Today I am honored to share with you an interview with Author and Speaker Teri Lynne Underwood.
I had the honor of being one of Teri Lynne’s roommates last year at The Relevant Conference. She is a wonderful and energetic woman of God who has a passion to share her heart with others! You will be greatly blessed by her words!
Here is our interview:
Ashley Wells: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Teri Lynne: I’m living out my own version of happily ever after with my worship leader husband and beautiful ‘tween daughter. My lifelong dream has always been to write. Every day I get to sit down with my computer and share my heart with others. My life is a story of grace … a mispent youth whose heart has been transformed by mercy. I’m almost 40 and can honestly say that the past decade, while the most challenging of my life in so many ways, has also been the most incredible. I’m not sure if it’s my age or raising a near-adolescent or some combination of both but I know that I’ve learned to let go of my need for control and perfection and trust in the beauty of simple living and seeking God in all things.
AW: What kind of things can you be found doing when you are not writing?
TL: I love to read and spend a lot of time curled up with my Kindle enjoying the constant free books from Amazon. And I love to cook and bake. I would love to be a gardener but honestly, I think I’m in love with the idea of that more than the actual doing. My daughter and I have decided to take up running and are looking forward to training together to run in a few races this fall. Like every other woman, my days are filled with cleaning and carpooling and generally trying to keep everything from running completely amuck.
AW: When did you start writing, personally and professionally?
TL: I’ve been writing my whole life. My favorite class in high school was creative writing and I still have many of my early attempts at poetry and short stories. However, as I got older, I found that I much preferred writing nonfiction and sharing the lessons I was learning in my own spiritual walk. I began blogging on MySpace then moved to Xanga and over to Blogger. I finally found my “groove” in May 2009 when I launched “Pleasing to You.” In November of 2010 I moved my blog to WordPress and changed it to “Teri Lynne Underwood: Encouraging Lives Where the Sacred and Secular Collide” in order to narrow my scope of writing and because WordPress offered me a better platform for reaching more women with the simple truth that all we do is valuable and is intended to be an act of worship.
AW: Your blog is all about encouraging lives where the sacred and the secular collide, can you tell us more about why you have chosen to write with this goal in mind?
TL: I don’t think God ever intended us to compartmentalize our lives. From my reading of Scripture and other study, I have grown to understand that God wants to use the secular to point us to Him and allow the sacred to transform the secular into worship of Him. I write to try to help others grow in that pursuit.
AW: What does that kind of life look like day to day?
TL: I suppose it looks different for each of us, but for me, it’s so many simple things. From praying for the lost in the countries where my clothes are made before I put them on to using my daily chores as a means of blessing my family. I think the key is to allow God to speak to you at any time in any way. Too often we allocate our “quiet time” to God and then push through the rest of our day’s tasks without ever stopping to hear from Him again. My desire is for my whole day to be lived out as my “spiritual act of worship” … offered up to Him for His use and His glory. Regardless of the task.
AW: What is the heart behind your most recent book, Parenting From the Overflow?
TL: When the women of Mod Squad asked me to write a monthly column for their site, they specifically referenced a post I had written about parenting out of the overflow. I had written that post from a moment of weakness, an aching awareness that I am unable to parent from my own reserves but only from the overflow of God’s presence in my life. Sharing those lessons through a study of the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 -23 was such a great experience for me to examine my own heart and spiritual life.
AW: What was the hardest part of writing Parenting From the Overflow?
TL: Oh my word! The hardest part was definitely gaining a whole new understanding of my desperate need for the Lord – in parenting and in writing. The more I studied the Fruit of the Spirit, the more I realized how poor my fruit looks a lot of the time.
AW: Have you learned anything surprising while writing books?
TL: I think the most surprising thing I learned is that most people want to hear your struggles … they don’t want to read about how easy it’s been for you to follow a three-step process. Writing from failure, being honest about my own difficulties and shortcoming, has been so hard for me … but I believe those are the very things that have most encouraged others. Knowing it’s hard but seeing someone keep going … I think we all need to hear and read that story!
AW: Are you planning to publish another book anytime soon?
TL: Actually, I am! I have a second edition of Parenting from the Overflow with even more ideas and resources coming out this fall. The second edition will be available on kindle and nook as well as a print version. I’m also piecing together notes for a book on Lopsided Living, tentatively subtitled “The Purposeful Pursuit of an Unbalanced Life” based on Proverbs 31. And I’d like to write a book digging deeper into the principles of Polite Parenting that I’ve discussed on my blog. So … more coming, as time permits!
AW: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?
TL: Never give up on your dreams!! And never be afraid to change the way you pursue those dreams. So often we walk away from our heart’s desires because it doesn’t work out the first time … don’t do that!! When God lays a dream in your heart, He’ll reveal the way to fulfill it. But we have to be open to what He’s showing.
Teri Lynne writes from her home in south Georgia in between driving the taxi for her 11-year-old daughter and helping her pastor-husband however he requests. She describes herself as a girl who longs to connect the hearts of women with the heart of God. She writes daily at Teri Lynne Underwood: Encouraging Lives Where the Sacred and Secular Collide. In May 2011 she released the eBook, Parenting from the Overflow, which inspires moms to parent out of the abundance of their relationship with God. You can find more information about her book on the Parenting from the Overflow website. And, of course, she’s on Twitter and Facebook!