Friday, June 25, 2010

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with Christa Allen

When I began doing, "Lets Chat Friday", I didn't know the blessings that would abound from such amazing women. These are women that are compassionate, full of grace, and have a pure heart for the Lord. These are women I look up to and who inspire me to be the best me I can possibly be. My prayer is that they too will inspire you!
Today it is an awesome privilege to bring you author Christ Allen to the Nest. As you read you will find Christa is one of those girls you want to have in your circle. She is not only talented, but filled with such grace and wisdom. She is honest, pure, and simply beautiful. Christa's breakout novel, "Walking on Broken Glass" is one of those books that seems to open your heart to all possiblities of hope. It is one you will enjoy adding to your collection. Here is our chat, as Christa opens her heart in such a warm way to us, giving not just a glimpse of who she is, but who Christ is through her.



(Robin) Christa, tell me a little about yourself..
(Christa) With the exception of some years in Texas, I’ve lived in Louisiana all my life. I was born in New Orleans, and have hovered within 40 miles of the city since then. For the past seventeen years, my husband and I have lived in a city so small we don’t have a traffic light. So you can just imagine what happens to my sanity and blood pressure when I’m driving in Houston when three of my five children live.
My oldest is now 33 and the father of two beautiful girls, ages 5 and 3, who call me Grammy. My daughters are 30, 27, and 27. One of the twins has Down’s Syndrome and lives outside of Jackson, MS in a Christian home for adults with disabilities. My "baby" son will soon be 25; presently, he lives in Baton Rouge.
For the past twenty-three years I’ve taught high school English. My first novel, Walking on Broken Glass, released in February. I recently signed a contract for Edge of Grace, which will release October of 2011. Both are with Abingdon Press.
(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Christa) If being angry with God is symptomatic of a struggle in my faith, then yes. My first grandchild died of SIDS when he was on this earth only 31 days. I experienced the profound sadness of mourning for my loss as a grandmother and experienced my daughter’s raw and heart-wrenching pain for the loss of her son. Moms are supposed to make all the bad things go away. Not this time.
Since God and I have this understanding that my screaming doesn’t mean I don’t love Him, He allowed me the catharsis. He showed me how to be the mother my daughter needed and how to bring her through the tunnel.
(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Christa) Um, daily?! Truly, during my Bible time with God, I’d have to say my moments are more "duh" ones. For example, recently God made it clear to me that my task is not to reveal the desires of my heart to Him; He knows what they are…after all, He placed them there.But what He does want from me is openness and obedience so that He can show me WHY He did.
(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Christa) Mercy Me’s "I Can Only Imagine"
Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed …
(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Christa) A mutual love of coffee, carrot cake and Blue Bell ice cream. Together or separate. After that, I want a friend who holds me accountable to live in a way that glorifies God.
A quality I hope others see in me is compassion.
(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Christa) It’ll probably be faster for me to list authors! Anne Lamott, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kathryn Stockett, Lisa Samson, Bonnie Grove, Jenny B. Jones, Joyce Magnin, Charles Martin, Francine Prose, Ann Patchett…okay, I’ll stop for now!
(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Christa) I start with a bowl of Blue Bell…end with a bubble bath. Seems like the "b" words are comforting.
From January to May of this year I truly thought I was on my way to a legitimate nervous breakdown. I taught 100+ freshmen, I was marketing my book, and then I took on teaching an online class to earn extra money because my husband was laid off in December. The money swayed me plus I’d earn more because I had to actually write the class. What was supposed to have been 20-25 students in the online class grew to 47. They were all seniors and half of them woke up two weeks before graduation and decided to submit months of assignments. Oh, and I was trying to put together some proposals for books that my agent was submitting.
My comfort and peace came from church. It was the one time in my week where nothing else mattered but being present before God. It also helped that my truly amazing husband an eat cereal for dinner more nights than not.
(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Christa) I don’t take myself too seriously.
(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Christa) Pictures of my family, a cup of coffee, my bible, and my favorite pens.
(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Christa) Can I reveal those on a Christian blog? Because my daughter has Down’s, I learned early in her life that I needed to be an advocate for her. Unfortunately, not all children with disabilities have someone who can fight for them. I want my students to learn to be compassionate people who "pay it forward" and use their gifts to bless others.
(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Christa) Actually, this particular best came (and continues to) from during one of my bible times, "Be still and know that I am God."
(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Christa) I hope my enthusiasm for being God’s daughter shines.
(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Christa) Two proposals to shop at the ACFW conference in September. Also, I just signed a contract for a second novel with Abingdon, Edge of Grace, which will be released October of 2011. The hook: When a hate crime threatens her brother's life, a woman struggles to learn that forgiveness means loving others as they are, not as we’d like them to be.
(Robin) How do you define success?
(Christa) I measure success according to the degree to which my life makes a difference in the lives of those around me.

Thank you Christa! What an interview! Your honesty brings such blessings. In sharing I know you will bless others as you have blessed me. You made this girl smile and I was delighted to get to know you a little better. You are an inspiration to me as a writer, but more so as a woman of God. Thank you for sharing some of your journey. Keep shining that light Christa!


If you would like to find Christa and catch up on all she is doing follow these links to her:




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