandmother can. I don't want to live in filth, but just because my standards of cleanliness don't match up to her or more orderly folks commenting here doesn't mean I advocate letting things go to seed either.


    Something I don't think my grandmother (The
    If I were to roughly rate how we deal with living around clutter and mess, she'd be 50% and I'd be 75%.

    In terms of how ideally clean and neat we try to keep things. She demands nothing less of 90% and most days just getting to 70% is a miracle with how emotionally fragile I've been, no fault on her part, mind you.

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    1. Taurean, the book I mentioned earlier is actually a parenting book--but I think adults should read it too! It really helped me understand facets of my personality I'd tried to pretend weren't there. It's called "Raising the Spirited Child."

      Also, I loved how you worded this: "Demonic weather mood swings!" I don't know if it makes you feel better, but you certainly know how to phrase your dissatisfaction! :)

      Most writers I know feel deeply. We're up high on the sensitivity extreme. I hate feeling depressed, sad, angry, etc... but it's impossible not to sometimes! The only thing that helps me is my relationship with God. He puts up with my tantrums, smiles at my sulks, and sometimes, just sometimes, shows me the glimpse of light through the pain. :)

      Take care and try to hang in there!

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