Free Will May Not Be Free-by Mark L. Pippen (Guest Blogger)

You are Blessed with “Free Will” — but PROCEED WITH CAUTION. DON’T ABUSE IT OR MISUSE IT. It’s unfortunate (but simply true) that some children must repeatedly get burned BY THEIR OWN STUBBORNNESS in order to learn. Are you one of those? Experience is an excellent teacher. But it’s foolish to seek to blame someone else for the consequences of your poor choices and decisions. We have the ability to learn from those whom we respect. But guidance is only useful where discipline, discernment and obedience are also present. The Father is talking to you. ARE YOU LISTENING?


For more information on Mark’s debut book, The Gospel According to Mark, please email him at or follow him on Twitter at MarkLPippen. Also connect with him on Facebook at Mark L. Pippen.

The Big Blog Hop!

Q: What is the working title of your book?
A: When the Smoke Clears
Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?
A: My life’s story
Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A: Christian Inspiration
Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie
A: Tasha Smith as the main actress
Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A: What didn’t make me bitter made me better!
Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
A: Queen V Publishing
Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A: Still not done yet, LOL!
Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A: Beauty for Ashes
Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
A: My grandmother
Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
A: I experienced a lot of death before life. Not knowing it then, but some things (and people) had to die in order for me to get where I am today.
Here’s a list of my tagged blog hop authors for next week.
1. Valerie J Lewis Coleman
2. Venus Mason Thues 
3. Tammy Turner
4. Jesse Cole
5. And of course, Ms. Sylvia Hubbard
Check out their blogs next Wednesday, November 14th.

To Infinity & Beyond!

I’m simply amazed at the opportunities that have been presented to me within the last month. A few weeks ago, I received a call from a minister in Peoria, IL who saw one of my Facebook posts. She has never met me, but yet she picked up the phone and called and asked me to speak to women of domestic violence at an upcoming conference just because she saw the front cover of my book. She has not read the book, but she said that it seems like something these women need. If you have a copy of my debut book, you know that there is a simple street sign with an arrow pointing upward, saying “ENCOURAGEMENT Next Exit”. Now even though I have not been a victim of domestic violence, I believe there still is a purpose for me being chosen to speak to these women. I could have easily declined, just because in our limited minds, sometimes we feel we don’t qualify. But I beg to differ.

Maybe you were asked to do something and you turned it down because you felt like you didn’t qualify or meet the need. I ask you to take the limits off. Live life as though you are speeding down a San Francisco street on your bike with no brakes! Full speed ahead. Be open to being used in other venues and/or markets where you may not normally trod. The sky is not the limit. To infinity and beyond, whatever it is that you do well or you feel you are called to do, put the pedal to the medal. Ready, set, GO!

For 100 Words of Encouragement, please visit

The Seesaw

So every once in a while, I run into something that reminds me why it is always important to remain humble. Last week, a past client of mine told me that her book had received negative feedback from several nationally syndicated radio shows. More specifically, one radio show told her flat out, “It was poorly edited.” Hold up! Wait a minute! Stop the presses! That would be a direct blow to me, not the author. I was flabbergasted, floored, and totally disturbed! I asked her to give me a copy of the finished product. When I looked at the manuscript, it wasn’t so much that she had spelling or grammatical errors, but that she had broken some rules in the writing industry that made her book look like it had not been professionally edited. For example, she wanted some words uppercase in the middle of sentences, she wanted some things bold, and even wanted some things bold, italicized and capitalized! Now as an editor, I edit, but at the end of the day, I have to give the authors what they ask for. She wanted these things this way for extra emphasis, so she said. But that had backfired on her, and me! But the words “poorly edited” are what stuck with me for a few days. I began to doubt that I should even be doing this. I began to second guess every other book that I had edited. This was the first time any of my clients had given me negative feedback so I was a tad fearful to even take another project at that point. I volunteered to re-edit the manuscript and this time, I am making the changes I know fall in line with the industry standards. If she wants to do something different after I send her the final this time around, I’m asking that she remove my name from the book as the editor.

Sometimes, the very thing that we love to do, have been doing for years and you know that you are called to do, will be tested and tried. And somewhere along the lines, your self-esteem and confidence may take a blow. It’s like being on a seesaw. At one point, you are sitting high. But as soon as someone comes and puts pressure on the other side, you are down. And this is a cycle that can continue for as long as you let it, until you choose to just get off the seesaw. Whatever you are doing, don’t quit. Don’t let other people’s negative comments and/or perceptions of what you do affect what you do. Hold your head up high. Dust yourself off. And keep it moving. There is work to be done and there is work that only you can do. Get off the seesaw and get to work!


For 100 Words of Encouragement, visit

It’s the Little Things

I was in a writing session this past Monday at my church when my mentor, friend and fellow authorpreneur Venus Mason Thues took me back to basics. You see, I’ve been in journalism for over 15 years now and I started out simply writing articles for my college newspaper, the college town’s local newspaper as well as various other newspapers and magazines. Soon I realized that my passion was not newspaper writing, but more feature writing or creative, if you will. But somehow along the way, once I began to delve into books and manuscripts, I sort of pushed the article writing aside. I don’t know if I thought it wasn’t having an impact or if I just didn’t see it as a valuable tool to voice my opinion. But the session this past Monday was simply on writing articles, and writing them voluntarily, to start out with anyway. Somewhere inside my huge brain, a light went on and said, “Back to basics.” It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to write or how to write an article. Somewhere along the way, I discounted the value of an article. I thought I could have more impact with a whole book than one article but now I beg to differ. I don’t know who may read my article and ask me to do much more than that, thus catapulting me into greater success.

So today, if you can’t do something big, start with something small. Maybe you can’t buy an apartment building, but you can buy a small house that has been foreclosed. Maybe you can’t afford to publish your manuscript right now, but write articles based on the theme of your book and you have already began to build an audience and following for your upcoming bestseller! Maybe your business has not taken off at lightning speed like you hoped it would. Take one client at a time, until you have built a circle of pleased clients who will then tell their friends to use your services, eventually spreading your business globally. Sow little seeds along the way. Don’t downplay small beginnings. You never know when that one person, that one phone call, that one meeting will take you to higher heights and immeasurable success. Yes, even the little things matter…

For 100 Words of Encouragement, visit

Out of the Mouth of Babes…

So, early Monday morning, my son Xavier is in the bathroom brushing his teeth and washing his face. Now the way my bathroom is, it is connected to the hallway as well as my bedroom. So he came in through the hallway, but opened the bathroom door that led to the bedroom. He says to me, “Mommy, because you’re a writer, that makes ME famous.” Now, I usually scream at him to hurry up and shut up, but I had to stop a minute and A. ponder the thought and B. post it to my Facebook page for the world to see! He may have just been talking. But then again, he could have been being used by God to speak into my life, his life, the life of the family. If you look at President Obama, I am sure his daughters often wonder how they became famous when it’s their dad who is the President. Michael Jackson’s kids became famous from birth and continue to be in the spotlight even though he is no longer here. For an author, one of the biggest achievements is to get bestseller status, in ANY area of writing! So in a strong sense, Xavier is right. When, not if, I become a national bestseller in the writing industry, that will make him famous. Not only did he speak into his future, but he spoke into mine! These kids ain’t as crazy as they sometimes act to be! LOL! So on today, I don’t know the struggle you face and I don’t know where your faith measures at this very moment, but when and if someone speaks something into your life that will reflect your future, don’t take it lightly. Don’t just brush it off. Embrace it, walk in it, receive it and expect it. Matthew 21:16 says, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” So I say to you, don’t underestimate what comes out of the mouth of babes…Jesus didn’t.Image

What did you say??

So lately, the Lord has really been challenging me on the words that I choose to let leave my mouth. I’ll go even further to say that He is challenging my thoughts before they are even spoken out of my mouth. God is just like that, huh? Well, no sooner than I said I wanted to run my business full-time from home, did an influx of people reach out to me in need of my services. No sooner than I made up in my mind that I need to start more public speaking engagements did my phone start ringing with people who found ME, saying they needed me to come and speak, even if it is only for 10 or 15 minutes. The idea was also given to me by my web designer that I should consider ghostwriting for pastors, taking their sermons and transforming the audio into hard copies of books. Lo and behold, here comes three people who need  a ghostwriter. So I did my research, I set my prices, and I have now began to market myself as just that: an editor, writer, proofreader and ghostwriter. Then the Lord spoke to me and said, “Why are you surprised?”

I don’t know why I am surprised. I thought it. For some of this, I spoke it. I believed it in my heart and petitioned God for it, subconsciously. So, I ask you, what did you say? Look back into your past words and coversations. Did you speak peace and prosperity, or did you declare broke and broken? Did you ask God for what He had for you to come to pass or did you tell Him you were lost and had no purpose. Words have enough power to go to the very thing we are asking God for and meet us when we get there. Watch your mouth. Check your tongue. Speak those things you want to see in your life. If it lines up with God’s will for you, it will be so and it already is so. Take some time today to reflect and ask yourself, “What did I say?” And wait for the results!

Who says “No” to chicken??!


Sometimes, when we have a vision or dream, we become more than frustrated in the process. We begin to ask ourselves, “When will it come to pass? Is it still going to come to pass? What if that wasn’t God that I heard speaking to me?” If you’ve been dreaming for a long time, and still haven’t seen the manifestation yet, I can see how you could be upset. However, consider this.


Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fried chicken chain that guarantees you will be lickin’ your fingers after eating there, has thousands if not millions of restaurants in the U.S. and abroad. However, it didn’t start out this way. The owner, Colonel Sanders, founded KFC at the age of 65 after receiving a social security check for only $105. For most of us, that would have been the end. We would have given up and thrown in the towel. But instead, he decided to push his fried chicken recipe onto restaurant owners.


He figured even if he didn’t run his own restaurant, he could sell it to them, and as the sales increased at various restaurants, he would collect a portion of the profits. But apparently, not everybody likes fried chicken. I know, I know! That’s like a curse word to the people who love chicken (like myself). But to his surprise, no one was interested. He traveled the country, sleeping in his car, going door to door, looking for someone to cook up his recipe and help him make millions. To no avail, he was told no more than 1009 times!! Who says no to chicken?


But then, someone said yes.


And the rest, they say, is history.


You may have been told no hundreds of times thus far regarding your dream or vision. Or maybe you feel like you are too old to start anything new or adventurous. But Colonel Sanders is just an example of what we can achieve when we truly make our minds up to go for it, no matter the obstacles or the opinions of others. Set a goal target date that you want your vision completed by. Create a vision board that you can see daily when you wake up in the morning. Most importantly, surround yourself with positive people. After all, birds of a feather flock together! Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Keep moving! Keep pushing! Keep dreaming!


Mrs. Tenita Johnson

For 100 Words of Encouragement, visit