New Book: Becoming Women of Worth: Stories of Hope and Faith

Slide1 It’s official! I am one of twenty women who contributed to this book, Becoming Women of Worth, Stories of Hope and Faith. I’m excited to read the other nineteen stories. And I’m excited to share mine with you.

It’s been an EXCITING month over here. I won the NaNoWriMo challenge by writing 50,000 words of my Young Adult novel.

I came up with a BUNCH of PiBoIdMo ideas.

And I’m a featured author in this book that has JUST come out.

If you are in the Fresno area and you’d like to buy a book for only $13, send an email to my friend, Allison Vasquez. She will be in touch with you about getting you your book.

Here’s a snippet of my story:

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If you’re not in Fresno or Kandern and would like a book, head over here to amazon and order one 🙂 I don’t get any compensation for Amazon orders, but shoot! I’d love for you to have the book in your hands, so you can walk away encouraged by women who’ve gone through tough stuff knowing who we are in Christ.

I’d love to hear your thoughts after you’ve read it. And we’d love your honest reviews on Amazon. YAY!!!!

A Life of Leaving

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Today is November 1st.

That means that as I wake up this morning, I am already feeling the joy and pressure of this entire month.

NaNoWriMo has begun. PiBoIdMo has begun. Two of my favorite events of the entire year.

And I’m not ready. Well, I AM ready for PiBoIdMo. I’m NOT ready for NaNoWriMo.

And I should have gotten EVERYTHING on my to-do list done. Now it has to sit there for a month.

But I digress.

November 1st also happens to be a SATURDAY. A day AFTER Friday 🙂 Since I didn’t get to it yesterday, it’s November 1st. And so begins this day (and month) ‘o writing with an unedited, five minutes on my thoughts about leaving.

Fitting, isn’t it?

Leave

FMF-Leave-600x600This one word can suitably sum up much of my existence.

I have been left.

I have left.

Emotionally.

Physically.

Geographically.

Sometimes willingly.

Many times not.

He left our family for three years. I was young and innocent, yet my memories were full of yelling and slamming doors and eating to comfort myself. He came back but my heart was changed.

Two preschools, two kindergartens, two elementary schools, two junior highs… almost two high schools but I put my foot down firm, and He made a way. But by then I was hooked. Four colleges/universities.

Eight moves in eleven years.

I have said my fair share of goodbyes.

Either these things shaped my wiring, or God wired me and put me in the right home setting. Since then I’ve moved more times than I can count. My first high school trip to Mexico opened my WORLD to travel beyond the confines of a city, or the rearranging of a bedroom.

Thirty-four countries later and I’ve been as many places as I am old.

The He said, “Get rooted.” What the? Rooted? Why? What does that mean?

Terror. Grief. Confusion.

This time a dream was left.

Five years. Five years of waiting, wondering, rooting.

It was hard.

It was amazing.

It was absolutely why I can live in Germany as a missionary after God’s own heart.

Because I needed the flock.

I need the flock.

And now I get it. I get staying.

But He still hasn’t called me to it.

My leaving has only grown more sophisticated. Involves four children now. And husband. With people I love on multiple continents.

“Family” in Paraguay. Guatemala. Colombia. America. Canada. Germany. Sweden. Italy. Switzerland.

No matter where I am, I’m not with all of them.

And if I stay… they still leave. Because my people are God’s people. Called to the uttermost parts of creation.

And “goodbye” never gets easy.

But peace in my heart transcends the pain of leaving. Because HE is worth it. And joy is worth it. And sometimes the best things in life spring up from the pain of obedience. From the pain of a “goodbye.” Goodbye for now.

Because I know we are weary and joyful travelers, from inn to inn, until that day we all arrive at our final destination.

And we never have to leave again.

Starting the Year Off Write

Badge_StartTheYearOffWriteIt’s one thing to set a bunch of goals for yourself.

It’s a whole other thing to set up an action plan to lead you into achieving those goals.

I’m good at the former. For example, my writing goals this year are to publish a picture-book, complete (and publish?) one of my two novels, and get an agent.

But really… I’ve had those goals for the last couple of years.

I even invest in achieving them each year, by attending conferences and workshops and staying connected with critique groups.

But this year, I’m Starting the Year Off Write.

That’s write.

I mean, right.

I’ve jumped into a challenge to kick-start 2014.

What’s the challenge?

Each day an established author will provide a writing exercise for you to complete.  If you complete the exercise and comment on that day’s blog post you will earn an entry toward the prize drawings.

Today is day two.

And they’ve already been two very productive days… days in which I’ve further improved my craft of writing. I’ve already written a basic draft to a new story, and tightened up an already polished one. HELLO?! Imagine what the other 19 days are going to do for my writing this year!

I’m excited.

And I’m inviting you to join! It’s not too late! You can even win prizes! Though, the ultimate prize is the 21 days of writing prompts that will have driven you and I forward in our goal-achievement.

But I’m not done there.

I need to sustain the momentum beyond January.

SOOOOooooo I’ve also joined:

12-x-12-new-badge12 x 12 2014. This challenge follows me for the next 12 months. “If you join, you will be encouraged and supported as you attempt to write one picture book draft a month, AND to revise one and submit one manuscript as additional, optional goals.”

Yes, please! This is exactly what I need to keep me writing a new manuscript each month, and submitting each month. You can join this one too! Registration ends on Friday, February 28th. With it, you get an entire year of support, encouragement, and resources.

I’ve also added Rate Your Story to my list of supports for achieving my writing goals this year.

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Rate Your Story is something I’ve used in the past to gauge the quality of my work. The service has improved and offers way more resources. I’m excited to get constant professional opinions of my work all year long.

And, as a reward to a writing contest I won this past year, I’m also in the process of completing the Writing Character-Driven Picture Books. At the conclusion of my class, I will get professional feedback on one of my stories from Marsha Diane Arnold.

I think it’s going to be a good year!!! I’ve gotten such great feedback from critique partners… now it’s about fine-tuning this skill and finding the agent and editors who will love my stories.

Are you in? What is your plan for achieving your goals this year? I hope you’ll join me at Start the New Year Write, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 2014, Rate Your Story, or Writing Character-Driven Picture Books!

 

****UPDATE****

ReviMoButton-Logo3Just because I didn’t have enough on my plate (HA!) I went ahead and joined ReviMo as well… it’s only one week long (Jan 12-18) but the challenge is to do some substancial revising EACH day. I just couldn’t pass it up. And already, day one, finished off one of my manuscripts! Off to subbing I go! It’s too late to join for prizes, but you can still follow the great posts and revise!