Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rite of Passage

The rising 3rd-5th grade kids in our church left for camp today. Look Up Lodge is a rite of passage and my Facebook feed is full of pictures of happy campers. I’m excited for all of them. I truly am.

But a little part of me is crying.

The little part that every now and then rebels against the reality that is my life. Because I didn’t take my rising 5th grader to Look Up Lodge this morning.

I spent the morning researching GPS tracking devices for her.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Call

In my last post, I mentioned that the jury was still out on my 2nd novel. Well, it isn't any more!

To bring you all up to speed…

Earlier this year I entered a contest. The Search for the Next Killer Voice was a four stage contest held by the editors of Love Inspired Suspense.

Stage 1 – Submit your first page. No problem. I already had it written.

Stage 2 – Submit a synopsis. Not much of a problem. I had a synopsis written, I just needed to tweak it, re-write it, start over and try again. (A huge shout-out to Mary Denman for talking me through it at midnight!)

Stage 3 – Submit the first 3 chapters. Bit of a problem. Wasn’t exactly expecting to make it this far and had to rewrite most of what I already had to make it work for this publisher. (Never-ending gratitude to Lynette Eason for reading it and giving me hope that it might work!)

Stage 4 – Submit the full manuscript by June 9. Big problem. Way back in March when I sent in my first page, I never imagined I’d still be in it at this point. The pressure was intense. I may have sent out one, two, multiple SOS prayer requests to my writing and non-writing friends as I wrote during every spare minute and most of the rest of the minutes of my days and nights. There is no human explanation for how I was able to finish the book on time. Truly, it was a case of God expanding my time and energy.

On the evening of June 8, I hit “send” and put it out of my mind for a few weeks. I celebrated my 40th birthday, went on vacation, and tried not to think about the fact that somewhere in New York, an editor could at any moment make THE decision about my book.

Which leads me to the stage no one warned me about.

Stage 5 – Lose your ever-lovin’ mind while you wait to hear if they want to buy your book.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time to Start Over

My son loves playing games on my phone. He has one that he’s been playing for a while now. He’s completed so many levels that he has begged me not to let his little brother play, for fear that he’ll mess things up. 

So I was surprised yesterday when he asked me to download the game onto the iPad. As I handed the iPad to him, I asked, “Are you sure you’re okay with this? Won’t you have to start over from the beginning?” 

He shrugged, a grin spreading across his face. “That’s okay, Mom. It will be good practice.”

Ah. Out of the mouth of babes. Or, in this case, five-year-old Angry Birds Go fanatics.

I need to start over.
I have to.
It’s a good thing.
But it’s so hard.

I’ve completed two novels in the past five years. The first one will probably never see the light of day and the the jury is still out on the second. So it’s time to begin a new story. Time to create a new world. Time to breathe life into new characters, then make their lives difficult, come close to killing them several times, and have it all work out in the end.

I’m on the verge of a panic attack just thinking about it.

I’ve been doing everything creative I can think of—besides writing. I’ve knit. I’ve decorated. I’ve read. I’ve cooked.

But today, I’m writing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Blame the Kale

I blame the kale.

All pre-chopped and bagged.
It’s why I took the kids into the store in the first place.

Have you ever been to Trader Joe’s? It’s—interesting. The layout is odd, it’s significantly smaller than I thought it would be, and the shopping carts are tiny.

On this morning, I plopped my three-year-old into the back of the cart and allowed my 5-year-old to ride along on the outside. You know. The way the little diagram on the seat warns against? Yep. That way.

It would have been fine if I hadn’t paused to grab the kale.

That light-weight shopping cart couldn’t handle the combined weight of both boys at one end, and in a flash, it flipped. The three-year-old rode it down and tumbled out with nary a scratch. (I think he enjoyed it). My five-year-old suffered two completely different injuries.

The first was physical. The cart landed on his arm. So minor it never even bruised.

The second was to his heart, and there was nothing minor about that one. He stood there, tears pooling in the eyes he refused to raise from the floor, saying, “I’m sorry, Mama, I’m sorry, Mama” over and over. And because he is so much like me, I knew that his regret had as much to do with causing a scene—with “messing up”—as it did with the trampled flowers and flying strawberries.

Once I’d confirmed no one was bleeding, I sat right there in the middle of Trader Joe’s and whispered, “Baby, it’s fine. You didn't do anything wrong. It was an accident. I’m not upset. I think you’re awesome and I’m so glad you’re okay.”

I want my little man to grow up secure in the knowledge that there is nothing—NOTHING—he can do, that will ever change my feelings for him. He’s going to make messes and he’s going to get hurt, and he needs to know that I am always and forever going to be on his side.

But the truth was that even as I comforted my little guy, I was fighting the voices in my head. You know the ones who point out how everything you just did was W-R-O-N-G. The ones pointing out the workers righting the buggy, the shoppers pausing to see if the kids were okay, someone picking up the kale. All because of my mistake.

By the time we had finished shopping, the voices in my head were screaming. I was replaying the incident from the moment I put the boys in the cart, to the second I turned loose to grab the kale, to the fact that I was so focused on the kids, I never thanked the people who got the buggy back on its wheels or located my strawberries and how rude was that and was I teaching my kids to be ungrateful?

As we approached the cashier, a woman asked if the boys were okay. Then she did the craziest thing. She looked at me and said, “You’re such a great mom. The way you were comforting him . . . you’re doing a great job.”

I wanted to ask her if she’d noticed that I was the “great” mom who’d let her kids be mauled by a red shopping cart, but instead I mumbled something like “Thanks, just glad they weren’t hurt” and moved on before her words made me cry.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized what had happened. That my heavenly Father—who saw the whole thing go down and knows me better than I know myself—chose, in that topsy-turvy moment, to remind me that He thinks I’m awesome. And He used a stranger to say it for Him.

He knows that while I have no trouble believing He loves me when I’m singing praise songs with the kids or volunteering in Sunday school, it’s so much harder to believe when I’ve messed up. Dropped the ball. Blown it.

I don’t know how your Monday has been. How you’ve struggled. Where you’ve failed.
But this I know.
He loves you.
He thinks you’re awesome.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (ESV)

I Blame the Kale - What I learned about God's #love in the produce aisle. #motherhood #faith (Click to Tweet)

***I want to apologize for my lengthy absence.  I spent three months frantically writing a novel and I have no idea what happened to the month of June! I'm hoping to be back here on a more regular basis in the weeks ahead.

post signature