2 Years 2 Long
It's incredible how fast time slips by without a realization of how much actually occurs. It's been a long two...yes TWO+ years since my last blog post. That makes me incredibly sad to think about. I see it fitting that I recap from the starting point until now of how Safe Under the Willow became to be. I'll warn you now; this will probably be a long one!
After years of trying to write a novel and many failed attempts, it all hit me after I turned 30 of exactly how I wanted to create my opening scene. After all, that's what held me back all those years before. Up to that point, it just didn't work for me. Every opening was mediocre, at least in my opinion. My birthday came and I hit a turning point in my life. I knew that something (not physically but certainly emotionally and spiritually) had changed however; I wasn't sure exactly how much of an impact it would actually have. I was driving to work one day and the scene all sort of played in my head like a movie trailer. "Brilliant," I thought! How did it all happen? I believe God showed me the way- I had written 2 poems years before. One was titled, The Ticking Clock and the 2nd titled Let's Play Life. Two of which, in my opinion, were some of my best works and can be found on the Poems Page of this blog. I meshed both together and wrote the opening scene....BOOM! The pounding of my heart was rampant at this point as I realized I actually have something I was proud of and knew it was special.
The book took 2 years to write...then 2 years sitting and waiting....I see a trend...
2011 consisted of me staying up extremely late and going to bed right before the rooster crowed only to wake back up in a couple hours for work and kids...it was very long, very tiring days and nights. IT WAS WORTH IT!!!
September 30th marked the day that I completed the rough draft of Safe Under the Willow. The night I finished writing was absolutely exhilarating! My initial intention and how I had it laid out when writing (before I finished) was having 12 chapters. Chapter 12 became a monster of a chapter filled with a ton of surprises and even a couple gasps from myself as I re-read what I had written. After thorough thinking and analyzing, I decided it was best to split the chapter into two... there's that "2" again...
There it was written...sitting in computer memory...sitting....
I knew I needed an editor. To my surprise, I had found an editor who said they were willing to edit the book... unfortunately, that didn't work out. No hard feelings- just wasn't the right time or person to do the work. 2012 closed with me still hoping to have the book out to the public sooner than later by the beginning of 2013. I worked on editing SUW myself knowing I wasn't qualified enough. During that time, I reflected on many things, including my family. Here's a FB post I wrote in Oct. 2012: "Re-reading the beginning chapters of Safe Under the Willow, (before I knew Jeanie couldn't play sports due to her eye condition) here's my thought for the night:
When we have children, we create dreams and images in our mind as to who we think or want our child to be once they are older. Sometimes, God has a different agenda in mind...one far better than what you could ever dream of. So even though my daughter may never be the star pitcher or have a killer spike, she offers more to the world than any home run a person can hit...she's my daughter, she's my heart, she's my inspiration."
Where to begin with 2013? Wow! Clearly- the book was never published. However, God was working on other small miracles and a couple very difficult lessons to learn. I came to the conclusion that getting SUW published just wasn't the right time yet. I set it aside and focused on more important things...my family. One of my favorite FB posts that year was this: "While driving, Jeanie and I were talking about how she loved this person and that person. I thought to myself, "Wow, a child's love is the purest of pure." To a child, it doesn't matter if it's a child; boy or girl, or an adult; woman or man. Love is love without having to be biased. Love is pure...And that my friends is a beautiful thing!"
My children amaze me daily. They make me laugh, cry, swell with pride, drive me crazy, keep me young at heart, exert all of my energy, teach me, but most of all- show me how to love. I recall the scripture as I think of this:Then he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven." -Matthew 18:3 NLT. The more I live, the more I know this is true. When and only when we strip ourselves of worldly thoughts and desires will we be able embrace and live the teachings given by our Lord.
I also began working on a mural on my living room wall. Trees became the theme, displaying my love of them visually throughout our living room. I finished the mural 1 day shy of 1 year to the date that I started it. I still have to add photos to complete our "Family Tree".
2014 was a year of discovery, change, and new experiences. The journey that began the shift happened at the end of March. I had heard of a local ministry helping victims of domestic violence. It certainly sparked my interest considering the book I had written was based on abuse. A fundraiser dinner was scheduled so I decided to attend. Then something happened that was- well beyond my control or even thought process. An opportunity was coming within my reach. Public speaking was a dream that I had pondered after I had written SUW but in my mind, it wasn't my thing- I could never stand in front of a crowd and give a testimony regarding my own childhood. It was a nice thought- an exciting wish if you may...but never a reality. I was too afraid- what would people think of me? The image I had worked so hard to build would be destroyed. That "good girl" look would be tainted. I shouldn't. I couldn't. I wouldn't. Oh wait...I did...I'll try to describe that night- that magical, heart changing, glorious evening that released all of my pain-all of my hatred-all of my fear. That testimony changed my life. It was an anointing from God himself that I will forever be grateful for. The words I spoke were steady, passionate, powerful and full of love. I recall scanning the room while speaking. A pregnant mother about to give birth that I had never met before was sitting in the middle of the room. Tears poured down her cheeks. She had no clue but her tears spoke volumes to me that night. I know my words touched her in a way only God knew they should. A pastor had went home and apologized to his wife. Another woman thanked me for opening her eyes to how her daughter felt for years. There were numerous "thank you's" hugs, and tears. "You helped me," was a three word sentence that confirmed to me that I did the right thing. God used me in a powerful way that evening. I'll never forget the feeling I got because of it. My heart soared to the Heaven's above. From that day forward, I knew my purpose...God's will for me. I was and still am incredibly humbled by His love and compassion.
Heading into the third quarter of 2014, I hit a detour. A very unplanned, didn't want to alter my course, you can't be serious, kind of roadblock. It brought me to my knees, tears were shed, friendships were permanently tarnished, and a decision was made that I didn't agree with but knew I had do. Being pulled from one of the things that I knew- I KNEW- was supposed to be...Reluctantly but eventually being obedient to His way, I took a step back. It was the hardest, most difficult decision I have had to make in a long time. It sucked, still does. I survived only because His strength carried me through. By the middle of the eleventh month, I started to become whole again. I wrote a poem during that time that I do plan on sharing but not until I figure out if there will be a sequel to Safe Under the Willow. Yes, ladies and gentlemen...a sequel! I haven't decided yet if there will be a second book or a decently sized epilogue to SUW. We shall see and an announcement will be made. Another piece of absolutely fabulous news is I finally found the right editor! She currently has SUW and is scheduled to finish in early February. The plan of Safe Under the Willow is to self-publish using Amazon Kindle and POD (Print on demand). Unless of course, I miraculously get picked up by some big book publisher or Hollywood calls me begging for my manuscript! Highly unlikely, so anticipate a release in March 2015. I also have another exciting tid bit of news but I'll keep that up my sleeve until a later date. God has shown me a glimpse of the amazing opportunities He has in store for 2015 and I am incredibly appreciative of His love and generosity!
January 1, 2015
There is so much more I want to tell you all about and I look forward to writing future posts! As I reflect back on 2014, I'm in awe of all the countless blessings I have been granted. My husband of 12 years is my best friend that I adore and love with all of my heart. Both of my children are absolutely incredible with such tender caring hearts, each offering such wondrous gifts to this world. A modest home made of wood, filled with love and laughter with God as our center. I have a family who loves us unconditionally. Two amazing women that I am proud to call my best friends and a slew of other friends that I'm blessed to have in my life. A dream job many would be envious of. A book that I poured my heart and soul into that sat dormant for two years and has suddenly been brought to life. And one other thing that I will keep in my back pocket for now. Blessed? Immensely. Thankful? Every breath I take of every day of my life!