Local author and Statesboro Herald columnist Julie Bland Lavender said it was “a dream come true.” Lavender, the author of “365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories,” published by Revell/Baker Publishing Group, recently took part in an interview with Focus on the Family Broadcast. The almost 30-minute recorded interview will air on radio stations and online in early January.
“I was a nervous wreck before the interview,” said Lavender. “But everyone [at Focus on the Family] was so warm and welcoming that I relaxed fairly quickly.”
Focus on the Family (FOTF) is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. Founded in the late 1970s by Dr. James Dobson, the organization strives to encourage strong marriages and help families teach children about God. A tenet shared on the organization’s website states, “We’re here to come alongside families with relevance and grace at each stage of their journey.”
Lavender found out about the possible interview in the late spring. Her Revell publicist reached out with the exciting news that she’d secured a pre-interview with FOTF. However, she was warned not to hold her breath just yet about the opportunity.
“The FOTF producer sent some suggested questions for me to prepare for the phone call interview. We had a delightful time talking on the phone and, at the end of the interview, she said, ‘I believe you’ll be a good fit for our audience, so don’t worry when it takes several weeks before you hear from me again,'” Lavender said.
Well, that was back in March, Lavender said, and it was months before she heard more about the interview.
“I just assumed I either talked too much or didn’t talk enough,” she joked. “I’d sort of given up on being selected to do an interview with them.”
Lavender said when her Revell publicist emailed to congratulate her on being offered an interview with FOTF, the publicist was just as excited as Lavender was.
“We laughed about which one of us used the most exclamation marks in our emails to each other,” Lavender said. “She was genuinely elated, just like me.”
Lavender assumed the “real” interview would be via phone call as well, until she found out that the opportunity would be about six weeks later, in person, at the FOTF campus in Colorado Springs.
Lavender, and husband David, decided to stay a few extra days in Colorado to celebrate their belated 38th wedding anniversary.
“The timing couldn’t have been better,” Lavender said about the interview date. “It was peak fall season there, and the colors were just fabulous. I’m always in awe of God’s beautiful creations.”
The author said she was treated royally for the interview from the minute they pulled into the parking lot.
“I’d been told where to park, in one of the spaces in the front, marked ‘Reserved Parking Broadcast VIP.’ My name flashed across a monitor inside. An assistant led me to a room for makeup and hair touch-up. Then a producer took me to the recording studio to meet the hosts of the broadcast to start the interview. And we were even treated to lunch with the producer afterwards,” she said.
Focus on the Family’s broadcast is one of the many resources and podcasts produced by the organization. Heard daily during the week on a number of radio stations throughout the country, the show is heard by more than 6.3 million listeners every week.
The show’s hosts, Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family and father of two, and John Fuller, vice president of the Audio division and father of six, are strong proponents of marriages and families.
“I’ve enjoyed listening to the broadcasts for a number of years,” said Lavender, “and it was a real honor to meet the hosts. I love the mission of Focus on the Family, and it was just a dream come true to take part in the interview. I’m so thankful God worked out all the details for this opportunity.”
Lavender said the topic of her interview was “showing love to children” and tied to her book.