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It has been  long couple months of travel. From May 25 to date, I have traveled to Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, New York, Minnesota, and Cleveland and have another trip to Orlando scheduled in 12 days. Needless to say, I am beginning to feel a little exhausted. Today, especially, having worked 23 hours in the last two days, I am feeling just plain weary as I try to work through 12 pages of meeting minutes, reports, documentation that has fallen behind due to my trips, and prepare for the next trip. Energy seeps out of me at every additional outing, however small. But, life goes on and I would rather try to enjoy it than live for a time when I can just sleep and not move for a week. Thank God for the staycation earlier this year, though. 🙂

I have not touched my writing since sending that simpering, weak romance out for people to review – and no one has said anything about it yet. Thankfully I’ve been too busy to dwell on that too much and when I do think about it, I rather easily convince myself that they are simply too busy to read it yet. I’ll give it another couple weeks and then send out follow-ups asking for feedback, dreading the response. But it is time to get back to it. I am sure some of my weariness is due to not having put a pen to paper and letting out some of my emotions in my stories. And my mind wanders back more and more to Picture of the Past. I am ready to be done with it – eager to be done with it – and more than that, almost looking forward to the rest of the process of tearing it apart to make it better.

There are so many stereotypes and lessons learned and suggestions and best practices for writers that, when one does enough research and reading on it, it is enough to make even a hardcore writer give up with hands in the air. I try to follow them – sometimes. I have yet to be able to complete a profile on a character – because I feel like I am still getting to know them myself while I write it. And, as you all know, I keep starting, stopping, and re-starting an alternate blog dedicated to writing, since that is what all the experts say to do to “make your social media footprint”. Have a blog dedicated to one subject. Keep your readers coming back. Keep a schedule. Make it something that benefits them. And on and on. Ugh. No wonder I can’t keep it up. It drains me just thinking about it. So, after talking it over with my friends, I have decided to give it up. I am going to throw caution and best practices to the wind and do what I want to do. I am going to just keep this blog, because this is the one I like. I like the server, I like the audience, I like being able to write about whatever I please in any format I please without worrying about making it beneficial for the reader.

So, instead of continuing my blog in blogger (Ha! Continuing – I don’t think I’ve touched it in months), I am going to break down some more of my shell – and post this link in my social media profiles for people to find if they so desire. Someday I may even advertise it. Maybe. But above all, I am going to enjoy myself. Because that is why I write in the first place. I love writing. And I write for myself and my God, not for my readers. Why should I keep a blog for my readers?

Although that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I feel when my posts get “likes”. So don’t stop. 😛

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And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.” Acts 13:22

I am reading in both 1 Samuel and Acts these days, specifically about David, whom God called a man after His own heart. I don’t know about you, but every single time I read one of those verses where God says David is a man after His own heart, I feel my own heart reaching out in yearning. It is instantly the cry of my own soul, Please, God, make me a woman after your own heart. Say that about me too.

What a wonderful thing that would be, wouldn’t it? To know God looks at you and says, “Now there is a woman after my own heart” or “There is a man after my own heart.” And you know the most miraculous thing about it? David wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t the first Jesus or anything – he made so many mistakes. Yet, his heart longed for God, followed God, was pure enough that God could still look at him, and say, Yes. He is a man after My own heart.

I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to want to be perfect. To want and aim to follow the path of righteousness. To learn and follow His commandments. To strive to be a woman after His own heart. Yes, God wants us to strive for perfection but He doesn’t demand it before loving us. He doesn’t look at us and say, no, you cannot possibly be someone after my own heart until you achieve it. He sees our attempts, our prayers, and yearnings, our striving. And it is good.

Praise God for His goodness, his perfection. His patience. And make me a woman after Your own heart.

“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which he Lord commanded thee.” 1 Samuel 13:13-14

I know I don’t write as often as I have been recently, but I have been busy with editing my book, which I FINALLY titled God’s Masterpiece. I am still not sure I like it, but it is better than not having a title. I have sent it off to about five people to read over and edit which is a huge step for me. I am both terrified and hopeful at the same time.

I have been traveling a lot for work and even now am on a train ride back from New York City. There is a man, a client, in New York who intrigues me. Not in a romantic (as in consisting of or resembling a romance) way but in a romantic (as in marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized) way. He has this aura of sorrow around him, but is still strong, gentle, and commanding all at once. I think I will base a character on him someday. In addition, there is nothing like a train ride to awaken one’s imagination.

So after forcing myself to work awhile, I finally took out my computer and jotted down random things, which I have decided to post below and may eventually use in a story.

Random #1:

She almost forgot the world around her when she looked at him. She forgot her own sorrows and background in the sudden desire of wiping out that morose expression that always lurked in the depth of his eyes, even if he was smiling. But the somber attitude that defined him did not stretch as far as his son. Just pictures of his son made his shoulders lift a little, his eyes open up, and the sadness disappeared. Talking about him made him almost a different man entirely. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder what it was that had caused the atmosphere of despair that otherwise encompassed his frame. She smiled up at him, hoping to erase some of that burden, hoping to make him relax enough to maybe let her in on what had so shaped his life.

Random #2

She danced with herself in the cold but soft rain. Oh, she knew how cliché it was, but she didn’t care. If they could do it in movies, she could do it too, especially when there was no one to see her. For just a moment she was a princess, long estranged from her family but to be reunited with them someday and restored to her rightful life. She was a damsel in distress, waiting for prince charming. She was an 18-year-old instead o fa 30-year-old, all her dreams still bright and cheery in front of her.

Random #3

The sweeping scenes passed by her like a fast-moving picture show as the train rumbled down the rough track. The rickety houses, green, swaying trees, multi-colored apartments, cars of every shape and size, abandoned and littered areas that had once probably held life and joy. There was nothing like a train ride to bring you all the aspects of different life – both the areas you avoided if you didn’t want to be jumped and the elite who likely never took this train because the Acela was better. And, of course, the in-betweens, who were neither rich nor poor, but lived their lives, hopefully happy and content, in the arms of someone they loved.

And then I also wrote a poem that in no way rhymes or has rhythmical qualities, but I like anyway.

Eyes wide, hands still, breath quiet

Moving pictures, brand new scenes

Trains hurtle on, worlds collide

 

Trees of green, grass that sways

Forests filled with dreams

Wires cross in between

 

Broken windows, broken dreams

Heartache, disaster, quiet scenes

Abandoned houses, littered streets

 

Glowing windows, brand new dreams

Lighted walks, hopes and schemes

Pretty houses, streets swept clean

 

Old bridges, unused roads

Broken cars, glittering streams

Dirty ditches, animals abound

 

Eyes wide, hands still, breath quiet

Moving pictures, brand new scenes

Trains hurtle on, worlds collide

A Clover of Hope

I know – it has been forever since I have posted. It’s just been one of those months. I have slowly been working on editing the sappy romance novel, for which I still do not have a title (this is new for me – I normally have pages of titles and not enough books!) and wavering between wondering if I actually have a chance of getting it published and telling myself over and over again how much it sucks and how I should just give up on it now – and yet, I keep going.

So, true reason I decided to post. I found a four-leaf clover.

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Now, I have a story about a four-leaf clover.

Once, years ago, my best friends were girls I knew from an online forum called the Gibson Girls. They are still my best friends, but back then, we had never actually met in person despite being friends for years. So, one day, we decided we were going to copy what we wrote in our fictional stories about each other and go on a “Gibson Girl Vacation” together. We were all going to fly somewhere and stay together for a week and meet in person for the first time. I was so excited – like – beyond ecstatic. Plans very slowly began to progress and then – it all just fell apart. There were a number of things, but the bottom line was that no one could afford it.

You have to understand – I was at a stage in my life where I didn’t allow myself to hope for much because I knew from experience I was bound to be disappointed. So when this fell through, this thing I had finally allowed myself to get excited about, I was completely devastated. I remember when the final decision was made not to do it, rushing out of the house and to the back yard, hiding in the shadows where no one could see me and just sobbing. There was a lot going on in my life with family at that time, and I think, in retrospect, that it just felt like the final straw. After I got my tears out, I prayed desperately to God for comfort, and asked Him if I would ever get to meet my best friends. I pleaded with Him to let me meet my friends someday. And at that moment, my eyes fell to the grass and immediately lit upon a four-leaf clover. I took that as a promise from God that His hand was on me, that it would all work out and, yes, that I would someday meet my friends.

Well, I did. And we’ve been on more than one “Gibson Vacation” together and the core group of us are still “besties” and keep an online chat going at all times. I feel like that was a milestone in my life. Like I was at the cusp of either breaking down or moving forward and God gave me a push forward.

So, lately, I’ve been rather down – or maybe confused is a better term. For the first time in my life, I don’t have a clear direction I am heading in career-wise. I can’t figure out my exact next steps and if I should be moving forward or happy where I am, and whether I should just concentrate on writing, or try to get a new job in the intel community, or what – and most of all, why God hasn’t been giving me a clear direction, the way He normally does.

And, this may seem minor, but what has really been depressing for me is how impossible it seems to actually lose weight, no matter how hard I try. I know a lot of it is my lack of self-discipline, but that makes it almost more depressing for me – that I can’t make myself lose it because I find it next to impossible to say no when someone asks me to go get a drink, or my amazing husband hands me ice cream. Or that I can be super good for a few weeks and all it takes is one meal to gain everything back. And then, I just spent two weeks [almost] strictly on diet and working out regularly, and the scale barely moved.

So, Sunday, we were on a long bike ride, and as we biked, I was contemplating life and weight loss and kind of thinking that I might as well just give up even hoping for losing weight because it was just too disappointing and maybe I should just sit back and see what happened in life and weight loss. And then we pulled over for a breather, I jumped off the bike, and my eyes instantly landed on a four-leaf clover – in the midst of a huge batch of clover. What were the chances?

I felt like it was another reminder from God. The same gentle touch He gave me years ago. He is here for me. He has a plan for me. Life will move forward, I will move forward, and, yes, it is possible to lose weight, even if it is slowly. And, yes, I may not know exactly where I am headed right now, but He still has a plan, and He will reveal it when He is ready. It just felt like a breath of encouragement. A symbol that I have just reached another stage of life and will continue to walk forward in His path.

Now maybe I am reading too much into a simple leaf. But hey, if God decides to use the leaf to remind me of His greatness, who am I to argue?
Image result for quote four leaf clover God

Books and Progress

There hasn’t been a lot to update lately.

I just got back from a short trip to Kansas where I finished most of my book. I am literally on the last couple paragraphs and am having a bit of a difficult time getting the words out – not so much because I don’t know what to say but because I’m not sure I am ready for it to end. This may have ended up being the most fun/easy book I’ve ever written. Which is ironic since it encompasses everything I try to avoid (thanks, Abby, for daring me to write a modern, sappy, cliché romance). Then again, it is also possibly my shortest book at just about 55,000 words. Ethrill and Picture of the Past are both at about 100,000 words.

I think once I pen that last paragraph, though, I will be happy that I have actually completed a book in a reasonable amount of time and my mind has been floating back to Picture of the Past more and more lately so I think I am ready to get back to editing it. I’ve taken a pretty long break.

I’ve also been thinking it is time to get serious about churning out some short stories. I get so caught up writing books I rarely make time for them, but sometimes I feel like they are my most powerful works – though I may be biased. 😛 Either way, I know it is good practice and helps build my repertoire, which may be useful in the future.

I’ve also been getting more comfortable talking about writing – the more I write and read about writing the more I want to talk about it. The coworker who joined me on this trip finally found out that I write, after we’ve been working together for 3 1/2 years. Of course, she gave the typical response that she has started several books but not finished them. And that her mom is writing a book. But then she was kind enough to follow it up with stating admiration for people who do actually finish them, because she knows it must be difficult.

So progress is being made! I’ve also reconnected with someone from college (author of The River Rebellion) who is also a writer and have been crashing at her house on a semi-regular basis while our husbands play games. It has been really nice to visit and write with another writer, especially one who shares her work on a regular basis! I think that has helped me break out of my writing shell and opened me up to sharing more.

So that’s my current writing life! And, in general, life. 🙂

 

 

I’ve been working hard on my book and am up to 46,000 words. It is amazing to me how much easier it is to write when you don’t care about being cheesy and you don’t have to do research for historical bits. The miracle of a sappy romance set in modern America. But really, I am having fun with it and am always a little sad to stop writing to do something useful, like going to bed.

So, I learned from my journal today that a year ago today we set out for a cruise. Sigh. How I would rather be doing that than sneaking a post in between work in a cold office, and knowing I will be walking out to an even colder outside in a few hours. But, I have to remind myself that, unlike a majority of people, I do pretty much like my job and my coworkers and that this job funds the ability to go on a cruise, so I can only complain so much. Next year. We’ll go on a cruise next year and it will be ten times more rewarding because we will be debt free. Did I mention that? We are doing a staycation this year (end of April) to save money because, if we work and save hard, and God deems it the right time, we will be able to pay off the rest of my student loans by the end of the year – maybe even earlier! Totally worth suffering through the cold instead of going to the Bahamas.

I’ve finally been going to a chiropractor on a regular basis and, for once, he has actually helped me. I have not had great experiences in the past. But, my fingers have stopped going numb and the debilitating pain in my elbow has gone to a reasonable amount that I can live with. Which makes me happy. Changing my sleeping position has been more difficult – since apparently the nerve damage is due to my sleeping with my arm crooked and my head on top of it. But I changed pillows and have been slowly changing my habits and am finally beginning to sleep well again despite not being in my accustomed position.

And that is basically life right now. God is good.

God is good

 

A New Conquest

Dear Readers,

For those of you wondering why the previous posts suddenly became private, here is the explanation:

My husband and friend have been desperately trying to convince me to finish the story I am writing and then submit it for publication to a publisher like Love Inspired. After much entreating, I have agreed to give it a go, though it is certainly not my normal style and I am not at all sure it is what I would like to be known for, assuming I could even get it accepted. Nonetheless, everyone starts somewhere, so it is worth a try, right?

With that in mind, I started googling stuff and discovered that many publishers consider publishing something on a blog the same as being previously published, so that would actually make my book ineligible to be submitted for publication. Therefore, I have (at least for now) made the previous entries private and am not planning to publish any more installments, until the book has been finished and rejected.

That being said, if any of you actually WERE keeping up with it, and would like to be proofreaders/reviewers once it is finished, let me know, since I assume I will need opinions on it to make it the best it can be before submitting.

Thanks!

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