I’m so elated Lily Pads is finally going to be released later this month! So I thought I’d provide a bit of background about my first book Lily Pads-Stories of God on Display. I began writing it three summers ago and finished in early October while at a friend’s cabin. I was truly pumped. But daily life, my speaking schedule and a trial, from out of left field, caused the editing and publishing process to come to a screeching halt. At the time I couldn’t care less about finishing it book.
I clung to God in new ways. I realize His desire to encounter me was as unwavering as His reasuring grip on me was constant. He never intended to leave me or let me fly off like some free electron. I was held tightly. He is so good and near. He has encountered me in new ways and I’ve seen such a demonstraion of His love and power. As the years have passed, I felt compelled to pick Lily Pads back up, blow the dust off it and complete it. I’m thrilled about it now and hope Lily Pads brings many fresh encouragement of God on display. Okay that’s a bit of the history behind the book. I’m often asked “Lily Pads? What is it about?” I answer, “It is slice of life stories of God on display.”
Here’s an explanation from one of its chapters:
I learned a short, simple song when I was three or four years old. When company came over, my dad and I would sing it for them together. He’d play the guitar, seated on the couch. I’d stand proudly beside him, with one short leg swinging like a pendulum to the tune’s beat and my tiny hand resting on his arm.We’d both sing but my dad would let me shine. I’d brush my bangs aside, grin and sing in my high-pitched childish voice:“I’m a little white duck swimmin’ in the water. A little white duck,doing what he ought-er. Took a bite of a lily pad, flapped his wings and then he said, ‘I’m glad,’ that I’m a little white duck, swimmin’ in the water, quack, quack, quack!”
The song repeats. Same tune but the following verses switch from the little, white duck, to the little, green frog and little, black fly,etc. I always loved singing with my dad and I loved singing the line, “took a bite of the lily pad.”
Why lily pads? Well, I’ve always liked them. Their broad green leaves stretching across the surface of the water and their water lilies bursting out from below. Their flowers bloom boldly in the sunshine! They thrive in the murky, green, mossy, algae-infested water. Each prominent white bloom sticks its head above the water as if announcing, “Notice me!” Stunning! Isn’t that the way I should bloom and shine in this world? The things I write about in the book really happened.
The word of God is my bread of life. As I read His word, the Bible, He speaks, then teaches me in visual ways, through my life circumstances and daily situations. God wants to encounter me. He even taught me through the lily pad. You see, I’m like a lily pad, in a sense. Lily pads float on the water, rest on top of the substance that sustains them. Sort of a picture of me resting on God’s love, mercy, goodness and faithfulness. The water: His all-sustaining power upholding me to spread out and bloom, boldly. Lily pads cover the entire water’s surface, laying beside the next, like puzzle pieces spread a top a table, waiting for their proper placement. That’s the way the stories and chapters in my book will be.
The chapters may be related, touch on similar elements, yet it isn’t a memoir. It is a compilation of stories written to illustrate how God visually teaches me through my “spiritual eyes” and speaks to me through my “spiritual ears.” His truth then sinks down into my heart. Random? Yes! But one theme runs throughout: the tangible teachings of my God on display. He taught me visually with the lily pad, but it doesn’t have to be a lily pad, whatever I’ve been reading, it seems, comes alive in “pop up” form. I learn, I grow, as these truths are imprinted on my heart and His word saturates my soul.
God is on display and speaking everywhere! “Here I am! Rachel, notice Me!” I see Him in the morning sunrise, in the glow from the reddish-orange sunset; the autumn leaves turning color; the lusty cry of a newborn; the softness of a child’s dimpled hand; the voice of a tenor soloist; or the whirling wings of the humming-bird. Everywhere! “I am God on display!”
When I tune in, slow down to listen and watch Him, I notice and hear God in the big and small things of life. He is as close to me as my dad on the couch strumming his guitar as we sing together, “Little White Duck.” He desires to sing a duet with me too, the duet of the song of my very life. Scripture says He sings over me! I realize we all have different brains and different learning styles. When I speak to Bible study groups, women come up and ask for my outline. (I guess they think my brain thinks in outline form.) I tell them I don’t have one because I could never stick to one. So, instead, the study administrators provide blank paper when I speak.
“Ladies, don’t panic,” I’ve told entire audiences, you don’t have an outline because there ISN’T one. You see, there isn’t ANYTHING about my brain that thinks in outline form. Nothing! My brain and its thought patterns are more like having a collection of different colored jump ropes lying on stage in a tangled pile. If the ropes represented my points, when I notice one, let’s say a pink rope, I pick it up and talk about that for a while. Then I may keep the pink one or I may look down and notice “Oh, there’s a bright, green jump rope!” So I pick it up. I may or may not warn you that I’ve made the switch. In my mind the pink and bright green ropes share a knot and the ropes are tied, interconnected. So the illustrations and stories are related in MY mind, but they may not always be connected in yours. Make sense?
Many women have reassured me that they think this way, too. Elizabeth, a dear friend, told me women are able to dialogue in “lily pad” format. We track with one another, jumping from thought to thought, just like a frog sitting on one lily pad leaping to another, and then hopping back again. (I mentioned this dialogue concept, method of communication, to my sweet friend Melanie one day while sitting in my loft area drinking tea, talking about writing the book, she startled me as she exclaimed, “Oh, I know what you should call it! You should title it, Lily Pads!”)
Sometimes, okay, maybe often, my thoughts don’t get completed. I’m talking to a friend, or an audience of women, telling a story, when all of a sudden, I cannot remember an actor’s name in the movie I am trying to describe. So, I pause and just move on, saying, “Man, I can’t think of his name! Okay, never mind! I’ll probably remember it later” And later, mid-sentence, I’ll pause and exclaim, “Tom Cruise! It was Tom Cruise!” My friend or the female audience members’ heads nod – “Oh, I got it! Tom Cruise, the actor you were trying to figure out twenty minutes ago, but couldn’t remember at the time.” This communicates, “Message received” and I can leap back to try to complete my previous thought. So, like a frog, I invite you in my book to jump from lily pad to lily pad with me.
The book is the pick up and put down kind. No lengthy stream of consciousness required so if you put it down to fix a meal, respond to your chiming phone that notifies you of a new text, or chase your kids around for a while you can come back and pick it up! You won’t have to re-read huge sections to get back into it, you can lily pad while reading Lily Pads!
God’s word will be mentioned, alluded to, and quoted in these chapters. Jesus is the reason for my life. Jesus is the one that sustains me and I hope to testify to His goodness and glory throughout the book. I hope you will track with me. I know I’m on the planet to encourage people. I hope you will feel encouraged by reading my book Lily Pads – Stories of God on Display.
So stay tuned for the release date is coming! Also my website will have a link to more about Lily Pads and ordering information. RachelInouye.org