Mea Culpa from Video Woman and a DVD Give-a-Way of Heart Wide Open!

I’ve had zero qualms about chatting up the world about Heart Wide Open, at least in the book format. The DVD teaching? Not so much. And that’s not right.

My relative silence doesn’t do justice to do the message of Heart Wide Open and it definitely doesn’t honor the self-sacrificing labor that so many people poured into the DVD’s release. This, then, is my mea culpa to all involved. My hope for  this transparent post is to blow my own cover about this thing once and for all. To join me on this odd little journey, you’ll need some back story.

Producing a DVD teaching wasn’t on my radar when I finished writing Heart Wide Open.  My friend, Jonathan Wiggins, senior pastor of Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland, CO had been a call in guest on my radio talk show the evening the opportunity surfaced. I was driving home, still thinking about our discussion when my phone rang. It was Jonathan and he wasted no time hitting me with his big idea.

“I want you to come to Loveland and teach Heart Wide Open,” Jonathan said. “We’ll build you a first rate set and invite our women to the recordings.”


You tell me. Whatever is a girl to say to an invitation like that– especially when she’s told the whole thing will be a gift, that the church will not only record and produce the DVD, but will give full rights of distribution to her publisher?  This belle said, “Yes!” and “Thank you!”

It’s important to note that from the get-go I never ever anticipated the DVD to be released on the retail market. The offer itself was so unheard of, so unusual. My editor even had a hard time embracing the idea when I called with the news.  And I got that.

I understood my publishing house being flummoxed by Resurrection Fellowship wanting to invest all the effort and expense involved in making the DVD and then promptly waive all rights to it. I couldn’t blame my publisher for being cool about the idea since they had no prior relationship with Resurrection Fellowship or their top notch media department. How could they know if the results would be retail worthy or if Rez (as the church is known in Loveland) planned to video me on a stool in someone’s back yard? So, yes, I totally understood when my publisher expressed polite enthusiasm over the offer without making any commitment to market the final product.

That’s not to say I took the opportunity lightly. Far from it. I crazy love to teach God’s word and I endeavored to teach the material of Heart Wide Open as well as I could.


I also tried to present the best appearance possible. My darling friends and family put themselves out offering fashion advice for the taping and they traveled to Colorado with me to make sure I had my lipstick on and my stomach sucked in when the camera started rolling, (more on that to come.)

I’m only saying that I looked at teaching Heart Wide Open to a committed group of girls over the course of several days as a great opportunity to teach the material in a concentrated way before I spent the next year traveling and speaking on its various themes. At the extreme reach of my imagination I envisioned a possible scenario of offering clips from the DVD on my website. But, that was it. Over and out.

My traveling buddies and I had a great time in Colorado. The set was fall down gorgeous and the audience could not have been kinder or more receptive. For brevity’s sake, we’ll fast forward several months.

See me there, in the comfort of my own home previewing DVD’s from the taping. Footage I knew had been sent to my publisher at the same time, footage of which my editor had graciously said, “The team will review it for possible use.”

I can’t over exaggerate the discomfort I experienced as I watched myself teach on that screen.

It was painful.

By painful, I mean excruciating. By excruciating, I mean I could barely stomach Video Woman.  Why DID she make those expressions? And did she HAVE to do her eyes like that? And for the love of heaven, WHY didn’t she wear a Spanx with that clingy green shirt? (I’ve since forgiven the “stylists” who were traveling with me for overlooking that fashion disaster because Jesus said I must. Besides, they claimed it was an accident and they stuck to that story like white on rice.)

It didn’t matter what session I watched,  how far away I held my laptop, or which outfit Video Woman was wearing, everything about her bothered me and that very discomfort took me by surprise.

I’ve produced video commentaries for my readers for years. Those two to three minute clips have been posted to my website and they’ve aired on our local CBS affiliate.  My reaction was confusing precisely because I’m not only comfortable in front of the camera, I actually enjoy it! What was this? I wanted to figure it out, but I just couldn’t take anymore. Confident that my publisher wasn’t about to sign off on what I’d just witnessed, I closed my laptop and breathed these now infamous words to my darling man.

“Well, baby. I’m just glad I don’t ever have to see that again.”

You know God has a fantastically wonderful sense of humor, right?

In less than forty-eight hours I received an enthusiastic email from my publisher. They loved it. They wanted to retail it. Oh, joy.


So, there you have it. The back-story for why, sans a tweet here and a Facebook post there, I haven’t touched last month’s DVD release with a ten-foot pole. I’m willing to look that poor attitude full in the face, so to speak. I’ve come to believe that the difference in viewing this DVD and the other projects I’ve been involved in boils down to the vulnerability and personal nature of the subject matter.

I’m calling myself out, y’all.

I may not like how I look or sound but the truth is, I’m only the messenger. If I believe in the message of Heart Wide Open, and I do, I should welcome every opportunity to get it out there.

On that note, I want to offer anyone who leaves a comment an opportunity to win a DVD teaching of Heart Wide Open for your personal use or to enjoy with your ladies’ group.  It comes with a downloadable study guide. To put your name in the hat, share your experiences with seeing your face in pictures and video, or your voice on audio. Do you like it? Dislike it? Why, or why not?

Hugs, Shellie

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Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is an author, speaker, and radio host known as The Belle of All Things Southern. Shellie likes to say, "The whole world stops for a story." She stacks hers up at All Things

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  1. says

    Miss Shellie – I am not only a fellow belle, but a FAN of your work. Long before we became acquainted, I read your work and followed (i.e. “stalked”) your website. So tickled for the opportunity to purchase yet another ATS/Shellie Rushing Tomlinson product….especially this one. Heart Wide Open should be in every church library, and on the shelves of all our SBV friends.

  2. Nicole Seitz says

    I, for one, LOVE the real Shellie. I can hear your voice in my head when I read Heart Wide Open, and I am thrilled to be able to hear your tonation and inflection, to see your eyes as you tell me on the video how much you love Jesus and why and how we can too. Moses stuttered, and I dare say he would have cringed to have to watch his teachings on video! Alas, it is what God has at our fingertips these days. It is what can get your face in front of all the world at the same time. It is a wonderful tool for sharing the gospel, and I love that he stretched you in an uncomfortable way and make this his tool for you. He’s told you all along, it’s not about you, it’s about Him. Now let his message reach others despite you. And one more thing…women trust another woman who doesn’t look or sound perfect. We all forget our Spanx every now and again, and I’d rather hear my truth from someone who’s like me than from some perfect person I cannot relate to. Now, from here on out…pinky promise…no more calling attention to yourself and your imperfections, and let’s get this video soaring to those who need it. And fast. Cannot wait to see it!!! LOve you.

    • says

      Aw, thanks, Nicole. I know you’ve heard me say these things but I really felt like I needed to put it out there in order to rest it in His sweet arms– and it is doing just that for me. So, yes, pinky promise. I’m putting it in the shopping cart of my website today– and running this contest there at the same time. It’s on, chicken bone. :)

  3. says

    Shellie, it’s your immense vulnerability that makes readers come back to you time and time again because we feel then that we can be vulnerable, too. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your journey with us. I know God is going to use this work mightily!

  4. says

    One of the challenges of being an author, for me, has been finding my comfort level with being videotaped, photographed, etc. I used to do this weird head tilt thing that made me look like a cocker spaniel begging for a cookie. Thanks for the reminder that the message is what’s important!!!

    • says

      LOL!!! I have the head tilt thing, too! The last professional photo session I was involved in sorely tested the photographer’s nerves. She kept telling me to tilt and I would try to quit, but alas– at the last sec, I’d tilt again! :) We humans. We’re a funny lot!

  5. Dianna Murchison says

    Great job Shellie! I just love you and have really enjoyed following your journey since hearing you speak at the Cowgirl Get Together two years ago! You did much better than I would do onscreen! I start talking really quickly and forget the most important thing…..BREATHING! Keep up the good work and I look forward to having a Heart Wide Open!

  6. Rachel Hauck says

    Shellie, I’m so excited for this!! You are fantastic in this DVD set and I don’t even have to see it to know it. Your humor, beauty, and love of Jesus will just shine through.

    I’m so glad your pastor-friend had vision for this. How very exciting.

    I love the way God moves in our lives!! Surprising us.


  7. TB says

    Seeing just pictures of myself is pretty cringeworthy, so to see video of myself in a conga line at a party was actually not that bad! When I hear myself on tape, I’m like, could I be a little more nasal? But it’s the message that God gives that is the primary focus. He uses the most unlikely people, and I’m glad he chooses to use me!

  8. says

    Shellie, you have a REAL warmth & beauty inside & out. I feel sure that we will see that on the DVD.
    As for myself, I appeared in a TV news segment a few years ago. I cringed to see the extra weight I had put on and I was embarrassed to hear my own voice! Who was that person?!!!

  9. says

    No I hate myself now in pictures. I am overweight and old. And my voice is too loud. Pearl S. Buck International asked me to film something for them about being a docent and Child Sponsor but I passed because I just don’t feel I look good enough to do something like that I need a stand in.

  10. Terry says

    Why is it that we/I seem to be so critical of ourselves? What’s with this hair today? Did my eyes develop new bags overnight? Maybe if I turn sideways…my profile will appear slimmer? But the crazy worst self criticism is what my voice sounds like…recorded. Who is that high pitched, nasal sounding, annoying person? And it turns out to be me.
    So it was quite interesting to read your remarks about you…thanks so much for your honesty!
    I’m looking forward to the teaching that The Lord prompted you to create!!
    Thank You so much.

  11. admin says

    LOL! I hate seeing myself on video, Shellie, but I know for a fact that you could not possibly be anything but charming, fun, and absolutely lovely to watch. I’m glad that video is going to retail! Yayyyyyyy!


  12. Cathy McQueen says

    When I was in a home-based business, I once heard a motivational speaker say regarding any presentation we had to give: there are three “versions”… the one we PLAN to present, the one we ACTUALLY give, then there’s the one we COULD have given – that’s the one we give to ourselves in the empty car on the way home and, of course, that is the best one! I guess it’s like looking in the mirror in the morning and wondering who is looking back at you! Be assured that it will be your HEART that others see, not how you looked. If my life depended on it, I can’t remember what our pastor wore yesterday, but I sure remember a LOT of what He shared from a “prepared” heart!

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