Friday, June 4, 2010

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with Shona Neff

Welcome to Lets Chat Friday. I am blessed to have you visit my blog as I interview Ms. Shona Neff today. I met Shona through Facebook and it seems that our friendship just took off from there. I am blessed to have her in my life. She is an inspiration and a woman I admire. It is my hope that you get to know her a little better today, as she is a bright and shining star.
(Robin) Hi Shona, tell me a little about yourself.
(Shona) To start off, I’ve been married to the same wonderful guy for almost 24 years. As with all marriages, it hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve been truly blessed.I have two sons, Brian (20) and Eric (17). They are 100% boys….Brian is in college but his real love is training in the mixed martial arts and wants to be a cage fighter, and Eric wants to make bombs. They are good kids and we all have a great relationship.My other babies are Cooper and Newman . . . our two Welsh Terriers.
(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you like to share?
(Shona) I’ve been blessed in that we haven’t faced any severe challenges as a family, but when my youngest was diagnosed with ADHD, that truly made me lean on the Lord. Long story short, Eric had a severe fear of shots. Each time he had to get dental work or vaccinations I prayed that God would allow him to receive them without having a panic attack. My prayers went unanswered for years, but in the back of my mind I thought there had to be a reason. It got to the point we HAD to address his fear and our pediatrician suggested we try counseling. During the course of addressing the shot issue, the counselor tumbled the fact that Eric had ADHD.That explained some of the other issues we were having with Eric in the area of behavior. Even with the diagnosis, things still weren’t easy, but I prayed the Psalms over Eric and realized that the ADHD diagnosis was the reason God allowed Eric to panic when he needed shots (it proved that God, in His infinite wisdom, had reason for not answering my prayers). If Eric had submitted easily to shots we would have never taken him to counseling. God knew we needed Eric’s fear of shots as a catalyst to get him to the place to help us deal with a bigger issue. My husband and I thought we didn’t have the skills Eric needed to be raised properly, but when the ADHD was discovered, we tweaked our parenting and, almost 6 years later, Eric is doing great and God helped keep our family together throughout it all.
(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your outlook on life? If so, I would love for you to share.
(Shona)I don’t remember a specific “aha” moment, but over time God has shown me that everyone has a different reality. Reality where it concerns God is the same, but we all have different personalities. We all have different life experiences and even our everyday living realities are different. Some people come from loving homes and others don’t. Some people are blessed with economic abundance and others don’t know where their next meal is coming from. I could go on and on, but realizing that everyone has a different “reality” helps me not to judge others or compare myself with them.I think it is OK to hold people accountable and to be inspired by someone who has traits we admire or accomplishes great things, but that is different from judging and coveting what others have. We need to appreciate OUR reality, be who God made us to be, and accept people for who God made them to be.
Robin) Do you have a favorite story, verse, or hymn that gives you encouragement when struggles come?
(Shona) One of my favorite Bible verses is Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told” (NRSV). This says SO much about God. He does great things and He has my back…ALL the time.
(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and one quality you hope others see in you?
(Shona)First of all, I need to know that they want to be my friend. My personality (phlegmatic) isn’t one that bursts into the lives of others. I need to know people WANT me to step over that line that invites them into their life and creates a friendship. Once that is established, I see friendship as a two-way street…a one-sided friendship doesn’t do either party right. I also see a true friend as someone who is safe to vent with, someone you can trust, and will be there when you need them.And, since those qualities are ones that are important to me, I hope that I succeed in giving them to those I consider close friends. But one specific quality that I hope others see in me?.....I would have to say integrity.
(Robin)What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection that you would share with a friend?
(Shona) I love just about everything Jan Austen has written. One of my all-time faves is “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell…it is historical fiction about the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero…the great Roman statesman and orator who lived in the century before Jesus was born.I love to read anything by Thomas Sewell (Vision of the Anointed and Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy).And the classics! I love Dracula by Bram Stoker (the classic struggle between good and evil and brave people who fight it), almost everything by Pearl S. Buck. I could go on and on, but that gives you an idea what books I keep company with.
(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing that you do to bring comfort and peace?Alone time….that is the best way for me to find peace. 8)What is one thing you admire about yourself?
(Shona) I’m not the perfect Christian but I know that God understands that. I don’t feel guilty about my shortcomings (and believe me, there are plenty). However, I try real hard NOT to get comfortable IN my shortcomings, but rather strive to improve in those areas. I think, also, this helps me be more patient with the shortcomings of others.
(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Shona) I love, love, LOVE quirky things. For example, if you were to see my desk you’d see a turquoise and silver spider on my lampshade, a funny little pig sitting under my computer monitor, and a tree-trunk man with a beard hanging on my wall.People riding in my car are always finding goofy little things as well. I have a plastic praying mantis, a mini-rubber ducky, and a plastic turtle in my front seat and a stuffed lobster, crab, and green thing in my backseat. My boys are often asking me, “Mom, what is that?”
(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Shona)I love equipping people. Whether I’m teaching a Bible study, giving advice, talking to teens, or sharing the amazing things about God, I love to help people grow.
(Robin) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
(Shona) I don’t remember anything specifically, but the serenity prayer about accepting the things you cannot change and changing the things you can…really resonates with me. I’ve gotten pretty good (not perfect) at applying this in my life. We can only do so much with the realities we are given in our lives and we will go crazy if constantly try to change things that are beyond our control.
(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope shines before all others?
(Shona)My love of God and how I displayed that love in my life…in the big AND the little things.
(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Shona) I have lots of continuing projects that I work on….writing and editing for Take Root and Write (a Christian women website and digital magazine), I do monthly personality webinars with my partner Shonda Savage Whitworth, and I have a weekly radio show on a Christian talk radio station.As far as NEW projects, I just launched a new personal blog which is attached to my updated website. It’s nothing fancy, but I’m not a fancy person, plus, I have very limited computer skills so if I wanted fancy, I couldn’t do it anyway.My biggest new project is a service for aspiring writers and speakers that I’m launching with my partner, Shonda. The StepUP Writers and Speakers Services blog and website is almost ready to be put online. We have presented one training seminar in Albuquerque, NM and plan to offer online training (via webinars) in addition to our in-person seminars. Many people these days don’t have the time and/or financial resources to travel to these live workshops and conferences. Our goal is to inspire and equip new writers and speakers by offering reasonable fees for things like editing and career counseling, as well as making the training more accessible to their individual lifestyles via the Internet, in-person seminars, and one-on-one consultations (via the great technology available on computers).
(Robin) How do you define success?
(Shona) I think to a point you have to measure it by your earthy accomplishments, but for me, I feel successful when I do the things God created me for. Overall, I think I’m on the right path with my goals and pursuits, but there have been times I KNOW I’m doing exactly what God would have me do for that moment in time. One time I was writing something at my kitchen table and I had a feeling wash over my spirit that let me know that I was doing EXACTLY what God wanted. I would love to feel that more often, but I think I still have a LOT of maturing to do before I get to that place more frequently.Overall, I define success as pursuing what God made you for and part of that success is the peace and contentment that prevails when you are on the path to that place.
Shona thank you so much for being part of my blog today. It was such an honor to share your heart with others. I am blessed by our friendship that I know will only soar to new heights as we grow closer.
If you would like to find Shona, here are all of her links below. I encourage you to check them out. They are each a blessing. You can also find a direct link to Shona's blog on my blog list. Thank you again Shona, you are a breath of fresh air!


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