Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Watch Out 2021...The Americans Are Coming

 How will you remember 2020? 


Some people are ready for the year to simply “be over.” 


I get it. It has certainly been a strange one. I don’t want to downplay the horrific death toll due to COVID-19. I am not insensitive to the racial injustices weighing on our citizens of color. I have been frustrated by the politicizing of anything and everything in sight. 


My family has been gravely impacted by the novel COVID virus. I have many friends of differing racial backgrounds and ethnicities who walk an unbelievable tightrope in their everyday lives. And politics? I am fully aware that even though the election is over, there are those still stoking the fire.


Yet as I look back on 2020, I also see some good coming out of it.


Quarantine mandates were rough on many. For some, it brought out the worst side of dysfunctional family life. From others, however, I’ve heard testimony of people enjoying the unexpected time with family


I hear a growing appreciation for teachers and the work they do. Some people I know claim to be more productive working from home and report finding new ways to connect with clients and co-workers. 


A few who rarely cooked before are discovering their kitchens.


As for the unrest prompted by systemic racism and the ever present social injustices in America? I think more people are aware of the underlying problems inherent in our thoughts and speech and our long held assumptions about people who “are different.”


As a nation, we’ve tried to have those conversations before. Note the word “tried.” We’d move an inch forward and then feel so satisfied with ourselves we’d return to our old ways and fall back a half-inch on the equality scale. 


Not this time. This is not a summer of discontent. This is a season of reckoning. 


What prompts me to say this? Back to the virus. It knows no boundaries. It is colorblind. It has no barrier. Borders cannot contain it. Differing languages don’t confound it. Simply put: COVID-19 threatens everyone. We are in this together. All of us.


The year 2020 may be remembered as the year of the pandemic, but I hope it will be equally remembered as the year this beautiful country I love, remembered to love others. 


We have always had a good standing in the world. People look up to us for leadership in what to do. We have always taken the lead in problem solving. 


Though it may have been slow to get started, Operation Warp Speed met the challenge to quickly develop a new vaccine.


Ultimately, it is who we are. Free to think and solve problems and strong enough to face our own shortcomings. We can do this. 2021…look out. The Americans…All of Us are gearing up to make the world a better place.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Thrill of Hope...

 A Thrill of Hope…The Weary World Rejoices


You probably thought this would be a post about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

No. It is far more serious. More serious than death you ask? I know the virus is life threatening. A vaccine is celebrated. I totally agree. COVID-19 makes people ill. And it kills.


The promise of a vaccine fills us with hope that this awful virus will be eradicated. Okay, at least slowed down. And weary world? Definitely. We are all weary of 2020. They call it quarantine fatigue. I get it. But that is not the weary world of which I speak.


 “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices” comes from a Christmas carol called O Holy Night. The song was penned in 1847. It is about a lost world. A world condemned. A world that is sick. Tired. Weary. A world without hope. 


A world without Jesus.


I’ve discovered so many people, despite what they think or believe, celebrate Christmas. They sing the songs and display nativity sets on the hall table. But so you know, nowhere does the word “Christmas” appear in the Bible. Seriously. In fact, we don’t have all of the particulars about the exact day and time of the birth of Jesus.


What is very clear, however, is that Jesus, the Messiah, is the subject of the Bible from the first book of God’s Word (appropriately named Genesis because it is the beginning) to the very last book of the Bible, Revelation, which means to reveal. 


We are a weary world. We cling to the promise of healing. We hold to hope.


There are people who read my blog who actually question the Bible and have openly questioned me about what I believe and why I believe it. 


Actually, it isn’t what I think that counts. Make your own call. The decision is and always has been yours. I simply ask you make an informed decision.


View the Bible as you might regard eyewitness testimony in a courtroom. Read it for yourself. Not hearsay. Not what others have told you they think, read the book for yourself. 


Not sure where to start? Three easy steps to get you started:


1)        Choose a translation instead of a paraphrase of the Bible. I usually read the New International Version. You can read the book online if you don’t have a copy on hand.


2)        The Bible has two divisions (with 400 years in between). The first division is the Old Testament. The second is called the New Testament. I suggest you start with one of the four Gospels. (Gospel means “good news” by the way.) The Gospels are the first four books of the New Testament. Each of them chronicles the life of Jesus for the thirty-three years he was here on earth. Think of each as a sort of resume. An overview. A biography. Choose one:


a) If you are a history buff or have connection to the Jewish community, start with Matthew.  You’ll appreciate the references to the Jewish culture, Hebrew writings, and the lineage of Jesus. 


            b) More of a short story person? Take a gander at Mark. You can literally read through the entire book on a flight from New York to L.A. 


            c) Like research and answers based on evidence? Then Luke is the book for you. The author had a scientific mind. He was a physician. He was something of a qualitative researcher, interviewing people and collecting data then putting it together chronologically.


            d) Perhaps your psychological/sociological brain needs to understand the underlying story with emotions and motivations. John is a beautiful book to touch your soul. 


Eventually, you’ll want to read all four gospels. But start with the one that speaks to the person God made you to be.


My morning B&B
(Breakfast and Bible)
3)        Once you’ve read one of the gospels, read the book of Acts. This chronicles the Acts of the Apostles of Jesus. They didn’t always get it right, but I like that. I don’t always get it right, either. 


There is so much more I could share. But by now you’re wondering why I chose to write this now. 


It’s Christmas. It’s all about giving and receiving, right? The Bible is a gift you can open now and enjoy forever.


By the way, did you know if you averaged reading fifteen minutes a day every day you could read through the Bible in one year? The whole Bible… from Genesis to Revelation. It’s true. So this isn’t simply for Christmas. Maybe it’s a New Year Resolution, too.


Let me know if you’re willing to take the challenge. I’ll happily send you the next steps on this reading journey. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

I Hope You Dance



We met at a dance in the school cafeteria.

I was a junior, he a senior.

A mutual friend named Anthony introduced us.

We shared a dance. One.


After that, for the entire school year, Tommy Waters asked me out. Every Friday. 

He would call on Friday and want me to go out with him that evening. I told him no. I told him he couldn’t ask me out at the last minute. It wasn’t respectful. I had no way of knowing at the time that he never knew until Friday evening if he would be allowed to use the family car or not.


Tommy graduated.

I managed to run into him in late July. (Another story for another time.)

I had moved. He asked for my new phone number. 

He called. This time he called on a Tuesday and asked if I would go out with him on Friday. 


That Friday night proved to be my last “first date.”

Homecoming Chamberlain HS


I was now a senior in high school. When it came time for homecoming, Tom took me. It was our second time to dance. But not our last.


Eventually we married, raised a family, and shared wonderful experiences too numerous to mention here. 


We danced with each other at our daughters’ weddings and I have precious pictures of Tom dancing with each of his girls.


The girls were grown with homes of their own when we decided to take square dance lessons. We made lifelong friends at “The Barn.” That was followed by round dance lessons. Round dancing is, in essence, cued ballroom dancing.  


Sweetheart Dance with Our
Square Dance Club

From this post you may get the idea that “dance” was central to our lives. 

You would be wrong. Dance has been a thread. Not the fabric of who we are. Or were.


There is a song called I Hope You Dance. I particularly like the Ronan Keating version. (YOU CAN WATCH IT ON YOUTUBE HERE)


I often think of it as my life song. 

Perhaps that video will show up at my funeral one day. Who knows?


The song says to never lose your sense of wonder. To never take one single breath for granted. It says when you have the choice to sit it out or dance, dance.


December 18th is my wedding anniversary. And to Tom, “I trust you’re dancing.” 


This Still Hangs in My Office


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Anything But Quiet

 Anything But Quiet


Every year I choose a “word of the year.” I started doing this several years ago after reading an article in the Guidepost Magazine by author Debbie Macomber. I wanted to be an author so I paid attention to what she said.  

I chose a word for that year and one ever since. I generally spend time in December thinking it over. I pray for the word God wants to reveal to me. In January, I often share my word with others. In fact, the last couple of years, I have shared my word for the year on my blog.

Then I wait. I watch. I listen. 

Over the course of the year, I generally see unexpected ways the word plays out. Sometimes I am challenged to do more. Other times, my choices and actions are affirmed by that one simple word. My ears perk up when I hear that word or read it in a book or article. As a writer, the significance of one single word is not lost on me. 

Then there was the year 2020. 

I chose the word Quiet. I based it largely on a verse in the Bible found in 1 Thessalonians.  Chapter 4, verses 11 & 12 read “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your own hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (New International Version)

That verse inspired my book, The Edge of Quiet. It is the book I intended to write in 2014-2015 but only completed this past October.

Seriously. Quiet. I kept bumping into the word. For example, in the New Testament, Peter speaks of a quiet spirit and in 1Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy about living peaceful and quiet lives. There was this sense of peacefulness and stillness to the word. 

As I said...then there was the year 2020.

The year started out quiet enough. Until March. The COVID-19 pandemic brought words like isolation and quarantine into my vocabulary, disrupting my sense of “peaceful quiet.” Suddenly, the word quiet sounded lonely and hopeless.

There was nothing quiet when, in the summer of 2020, the ever-present, systemic social and racial injustices in our country erupted into not-so-quiet protests. And the political scene? The election season was louder than I’ve ever experienced in my life. No, the stillness I expected did not seem evident. 

Yet, as I look back, when God brought this word to me, He didn’t promise it would meet my expectations. The word helped me grow and think and change.

Choosing the word Quiet for the year 2020…

... Helped me prepare for living alone. Truly alone.

...Gave me an appreciation for what quiet really means…to discover the word quiet isn’t simply “absence of noise."

...Offered unequaled times of solitude and reflection.

Though I’ve grown personally through this experience, I’ve promised my family I won’t choose the word Quiet again. They’ve told me they like it when I choose words like hospitality and generosity. I get it.

No, I won’t be choosing Quiet as a word for the year again, but I know I will choose quiet now and again as a way to be still and know God, because no matter what difficulties I may have faced this year, God is in control of my life.

By the way, I’ve been considering next year’s word. One keeps coming back to me. I’ll announce it and the story behind it in my first blog for 2021. 


Have you selected a word for next year? 

Think about it. 

Choose one and stick with it. 

Let the adventure begin.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Finish the Race. Find Closure. Find Peace.

Sometimes Moving Ahead, Means Putting Behind 

These past two months have been like most of 2020. Different.


It’s bad enough to have the pandemic hanging over our heads like an umbrella blocking the sunshine we seek. Add to that Thanksgiving and Christmas and even the most Pollyannaish of us can struggle. (Tom always considered me the ultimate Pollyanna.) 


I did not want this year to get the better of me. And it could have. The final quarter of 2020 dawned poised to do just that.  


Long ago I learned that the things you leave undone are the things that make you tired. I wrote about that in a post called "A Good Kind of Tired" a few weeks ago. You can read that post by clicking HERE. I had “things left undone” on my proverbial to-do list. Things left undone for six years. And the effect was far more than “tiring.” 


It was draining. 

Finish the Race

I shared a few weeks ago that I set out to complete The Edge of Quiet in October. It was the book I started right before my husband died.


I also planned to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. It was also something I anticipated doing in November, 2014 but never did.


You know my story. I've shared it before. On October 29, 2014, I sat at my desk setting my goals for the days of NaNoWriMo and the writing of The Edge of Quiet.Two hours later, Tom died from injuries he sustained when his bicycle went off the road and threw him into a tree. 


Of course I didn’t write. I was working to put one foot in front of the other. I was trying to breathe without that invisible heavy stone crushing me. Blocking every breath from reaching my lungs. I still find it amazing my heart continued to beat. I was broken. 


If it had even made my list of things to do, writing a book during that time would have landed in the last spot.


Tom and I had talked about the premise of The Edge of Quiet. We both thought it could well be my best book to date. It followed me through the next few years as a job left undone.


I did not write the book.
I did not participate in NaNoWriMo.

I survived.

That’s all.


As I've said, the things we leave undone are the things that make us tired. And anxious.

It is important to FINISH THE RACE.


I was tired of being tired. I simply knew this was the year I would make a change. I made a plan to write and finish The Edge of Quiet by the end of October.  And I did. 

I decided I would craft the first draft of its companion book during NaNoWriMo in November. 50,000 words in a month. And I did it. 


The two pieces of my life, left dangling and taunting me since 2014 are behind me now. There is no magic in completing a book or finishing a challenge, but for me there is closure.



Things I had left undone are now finished.

Finished brings with it a sense of peace.

And with peace comes renewed energy. 

But there is more. 

The two books I crafted these past two months are totally different from others I've written. 

I also applied a few new writing strategies to get the job done. to finish the race. I share them here. Maybe they will help you, too.

1) If I want to get a certain number of words down...turn off the self-editor. Ignore the misspelled words my computer is underlining in red and get the idea down. I can always go back and fix spelling.  I can't always go back and recapture a great idea.

2) I learned to "journal" a book. Every morning after I read my Bible and had a cup a coffee, I opened a small journal and wrote thoughts on the book, the experience, what I thought was going on to motivate a character. I could have counted these words toward the Nano project, but didn't. I found them to help me think through the next part of the story and get my creative juices flowing so I could write my 1667 words each day without the stress of facing a blank screen.

3) Though it is intense, NaNoWriMo is a good lesson in consistency. We all know if we want to complete...anything...we must tackle the job and be consistent. Writing 30 days in a row got me into that mode of consistency.

4) Sometimes it is best to take the story you though you were writing, print it out, cut it apart and put it back together. That happened with The Edge of Quiet. I threw away sluggish parts and enhanced more exciting parts. 

These are lessons I will take with me to my next project. Maybe not with the intensity, but they work: Write the story, journal the book, be consistent, and don't be afraid to get rid of what isn't working


What is it you always thought you’d do, but have yet to put behind you?


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Story of Gratitude . And Forgiveness

A Story of Gratitude. And Forgiveness


We often speak words of thanksgiving this time of year. Even those who seldom make those sort of remarks sit at the table with loved ones and friends and voice something for which they are thankful. Many of those are words of gratitude for a big Thanksgiving dinner. I realize some of that may take place virtually this year. But we are people of tradition. Traditions bring us as much comfort as turkey and dressing. 


So this week I want to share a story of gratitude. 


My maternal grandmother lived a hard life. By anyone’s standards. Both of her parents died when she was young, leaving her, along with her brothers and sisters to fend for themselves. An uncle was supposed to care for them, but he didn’t.


At my grandmother’s funeral a man told me a story his own father told him. The neighbors—we’re talking farms here with neighbors often living miles away—took turns checking in on the orphaned children. Early one morning, this man’s father decided to travel over the mountain on his way home so he could check on the young ones living alone. 


The children were standing at the fence. His greeting was met with fingers to the lips and a plea to “Shhh…” Slowly he approached. “We have to be quiet. We’re waiting for the chicken to lay an egg so we can have breakfast,” one of the youngsters explained. 


I am thankful I have food. I’ve never gone hungry.


And no one. Not. One. Person. Ever left my grandparents house hungry. Not One. I’m not sure how my grandmother did it, but if a crowd of unexpected guests arrived on her doorstep, she could seemingly throw another potato in the pot and make enough for everyone. With leftovers.


Grandma’s secret ingredient? A heart filled with both gratitude and forgiveness.

Ophia Bingham Woolum
My Grandmother

 Grandma had a tough life, but she forgave her uncle for the injustices he exacted on the family. She praised God for all the ways He protected her and her siblings. She was a "silver lining" kind of woman. 


She was appreciative for the simplest of things. Things I often take for granted. For that reason, though I will cook a meal and share it with my mother, I will not mourn the fact I am not with my children and grandchildren. I will praise God for what I do have: my mom, good food, and a God who meets my every need.


So what is next? 

The pandemic has not only claimed lives of many, it has disrupted the income and food distribution of millions. One in four children in the United States will go to bed hungry on Thanksgiving Day. As they do every day. One in four. That is a staggering statistic. I’m packing bags of canned goods, rice, and dried beans I have in my pantry and dropping them off at a local food bank.


What can you do? Cook a meal and take to someone? Donate funds to the Food Store or an organization providing meals? Last year I was able to pack food as a volunteer. COVID-19 makes that impossible this year. But we can find ways. We need only to look.


“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 


Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’


The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of he least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”  Matthew 25:35-40



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Who Is My Neighbor

 When I was a little girl, I lived for a time in Tucson, Arizona. My parents treated it as an adventure, though they moved there for my health. I had asthma. My strongest memories of our time living “out west” are of my best friend, Moey. She had another name, but her nickname was Moey. I remember playing dolls with her and climbing on the fence in her back yard. I have fond memories of watching her mother make tortillas on the hot flat iron skillet, turning them with her fingers. Moey taught me my first Spanish words. Moey was Mexican. And she was my neighbor.


In the middle of first grade, we returned to Ohio. I supposedly had outgrown my asthma by then and my grandfather had a heart attack. We moved to the “little farm” tucked in behind Grandma and Grandpa’s big farm so my dad could help Grandpa. My parents had dear friends who had three boys. The Hubbard boys took turns spending time with us at the farm. The boys were basically city kids. I was basically a country girl. They went to a city school. I went to a country school. It didn’t matter. Sure they lived far from us, but most farm kids are used to having their friends live a good distance away. The boys were like brothers to me. They were my neighbors.


I walk in my neighborhood now. It’s a suburban community and at first glance some may think the only diversity is the style of homes and the make of cars. There are also campaign signs for both sides of the political fence. Still.


The neighbors on one side of my house are a young couple with two very young children. On the other side is a couple closer to my age. 


Then there’s the family down the street who moved here from France for his work. Their children love it when I speak a few phrases in French. They are a long way from home and during this pandemic, they don’t know when they will return. 


Around the corner is Rosa, a woman from Italy. She praises me for my pronunciation of the few Italian words and phrases I know. She enjoys talking about her life in Italy. Sometimes we walk along together. Socially distanced of course. 


Two streets over is a family from Macedonia. We’ve had much to talk about. I lived in that part of the world for a while.


Down the street is a black family. The man is often out working in his yard when I take a walk. He had opened his home to his brother-in-law and his family when their home sold faster than their new home was built. Building slowed at the beginning of the pandemic so they had a full house there for while.


         Different people. Different backgrounds. Different views. Some even speak different languages. But these are my neighbors. It is one of the things I love about living in the United States. We are all different and yet all want the same kinds of things for our families: a safe place to live, food on the table, the freedom to share our views, the freedom to worship. 


And the freedom to take a walk in the neighborhood.


I’ve visited many parts of the world. I’ve met wonderful people everywhere I’ve traveled. But outside of the USA things look different. People struggle to have a voice. I’ve been to places where beggars are trying to gather enough for their next meal. I’ve been in countries where police turn away from crimes. 


I remember when I first came to realize the vastness of the United States. I was an adult and on my first visit to the British Isles. An Irishman visiting Scotland was staying at the same place we were staying. We were in the swimming pool when he spoke of his visit to America. He spoke of it in terms of time zones. 


I had traveled the US, but it didn’t strike me as that large until I heard him speak. 


Later on that same trip, when we drove through Europe, the places that appeared so big on my world history map in school were actually small. We could visit several countries in a days drive.    


Yes we are a large country. But we are Americans.

We belong together.

We stand and fight for each other.

We’re neighbors.

And neighbors should be friends.



Tuesday, November 10, 2020

So You Think You're ALL THAT...Give It A Minute.

 If you think you're "All That," you sometimes need a reminder of your limitations and frailties.

Some would call it a rude awakening. I call it a blessing; A way of keeping me focused and grounded. Here is an example. I offer it because I think we can all use a good laugh.

The year is 1998.

I was thrilled to be hired as a professor at  Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary shortly after graduating from my doctoral program. My first week of school, I managed the small education classes I was hired to teach without incident. 

However, I was also asked to participate in a team taught class on human development and learning. It was a large class representing a wide range of students in programs other than teacher education. I was a bit nervous. The other two teachers were far more experienced and well prepared after years of teaching the course. 

I worked hard to get my lessons ready. This was during a time before we had access to Power Point or online technologies. I outlined my lecture and put together what I hoped were interesting transparencies (clear acetate sheets) for the overhead projector. Each of the overhead sheets represented a point I was making in my talk.

The day finally arrived to deliver my first lesson to the students assembled in the large room. I stood up, introduced myself, and launched into my well-rehearsed presentation on child development. I looked to my numbered acetate slides neatly stacked beside the overhead projector.

I turned on the projector and put the first transparency on the light box. I looked up to make sure the image was clear for the sophomores and juniors taking the class. 

It looked pretty good except for the long cord hanging down from the ceiling. I walked over and pulled the cord aside so my students could see the image and continued with my lecture. 

I was gaining confidence. I walked back to the overhead projector and replaced the first transparency with my second one. I looked up. 

Everything would be perfect if it wasn’t for that stupid cord in the way. 

I walked back toward the wall and pulled the cord aside. I never missed a beat with my prepared presentation.

Finally, one student timidly raised her hand. 

Good. I’m connecting! Someone has a question.

“Yes?” I said as I nodded her way.

“Uh, Dr. Waters, I think if you pull that cord down it’s a screen.”

I looked at that inconvenient cord and pulled on it. Sure enough, a large screen came down. 

I had been displaying the transparencies on the wall. 

I stood there for a minute shaking my head back and forth, smiling at my own inadequacies. When I turned around, the students were trying very hard to not laugh. They were most respectful. That alone endeared that group to me forever. 

“Don’t you find that hilarious?” I asked.  I laughed out loud and soon they joined me. It was not planned but certainly the best icebreaker I could have hoped for in my first semester as a professor.

God reminds me on a regular basis that I'm "not all that." 

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3" 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

That Good Kind of Tired

 That “Good Kind of Tired”


I’ve always said, “The things that make you tired are the things you leave undone.” 


I must have read it somewhere. I’m not that brilliant.


But it’s true. When you don’t complete a task, it hangs over you like a dark cloud. A cloud that grows bigger and darker and more daunting with the passage of time. That’s why time management folks say to put the big projects first on your “to do” list. 


“Getting stuff done” breeds energy to do more. Getting it done, no matter the task, is what my mom calls, “a good kind of tired.”


My first novel, Breathing on Her Own was released in March 2014. It was fun. An accomplishment. In October of that same year, I started outlining another story set in Indiana. I was playing with the idea for that story when several friends in an online writing community started talking about NaNoWriMo. 


It stands for NationalNovel Writing Month. I did some research, checked out a book at my local library by the founder, Chris Baty, and decided to join the fun. 


The idea of completing 50,000 of a novel in November by writing a bit each day was doable. At the time, Tom and I were in Ohio, selling our house. We were traveling back to Florida at the end of the week, November 1. 


I told Tom about the notion of writing a book in a month. He was all in. We made our plans. I would write in November and edit in December. We intended to take our camper to the Florida Christian Writers Conference in the Spring 2015 to pitch two other novels I had already completed.


I think the Florida Christian Writers Conference was in February that year. I honestly can’t remember. I never went to it. I never wrote the book. I never participated in NaNoWriMo.


I had a title for the book. I called it The Edge of Quiet

I had something of a loose outline for the novel.

I had considered the characters and the problem facing them.

I prepared to write. 


I always wrote a little every day. Tom rode his bicycle every day for his health. 


After lunch, On October 29, 2014, three days before we were to leave for Florida, I headed back to the computer to get a few details about the setting for my new story. Tom left for his daily bike ride. 


My sweet husband died a few hours later from injuries he sustained that day from a bicycle accident. You’ve heard me say this before. When Tom died, the ink ran out of my pen. 


I had no desire to pursue…anything. I lived in a fog.


I picked up the Quiet manuscript file from time-to-time, feeling guilty for not writing a story I figured God had given me. 


The book was left undone.

NaNoWriMo was left undone.


In February of 2018, while living in Europe, I was asked if I could submit a novella to an anthology. The publishers wanted stories written by Ohio authors that take place in Ohio. I cut 45,000 words from one of my works I intended to pitch at the conference I never attended, Courtesy Turn, and received a contract for it to be published in From the Lake to the River. I submitted Libby’s Cuppa Joe to a publisher online and received a contract for it as well. 


From the Lake to the River released in the fall of 2018 and Libby’s Cuppa Joe released in March of 2019.


You would think those successes would have given me the energy and inspiration to finish The Edge of Quiet. But they didn’t. I prayed about it and continued to play with my writing, crafting this blog, a few Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, and a handful of devotions.


The undone story was exhausting to think about. 




Then this fall, something happened. I can’t tell you what it was exactly. 

At some point in time I came to the realization it was time to write The Edge of Quiet


I printed out every bit…every outline, paragraph, sentence or thought I had put in the file. I tried to sort it out. I consulted some of my writer friends at our online October retreat about my possible next step. And I prayed some more. 


I decided the time had come. I would finish the book by the end of October and write a companion book to it during NaNoWriMo 2020. 


I finished The Edge of Quiet on October 31. 

With a few hours to spare.  I launched into The Edge of Disruption (working title only) on November 1. 


To complete the challenge of NaNoWriMo, I need to write, on average, 1667 words a day. And I will do it.


The Edge of Quiet may never be picked by a publisher. I don’t know. The 50,000 words I put to paper this month toward The Edge of Disruption may never be read by anyone but me. And my mom. Maybe my daughters.


That’s okay. It is not about publishing. It is about conquering the task. It is moving forward and releasing the creative spirit that tugs at my heart and soul. It is trusting God. Always.


It is about finishing. 


Finishing The Edge of Quiet buoyed my spirits. It gave me a sense of purpose and energy. Finishing NaNoWriMo will do the same. These were the tasks I left undone in 2014.


So this is my plea to my readers…do that one thing hanging over your head.


You have a project you never completed. You may have something you’ve always longed to do. Do it. 


It need not be perfect, but getting it done will replace that feeling of exhaustion with that “good kind of tired.”