Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Blog with Aaron McCarver

THE MAGNOLIA STATE

Diane and I are so excited about our newest release, Across the Cotton Fields, the first in our “Mississippi Brides” series. When looking for titles and interesting things to flavor our Heartsong books with, we like to turn to symbols of the states the stories are set in. With our “Tennessee Brides” series, we used the state tree in Under the Tulip Poplar, the state flower in A Bouquet for Iris, and the state bird in The Mockingbird’s Call.

With this series we have, of course, chosen the magnolia—the state flower and tree and the nickname—which you will see in the second book of the series, Among the Magnolias. We needed other symbols. The state bird is the same as Tennessee’s so we wanted something else. This country’s largest and longest river, the Mississippi, is tied into our home state’s history, so that gave us As the River Drifts Away for the last book in the series.
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We still needed one more symbol. We thought of a plantation home, which lead us to thinking about that important Southern crop: cotton. This symbol has worked perfectly as the hero in Across the Cotton Fields is Jeremiah LeGrand, a man who dreams of running a plantation a new way, without using slave labor. Following his convictions leads to much of the story’s conflict as many resent his “revolutionary” method for threatening their way of life

We think this mirrors the Christian life. There are times when others question the choices we make to either do things that are Christ-like—reading the Bible, praying, treating others with love, attending church—or not do things that would displease our Heavenly Father, such as participating in the things of this world. But like Jeremiah, we must stay true to what God has called us to—living a life that is pleasing to Him. It is only then that we will have a true impact on this world for Christ.

Easy Question: Have you ever seen a cotton field? What state were you in? A tougher question worth pondering from Aaron: How have you been able to witness to others through your choices to live a Christ-like life? Answer one or both for a chance to win one of Diane and Aaron's books in a random drawing

21 comments:

  1. Unlike the corn fields we saw on the way to Indianapolis, I've seen my share of cotton fields here in Mississippi. Congratulations, Diane and Aaron. I know this series is going to be great.
    Ginger Vaughan

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  2. I also have seen my share of cotton fields here in MS and in my home state of Tennessee! I am thankful to live in a place where sharing our faith is quite easy! We are truly blessed! Aaron, you are a very special friend and I am so very proud of you. You and Diane are two of my favorite authors! Can't wait to read this book!! Janet

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  3. I can hardly wait to read your new series, Aaron. I really like your books. Keep it up, you and Diane are doing a great job. It is always exciting to get one of your books. I value your friendship too. Sarah B.

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  4. I have seen a cotton fields many times--starting with when my family and I lived on a farm in Arkansas-it was great fun to ride in the cotton trailer! And of course I've seen many since while living down south. Thanks for reminding me of a childhood memory. Can't wait to read this series by two of my favorited authors!

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  5. I've never seen a cotton field!

    I do remember driving across Kentucky about 10 years ago and seeing tobacco growing in a field and being completely mystified as to what it was. Growing up in Kansas we had wheat, wheat, more wheat, the occasional milo field or sorghum.

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  6. Shortly after I moved to Mississippi, I braved the fire ants to wade into a field of cotton and pick several stems to preserve as a memory of our sojourn in the Deep South. Little did I know my preacher husband and I would live here more than thirty years. I look forward to reading a new brides series set in my adopted home state.

    Bev Porter
    Hattiesburg, MS

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  7. I was in my early teens when I first saw a cotton field. It was later in my college years that viewed a cotton field in a different light. I was traveling home when I passed through an area surrounded by cotton fields. All I could see was cotton in full splendor and one harvester. I was reminded of two verses. “Behold, I say to you lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35b) “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2) I appreciate the Christian message that is in each of your books. Jr.

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  8. Believe it or not, we have cotton fields in Arizona. As for Aaron's question, yes, but it was a long journey. My in-laws didn't want to hear about Jesus, but as I lived out my Christian faith over two decades, they grew open to the idea. Now, one by one, many are committing their lives to Christ, which is so exciting!

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  9. I recently visited Mississippi on a research trip. Book two of Backwoods Brides is set in and around the Canton area and along the old Natchez Trace. I don't remember seeing a single cotton field while we were there. Since Aaron is so familiar with the state, it will be a wonderful stroke of luck if he's assigned to edit for me again. As for the second question, I think we witness for the Lord most of the time without being aware. We spend so much time among other believers, we don't realize how we "stick out" from others in our conversation and behavior. At least I hope that's the case.

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  10. I pass by one when we go up to Canton from Madison to eat lunch. I think about how rare they are in this area now. It is a beautiful site to see.

    I don't really know how my walk with Christ comes across to others. I pray that it betrays Christ's love to everyone, but I'm sad to say that I know I fall short of that.

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  11. My mother grew up picking cotton in Texas and Oklahoma. I've seen plenty of cotton fields...enough to know I'm GLAD I never had to harvest it! LOL!

    Congratulations, Aaron and Diane. Best of luck with this book!

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  12. Hi Aaron!
    Not only have I "seen" cotton fields. I spent many a summer in west Texas hoeing cotton for money for school clothes :) It is a part of my childhood that I cherish. Yes the work is hot, sweaty and hard but the memories of being with my family, playing word games, singing songs and telling jokes created memories that will forever be with me.

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  13. Hello everyone! The comments today are wonderful. It is great to hear from the fellow Bards, Ginger, Bev, Rhonda, and Janet Lee. Love you all bunches. And from my wonderful church friends, Sarah, Renee, and Janet. Janet is actually one of my first friends from when I moved to MS. And from other writer friends, Lisa, Marcia, Erica, and Jeri. Jeri, thanks for sharing about your in-laws. What a fantastic story! And Marcia, I should be editing that one. After the first one, "Raider's Heart," which is one of my new favorites, I can't wait for book 2. And to my very best friend of over 20 years, your insightful comments remind me of the reasons I do what I do. Thank you for everything.

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  14. I can't say thay I've every seen a cotton field but I've seen my fair share of corn fields!

    Just as a branch seperated from its supporting vine cannot live, let alone produce fruit, so we are helpless when were not connected to Jesus. I'm so grateful He gives me LIFE and pray that life is a reflection of Him.

    Keep reflecting His love in your books,
    Sheri

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  15. Hello Diane and Aaron, what a great question. I believe my christian beliefs stem from being raised in a family with christian values. My father was a baptist minister and now I have two sisters and a brother in the ministry.

    Being a christian has taught me how to love inspite of. When you can let go all the negativity and let go all the grudges that you have held on to for years, gives you a sense of joy that shows outwardly. That joy will carry you so far in life and it will cause you to love the main ones that tries to misuse you.

    A minister once said that people don't even know how to spell joy. He said, J is for Jesus and Y is for you. Most people say the O stands for other stuff because they allow other stuff to steal their joy. He said, O really stands for nothing - because you should'nt let nothing steal your joy.

    I am so proud to know my friend Diane, in my times of despair, she gave me strength, when I needed to cry, she gave me her shoulder and when I felt that all hope was gone she reminded me of the love of Jesus. That's love and that's a true friend.

    God Bless Diane and Aaron for the gift.

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  16. Wow, Lisa...I love the JOY definition. You are such a great friend. Your faith is a strong beacon even during the darkest times. I thank God for putting us together all those years ago.

    It surprises me to read of people who haven't seen fields of cotton. It's so much a part of Mississippi's agriculture. We do grow acres of corn and loads of soybean, but there's nothing else quite like our fields of 'southern snow'. If you hurry on over, we can take a tour and find a few unpicked fields even now.

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  17. Hello Sheri! Thank you for coming by and for being so welcoming at Belhaven. And Lisa, Diane always speaks so highly of you. Thanks for checking out our blogging this week.

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  18. Great post Aaron! Since I'm a life-long Georgia girl, I've definitely seen some cotton fields, LOL! ~ I feel that as Christians we have opportunities in everyday situations to show the love of Christ and be a good witness to others. I think sometimes the world is watching us more than we realize, so even in routine tasks (like grocery-shopping,etc.) we can show a Christ-like attitude (sometimes easier said than done!). ~ Received your book last week and am looking forward to reading it! Blessings, Patti Jo

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  19. Having lived on the city all my life cotton fields is not one of the things I have seen.

    I have had a lot of ups & downs. But through it all I have always held on to my faith. That is what cones through to the people I cone in contact with.

    Lourdes

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  20. Thank you for sharing, Patti Jo and Lourdes. It is amazing to me how much God uses our simple obedience to Him to witness to others. I hope you enjoy the book, Patti Jo.

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  21. Good books are good friends. Thanks for the good books!
    Joy G.

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