I am so excited (and nervous!!) to announce my work will be featured at Fletcher Place Arts & Books for Indianapolis’ May First Friday event.
This First Friday (for me) is in conjunction with my favorite conference of all time: Mo*Con. When I started writing with publication in mind, I was betwixt and between genres. At that time, a Christian who wrote horror was the devil and needed prayer and healing and hands-laid-upon, and maybe it’s still that way a little, but it is far more accepted today than it was back then (what was that, 2007?)
One of my writing critique partners at the time, Dan Keohane, suggested I look up some horror conference held in a church in Indianapolis. One of his friends was a guest of honor and he thought I’d enjoy meeting him (Brian Keene) Also in attendance was Gary Braunbeck. So I went and I met the Indiana Horror Writers, THE most amazing family of writers (and trust me, we ARE family at this point!!)
All that to say, on top of the exciting First Friday news: For the second year in a row, I’m bringing my Visual Prayer supplies and we’re doing a workshop at Mo*Con Saturday May 4 at around 3pm!! Guests of Mo*Con will enjoy this session as part of the ticket price.
If you’re in the area and would like to join us for the workshop only, please email me and make arrangements. Cost of the Visual Prayer workshop only will be $25 (all supplies included. Just show up! You’ll take home two 8×10 canvas boards with your own creation on them. I will guide you through the process!)
Following Mo*Con’s theme this year: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist, the workshop will be centered around using visual arts to calm and free the mind allowing the spirit to open into a relaxing realm of worship.
I took a leap of faith and
There are no words for the humbling this has placed upon my heart. I'm just in awe of God and how he's moved you to generosity (for me?) for me... I pray that you are as blessed as I am at this moment. If you ordered a piece of art from me, I promise you that my love and prayers will be poured out over them like this.
Thank you all for making my soul sing. I can’t thank you enough.
1. I’m posting this, so that means that in LESS THAN 36 hours:
- God put an yearning in my spirit. I said to my 2010 Roomie, Brooke, “I had no desire to go until today and I don’t know if I should ‘be still’ or move to action”
- He moved tell my story to others (and I just don’t know how to thank you enough!)
- He put the urge in others to give and they gave generously (my words of thanks will never be adequate)
- He made a ticket available
- a room available
- He made it possible for my son to stay with my sister
- He made it possible for me to change my Visual Prayer monthly workshop to the week before Relevant
- He blessed me with a long time, dear friend who works at an airline
- I’m sure there’s more—but really, what are the chances ALL this would just *happen* to fall into place in less than 36 hours with His divine hand?
so what my roomie(s) should know is that I don’t feel like I deserve this and I have no idea why and I always need to know why and just this once I’m going to praise and give Him glory and I’m going to try my best to just be. be still. and turn my analytical brain to “shut up” and I’m just going to be grateful and give thanks.
2. I still snore. Sorry. I hope I don’t keep you up. But if you push me I’ll roll over and it’ll be ok.
3. I’ve had an eventful (understatement!) couple of years Ok. so it’s over a decade now. I’ll try not overwhelm you. (the list stopped in 2009, since then my mom died, Phil’s step-dad died, Phil got fired for no reason at the end of July and since we lived on site as part of his compensation package, we had to move.)
4. My brain never stops hoarding information. So I do Visual Prayer to shut it up.
5. I’ve tossed pizza dough, made beef sandwiches, slathered paste on billboard posters, been a fine-dining waitress, a truck stop waitress, a quality control inspector, a bank teller, a retail cashier, a truck driver, a home-party guru, a women’s ministry leader, an author, and editor, and an artist.
6. I met my husband in a traffic jam (going on) 18 years ago!
7. I love coffee. And Starbucks Energy Drinks.
8. I’m allergic to MSG and have subsequently cut out all preservatives, additives, and unnatural ingredients in our diets. (and I’m still fat and happy because my thyroid is a wreck.)
9. I stand in awe of God daily. (I believe, help me in my unbelief.)
10. I want to hug EVERY single person I can when I get to Harrisburg!!!!!!
Wanna read my 2010 list?
So. How did I know that God was telling me I needed to be pruned? For starters, apple season just ended and I’d been quite bombarded with the idea of pruning. We have a huge apple tree, an old one, that is just overgrown and scraggly and the apples are small, teeny-tiny, and they’re so high we’d never reach them. Wanting to not leave my property to pick apples, I Googled to find out how to restore this tree to a producer of good fruit. Pruning.
Apple trees need to be pruned in the winter, their branches need to be cut away so a large bird can fly through them and not clip its wings on branches. The buds of new branches pointing towards the trunk need to be pruned leaving only branches that reach away.
I paint and draw and take pictures of trees constantly.
At the end of The Relevant Conference, we worshiped with music. I pulled out my drawing markers and notebook and prayed as I drew a prayer, a tree. A verse came to mind as I was drawing and listening, “I am the vine” and I wrote that up the trunk of the tree.
“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
I’ve been a fruit-bearing vine. I’m sure of it. But it seems that God is showing me who he is. I’m a fruitful person, but I guess He thinks I need to be pruned to bear more fruit.
As I was drawing that tree and writing on it “I am the vine” I also drew some wind and wrote on it “and He whispers on the wind” I heard that small, still voice in my head telling me “Give this drawing to the first person who tells you it’s beautiful.” But no one did. So I put the drawing away and I chit-chatted with some girls at a nearby table.
Then, this special friend I met, Stepahie Bowman, sits down next to me and says something…
(sorry again) …to be continued.
Yes. I made a series of bad decisions. Get your calendars out. Mark them. I was wrong. (are you happy now?) 😉
I decided once to post a giveaway instead of a “real” post. Then more companies offered me stuff and I took the stuff and I blogged reviews. I wasn’t dishonest in my reviews. I only posted giveaways for things that either held my interest or things I thought you, dear friends, would like. I was pretty intentional about the opportunities I’d take.
In my blog redesign, I was also intentional. Quiet. No blinking, flashing ads, one sidebar and that sidebar was not to be filled with ads. Because you know what I hate? Ads. Commercials. Advertising. I hate it on my TV. I hate it at Walmart where you can’t frickin’ get away from it. I hate it on the back of my receipts. I hate it on my radio. Advertising bothers me. (almost all of it, almost all of the time.) And yes, Mrs. Humongo Hypocrite was doing what? Advertising.
I have a quiet home and I wanted a quiet blog.
Confession: If I don’t read your blog, it might be because of some of these things, and I’m sorry. I try to subscribe to you in Google Reader so I don’t have to see everything else. I do try, I promise.
I designed a logo that represented my life. There are quadrants, because I feel like I am broken into sections, yet simultaneously, a whole being.
Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Intellectual.
Daughter of the King, Wife and Mother, Friend and Supporter, Teacher and Mentor .
Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall.
My roots grow deep into the fertile soil (the dirt) of Christ (the roots.) He is the living water (the water.) He gives life (the plant.) He is in charge of changing me (the leafless tree.) The sun, the Son, the giver of life.
The colors are all taken from earth tones I love. Think of a sunflower on a cool, autumn, sunny day. There. Those are my colors.
There would be little disorder or chaos in the design. No music would start. No ad would blink and flash.
That was my intention.
I think I succeeded. At least in design.
But in content?
I have failed.
But I didn’t realize until this past weekend. I was sponsored to attend The Relevant Conference. I don’t want to make light of the fact that the sponsorship was a blessing (in disguise, I think.) I’m grateful beyond words to my sponsor. And I might even be a little afraid to say what comes next.
I don’t think I can continue on like this.
I’m not in writing or publishing or blogging for the money, I have never been. Getting the stuff seemed more like bartering, so I guess I was ok with it.
So I go to this conference, this Christian Women’s Blogging Conference. First of all, I don’t typically mesh with most Christian women. Second, I don’t typically mesh with Bloggers. Third (do I mesh with anyone?) (a few. and you know who you are.) I’ve had a long year and I wasn’t really looking forward to the conference, but I’d made a commitment to my sponsor and I wanted to follow through. From not originally having a roommate to not packing until the very last minute, everything in me wanted to stay home. At the last minute, I had a change of heart (thank God) and Brooke McGlothin was rooming with me.
The people at Relevant were amazing, to say the least. Others enjoyed themselves. Others like to cry, they find it cleansing. I find it annoying. I don’t want to be negative, so I’m going to skip over some things that aren’t really important. I had a good time, I really did. Maybe I’d have had a better time if I’d have been in a different place in my life. But maybe God knew what I needed.
God was sending me messages:
“I’m going to prune now. Be aware.”
I knew He was telling me I was mean because I kept getting things (gifts, swag, etc…) with verses about kindness or the word “kindness.” Yes, God is not so big that he won’t stoop to use even swag to get His message across to the bull-headed ones who may or may not think they have nothing to learn. I made a joke of God telling me I was mean, but I knew what it meant. I was in big trouble.
The prune message was a little softer. Well. Kinda.
I’m reminded how this turned into this. (pictures, go ahead and click) so I don’t wanna be pruned. But I also know that if you prune an apple tree to almost nothing in January, it will produce the biggest, juiciest apples. So. Ok. I guess I kinda need to be pruned. But I still don’t wanna.
How exactly did I know God was telling me I needed to be pruned?
(sorry) …to be continued.
There are two major story-lines here. (I think)
I could go all the way back to my childhood, which I will, but to tell a tiny portion, instead of a complete memoir. Most of it happens in present day. Or at least in the last few years leading up to the here and now.
This story probably started years ago on this very blog. At least the part where I was honest and open (and crazy!) So now, after unexpected detours, traffic jams, minor accidents, flat tires, snow storms, hurricanes, engine failures, and running out of gas…here we are.
So. Here goes nothing. God called me to write. (But this isn’t really about writing.) (Well, maybe a little.) (But mostly about holding things in.) I of course argued that I couldn’t and He told me I could. The reason I was reminded of His calling on my life is because this morning I read chapters 1-10 of Jeremiah. A few verses resonated with me (I’ll share those in a bit) which made me feel like if I should share this odd journey of mine.
That is the first story-line.
The second is with Relief Journal and The Midnight Diner also known as ccPublishing. The brief history is I submitted to a contest for Relief, was told the story was too genre–submit it to The Diner instead. I did. Told the story was too literary submit it to Relief. sigh. Shortly after, I was asked on as an editor for The Diner then the next year, asked on as Editor-in-Chief and the next year, asked to accept nomination of President of the Board of Directors of ccPublishing. I took over operations in January. Got the “office” delivered to my house around March. Had our first conference appearance with me leading the charge in April, the very same weekend my mom was admitted. I was with her almost every day until she died in June. While I was with her in her hospital room, I tried to keep up with the demands. Learning to run a company coupled with learning to be editor-in-chief of a publication all while your mom is dying and you’re trying to homeschool and be a mom and a wife–
Not at all.
No college education, no formal training in writing or publishing, not even a single published piece of work, yet here I stand, at the helm of one publication and overseer of both. The titles make me cringe because I don’t think I’m qualified for these jobs (I know I’m not!!) Though I was entrusted with their care.
I have neglected not only the business of ccPublishing, but the people. Not totally by choice. But a little by choice. Mainly because I was overwhelmed with everything piling up. Partially because I thought maybe after praying for a month about accepting the position of president, maybe I’d made the wrong choice and God was showing me the way out. A teeny bit because the things I had to do flat-out were not fun.
And I was tired of being stressed out.
I did turn to God when it came to my mom, her illness, and her death. Like several times in the past, He saw fit to make me a pillar of stone, not to be toppled by grief. He blessed me, allowing me to sing mom into eternity. I was grateful. I was peaceful. I was His.
For the (Christian!) publishing company though, I, for whatever reason, didn’t turn to Him (aside from praying in the beginning as to whether or not that was in His will for me.)
I turned to blogging. Weird, huh? I also started painting. I had already been doing Visual Prayer, messing with painting here and there but this unexplainable deluge of urgency poured over me, forcing my hands to create. Plus photography. My grief was coming out in all of these creative outlets.
I’d paint, take a photo, create, and blog it. It was very satisfying. (Still is, to be honest) Not because I want or need to be told people like me, I could care less who likes me. But in the creation itself. In the gift of creating given solely by the Creator. That He would allow me time to do these things and He would use them to fill the awful emptiness of my soul. He didn’t punish me for not asking Him to fill me. He let me grieve.
I also started taking on more and more sponsors and opportunities for this blog. Some companies (see the Buick post) treat you like royalty–and y’know what? Being wined and dined and given free stuff for a little review is FUN!
It was probably about this time I made some bad choices. (I didn’t know they were bad.) (I truly didn’t) (They seemed all right.)
…to be continued.