Monday, September 19, 2016

Fluttering Leaves...


            I don’t know why I haven’t taken solo morning walks for so long.  Summer mornings are warm and wonderful, yet I haven’t walked solo for months.  I think about it, usually in the evening, and vow to go as soon as Alex leaves for work the next morning…but I don’t.  I get distracted.  The phone rings, the laundry beckons or I have people to see and places to go. 
            This morning I went for a morning walk by myself.  I drove to the Chehalis Western Trail and plugged in my ear buds. As I walked, Needtobreathe, Switchfoot, Hillsong, Colton Dixon and many others serenaded me.  It struck me how important this time is.  It’s time with God, with nature.  It’s exercise.  But maybe the most important thing is the creativity (my lifeblood)…of music, nature and spending time conversing with God.  The inspiration flowed…slowly at first and then swiftly like a flash flood.  I struggled not to sing out loud with the music…
Yahweh, Yahweh
Great is your glory when you go before me
Oh, we sing
Holy, Holy
Your ways are lovely So high above me
Yahweh”
(It sounds great when Needtobreathe sings those words, but nobody needs to hear me sing it, so I sang loud and proud in my head.) 
            The changing of the seasons was in full display on the trail this morning.  Apples decorated the branches of trees, leaves with traces of yellow and orange, some with bright red veins, drifted to the path in front of me.  Some tardy blackberries struggled to find the warmth to ripen on the vine next to their spent neighbors.  I noticed something in the grass and almost dismissed it as garbage (there was garbage nearby) but the pure white mushroom—perfect and untouched—glistened in the dew of morning.

            Then I saw a fluttering.  A leaf dangled and danced just below a branch.  Funny, because there wasn’t wind.  I stopped and watched.  Colton Dixon’s song filled my ears and my heart as I watched the leaf quiver in an invisible whisper of a breeze.
“This life I hold so close
Oh, God I let it go
I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul
So take it all I abandon everything I am
You can have it
The only thing that I need is
More of you
Less of me
Make me who I'm meant to be
You're all I want all I need
You're everything
Take it all I surrender
Be my king
God I choose
More of you and less of me
I need more of you
More of you”
            Why was that leaf moving like that?  Why did the slightest breeze move one leaf but the others remained still? 
            The leaf wasn’t connected to the branch.  It was separated, held in place by a thread, perhaps a strand of a spider’s web or a thread of its fiber.  The slightest puff moved it to and fro, it danced with every whim of the air. 
            Connection.  It had everything to do with being connected.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)  The leaves with a strong connection to the branch remained still.  Unmoved.
            That little fluttering leaf was a sweet reminder of the importance of being in close relationship with God.   Spending time with my Savior, reading His Word, offering Him praise and thanksgiving and sharing my heart with Him, and most importantly listening for what He wants to share with me.  I don’t want to flutter and sway or quiver with fear and doubt.  I want to cling to the One who created me, loves me and saved me.  I need these morning walks for more than just the exercise, I need them to strengthen the connection to my Savior.  Praying as I stroll through His creation, singing His praises.
            I can’t wait to see what He shows me tomorrow!

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Process...


It’s a long process. 
Writing…rewriting…revising…revising again…etc.
I thought my manuscript was ready to be seen by agents.  I really, truly did.
Nope.
I’m only done with my second draft.
I have three more to go.
I went to the writing conference with high hopes, but ten minutes into my first class—a class on writing fiction taught by a prolific author, I knew my manuscript was far from ready.
And I was okay with it.
I truly want it to be good enough.  I truly want it to be right.
So I sat in class and soaked up all of the information that I could—feverishly writing every little tidbit that fell on my ears.
I filled a notebook.
I learned a lot.
I’m making revisions now—major, manuscript-altering revisions.
I’m not talking tweaks.
And, wow, it’s so much better.
I’m filled with hope that I’m moving in the right direction.
The other good thing that came from the conference was confirmation.
Real live agents said that my story was good.  
That the writing was good. 
That my story had potential.
It just isn’t ready…yet. 
I can work with that.  I will work with that.  I’m happy to work with that!
I had a mentor meeting with another published author who was very encouraging.
“How will I know when it’s ready?” I asked.
“The first novel always takes the longest,” she replied.  “But it will be much easier to know when your second novel is ready.  The first one takes a long time.”
Encouragement.
I can do this.
So I plug away, feeling energized by feedback and faith that someday my hard work will sit on my shelf...in the form of a book.