Well friends, it’s not everyday that you get to highlight ANOTHER friend: Catherine McNiel is a writer whose words I resonate deeply with. I loved her first book, Long Days of Small Things (because ain’t that the TRUTH), and am equally enamored by her second book, All Shall Be Well. So, without further adieu, might I present this interview with Catherine about her newest release, today. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? Hey everyone! My name is Catherine McNiel and I’m a writer/author/speaker who lives in the Chicago suburbs. I have three kids, one husband, and in my spare time you’ll find us working in the garden, hiking in the forest, or reading a book.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? In a nutshell, the message of All Shall Be Well: Awakening to God’s Presence in His Messy, Abundant World is just as you would expect—waking up to an awareness that God is present in the world he made. After all, God is the Creator. He created on purpose and called it good.
But I also drill down into what this actually looks like, given the reality of the world and of our lives. It’s one thing to find God in the celebration of new life, but what about in death? What about suffering, injustice, and pain? I think in many ways we’ve lost the ability to reflect on creation and realize we are part of it; to see what God is offering to us in all the ebbs and flows, all the changing seasons, all the gains and losses. But he is here. He is here he is here he is here.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? Creation itself is the inspiration for All Shall Be Well. On a day when I’m distracted by work, or by grief, or by excitement, I can walk through the forest and discover that the trees are just as steady and unmoving as ever and the mosquitoes just as frantic. The death of last year’s garden has become the nourishing soil for this year’s new life. The stars have been burning for ages before I was born and will continue to do so after I’m gone and forgotten. There is something taking place in the universe that transcends all my personal fears and joys—and yet, God is in both places, the personal and transcendent. When I can learn to take my eyes off myself and find him in the world he made, he feeds me and sustains me…and gives me the strength to return to the personal tasks and trials.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? I hope readers of All Shall Be Well will be reminded that God is here. I pray readers will be inspired to remember and see and absorb God’s presence, and be changed in their own actual, daily, messy, abundant lives.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? Right after I turned in my final edits, I suffered a major concussion which (as of this writing) has taken me over four months to recover from and I’m not there yet. A friend of mine who had an early copy of All Shall Be Well texted me something like “So much of what you said in this book is what you need to hear now, friend.” And she was so right.
I wrote about finding God in the darkness as well as in the light; in the pain as well as in the joy; in the cold as well as in the warmth—but that doesn’t mean I find it easy. I write about how the cycles inherent in life on earth are meant to teach us something in the ways we learn best—repetition. Writing about them, reflecting, looking, receiving, pondering, and sharing these truths has been a deep repetition for me. I pray these truths have percolated a bit deeper into my spirit through the writing of them, but I know I’ll need to keep awakening to God’s presence every day afresh.
How and where can we find you on the internet? My website is the best place to start: catherinemcniel.com. Then, I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I love hearing from readers and interacting, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Well friends, like I said, it’s a highlight and an honor to bring you the words of those I love and admire! Leave a comment if you want to win a copy of All Shall Be Well, and be sure to head over to Instagram for more chances to win!
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