A Christmas Giveaway!

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I’m thrilled to be participating in the 12 Authors of Christmas Giveaway, going on all this week!! We have a bunch of amazing authors here, so don’t miss out, and please tell your friends!

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Now who doesn’t want CASH AND BOOKS at Christmas??? I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t mind!🙂

Here’s the LINK to ENTER! Just head on over and follow the instructions and that’s all there is to it!

https://promosimple.com/ps/a91e

Just our way of saying THANK YOU to our FABULOUS READERS!!

Merry Christmas!!

Get Back Up ~ Dedicated To My Friend Sandie

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You should know, I am a die-hard GWTW fan. I’ve lost track now exactly how many times I’ve watched the movie. But I have read the book only once. I’m thinking I need to rectify that.

The GWTW experience for me began as a lonely and homesick thirteen-year old wandering the musty maze of books housed in the library at my boarding school in the south of England. It was there I was introduced to Austin and Dickens and Tolkien, and eventually stumbled upon what had to be the biggest book my hands had ever held. Gone With The Wind.

As I approached our librarian, a fussy little man whose name escapes me, I felt as though I’d discovered the Holy Grail. He was not as impressed. “Are you sure?”

I remember those words today as though they were just uttered. The insinuation behind them still smarts. I was too young. The book was long. I would never get through it, let alone understand it.

But I did. I read it cover to cover, every spare moment I had, and devoured every word. And Scarlett O’Hara was forever emblazoned in my heart as Margaret Mitchell was in my head, and I knew then, though perhaps I didn’t quite realize it, what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Someone who never gives up.

Say what you will about Scarlett, Melanie fans, but you’ve got to give her this. She’s tenacious to a fault, yet she always gets what she wants. Well, perhaps not always. She didn’t end up with Ashley or Rhett, although I do take some license with the ending and envision her eventually reuniting with Rhett once she has finally grown into the woman he always knew she could be. But through every hardship and set back, she got back up.

And oh, that’s hard. Ask me how I know.

It’s hard because so much is unknown. Once you’ve failed, what else is there? Once you’ve lost your dream, had it even and watched it slip away, perhaps through no fault of your own, do you keep trying? Can you?

Some days my answer is no. No, I can’t and I don’t want to. Because it’s too hard. And honestly, sometimes it seems pointless. How many times, Lord? How many times?

As many as it takes. 

That’s it. That’s the answer I keep hearing again and again, every time life takes an unexpected turn. Every time I want to give it all up because I’ve convinced myself I can’t go any further.

I’ve had a hard month. I lost a lovely friend a few weeks ago. Her death was unexpected and blindsided the writing community she was so much a part of.

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My friend Sandie Bricker knew all about getting back up. She did it time and time again and held out a hand to lift others up right along with her. She was full of fun and light and laughter and loved harder than most. She was a true champion and she loved Jesus. Those of us who knew and loved her take comfort in knowing that. But the loss is real. And hard. And we will need time.

As I pondered some things yesterday, this feeling of not knowing what’s next and how it can too easily incapacitate me, I received three very clear messages. Two were from friends who really didn’t have a clue what I’ve been thinking these past weeks, how helpless I’ve been feeling, yet their words reminded me again that God is in control, just as He always has been. And last night, as I was scrolling through the long message thread between Sandie and I that started in 2011, I found this word from my friend.

“It won’t help right now. But later when you look back on this conversation and how you’re feeling, you’ll think I’m a genius. Ready for it? … God has a plan for you. You don’t need to figure it out or know the details. All you need to do is put your gift to work for him, throw it at the wall and let him figure out which one will stick.”

Oh. Okay then. I’ll be honest, I’m still wiping tears when I read her words.

But. Wow.

How I needed that yesterday. How I need this today. And everyday. Because life. Life is just hard sometimes. And I will fall. I will fail and I will wallow. And each day that happens, I will need to find the strength to get back up. I don’t have it. But He does.

And thank God. Thank God for that. Thank God for His strength and His grace and His love. Thank God for friends like Sandie. Friends who don’t let you stay down, friends who insist you get back up even if they have to kick your butt to get you to move. I am so blessed to have friends like that in my life. I was blessed to have her.

And today I think of you, my friends who don’t let me stay down. I thank you. I need you.

We’re in this together.

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Things I’m Learning From The US Election

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I’ve been unable to write the past few days. Unable to trust that I’d use my words wisely. And I don’t know for sure I can do that today. Don’t know for sure I’ll hit that publish button when I’m done. But I do know I need to write the words down. Because that’s what writers do.

We bleed a little on the paper.

And sometimes it makes us feel better.

A disclaimer: I’m not a US citizen and I don’t live in your country. But many of my dear friends and family do. I interact with most of you on a daily basis, I love you and I write for you. Whether that gives me a right to a voice in all of this, I don’t know.

But I have thoughts anyway.

I won’t sit here and pretend I wasn’t dismayed by the results of the election. I won’t say I understand why people voted the way they did. But I will say that over the course of the last few days, I’ve realized I need to. I need to understand why this happened so that I can accept it and be a part of the solution to healing. So I’ve been reading a lot from both sides. Watching interactions on social media and trying to make some sense of it all. And here’s what I’m learning –

Things are not always as they seem. 

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Take a look at my picture. Tell me what you see. No, wait. I’ll tell you.

You see a white woman with her dog, and you may assume some things. You may assume I’m probably a product of some privilege. That I have led a sheltered life, been given the best and lack for little. You wouldn’t be wrong.

But here’s what you may not know. You may not know that while I was taken home from the hospital by two loving parents who gave me every good thing they had, I was left at that hospital by the woman who gave birth to me.

I was considered an unfortunate mistake, put aside to meet an unknown fate while she went on with her life.

“Ah, that’s a shame,” you say, “but, you had a great upbringing, wonderful parents, it all turned out all right in the end!” Yes, it did. But if you dismiss the way my life began and the impact that initial abandonment had on me, you take away my story. 

When you look at my picture, you may also assume I know nothing about racism or hatred or bigotry. That I’ve never been made to feel inferior because of the color of my skin, never been put down or made fun of or been the target of hateful comments. You’d be wrong.

While the circumstances don’t matter so much, the fact is, yes, I know what those things feel like. And in spite of that, I know I’m not immune to judging someone unfairly, for growing weary of what I often perceive as ignorance, for not taking the time to hear somebody’s opinion because it contradicts my own. And each time I do this, I take away their story.

You may think I’m a successful, published author living out her dream. Not everyone gets to this place and I’m one of the lucky ones. And you’d be right. But what you may not know is that I battle fear on an almost daily basis. Fear of failure, of not meeting expectations. I battle insecurity. I take what little self-confidence I have when I wake up in the morning and shred it to bits by the end of the day.

“But oh,” you say, “aren’t you a woman of faith, don’t you put your trust in God and believe He has a good plan for your life?”  Yes. I do. I try to. But that doesn’t always make the battle easier. Sometimes it makes it harder. And when you ask me to dismiss my very real feelings, and ‘just have faith’,  you take away my story. 

Things are not always as they seem.

The election is over and whether you’re happy and relieved or stunned and terrified by the outcome, the world has watched a country tear itself apart. People are hurting. Their fear is real. We need to listen to each other’s stories. I’m not sure how the healing begins, and there is deep work to be done. But all of us, wherever we live, have to put aside differences and beliefs for the greater good of humanity. Because if we carry on this way, if we ignore the core issues driving this great divide that have always existed but have now been given permission to step out of the shadows, hate will win. And that will affect the world, not just America.

We need to ask questions. Listen to one another. Don’t refuse someone else’s words. You may not like them. You may not understand them, but you do need to listen to them. Give others grace and an invitation to tell you their story. Perhaps then they will do the same for you.

Reach out to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to. Sit down over a meal and listen to each other. Our church did this a few weeks back – we’re a small congregation, but we tend to bounce off each other and once Sunday’s over, that’s pretty much it for a lot of us until next week. So we mixed a whole bunch of people up and went to different homes and met each other where we’re at. And I want to do it again. Because those things are awkward for me. I’m not a talker or a great socializer, but . . . maybe I’ve been missing out. Maybe I need to change that and step out of my comfort zone.

There’s so much more to say, but these words feel inadequate as is, and I don’t know if sharing my thoughts will help. If my voice will even be heard amongst the millions expressing one opinion over another this week and maybe that doesn’t matter. I know I’m just one person and I can’t change what’s going on. I can’t change the world. But I can change me.

So I want to tell you I’m sorry for not hearing you. For not really caring about your story, whatever it may be. And I’d love to hear it now. And maybe, maybe we all start talking to each other again, and really listening, with open minds and open hearts.

Every story has an end, and every end is a new beginning.

What if we could make this end the beginning of something better?

The choice is ours.

We still get to write the story.

Can we at least agree to try to do it together?

The Crash

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Ever been in a spot where you’re all prepared for one thing and then, before you can take your next breath, something happens to flip the entire day upside down?

Sure you have. I think we’ve all been there at some point. Maybe you’re there right now. That’s okay. Grab a coffee. Put your feet up. And just breathe.

So a couple weeks ago, my husband and I were all set for a relaxing evening. We were having some of his work colleagues round for a drink, then he and I planned to go out for dinner. Just as our guests were about to arrive, hubby retrieved a few wine glasses from one of our (many) china cabinets. A second later I heard the most horrendous crash.

And this . . .

A shelf had given way, resulting in several more coming down. And he’s standing there pushing up against the door because all the stuff that’s broken and all the stuff that’s still intact, it all wants to come crashing out onto the floor. And of course, the doorbell rings. It was like an SNL skit, but not so funny in the moment.

Well, what do you do? Pick up the pieces and move on. Literally. I let our guests in, we swept up what had already fallen out and he taped the doors shut and we said we’d deal with it in the morning. Because sometimes that’s all you can do.

Pick up the pieces and move on.

One thing you need to know – my husband collects antiques. It’s kind of his thing and he really enjoys going to auctions. Which is the reason we have not one but many china cabinets. So everything in that cabinet? It was old. Probably not replaceable, at least not for the price he would have paid.

What do you do when it all comes crashing down? 

It’s just stuff.  That’s what we said to each other later that evening over [several] drinks. “It’s just stuff.” Yeah, it’s not fun to let go of, because let’s be honest, we like our stuff. But really, when it all comes crashing down, and everything does at some point, you’ve got to let it go.

Your stuff may not be antique crystal and china. It could be your job, your home, a relationship, a publishing contract that may or may not happen . . . there are many things that hold us down, grip hard and refuse to let go. Many things we convince ourselves mean so much more than a lot of other, maybe more important things in our life. It’s not true. That stuff you think you love so much? I bet if you really think about, you can probably let it go.

Because when it all comes down, what’s left? 

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What do you need the most in your life? What can you let go of and still live with? Is that one thing, your stuff, really that important?

I’ve had to ask myself these kinds of questions many, many times over the years under various circumstances. No doubt I’ll have to ask them again. And again. But our crash, though not fun at the time, reminded me once again that you just never know. Reminded me not to hold my stuff so close. And to remember that whatever I’ve been given can just as easily be taken away. And I need to be okay with that. I have to be okay with that.

So, Monday. Here we go. Are you willing to take a good look at your stuff this week? Ready to let some of it go?

I’m with ya. Let’s do this.

Family Matters

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I grew up an only child. As much as I was loved and probably (okay, definitely) spoiled by my parents, I think part of me missed not having a sibling. There were times when it was lonely. Times when I had to use my imagination to create the extra people I thought I needed in my life. I’d have friends tell me they’d trade their siblings with me to be an only child, and of course I’d laugh, but deep down I wondered what I was missing.

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When I began writing, my stories always centered around large families. And now, years later, I tell people I write family drama. It is a niche that I stepped into naturally, because I have always loved the idea of family. Thanks to books, and shows like The Waltons, The Brady Bunch and other amazing 70’s offerings, I probably ended up with a rather skewed view of what it might be like to belong to a large family. As I discovered later in life, through talking with friends and having two children of my own, families are never perfect. But that’s what makes them so much fun, right?

Every member brings something different to the table. Everyone doesn’t always get along, and sometimes time and distance and misunderstandings sever family ties. There are many stories to be told within a family and often these are passed down through generations. And you know there will be a skeleton or two in the closet.

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If you’ve been watching the new show on NBC This Is Us, you understand the draw of family drama. Thanks to the amazing writing and acting on this show,  it doesn’t take us long to fall in love with these characters and we’re waiting week after week to find out what comes next for them. This is exactly the kind of show I adore, because it reminds me why we’re placed in families.

Because we need each other. Plain and simple. Whether you belong to a large family or a small family, if you don’t have someone beside you, someone who’s got your back, someone who loves you no matter what . . . then I don’t think you’ll ever know your true worth. Maybe those people aren’t even biologically related to you. Family takes on many shapes and sizes, but the message is always the same.

You are loved. 

And for some, that’s not an easy message to accept. Insecurity, shame, fear, so many things get in the way of allowing ourselves to be loved. But if those walls are broken down, imagine the potential. I’m getting excited just thinking about it! This is why I love, love, love writing about family. Because it’s the painful moments, the hard moments, the moments when we just want to walk out that door and slam it and sometimes we do . . . it’s about walking back in and saying sorry. Forgiving and moving on. Loving unconditionally. All the complicated and often intense emotions and feelings that tear us apart and bring us back together – isn’t it amazing?

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Life is a series of lessons in love.

That’s what I’ve learned. That’s what I’m still learning every day. How to love my friends well. How to love my family and make sure they know it. How to listen and not judge. How to just ‘be there’.

Our family stories are so important. Knowing our history helps us understand one another. My story is rather complicated but full of miracles. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. As we approach another holiday season, I remind myself again to never take any of this for granted. To appreciate all I’ve been given, and to be mindful of what and how I give back.

Family is everything we need, even when we don’t realize it, and I think it’s worth fighting for. It’s a place to call home. And I’m grateful to be able to write about what I believe is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

How are you feeling about family today?

No, You’re Actually Not That Great

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I don’t know how you’re feeling as we approach November, but I’m tired. Tired of the frustration, the anger, the vitriol, tired of everything that this nasty election has exploded into. More frustrating for me is that it’s not even my election. But it’s everywhere. You can’t turn on the television or the radio or even walk down the street without hearing the words Trump or Clinton. It’s exhausting.

I think what’s bothered me the most about this process is the downward spiral of society. If it wasn’t obvious at the beginning, it’s written in neon flashing lights now. There is very little that has not been said on both sides. Cutting words. Vicious attacks on people’s point of view. A bull-headed belief in being so right that all rationale has flown off to some place far, far away. Perhaps never to return.

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Do we truly believe we are entitled to treat each other this way? To put one above the other with blatant disregard for common civility and basic human decency?

It would appear so. Spend five minutes on Facebook, Twitter or any social media outlet. It would appear so.

Troublesome thoughts have swirled around my mind for weeks now. For the most part, I stay quiet. But sometimes I do speak my mind, and I think it’s okay. But I think what’s bothering me the most about all of the ugly, is wondering how we got here.

Case in point. We flew home from Boston yesterday. It wasn’t a full flight, but there were several families with toddlers traveling together, friends or relatives, I’m not sure. In their 20’s or early 30’s perhaps. And they had the swag and the swagger and that over-confident attitude that oozed from them. You could hear it in their language, see it in the way they treated each other. You’ve read enough about the Entitled Millennials, right? These were the visual aids to go with all the articles.

And sure enough, when we landed, my opinion of at least one of these fine gentlemen was confirmed as he immediately stood up in his row and began a conversation with one of his buddies behind him, while we were still taxiing down the runway. Within a moment the announcement came asking all passengers to remain seated with their seat-belts on for their safety, until we reached the gate.

Dude continued to stand and chat. In English. Same language as the announcement. And he wasn’t using ASL so I don’t think he was deaf.

Seriously?

After the second announcement was made, he did eventually sit down. But I was left shaking my head. When did this whole “the rules don’t apply to me” attitude come into play? How did we end up here? This belief that “I can do what I want and get away with it!” – it’s being modeled by our leaders, accepted by our neighbors and clearly already a way of life for many of the younger generation.

Entitlement.

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God help us.

When is somebody going to stand up and say “Sit your spoiled little butt down and shut up!”

I was pretty darn close on that plane yesterday. I’m pretty darn close every day when I see friends attacking each other over politics. But, really, why do we accept this behavior?

I’m not saying we all behave this way, but I think this election season is surely showing our ugly side. And the younger generation watching all this go down are probably not that surprised.

Surely we are better than this. More moral? Decent? Kind? I think we used to be. But if we continue to ignore and allow and excuse . . . what’s going to be left in years to come? What will we be handing down to our kids and grandchildren? I shudder to think.

So what’s the answer? What can we do now, today, to turn this train around?

Maybe it’s already too late. I hope not. I pray not.

Agree or disagree, but I think it’s a problem. And it needs fixing.

What do you think?

Is Summer Over Yet?

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We are still blazing hot here in Bermuda. It’s an odd thing, because when I say blazing, people assume temps up in the 100’s, which is never the case here. Our hottest will be around 95. But then, factor in humidity, and you’ve got smothering air that soaks you within minutes. Let’s just say I really, really love my air-conditioning, and yes, our electric bills are really, really high.

But I’ve stepped into September and started back to work, writing new stuff and keeping up with all the fun of finding new readers as more people discover The Things We Knew. I’m so grateful for those connections and it’s fun to get to know people from all over the world. Tonight I’m having an Author Chat on Facebook – if you’re able to pop in, I’d love to say hi! We’ll be chatting about the book and other things, so even if you haven’t read The Things We Knew yet, don’t let that stop you.🙂 You can sign up on the Event Page or just stop in – 7-9 EST. Hope to see you there!

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To bid summer it’s proper adieu, Mother Nature has decided to whip up a few storms in the Atlantic. At the moment, we’re keeping an eye on Karl, predicted to be heading our way as a hurricane this weekend. He seems to be the finicky sort though, as he’s already changed tack a few times. People ask me what it’s like, living on a tiny island when you’re facing down a big storm.

Well. Like everything else in life, it’s about being prepared. You put away outside furniture and pots. Secure everything else as best you can, stock up on food and water and batteries in case of a power outage, and then you wait. images-1

In Bermuda, this usually involves a few Dark ‘n’ Stormies, our national drink. It’s an island thing, we’ll take any excuse really.🙂 Kidding aside, waiting for these storms can be nerve-wracking. Because you never really know. It could be a total miss, with no damage or it could come at us full force. Even with all the technology available to us nowadays, these things take on a life of their own.

When you’re waiting, when you’re unsure, it’s easy to give in to fear. Easy to think the worst, expect it even. I remember our last massive hurricane years ago, Fabian, (a direct hit on September 5th, 2003), huddling in the dark hallway with my 2 kids and listening to the howling wind and wondering what would happen. Would we be okay? That was not a fun night. We were okay, but that one hit us bad. Fortunately our house was not badly damaged, but so much of the island was.

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So much of life seems to be about survival, doesn’t it? Waiting for the storm to pass. Figuring out how to get through it. And sometimes, not knowing if you’re strong enough to make it. And if you do make it through? Sometimes the clean-up seems too much to bear. Too overwhelming.

Been there?

Me too.

If you’re in that waiting room right now, not sure what’s coming next, know you’re not alone. Even in the midst of the storm, no matter how bad it gets, know you’re not alone. People are there. They want to help. They just don’t know what to say or do and they’re afraid of getting it wrong.

I know. Reaching out is hard. Talking. Sharing. Going into those dark and secret places. Maybe it’s the last thing you think you need right now. But it could be the best thing.

Because we all need a friend or two to help us get through the storms and pick up the mess in the aftermath.

Ask me how I know.

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Praying you know His peace today, wherever you are, whether you’re waiting, watching those dark clouds roll in or picking up the debris in the erie calm that often comes after a vicious night. I’m praying you find your friends and let them in and hold them tight. And that you know, somehow, it’s all going to be okay.

Until Next Time . . .

Running on Empty

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It was one of those nights last night. Sporadic sleep. Sound one minute, wide awake the next. It’s something I’ve learned to live with over the last couple of years, but it isn’t easy. Fortunately, I don’t have to be out the door at o’dark thirty, so when I have one of those nights, I do have the luxury of trying to catch an extra hour or two of sleep.

This morning the house phone began to ring at 6:50 a.m.

We’re having some work done at the house, and here was the crew, wanting to be let in at 6 freaking 50 in the morning!! WHAT???  I pulled on clothes and grumbled down the stairs. Let them in and grumbled some more. And by grumbled I mean . . . you know. I was not a happy camper.

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I suppose I could have headed back upstairs to bed. But I knew I’d probably sleep far too long and I had things to do. So I fixed a coffee and opened my laptop. And that’s when it happened.

“Helloooo . . .”

No, it wasn’t one of the work men in my house. I knew exactly Who it was. I sighed deep and carried on with my mindless scrolling of the facebook.

“Seriously? You’re gonna sit there and ignore me?”

This is how God and I converse most of the time. He’s often way more sarcastic than I am. But He’s also way more loving and forgiving. So there’s that. But I knew this was coming. And I guess He figured waking me up at the crack of dawn was a good way to get my attention. Well, okay, I exaggerate. It wasn’t exactly the crack of dawn, that would have been, like, five in the morning, I guess, but in my world it was pretty close.

“So, how’s it going? Long time no talk.”

“Um. Yeah. It’s going.” More coffee is needed at this point. “Besides, you’re God. You know exactly  how it’s going.”

I imagine a God-sized grin here. “Mmm. So true. But indulge me.”

This was not a fun conversation. Then again, the necessary ones never are.

Because my worry list is very long and my grateful list is running to catch up. And somehow in all the flurry, I figured I could do it all. On. My. Own.

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God never laughs at me, but He does point out the obvious.

That sometimes I can be an idiot. Sometimes, worrying about who said what, Amazon rankings, word count and what’s for dinner (okay, I rarely worry about what’s for dinner) and what comes next months from now, take up way too much of my time and . . . really??

“So that’s the gist. Why do I do this to myself?”

“Because you’re still holding on to things that don’t belong to you anymore. Just guessing.”

Okay. Ouch.

Rejection. Feeling Less Than. Left Out. Fear of FAILURE. What about that one, eh? Huge. All this junk. How many times over the years do I catch and release? You know? Wouldn’t it be nice to just let all that go and be done with it? For good?

Well, between us, I suspect my stubborn nature will put up a fight. But imagine the freedom I might find if I finally free myself of those old ghosts. And as if all that wasn’t enough . . .

“How do you expect to keep pouring out, writing stories of hope and faith and healing, when you’re not taking any in?”

Maybe you’ve heard that before. I think it’s a little too familiar. But that’s what I do. I run on empty. All. The. Time.

And it has to stop.

Because I cannot write from a place of authenticity if I’m not able to go there. 

I cannot write in freedom if I’m not willing to experience that reality. 

And those truths hit hard.

Especially at 7 in the morning on little sleep.

But here’s the thing about God. I may not always like what He has to say, but He is always right.

So I listened. I accepted. And I’m doing something about it. Because we were never meant to travel this road alone. We are meant for so much more. Don’t you agree?

Does any of this resonate with you this morning? Maybe you’re running on empty too. Maybe you need some encouragement.

I would love to know I’m not the only one who sometimes needs that early morning wake-up call. How has God been speaking to you lately?

Let’s talk.

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Where Is Your Identity?

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I’ve just returned from a few days in Nashville, where I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. I was trying to figure out dates in my head and I think this must be at least the eighth conference I’ve attended, and still, I’ll be honest, it’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times.

And I need to unpack that this morning.

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The best of times – moments like this. Seeing old friends and making new ones. Words like community and fellowship become reality over these few days. As a writer, I spend a lot of time alone. I’m not good at getting out and making new friends. And to be honest, most of my really good friends, my heart-friends, my writer friends, live across the ocean. It’s hard. So when ACFW rolls around, I’m so pumped to get to spend those few days with them, talking life and writing and all that involves. Honestly, I think I talk more in those few days than I do all year. Not kidding.

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So this year’s conference was a little different. This year I went in still celebrating the release of my first book with a major publisher. People I didn’t know from Adam walked up to me and told me they loved my book. I got the shock of my life one evening at dinner when my book – my book – was one of the giveaway books on the tables.

I finally got to meet my wonderful editor and the team at Harper Collins who’ve all worked so hard to get my book out there!

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Got to spend time with my amazing agent, and celebrate the book’s release in person!

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There were many sweet moments with friends, lots of laughter and hilarity.

And then there were those moments when I wondered just what in the world I thought I was doing.

The best of times. The worst of times. 

Because on the outside I was smiling big, while shaking my head on the inside. Listening to old voices saying, “Well, aren’t you all that? Not.”  All weekend long, fear crept in.

Insecurity.  Feeling like I didn’t belong. That I was faking it. And that sooner or later somebody would see, and call me out. “Hey, you there! Yeah. What do you think you’re doing here trying to be cool with all these authors who are so much better than you?! Come on. Get outta here.” 

Do you know that voice? Oh, please tell me you do. Tell me I’m not the only one here in crazy town. Because seriously, I’m fifty freaking years old and I don’t need to be dealing with high-school kid feelings. I don’t need to be feeling like I’m looking at all the cool kids, wanting desperately to fit in, knowing that I don’t.

What is that even about??!! It makes me mad. So mad. Mostly at myself for buying into it. I should know better. Yet here I sit, struggling to make sense of it all.

Because it’s easy to pretend we have it all together, isn’t it? But that’s not who I am. I stopped pretending awhile ago. At least I hope I did. But if you’ve read my writing, you probably already figured that out. I am all about real. I have to be. Because to be anything else is to deny who I am and what I’m feeling. And that is never okay.

So that’s why I’m being real here, with you, because it’s stupid to be anything else. I believe in writing from a place of freedom, telling the most honest story God places on my heart, in the rawest way possible. I must also live out my life in that freedom.

I long for community. For friends. For those heart-sisters I can share secrets with. Yet my insecure self always holds me back. The old mean and nasty voices tell me I’m not good enough, not deserving enough, not . . . whatever. You know?

Where is your identity?

That’s what I think God’s been asking me this weekend.

I think for me right now, it would be so easy to stay on the mountaintop. To put on that badge of ‘published author’ and be all that and a bag of chips.

Oh, God help me if I do.

I never ever, ever want to feel better than anyone else, to be seen as better. That sucks. I hate that feeling, truly. Just because I’m published doesn’t make me any different than when I wasn’t. Sure, it’s a great accomplishment, one I’ve worked for, and I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to share my words in a broader market  . . . but it can’t change who I am. I think I’m seeing that this morning. No matter how many books I have published, whether they do well or not, deep down I still feel like that young, dorky girl who doesn’t belong, who wants to shrink in a corner and just go invisible. And I don’t think that’s what God wants for me either.

We are all sons and daughters of a Father who loves us beyond our earthly imaginings. We’re all on equal ground in his eyes. We all belong.

If there is any good in me, it comes from Him. Any talent, all from Him. Insecurity, fear, feelings of insignificance? Not from Him.

So when I’m in a room of over 500 people? Sure, I freak out a little. But I do belong. I belong because we all do. We’re all connected. All on equal ground. I may not have the confidence that some of my peers do. I am not in that place right now where I could get up and speak with boldness to an entire room full of people. I may never be. But that doesn’t mean I’m not just as important in the eyes of God. That doesn’t mean I can’t trust Him to take my gifts and use them for His glory. I absolutely must.

That is my identity.

In Christ. 

That’s really all there is to it. So simple, yet often so hard to live out. But I’m trying. It’s all we can do, isn’t it? Try.

So that’s my bit of honesty today. I pray that if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, like I am, perhaps this may help a bit. Sometimes it’s good to know we’re not alone in this.

Right?

 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

So Much Going On!

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Oh my gosh. I was all set to post a really cute video update with all the news, but then I realized I look like a character from The Walking Dead right now, so that’s not going to happen. Your eyes will thank me.🙂 Here’s a picture of our lake instead.

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We’ve returned from our annual pilgrimage to Canada, which was fantastic as usual, although far too short. I was working on edits for The Memory of You for part of the time, so I spent a lot of time sitting out here, with my new laptop.🙂

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And now those edits are done and off, and I’m getting ready to leave for the ACFW Conference in Nashville next week!! Can’t wait!! Maybe I’ll see you there. Meantime, there are some things going on with The Things We Knew that I’d love to share!

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The LITFUSE Blog Tour is underway! I love the gang at Litfuse, they are always so enthusiastic and do such a great job promoting their authors! I’m thankful for all the readers as well who get on board and help spread the word about good books! So check it out, the links will take you to my landing page, where you can read Buzz and Reviews for The Things We Knew as they come in! Feel free to help spread the word.

Also going on THIS WEEK is a fun PINTEREST contest!! If you don’t already know about it, here’s the scoop –

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All you have to do is create a smashingly good Pinterest Board for The Things We Knew, (you’ve read it, right?!) and send me the link via DM or post on my Facebook Author Page! Contest will close at midnight Monday August 22nd, and we’ll announce the winners on Tuesday, probably in the evening, as I’m flying to Nashville that day! First prize winner will receive this amazing beach tumbler, bookmark, and a signed copy of The Things We Knew, and there will be first and second runner up prizes too, so you’ll want to get in on the fun! (You can view MY BOARD here!) And I don’t mind telling you I have yet to find anyone that looks remotely like the way I picture Evy MacIntrye, (Evy like the Chevy!), so if anyone can find her, extra points!!

And a HUGE THANKS to all of you who have read and reviewed the book already! I really appreciate you taking the time to put up a review, and it really goes a long way in helping get the word out to new readers.

Okay so these tumblers are pretty amazing! I’ve been using mine all week! I might be a little obsessed with it.😮

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Well, I can’t believe the end of summer is here. I’m praying for all you Moms & Dads as kids go back to school or off to college. Time goes too quickly! I hope you’ve all had a good summer and have had amazing family times together. I’d love to hear about it!

Until Next time!

Peace to you and yours.🙂

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