This month, my featured author is my good friend, fellow author, and sister in Christ, MaryAnn Diorio. Welcome MaryAnn!
Thank you for having me, Debbie. It’s so good to be here. ☺
I’m going to plunge right in, here. MaryAnn, you are certainly multi-talented! Award-winning author, of nonfiction, novels, short stories, and poems; fine artist in oils, acrylics, pastels, colored pencil, and pen-and-ink; a one-time columnist, TV writer, and teacher; a Certified Life Coach, Certified Behavioral Consultant, and Certified Biblical Counselor, and much more. Whew! What’s your secret for this kind of success?
One secret is that I don’t do everything all of the time. ☺ I have priorities and keep to them as best I can. For example, while I love to paint, I do it rather infrequently. Instead, I focus on what Holy Spirit wants me to do at a given moment. I seek Him in the morning, and I stay in touch with Him throughout the day. I let Him lead me to do what He wants me to do. This isn’t to say I don’t mess up at times. I do. But as I keep my priorities in mind, I devote my time to doing the most important things. In the process, I often let less important things go. This is another secret: letting some things go. After all, there’s only so much one person can do, right? We are responsible to do only what God calls us to do, and He gives us enough time to do that. Our job is to figure out what He wants us to do not only in our lives as a whole, but also in every moment of every day of our lives. For this reason, we need to stay in continual communion with Holy Spirit. One of my favorite Scripture verses is John 15:5: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Abiding in Christ is the secret to bearing much fruit.
How did you juggle all of these accomplishments throughout your life while being a wife and mother, among many other things?
My children are grown now, so my responsibilities have greatly decreased. Of course, I still have my husband to take care of, but he is “low maintenance” in the sense that when he’s home from work, he loves to cook. ☺ And he is quite the chef, I might add. ☺ But, to answer your question, I’ve set priorities in my life and I do my best to live by them. Matthew 6:33 is another of my favorite life verses. My relationship with Jesus is my top priority, and that relationship permeates everything I do. During my time with the Lord in the morning, I seek His direction for my life that day. Also, throughout the day, I communicate with Him to be sure I’m on track. Plus, I don’t do every single thing every single day. For example, I coach on only certain days of the week. But I do write six days a week.
MaryAnn, please share with us about your new e-book, You Were Made for Greatness.
You Were Made for Greatness! is actually a re-issue in e-book format of my original print book entitled Selling Yourself on You. I changed the title for the new electronic format. You Were Made for Greatness! discusses the true identity of the follower of Jesus Christ. My goal was to show the believer the authority and power he has in Christ to overcome every challenge of life. I have been concerned by what I see as the weakness and lethargy of a good part of the Body of Christ. As a whole, we are not living in the fullness of Christ. In short, we do not know who we are. My purpose in writing You Were Made for Greatness! was to encourage believers to recognize who they are in Christ and to live their lives according to that knowledge.
What inspired you to write such a book?
Holy Spirit and my own life experience inspired me to write this book. I was blessed to sit under the teachings of some wonderful men and women of God who taught me who I am in Christ. Their teachings were put to the test during some very difficult times of my life, and what they taught me proved true as I applied it to my circumstances. We will act according to the way we see ourselves. Too many Christians see themselves only as sinners, not as overcomers. When we begin to see ourselves as Christ has made us—triumphant in Him—then we will begin to see our inheritance in Christ begin to manifest in our lives. This inheritance includes healing, deliverance, and freedom from financial bondage, among many other blessings.
This book is helpful to me, so I know it will be to others, too. Please explain what you feel is the most important take-away value for readers.
Each reader will take away something different, of course, but I hope that the main take-away value will be a realization that we followers of Jesus Christ are seated with Him in heavenly places and that, because of our legal position in Him, we have victory over Satan. As long as we abide in Christ, we will experience that victory in our earthly lives. But if we don’t know who we are in Christ, then we will live lives of defeat. I think of the story of the Ugly Duckling. He did not know who he truly was. Once he discovered his true identity, his whole life turned around.
Can you share something you learned while either researching or writing the book that isn’t in it?
Great question, Deb! I had to think about this for a minute. Perhaps the single most important thing I learned is that through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has restored us to our original position of dominion before the fall. While we live in the world, we are no longer of the world. Instead, we have dominion over the world. We are now citizens of the Kingdom of God, and we must enforce that Kingdom wherever God has placed us. If we don’t enforce the Kingdom—meaning if we don’t enforce the Word of God over Satan’s lies—then we will not experience victory over our circumstances. But if we do enforce God’s Word over Satan’s word, then we will experience victory over our circumstances. The Word of God is Truth. Our job as followers of Jesus Christ is to enforce Truth wherever we are.
What other works can we expect from you, MaryAnn, and when?
In the last few years, our Lord has directed me to focus on writing fiction. I am passionate about writing women’s fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. My first novella, entitled A Christmas Homecoming, will be released in December of this year by Harbourlight Books of the Pelican Book Group. It is a story about the truth that unforgiveness enslaves, while forgiveness sets free.
Please tell us where you can be found on the net.
Readers can find me at www.maryanndiorio.com and on my blog at www.thewritepower.blogspot.com.
I am also a Life Coach and Writing Coach and maintain a coaching website at www.TopNotchLifeandCareerCoaching.com
Last question, MaryAnn. I saw an article you wrote for Pen & Sword of the Amy Foundation on how you came to establish your e-zine, the TopNotch Writer. Will you tell the story of how that e-zine came about?
Although that e-zine has evolved into my blog and is no longer being published, it came about because of my deep desire to help other Christian writers develop their gift of writing. I now do this through my blog. We are all part of a great Kingdom team whose purpose is to help build the Kingdom of God through our writing gift. If I can help other Christian writers do their part in building God’s Kingdom, then our Lord will be glorified and exalted. It’s all about Jesus. He is the Beginning, the End, and Everything in Between!
Thank you so much, MaryAnn, for taking the time from your busy schedule to chat with us. It’s been a pleasure having you on my website.
Thank you, Debbie, for inviting me to be with you and your readers. May our Lord bless all of you beyond your wildest dreams as you fulfill His great call on your lives. ☺
If you would like to win a downloadable copy of You Were Made for Greatness, please use my "Contact" page, and type “drawing” in the comments box. The deadline to enter the drawing is August 24th.
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