Wednesday, April 26, 2017

December Dreaming

 
Time for a book update! I am thrilled to share that my debut novel Full of Days is tentatively scheduled for release in both print and digital formats in December! Yes, December of 2017. At the time I signed the publishing contract, I speculated publication would take place in mid to late 2018. You can imagine my delight when my publisher emailed this tidbit of information! It would be accurate to say I have never looked forward to the return of winter as much as I shall do this year.

Curious about the book? It is a historical fiction novel with Christian themes and a rich, multi generation story that will appeal to fans of Lynn Austin, Kate Morton, and Michael Phillips. Below is a bit of summary without giving too much away. Plenty of updates and musings can be found here on my author page. Like and follow if you are so inclined. Every one of you is a blessing on this lengthy adventure of becoming a published fiction author!

Secrets kept for eighty years come to light when Annie Walcott makes her great-granddaughter Laurel Thomas her final confidant. Together they delve into Annie’s memories of her service as a World War I nurse in France. Annie’s experiences challenged her to become a woman of depth and strength as they radically changed the course of her entire life.

Annie’s revelations of love, loss, and courageous sacrifice irreversibly affect Laurel, even bringing her very identity into question. The truth casts a new light on past wounds and unexpected possibilities for the future. Can Laurel discover the transforming power of authentic love and the courage necessary to pursue it?  
 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Missing Your Chance... Or Not

I have a vivid memory of sitting on my sister's living room floor watching her open her birthday gifts. One from me was a bookmark with a George Eliot quote that read, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." She unwrapped and read it then looked at me with wet eyes and asked, "Do you really believe that?" I nodded. She was in her early thirties and was at the start of a remarkable overhaul of her life. She was among the first people to convince me that there is never a good excuse to believe you've missed your chance to be who you long to be.

Which brings me to Easter. I intended to write a blog for Easter. A few non-coalesced themes floated around my mind. I even told myself it'd be best to write it early and schedule it to post on Easter. Hours and days passed and then the chance was gone. It was Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and now, here I am talking about my unfulfilled intentions.

And it is still Easter.

In the faith I practice and believe in wholeheartedly, we celebrate Easter for a full season. This season happens to be fifty days. Fifty days of joy, of a special call to gratitude for the gift of salvation, and of reflecting inwardly on the great miracle of Easter.

The memory of my sister and the reality that I missed my chance yet didn't miss my chance to write something for you all for Easter has me boarding a train of thought I'll ask you to ride with me. Here it is: could anything possibly be more appropriate to Easter than to consider how what we might assume is missed or finished is far from being so?

An arrest and beating; a turning of the tide of popularity and acceptance; a crucifixion and a grave: all indeed appeared finished.

We forget that our knowledge is partial. We cannot see the full picture or understand the complete, intricate plan. We forget that the shocking empty grave and mystical appearance of the resurrected Christ was not a shock to the One who orchestrated it all. If Easter is teaching me a particular lesson this year it is to never assume that the chance has come and gone to be who I am meant to be and live as I am called to live. The dream, the goal, the change: whatever it might be that you have resigned to past opportunities and assumed must be let go, think again.

The Father above ordained the day of your beginning. Do not concern yourself with identifying endings along the way, or even the final ending He also ordains (which even then will not be a true ending, if grace allows). He gives us our chances in abundance. Some we squander and some we take. Forgive yourself the former and be encouraged by the latter. Then start taking more and squandering less, and leave the rest to God.

Friday, April 14, 2017

We Are the Cross

We are the cross. The cross that was laid on Jesus' back and dug into his flesh as he carried it through the streets; the cross that he held onto, bearing it past the taunting crowds and whipping soldiers; we are that cross. The fibers of the wood consist of our sins, our rejections of truth and goodness. It is made up of us, in all our weaknesses and shortcomings. Jesus bears us, lifting us on his beaten shoulders to bring us to the place of salvation.

We are the cross. The cross to which Jesus was willingly nailed; the cross which he accepted in unconditional love; the cross on which he bled; we are that cross. He united himself to us irrevocably. His mercy is scarred into his hands and feet, His blood covers us as it did the wood of that cross: seeping into it and becoming part of it. We are indelibly marked by his redeeming blood.

We are the cross. The cross that was the source of his suffering yet became his throne; the cross that appeared to shame him yet brought glory; we are that cross. He is enthroned in our hearts. He resides in our souls. Every repented sin becomes a glorifying display of the same mercy that held him to the cross.

We are the cross.


Audrey Assad - Death Be Not Proud

Monday, April 3, 2017

Maybe Someday; Maybe Now

Ten months ago, at 34 1/2 years old, I began to run. Although this was an entirely new activity, it wasn't a momentous decision that stands out in my memory. It was a vague desire for a fresh exercise routine. It was frustration with my body and a need for an energy outlet. It was a craving for alone time that was genuinely beneficial, not pampering. It was a wondering what I might be capable of if I tried.

Ten months ago, I could jog half a mile before requiring an interval of walking. Two days ago, I ran a full 10K race.

No walking. No stopping. I ran 6.2 miles. Ten months ago, this accomplishment was not even in my sights. The suggestion of it would have evoked laughter. Yet here I am, able to say I did it and beginning to think about when I might do it again and how much better I could do it the next time around.

What's your "I wonder if I'm capable of this" scenario? You know you have one. Maybe you have more than one.

Here's another of mine: Ten years ago, give or take a few months, I began writing a story. That, in itself, was not a new endeavor. I'd written the starts of several stories. I'd toyed with the idea of writing a book. I lived for 20+ years with the persistent desire to write but without the gumption to pursue it at full tilt. Then ten years ago, I started this story. Unlike with the others, I didn't stop.

After 1 1/2 years, I had a legitimate first draft of a 126,000 word novel. Now I have a book publishing contract for my much revised, thoroughly edited, still imperfect 102,000 word draft of that story.

What's your "maybe someday" endeavor?

Today is someday. So is tomorrow. Whatever the reasons for your waiting, there are reasons to begin.

The incredible thing about trying is the way it snowballs. Efforts made produce belief in possibilities. Goals met give birth to new goals. Pride in accomplishments erodes doubt in yourself.

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn along the routes of both of these accomplishments is I have no idea what I am capable of. None of us do. Persevering toward the finish line of a goal is the only way to chip away at that ignorance. Then, when seemingly impossible goals are reached, a continued awareness that you still don't know your full capabilities will drive you to continue choosing now over leaving it to someday.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Blue

Writing Prompt: She had a cocktail in her hand and confetti in her hair.
Writing Time: 30 minutes
 

Over the bobbing heads of the dance floor crowd, I stare at the woman in the blue dress. She has a cocktail in her hand and confetti in her hair. Her lips are parted in laughter, the sound lost in the noise of the music. My fingers curl into fists against my stomach, mimicking the tightness of the air in my lungs.

Jealousy. It is nested in my chest.

It is not that I wish her to be otherwise. The night is better for the glow in her eyes. I do not wish it gone. I only wish to know it; to know the release of that laughter and the pleasure of my limbs swaying to the song.

"What are you thinking about?" my husband asks, his face close to my ear so I can hear him.

"Do you see her?" I point my chin in the direction of the woman. "In the blue dress."

He cranes his neck to see. The silver hairs at his temple catch the light of the dimmed sconces behind our table on the perimeter of the dance floor. For a moment I'm transfixed by his profile, then he turns and catches my gaze. He is confused.

"Was I ever like her?" The question is spoken before I can filter it. I expect more confusion. Instead his face is transformed by a broad smile.

He leans in close again. "Even better."

I rest my forehead against his cheek. His stubble is soft; a comforting texture on my skin.

"You still are," I hear him add at the pause between songs.

When I close my eyes, a memory plays like a film projection. My roommate and I walking past the fountain at the center of the university campus. A small congregation of other students, strangers, with a radio blasting and an impromptu dance party coming to life. One of the guys pulling me into the group. Dancing with them until the song ends; laughing through every second.

My husband speaks now and I am startled to realize he is reliving the same memory.

"I'll never forget watching you dance the night before we met. Sitting on the edge of that fountain, seeing you approach. You started singing along to the music. I hoped you'd stop and you did. I hoped you'd dance and you did. I hoped you'd keep laughing and you did."

I finish the familiar commentary. "You hoped I'd sit down to rest on the edge of the fountain and I didn't." I require a deep breath to keep the tears behind the border of my eyelashes.

"You were transcendent."

A sigh falls from my lips. "That girl is a stranger now."

"Not to me." He lifts my chin with his fingertips. "I still see her every day."

Baby blues. Such a trite, pretty name for the darkness I dwell in presently.

"You're still her. You are her and more."

I tuck his words into the deepest corners of my mind, where they are needed. Then I watch the confetti scatter from the hair of the woman in the blue dress.