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Hope Again, our book on depression, 99 cents on Kindle1

HopeAgain_04 (1)Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression is available for a limited time only on Kindle for only 99 cents. You can find it at this link.

And, you can go to our website, conqueringdepression.com, to order LifeFilters.

Start off the new year by conquering your depression before it conquers you!

The First Domino Falls!

Be careful what you ask for.

I was wandering through Barnes & Noble about four weeks ago. I stood in the Christian fiction section and recalled a time when my first two books sat on the shelf along with books by authors such as Tosca Lee and Ted Dekker. For a moment, I imagined myself as a bestselling author whose books would stay on the shelf for more than a few weeks before they would wind up in the $3 pile at Half Price Books. I was pretty down. Depressed. Discouraged. I wrote about this in my last post and made a decision to back off from writing.

Something happened that day. Something that would change everything for me. But, first, let me take a moment to share one of my personal philosophies. My inspiration for writing comes from God. Period. No contest. No argument. And, I have discovered that I can very easily wander off the path God has chosen for me and get all wrapped up in the dream of being Ted Dekker or Tosca Lee or any of my favorite Christian writers.

And, then, God humbles me. Over. And over. And over. And, in the humbling I stop and remind myself what I have chosen to ask God every morning when I wake up. It is simply, “God, what is the one thing you want me to do today as part of your work for my life. Let me know what that thing is and not waver from the purpose you have for my life.” Wandering away from God’s purpose for my life is what got me into so much trouble 20 years ago when I descended into a horrific and paralyzing depression. (See conqueringdepression.com for more on that!).

Back to the book store. I have always maintained there is no experience you can reproduce online that rivals that of wandering through a bookstore. Surrounded by the look, the feel, and, yes, the smell of books can’t be replicated on the keyboard and screen. It’s impossible to wander aimlessly through Amazon’s almost infinite collection of “books”. And that is why, in my dreary mood that day, I paid a visit to my local bookstore chain. It was the first time in months and now I stood forlorn and depressed in the section where my four fiction books should have been featured along with others written by Christian authors who have a story to tell to the world. And, I asked myself if it had all been an empty dream; a squandered opportunity because I wanted to be published for my own satisfaction, not to fulfill God’s work in my life.

I turned away from the fiction and glanced at a small, turquoise book on the top shelf behind me. “Switch On Your Brain” by Caroline Leaf. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I see a book there is a quality, an instantaneous attraction to it that defies human explanation. I glanced away and then looked at it again. It called to me. I picked up the book and read the back. Something about it clicked. I now know this was a divine appointment. I didn’t see it at the time. I added it to my small pile of books and checked out. I placed the book on my desk along with three other books I had purchased on improving my writing.

During the next week or so, I opened one of those writing books on Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke. The opening few pages asked a very important question. “Why do you want to be published?” His answer was simple. Fame. Money. Glory. Immortality. I have an entire lecture on the three types of writers: those who can’t not write; those who want to be published; and those for whom writing is a “job”. And, all three are vastly different. When you sign that contract with a publisher, your writing moves beyond a hobby to a business. And, then the job becomes work! I had to stop and really ask myself why I wanted to continue to write and be published. The answer, I had to remind myself, lay in the paragraphs above. If God did not honor my writing, then I was wasting His time and mine doing the wrong thing! And so, I prayed once again for direction. “God, if you want me to continue to write, help me know what you want me to write and show me your will.”

This past weekend, while on call for my radiology practice, I picked up the “Switch on Your Brain” book and decided to read the first chapter. An hour later, I was halfway through the book. What happened that afternoon was like someone pushing over the first domino. You see, about a dozen things happened in one week that had nothing to do with each other when viewed separately. But, putting them together I began to see an undeniable push toward a complete rewrite of “The 9th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity”. Suddenly, information and ideas fell into my lap. Ideas circling in my brain actually gelled. And, three different separate conversations with people about totally unrelated subjects suddenly converged into the final conclusion that I HAD to write this book!

Monday night of this past week, I shared all of this with my wife, Sherry. She is my anchor, my reality check. After I laid out all of the “coincidences” of the past month, she nodded in agreement. “Yes, you need to write again.” Today, I started over with the book and it is coming fast and furious. And, the central theme of this book is so timely! I hope to share more with you in the coming weeks. But, right now, I have to write! Here I go!

So, I have an idea. Here in the ArkLaTex about six years ago we had an event featuring local authors. I’d like to consider something like that again. If you are a local Christian writer, would you like to have a weekend event where we get together and have some presentations about publishing, marketing, editing, etc.? Would you like to have a venue where you could feature and sell your books? It’s just an idea, right now. But, if you are interested or if you know someone who might be interested, drop me an email or a comment.

A Christmas “Story”

“You saved my life.”

I’ve heard these words before. Usually, they come from a total stranger through an email or a letter; someone who has picked up “Hope Again” and the LifeFilters and found them an answer to a desperate prayer for help. Let me be honest. I NEVER take such a statement lightly. Every time someone expresses this to me or to Mark Sutton, I am equally shocked and humbled.

This past Sunday, I shared a story with my family at our annual Hennigan Family Christmas Party. I won’t detail the story. Just know that the point of that story was to share with my family how a seemingly painful and potentially fatal encounter in my childhood served as the source for something I did later in life that had a profound influence on the lives of others. In this case, four veterans of World War II and an elderly woman who had lived in bitterness for years because of anger over losing her brother in the attack on Pearl Harbor. In both cases, a simple scene in one of my plays echoing that event in my childhood had the unexpected consequence of bringing these people profound peace and reconciliation.

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What to do when LIFE happens

I just posted this on my Conquering Depression blog so I wanted to share it with my reading followers.

My wife, at diverse times, is convinced I am crazy.

Okay, so maybe my behavior, at diverse times, is consistent with her conclusion. For instance, it was mid February. Sherry and I had just returned from a much needed break, a trip to Orlando to relax and have fun and visit our dear friends Mark and Donna Sutton. On a Wednesday afternoon, Mark and I spent several hours brainstorming a devotion book to accompany “Hope Again”. In a rather alarming revelation, Mark told me he had gone to have a check up the day before and his doctor wanted to keep him overnight for a cardiac treadmill. But, Mark told them he had to keep his appointment with me! Wait a minute, I said. You refused a treadmill because you might have heart problems so you could meet with me?

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Eric Peters and the Voices!

I’ve listened to singer/songwriter Eric Peters for years. My devotion to the Rabbit Room and the Square Peg Alliance came from my son. We started listening to the artists of the Square Peg Alliance years ago. And, when I discovered the Rabbit Room website and their devotion to not only music, but to classical Christian writers I was sold.

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In 2010, Sean and I attended the first Hutchmoot gathering in Nashville. Eric Peters sang at that gathering. In 2012, Sean and I were fortunate enough to make the 90 second window during online registration and we made it back for Hutchmoot. During that gathering, I was shocked to hear Eric’s story during his “Recovery Through Song” breakout session. I had no idea about his struggle with depression. He was very open with that young adult audience about his depression. Afterwards, Sean and I sat under an outside tent for a personal concert by Eric. I was stunned and moved as Eric was brought to tears and almost speechless trying to share more about his battle with depression. I totally understood.

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Writers Can Burn Out Too!

“The only thing worse than nostalgia is amnesia.” Ravi Zacharias, famed speaker and author once said this. For months, I felt like one of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. In an unprecedented turn of events, I had not been involved in any of my church’s activities for over a year. When my co-author, Mark Sutton was our pastor, my second “job” kept me occupied at our church. When he retired, it seemed I did too.

At first, I was very uncomfortable. My connection with the “inner circle” was severed. My knowledge of the direction of the church was no different than the person sitting next to me in the worship service. The very fact I was SITTING in a worship service instead of running around behind the scenes helping to make things happen was a disturbing but new development for me.

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Hugging Darkness

I was alone in the dark bedroom. I had pulled the sheet and blanket up over my head to shut out the world. I wanted no light; no sound; not even a speck of floating dust to touch me. I wanted to not BE.

 

Pain so bad it took my breath away filled every fiber of my being. Not physical pain. Emotional pain. And fear, yes there was fear. If I could just shut the world out for a few moments I might find some relief from this pain. Perhaps I could sleep? Probably not. Often elusive, sleep came for me with great difficulty and even if I did manage to slip into a sleeping state I knew it would not be restful. Because the dreams waited for me. Vivid, realistic, outlandish dreams. Read the rest of this entry

Tip #3: MAKE time to write!

Tip #3: You Don’t FIND time to write, you MAKE time to write!

My good friend Marilyn once asked me how I found the time to write. I simply replied, “you don’t find time to write, you make time to write.” This wasn’t a lesson I learned from John Maxwell. This is a lesson self taught. I mentioned in a previous post about being a dreamer versus making your dream come true. As I pondered on HOW I could make a novel come true, I stumbled across NANOWRIMO which begins TODAY.

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National Novel Writing Month helps you fulfill that DREAM of finishing a novel in one month. When I first learned of this method, I tried it out. I failed. But, the next July after completing “Conquering Depression” with Mark Sutton in the summer of 1999, I set aside the month of August to write a novel. I started it on day one and finished it on day 31. That novel became “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”.

Since then, I have learned these powerful lessons:

Make Writing a PRIORITY not only for yourself, but your family unit. Read the rest of this entry

Book Signing Tomorrow!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

ORLANDOHenniganSuttonSEP14FBSherry and I are in the Orlando area this week celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary. We first came to Orlando in October, 1980 for our honeymoon and we’ve been coming back to Walt Disney World for the last 34 years.

People ask me why I come to Disney World so many times. Doesn’t it get old? Don’t you grow tired of it? Haven’t you seen everything you can see? Let me tell you a story.

A father took his two girls to an amusement park every Sunday afternoon after church. The amusement park sat on the coast in California. But, the father was not happy about his experience. The location was windy and dirty and wet. The attractions were seedy and broken down half the time. The grounds were unkept and weedy with trash blowing everywhere. The workers were, well let’s just say somewhat undesirable to be around children!

The father would sit on a rickety bench and watch his girls riding the carousel and he wish he could join them. And so, this father began to dream. After all dreaming was his business! What if there was an amusement park that was clean and bright with gorgeous landscaping. What if the workers were right out of a Hollywood movie — clean and costumed and playing the “role” of a kind, considerate person who would make you feel like you and you alone were the most important person in the world? What if the attractions were safe, high quality, and most importantly, allowed families to enjoy the attraction TOGETHER? And, what if the amusement park was every changing and improving over time so that families could return again and again and never get bored?

That father was Walt Disney and the rest of his story is history. He went back to his studios and quickly drew up a plan for such a park in the studio’s parking lot. By the time he was finished, as was his nature, he began to think bigger and bigger. Disney’s “folly” as it was called opened in July, 1955 as Disneyland and changed the world.

This is why Sherry and I continue to go back. It is a place that is clean, high quality, magical, and restive. Also, we have good friends in the area and we have always loved Florida in general.

We are here this week and this weekend. If you are in the Orlando area, Mark Sutton and I will be signing our book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” on Saturday, September 27 from 1 to 3 PM. Come see us! We’d love to meet you!

Hope Again is Here!

This is the week our new book on depression launches. There are two events so check them both out.

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Our book launch is Friday night and snacks and coffee are complimentary. Also, if you want copies of my Jonathan Steel Chronicles, they will be available at special prices along with complimentary tee shirts.

BUT, if you can’t make it Friday:

SHREVEPORT_Hennigan-Sutton_SEP14_FBCome out and support our local LifeWay Store.

And, here is another perk. If you are one of the first 15 buyers for Hope Again, you will receive a complimentary copy of our Deluxe LifeFilters. (Additional sets can be purchased at the Well ONLY on Friday for $5). All others buyers will receive a complimentary set of our regular LifeFilters.

We’ll see you there!!!!

 

 

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