Did you know tomorrow is my blog-0-versary? December 31, 2006 I took the plunge, telling God no matter what, I’d always write for Him. It started with this blog, and it remains my baby. I enjoy looking back and this year was busy. I thought I’d take today to reflect.
I changed servers and switched the site up, creating a premium one through WordPress. This gave me the ability to add pages and really get my work out there. It was a great move. One post alone had 15,000+ hits. I’m so grateful for the transition and look forward to what God has in store here for 2012.
The biggest change, and transition was a key word for me and those around me this year, was ACFW. American Christian Fiction Writers is THE place for, well, American Christian Fiction Writers. Although I didn’t have the pleasure to attend the conference, my membership paid for itself in two weeks, if that. There is introductions and help for everything. I joined many of the loops to keep updated on the latest in news, contemporary romance, and critique groups. By summer I was in two crit groups through ACFW and they are an amazing help. I don’t know what 2012 holds for my writing life, but I know ACFW will be a major part of it.
2011 was a great writing year. There was the above, and I said goodbye to writing regularly for the Internet Cafe Marriage Counter. I said hello to blogging twice a month over at Christians Read, and I’m loving the experience. I won the JournEzine Christmas Story Contest. Still pinching myself over that one. I entered the FaithWriters challenge once and made the top ten with Jimmy Takes a Shower. Tires and Windchimes is slated to be a part of Splickety’s debut issue. I’m working on my contemporary romance centered in the Adirondack Mountains, Spectacular Falls.
We enjoyed a wedding and a baby this year, but not in our house. My step-daughter married on 9/10/11 and we traveled to Wisconsin to be a part of that amazing day. It’s the highlight of my year, hands down. In November my sister had a baby and I’m soaking up nephew time all this week. Remember I talked about transition? Well we have a teenager now. Our 8 yo continues to entertain and amaze, including writing a customized story with me over the summer.
I could write a novel just on this topic. 2011 wasn’t an easy year. I struggled with trusting God with a lot of things, and the aggravating part for me (and probably Him) was that they were things I’ve dealt with before. Why wouldn’t I trust Him? I wrote a post about it that really helped me. I hope it does you, too.
I learned a bit more about grace, I don’t think that is something I’ll ever finish learning. They were heartbreaking lessons and more than once with more than one circumstance, I had every right to speak up. But I chose to love, and I continue to. One situation plays out in a fairly public way and I know it would be easy to engage, but the person coming at me is wounded, and I make an easy target. If you had a tough year, have hope. The theme I feel for 2012 is this—justice.
What does 2012 hold? Here’s what’s on my mind.
Who will be in the Presidential race come November? Who will win?
We celebrate our 15th anniversary (belated) with a cruise.
What new things will my nephew discover in his first year?
What new things will we discover as a family?
What if I don’t want to keep up with the Kardashians?
What with the weather be like? It seems to be changing world wide.
What writing projects will move forward? Stall?
Will I conquer the trusting God thing when it comes to finances and medical issues?
What will I read?
What will I surrender? What should I surrender?
I’d love to hear about your 2011 and your thoughts for 2012.
My tagline is “Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate”. It’s easy to understand surrendering the bad stuff. Fear, anger, addictions, etc…those are unhealthy things that only imprison us if we keep them around. The chocolate? Although few encourage me to surrender it, everyone understands that at the levels I once consumed it, it wasn’t good for me.
But surrendering the good?
Why? Who would do that?
Well when God asks, I do.
I don’t mean surrendering my husband or kids, not even close. I’m definitely in an active writing season and it’s centered on fiction. I don’t know where the roller coaster is going but I know this is where my focus has to be. I have projects outside fiction writing that I knew weren’t lining up for the rest of this year and/or next year. Good things, great ministries and projects I love being a part of.
But God made it clear it was time to let them go.
I handed in my resignation effective January for the Internet Cafe Marriage Counter. I started out a few years ago as a marriage writer for Exemplify and that moved over the the Cafe. I love writing monthly articles to encourage marriages to strive for oneness. It’s a good thing, but a ministry God made it clear it’s time to let this good thing go. Let someone new step in and move their ministry forward just as He plans to take me to a new place.
I also sense the webinars I was believing was to be a very active part of my schedule won’t be. There just isn’t time. My sense is I will promote them as small groups where people sign up if interested. If I get a few people interested I’ll take one book at a time to journey through. If not, I’ll know I’m supposed to let that completely, go, too.
All good stuff but time to let it go.
How about you? Have you ever felt it was time to surrender something, even though it was a good thing?
It’s a busy writing week this week and I thought I’d direct you to some things going on.
Three Children’s Games Your Marriage Should Avoid is one of those writings that I typed and God gave and gave. I was in a summer meeting sharing something God grew me through. My problem, I said, was that I was playing “Whack-A-Mole” in my role, hiding when the hits came. Ducking. Stuffing problems. I should have shared and been open but instead, I shut down.
From there God gave two more “games” that serve as a warning to me and anyone in marriage.
I hope you take a look. This article will be part of this week’s marriage counter at the Internet Cafe.
My FaithWriters friend Jan Ackerson also let me know that my humorous story, Jimmy Takes A Shower, is on showcase this week. You can find it on the front page of FaithWriters. This made Editors Choice and I believe will be published in a future FaithWriters anthology. I had so much fun writing this one.
If you’re looking for something to read, I hope you enjoy these!
Tough week? Take heart, it’s Wednesday. Not only is the work week half over, it’s Word-Full Wednesday. Post a verse that gives glory to God and link to the Internet Cafe. Read the other links. Watch the week get much better.
I’m mixing it up a little because I feel this will help and encourage someone as it did me…at 3:30 this morning.
Wisdom is one of the best things you can pray for. God gave Solomon the opportunity to ask for anything. Anything. He asked for God’s wisdom. God gave him that and everything under it. I always ask for wisdom and lately, His love and grace. This week is no different, so I wasn’t surprised when I “suddenly” woke at 3:30 with this song in my head.
It’s The City Harmonic’s Manifesto.
Also known as Matthew 6:9
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, power and the glory. for ever and ever.
This verse contains the answers I need on how to deal with situations.
May it be your guidance, too.
This video is on my homepage, I have the capability to feature different videos. Visit anytime.
Hard week? Take heart, it’s Wednesday. All over cyberspace bloggers are posting images and Bible verses for the glory of God. I know when I read the posts they inspire, challenge, and transform me. May the same happen for you!
I’m not perfect and neither is my family. We don’t have a special pass or do amazing things.
We just believe God because of Christ.
This summer the humidity that caught my breath when I walked outside seemed symbolic of my walk in faith. Nothing was wrong, but my prayer life, my faith, the core that makes me, me, felt overwhelmed and dehydrated. There were fears and realities and I wallowed not knowing what to do beyond pray.
So I asked others to pray.
And I cried a lot.
In the midst of it all, especially when none of us wanted to do the right thing, we obeyed God.
Last week things seemed so impossible I just longed for my HOME. All the fears and realities brewed into one thunderstorm of conflict and hurt. The rains of truth came. It was a soggy mess but everything was out and then prayed over.
And now it is clear. Nothing around us changed but I see in our family there is peace that passes all understanding. There is provision and direction.
Nothing perfect going on to an inperfect family.
Just God being an awesome God to a family wanting to obey and rest in His promises and love.
Have you surrendered your fears and reality even if the circumstances aren’t guaranteed to change?
S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y—Confession! Okay, that’s not quite how the Bay City Rollers sang it but today is the day I share my confession, courtesy of Pliable in His Hands Character Confession meme.
It’s been the best of summers, and the most anxious of summers. Where I wanted a calm, stress free, low humidity time with the kids it has been way busier than I ever planned on. I prayed when we learned my husband’s oldest daughter was marrying this year that we would not have things break down or need repair. One hot water tank and car brakes later…I admit I was carrying a lot of fears.
Fears about money.
Fears about past circumstances and how we handled them as a couple.
Fears about this.
Fears about that.
And so on, and so on…
Thing is, I didn’t share those fears. The things of the past that nearly devastated me are just that, in the past. But when I have those fears, the scenario I always churn about is the what if it comes back. What if those things happen again?
But I didn’t want to bother anyone with those things, especially my husband.
So I became what I call the “Whack-A-Mole” wife.
Anytime anything that even resembled my fears or past events started to spring up, I was slamming it back down just like that Whack-A-Mole game. I became a classic stuffer and there was no peace. You can only stuff for so long before everything spews.
Thing is, it wasn’t a totally awful event that brought me to the place where I finally confessed the fears. It was a tense time mostly exacerbated by my stuffing. When I finally said everything that I’ve been holding onto, some fears, for years, something broke in the environment. The invisible hold over me was gone.
There was peace.
I know those things could happen, only God knows. But by sharing them with my husband, we can combat the what if’s together. Now I’m embarrassed that I took so long. Sharing your fears doesn’t mean you go in attack mode. I was honest and I tried to be loving, but real. Now we’re being specific and I feel relief. I can tell he’s saying things that face those fears head on.
I’m pretty sure we’re not playing Whack-A-Mole this summer…
Can you relate to any of this? If the Whack-A-Mole wife hit a nerve for you, I’ll be expanding on that in September with my marriage counter article over at the Internet Cafe. There are other amusement park activities that are great for kids, but devastating for marriages. You’ll have to mark your calendars for September 26 to read the rest. I hope you do!