Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Even the Best Laid Plans…


Last year our family made a big move. It was one we’d looked forward to for years and our plans had been set in place. Once my husband retired and our youngest graduated high school, we would bid farewell to the suburbs of Ft. Worth and head to the coastal plains of Texas to my husband’s family ranch. There, we would renovate his parents’ house and live happily ever after. 


I carefully planned my contract and writing schedule around that move, so all books would be turned in well before the big day arrived. It was a good plan. A doable plan. And I was on track.

Then our youngest decided to change things up a bit by graduating early.

Okay… This is good. We could even bump up our move date from June to March or April. Awesome.

But somewhere along the way, the nagging pain I’d had in my right arm for over a year got the best of me, so I went to the doctor. In January they graciously informed me that I had a torn rotator cuff and would need surgery ASAP.

Being a fairly upbeat person, I thought, “I can do this. It’s just a little speedbump.” Then they told me that my recovery would take the better part of a year AND I would not even be allowed to lift that arm for four months.

What? Four months? But we’re about to move.

I wanted to cry. We’d waited so long. We still had to finish getting the house ready to sell. There was tons of packing to do.

I did cry then. And prayed. And a few weeks later, after the final book had been submitted, I had the surgery. That was February 16th. Yet, by the grace of God, our house went on the market in early April and we moved on May 18th. 

A week later, after we'd somewhat settled into our one-room camphouse (try cramming 3 people, 2 dogs and 2000 sq. feet of stuff into 900 sq. feet),
We started demo on our new home.
And while that kept us busy initially, I just knew there would be lots of downtime to come, giving me all the time I’d need to get a new proposal submitted before ACFW in September.

Boy, was I wrong. The house ended up being taken down to the studs, then, slowly but surely, put back together. I found myself having to make decisions on plumbing and electrical locations. Not to mention flooring, paint colors, appliances and kitchen cabinets. I painted walls, ceilings and doors. And while it was all good, I was busier than ever, up at the crack of dawn and collapsing into bed after a late supper. And then Hurricane Harvey hit. 

While we suffered no damage personally, our little rural town was hit hard. Work on the big house came to a screeching halt as a community banded together to help those in need. And even though I still had a proposal to write, it suddenly didn’t seem as important.
ACFW came. I went, but still no proposal. I told my editor I’d have it to her by the end of October, then, despite having diligently worked on the proposal, had to let her know it still wasn’t ready. The last day of November, two weeks before we moved into our new home that was originally scheduled to be finished in October, I sent off my proposal.
By now you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
We’d planned and planned for our big move. I’d planned to get that proposal knocked out during the downtime I was certain I'd have. Never had I expected I’d suddenly need surgery or that a record-shattering hurricane would strike south-east Texas.
But God…
God wasn’t surprised. He knew all those things would happen.
Sometimes we forget that. So when things don’t go the way we planned, we get discouraged. Frustrated. Dare I say, angry?
So what are we to do during those challenging times when things don’t come together the way we’d envisioned?
  • Pray – This is one of those things that should go without saying, yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve charged ahead without taking the time to pray. Commit the plans you have made to the Lord and then, if they don’t pan out the way you expected, pray some more. Ask God to show you what it is He wants you to do.
  • Trust – Even though we may think we know what’s best, God knows better. Still, there are times when it takes a conscious effort to trust His sovereignty. To let go of those plans we’ve so carefully laid out and allow Him show us something better.
  • Be obedient – There are many times in life when God tells us to wait. Waiting is rarely fun. But when we let go and let God, He can lead us to something far better than we ever imagined. If I had submitted my proposal before last year’s ACFW conference, the ending would have been completely different. And, frankly, somewhat boring. But because I had the opportunity to brainstorm with my roommate, we came up with something much more exciting that elevated the rest of the plot.
  • Trust some more – God’s got your back. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Prayerfully trust and He will lead you in the way you should go, when you should go.

So let's talk about this. Are you a planner or do you tend to go with the flow? How do you respond when God derails your plans? And when you leave a comment, your name will go into the hat for a chance to win the first 2 books in my Rocky Mountain Heroes series.

https://www.amazon.com/Their-Ranch-Reunion-Mountain-Heroes/dp/0373622953/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520194682&sr=8-1&keywords=their+ranch+reunion
The Rancher Next Door 

Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she'll have to share ownership of the home she's inherited with her first love—and first heartbreak—Andrew Stephens. The man who fled their tiny Western town is back and standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Now a successful businessman, Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly's too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. When fire ravages her inn and she and her daughter move in to their shared property, Andrew's in over his head. Time is running out and Andrew must decide: leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly's heart.


A Family for Christmas
Lacie Collier is determined to give her niece, Kenzie, the best Christmas! But Lacie's got her work cut out for her when they spend the holidays at her Christmas-averse mother's home. With his focus on keeping his own mother's holiday traditions alive, sheriff's deputy Matt Stephens is surprised to see his old friend Lacie back in Ouray. He's always regretted that their friendship became strained after he started dating her sister in high school. But it's pure shock he experiences when he sees Kenzie, whose uncanny resemblance to Matt is undeniable. This Christmas will bring new memories for Lacie and Matt...if they can open themselves to the possibility of love.





Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

86 comments:

  1. Oh, Mindy, you really have been through it. I think crying a bit every now and then isn't a bad thing. Glad you were able to rest in God and trust Him through the process.

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    1. Erica, I often wonder how I'd get through the day without God. I'm so glad He's always there and that He never changes. And yes, a good cry can be very beneficial. ;)

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  2. Bless your heart, Mindy, you've really had a rough time. But I'm glad the Lord brought you all through each challenge and obstacle, and now you're able to use your experiences to encourage others.

    I tend to have a plan, but have learned over the years that God's timing is ALWAYS best---even if I don't understand why something has happened (or hasn't happened!) and things haven't gone as I'd envisioned.

    Congratulations on your newest releases---love those covers!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Thanks, Patti Jo. And no sympathy needed. I've learned that no matter what the circumstances, whether I like them or not, God's got a plan and that ALL things, good or bad, really do work together for good.

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  3. Mindy what a year! Remember to give yourself credit for being so prepared that your books were done and you gave yourself time to do all you needed. If you'd been wildly over-estimating all you could get done and cutting things too tight, you'd've run into a lot more trouble.
    And old saying i learned in college about taking final exams.
    Pray for all the help God has to give...and study as if there is no God.

    This combo gets you through a lot and if you switch work and preparation...for study...you did that.
    Love the move to the country

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    1. Mary, it is by the grace of God that I didn't overestimate AND that I was able to get those books completed before the surgery. Because when I signed that contract, surgery was no where on my radar.

      And thanks for the tip. I love that. Almost as much as I'm loving the country. My girls ask me what I miss about the city. Other than them, not a thing.

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  4. Beautiful words of wisdom, Mindy. Some things are just out of our control and totally fly in the face our "our plans." Thank you for this reminder of how we can approach (and get through) those uncertain times with God's help.

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    1. You're welcome, Glynna. It's so easy to blow through life on our own strength (guilty) and then whine and complain when things don't turn out the way we thought they would. It's nice to know there's a safe place we can land, cry a little, and then pull ourselves back up, encouraged that God has something better for us.

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  5. Mindy, you certainly had a wild year! But gosh, it seems like two years ago that you had your surgery!! (I'm remembering seeing photos at the Cafe of you trying to cook without raising your shoulder!) You've crammed at least two years of work into that year. I'm so glad you're finally able to settle in some.

    Hope they approved that proposal!

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    1. Me too, Missy. And yes, when I look back, it doesn't seem like it was only a little over a year ago this craziness began. It's nice to be in the midst of a calm for a change.

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  6. Hi Mindy, I love your story. In the past few days, I got some good news and my first instinct was to call my husband. Then it hit me that I needed to THANK God first. I'm so glad #1 on your list was to pray.

    I'd love to see pictures of your house. I bet all the bumps made you even more thankful the day you moved in.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jackie, I do the same thing. I get news, good or bad, and often my first instinct is to share it with someone else when I should be bowing my head and sharing it with God. Yes, I'm really good at driving myself crazy.

      And I think the thing I appreciated most when we finally moved in was privacy. If I need quiet, like when my guys are watching an action movie with the volume all the way up, I now have places I can go and hide. I like that.

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    2. I get that. For many years we watched Sports Center every morning. I didn't know the news, but I could talk sports with anybody. And I was a real girly girl growing up. Having sons changed me, but I wouldn't trade those boys for anything.

      Have a great day!

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  7. Yup, I’m a planner, much like yourself. When our plans get derailed, frustration and anger do build but the approach of prayer, trust, and obidencd helps tremendously. It’s hard in that moment but character-building, for sure.

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    1. MJSH, you are so right about those difficulties building character. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? :)

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  8. I am definitely a planner. And have been through several times when things didn't go as planned. We planned to get pregnant when I was 25. My daughter came when I was 32. My husband planned to find a better job for 6 years. When we did, we planned to buy a house within the first 3 months of the move. It took 6. The book I just had published last November was written in 2011. Yes. God's plans aren't always the same as mine, but they are always good. Thanks for sharing your struggles with us.

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    1. Congratulations on your release, Amy! And yes, God's plans are always better.

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  9. Thanks for sharing pics of your new home and sharing your heart....very inspiring! It made my day!
    Now if I could win your books...lol...love to read!
    Hope 2018 is a great year for you!

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    1. Thank you, Jackie S. So far this year has been much calmer.

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  10. I'm a planner and scheduler. Time management is one of my hobbies. I do not go with the flow, I deny the existence of flow. Until this winter.
    I semi-retired last April and finally had control over my schedule, or so I thought. Got some flotsam and jetsam out of the way ("Meet George Jetsam"), set up a couple of gigs for the retirement income, and prepared to write. At the end of December I set up an ambitious writing schedule, spending three mornings a week JUST on my fiction, doing my make-a-living nonfiction in the afternoons, and spending Fridays on blogs, contests, queries and other business. It was going to be great. It was My Time. I'd earned it. I deserved it.
    To date, the first week in March, I've been able to work that schedule three to five days. Snow storms, broken appliances including the snow blower, a car that died, a car that needed to be bought to replace it, an auto accident (Yes I'm okay), my husband had pneumonia, mice in the kitchen, and two separate instances of frozen pipes. I was derailed, to say the least. It was either seek Him more deeply or give up. I'm blogging with you guys today so obviously I haven't given up.
    These are the times that make us who we are. If we survive.
    I'll be popping in a lot today, I'm SNOWBOUND. Again.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Sorry, Kathy, but I couldn't help laughing as I read your post. Probably because I could see so much of myself in there. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? I think we're growing tougher by the day.

      I find myself romanticizing about being snowbound. Then again, I live in Texas where we rarely, if ever, are truly snowbound, even if they do close the schools when there's only a half inch of snow. Snow is an event here. However, if I had to deal with it for months on end, I know I'd feel much different. Having grown up in Michigan, I think it would only take me one winter up north before I'd be high-tailing it back to the Lone Star state.

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    2. Oh, Kathy! I feel your pain!

      Your schedule sounds great, and much like my "perfect" schedule. Have I ever spent a week on that perfect schedule?

      Short answer: NO.

      So I have my schedule written out, but every morning I ask God to prioritize my day to fit His will. My day rarely works out like I planned...

      And enjoy your snow day!

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    3. The beauty of a snow day is I get to write. All other things being equal...

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    4. Mindy, don't apologize for laughing. It IS funny. The best-laid plans and all that. And I did keep writing, just not the way I'D planned. When the washing machine broke, I printed stuff out and line-edited at the Laundromat.

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    5. Jan, do you write your schedule in pencil or pen? ;)

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  11. Great post Mindy. Don't you love how things always work out in the end? It's kind of like writing a book. Our characters have to go through all that angst and conflict, but the end is HEA. It all comes down to those lessons in trust that we are so pathetically slow to learn and apply to our next "crisis" That's a great cover on your book - love the mountains in the background. Can't wait to read it.

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    1. Cindy, I love that you said that "we are so pathetically slow to learn." We ARE a pathetic lot, aren't we? I know I am anyway. While angst and conflict may be good in a story, in reality, they stink. Especially when they come in a big bundle.

      I love that cover, too. It's one of my favorites.

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  12. Mindy, thanks for your gentle and most clear reminder that God's in control and always has His act together! I needed to read these comforting words as guilt tries to rear its head after calling out of work today during an 18-inch snow storm.

    Would enjoy reading your novels.

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    1. Elaine, I'm guessing those 18 inches of snow weren't a part of your plans, were they? Stay safe and warm.

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  13. I thought I had kept up with your crazy year through your Yankee Belle Cafe posts, but I had forgotten half of it!

    I still don't know how you managed to pack, move, sell your house, renovate the new house without using your right arm! Although I know you had a lot of good help. :-)

    By nature, I am a planner. I like to see what's ahead and prepare for it. But God has a way of taking our old nature and turning it toward Him, doesn't He? So now when I make plans, I know it all depends on what His plans are.

    I've also learned that you can argue with your Maker, but you know you just can't win (I love that line from a Rich Mullins song).

    So your four points hit home with me.

    One song I teach my Sunday School class every year - and we sing it almost weekly - is "Trust and Obey." They are preschoolers, and my prayer is that when things get tough twenty, thirty, or forty years from now, that song will come back to their mind.

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    1. Jan, that is one of my favorite hymns. Both trust and obedience take action on our part, though, and that's where we often drop the ball. Fortunately, balls usually bounce. Perhaps smack us in the face when we're not looking. :P

      Yes, I've learned to write my plans in pencil, but perhaps chalk would be better. Easier to erase.

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  14. Oh, Mindy. What a year! I'm glad this year is off to a calmer start. I was so impressed you had your books written before everything went wonky! I hope your shoulder is doing better. Those kinds of surgeries and recoveries are truly a-day-at-a-time venture.

    I am most definitely a planner. I've had to learn how to lean into God when He changes (derails) my plans. I'm learning to write them in sand rather than cement. And learning to trust Him when He makes changes has been a life-long lesson. I'm better about it, but still . . . God's definitely done that with my writing journey. He keeps reminding me His timing is perfect. So, I remember that when I start to get frustrated, or even to compare my journey with another's.

    Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story, and the lessons you've learned in walking through last year.

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    1. Jeanne, aren't you glad that God isn't as impatient with us as we can be when things don't go our way? As for you writing journey, remember, He gave you the gift of writing to use for His glory in HIS time. And things will come together better than you could have imagined.

      The arm is still a struggle at times, but not near as painful as it was last year at this time. ;)

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  15. Mindy, thanks for the post. It sounds like you had a stressful year. I do know that trusting in God is the only way to get through that.

    My past week has shown me how important it is to trust in God. A week ago we were standing vigil at my mom's hospital bedside. Yesterday we held a beautiful funeral service for her, filled with music. Even though it was extremely cold and there was enough snow that many people weren't able to make it to the service, it was still a beautiful celebration of life. Her 5 grandsons and 3 granddaughters were the pallbearers. It was a wonderful sight to see those 8 young people (age 15-26) who had meant so much to her to be there for her now. Her first grandchild, my daughter Laura who died at 17 months, was a memorial pallbearer. I know my mom is now with her in heaven. Because my mom was in a wheelchair for 28 years with MS, it is so comforting to think of her now standing and walking again and free from the pain she had experienced the last few years.

    Please put me in the drawing for the books.

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    1. Sandy, death is one of those things that is never a part of our plans. I'm so sorry for your loss. Saying goodbye to those we love isn't easy. But to know that your mother is now able to run on streets of gold alongside Laura should help ease the heartache just a little. Especially if you have the assurance that you'll be running with them one day.

      Also, I love that you called your mother's funeral a celebration of her life. She was alive and shared her life with so many. That is something that deserves to be celebrated.

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  16. Love this, Mindy. Great reminder and motivator because I tend to do a deer-in-the-headlights freeze when my plans collapse. Then I tend to take my frustration (and sarcasm) out on God. Then I might have a pity party. And when I finally come out of the other side I give the situation over to God. I don't always listen mind...sometimes I'm too busy creating a plan B which inevitably falls apart and then...you'd think I'd have learned by now but no....we repeat the whole cycle again. lol

    No need to enter the draw, Mindy. I have all your books and love 'em!!!

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    1. You know, Kav, we could have been separated at birth, because you just summed me up perfectly. Except I think I may be on plan X by now. I guess we're just planners at heart. Though we need to remember not to cling to them too tightly.

      And thank you for making my day. :D

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  17. Mindy, I'm sorry that 2017 was a challenging year for you and your family.
    I appreciate your list of things to do in challenging times.
    I believe your post and its message is important.
    Thank You.

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    1. Thank you, Theresa. We all face challenging times. The best we can hope for is to learn from them.

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  18. Hi Mindy! To answer your question, I'm both a planner and a "go with the flow" person! I think you can be both! I plan as much as I can and that goes along well but then sometimes plans go out the window and I have to "go with the flow"!!!! I try not to get upset and realize that there might be a purpose in the craziness so just hold on for the ride! I'm not always successful but I do try! Enjoyed your post!

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    1. Valri, your approach is perfect. And yes, sometimes we do have to hold on for the ride. Even if we get bucked off, there's no telling where we might land.

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  19. Mindy, I'm sure God was patting you on the back and letting you have a good cry...and then He helped you pull yourself together.
    Unfortunately, I have a history of plowing though what I want to do before realizing there's no way to knock down a God-erected wall. Only after I've slammed against that wall a few times do I admit defeat, cry over my bruised shoulder, and wait for God to show me what's next.

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    1. Linda, you mean you only bruise your shoulder? I guess I should stop trying to go at things head-first. :D But just imagine what might be on the other side of that wall if God didn't put it in our path. Or maybe not. I shudder to think what we might have to face.

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  20. Mindy, I didn't realize everything that was happening to you! So glad you got through it all...with prayer!

    I've mentioned before that a few years ago, I turned my focus to working in God's perfect time. Somehow, he clears my schedule or gives me the wherewithal to get projects done on time. I try not to worry and put my trust in him. Prior to my last submission, I had a mini-meltdown one day at my desk when I couldn't "see" the middle and end of the new story. Thankfully, I gave it to him, said my Writer's Prayer, asked for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and found the peace I needed...and the story started to flow. Yes, I completed it in his perfect time, which didn't seem possible a few days earlier.

    God is so good and I am so grateful!

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    1. Amen, Debby. You have much wisdom, my friend. Those meltdowns are never fun, though we are prone to them. Why? Because we're trying to do things in our power and time, not His. And the results are never as good.

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  21. So sorry you had to go through all that Mindy but clearly you are TEXAS TOUGH! When things don't go the way I planned I tend to get tangled up in worry and indecision. I love your list of what to do. I'm going to jot it down in my journal. I should know to do everything on there, but sometimes I need a reminder! So thank you :-)

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    1. Jenna, I know all about that indecision. And yes, even though we know what we should do, that doesn't mean we do it. We all need reminders.

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  22. Oh, this is such a sensible and heartfelt way of showing us that stuff happens... it happens when we least expect it and when we know it's coming! It happens in the dark and the light. And it happens to us... and those near us. Which makes things a little crazy all around!

    And it builds our appreciation for the quiet of normal... even when it's busy, the "quiet of normal" is something to cherish because abnormal rears its head when least expected.

    Mindy, thank you for this!

    A great perspective from a great gal!

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    1. Ruthy, lately I find myself trying to readjust to the quiet of normal (whatever normal is) and it feels kinda weird. Perhaps it's God telling me to be still, but, like you, still isn't my style. I know it's only a matter of time before chaos breaks out again. Especially since some of the grands are coming in for spring break.

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    2. I think being able to deal with chaos is a superpower... like being a Martha in a Mary world or vice versa. I know a lot of Marys. I probably annoy them. Or intimidate them. Or they roll their eyes, and that's all okay because Marthas and Marys are as God made us... and it's such a fun mix!!! And now I think I'm going to eat cake from the cake auction because it's here... and you can bet we're having a cake auction in an upcoming book because it's like the best and most delicious fundraiser ever... for Marthas and Marys!!!!

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    3. Ruthy... What? Cake? And you didn't bring any to share? So you gave up baking for Lent, so you're buying cakes? I know it was an auction, and probably for a good cause. I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly. ;)

      BTW, have you ever read the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World? Excellent book.

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    4. I'm pretty sure you should have delivered that cake over here, Ruthy! :)

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  23. I like to plan a lot, but I never put too much stock in those plans because I know in a couple months they'll be completely different and honestly, I won't even remember the original plan.

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    1. LOL, Nicki! That's a pretty good approach.

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  24. I go with the flow and if something happens I figure out something else.

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    1. Ah, Kim, you're probably a laidback person, aren't you? It's good to go with the flow, though. I mean, in most cases, that's our only hope of survival.

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    2. Flexible. That's the word, Kim. And flexible is a great thing to be.

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  25. Hi, Mindy! Yes, I know all about plans that go awry. I guess we all do. But God gives us sufficient grace for every season and hardship and trial. And even though we go through seasons of questioning and even anger, He is always there. And eventually, if we are determined to avoid the bitterness that comes from unresolved anger toward God, we push past it. And God in his mercy gives us new hope and new dreams. I pray that this year is much brighter and smoother than last year, Mindy. And that you dive into writer with renewed passion!

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    1. . . .dive into writing, I meant to say!

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    2. Thank you, Melanie. I pray the same thing for both of us.

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  26. Wow, Mindy! It sounds as though you had a hang on to Jesus kind of year. As bad as things get, how wonderful it is to know that everything is really under control, even if what's happening doesn't coincide with our plans. Thanks for sharing your story today!

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    1. Jill, I love that phrase, "hang-on-to-Jesus" kind of year. Days, weeks, months, year, whatever, it all goes much easier if we hang on to Jesus.

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  27. Oh Mindy bless your heart! That is a year!
    Myself, I would have to say that I am not remotely a planner. I would like to be but unless it is work related, I just go with the flow for the most part but I promise you this I pray and pray and pray. About 2 1/2 years ago my husband and I decided we wanted to move. He was ready for a new job and a new state. We didn't know where we would go. We just prayed for God to make a way. In March of 20017 I was offered a job at a Christian radio station in another state. I accepted in May and we moved in June and put our house up for sale at the same time. It was scary as we lived in a co-worker's basement, a camp ground and a shack in the woods, but we know it was God's plan.

    Thanks for sharing your encouraging points! And please include me in your drawing.

    :)

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    1. Kelly, that sounds like quite an adventure. But God will make a way, even when we think it impossible. Isn't it nice to be in relationship with a God who's into the impossible?

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  28. Hi Mindy, you have surely endured a lot thus past year and I pray that this year will be easier. As for your question: am I allowed to answer yes to both suggestions? My husband and I farmed for over 30 years so there had to be some planning as to when crops would be planted and harvested but those plans didn't always succeed exactly like we hoped so we then had to go with the flow. It taok a lot of prayer, a lot of faith, and trust, trust, and more trust in some of those years. And I continue to pray and trust as I maneuver through life. I feel very blessed to have God to walk with me and often carry me because I also believe Jeremiah 29:11!
    Blessings!
    Connie

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    1. Connie, of course you're allowed to answer yes to both questions. I think many of us fit into both categories. With farming, you definitely have to plan. But then you have to trust, because you never know what could happen between planting and harvesting. Only God knows that. We are indeed bless to have God on our side, to walk with us and to carry us when we need it. Thanks for sharing that, Connie.

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  29. I am a planner, but I have learned over time to go with the flow.

    Count me in thank you.

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    1. Mary, time is definitely a good teacher.

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  30. I use a double planning system. I plan short and long term. I keep a two year writing calendar on my desktop. I adjust it as things change... one company went out of business... I swiped three potential books off the calendar...

    One company called with an offer... I put three new books on the calendar...

    One company adjusted the timelines... delete and move two books to new spaces...

    One company wants a Christmas novella... add in a new deadline...

    Another company bows out of fiction... Buy their stock and add in three new indie releases when they give me back my rights.

    My timelines and plans have to be fluid, like Mindy's, because there are 6 kids, one stolen kid, 14 grandkids and a farm that all need a portion of time.

    But even with all of that, when tragedy hits... when the unexpected slams us down... we have to be willing to breathe... and pick up the pieces, just like that pile of bricks.

    Life is fraught with change.

    We've got to be brave enough to handle it. And if I didn't have this amazing thing called faith, it would never, ever happen.

    BEST GIFT EVER!!!!

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    1. Ruthy, we are in 100% agreement about faith. Our faith give us the courage we need to push through those difficult times.

      Man, I'm doing good to keep up with one calendar. Once again, you put me to shame, my upstate friend. One day, perhaps, I will learn to do better. In the meantime, I will continue to strive for that.

      BTW, did you get hammered by this latest noreaster?

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    2. No, it missed us and stayed coastal!!!!

      Yay!!! I'm heading to NYC in the morning so I'm glad they didn't get hammered, either. There's no place to put feet of snow in NYC which means maybe they shouldn't be so big???? For a coastal city, right on the shore? I do shake my head at this stuff sometimes!!!!

      Mindy, the reason my two years had to flex and give was because this industry is in a flux and the curves are happening all around us. I know there's an unspoken rule that says we shouldn't talk about it because it's hush/hush, but that's why my chart went up and down like the last two weeks on Wall Street... And because 40 books in, I've learned to ride the waves and just keep writing... but like you when stuff gets overwhelming, when I get overwhelmed, oh, that God! He's right there to pick me up... Set me on my feet... and tell me get back on the bike and ride, little lady.

      I love him to pieces! :)

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  31. Mindy, I enjoyed your post.

    I guess I'm still in awe of what all you did achieve last year. Just selling a house and moving is a big undertaking. Demo/rebuilding a house. Huge. Add surgery and writing deadlines and a hurricane, you're just getting ridiculous now. LOL.

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    1. Connie, if I tried to put all those things into one book, I'd probably never get away with it. But life really is stranger than fiction. AND we never know what we can do until we're called to do it. But it was all good. Except maybe the waiting thing. I don't think I'll ever be a fan of that.

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  32. We have moved so many times in out married life that I have lost count! Each time I have planned and seldom has it gone the way I thought it should. Since falling apart is not an option......I have learned to go with the flow. God has seen fit to put many curves in our lives, some of which we would have cheerfully done without, but He has always been there to hold us up. I think He must smile at times, when I spend so much time 'planning' just to have things go in a completely different direction.

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    1. Betti, I often have those same thoughts about God. Though I usually imagine Him looking down at me, shaking His head and grinning. Just as I have done with my children many a time. :D

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  33. Ohhh, Mindy. Definite planner here... Or I used to be. I find as I've gotten older (BUT definitely better - LOL) I'm a little more open to going with the flow.

    During those times I've felt like a tumbleweed tossed in the wind, I've looked back later and realized those times were the biggest victories in my life.

    And wow! What an inspiration you are! I remember that massive flooding and hearing such heart-wrenching stories. So glad your days are brighter!

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    1. They are indeed brighter, Cynthia. So we will enjoy the sunshine and then gird ourselves when the next storm arises.

      I like your tumbleweed analogy. A perfect image of what it's like to be tossed to and fro depending which way the winds blow. Been there, done that. I think that as we grow in our faith, though, that's less likely to happen because we have a Rock to cling to. And oh how we learn to cling.

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  34. I'm a planner but sometimes you have to go with the flow, like when my husband fell and broke his neck. Two different hospitals in two different towns, doctor visits, therapy visits, etc. etc. etc. God was good to us during that time and today he is back to normal.
    Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh, my goodness, Janet. I can relate to your story more than you know. It's those times when we grow and stretch. Not necessarily because we want to, but because we have to. So glad to hear that your husband is doing so well.

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  35. Okay, I'm a planner...always have been and probably always will be. My husband is the opposite of me. While not just in doing things willy nilly, but more of a go-with-the-flow kinda guy. We've been married what will be 21 years in April, and over those years I've learned to relax my tight reign on things and he's learned what's important to me to HAVE to have planned (especially vacations). I think some of it has to do with God redirecting me. Not that I asked for it, just the way He works sometimes. While I don't get stressed out as much anymore, I've learned what's important and what's not so important. It's an ever growing & stretching exercise for me.

    Through it all, I've learned the value of prayer. When life throws a curve-ball, I've learned to turn to the Lord in prayer. Because really, what else can you do? I've also learned TRUST, knowing that God has a solid place for me to land if I just take that first scary step off the cliff. There are times He has to coax me gently and other times He simply nudges me.

    I'm still human and do struggle, but I've learned valuable lessons on the road called life. With God as my guide, I know I'll navigate all those curves :-)

    Mindy, this probably goes without saying, but please do toss my name in for a chance to win those fabulous looking books! Thanks for sharing your story, it's an encouragement to me to remember who's in charge when life happens the opposite way you want :-)

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    1. Trixi, I should have guessed you were a planner after learning how you love to organize. But it sounds like you’ve learned when to let go. God forces our hand sometimes to remind us that He’s the one in control.

      The value of prayer is priceless, isn’t it? I might not have survived 2017 without it. And, of course, your name is in the hat.

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  36. Wow Mindy! What an ordeal, but so true about best laid plans. God does know how to put us in our places, doesn't He? No big or small, He reminds me so. Glad all things went well!

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    1. Me too, Annie. And He does, indeed, know how to redirect us onto the way He wants us to go.

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  37. Wonderful post, Mindy! Sorry I missed it yesterday. I am a planner. I think I was better at "rolling with the punches" before I had kids. For instance, when traveling with our kids, I prep & prep & plan for any contingency. When traveling alone with my husband (very rarely), I am much better at "winging it".

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    1. Beth, kids definitely change the dynamics. I mean, just think of the diaper bag. There's a reason they're so big. We cram anything and everything in there "just in case." Yet without them, someone says "let's go" and we're off with just the clothes on our back. That said, and I'm sure Ruthy will attest to this, even with all that planning, kids still find a way to come up with something that will throw us completely off balance. Yes, children have a way of keeping us on our toes.

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