Ask the Author: DeAnn Carpenter
by Johanna Kennedy | photo courtesy of DeAnn Carpenter
Recently, I had a delightful date with DeAnn Carpenter, author of the newly published book Throwing Confetti: Becoming a Voice of Hooray in a Hurting World. This book is 271 pages of pure inspiration to do our part to shift culture with our voices. She opens with an encouragement to the reader by saying:
Our world needs more cheering and less condemning.
More rejoicing, less rejecting.
More delighting in, less denouncing of.
More confetti, less critique.
More applause, more bravo, more hooray.
Why did you write this book?
In 2016, my husband and I took a crazy leap of faith and founded Refuge Foundation near Fort Smith, Montana. Here, we serve the servants who spend their lives serving others to actively work toward preventing burnout and fatigue in today’s leaders. We moved to the middle of nowhere to create a space for (at that time) mainly men to come and replenish their weary minds, bodies, and souls in the great outdoors. As a wife and mom of two little kids, I asked God how I should posture myself during this season. He told me that I would now have the opportunity to be hooray for other people, to hold up others’ arms during this season.
What do you mean by becoming a voice of hooray?
For the past 15 years, my husband and I have walked alongside thousands of people while on staff at a church, as owners of a coffee shop, and now with our guests, volunteers, and staff at Refuge. Many of them have come to us burned out and beaten down because of words used by others to compare, condemn, and criticize. Regularly, I’ve sat with someone whose heart is scarred by someone else using their voice to tear down rather than build up. Which, in turn, makes it difficult for that person to celebrate others because heavy words spoken over you will make it hard for you to speak good words over others.
Words are weighty. Whether working on a team, in a friendship, as a parent, or as a customer at a store, we can sow [seeds of] praise, truth, and encouragement in the lives of those around us. We can do this even if we disagree with someone. Sometimes, when we disagree, our lens through which we see that person can be destructive, skewed, or tainted. We need a new lens through which to see people. We can disagree and still hold space for love.
You mention comparison, insecurity, and standing next to strength. What are you talking about here?
Comparison has a way of making us forfeit our hooray. We usually have to drop the megaphone to hold up the ruler…it compromises our cheer. Determining how I measure up based on someone else’s performance is an inaccurate assessment of my gifts and abilities, and it brings insecurity. When you run in a group where people’s gifts are evident, their portions are noticeable, and their lights are bright, you will have to decide what you will do with your insecurity. It hinders the radiance we can bring to others. The problem with insecurity and its partner, jealousy, is that they seek to protect self. Instead of comparing, why not celebrate with those around us the gifts and portions given to them and enjoy standing next to them in their strength?
Why the title Throwing Confetti?
I knew this book was going to be about what we have to offer others. When we offer something, it sticks with the person; it lands on them. When it lands correctly, confetti is celebratory. However, confetti can also be messy; sometimes, it doesn’t always land where or how it is intended, requiring some cleaning. Confetti reminds me of the words we throw at people. When our words land on someone, they leave a mark on that person’s soul.
What is in the book?
The book is a compilation of examples of people and relationships who used their influence, abilities, and voices to either tear down and destroy or build up and encourage. These examples are taken from people’s lives throughout the world, the Bible, and my own life. The stories illustrate what hooray looks and does not look like.
For whom did you write this book?
I wrote it for anyone who wants to have a voice to clap, cheer, and celebrate one another. I want the reader to have a greater understanding of what they have to offer others through the gifts they’ve been given. I wrote it for those who would like to step out of comparison and criticism and into something more beneficial - into celebration. I wrote it for those who would like to change culture.
Where can I find Throwing Confetti?
It is sold at Book Baby and Amazon. You can also check out throwingconfetti.com for more resources.
Originally printed in the March 2023 issue of Simply Local Magazine
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Johanna and her husband Chris are parents and foster parents to five beautiful kids. Together they are the Directors of Haven Camps, which provide summer camps for children in foster care. Johanna is passionate about people of all ages, stages, and life experiences and loves to celebrate and share their stories. She spends her time teaching, parenting, writing, reading, and dreaming about the next big adventure.
Ask the Author: David Page- Food Americana
Food Americana (released in April) has eleven chapters of various foods or genres, how they came to be, and where they are going in the future. "It is a combination of history and today's foods and trends of what it may be tomorrow," Page explains. "I concentrate on foods we like and why and where that food is going to go next."