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  • Writer's pictureValerie

BookWorthy Chat with Jill Roman Lord

BookWorthy Season 2 Ep. 2 Cover
Jill Roman Lord Podcast Interview


Valerie- Today we’re talking with Jill Roman Lord, the author of over 30 children’s books with many awards in her crown. Welcome to BookWorthy Jill.


Jill- Thank you so good to be here.


Valerie- It’s a pleasure to have you. Now we’re a week into January. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?


Jill- Struggling as always.


Valerie- I know that they say most people drop off within the first 10 days and if you can make it past the first 21 days, you’re better than the majority of people.


Jill- Okay, I’ll stick in there for a few more days.


Valerie- I typically make the habit of not starting resolutions in January, but in February. I use the month of January to prepare for anything that I want to do because there’s so much pressure to make changes and to the things, it can be overwhelming.


Jill- Then you only have 11 months if you start in February.


Love Well Precious One Cover

Valerie- That’s true, but that might motivate me a little faster, hopefully. Well, Jill, I must confess that you are one of my ‘yes’ authors. One of those authors that I always say yes to buying your books because you always have such sweet messages for young kids. Can you tell us the inspiration for your book Love Well, Precious One?


Jill- I did have a book that came out a couple of years ago called Dream Big, My Precious One. And I wanted to have a series going for that. So, I was thinking what other book could a parent or caregiver, or loved one read to their child to encourage them? I don’t think encourage them. At the time there was just a lot of bad stuff going on in the world. Kids almost bully other kids to death and encourage them to take their own lives. I’m like, what is going on here? And I’m like, what if these kids learned how to love at an early age, instead of bullying or be able to stand up for themselves and not allow that bullying? Not allow that to get to the point of catastrophe and taking care of one’s life. So that’s when the Love Well Precious On came to me. And it’s pretty much a book on encouraging children to be that person that reaches out to the child who feels left out, to include them, to ask their name, you know? It’s giving them the, hopefully, empowering children to love in various ways, in any circumstances that they might find themselves in.

Valerie- I love the heart behind the book in that you want to give tools and reminders of how to interact. Because I think the COVID era. They have not had as many opportunities to reach out and connect and learn how to be compassionate and see other people. And I think this book does a great job of just getting kids to look beyond that isolated state that we have been in here in the last two to three years to give them the skills and the thought processes of being kind and seeking the betterment of other people, not just ourselves, which has been a bit of a hit and miss in our COVID era.


Jill- Absolutely. And speaking of that, there was a study that came out in psychology today back in 2018 that looked at that and generosity and found that people who did give to people made other people feel better but also reaped the benefits themselves and had a positive emotional uptick, in how they were feeling.


Valerie- That’s the benefit of compassion and, you know, loving on other people well, is that it’s not just for them, but it’s for us too. God has wired us to be in community and relationship. I think your book does an amazing job of encouraging young kids to take the step out to do those things.

Jill- Thank you. I’m hoping.

Valerie. Now, what is the goal of this book? If there’s one thing that kids would walk away from this book, what would you hope the takeaway to be?

Jill- I would hope that they would find at least one way that they could relate to, that they could use in their own life, whether it’s, you know, making a card for somebody, if they’re, you know, too shy to ask somebody else’s name or invite them to play or the freedom to help train their new dog or still know that they’re loved if a new baby comes along in their family. I’m hoping they can grasp something like that. Oh, you know what? My friend just hit a home run at baseball, and I couldn’t even hit the ball and that was in this book and you know I’m gonna congratulate them anyway. You, they’ll find something.


Valerie- Even as a parent of three kids, it’s hard to teach my kids that we can celebrate each other. We are not in constant competition with one another. We can celebrate each other’s wins and encourage each other even when they’re hitting the losses too. I think that’s one thing our culture is not the norm to be encouraging and compassionate toward those around us. Continually fighting in this little rat race starts really young.


kids running

Jill- Yes, yes it does. But you know, if kids could learn to celebrate each other and know that, so you had a bad day, they had a good day, things change, you know.

Valerie- Right, one bad day doesn’t mean all the days are bad, right? So kind of teaching that, the ability to communicate what we’re feeling as well as celebrate one another. Now, you are a bit of a runner yourself. So, a little bit of competition is natural in your own family. How have you parented your kids to compete well and to encourage each other?


Jill- All three kids were in different sports at various times throughout their lives. And you know, we made them go to each other’s events and sit there. Sometimes they enjoyed watching, sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they wish they could be in other places. But I thought it was important, as a family to encourage and cheer each other on.


Valerie- I love that, in our home, we tell the kids that this is what our family does, we celebrate each other. We encourage each other. Yes, you could be at home playing video games, but nope, because you are a part of this family, we’re going to be at this baseball game today and making it a family event. So, part of the culture that you make as a parent, which is super fun. What is the longest distance you’ve run?


Jill- I have done exactly one marathon in my running career. I was one and done. That was back in 1999. But I have done half marathons there for a while. Now I am happy with 5k’s.


Valerie- I have a kiddo that’s just jumped into cross country, and it’s been a bit of a learning curve to learn about running and the challenges that come with running. It’s been fun to see, to try to teach him to love well and to be compassionate to his teammates too, and even to himself because he’s not the fastest, but he’s still trying and doing and going and it’s a lot of fun.


Jill Roman Lord and Valerie Fentress Zoom Image

Jill- In that sport, you’re actually kind of competing against each other also, as well as a team. So that’ brings a challenge in and of itself too.


Valerie- It’s tricky because whether or not you compete depends on whether or not you beat your teammates. It’s a little awkward. So, we’re learning to shepherd him well in this one.


Jill- Good luck, yeah. I know it’s things they’ll; learn and those kinds of sports are important.


Valerie- Yes, you can always learn something in those types of sports. Now you have been involved with a ministry group called Samaritan’s Feet, which kind of merges your two loves of kids and running. Can you tell us a little bit about that?


Jill- So Samaritan’s Feet is a program that gives shoes to kids who may not have any. They do some over here in this country, but they do it in many other countries. And I went to one in India, and these kids, all they have is like one pair of sandals or one pair of flip-flops. And so, we actually took shoes to these little villages in India.

We washed their feet and put new shoes on their feet. And in some places, they were walking around like they had bricks on their feet. They just weren’t used to the shoes. And I remember we were at this one little orphanage, and they were all walking like kind of awkward. So,lines I said, alright we’re gonna run. 'Everybody line up here'. So, all the kids lined up and I’m like one, two, three, run. So, we’re run down to the trees you know, we’d all, and then turn around and run back. Because a lot of them we knew to the feeling of athletic shoes.


Jill Roman Lord washing feet

Valerie- I’d imagine so. That would be something new for someone who has lived in poverty to have something that encompasses their whole feet and has a harder sole. I’m sure that was a little awkward.


Jill- But it gives them the freedom to be able to play some sports. It’s hard to play sports in flip-flops, but hopefully, they’ll use them. It was fun.


Valerie- I love that. Yes, I’m sure they will. And it is one of those if you don’t have the tools to do something, sometimes you just never know you have the opportunity. So, for that ministry to step into that place and those kids allowing them to do more things with their feet.

Jill- Yeah, and when we delivered the shoes to churches, we were able to pray with the kids. But when we delivered to schools, we were not. So, we just kind of share the love of Jesus just by giving them shoes. It was funny, it was that place that wrote us up in an article that said, all these foreigners came to our country and gifted our kids with shoes. That was the one place where we couldn’t pray with the kids, but they still saw the love. It was a great experience.


Valerie- I can imagine just to see God acting and working through just something that simple is amazing. He is good. Now, Jill, you’re not only an author but you are a nurse anesthetist. So how do you balance those two careers?


Jill- God has just blessed the timing of both of these careers and has worked it out. And I have been able to be part-time in anesthesia since my kids were born, which is coming up 30 years ago. So, I’ve been working part-time and, on my days, off, or when the kids would be in school, I would write. You know, it was initially when they were in preschool like it would just be a couple of hours, two days a week or something. But I would just jump on those times and when they’d be in school and I was home, I would take a couple of those days to write. You have to block out time to write or that gets stepped on very easily.


Valerie- It’s hard to, as a creative person, be disciplined enough to sit down and force your creativity into a box; But when you do that, you build that consistency to allow your words to come out and get the job done also.


Jill- Oh absolutely. There are a million things a mom to do. To get the grocery shopping done and their school supplies and whatever else they need and carpool them around everywhere. If you don’t cut out that time, it disappears.


Valerie- Very true. Now did you always want to be an author, Jill?


Jill- I always liked writing and I was always told by my teachers that I had a gift for writing. So, I always thought it’d be fun to write a children’s book. And I went to a college that had a phenomenal journalism school. But for some reason, I just felt drawn toward nursing. And it wasn’t till I was out of nursing school and out of anesthesia school afterward that God lit the fire within me to write for publication.


Valerie. You’ve written a lot of great books. I think I have almost a whole shelf of your books, If I Hide Jesus in My Heart is just a great practical book for communicating those Christian-ese term, into language kids can understand those hard key concepts in their Christian faith. So, a question for you is how do you with grown kids stay connected to this kind of young heart and young mind to write for children still?


If Jesus Lived inside my Heart Cover

Jill- I think my mind just kind of stays in that mode. I used to write like, our Christmas cards would be written in rhyme, you know? So, I just kind of think, not in rhyme all the time, but I just kind of stay in the mode. But I feel like, I was a Girl Scout leader for a long time and a little choir leader for a while. And Sunday school kids, and I felt like I was immersed. Through my kids' growing up years it kind of sticks with you. I probably should get more involved in Sunday school for kids and that also, but you know, hanging out with friends, grandkids and you know, there’s enough kids around that you kind of see what’s going on.


Valerie- Now, when did your writing journey begin?

Jill- My writing journey began in 1996. I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old. I just had two girls at the time, and I was working part-time. Live was good and all of a sudden, I had this fire in my heart that I had to write for publication. And it’s like, it’s not like I had a book, or I think I’ll write this, but I had nothing. But I just knew I and to write something.

And it took me about two weeks to come up with an idea. I thought, oh, I’ll write a children’s devotional. I would write it in thyme. I always heard to write what you know, and I knew how to write in rhyme. So, I’d write that in rhyme and come up with a scripture verse at the bottom of it. So, then I just laughed and God and said, alright, you have got to provide the time because I’m working part-time so I can be with my kids, and not have a full another career on my off days. When I was home, he woke me up at dark 30 in the morning, wide awake, so I would get up, go downstairs, and make a cup of coffee, and I would sit and write this book until I’d hear the pitter-patter of little feet or somebody yelling, Mom! And then I’d be done. I never set an alarm clock, but he was faithful and woke me up on my morning off. It took me about six months to get this devotional written.


Valerie- How neat, I love that God really, worked that into your heart and made you accountable to it too. Sometimes the hardest part is not only being called to do something but being disciplined to do it. I’m sure there were mornings when you were like, I don’t want to get up.


Jill- There were a few, but it was such a joy. That became such a precious time with me that it’s like I knew God was meeting me there in this place. And that has still grown to be my quiet time with God in the mornings on my days off. Not that I’m not writing so much about those times, but that way I wanted to hold on to that precious time with Him.


hand writing on paper

Valerie- That’s so sweet. I love that God has worked that not only into your heart but into your schedule and it has fueled you to write as many children’s books as you have. Now, what has been the most impactful book in your life other than the Bible?


Jill- Other than the Bible, years ago, and I believe it is still out, it’s called Having a Mary Heart in the Martha world, I believe by Joanna Weaver. And somebody told me about this book early on in my parenthood life, probably, 25 years ago, at least. And it changed my life. It just reminded me how Jesus just wanted you to spend time with him and that you don’t have to be busy and involved in everything to show that you’re a Christian. He just wants to spend time with Him, and you don’t have to be busy and involved in everything to show that you’re a Christian or whatever. He just wants to spend time with you.


Valerie- Yeah, he’s going to use that time, whatever you give him, whether it’s serving other people or just sitting with him. He’s going to inspire you to move forward into whatever his will is. You know, I’ve read that book and I’m more of a Mary rather than a Martha, but there are times when I have to be a Martha so that I can be a Mary in a busy world. So, it’s funny how that dichotomy works, but it’s such a great perspective to be reminded of over and over again of how we perceive our world and how we interact with our world too.

Jill- Yes, and there’s room for both Mary and Martha. Gotta get stuff done for sure.

Valerie- That’s right. I have a friend who is a very Type A personality, very busy. She's always doing something, but in that she always has a podcast in her ears, giving her words of wisdom from the Lord and praise music going on in her house. She’s always filling herself with God’s truth, even in the busy.

Jill- But that’s great, she’s making it work, you know by finding the podcast and the music to surround herself with.

Valerie- I think that’s the trick when the world wants us to kind of be on the go, is to carve out the time. I know that I like to sleep, but God convicted me of my idolatry of sleep a few years ago I now get up at five in the morning to have those quiet moments with him and quiet moments in the house before the kids wake up. When we carve out that time, he’s faithful to be there and to show up and to feed our souls no matter what it looks like. It doesn’t always have to look like three hours of prayer like Martin Luther says he started his day with. Of all your children’s books, which one has been the most impactful to you in your life?

Jill- They all have been in their way, but I guess that it would be If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart. It is something that I really would like kids to know from an early age, that if you give your heart to Jesus, he’s gonna help guide you in so many ways. With that book, I didn’t have a contract for a series or anything. I had to send each book separately so they could reject it or take it. I had two and this one I could not get right. They were like Oh you know, it’s like, no, you know, so I had to keep working it, keep working it. And then finally got it right. So, there was a lot of heart that went into that one.

Valerie- Kind of ironic that a lot of heart went into the book about having Jesus in your heart. But such a sweet message for kids to understand at a young age. The Choices we make and who we decide to reign in our own heart whether it's ourselves, which usually goes poorly, or Christ is such a sweet message for young kids to understand. I love that one of you, it has a special place on our shelf too.

Jill- Oh I’m so glad. I think that is a hard concept for kids to understand. It’s like, what do you mean you’re losing my heart? So, this is kind of an example of what that means.

Valerie- Yes, it’s one of those sayings' kids can take literally and can be a little confusing. Well, Jill what can we expect next from you?

Jill- I was just told that a Thanksgiving book that I had come out years ago as a touch and feel is being resurrected again in a different format. So, it’s coming out this year, fall of 2024. We have yet to see what that’s going to look like, but that’s what I have coming out and I’ve got another one coming out in 2025, with a girl who has a passion for purses and turns her passion for purses into a passion for giving them away and helping others.

Valerie- That sounds fun, I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

Jill- I’m excited about those. I then submitted a few more to go along with this Love Well, My Precious One. So, we’ll see if those go anywhere. There’s always something.

Valerie- So fun, where can people find out more about you and your books Jill?

Jill- I have a website, I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or whatever they call it now, X. LinkedIn, I haven’t dove into that threat thing yet, but I probably need to and also, I just realized you can follow people on Amazon to learn about the books coming out.

Jill Roman Lord quote

Valerie- That has been something new that’s come up that you follow an author that you like. I enjoy getting little emails saying so-and-so is coming out with a new book. Well, thank you so much for being here with us Jill. It was a pleasure.

Jill- Oh, it was fun. Thank you, it was a joy to be here.



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