Monday, September 14, 2009


Paul Martin, inspirational author of Original Faith, launches his blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Paul M. Martin writes with exceptional clarity about spiritual matters. His depth and breadth of first-hand experience allows him to speak compellingly to people across a wide range of perspectives on religion and spirituality. At age twenty-three, Paul had a spontaneous experience of the kind that is often sought through meditation and prayer. It was immensely hopeful. It stood in complete defiance of his despairing world view. It was the primary source material for the rest of his life and the genesis of Original Faith. Within a year, Paul visited the Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, where he learned meditation from the late Fr. Basil Pennington. Within two years, he went on to receive an M.A. in religious studies from the University of Chicago. In the coming years, he would also earn a M. Ed. in counseling as his public school career transitioned from English as a Second Language teacher to elementary school counselor. At age thirty-seven, with Original Faith perhaps two years from completion, Paul experienced the onset of a condition that would never be diagnosed. He was forced to set the manuscript aside for the better part of the next decade as he combined full-time work with extensive medical research and travel. By May 2002, Paul's disability had become too severe for continued work outside the home, and he resumed work on Original Faith. Between 2002 and 2006, he completed the book, along with two additional manuscripts, managing to convert his handwritten notes to Word documents before he lost the ability to walk and work with paper.

Find out more about Paul by visiting his website:

Paul is also offering a FREE e-book, Original Faith: Hard Times Handbook, to those that sign up for his newsletter. You can sign-up and download the e-book here.

Original Faith: What Your Life is Trying To Tell You
By Paul Martin

Original Faith is no how-to manual. Movingly written, it evokes experiences and insights in readers that give transformative power to its many suggests for practice. Wherever we are along our paths, here is a new and contemporary approach to help clarify the perennial call to re-center our identities first from egoism to love; then from love to a larger reality.

You will find answers in your own experience to questions such as:
  • What, exactly, is real love?
  • What runs deeper than despair?
  • What makes negativity worse than useless no matter how well justified?
  • How can I realize that I'm already faithful--with or without beliefs?
  • How can I discover that there is no "set-up" and begin creating meaning instead of searching for it?
  • How can I find peace and strength far beyond what I've dreamt possible?
Published by Lucid Interface LLC
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN# 193461100x

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Paul's book, Original Faith: What Your Life is Trying To Tell You, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Margo L. Dill

WOW: Paul, thank you for joining us at WOW! and for kicking off your blog tour. It took you twenty-five years to write Original Faith (25, correct?), and it addresses your spiritual life and struggles along the way. Why did it take so many years to write this book?

Paul: Yes, twenty-five, "25," or, as I like to think of it, "only a quarter of a century..."

But seriously... I should mention at the outset that Original Faith isn't a spiritual autobiography. It does make use of first-person material where this helps to move the book's message forward. Some readers have compared it to Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in this respect. As to my extended writing process...

For fourteen years, the writing developed on its own. At first, I didn't realize I was writing a book. It began with note taking and journaling for my personal use. Once I saw that a book was underway, it was a creative process that happened on its own time. My best ideas and language would come to me as unexpected surprises. I came to see my job as getting out of the way and making way--accepting that I couldn't control or anticipate where the process was going while setting aside regular time for writing.

After fourteen years, most of the creative work was complete. I had set my notes and working manuscript aside for what I thought would be a couple months while I recovered from a sudden onset of "Myofascial Pain Syndrome." It would turn out that I didn't have MPS, but something much rarer and much worse.

For about the next ten years, in declining health, I had to devote all my energies to continued full-time work, extensive medical research and travel, and health insurance problems. I was able to return to the manuscript only after I became disabled from my work.

WOW: We are very sorry to hear about your health problems, and thank you for sharing your story with us in spite of the difficulties you must face to do so. By returning to your work after 10 years, it shows that you are a very determined man with a message to give the world. That is very admirable! What is the basic premise of Original Faith?

Paul: That each of us is already faithful, that trust and hope in the One is a fact at the depths of being human, and that anyone can personally become aware of this. I leave it to readers whether to think of the One as God or as being, nature, or reality itself. My focus is the experiences that unite us, not the beliefs that can divide us.

Faith is one of those experiences. And to open up to our faith is to find ourselves opening up to another important unifying experience: love. Faith encourages love to be itself.

WOW: In the beginning of the book, you address love, faith, and the obstacles that keep us from living out faith-full love. What are those obstacles?

Paul: The main obstacle is egoism--the sense that each of us has of somehow mattering more than everyone else. For some of us, depression and despair are obstacles. Even this has an egoistic dimension.

WOW: It sounds so simple when you say it, but we all know how hard it is to fight against egoism, which seems to come naturally to most of us. Does Original Faith address how to replace those obstacles, mainly egoism, with love? Please give us a brief explanation of this process.

Paul: The process of spiritual development is highly individual, but the general direction is clear: becoming more loving and less egoistic. Authentic insight and spiritual practice are the keys to finding and keeping to this path.

By authentic insight, I mean realizations that come to us through deep and heartfelt experience. Insights that Original Faith seeks to evoke in readers include understanding the nature of love, faith, and ego. Seeing love and ego for what they are, and with our love encouraged by our faith, we become profoundly motivated to take our love's way.

Without a foundation of insight, spiritual practices are likely to falter and fail--much like New Year's resolutions often do. But with this foundation, spiritual practices are invaluable to keeping us on track. Original Faith offers a wide variety of practices on the premise that people need to identify those that fit well with their individual lifestyles if they are to benefit from them in the long run, where they can be transformative.

WOW: That makes perfect sense to find ways to fit spiritual practice into your lifestyle and not to make unrealistic goals that will be impossible to meet. I think the comparison to New Year's resolutions makes your point perfectly clear! You also worked as a counselor for elementary students. Did this job affect your ideas and beliefs that you discuss in the book?

Paul: My long career working with young children, first as an English as a Second Language teacher and then school counselor, was a continual source of inspiration. It gave me a sense of the reality of the coming generations and helped expand the scope of my caring to the whole world and our long-term future here. And children don't cover up like adults do--the love and the ego are both out there and easy to see. Quite a lot of material in Original Faith was directly child-inspired.

WOW: We can learn so much from children, especially because they don't cover up like adults do. How did you manage writing a book and working a full-time job with the children?

Paul: By getting up in the early hours of the morning (around 2:00 a.m.) to write before going to work. I found that after work just wasn't a productive writing time for me.

And as long as I was getting up so early, I made sunrise my jogging time. A beautiful time to be outdoors and, like my work with children, another major and completely unexpected source of creativity. In my twenties, my fantasy had been a farmhouse in Vermont with nothing to do but write; I'm glad that didn't happen.

WOW: 2:00 a.m.!! Now, that is dedication! What remarkable accomplishments to have finished your book and touched the lives of children at the same time! You also suffer from a rare progressive illness. What challenges does that present for your writing and marketing of your book?

Paul: I completed the book just in time. When I'd set it aside in 1995, all my notes and papers were handwritten. When I returned to them about ten years later, the first thing I did was organize them and enter them into my computer, a project that I completed just two or three months before losing the ability to work with hard copy.

My ability to market the book is minimal. Since finishing it, the rate of disease progression has continued to accelerate. I'm too fragile now to leave the house by any means and mostly bedridden with few productive hours in a day.

What can you do? All you can. Original Faith is a labor of love, and I do my best by it. To do your love's best is to know that you’ve kept an agreement between you and God above or you and the stars above. However you think of it and whatever you call it, it's the same experience of personal right relationship with the infinitely greater. It brings the proverbial peace that passes understanding.

WOW: Paul, thank you for sharing your story of determination, faith, and love with us today. I'm sure there are many readers out there right now inspired by your interview, and many more that will be inspired by Original Faith.

Want to join Paul on his blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

September 14, 2009 Monday
Paul will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Paul's book!

September 15, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Holistic Future today to discuss the connection between spirituality and nature with Paul Martin, author of Original Faith.

September 16, 2009 Wednesday
Paul stops by SuperEnlightenMe, a blog for spirituality and self-help, for a surprise guest post! Find out more about Paul and Original Faith today.

September 18, 2009 Friday
Today Paul reveals how exercise can give do more than improve your physical health in Running as a Spiritual Exercise.

September 21, 2009 Monday
Paul stops by our friend Jan Lundy's blog, Awake is Good, for an inspirational interview! I can't wait to see what these two will chat about. Join in on the discussion today.

September 22, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Diary of a Smart Chick today for a book review and interview with Paul Martin. Plus, enter to win a free copy of Original Faith!

September 25, 2009 Friday
Samantha Clark, of Day By Day Writer, talks to Paul Martin about the challenges he faced while writing Original Faith.

September 29, 2009 Tuesday
Paul stops by Mary Jo Campbell's blog, Writers Inspired, for an exclusive interview on the topic of "What Your Life is Trying to Tell You." Stop by today for the lively discussion and enter to win a copy of Original Faith!

October 8, 2009 Thursday
Stop by Jerri Ann Reason's blog, Mom-E-Centric, today for a guest post by Paul Martin, author of Original Faith.

We may have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Paul Martin's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Paul's book Original Faith: What Your Life is Trying To Tell You.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 19, 2009


Jan Lundy, author of Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, launches her Blog Tour!

Described by her readers, audiences, and colleagues as “practical and poetic, possessing deep and gentle wisdom,” Janice Lynne Lundy serves as an interfaith spiritual guide to tens of thousands of women throughout the United States through her nationally syndicated magazine column in Women’s LifeStyle, as a professional speaker and retreat facilitator, and as a Spiritual Director. She has been recognized for her sensitive and compelling interviews as well as for her gift for connecting with soul-searching women. Jan is an adjunct staff member for the Institute of Spirituality at the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, was released in October 2008 by Sorin Books.

Jan is the author of three previously published personal and spiritual growth books: Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman’s Journey to Wholeness; Awakening the Spirit Within; and Perfect Love: How to Find Yours and Make It Last Forever (co-authored with her husband, Brad Lundy).

The mother of three, stepmother of four, and grandmother of three more, Jan resides on the peaceful shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan with her husband, Brad, her creative partner and soul’s companion.

Learn more about Jan at her website:,
and on her blog:
Contact her at

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Jan's book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

WOW: Could you tell us about your latest book, and who it's for?

Jan: Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be is “a spiritual journey” book. It has an interspiritual focus, which makes it unique in the self-help/spiritual growth genre. It invites women from all walks of life, all spiritual persuasions, to stop and take a look at how they are living.

Our truest self is a woman who is living from her fullness. She is living large, free from fear to express herself in the world as a confident, glorious woman. She has fully embodied the qualities we attribute to Spirit itself—peacefulness, loving kindness, generosity, and so on. She lives a mature spirituality, not one that has been handed to her without having fully explored it first.

Living as our truest self is a lifelong process. This is a journey, a pilgrimage, into our sacred self. I wrote this book through my lenses as a seeker, but also as an Interfaith Spiritual Director who accompanies people of all faiths as they ask the deepest questions about life. What I’ve come to realize is that there are common threads of truth that run through all spiritual traditions. When we can embrace these—what I present as “Transformational Truths—we come home to our truest selves.

The Twelve Transformational Truths are:

I Am Free to Live a Spiritual Life of My Own Making

I Trust My Body's Divine Connection

I Choose Thoughts and Feelings That Honor My Sacred Self

I Engage in Daily Spiritual Practices That Nurture My Spirit

I Cultivate Compassion for Myself

I Experience the Divine in Everything and Everyone

I Know Divine Assistance is Available to Me at All Times

I Acknowledge that Difficult Times Bring Healing and Deeper Wisdom

I Can Create My Life Anew Each Day

I Trust the Divine Timing of My Own Unfolding

I Courageously Live and Speak My Truths

I Open My Heart and Celebrate Our Oneness

Working through the Truths enables us to let go of old, disempowering messages about who we’ve been told we are. It also empowers us to embrace new personal Truths, to connect more fully with our spirit, and the greater Spirit.

WOW: The book features a variety of interesting women. How did you meet these inspirational people?

Jan: Over the last ten years, as my spiritual path widened, I serendipitously met many remarkable women. I selected twelve of them to help me convey the Truths through the testimony of their lives. They are primarily writers and teachers, activists and artists. Some are well known, like country music powerhouse, Naomi Judd. Others are not. The list includes:

Joyce Rupp, OSM, Jan Phillips, Iyanla Vanzant, Dudley Evenson, Sue Patton Thoele, Daphne Rose Kingma, Doreen Virtue, Joan Borysenko, Frances Moore Lappé, Mari Gayatri Stein

This is an ecumenical gathering of women representing many spiritual persuasions. As for my personal relationship with them, a few have been faithful mentors and friends over the years. Some I have never met, having only savored their books and spoken with them on the telephone. Within my book, I share how I have come to know each one and what their light-filled presence revealed to me.

Ironically, a few of the women I simply stumbled across, exactly when I needed what they had to say the most. Jan Phillips, for example, came into my life when I was writing my first book and the inner critic was being quite vocal. In a particularly bleak moment, I called my editor, desperate for advice on how to continue writing when everything inside me said to stop. “Have you read Marry Your Muse by Jan Phillips?” she asked.“ ‘The Artist’s Creed’ should take care of everything.” She was right. Reading Jan’s inspiring words to the struggling artist within cured my creative woes. So when an invitation came to interview her in 2004 (as a magazine editor), I jumped at the chance. I conducted a phone interview with her first; then we met in person a few months later. Our conversations and my learnings from her work over the years formulated the second Transformational Truth, “I Trust My Body’s Divine Connection.”

WOW: This seems like a book that you could be read straight through the traditional way, or open to a random chapter or essay for a dose of inspiration. What do you recommend?

Jan: This book is a spiritual journey book, a trek inward, with a stepping-off place and a hoped-for destination, and the reader is the pilgrim. By moving through the chapters intentionally, she will begin to unravel old ways of thinking and embrace new ways of being.

I suppose that you could skip around and read about one “Holy Woman” or one Truth, but I do not recommend it. There are some Truths that are more difficult to live out. There is an order to how they are presented in the book. For example, having compassion for others. We can’t feel love and compassion for others if we are not able to feel that for ourselves. Learning to accept and love ourselves as we are must come first.

Your Truest Self is also a “process” book. Each chapter invites the reader to personally reflect upon the Transformational Truth that is presented in two ways. The first is through Reflection Questions that encourage journaling. The second is through “Peaceful Pauses,” meditational practices which enable the her to “practice” the Truth that has been presented. Hurrying on to the next chapter, hoping for the next brilliant awareness to break through, will not help a woman embody her truest self. Sitting quietly, being reflective, taking time for integration, will.

WOW: Could you share a favorite tip or idea included in the book?

Jan: The notion of finding and committing to spiritual practices that calm and center us. Most of us are completely frazzled just trying to make ends meet, get the job done, take care of our families, and more, so we don’t take time to center ourselves, to access our inner peace on a regular basis.

Engaging in daily spiritual practices is key to living as our truest self, a woman who is innately peaceful. Truthfully, I don’t believe anyone can if they have not implemented such practices. We can put our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health on the back burner for only so long before we’re destined to crash and burn. Spiritual practices prevent this from happening. They plant us in our sacred center and plug us into the “God” of our understanding. They offer fuel and nourishment on so many levels. It is vital that we find the practices that suit us. Chapter Four in Your Truest Self shows the reader how—even when it seems as if there is no energy or time in the day to do so.

We are living in very tenuous, stress-filled times. My spiritual practices are my sanity and my sacred connection. Spending time in silence. Walking in nature. Daily writing. Reading spiritual growth literature. Rest. Breath practice. Prayer. I hope that others will seek out theirs, as well, so greater peace can be experienced by everyone, especially in these challenging times.

WOW: One of your Twelve Transformational Truths is about cultivating compassion for ourselves. What are some of the ways we can do this?

Jan: This is a wonderful question because it may be the most difficult life principle for us, as women, to embody—Truth number Five: “I cultivate compassion for myself.”

This Truth is represented by my dear friend and mentor, Sue Patton Thoele. I found her in my early searching years when I was absolutely overwhelmed with life. I was sick and tired—literally—from living on the fast track, trying to be the perfect wife and mother, and just about killing myself trying to make everyone else happy.

It has taken years for me to learn how to be kind to myself, to treat myself as nicely as I treat other people. The journey to living in this way begins by “befriending ourselves.” This is done in baby-steps.

We start by taking small amounts of “Sabbath time” time to rest and restore ourselves. We give up notions of perfection and accept ourselves as being “enough.” We learn to say ‘No’ to what depletes us and ‘Yes’ to what nurtures us. We learn to live in the present moment where peace-of-mind prevails, rather than in the past (with regret), or in the future (with worry or fear). Mindfulness practices help. Befriending is all about learning to honor our spirit so that we live more lovingly, peaceably, with ourselves. Doing so enables us to live more gently with others, as well.

WOW: Writing this book must have been incredibly rewarding. What have been some of your most personally fulfilling moments with this project?

Jan: I view this book as the work of a lifetime. It embodies the “inner work” I have done on myself for the past 30 years. To put it out there for everyone to read has been both terrifying and exhilarating. It’s risky, but I believe taking this risk has provided me with the greatest growth I’ve ever experienced. I feel like a different person than when I began the process of writing it back in 2004.

After self-publishing three books, to have Your Truest Self purchased by a publisher has been a dream come true. And then to have that publisher be one that was so soulful and supportive of my interspiritual focus was an act of grace—Sorin Books (an imprint of Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN). For me, this was an affirmation that a new day is dawning. When a primarily Catholic publisher can launch a truly interspiritual book, hooray for us all!

Other rewarding moments? Having Your Truest Self presented as one of 25 featured books at an “Author’s Feast” at the Great Lakes Bookseller Association Fall Trade Show was very exciting. Standing in front of all those bookstore owners, alongside John Grogan (Marley and Me and The Longest Trip Home) was surreal. Receiving the first 5-Star rating from an “official” book reviewer, Midwest Book Review, was pretty cool, too.

In truth, the most rewarding moments have been those I’ve spent with other people. Sharing this journey with my husband, Brad, has deepened our intimate relationship in wonderful ways. He has been my creative companion throughout and I am grateful for his love. Witnessing joy and pride on the face of my 80-year-old mother has been another. I am so happy she is still walking this earth to share these fortuitous times with me. The love and support of my family mean more to me than anything.

And the women I am meeting along the way. Oh, my, they take my breath away! They are so beautiful and strong and resilient. I feel incredibly humbled when I meet them at book events, or on my blog, or through e-mail. They tell me about their journeys into their truest selves and I often weep with joy at the beauty of their souls. Yes, it is the women who have touched my heart most deeply…

WOW: Do you have any parting words of advice to share with our women writers/readers?

Jan: Keep writing. Keep believing in yourself and the power of your words to heal, to uplift, to inspire.

These are fearful times, dream-dashing times. Yet, you have a boundless future with unlimited possibilities if you can become familiar with fear and rise above it. The deepest, truest part of you, your spirit, wants you to be all that you can be; to live the divine freedoms latent within you—inner peace, confidence, courage, joy, and profound love for others. If you cling to your fears, especially fear of failure, you cannot fly. As the Persian poet Rumi reminds us, “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”


WOW: Want to join Jan on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

JANUARY 19, 2009 Monday
Jan will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Jan's book!

JANUARY 20, 2009 Tuesday
Jan will be stopping by Allena Tapia's blog, Freelance Writing.

JANUARY 21, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Joi Sigers' blog, Self-Help Daily.

JANUARY 26, 2009 Monday
Jan will be stopping by Mom's Spark!

JANUARY 27, 2009 Tuesday
Jan will be stopping by Tammie McElligot's blog on Women's Lit.

JANUARY 28, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Cheryl Phillips' blog, The Daily Blonde.

JANUARY 29, 2009 Thursday
Jan will be stopping by The Mental Fitness Center.

FEBRUARY 2, 2009 Monday
Jan will be stopping by Joanne DeMaio's blog, Whole Latte Life, for a lively discussion.

FEBRUARY 4, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Deena Peterson's blog, Deena's Bookshelf.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009 Thursday
Jan will be stopping by Allena Tapia's blog, GardenWall Publications.

FEBRUARY 6, 2009 Friday
Jan will be stopping by Darlene Devoe's blog, Raising Socially Anxious Children.

FEBRUARY 9, 2009 Monday
Jan will be stopping by Allyn Evans' blog, Happily Ever After Today.

FEBRUARY 10, 2009 Tuesday
Jan will be stopping by Donna Vokenannt's blog, Donna's Book Pub.

FEBRUARY 11, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog, The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

FEBRUARY 11, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog, The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

We also have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Jan Lundy's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Jan Lundy's latest book Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be.

Free Ebook: Visit Jan's site and sign up for her newsletter to receive a FREE copy of her ebook The Awakened Woman's Guide to Life. 90 pages of inspiration and practical strategies for experiencing more peace, confidence, courage, and joy in your day-to-day life.

Labels: , , , , ,