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As part of my new year’s resolution, I have a new schedule (as anyone who knows me at all would have already guessed).  I get up at 5:00 AM, do a quick 10-minute workout (sometimes Calisthenics and sometimes stretches as instructed by the chiropractor), get dressed, do hair and makeup, grab the lunch my husband has packed up for me and am out the door by 5:45. I am in DC by 6:00 and at a Starbucks down the street from my building by 6:10, where I get a small coffee and do devotions for half and hour. Then I pack up and am at work by 6:45 AM. This allows me to take a 45 minute lunch break, which I have been using to write. I am trying to do some sort of writing exercise and then work on editing my God’s Masterpiece book.

Today’s writing exercise/sort of lesson was a common theme – making your character suffer. Apparently a lot of authors don’t want bad things to happen to their character. I have never had that issue. I have stopped killing off every one in my books, relegating it to only a few, but those few must go, no matter how much I cry while I write it.

Today I discovered, however, that when it comes to making my characters’ suffer, I am fine with emotional suffering, but I have a hard time with physical suffering. Oh, they can starve to death or be exhausted or things like that but – the book I am going through (Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine) made me write out the scene in which Red Riding Hood is eaten by the wolf, with instructions to describe exactly how she felt, what she saw, etc. etc., and fairly strict instructions that she was to actually be eaten. I did so, reluctantly – because how horrifying is it to write out a scene in which someone is eaten? Especially since you know that, in non-fairytales – they aren’t actually swallowed in one bite. I wrote it out as much as I could, shuddering inside the whole time, and probably ended it faster than the exercise wanted me to.

But that experiment taught me two things. One, which is what I already mentioned – there is a difference in physical and emotional suffering – and I may have one down, but am terrified of the other. And two, that as terrible as suffering such as that is, it is prime for description and feeling. So, while I doubt I will ever write a book in which someone is eaten, or even physically assaulted outside of perhaps being hit, I am going to work on the physical suffering side, particularly when it comes to descriptions.

And now my 45 minutes are up, so it’s back to work with that awful scene still in my mind. Thanks, Gail. Thanks.

cool-girl-phone-blanket-work

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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.

2018-05-20 19.02.07

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

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Just in case anyone is wondering where my update from yesterday is – my computer appears to have died. I’d like to say a violent death, but more like chloroform. Quiet but annoying.

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