Maintaining integrity in every market



For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,

 "plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

"Your dream is about to come true."   That's the real message the Prophet Elisha spoke into the Shunammite woman's heart and womb when he proclaimed, "Next year about this you shall have a son."  (2 Kings 4:15)

Her response? "O man of God, don't lie to me like that."

I know exactly how she felt.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, I fell in love with journalism in 1977 after reading Joseph Pulitzer: Front Page Pioneer.  It was assigned reading for an eighth grade journalism class.  It changed my life.  I knew I wanted to become a writer.

First I served as editor of my eighth grade newspaper.  Next I was editor of my high school's newspaper and yearbook. Then came college.

At Utica College I found the strong journalism major that I needed.  At the end of my first semester I switched to a dual major of public relations and journalism.

One of my professors was key to my success at UC.  When I entered in 1981, he was supposed to be retired.  Somehow God allowed him to hang on for another four years.  I graduated with honors (cum laude), and was one of two “Outstanding Seniors.”

With my mentor’s assistance I landed my first career position.  After working for several other large companies in corporate communication, I played with the idea of magazine writing.  Two things happened that radically changed everything:  I gave my life to Jesus Christ in August 1989; I left my job in 1990 to launch a freelance career as a "Christian writer." 

Even though I failed miserably as a freelancer, I picked up valuable experience.  Then in 1991, I worked for five months for a Billy Graham Rally office and for a year at the International Bible Society’s former NYBS founding office.

When I met the editor of the now-defunct Christ-Centered Singles magazine, I offered to work for free. Meanwhile, a newspaper editor for whom I also worked passed my name along to an Urban Family editor. When he called, I assumed it was a subscription solicitation.  "Karen gave me your name," he said, and in a moment, the Lord changed me from am aspiring freelancer to a feature writer.

Working with Urban Family gave me courage to seek other opportunities.  In 1993, I mailed letters of introduction to several Christian magazines, including Charisma.  A few evenings later I came home to a white napkin slipped under a refrigerator magnet.  On it my brother had scrawled "Charisma called." Twirling around the kitchen, I shouted,  "Praise the Lord."  My family came running to see what all the excitement was about.  The next morning I received my very first Charisma assignment.

By 1995, I wrote magazine articles and provided publicity services. For my church, I provided ghost writing for several books.  I also served as a special guest interviewer and roving reporter for our TV program on Black Entertainment Television.  Although I secretly felt called to TV, I had successfully sidestepped the call until that time.  It  was an absolute blast!

Moving to Maryland was a lifeline to me.  I had experienced several traumatic life changes, and Maryland proved a balm in Gilead.  Salve was applied by New Beginnings Worship Center (formerly Voice of Destiny Church).   Among other things, Pastors Daniel and Millicent Haupt allowed me to use my diverse gifts.  Recognizing my call to write, my pastors and church  gave me a new Pentium computer in 1997.  Confirming my call to leadership, they ordained me as Deacon (1998), then Minister (2001) before appointing me as Elder (late 2002). 

After a four-year hiatus, the Lord called me back to freelancing.  I answered the call, but wasn't sure if I could handle the responsibility.  But, every time I worked on my computer, I felt God, my pastors, and church family whispering, "You can do it...we know you can."

As I continued seeking freelance jobs, I discovered online writing groups. During this time, the Lord compelled me to join Christian Writers Fellowship International.  I did so and immediately signed on to the email forum, and also joined Fellowship of Christian Writers' online discussion group.

For the past three years, I have lived online – marketing my work, connecting with other writers, learning new markets, and mentoring writers.  Today, roughly 95% of my work comes through the Internet and I publish an online magazine, but my primary inspiration continues to be Psalm 26:7: 

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving

 and declare God's wondrous works."

When I embraced that Scripture in 1990, I never envisioned publishing a magazine -- let alone the website receiving a prestigious award before its first anniversary.  My limited vision and unbelief, however, could not hinder God’s purposes for me.  Thank God.

Trust me: I know what it is to fail as a freelancer, and I know what it is to succeed.  Because I have "been there, done that" I get great pleasure out of helping other communicators cross the chasm of doubt, fear and unbelief to settle on the shores of dreams fulfilled.

My advice?  Whatever your passion, turn it over to God.  And, Know that hope and a good future are available to you (Jeremiah 29:11).   Finally, follow your dreams.  And, never, ever give up.  Remember, with Jesus Christ all things are possible.

Walt Disney once said, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!"  He was so right.  I am writing more, sleeping less, and in great need of a wonderful housekeeper.  Juggling my many responsibilities is not easy.  But, it's a dream come true – and it's fun! 


Updated: 03/07/2003

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