Category: Uncategorized

Now is the time for Joy, Abundance, Peace and Rest!

Before I took control of the battle of my mind and gave my circumstances over to God, finding the energy to write seemed impossible. My writing had been on the back-burner despite my initial reaction that job loss=more writing time.

I have this need to get everything else done before I write. I rarely succeed. Eventually I give in, but by then I am tired and creativity is sparse.

Worse than my normal “thinking” mode, I gave into doubt, frustration, and the need to make a very difficult choice.

My frustration, discouragement, fatigue became apparent.

I was tired–that was the only word I could come up with. TIRED.

Thank God, He was still in control! Three weekends in a row, He pressed in…deeper than I expected and brought things to the surface I did not even know existed.

But life does not have to be a series of dramas or traumas. <–Tweet This!

I felt the need to remind myself of all God had brought me through. I needed to believe He meant good and not harm.

My God made beauty from ashes.

My God has anointed me with the oil of gladness.

The LORD, My God saved me and made me a beautiful, spotless Bride of Christ.

My God saved my marriage not once, not twice, but three times!

My God healed my youngest sons of physical and chronic illness.

My God saved my daughter’s from death.

The Savior of my Soul has nurtured a passionate love between my husband and I that is deeper and stronger than ever.

Jesus rescued me from myself as a wayward teenager on a path of destruction.

The LORD, My God instilled in me the desire to be a storyteller–to tell my story and to listen to the stories of others. He called me to use my stories to heal, encourage, and to provide hope.

Continue reading “Now is the time for Joy, Abundance, Peace and Rest!”

Failed Speedbo and if I Could Just Bottle 18 Hours Per Week and Only Write!

198025_575682302449214_485122834_nI really thought posting my intentions to write like crazy in the month of March would have motivated me to make some progress on Part 2 of No Eye Has Seen. But our family got hit with some major emotional tolls and I found the need to reflect and not pressure myself. I also have a huge project at work–an undertaking that equals a month of full-time hours I somehow need to fit in-between my normal full-time work schedule.

To summarize, my husband’s mother passed away on February 28 and my grandfather passed away on March 18. We have not experienced a death in either side of the family since 1999, and we were not prepared for the physical and emotional impact these losses would take on us. By March 24, my old fibromyalgia symptoms surfaced in a mild flare-up. I had to put aside every unnecessary task to rest.

However, on a positive note my mind seems to hold onto thoughts on the topic of writing more than I can recall in a long time. Perhaps the idea that life is short has nudged me to use my time wisely. Or maybe the fact that just a few days prior to my grandfather’s passing–I received an acceptance offer to traditionally publish No Eye Has Seen! (More on that in another post.)

Regardless of life happening all around me, my calling to write is more clear than ever before. Story ideas flood my mind daily, and when I can steal 5 minutes, I am picking up one of the 4 last issues of Writer’s Digest to steal a nugget of inspiration. Yes, I am running a household of 6 needing a mother, wife, cook, and taxi driver. Yes, my youngest child is currently being homeschooled due to health issues and requires a special diet to curb symptoms (see www.csidrecipes.com for more on this.) But writing must be a necessary element of my life despite it all. Writing is my source of expression, my therapy to sort through emotions and set backs. It allows me to take my real life experience and put it on the page in a way that others can relate to–but in the form of fiction, I have liberties to bring forth truths on emotional and spiritual levels that are more difficult in autobiographical form.

The other day I heard a blip from a video on choosing a healthy (unaltered by man) lifestyle (Paleo). The speaker–in argument for those who may say they don’t have time to eat right–said that a recent study concluded that when people tracked how they spent every hour in a week, there was on average 18 hours they couldn’t account for.

18 hours of time–wasted!

At first I’m thinking, that’s not me. My days are packed with one task after another and I could easily account for every minute. Then I started realizing how much time distractions take from my day. I wake up (well the alarm goes off anyway) at 4:45am. I have 2 cups of coffee, listen to a selection of Bible in a Year verses, delete junk email and maybe browse Facebook posts or read a couple of blog posts from my smart phone. It’s 6:15am by the time I hit the shower. Although this morning routine isn’t a bad thing, I could easily carve out 30 minutes to write in this time. That is just one example.

If I took a tally of every time I got side-tracked with a thought outside of my present task and considered every tally as 8 minutes time (the average time it takes to refocus once you are distracted or interrupted), I’m afraid of knowing how much time I really waste in a single day.

So with five minutes remaining before I have to head out the door to drop my oldest son off at high school and then head off to work, this post must end. I would love to hear about how you avoid distractions and self-induced interruptions to make time to write. I need some ideas aside from the obvious (like when I go to my phone for a specific reason, I find what I need and ignore the notification icons screaming for my time.)

Time to Dust off the Gift Shelf

beautiful old objects

Have you ever anticipated a gift, yet once you held it in your hands you weren’t quite sure what to do with it? Have you ever felt like someone went to so much trouble to buy you exactly what you needed and wanted, yet you let it sit on a shelf collecting dust because life made it seem impossible to enjoy the gift as it was intended?

To be truthful, my life has been so busy I’ve hardly noticed my gift let alone considered giving time to it. I know there is a time and place and season for things. After my last post I realized my lofty goals of finishing my novel in progress before summer was totally unrealistic. I had two of my kids graduating after all!

So I let it go, grateful I had worked far enough ahead to have submissions for my critique group through July.

Six weeks later I’m utterly exhausted. Among all my planned items I also had surgery for skin cancer which took a much larger toll on my body and mind than I imagined, took on additional hours at work, and spent three weekends in a row visiting with relatives or friends.

Summer break is now official for all my kids. We have “gotten in the groove” so to speak–the boys making their permanent dent in the couch cushions, their sun-kissed cheeks and shoulders evidence they are also getting outside. Family game nights and trips to the river are proof family time is finally a priority.

And finally, I have time to focus on writing! From the outside, I can see how people may be thinking, “Roanne, you have five kids and a full-time job. Why on earth would you try to write too?”

Well, I have asked myself the same question. I have even prayed for God to take away my desire to write and give me contentment to just raise my kids. work my day job, keep my home in order, and make time for my husband. But the thing is, writing is a part of who I am. If I don’t write, I feel a void. I get irritable and restless. I try to fill that void with other things, but it never satisfies.

1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Writing is a gift God gave to me many years ago–long before I fully understood who He was, he placed the ability to write, to use my words to work through life’s challenges. I believe through my writing He showed me the healing power of the written word so that when I finally sought Him through his Word, I would appreciate it and see it as more than just text on a page. Words can bring life. Words can move nations. Words can heal or destroy a human spirit. I am honored God has chosen me to use words as a channel to bring hope to the hurting, encouragement to those in despair, and even a smile to those too busy to notice their frowns.

I can no longer let this gift gather dust on the shelf of my heart. The calling is clear, and the opportunities abound.

How about you? Has God placed a passion in your heart that you have allowed to gather dust? Has life taken over and become a series of going through the motions with no real purpose or direction? Take some time today to sit quietly and listen. Each of us has a gift to give the world. Unlike gifts given by the world, we are not meant to keep it to ourselves. The benefit comes when we use it as it was intended and choose to bless others with it in return.

Writing This Is Like Giving Birth Without Pain Meds!

surprising-labor-and-delivery-facts-woman-in-labor-full

I gave birth to my first three children without pain medication. My first labor lasted 27 hours, so by the time I could push, I was utterly exhausted. No matter how prepared I thought I was for the  process of labor, there was no way to fully know what I was getting into. However, somehow I remained very calm through the process–I even slept during the majority of transition, sometimes only waking as the contractions subsided. Even though I was in a hospital in case things went wrong, I believed all I needed was moral support and the ability to listen to my body.

When it came time to have my second baby, my husband and I felt confident I could do it again. Although my pregnancy had its challenges, I was in better physical shape. Our second daughter was born after just 12 hours, 4 of which I would call “hard” labor. A completely different experience, I didn’t have time to meditate between contractions. Instead I hung onto the side-rail of the bed with all my might. Relaxing was not an option. This girl was making her way into the world hard and fast!

Nearly four years later, baby number three was on his way. I won’t go into all the details, but this pregnancy and labor were by far the best. My only regret was not waiting longer to go to the hospital. I could have rested, ate, and visiting with family for hours before checking in. Regardless, after 14 hours of labor, and a slightly more difficult time pushing due to my son’s fat head, I successfully birthed our third child without pain medication.

I have had two more babies (yes that is five in all), but my labors with both were induced and I opted for an epidural for various reasons.

So why am I comparing childbirth to writing a novel? Because this process of rewriting and editing my first book feels like having my first baby! I feel like no matter how much I prepare, or how hard I focus, there is going to be a tough road ahead. I want it to be great, amazing, inspiring, and a true reflection of the kind of writer, and person, I am.

Yet, every time I reach for a resource to help me along, I feel like I am reaching for a drug, something to numb the pain and take my mind of the work I must do by myself. Is the final product really going to be mine if I allow all the opinions and advice out there dictate my story? Or am I just going to be making things harder on me in the long run, when so many others have found success by taking the help they need?

When I got my first epidural, I looked at my husband and laughed! “So this is what all the fuss is about?” It was amazing. Yet, I would not have appreciated it as much if I had not first experienced labor and birth without it.

Knowing this, I wrote stories for years without a bit of help from outside sources. Whatever I had on my heart, I wrote without consideration for style, grammar, character development, or accurate details. I miss the innocence and the ignorance of those days. I had no idea what writing a novel suitable for publication would entail. Yet, those stories are still on my heart to tell. And the labor pangs are coming close enough now that I can no longer ignore them.

Do I think my first labor would have been shorter if I had opted for pain management? Maybe. But in the end, my beautiful baby girl would have still been a blue-eyed red-head with a mind of her own and an attitude that wouldn’t let anyone stop her.

The way I have heard it, most first labors are long, regardless of intervention. Yes, there are those rare occasions where women experience labor like minor gas pains, and pop out a baby in a couple of hours. Just the same, there are those authors who punch out a best seller like they are writing a grocery list.

Obviously, I am not one of them! So I am opting for help, from the best there is. I am finding inspiration to be the best author I can be from a variety of sources. Social networking is becoming a great asset, and I am finally getting the hang of Twitter (I think).

Okay, here I go. Deep breath. Focal point. Push!

One Final Scene: My Attempt at a Possible Mystery Series based in my home town of Nevada City, CA

One Final Scene

I gently squeezed the paper coffee cup in my gloved hand and braced myself for the steep climb up the paved parking lot. I was bound to hit a patch or two of black ice and if I slipped, my precious coffee would have priority over my knees.

The perpetrator had attacked his victim just after 2 that morning, no doubt taking advantage of the intoxicated, costume clung, Halloween crowd. As they stumbled between each of the six bars dotting the small downtown district, most would have been locals headed home by foot. At least two of them had decided to relieve themselves in the doorway of the old Nevada Theatre. One never made it out and the other discovered he was peeing in a puddle of blood.

Clutching the notebook and pencil in my other hand, I mentally noted one pair of steel doors at either end of the wrought iron stairs connected to the aged brick building. I made it to the top of the hill, coffee and knees intact, and rounded the corner. Puffs of white air, laced with strong coffee greeted my frozen nose, giving me just enough warning to jump out-of-the-way.

“Watch it, Bruce!” I yelped as he jumped back and looked up from his notebook.

“Sorry, Samantha. I didn’t think you’d be here yet, driving from Sac and all.”

“It’s four in the morning on a Sunday. Even taking it easy to avoid the black ice, it took me just under an hour with no traffic.” I sighed, annoyed that we had to have this conversation, again. Bruce seemed to forget I could practically drive highway 49 blindfolded, day or night.

I silently nursed my strong Flour Garden Bakery caramel macchiato while Bruce recited the details from the police who had just left to interview the bar tender at McGees, the bar just up the block from the theatre.

“The victim was a twenty-five to thirty year old, Caucasian male. Cause of death probably a stab wound under his chin. None of the witnesses the officer interviewed recognized him and he had no ID. Greg Darby was the one who found the body. Let’s pray he didn’t destroy any vital evidence. You just missed the coroner.” Bruce nodded toward the highway entrance at the bottom of Main Street. Then he turned toward the theatre entrance doors.

“We might find our only break inside. This door was cracked open slightly when the Nevada City police arrived, so there is a possibility the suspect hid behind here, waiting for the first drunk of the night to use this doorway as a urinal.”

A three-foot deep brick wall jutted out into the sidewalk on either end of the theatre entrance, shadowing just enough of each corner to conceal a couple of theatre goers. The corner to the left was blocked off with yellow crime tape, the outline of a body in the corner. The theatre had been closed for a little over ten years, but I still had vivid memories of going there as a little girl. I recalled trying to stay warm while standing in that exact corner as my mother chatted with friends and I buried my cold face in her black, wool trench coat.

“Sam? Let’s go inside.” I regretfully tossed what was left of my coffee into the mesh wastebasket on the curb and followed Bruce.

The thin layer of dust covering the box office window appeared untouched in the glow of our flashlights. I had purchased my own ticket for the premier of Mystic Pizza from that window when I was fourteen. I would never forget how Julia Roberts dumping fish into the back of a red convertible had started my obsession with romantic comedies.

Suddenly, we heard a crash coming from the balcony.

“What would the perp still be doing here?” My voice squeaked with shock as Bruce darted up the stairs. “I’ll check the lower exit along the west wall seating. Bruce— the only exit upstairs is also on the west side.”

I dashed toward the double doors leading to the lower level seats and the stage. Just as my flashlight revealed a rolling projector cart to my left, I remembered that a relatively steep ramp divided the stadium seating. Turning off my flashlight, I carefully positioned the cart between the doors behind me and the doors below. A moment later, a dark figure rushed past me, heading straight for the lower exit doors. I pushed the cart with all my strength, forcing the suspect’s feet over his head, which landed with a hard blow on the first row of wooden seats…