Comments: Ask Aunt Bloggy, and then 3Q with Toni McGee Causey

I MUST read this book now. This very minute.

Posted by Casey at September 11, 2007 8:26 AM

Are there any jobs at your church that require writing? (A column in the bulletin, maybe interviewing members for a sort of "Spotlite" column to get to know more about the people that you sit next to every Sunday. Like 3 Questions.)

You certainly know how to do that. And you do it well. After all, writing is your gift.

Posted by Jan in Norman, OK at September 11, 2007 9:40 AM

You could be a "bringer". When they need a salad for lunch with the new choir director or two dozen cookies for a bake sale or somebody to pick up something and bring it, you could, well, bring it. That way, it's not something that exactly repeats at a certain time and you'd be volunteering for it and they'll be grateful. Everybody wins!

Posted by Keetha at September 11, 2007 9:56 AM

Thinking about all of the various books I've been picking up from the fiction section lately (having been a genre reader my entire life)...

It's the cover that grabs my attention first, if I don't recognize the name. Then it's the title. I would say that Toni has a WONDERFUL cover (and title) to make certain that the right person finds it. If I was looking for Jane Austen, that's not a cover I'd grab.

Posted by Beth at September 11, 2007 9:58 AM

I don't know if you have lectors at your church, but I've heard so many people rave about what an excellent job you did on your audio book. You MUST be a good out-loud reader.

I'm a Spock, too. It took me years to be able to admit that. Aren't we all supposed to want to be Kirks?

Posted by Leandra at September 11, 2007 10:01 AM

I've thought about the nervous hospital route, but I'm fairly certain they'd confiscate my knitting needles, which would totally defeat the purpose of getting some restful time all alone. For me, anyway.

As for the church jobs--I checked the church email account for a while and forwarded to the relevant person. I also organized who was bringing meals to a family who needed them so there weren't four meals on Wednesday and none on Saturday, but that does, in fact, require rudimentary organizational skills. ;) Not many, though. A calendar, a phone, and a pen, basically. Do they have a committee that makes sure ill church members get cards or phone calls? All of those things can be done at odd times. Those are just off the top of my head...

Posted by amy at September 11, 2007 11:56 AM

What Keetha and Amy said. Food is always welcome by someone at any particular time in church. What Jan and Leandra said, too. You are a great speaker and writer and would be great at filling those roles.

If your church is anything like my church, they ALWAYS need help with the kids and don't care whether you arrive unannounced to change diapers or help with craft projects.

Other than that, it seems to me that your ministry is writing fantastic books and a blog that make people laugh and think. Thanks! Raising kids is important, too. Try not to beat yourself up.

Posted by Elizabeth at September 11, 2007 12:22 PM

Church jobs:

How about taking flower arrangements over to the hospital for parishioners? Or delivering casseroles (I think this is a stupid ministry but apparently some people like to eat casseroles)? Or hosting post-funeral receptions? These are all non-regular, when you're able to, unskilled types of jobs. I would suggest that you NOT do anything writing/editing related... I don't like my regular life corrupting all over my church life.

Posted by Courtney at September 11, 2007 1:56 PM

I volunteer with the Jr. High & High School youth groups at my church. It requires no organizational skills on my part because the youth minister just tells me when to show up and then tells me what to do once I get there. My main duty is socializing with the kids and making sure everyone gets welcomed properly. Easy 'nough!

Just went to check out the new southern writers blog and added it to my "Check Daily" list. I was very excited to see one of my other favorite writers, Silas House, on the list.

As for Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day, I agree with Casey, I must read this immediately.

Posted by Patti D. at September 11, 2007 4:13 PM

I prepare craft materials for Sunday school crafts. Cut lengths of yarn and ribbon, make copies, pre-glue popsicle sticks, trim cutouts, generate clipart, etc. Flexible, and mostly an at-home job. I pick up supplies and drop off the finished product. Very low stress.

I've said it before but I'll say it again, thank you for the book recommendations. I'm always looking for new authors and you are such a fantastic resource. Mwah!

Posted by Jennilynn at September 11, 2007 7:02 PM

As a past coordinator of VBS. . .you DO NOT want that job. It is a huge blessing to all of the little folks who attend--and to you once it's over and you wake up from your two week nap due to exhaustion--but JUST SAY NO (and don't feel guilty).

That being said, I think a caller of the elderly just to chat for a bit or a writer of cards to the sick and shut-in or the deliverer of flowers to someone in a nursing home or the impromptu baker of cookies for the church ministry staff (delivered at random and when time permits) or a cutter outer of craft items (if you can be trusted with scissors) or a visitor or a new mommy to watch the baby while she bathes or takes a nap or. . .you get the idea. Those random acts of kindness seem to fit your tra-la self, and I KNOW that whomever is blessed by your card or cookies or presence will not forget it for a long, long time.

Posted by Roxanne at September 11, 2007 8:15 PM

My church has a note/card writing ministry. The volunteers send cards or notes to designated people each week--sick folks, people who haven't attended in a while, visitors, members with birthdays, volunteers who need thanking, etc. YOU would be GREAT at that!

Posted by Amy K. at September 11, 2007 9:35 PM

On church jobs ... I'm in a similar boat, since for the past four months I've been in town all of about four Sundays and my schedule is pretty erratic. I generally make it known that I'm often available for any last-minute, one-time situations. So I've been an emergency fill-in nursery staffer for the midweek women's Bible study class, I've helped chaperone summer kids' day out programs, I've chaperoned the youth lock-in (though I'm still in therapy from that and may never have children of my own unless I can send them to boarding school when they turn 12 and then not see them again until they graduate from college). I've stuffed goody bags for events or set up for a fundraiser auction. I also bake cookies for events, auctions, whatever, helped with the Easter carnival and have done the occasional Habitat for Humanity build (I'm now quite skilled at hanging vinyl siding). And I sing in the choir.

But actually, I've just taken a whole year off from volunteer work, in general, and I need to get back to it (that lock-in may have burned me out). I did have to learn to say no to things that required organizational ability, long-term commitments and planning in advance. I feel no guilt about that because I know I wouldn't do a good job, and I'd feel guiltier if I said yes and then totally messed it up or forgot to do it entirely. Instead, I say I'm up for small, mindless tasks that require no advance planning. Tell me to show up and give me a job to do, and I can usually do okay.

Posted by Shanna Swendson at September 11, 2007 9:49 PM

I agree with Roxanne. You do NOT want the head VBS position. I did it for nine years. It is a six month pre-planning job, if you do it right. I "retired" five years ago and now volunteer to prepare daily "thank you" treats for the teachers.

I sing in the choir, teach a college/career SS class, and recruit people to positions in the church, (teachers, committee members, etc). One of the things I enjoy doing, when a church family has a death, a committee prepares food to feed the family at the church after the funeral. I am asked to bring a dish, but not help serve, and that is fine. Volunteering food and snacks for Youth functions, children functions, is always a welcome.

You can do it, Girl! Just explain to them you travel and will do what you can, when you can. God gave you the gifts you have, use them in the way that honors Him.

Posted by Rhonda at September 11, 2007 11:05 PM

I agree with Amy K. that writing notes/cards is right up your alley. I coordinated this ministry at our church for a couple of years, and it opened my eyes to the great blessing it is, especially for shut-ins, so now I write lots of notes and cards, although I'm no longer in charge. I was our newsletter editor for 15 years (yes) but "retired" last year when I started writing a novel... it was time for younger talent, but I loved it when I was doing it, and it was, after all, practicing my craft of writing. A close (much younger) friend (with 3 small children) has coordinated our VBS the last two summers, and it's pretty time-consuming. She's also a writer and school-teacher, but not a full-time writer... yet. Go where your heart leads and God will bless whatever you do, Joshilyn.

Posted by Susan Cushman at September 12, 2007 2:00 AM

This is a book I have to read. Yay! Book touring! I find the best stuff here. Thanks.

On the chuch lady thing, can you just offer to come in and help out on whatever, when you have the time. Like showing a good heart and good intentions without locking yourself into something you may have to cancel???

Posted by ZaZa at September 12, 2007 2:50 AM

I agree with the note/card crew. Also, is there some sort of newsletter you could help organize? If not, it was always my understanding that those with young-ish children (under 12) were excused from any significant church duty.

Posted by Jessica at September 12, 2007 8:38 AM

All the Louisianans in my life are amazing and so full of love and character and generosity - and I can't help loving the song 'Louisiana Saturday Night?'

As for church things, the first thing I thought of was "martini Mondays" but realized quickly that would mean being on a schedule...

So, I think card and letter writing is a great idea. Not emails - real cards, real letters. To the elderly, to the teens, to the 30-something Moms who sit through church pinching the ears of their rowdy boys durning the service because they are folding paper air planes and kicking the pew in front of them.

A good cheer sort of note from Joshilyn Jackson would be about as good as a martini, I think :)

Posted by Stephanie at September 12, 2007 11:02 AM

Ha! I grew up in LC. 15 years. Ruth, a friend and former classmate, was an official Contraband Days Queen. And the aunt of another friend used to be the executive director. And my sister's ex-husband usually designs the official t-shirts.

A guilty pleasure that I look forward to reading. I just hope Toni put in a bit about how they sell alligator tail on a stick. To eat. Doesn't taste like chicken.

Posted by Sabra at September 12, 2007 12:20 PM

I agree with the note writing crew -- my favorite jobs was sending out birthday cards. They gave me a list, I wrote them up at the beginning of the month, and sent them out once a week.

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