Meet author Wesley Banks and check out this sweet giveaway!

Melissa Tagg Giveaway, Guest 20 Comments

wes-chandelier-tree-600x400I love meeting new author friends online! I’m not sure how Wesley Banks and I got connected, but I’m really glad we did…because not only does his new novel, Hope in Every Raindrop, look wonderful, he’s a fellow NEEDTOBREATHE fan. Which, in my world, basically means “kindred spirit.” 

One of the reasons I’m excited to read Wesley’s book (which is ready and waiting on my kindle) is the tagline on the back cover: “Small towns have big stories.” I love that…and as a small-town girl who writes small-town stories, I highly concur. 

Wesley’s here today with thoughts about what a road trip and NEEDTOBREATHE taught him about creating beauty…and there’s a giveaway! Enter below for a chance to win Hope in Every Raindrop plus a NTB album!

Called to Create Something Beautiful

wes-linds-delicate-arch-600x400Five thousand, two hundred, and eight miles. Through Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon. That was the route from Royal Palm Beach, Florida to Bend, Oregon. And it took us sixteen days.

We worked from our laptops at a house on Lake Talquin. We stood by the Liberty Bell of Mississippi (yes, they have a Liberty Bell too). We drove down Beale Street and past Graceland in Memphis.

We walked over the world’s largest pedestrian bridge in Little Rock. We drove down Historic Route 66 (only to realize it’s not all it’s cracked up to be). We stopped off at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. We road North America’s longest tram up to Sandia Peaks in Albuquerque.

We hiked to the infamous Delicate Arch in Moab. We took in the vastness of the Grand Canyon (with our dogs). We toured the engineering marvels of the Hoover Dam and Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.wes-linds-sandia-peak-600x400

We drove the entirety of the Sequoia National Forest and hiked (literally ran, so we wouldn’t get lost at night) Big Tree Trail and Sunset Trail in Sequoia National Park. We hiked to Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite and drove the entire western route (which was like driving through a movie) all the way to San Francisco.

We biked the Golden Gate Bridge, had a Nob Hill Chill (the most amazing chocolate milkshake) at Ghirardelli Marketplace, walked through Fisherman’s Wharf, and of course, had a bite to eat at In and Out Burger.

We drove the scenic Pacific Coast Highway all the way to Redwood National Park, where we drove through (yes, through) a 2,400 year old tree and down the Avenue of the Giants. We stopped every thirty minutes to just breathe in the beauty during our drive through Umpqua National Forest, Crater Lake National Park, and Deschutes National Forest.

And then we ordered pizza for our first dinner at our new home in Bend.

Consuming Versus Creating

We did a lot.

But as I stood in front of a map looking back at this amazing trip, I began to realize something. We consumed a lot of God’s beauty, but what beauty did we create?

I walked back to my new room and sat down in front of my computer. I had recently finished the final edit for my first book, Hope In Every Raindrop, but now the cursor blinked repeatedly on a blank page.

Writing my first book was tough. Really tough. And now I needed to write another.

I put my headphones on and “Something Beautiful” by NEEDTOBREATHE began to play. I smiled because I realized that this was my opportunity to create something beautiful.

Every day I write I try to remind myself that we are called to create beauty in the name of Christ. It goes far beyond writing though. Each and everyday, amidst the chaos that we often call life, there is an opportunity. In the phone calls to your parents, or kids, in the dealings with your clients, or bosses, in the way that you look at your husband, girlfriend, or wife.

In everything there is an opportunity to create something beautiful.

What is something beautiful you can do today?

*****

wes-story-grand-canyon-600x400Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing. Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he’s love so much. He lives with my wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as they can fit in. 

 

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    Comments 20

    1. Melanie Backus

      Today, I plan to give away as many smiles as possible. It always gives me such a warm feeling when someone smiles at me. Such a small gesture, it doesn’t cost a thing, and you may just make someone’s day.

      mauback55 at gmail dot com

    2. Rebecca

      Melissa,
      This has been one of my favorite posts. I truly enjoyed discovering a new author, Wesley Banks. He went a wonderful road trip with his wife and he got to breathe in God’s creations firsthand. That is something I want to do one day. Be able to go on a long road trip with my family where there is no deadlines on having to be back at work at some specified time
      I agree with Melanie that it is a pleasure to make someone smile. I work in retail so it is my job to make people happy. But what makes me happy is when a customer tells me that I made their day. Now on to what I can do today to make someone happy. I’m taking my son on a little walk today after he gets out of his summer program. We are going to Subway so I’m going to smile at the worker there and let him or her know that I appreciate what they do to make our meals. Working a service job is not easy especially when you have customer’s that are in a hurry.
      Thank you Melissa for this giveaway.
      Blessings and have a great day.
      Rebecca

      1. Wesley Banks

        Rebecca, I might have to steal your idea because every weekend my wife and I walk to Subway for lunch (love those cookies!). Definitely going to pay a compliment to the guy that always makes our sub.

    3. Dana Michael

      Wow! What an amazing journey?! I can only imagine the beauty he saw traveling the United States. I’m also glad he got to come to my hometown of Memphis. I’m trying to think of something beautiful I can do today. lol! Probably the only thing I will do is work in my house and cook dinner. :)

    4. mongupp

      Something beautiful i did today was make a heart-shaped chocolate cake for my kids to celebrate almost the end of the school year!

      1. Wesley Banks

        mongupp, my sister is a teacher so I know how exciting the end of school can be! Plus, my wife made me some chocolate cake the other day, but substituted apple sauce for vegetable oil, and it was incredible. (Now I want chocolate cake though….)

    5. Caryl Kane

      I LOVE to encourage people with a hug or a smile. I was able to do just that this morning at my local Wal-mart.

    6. Nicole House

      Today I plan to spend time with my husband and children. Sometimes our lives get so busy and crazy it’s easy to forget to slow down and just enjoy being a family.

      1. Wesley Banks

        Totally agree and the getting busy and crazy Nicole. I usually go on a walk at the end of each day with my wife and dogs just to slow everything down and not take the day for granted.

    7. Crystal Walton

      Hey Wesley, so fun to see you on Melissa’s site. :) My husband & I biked the Golden Gate Bridge too. Oh, man, we have such a funny story about that. It was quite the experience. You’re still killing me, here, with all these amazing pictures from my dream life! 😉

      I’ve been thinking about this whole ‘create something beautiful’ concept for a long time now. There’s absolutely no joy in being self-focused. But as soon as we turn outward and focus on blessing others, life suddenly becomes so much more fulfilling. I’ve been setting a goal to look for at least one random person I can touch in some way each week. It’s been a lot of fun. Thanks for encouraging the rest of us to keep at it!

      1. Wesley Banks

        So..biking the Golden Gate was not as easy as I anticipated. We started near Fisherman’s Wharf, and being from Florida, were not ready for those hills along the way.

        I love the idea of influencing one person positively each day, even if it’s just a smile or a thank you.

    8. Sharon Abrahamson Mead

      I have just read “Hope in every Raindrop” I live in Oregon.God has called you to write. you have given me hope.

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