Monday, April 21, 2008

What is Your Destiny?

Missy, here. I'm glad you joined us in Seekerville today!

From Webster’s New World Dictionary:
1 the seemingly inevitable or necessary succession of events
2 what will necessarily happen to any person or thing; (one's) fate
3 that which determines events: said of either a supernatural agency or necessity

I’ve never really thought much about the word destiny. But as I watched Good Morning America the other morning (April 11), I was intrigued by an author who Robin interviewed. Martha Beck was promoting her new book, Steering By Starlight-- Find Your Right Life No Matter What! I haven’t read the book, but they gave a bit of summary on the show that I’d like to share. (Thank goodness we have DVR, so I could keep pausing it to write down what she was saying.)

First Ms. Beck said that sometimes the reason we’re not reaching our goals is because they’re not right for us. She said that sometimes our goals are at odds with our destiny. An example she gave is that her goal was to get her doctorate from Harvard, but her destiny was to have a child with Down’s Syndrome who would teach her so much more. She said that when she was faced with the choice about keeping the pregnancy, she felt her own destiny for the first time. Ms. Beck followed that by saying that there is something deeper than goals.

She went on to say: What’s keeping us from our destiny? Fear. We’re afraid of what people will think or that we’ll go bankrupt or will look stupid. All things that stop us are fear-based.

Okay, so that’s great. What can we do?

Ms. Beck gave 3 basic steps to take:
1. Be “still” for at least 15 minutes per day. And “still” doesn’t have to be literal. Walking or jogging can actually help release stress so you can focus.
2. Tell the absolute truth to yourself about what’s happening around and within you.
3. Consider all your options, and always do what brings the most joy at that moment.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, I want you to think for a minute, not about your goals, but about your destiny. Think beyond your expected daily word count, beyond your next contest entry, beyond your next requested proposal. I love Ms. Beck’s step number 2. Be absolutely truthful with yourself about what’s happening around and within you. My addition: Be totally honest about your writing.

What’s keeping you from your destiny? Remember, she said fear is what gets in the way. What are you afraid of? Failure? (I won’t ever finish a book… I won’t ever sell… I won’t ever write as well as so-and-so…I won’t ever sell again…My books won’t sell well or won’t earn out…I’ll get bad reviews.) Rejection? (The judge won’t get it…The judge will hate it…The editor will send a form rejection so fast my head will spin…The readers will send nasty letters…) Or do you even possibly fear success? (They may ask me to speak, and I just can’t!…I’ll have to sign books and talk to people…What if I only have one book in me?…My husband/wife may feel threatened…My friends may think I think I’m too good…I’ll have deadlines and have to meet them…)

Are you afraid of letting your emotions flow onto the paper? Are you afraid your story will be too raw? Will too much of you be on the pages for you to let other people read it? Are you afraid to tell the story God has given you because you don’t feel qualified?

Let all that go. Take time each day to be still. Tell yourself the absolute truth. Then write with joy, just for the fun of it. Let all the rest take care of itself. Pour all you have on those pages. Don’t restrain yourself—don’t think of publisher guidelines or of expectations or of anyone else reading it. Write down the story God has given you. And (even though it may go against all we’ve talked about on this blog all along!) I suggest that if you get stalled by the feedback from others, then don’t enter contests or send it to a critique partner until you’ve finished the first draft. Plow through that first draft, then begin getting feedback on it--after it’s fully formed.

What brave soul would like to share what you’re afraid of, and what you’re going to do about it?

Okay, I’ll go first. My name is Missy, and I’m afraid whatever book I sell next won’t be as good as the first. So I’ll keep working at it, revising, making it better. And I’ll trust myself with the story, and trust God to help me tell it.

Who’s next?


  1. Oh my goodness. Another confirmation for me about stuff I have been dealing with in my writing life. Missy this is a frighteningly insightful post.

    Digging deeper has been my fear. Facing emotions I am not sure I CAN face. Telling the story that needs to be told.

    Wow. I feel a tad less afraid having said it.

  2. Great post! I'm coming out of lurkdom with a plate of freshly baked pecan rolls drizzled with gooey maple topping to ask: What helps you (anyone can answer) get past your fears? What helps you lift your head and keep going after a rejection, negative feedback, or even just the fear that these will happen? What makes you press on? Not just with writing, but with submitting, putting your babies out there?

    I realize there is always the insanity defense. That's mine. But then, sometimes I fear people will find out about my insane desire to keep going. But I'd like to hear from some of you. Sheesh. I even fear posting! And yet... I'm... about... to press... publish...

  3. I have to chime in here because I've been facing the answer to this question for almost a year now. And it explains why I had to pull my bedraggle self out of the surf and onto the shores of Unpubbed Island.

    Marcie, hand me roll, I'm gonna need it after this.

    What's my biggest fear? That every rotten thing people said about me while I was growing up are true, and I'll never get past that to be the person I want to be, and consequently, the writer I've longed to be since I was a kid.

    There *chomp* I said it, and it t'weren't easy. Now--pardon me for talking with my mouth full--what am I doing about it? I'm reminding myself of the Scripture that tell me I'm a new creature in Christ and nurturing my growth with God's word. I'm living in faith that his word is right and my self-perceptions are lies ingrained by a few spiteful people. I'm pressing on in my writing life even during the times I think it's hopeless. I'm taking into consideration that what I want in my writing life may be different than what God wants from me, at least for now, and I'm praying for his direction.

    And I'm weaving all those rotten things into my work and exploring solutions from the Scriptures because I know bad things happen to people everywhere, and I believe people not only want to read something they can relate to, but they yearn to know there's an end to their crisis, and that something good will come from it.

    There ya have it. I feel downright naked and exposed now, but as Tina said, such frighteningly insightful posts require frank and honest answers. Why voice them? Because our work requires that we do the same.

    'Sides, the admission felt good. I would go take a cleansing dip in the lagoon now, but I don't care to expose THAT much after eating three of Marcie's rolls. Oy, my thighs...

  4. Tina, just go ahead and give yourself permission to dig. Tell yourself that you don't ever have the share the writing with anyone. Just let it out on paper. And cry and snot while you do it if you have to. I've done that before when I was writing about a couple dealing with infertility. We dealt with that for years (and 2miscarriages) and I cried through parts of the book. In the end, it turns out to be very therapeutic. :) And I was able to revise the book to tone it down some (and add humor). But that first draft had lots of tears on it. (By the way, that book was my GH finalist. And I think the truth of the emotions touched people.)

    I know most of us don't write literary stuff. My book won't ever be chosen by Oprah's club, because my goal is to entertain. But the emotion and truth have to be there.

  5. Marcie, so glad you hit that publish button came out of lurkdom to bring us pecan rolls!! Yum. My mom used to make those, so it reminds me of childhood. :)

    As for overcoming rejection/fear of rejection/insanity of our passion: I give credit to my stubborn genes. And to God. I came so close to quitting so many times, but every time, God gave me some little something to nudge me on. And sometimes, it was just a matter of "I'll show you!" that made me go on. "By golly, I"m not a quitter!"

    Plus, I'd already invested so much of my familys' income, I couldn't bear to give up if there was any chance on earth I might actually succeed.

    I'd also have to say that online friends and local writing friends made a difference. They were always great to tell me I had to keep at it. And if you'll brave posting more often, we'll be here to cheer you on!


  6. Hi - Robin here. I've been lurking for awhile around here getting some wonderful advice, insight, and information. Today I was expecting more of the same as soon as I saw The Seekers in bold on my Bloglines. Whoa. I wasn't expecting this. Face my fears so early in the morning? What's up with that? But I loved the definitions of goals and destiny. Wow. Very rich indeed.

    I am working on my first book. It has taken an extreme amount of courage to begin. My fear is that because it is fiction, I might be viewed by some as "not very intelligent". (I work at a university.)
    What am I going to do about it? Keep writing and trusting that this book is bigger than me - that God is in it.

    Thank you for helping me say this "out loud" - especially so early in the morning. Pass the pecan rolls please.

  7. Fear....I'll probably think of ten more in the course of the day.

    I think my whole life is about fear. Fear of confrontations, of being difficult, of public speaking of mice.

    I am so happy behind my computer. I just want to stay there and make stuff up. Do I HAVE to face my fears? I'm getting old. I've gotten by pretty well hiding back here.

  8. Kimberli, you have such a wonderful writing voice! The humor and honesty. You definitely need to keep at it.

    And you've got a great solution to those negative voices, to use them in your writing, to defeat them with scriptures and characters in stories who overcome. If you're honest in your stories, you'll definitely touch others who've had rough times. Again, like I told Tina, it can be really cheap therapy. :)

    I'd also suggest keeping a journal if you don't already do so. That way you can see on paper how you're working things out for yourself. Then later, you can use that journey to help your writing.

    You won't believe how many people have written to me and told me my book touched their lives--stories of childhood hurt, bad relationships with family members, etc. YOUR story can do that, too. Just think of all the lives you'll touch.


  9. Destiny? I've spent so much of my time dealing with other people's plans for me that I have not been able to think what my destiny is. I have tried to imagine a destiny, but that doesn't work, either.
    However, I may have had a few recent hints. When someone comes back to me after reading something I have written and says, "What you wrote helped me, and it helped my seven-year-old daughter, too," then I think maybe destiny is speaking.
    When I started writing seriously, I wanted to write a book that would take the world by storm. My needy self wanted to be held up for admiration, because I had completely failed to become what my parents wanted or what my teachers wanted, or what my employers wanted. My ego was hungry.
    Now I am starting to realize that my hungry ego set up expectations as unrealistic as those of other people. And as unsatisfying.
    What satisfies is to write truth and discover that someone needed to read truth. Maybe only one someone needed the truth I wrote, but knowing I have been the voice of truth to just one person is more satisfying to me than a top ten placement on the NYT list.
    I am still feeling my way, and I like the suggestion about being still. I need to do more of that. However, when I tell myself the truth and look for the joy, I know it is not likely my destiny to write anything that will make me famous. In fact, when I tell myself the truth, I know I would hate being famous. My personality is happiest when nobody is around.
    This is a great post. Thank you.

  10. Robin,

    So glad you got up early to join us for pecan rolls! :)

    I used to feel funny when people would ask what I wrote. But I started telling myself I'm proud of what I'm writing. That it's my calling, my career. And that I shouldn't apologize for that. I've decided that if someone looks down their nose at me, then it's their problem.

    Of course, I'm a lot like Mary. I hate any type confrontation, so my declaration is easier said than done. I would probably run if anyone said anything about it! LOL

    You know, another thought just hit me. Check out the romance stats on rwanational [dot] org. You can always quote those impressive stats to them! :)

  11. Mary, I'm going to send a mouse behind that computer to get you out of there.

    Then again, you've been busy writing those great stories, so I'd hate to mess up a good thing.

    By the way, you've done great by coming out on occasion to talk to groups and do signings. Sometimes you just have to stretch a little. And look, you even survivied! :)

  12. Katherine, I'm so there with you. I think that after years of being a stay-at-home mom I needed something for affirmation of me as a person--something outside being a good mom, good cook, good homework helper, good chauffeur, good boo-boo kisser. And writing affirmations helped me feel good about myself. They were like getting a paycheck once again.

    I still battle those needs. I want a RITA on my self! And I want some writing awards--not necessarily NYT bestsellerdom, but at least a few feathers to put in my cap. I want glowing reviews and huge sales. I want Steeple Hill to think I'm the best thing since sliced bread.

    But those awards, sales and recognition are fleeting. And they aren't the ultimate reward. The letters from readers are. The lives touched, even if it's just a little time of escapism.

    It sounds like you've got your head on straight. I love what you said: write truth and discover that someone needed to read truth. So well said!

    I also agree that even though my ego craves recognition, I wouldn't ever want to be famous. So I'll keep plugging away, writing my books, and hoping to touch lives.

    Thanks for sharing.


  13. When I read Dr. PhilMissy's post, I thought, "I don't mind sharing my fears." But then I realized I don't mind sharing the fears I don't mind people knowing. Those fears that will make me look stupid aren't the ones I'm going to lay out for anyone is blogesphere to read.

    My word verification is powdered feet. Phonetically, of course. After Janet's post, I started getting nothing word verifications so I figured Janet was to blame. I'm a much happier person if I have someone else to blame for my woes. :-) I could insert a political joke here, but I'll resist. But I am thinking it.

    So after a couple days of non-posting, my word verification interpreting skill has returned.

    Oh. The. Power.

    WOW. Instead of powerdered feet, it could be power draft (pwdft). Yes. I'm talking destiny here, folks.

    All right, back to those fears I'm avoiding blabbering on about and reducing myself to a shriveling pod of tissues.

    My deep fear is that my destiny will be persistence not payoff. Can I stick with pursuing something even if the end result (of which I will never know until the end) is that I'll never be published. That no matter how hard I work at learning to write well, no publisher will ever want my stories. That I'll be limited to reading 20-page-prologue inspirational romances for the rest of my life.

    I fear compromising just as much as I dread becoming a lemming for the sake of fitting in to the "these are the type of inspy authors we publish."

    Okay, I can see how that fear is a branch off of the one I had back in high school when I felt God calling me into the ministry. Particularly to marry a pastor. Freak me out! If any chick could be a pastor's wife, I was/am/will not be her.

    I figured to be a pastor's wife I had to have perfect hair, manicured nails, and unwrinkled clothes.

    Yesterday to church I wore my black Converse sneakers and had mouse heads painted on my nails. Oh, I forgot about the rain cloud stick-on tattoo on my left inside wrist. I was going to wear my Wonder Woman t-shirt, but I opted for a matronly yellow blouse to wear with my black slacks instead. Seemed like the thing to do wear to counter the mouse-head-fingernails.

    What's my point?

    Without a doubt I know God called me to the ministry, particularly to be the wife my pastor-husband needs. So I can feel comfortable being me amid the view of what I have of what pastor's wife should be.

    But I don't have that same confidence in relation to me being a writer. I fear I'll say something stupid (or brilliant) and some editor reading will decided I'm too weird of a person to add to their author pool. So my fears of compromising and of being a lemming arise.

    Now I'm feeling awkward about being so open. If I look stupid, just don't tell me.

  14. Hi Missy, and thanks. Yep, I journal, everywhere. I completed four bound journals by hand, and when I could no longer read my writing, I started blogs. It was such a relief when I realized my writing would always be there, publishing success or failure. That is, as long as I have my wits, a laptop, and at least four fingers on each hand :o)

  15. Mary, I had no idea you were afraid of mice giving speeches. Who knew?? Admission is half the cure.

  16. Wonderful post, Missy! It nailed me big time. I've feared failure. I've feared success. I'm such a creative worrier that I've feared both at the same time. :-)

    Before I sold, the door for historicals had opened and my book had the editor's interest. I'd pursued this dream for nine years and I wanted it, but self-doubt reared its ugly head. What if I couldn't write a second book that would measure up? What if I couldn't handle book deadlines? Horrors...what if I had to give a speech?

    My problem was looking too far ahead. Looking for trouble where none might exist. Guess what? I did sell that second book. I presented a workshop at RWA along with Debby and Leigh Bale and didn't toss my cookies. I have yet to write a book on proposal, but if the past teaches me anything, it's assured me that I can do what I've been called to do. Trying to face the future in the present is a sure prescription for misery.

    Perhaps that's why I was struck by Ms. Beck's third point: ...always do what will bring you the most joy at that moment. For some reason I tend to forget God wants that joy for us, too. He gave us talents to bless us and others, not to make us miserable.

    My name is Janet. My life is in God's hands. I'll do what I can with my writing, what I can control, then release the outcome to Him.

  17. I haven't had my coffee yet this morning because I had to help DH with a newborn calf. Cutest little thing but darn it, it's a bull. We really wanted a heifer out of this particular cow. Anyway ...

    I'm afraid that IF i finish my project and IF it sells, then I will have to admit to the publisher I can't help with marketing because I basically have no people skills and no friends.

    So it would be safer to get it about three-quarters done then decide it all needs to be written over again.

    MSEFLY ... This looks like mice-fly. There's a nasty visual -- like -- bats, maybe? Ick.

  18. Gina, I saw powdered feet, too! And I see words every so often, just not at often as you. I guess it is your destiny. ;)

    As a pastor's wife, I know how, for me, it adds another filter I send things through before showing them to the world. Sure, I worry about my clothes and kids' behavior and all that, but I also worry about every single word I say. I have to put that filter on the back burner while I write, though. And try to just be myself. And what you said leads to a great point. We have to take off all our filters when we write the first draft--don't think about contest judges or publisher guidelines or our fellow church members or parents or co-workers. Don't think of anyone who might judge us.

    Gina, I think you've done a great job of being you. And if you write your stories the way they come to you, I bet God will find them a home. You'll be liked just for who you are (Hey! The theme of Her Unlikely Family!) And then you'll find you're not just a study in persistence, and you haven't had to compromise or be a cookie-cutter writer.

    We love you just the way you are! You know, you're hysterically funny, which means you need to be writing comedy. :)


  19. Janet, I'm a worrywart, too, trying to make trouble where there may not be any. So her point #3 really struck me, too. And I love how you related it to trusting God, letting God give us joy.

    You're doing great at overcoming your fears. I was so impressed at your workshop last year! I was out in the crowd thinking how professional you all looked, how confident you sounded. So see, you're doing a great job!


  20. Ann, congrats on the new "baby" in the family. Sorry it wasn't quite what you wanted. :)

    Your fear is so understandable. I still worry about the self-promotion, afraid I'm not doing something I should. But I'm going to play Ruthy here and challenge you a little (Ruthy would probably just be mean, so aren't you lucky she's not here yet! :)). I have to say that I bet you would surprise yourself if put in a position to interact with readers. I thought your post was open, honest, and you have a good sense of humor. You could easily promote yourself online. Then maybe eventually try something small in person. My first book signing for my current book was at my church. And I was nervous as anything. But it went really well. Everyone was wonderful.

    So you could promote online, then take baby steps toward other promotion. Don't let that stop you from finishing your story! (Hey, I've been in the situation of taking forever on the last revisions because then it means it's time to mail the thing out! So I can empathize.)

    Be brave! Take it one step at a time. Like Janet said, don't worry about things way out in the future. Just write the story that's burning to be told.

    Missy :)

  21. Tina! I didn't see Mary's fear correctly until you pointed it out!

    Mary fears "pubic speaking of mice"!!! YOu know, Mare, that would scare me, too. So maybe that's not such an outrageous fear after all. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


  22. Missy, I think this is about the best post I've ever read on any blog, including my posts here.

    I should hate you. Seriously. It's like you looked into the little sore spots of our souls and said it's okay to go that step beyond, to delve and to question, and to make choices that aren't always popular with others at the moment.


    Marcie, pass me one of those pecan rolls, and thanks for bringing them, girlfriend.

    And since you asked, and I haven't gone any further than your question so I might be repeating someone else's answer, here it is:

    What keeps me going time after time, rejection after rejection, smackdown after smackdown?

    I get seriously ticked off and that only makes me more determined to get where I want to go. Did ya ever see that Veggie Tale shortie with Larry the cucumber and the grand piano, done like a silent movie?

    "Ze piano must go UP!"

    And at least a gazillion steps and two shiftless helpers await the poor cucumber with his grand piano that must be delivered...

    It's like those stairs. Every time I tumble back down, I plant my feet, thrust my chin, and pretend Rocky music is playing somewhere because...

    "Ze piano must go UP!"

    And that's it in a nutshell. (Speaking of nuts, these rolls are to die for, send me your recipe, oh my goodness, there's real maple syrup in this frosting, not just flavoring. You can be my new best friend.


  23. Wow! I'm glad I'm reading this blog last today. I'll try to do this without being reduced to a puddle since I'm at work.

    Like Janet, I fear failure and success. In recent years, I've come to accept that I have perfectionist tendencies (Thanks, Mom!) So I fear rejection and any feedback that suggests I'm definitely aspiring to the wrong profession. At the same time, I do have a healthy ego and a level of confidence in my skills (Thanks again, Mom!) that I believe I can write something publishable. So what if I do but no one wants to publish it? What does that say? It's a vicious circle.

    And let's not even go to the pastor's wife filter. It can be suffocating at times. It's one of the things that keeps me from making new friends out here in the real world. It also makes me fret about what I write. Will my husband approve? (He's pretty good about that actually.) Will the family (long line of pastors and ministry-oriented folks) approve? Will congregation approve? Will folks ever allow me to be myself? Will I ever stop looking for the approval of others?

    Don't answer all that. On good days, I know the right answers and I'm empowered. On not so good days...

  24. Ann, Mary can help you, honey.

    She has no people skills or friends, either.

    Ask her.


  25. Missy, truly terrific post. As scary as it is to look at what scares me, I going to dive in.

    I could start off with a giant ditto. As I read through everyone's posts, I thought, "Yeah, that's what scares me." Then, I'd read another, and think, "No, that scares me even more."

    Basically, I'm a scaredy cat. (I can provide varification of this, if anyone needs it.)

    I'm afraid that I will have given all this time, effort, and money and still sit holding manuscripts that don't find a home.

    I'm afraid of looking stupid or being told I don't have what it takes.

    My biggest fear is that I'll lose sight of my priorities of God and family when the story seems to "take over".

    I fear I'm not a risk-taker. Stepping out of my comfort zone is painful, and even though my head knows it's what I need to do, my pounding heart says differently.

    A few months ago, I laid all my fears before the Lord on paper. I have been amazed at how He has taken each of them, one by one, and chipped away at them in ways I never dreamt of. My fears, which I'd let paralyze me at times, couldn't be excuses anymore. He made it clear that I wasn't in charge of the Big Picture, and that He was.

    So what keeps me going? Remembering that my job is to do the best with the talent He's given me to glorify Him. Period.

    (Ruthy, I applaud your tenacity, and I love the Veggie Tale reference. Perfect.)

  26. Ann has no people skills???

    And I, Mary, have no people skills???

    Yeah we'll get along great.

    Mice giving speeches is like a nightmare come to life for me.

    Also I am now so hungry for a pecan roll I'm dangerous...people are starting to LOOK like pecan rolls.

    It seemed like I had something meaning full to say, but it escapes me now.

    I'm with Gina on this one. Of course I don't mind admitting my long as I admit only the ones I don't mind admitting..

    The rest of them...well I'm just to afraid to say them out loud.

    Leaving work for a snack... is a twinkie enough like a pecan roll to count??? I'll report back.

  27. Thanks, Ruthy. Here, have another roll, please. Or, since it is afternoon here and the aroma of freshly baked brownies is wafting throughout the house, please, have one of those, too.

    "I just printed out "Ze piano must go UP!" I cut it out and taped it to my computer. Ah, the immortal words of the French Peas, who could ask for a more poigniant inspiration?

  28. Patrica, I didn't know you were a PW, too. That dratted filter can be unnerving at times. I finally have reached the point that "pastor's wife" is one of the last descriptors I give of myself.

    In fact I relish going to a chuch activity and people no know who I'm married. Granted, once they realize the truth, we have a tad awkward moment. I'm sure they're torn between feeling stupid for not knowing and angry at me for not fessing up.

    Oh well.

    Yuck. My word verification is hatch meat. blech

    I read something recently that keeps lingering in my mind today so pardon me for going off topic for a moment.

    "About that xxx scene, what would your pastor or the little old ladies at your church think about you writing that?"


    What if we changed that to "about your affinity for saying crap or your need to respond with something sarcastic or your wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt to church on a Sunday morning..."

    double grrrr

    We could "what if" and "what about" our lives to death if we focus on what other people think.

    Can you imagine the Apostle Paul hearing, "Paul, your prayers and affirmations were greatly appreciated. However, your reference to Mrs. So-and-So as a Jezabel and hard words about sex...well, what would the other apostles think? You may want to consider less offensive language."

    Sometimes I just hate contests.

    Gotta go type hatchmeat.

    Phonetically, of course.

  29. WOW, Missy, talk about aiming the harpoon straight at one's fears!! Excellent post and excellent revelation!

    Mine? My biggest fear used to be that I would never get published. Now that I am, not much has changed -- I'm STILL afraid I will never get published ... ever again!

    Other than that, not much else scares me ... except Ruthy and one-star reviews, of course ... in that order. :)

  30. Add me to the pastor's wife list, though I tell people I'm not, quote, The Pastor's Wife (train them up in the way they should go.) My husband got a call to a church in an agricultural area, which is why I now live between the middle of nowhere and a herd of cows.

    While driving to the church this afternoon to meet my husband for lunch, I turned my head and saw a small plane flying way too close to the ground and heading straight toward me. My "biggest fear" changed in a rapid heartbeat. Then I realized it was a cropduster.

    Oh wow, my word verification sounds like "meek". Does that mean I'll inherit the earth?

    Oh gosh, it just started hailing--hard. My poor car!

  31. Ruthy! I love the Veggie Tales story! My kids never got into them, so I missed that one. Thanks so much for sharing it. It really does speak to me. I'm just that stubborn. :)

    Patricia, you hit a really great point. Some days we're prepared to deal with the stresses of this career. Some days we're not. I guess we need to pray that more and more, we have the good, strong days.

    You know, it's hard to just say, hey, I don't care what people think if me. Because, for one thing, it's probably never going to be true. But also, we do have to have some sort of sense about others around us. I guess what we need to focus on, though, is being the person God created us to be. Because that's enough.

    I love these David Crowder lyrics:

    "You make everything glorious and I am yours.....
    what does that make me?"

    Love it, love it! I get goosebumps evertime I hear that part of the song.

    Gina, my word verification is cavhog-- calve hog. A new breed! :)


  32. Gina, You're a pastor's wife???

    Wow, I feel so differently about you now.


  33. Lorna said: "I have been amazed at how He has taken each of them, one by one, and chipped away at them in ways I never dreamt of. My fears, which I'd let paralyze me at times, couldn't be excuses anymore. He made it clear that I wasn't in charge of the Big Picture, and that He was."

    Good for you!! We all need to do that. And to trust that God is taking care of it.

    And isn't that comforting? I've had to rely on that, especially when my oldest started driving! Oh, my goodness. That was tough to let God take it over.

    Yes, I'm a control freak. :) Trying not to worry is really hard for me.


  34. Gina, what a great point about Paul!

    Julie, you've reminded us that once we make the sale (or 3), the fears just keep right on going. It's something we need to nip in the bud right now. Because fear keeps us from being all we can be.


  35. Kimberli,

    I guess silly little fears about publishing books do fade when we're faced with a plane flying straight at us! LOL

    Mary, you're so bad! Quit being mean to Gina! :)


  36. Well, dinner is on the way! Tonight, it's mac and cheese with chicken--courtesy of a friend.

    You see, I broke my foot yesterday--at this friend's house. So the poor thing feels so bad she insists on feeding us. I know my husband is thankful. He's been having to do everything since yesterday afternoon.

    I got a walking boot today. I hope I'll be able to put a little pressure on it soon. It's still too painful.

    Pull up a chair and enjoy the mac, cheese and chicken!

  37. hahahahaha, you feel differently about Gina now?

    Like how differently??

  38. So let's do some soul searching. I'm glad you ladies are willing to tackle that. Cause I myself am a bit drained and yes afraid to look deeper still. But I suppose I must be honest.

    I'm afraid of my destiny as well. Because I have no idea where I'm headed. Every step I've taken to date has been shut down. the roads I walked had detour signs posted.

    And then a big old wait sign.

    I used to sing, in singing groups, solo, backup. I tried to carry on with what I knew and was told I didn't have a talent for it.

    I've taught bible studies for years, last time I did so, the person who I subbed for came back and retaught everything to make sure it got covered right.

    I used to write, for hours on end. Have been doing so since I was in grade school. Now squeezing a page out can be detrimental to my health.

    I have been looking at where I am in life. What am I supposed to do?

    I remind myself that God has a plan. A GREAT PLAN

    I just wished he'd share a bit more of it with me, cause I'm scared to death. I'm scared he's going to leave me right here with dreams I'm afraid to dream because another door will close if I step toward it and another person will say I just don't have that talent, even though I know God has given it to me and graciously let me use it all this time.

  39. I'm starting to feel a little bit differently about you too, Tina.

    Missy's a PW, too. Oh, wait, were we supposed to keep that a secret???

  40. Tina P., you need to turn those negative people's voices off! Don't let them keep you from dreaming.

    We hear so much negative in the world, we just need to let it go. Blow it off! I always tell my kids that they'll get lots of negative stuff at school, so they have to at least be nice to each other at home!

    Be nice to yourself, Tina. Use positive self talk. I had a friend whose husband was verbally abusive. So she made a tape of affirmations that she played in the car, and it made a huge difference in how she felt about herself.

    Positive self talk. YOu can do it.

    Tina P. says, "I am talented. I am giving. I love to write. I have a gift of writing and will use it to glorify God."

    See? :) Try it.


  41. Mary, it's not a secret. In fact I mentioned it in an earlier comment--IF YOU HAD BOTHERED TO READ MY COMMENTS!



  42. enjoyed the post and banter today.

    Gina no word in my verification today

    woops that one didn't work

  43. DUDE!!!

    The other Tina.

    You came to the right place if you want a hug and a loud opinion.

    In the words of my niece, Alex. God gives us grace for one day at a time.

    God gave you the talent and desire to write. Dropped it right there in your heart.

    Your job is obedience, and his is to decide your audience.

  44. "I'm scared he's going to leave me right here with dreams I'm afraid to dream because another door will close if I step toward it and another person will say I just don't have that talent, even though I know God has given it to me and graciously let me use it all this time."

    Miss Tina (Pinson), wow, doesn't that sound familiar. Darlin', those size 8 shoe prints you're walking in are mine. Take heart--you are definitely not alone in your feelings. Last week I almost cancelled my reservation to the Blue Ridge Conference because I didn't want to spend the money when my writing life was a mess and totally directionless. After prayer and seeking a multitude of counsel--and evaluating the total lack of logic in that line of reasoning--I decided to go.

    Feel free to send me a personal email anytime you need to chat. I'm slowly walking through this valley and I'd love to drag you with me. I don't know if I'm allowed to post my email address in these comments, but you can find a link at the bottom of the first post on my Carolina Towns and Trails blog.

  45. Lorna's applauding me!!!

    I'm a happy girl, I'm a happy girl!

    Thanks, Lorna. There are other words that would fit where you so nicely put 'tenacity', but we won't say them here...

    And I gotta tell you guys, this has been wonderfully beneficial to me, just sensing the honesty, the integrity and the grit behind these posts, 'cause it takes one heck of a lot of courage to not only admit it, but say it out loud, type it and hit 'send'...

    Bless you all. And me, too.

    I love that we've developed a sisterhood (and brotherhood when our fellows jump in and swap howdies with us) and that we can actually chat it up and be ourselves. Well. MOSTLY ourselves. There are definitely parts of me that should be kept under long, flowing skirts or thick denim, so I'll spare you THOSE....

    But the heart of us, of women, of writers...

    Yeah, that's pretty awesome, isn't it?


  46. I love that I scare people.

    Nodding and waving to Julie.

    Yup. Be afraid, sister. Be very afraid...


    Hey, those brownies do smell good, Marcie, and I love that you're a baker, too. May I have a smidge of that double dutch frosting on mine, please?

    And a diet soda.


    All about the trade-off, ain't it ladies???


  47. Tina Pinson, where's that poem that should be posted RIGHT NOW above your computer...

    Dance like no one is watching,
    Sing like no one is listening,
    Love like you've never been hurt...

    Darlin' girl, that's where you need to go. If we work and strive to impress others, or wait to please them, success might be a looooong time coming.

    Pray your heart.

    Live your love.

    Forge ahead.

    Laugh into the sun, laugh harder into the rain. Tackle the dark and spit in the face of rejection.

    Yup. You're tough. Stay tough. We'll hug you, then we prod you into spreading your wings. No one's allowed to take the magic away, sweetcakes. It's not theirs to have.

    Grab those gifts from God and go with them, whether you're singing, writing, teaching, whatever. I've never been anyplace where there wasn't the occasional "I can do it better than anybody" person...

    Like, hello? Actually, a variety of methods for singing, teaching, writing and living are quite acceptable in modern times, otherwise we'd all be dressing like pilgrims or polygamist wives in a compound...

    Be yourself, Cupcake.


  48. I don't know who has a tougher row to hoe -- pastor's wives or missionaried. Wow. Talk about being out there on the front line.

    In honor of you all, I am tempted to light the deep fryer and fry up some twinkies and snickers bars :-)

  49. Ruthy's poem made me think of Leeann Womack's song "I Hope You'll Dance." I consider it my theme song. Tina P, it's well worth a listen. I also recommend the book, If You Want to Walk on the Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. It deals with fear. Bottom line, there's no guarantee we'll be successful in anything we do. Or that others won't put down our efforts. But we've only got one life to live. So let's not sit it out when we can dance. Even when we don't know all the steps. How else can we learn?

    Patricia, I didn't realize you were a PW. Proud of you. Proud of Gina. Proud of Missy. Proud of any woman who carries that title. It's a tough job.

    Marcie, In the early years rejection didn't throw me because I knew I had lots to learn. In a sense I expected rejection. It helped to remember the work was rejected. Not me. But later, when my manuscripts were finaling and winning contests, rejection hurt worse. I told myself rejection can be bad timing, not bad writing. This a tough business. We have to be tougher.


  50. Ann, I think missionaries would have a much harder time--living away from family and the familiar.

    Oh, I've heard of fried twinkies!! But I've never gotten to taste them. Sounds wonderful to me. Bring 'em on! I think I could like anything fried. Have you ever had fried dill pickle slices? Yum!


  51. Great post today, Missy! Sorry I'm late--I hate it when the library's wireless is down and I don't have internet access all afternoon! Talk about withdrawal!

    Marcie, pass the pecan rolls.

    My biggest fear right now is doing back to a 9-5 job. My last one drained me both creatively, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I was a wreck. Bad mental associations with biotech is making the hunt for the next job very scary. I hate being a writer. I love being a writer. I hate not being able to write full time.


  52. GREAT post, Missy. I'm afraid of success, apparently, because all those things you listed under success are all things that I fear. But I'm also afraid of failing, so I guess I fear everything! That's bad, isn't it?

  53. thanks ladies, for your candor for your hugs, for your wisdom.

    I really do keep getting up and dusting myself off and trying to go at it again. I do realize and feel deeply that I keep heading back to the same thing as I knew it. The familiar zone where I lived in the last few in years. The place where I did what God wanted for that time. I'm probably not explaining it well.

    But I think I'm in a holding pattern so to speak or perhaps I'm just like Camy in her last post.

    Camy said . . . In looking for a job.

    My last one drained me both creatively, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I was a wreck. Bad mental associations with biotech is making the hunt for the next job very scary. I hate being a writer. I love being a writer. I hate not being able to write full time

    We started a business about for years ago, which crept into my time and creativity. Stealing away more and more energy. And as sit at the desk, getting all the paperwork and billing done I sometimes love it and hate it.

    And wish I could stop and go back to the way it was, when my children were home and in school and I had long hours of my own to unleash my characters on the page. But I know life isn't lived in the past either. I know God has something new and wonderful for me to you my talents again.

    I just keep waiting.

    But Camy, your last comment about the job really says alot, and if you could come out of the funk of work and find your creativity. I know I will.

    I do need to look for that new audience and that new dance step.

    Kimberli, thank you, you can drag me along, I may kick and scream some, but I appreciate the offer.

    All of you, thank you.

  54. Gina and Kimberli, you too?

    Missy, it's not so much that I can what people think about me. I'm very conscious of not doing things that will generate controversy or cause others to look crossed-eyed at Christianity. We have so many questionable examples, even if they are like 1% of the Christian population. The problem is they're the ones that are most vocal and/or most seen.

    So sometimes, in trying to be the best witness I can, I twist myself in knots.

  55. "So sometimes, in trying to be the best witness I can, I twist myself in knots."

    Yes, have to serve as an example, and we'll become more like Him as we grow in grace, but we can't be more than we are. If we try, the facade will eventually slip and then we feel guilty for not being perfect.

    Face it, dear, we have to wear this skin as long as we're on this earth, and most of the time there's no getting past the fact that we're human. So relax and be the best yourself the Lord has taught you to be. If the congregation doesn't like it, tell your husband to preach a long sermon on Super Bowl Sunday, then let's see who's perfect ;o)

  56. Patricia, I have that same worry--about how I portray Christianity. And about how I portray my church and my husband(even if he can take care of himself.) :)


  57. I like that Kimberli, although given that my husband is an ex-jock, I'm more likely to get a long sermon on Earth Day than Super Bowl Sunday!

    Missy, you're right. If I relax more, He'd probably shine through more easily anyway!