Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.
Welcome Rachael Carman, owner of Apologia and author of How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, to Dreams Coming True! Leave a comment on this post to enter to win a copy of Rachael’s book.
Tell us a little about yourself, Rachel:
I love to read, ride my bike at the beach, eat dark chocolate, and play in the dirt – my garden. I also enjoy studying God’s Word and sharing what He teaches me with others. Most of my days are filled with reading to my boys, folding laundry, and cooking. Davis and I have been married for 28 years. He blesses my life every day with encouraging words, cards, and flowers. Our seven kids are starting to spread out. Of the three who have graduated, the oldest is married and the other two are in college. That leaves me with four at home. I’m a full-time taxi driver to everything from gavel club to math lessons to STEM lab to Tae Kwon Do to choir and other miscellaneous events. The two most predictable family activities each week are Friday night pizza with a movie and Saturday morning pancakes. We love laughing together!
When did this creative dream begin?
The short story is that I had been speaking to mom groups for several years when Davis was let go at his job. He started looking to get right back into the same type of industry he had been in, but nothing was working out. Nothing. Then someone asked Davis what he would like to do if he could do anything. Having never really thought about it that way before, he thought for a moment and replied, “I’d like to minister to homeschool families, but I can’t figure out how to do that and make a living.” That conversation really got both of us thinking. Through a series of divinely providential events, we found out that Apologia was for sale. And so began our journey to purchase the company we have now owned for almost eight years! Through it we have been able to introduce new worldview curriculum to the market, as well as add some science titles and incorporate some press books to encourage homeschool parents in their journey. How to have a HEART for Your Kids (HEART) and How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? (HMT) are two books that I have written to encourage moms.
How did this project get started?
As I describe in the beginning of the book, HMT began on an ordinary day when I was in the middle of correcting my son. I was holding him by the shoulders saying something like, “Look at me when I’m talking to you.” I can only describe what happened next as arresting. It was as though the world shifted into slow motion, the kids’ voices became muffled, and I could hear God saying, “Yeah, Rachael, look at Me when I’m talking to you.” My son disappeared, and I was left standing there thinking about all of the other things I was saying to my kids that applied to me. I was stunned. I wanted – I required – my kids attention and obedience, but I wasn’t giving mine to God. I sat down and wrote a list of things I was saying to my kids. That list became the table of contents for HMT.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Great question! What really excites me about HMT is that it is a book that brings us together as moms. We are all talking to our kids every day. It doesn’t matter if you have one child or 19, or if they go to public school, charter school, private school, boarding school, or homeschool. It doesn’t matter if you work inside or outside of the home, part time or full time, paid or volunteer. There are so many issues that separate us as mothers, and so many choices that can inhibit us from relating with each other if we let them. I say it’s time to come together and encourage each other not only in the way we talk to our children, but also in how we listen to our Heavenly Father.
What are the goals and intentions of this project?
It is my prayer that moms will be encouraged, and God will be glorified. I hope that it starts a conversation. Ideally, we would be able to build some bridges across the chasms that have kept us apart. I believe we need each other. God made us for fellowship.
How does your project create community?
I want moms to engage with me on my blog at RachaelCarman.com. I hope that they will come and share what they hear themselves saying and what they hear God speaking to their hearts. I hope that we can laugh together and maybe even cry as we seek to grow closer to our children and God.
Many have creative ideas but trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly…but then enthusiasm drizzles off?
This one is tough. I keep an idea folder. I’m one of those people whose mind is always going. It is an ongoing challenge for me to be focused. I have to set goals, schedule time, and have deadlines. Additionally, my team – aka my family – has to be on board, too. There isn’t a project worth sacrificing them for. I have had to set some projects and dreams aside for later. Instead of thinking about it as just on hold, I think about those projects as marinating and maturing until the time is right.
Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your project. Where do the ideas come from? How many are involved in the process? Does each contributor have a specific role?
As far as Apologia goes, God has put together a great team. I continue to marvel at how He has brought everyone together at just the right time. God has blessed us with people who have years of experience in publishing, editing, and marketing. Additionally, we have team members who are apologists, artists, speakers, and authors.
For HMT specifically, I worked with an editor from our team, David Webb. He also was my editor for my other book, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids. David has extensive experience as an editor and author. He co-authored Apologia’s “What We Believe” series. In addition, the marketing team has worked diligently to formulate a marketing plan for HMT.
What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
I think just getting it noticed. I believe that HMT represents a paradigm shift. It is an opportunity to stop and not only consider what we are saying, but what we want to communicate, and what might we change. It is also an opportunity to realize that God is in each of our moments with our kids. Just as we love them, just as we long to have a relationship with them, to have their hearts, God wants us to know He loves us, too.
Tons! If I have to choose just one, it’s this: God meets us in our everyday moments. He walks with us through each day. He is with us. And just like the woman at the well, He meets us in our mess, in the chaos, and in the mundane. The God of the universe who put the stars in place – that God – is in pursuit of my heart. That is awesome! That is worth sharing and celebrating, and I hope that is what HMT does – begin a celebration!
Have there been any unexpected surprises?
I’m thrilled with the opportunities God has granted to guest post and simply talk about the project. We’re at the very beginning of the HMT book launch, so I’m hoping for many, many great surprises along the way!
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about starting your project?
I think that it’s just easy. Most people think if you’re an author, sentences and paragraphs and chapters and books, just flow flawlessly out. Not true. It takes work. The other part that’s difficult is how vulnerable you feel when it’s out there. A book is part of the author that they dare to share. Authors want feedback. What I wrote about in HMT changed my perspective, which is why I want to share it with other moms.
What are some ways you promote your project?
Through my blog RachaelCarman.com, my speaking schedule, banner ads, Litfuse, blogger friends.
Creating something is one skill. Marketing and promoting it is an entirely different skill set. How has that gone for you? Shocked by the amount of work marketing takes? Or pleasantly surprised?
Both. Our approach for HMT, like the rest of the products we have at Apologia, is to do all that we can through our marketing channels, being creative and accountable to our budget. Too often I think we forget the importance of prayer for our projects. After all, God is in control.
Any marketing mistakes you would avoid?
The number one mistake in marketing is thinking that there is a magic formula. I believe we should be discerning and diligent. We should pray, do what we can, and trust God for the rest. Which, by the way, is much easier said than done.
What advice would you give someone else who has a creative dream like yours?
Go for it. Brainstorm it. Share it only with your most trusted friends. And pray over it.
Where do you see this project in five years?
I’d love to do some follow-up projects to complement HMT. For example, Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids and God Would Never Say to You.
How can we find your creative dream come true?
Join me at RachaelCarman.com. This is where I write about what God is teaching me. I hope that moms will visit and share what God is teaching them, too, so we can encourage each other.