Motherhood and Writing: a Christian Perspective

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As I mentioned before, I hit 25,000 words on Tuesday. I managed to squeak in extra writing time during a better-than-average nap time and thanks to an amazing husband who took over dinner time duties. I have approximately a 460-word daily average I need to accomplish to hit my goal of 100,000 by September 30th. When I managed just shy of 3,000 words on Tuesday, I had visions of hitting 30,000 words by the end of this week. It was a lofty goal, but doable if I could keep up my pace.

So, how many words have I written since then?

ZERO. Continue reading “Motherhood and Writing: a Christian Perspective”

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25,000 Words

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Short and sweet update:

52 days into writing, and I’m a quarter of the way there! If I can maintain this pace, I’ll hit my goal of finishing by September 30th.

The Not-So-Brave Whistleblower

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I don’t see myself as a brave person. I’m not willing to skydive, I don’t want to dive into the depths of the sea, and I never ever want to orbit the earth. I would like to keep my feet on solid dry land. I’m also afraid of daily life things at times. I’m terrified anytime one of my children runs a high fever, I’m not fond of social interactions full of people I’ve never met, and driving a car makes me anxious.

So, if I’m timid and shy and cowardly in many situations, what made me speak up in a situation that could hurt my grades and reputation in college?

It’s a question I’ve discussed with my older sister who also became a whistleblower where she was employed. We tried to dig through our upbringing and past to figure out what made us brave when we needed to be. (For the record, my sister is a much braver person than me overall!)

All we could come up with was the need for merciful justice. We both stood up in situations where other people were harmed or could be harmed, and deep down, we couldn’t sit by and watch it happen. Things needed to be made right. There needed to be justice.

I have prayed a lot about sharing the details of my own experience on here. In many ways, it is still a raw topic for me, even eight and a half years later. And, while I’m sure most people will never trace this blog back to my experience, nor would some people care, I was instructed to remain quiet by university staff. I am thankful in hindsight that the case didn’t proceed to court because I can speak out. I am under no legal obligation to stay quiet.

It is this experience that has inspired and fueled my novel. I’m creating a fictitious story by weaving my account and my sister’s account of whistleblowing together. The novel explores the emotional ramifications of being a whistleblower as well as the frustration of coming against a university system whose sole purpose is to protect its reputation. There is very little room for true justice in the university setting. Continue reading “The Not-So-Brave Whistleblower”

The Writing Group

Starting my serious pursuit of writing as a stay-at-home-mom comes with its advantages: I have no outside income that I have to ever question whether I should quit in order to pursue writing full time. I’m (nearly) by a computer or a pen and paper whenever I need to be (unless someone needs a nose wiped or more breakfast). But, it also comes with its disadvantages.

When I started getting bolder about telling others about my writing, writers overwhelmingly responded that I needed to join a writing group and go to conferences. But, with no outside income (and as I have said before, I don’t want to fund this with the family income) and no childcare, it made both of those options fairly inaccessible.

I was content writing alone in my bedroom during nap time, and I figured I needed a larger portion than 5,000 words to take to writing groups and workshops. I’d work away at home by myself and flesh out what I could. Sure, outside opinion is helpful, but I could limp by without it.

Continue reading “The Writing Group”

Just Work on It

For people who know me well at all, this will shock you (or make you laugh), but around the time I started writing my novel, I also started to exercise at least four times a week. For those of you who don’t know, I hate exercise. It’s like broccoli: I hate it, but I know it’s good for me.

I found a vlogger who posts workout videos who doesn’t charge for her videos, and she has created routines that don’t require extra equipment. It’s basically an introverted stay-at-home mom’s dream.

So, I’ve been making myself be disciplined enough to do my chosen routine at least four times a week. There are many, many days I come up with excuses not do it, but I’ve made a promise to myself to not listen to the excuses. For four weeks or so I’ve been following through on these exercises. After four weeks, I’m beginning to see some subtle differences in myself. Some muscles are starting to get stronger. I’m starting to take on a different shape.

Though don’t scrutinize me in person, the change is very minor! Continue reading “Just Work on It”

When Life Seems too Short

I opened up Facebook, did my usual browsing, and stopped on a prayer request. Someone from our church, 37 years old, a newlywed, was killed in a car accident yesterday. When I read the name, my heart stopped and tears welled in my eyes. My throat tightened. I knew this man.

Six or seven years ago (it may have even been longer ago), my husband and I were newlyweds ourselves, and we didn’t have many joint friends. I attended school in Boston, and my husband attended school in Oregon. The distance meant that when I came home from school, all of my friends were thousands of miles away. And while his friends were around, I wasn’t immediately part of the group because they had shared experiences that I didn’t. It’s no one’s fault, it just is what it is.

We were walking around after an evening church service, and we ran into a guy stacking chairs, helping when no one asked him to. He smiled, jutted out his hand and introduced himself. He was bubbly and full of life and eager to meet new people and make new friends. He continued to stack the chairs and asked us questions about our lives. How long had we been attending our church? How long had we been together? What did we do for a living? I remember him commenting on the blessing of the marriage we had and how he couldn’t wait to find his future wife. He had a knack for small talk, one knack I can’t claim to have myself.

We didn’t see him much after that because our church grew quickly, and we attended different services. But, his name would pop up now and then, and I would remember the friendly guy who made us feel like we had an immediate friend.

It is this man who was driving his car when another crossed the median and killed him at the scene.

I read a phrase a few weeks ago that has stuck with me.

You live like tomorrow is promised.

Continue reading “When Life Seems too Short”

Find Your Passion

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When I started all of my previous creative endeavors, I always was discouraged when I hit my endpoint and gave up. I was completely burnt out on each, and the effort I put into it was not worth the results. I would look at all the other successful bloggers or makers, and I would honestly wonder what made me so lazy. Why were they succeeding in their projects and businesses? Why did I not follow through on any of it?

This was not who I’ve ever been. Continue reading “Find Your Passion”

The Coffee Shop Writer

My closest coffee shop is a Starbucks. And, I admit, I am a coffee shop writer when I can swing it. This particular Starbucks has one long bar counter butted up to a window. There’s a road outside the window, but it doesn’t get a crazy amount of traffic because it’s the drive-through exit. Between the road and the window are tall decorative grasses that are green in the summer and pale out to a flaxen yellow in the summer and fall. They’re short enough to not disturb the view but long enough that I can look out and see the breeze. My favorite seat along this bar is the far end. It’s in a little alcove that has three walls around and one sliver of the window. The other end of the long bar is right next to the drink pick-up counter. People like to sit in the first seat for 3 – 5 minutes and wait for their drinks. If there are a few people waiting, the entrance to the alcove gets blocked. If I can successfully grab my favorite seat, I’m secluded and cut off largely from the rest of the coffee shop. No one pays attention to the person at the end. Continue reading “The Coffee Shop Writer”

Maybe

This is something I wrote in 2011/2012 while commuting to work as an estimator in the construction industry. I still distinctly remember this conversation I witnessed. I’m including it because it summarizes a lot of my experience in the past ten years on this writing journey. I don’t still hold the same sentiments now from six-seven years ago, but it’s the raw account of how writing fit – or rather didn’t fit – in my life at the time.

I sat across from a teenager and a middle-aged woman on the bus on the commute home. The teenage was pretty and socially awkward, but she was confident in her awkwardness. She crossed and uncrossed her feet in muddied gym shoes. She had been observing the middle-aged woman who furiously scribbled in red notebooks. The teenager piped up and grilled the woman about what she was writing. The woman told the girl about the historical fiction novel she scribbled down whenever she could.

“It’s like this story has been brewing in me for years,” the woman gushed, her eyes and face shining with hope and excitement. “Everything I’ve written in the past, and all the doodles I’ve drawn in board meetings, they all relate to this story. It’s like I knew I’d be writing this story, and my mind was gathering all the information for me.”

The woman and the teen prattled on over mutual desires, meanwhile, my heart constricted with longing and jealousy. This woman used to be me. My life used to glow when a story formed itself on pages.

Continue reading “Maybe”

Swings, Sweatshirts, and Shame

swingssweatshirtsshameWhen I was six years old, I was a first grader in Mrs. Stamets’ class. My closest friend in class was a petite spitfire named Danielle. She had flaming red hair chopped to her chin. I was timid, and she was bossy. We worked because she liked to take charge, and I would put up with her demands to have a playmate at recess.

Every girl in our class loved the swings. We’d race out at dismissal to snag the swings, and if we were too slow, we’d pace around kicking bark chips until one swing opened up. If rain fell at recess, we played hopscotch and jump rope on the covered porch. But, we always hoped for sun and swings.

On an early fall day, the sun broke through the gray clouds and dried up the playground just enough so we could play. We raced out, claimed swings and pumped our legs hard. As first graders, we tried our best to soar so high that we swung out to be perpendicular to the ground. We were too little, of course, to achieve our goal, but we tried our hardest and admired the bigger kids who succeeded.

Danielle and I finished our turns on the swings and took our place kicking at the bark dust. We kicked off the top layer of bark dust that had begun to dry and uncovered the soggy half-composted layers beneath. Danielle wore a brand new white sweatshirt that she had walked around and preened in all morning. She told all of us how lucky she was to have such a beautiful white sweatshirt.

We walked in front of the swings and miscalculated the distance. Danielle walked right in front of a dark haired little girl who swung out and kicked her down. We all stopped and rushed to help Danielle up, who had tears trailing down her face and the soggy, dark bark dust smeared down her white sweatshirt. As our teacher walked over to assess the situation, Danielle saw her sweatshirt, “My mom is going to be so mad at me!” She looked at me in panic. Continue reading “Swings, Sweatshirts, and Shame”