My Journey to Becoming a Children’s Book Author

My dog Max and I attended dog training classes in Klamath Falls, Oregon. During one of the sessions, our trainer learned the I’m an author and asked if I would write a children’s book all about his therapy pug, Xander. He explained that it would be a book that would be distributed to the 500 children who Xander visits each year.

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Max and Some of the Neighbors

Xander has his own Facebook page with over 9,000 fans and hundreds of photos are in his photo collection. That is super impressive! Apparently, pugs are popular and this pug is extraordinary, so that equals a lot of fans.

I saved photos of Xander at special events, such as the annual Humane Society gala fundraiser, and I copied photos of Xander with children. I edited them into paintings, wrote the text, and completed a sample for Xander’s owners to review. If you’re wanting to write and illustrate a children’s book, this method is one way to do so.

One evening, I met Rodney, Marcia, Penny the pig and their nine pugs (all but one of the pugs is a rescue) in their comfortable, suburban home in Klamath Falls, Oregon. They reviewed the sample book and, pleased with it, invited me to write a children’s book that could be published and sold. Part of the profits will go to the work of a local non-profit organization that teaches kindness.

I said yes, of course. How could I say no? Rodney and Marcia’s dream is to put an end to bullying and violence in their county. The work that they and Xander do is part of the solution. I like their vision. It’s good and noble and possible. My heart for kids is like their own. I would also love to help children learn kindness.

Over a year ago, I began working on the book about Xander. As you can see in the photo below, he has no eyes, a characteristic that makes him an unusually special therapy dog. The book features him and the remarkable work that he does alleviating anxiety in children, showing that kindness is cool, and bringing comfort to children and adults around the Klamath Basin.

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Xander (Yes, that’s a pig behind him. Her name is Penny.)

Since that evening with my new friends, their nine pugs and Penny the pig, the vision for this new project has come alive in my heart. So far, I’ve completed phase one of the text. And currently, I’m drawing freehand and painting the drawings with Prismacolor wax pencils.

Okay, so, if you’ve used Prismacolor pencils to “paint” your artwork, then you know that the process from drawing to completed artwork is laborious and not without challenges. Learning as I go, I’ve made several irreparable mistakes. But I’m like the little train climbing a precariously steep grade. Just like the Little Train that Could, my motto is, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I can. I can. I can!”

Each page of Xander the Wonder Pug will have colorful illustrations that children young and old will enjoy, and simple text. If needed, I can reach out to artist friends to give me a helping hand. If I start sliding downhill, I may resort to photoshopping photos from Xander’s Facebook album. At this moment in time, however, my little engine is chugging uphill…slowly.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can…

I need to keep the coal in the hopper so that I don’t lose momentum as I keep chugging up hill. To do this, I’m journaling the process, and will share with you personal journal entries along with some of the illustrations.

To follow along with me, visit the website you’re currently on, http://www.pamelakoefoed.com and look for the page, The Journey to Becoming a Children’s Book Author, Xander the Wonder Pug. It can be found on the left hand side of this website.

My next entry will be the first completed illustration. It’s of Xander and his friend Penny Pig. I’ll include with it my journey and process from the idea for the illustration to the completed artwork.

If you have encouragement, tips or ideas, send them my way. If you’re working on your own creative project, I’d love to hear about it. And if you have a few minutes, please say a prayer for this first time children’s book author and for the book that I hope will touch thousands of hearts around the world.

Xander teaches us about the power of kindness and this is the message that his owners and I hope to instill through Xander the Wonder Pug, a book for children. 

Pamela Koefoed, Author

Don’t Fall into the Disappointment Trap

I had just learned the news and I let out a little moan. My friends lost their entire investment, money that was supposed to be for their retirement years. Their hearts were flooded with a whirlwind of emotions, deep disappointment was chief among them.

Have you ever known someone who held onto bitterness, or anger for years? Most likely their negative attitude and mood is linked to something in their lives that didn’t go as they had hoped it would. Their disappointment might’ve begun with a broken relationship, a broken promise, a failed opportunity, or prayers that weren’t answered as expected.

People who hold onto disappointment are allowing the past to decide their present and shape their future. Most, of course, have no idea that this is what’s going on. I have good news. God has provided a way to move forward and a way to stay out of the disappointment trap.

We’ve all experienced the let down that happens when plans don’t turn out as hoped.
Many have been deeply disappointed through broken relationships and broken dreams.

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Video: How to Stay Out of the Disappointment Trap

In this video, I talk about how to not let disappointing circumstances shape your future and I share with you a principle for personal breakthrough that I’ve applied to my own life, a principle that my friends (the ones who lost their investment) have walked in for years. 

Several years have passed since my friends lost their retirement money and, in that time, their lives have been dressed in wonderful opportunities that’ve brought them satisfaction and joy.

How did they go from total loss to enjoying God’s blessings?

They stayed out of the disappointment trap and they responded in a way that helped them move forward into the purpose for their lives.

There’s a way to respond when your plans don’t go as planned that will empower you to see what God has brought into your life, so that you don’t miss the blessings that He has for you. See Jeremiah 29:11.

God has only the best in His heart for you. It will take some effort on your part to live in the fullness of all that He has. It’s my prayer and confident belief that this video message will be a blessing to you and to those you love.

You are dearly loved,

Pamela Koefoed

Join People from around the World on the Weekly Video Broadcast with Pamela

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From my home in Oregon, every Thursday I’m on the East Coast, the West Coast, in the Southwest, the Central part of the United States, in Canada, Germany, Kenya, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, and I’m in India, the U.K., Pakistan, and even China.

It’s amazing, I know! I can hardly believe it myself.

How am I able to be at so many places at once? Through the incredible technology of social media, internet, and live video streaming.

Live video broadcasts are every Thursday at 12:00, Pacific Time. The archived videos are available on my Facebook page.

My frequent prayer is that the weekly broadcasts provide you with the truth and inspiration that you need at this very moment, with words to encourage and instruct you from the heart of God.

To join in for a live video broadcast and to find past broadcasts, visit my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Pamela.Koefoed.Author

Past videos are saved to my timeline and are there to watch and re-watch at your leisure. Live videos begin at 12:00, Pacific Time.

Be blessed as you watch and remember that you are dearly loved.

Pamela Koefoed

 

How I Overcame being Disappointed

ButterflyYellowThere’s just no time or need to stay disappointed. This is what I’m telling myself as I navigate through news that has me feeling emotionally fragile.

Today, someone dear to me broke a promise, which means that I’m back to square one, asking the Lord to fill the cavernous space that appeared overnight when my ministry partner and best friend moved to another state, leaving a hole in my heart, chunk out of my life, and empty space beside me.

I’m sad. I just am. But I’ve decided that I won’t stay sad. This is not the end of the world, I tell myself.

Sometimes, we need to change attitudes, get tough with ourselves, talk to ourselves. Who’s your Lord? I ask myself. That always gets me in a better place–fast. Or I ask my sad self, Where have your eyes been? On man or on God? That’s also an effective perspective switcher for me. Works every time.

Most of the negative emotions that we harbor are a waste of time, of focus, and can distract us from our purpose. Sure, a devastating loss will send us on a ride that we had hoped to never take. Riding grief waves is something we all hope to avoid.

There’s just nothing that can be said to make grief go away. I wish there were words to eliminate that kind of pain. When you’re grieving, it’s tough! Disappointment is normal in such instances. For those of you who are traveling on the ocean of loss, the Lord will bring you through. He really will.

Aside from the passing of someone, the end of a love relationship, or the total loss of a dream, most of the things that disappoint us are not as devastating as our emotional responses say that they are.

What do I mean? A broken promise like I had today could send people into days of sadness. It’s a real bummer. I mean, I’m back to square one regarding something of tremendous importance to me personally and to the ministry. But it’s not equal to crying all day, or to being sad for longer than an hour or three. It’s not equal to going into a depression, or to becoming indifferent, or to throwing a fit.

Many people overreact to disappointing situations. They’ll be in self pity for days, infecting everyone around them. Some just go numb. Or they become cynical, roll their eyes, and say things like, “What did I expect?!” Or “This is how things always turn out.” Or, “It’s always something.”

When you’re disappointed, are you going to react or will you respond?

Your emotional reaction can be one like I mentioned earlier or you can be in dominion over yourself and respond with wisdom. What you do in the first few minutes of being disappointed matters, because negative emotions can drain the life out of a dream, can consume your focus, can detour your path.

How I worked through today’s disappointing news is that I chose to remember my Lord, His purpose for my life, and His ability to bring something amazing out of what feels like a loss.

Acknowledging God’s power, the magnitude of His greatness, and the limitlessness of His ability positions us to receive or accomplish something far greater than we have ever dreamed.

Listen up. If you’re going through or have been through something that has left you feeling disappointed, I encourage you to take to heart a powerful truth from Scripture.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen–” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

When your trust is in the Lord, disappointments become launching pads for something better than you have imagined. Beloved, if someone has disappointed you, let you down, failed to follow through, broke a promise, changed their mind and is no longer working with you, or has ended a relationship–God is able! He is able! He is able! He is able!

Jesus turned water into wine. The Lord parted the Red Sea so that a huge multitude could cross to the other side. He provided a widow and her son with enough oil and flour to feed them during a devastating famine. He works miracles and brings forth something out of nothing.

Therefore, He can certainly do something out of your nothing, multiply your little, and provide a way for you to arrive at the center of His purpose for your life.

Take heart, receive encouragement and keep walking with the Lord, because He is working something beautiful in your life.

Talk to yourself! It works.

You are dearly loved,

Pamela Koefoed

How Would you Respond in this Situation?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Shocking me is not an easy accomplishment. I spent much of my childhood in a bar. But today a woman who I don’t know set her mouth to flying in response to someone practically drag racing down her road.

She used the phrase Jesus Christ on a cross as a substitute for cussing. That was the first shock of the day. The second was when our big horse decided to take a section of fence out. Thankfully, my horse is okay.

Society has its own checks and balances, making corrections where needed, and even undoing some of the corrections that weren’t needed. But something has upset the balance. Something has influenced our minds in such a way that people just don’t say what they want to say and need to say to set things right.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s in the barroom with my mother. Men and women sipped their drinks and talked with one another. There was a lot of good natured joking and heaps of smoking.

Everyone knew that dropping expletives in the presence of ladies and children was totally not cool.  Sometimes there were slips, but do you know what would happen next? Someone nearby would gently say, “Keep it down,” or “None of that here.” These kinds of corrections were followed by good natured snickers and chuckles.

A correction, gently stated, was needed today.  That woman’s expletive was way out of bounds. I give her the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think she realized what she said. After all, no one would deliberately speak of someone’s death in the way that she spoke of Jesus’ cross.

If this had happened when I was a child in the barroom, customers would’ve spoken up. I can almost hear them now, “None of that in here,” but this time there would be no snickers and no chuckles.

I’ve spent some time thinking about this incident. I’ve shared some of my thoughts with you. I’d like to know your approach to this. Would you have said something to her? If so, what would it have been?

Wishing you a lovely day,

Pamela

 

 

How I Handle Unsolicited Phone Calls…”Hello, You’ve Reached the Prayer Line.”

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“Hello, I’m calling with information about your order.” The woman’s voice on the other end of the phone was barely audible. I turned up the volume to better hear her and pressed my ear into the earpiece.

We talked for a few moments and then as I was getting ready to hang up, I hesitated. What if she were one of my children? I asked myself. How would I want this call to end?

“May I pray for you?” I offered. Then having her consent, my prayer went something like this:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I’m praying for this young woman like I would pray for my own daughter. She needs a better job. Would you please direct her to her dream job, and even if the application requirements are beyond what she currently possess, would you give her favor? Would you place her in a job where she can be trained and where she will be valued? Will you please provide her with a healthy environment where she works with people who are kind and ethical? Father I know that You’ve heard this prayer. I know that you love this young woman. So, I thank you in advance. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.”

The young woman’s voice was soft and tearful now. I could hear emotion in her words. She thanked me and she thanked me again when we finally hung up.

I admit, I haven’t always been as intentional during phone calls with sales people and with crooks. (About phone calls with crooks…I’ll tell you all about it in a day or two.)

Sometimes, I tire of phone calls from solicitors and scammers. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating that they call my phone. I get one or three of those types of calls most days.

That conversation with the sales lady inspired me. Her openness to what I had to say and her appreciation for the words that I prayed…all of that changed the way that I view calls from sales people today.

Why bother? You might ask. Because the person on the other end of the phone is someone’s son or someone’s daughter. I think about that when I see homeless people and when I read articles in the newspaper about another young person in prison. And I think about that when I get phone calls from strangers, asking for money, or trying to give me something that’s supposedly free.

Not too long ago, I picked up the ringing phone and held the receiver to my ear. “Hello, you have been selected for a free trip of your choice to one of our world class resorts.” These were her opening lines, and for the next three minutes the woman on the other end spoke so fast that my mind could barely keep up with her.

When finally she took a breath, I interrupted her memorized pitch. “Honey,” I said. “Can I ask you a question?”

She was obviously not used to questions in this setting. Momentarily, she hesitated and said, “Oh, okay.”

“Do you need prayer?”

“What?”

“You called my house and this is the number for prayer. Can I pray for you about anything…”

This is how I roll.

Pamela