Category Archives: Writing

Trimming back and a little hi note!

Hey friends!

Two weeks, no see.

Isn’t it amazing how fast time can fly? I felt like I was chugging right along in a good life rhythm, plugging out a couple blogs a week and keeping the rest in balance and then BOOM! All of the sudden two weeks were gone and I was stretched too thin to think or write or breathe deeply.

Not. Good.

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So, in addition to the simple living quest I’ve been writing about…I’m going to be letting go of a few things in effort to further this simplification thing. **This is not easy for me.** I hate cutting back, but I think it will help bring things back into balance so I can write more and sing more and take more deep breaths.

I’m a big fan of all three of those things.  🙂

In other news, what do you think about the new website/blog makeover?! Props to Lauren Brown, my web designer. Personally, I could cry with excitement (and maybe already have.) I’m feelin the pink and turquoise vibe.

Just a quick note to say hey! I haven’t forgotten about you! I am so grateful for each and every one of you readers and I hope to see much more of you in the coming months.

If you’d like to submit a God at Work Wednesday story, message me through the website with a little snipit of who you are and what you’d like to write about!

In the hope that goes on and on and on,

Liv

PS. Happy birthday to my sexier half!! (Am I allowed to say that?! Maybe that’s a little weird.) Happy Birthday to my more compassionate, patient, level-headed and freaking amazing half. Love you bae!

PS2. THANK YOU JESUS FOR LONG TANDEM NAPS.

PS3. Apple pie=baked. Kitchen=sparkely. Bam.

Are you a Bubblicious Christian?

Jen Hatmaker does it again. Makes you laugh…makes you cry…and makes you wish you were her BFF all in the course of a few minutes.

I’m specifically talking about her revised and expanded book, “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity.” I came up with a little review by giving just three disclaimers for the book, then I’ll share my fav quotes and we’ll call it a day.

 Disclaimer 1

There isn’t a single way you can read this book and not get all squirmy living in “the bubble.” Reading it means your heart, mind and spirit are at risk of being disturbed, interrupted and likely changed. Hence the book title.

Disclaimer 2 Every time I read a blurb (since moms of littles have to read 2.2 pages at a time), my head was stuffed, like it had just devoured a banquet of brain food. It is challenging and unsettling because of its gospel-driven ferocity and fervor.  “Interrupted” ain’t your happy-go-lucky-Christian-novel.

Nope. This is raw and gritty and real. It’s a story told by a woman (plus her hubby who pipes in every few chapters) who was asked by God to give up a pretty comfortable Christian life and live differently.  This book will likely challenge your theology and ministry philosophy as well as loosen those strings of materialism that love to tighten themselves around your heart.

Disclaimer 3

It has some stats that will leave you wide eyed.

For example, “Fifty-seven million children worldwide work every day instead of go to school.” And “Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.”

I have lived basically my whole life under the shelter of a comfortable, Upper Middle Class Bible-belt-ish community. And you know what is easy to do in this comfortable little world? Snuggle up in the safety. Unfortunately, the safe places are where the scales and planks breed. It’s easy to “sorta” and “try to” live out the great commission, but it’s not easy to devote my whole life to it…like Jesus asks and deserves. Sure, I’ve said I want to “go outside of the four walls” … but I have found that difficult to actually walk out.

This book tells the story of Jen and Brandon’s move to do just that: church outside of the church walls, a barefoot church. (There’s a gut-wrenching story in the book of a compelling Easter alter call to give up their shoes…read: new cowboy boots…for the homeless….gah, this story is GOLD and requires Kleenex.) The pieces fell together for a church plant in Austin, TX, and guys, the way they do ministry is breathtaking. It’s different…radical…inspiring. It’s hecka hard to swallow, but gosh darn it, it is Biblical!

The only criticism I have is that I wanted more. Instead of ending, I wish the book had kept going with an epilogue full of what their church looks like today.  I’m thinking they should include a flash drive taped to the back cover with an emotional video compilation of pictures put to song..and some hidden camera vids of their small groups, conversations, preaching, etc. That’s all I got for criticism.

I don’t know, guys. That Jen Hatmaker is outside the box…in such a good, confusing, hilarious, Jesus-y awesome way. Read these quotes from the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about:  

“I’ve never been more aware of my own poverty, foolishness, ignorance, and arrogance. As I get older, I realize I know less about the mysteries of God and more about my own tomfoolery.”

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“Love has won infinitely more converts than theology.”

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 “The ‘come to us’ system is no longer an appropriate response to the paradigms that exist in our world.”

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“On a practical level, why would we expect unbelievers to come to church with no provocation? What do they know of the beauty of the Spirit? Why would they be attracted to an unknown Savior or a community that feels like worshipping Him?”

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“I worry the Christian community has accepted an insidious shift from laboring for others to prioritizing our own rights. We’ve perpetuated a group identity as misunderstood and persecuted, defending our positions and preferring to be right over being good news.”

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“We cannot possibly know all there is to know about anyone without digging deep, getting close, and providing a safe place for people to be known. This takes the one investment that comprises our hottest commodity: time. We invite people in again and again and again, peeling layers back and slowly discovering that God has surrounded us with beautiful people whom He loves. There is no time limit, no statute of limitations. Sharing our lives with dear people to win them to Jesus is the substance of Christianity, the delightful work we’ve been commissioned to.”

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“I am so confident in the gospel and its effect on humanity. The baby is so compelling, and if changing the bathwater introduces more people to Him, then sign me up.”

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“It’s not enough to be theologically brilliant without the heart of a missionary. It’s sometimes intangible work planted in the messy soil of relationships instead of the cleaner territory of theology.”

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And my favorite:

 Interrupted Quote

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The quotes listed are probably only 1/10th of the ones I underlined. AND they’re just the serious ones. There are some hilarious stories and phrases sprinkled Jatmaker style throughout the book.

It’s good stuff & I hope you’re brave enough to read it. Peace out.

God at Work Wednesday: Julia’s Story

Today you have the pleasure of meeting Julia. I met this beautiful girl while attending Wheaton College and today she is serving the least of these on the other side of the world. Her heart is so huge, and she daily serves as a huge inspiration to Kevin and me. She is someone we have been in prayer for for a few years, and I can’t wait for you to read about God’s provision for her.

I don’t care how small of a thing you’re worried about, you guys. God cares.

Read this and see what I’m talking about.

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Some stories are just too good, too important not to tell.

This is one of them.

Tuesday night I was at the peak of emotional misery. Nothing seemed to be going right in any area of my life. My muscles felt tired and my body ached from emotional erosion. I didn’t want to face the world. Unfortunately, the world was coming to me, in the form of a dinner party for a visitor staying at our house. Originally excited to meet our guests, the idea of new faces seemed too much to handle. Thankfully, a last-minute invitation to dinner offered me refuge in the only place in Amman I know as “home,” a young family who has opened their arms to me, mentored me, loved on me. I knew I could go there and not need to perform.

With a weight five times my own, I left my house, dragged myself up the stairs, and handled society until safely in the confines of a cab. I stared outside the window at the city passing by, blinking back tears and mentally numb from thinking. Were we there yet?

Almost to the destination, we stopped at a major intersection. Peddlers, young and old, Gypsy and Arab, often congregate here. Selling newspapers, life-size teddy bear stickers and plants of all shapes and sizes, they walk between the cars, peddling the day’s deal. That day, it was white flowers. 4 lanes of traffic over, I watched two young brothers cajoling a young man to buy a bouquet for his wife.

Suddenly, the idea of flowers felt so great to me. My heart longed for them. They were beautiful: White, crisp and joyful. They seemed like the perfect salve for my weary spirit and heavy heart. I yearned for one.

But, not only were the boys far away, I also didn’t think I could spare the money to buy them myself. With my heart heavy with disappointment, I decided I’d just tell God. “God, I’d really like some flowers. I know it seems silly, but I just wish I could have one. My heart hurts and they seem so nice.“

[I wish I could say that at this point I said something to God about being able to see the other “flowers” in my life that He blesses me with. I’m not sure if that happened or not. I’d sound like a better person if it did… but it probably didn’t.]

The light changed and our cab moved forward, leaving the boys and their flowers far behind in the exhaust.

Fast-forward two days. I was in a cab again, heading towards the same intersection. A few minutes earlier, while waiting for that cab, an 8-year-old boy had run up and grabbed me, hissing lewd obscenities no 8-year-old should know. I was furious, insulted, assaulted. To cope, I began vigorously typing a blog post on my cell phone; consumed in the text, I lost all awareness to my surroundings. I didn’t even realize the cab had stopped at an intersection until, suddenly, a white flower appeared in front of my face.

I froze. It was the very flower I had asked God for.

Looking up, I saw we were at the same intersection from Tuesday night. A different boy is smiling at me from the passenger side window, bouquets of flowers clutched to his chest.

“Oh, no thanks, I don’t want to buy flowers” I tell him.

“No, it’s for you” the boy pauses, and then gives me a toothy grin, “it’s a gift.”

I’m sure my eyes doubled in disbelief as he passed the flower through the window. With a smile, the boy turns and walks away. Our cab pulls forward.

I suddenly have no more interest in my phone. I can only stare at the flower in disbelief. I had asked God for a flower, and he gave me the very one I wanted. He didn’t have to. I’m not worthy of it, heck I almost beat up an 8-year-old. And at that moment all I felt was pure, complete, love. God loved me enough to give me flowers. Not because I did anything special or deserved them, but because He loved me.

I stared at that flower for another 5 minutes, flabbergasted, dumbfounded, in complete awe of our delightful God who gives us even the smallest, most minute desires of our hearts. A God of the details. A God of love.

I debated for 30 seconds before deciding I had to tell my taxi driver about the best present I’d ever received. “Can I tell you something?” I asked. I then proceeded to tell him about seeing the boys two days before, wanting the flowers but not having any money, and asking God to give me a flower. And then today, just then, I got the very same flower.

Through the rearview mirror I watched the face of my driver, trying to figure out if he understood my Arabic. Without a word, the worn face of the driver broke into a smile. For a moment, I just watched him smile. It seemed internal, like the smile inside of me, and I knew he understood. Still silent, the driver lifted his hand to his face and quietly wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. Looking up at me, his smile grew.

Shaking his head in disbelief he praised, “Subhan’Allah” he said. “Subhan’Allah”

Praise God.

Yes. Praise God.”

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Julia is a 2014 grad of Johns Hopkins’ SAIS with a Master’s in International Economics and Development. Before SAIS, Julia spent three years in Jordan working with female entrepreneurs in Gaza Refugee Camp to establish community programs and distribute aid to the camp’s most marginalized. She will spend the next year working on women’s livelihood projects in rural India as a Clinton Fellow with the American India Foundation and has been placed in Cairo, Egypt in 2016 as a fellow with a humanitarian and emergency relief agency.

God at Work Wednesday: Aubrey’s Story

So pumped today for you to meet my friend Aubs. She was my roomie for 2 years of college and my faithful marathon buddy. We have been through a ton together, and today she is sharing part of her story.

Aubrey is a 26 year old PhD student studying Old Testament Lit at Emery and is probably smarter than 95% of us will ever be in our whole lifetimes ;o) She is married to a wonderful man named Jeff who is from Australia and still has a sweet accent, and they currently reside in Atlanta with their two Papillion puppies, Grace and Ransom. (Okay, how adorable is she?!)

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“When I was a sophomore in college, I knew that I wanted to be a singer. I loved music, I was majoring in voice performance at Wheaton College, and I just knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Of course, I was going to succeed in voice “all for the glory of God.” Its funny how much more glory God can get in our absolute FAILURE.

While I was planning and practicing for my sophomore recital (my first big college recital!), I started to lose my voice all the time. I developed a chronic sore throat and instead of getting better, I grew gradually worse and worse. I was so discouraged, and, frankly, embarrassed. I thought being a singer was who I was. But I was failing dismally. My voice teacher tried putting me on vocal rest, “How much are you talking?!” He couldn’t believe how much I would have had to be talking to go from voice major to chain smoker in the course of a short lesson! At the breaking point of frustration that had grown over the year (and after I assured him that I wasn’t that popular ), he referred me to a voice specialist.

The voice specialist informed me that I had a tumor, fortunately benign, on my vocal cords. I would have to have surgery to remove it at the end of the semester, and until then, no more singing. Afterwards I would have to build up from there and just see how it went. My dream of excellence in singing was, very clearly, over.

What do you do when you have reached a limit like this? I couldn’t work harder, invest more effort or time to “push through” this. I was, simply, an artist without an art.

It turns out that that limit was the only way that I could have been halted in my tracks, realize the weakness of being human, and turn around to face God. It was such a small trial, but it taught me that freedom can be found in something so important being taken away, even if at the time I felt like I had failed. I realized that was not the end…so what next?

I found myself with lots of time on my hands. That’s what you get when you’re a voice major without a voice! I turned to the book of Ecclesiastes” ‘What gain does humanity get from all their toil under the sun?” the speaker in the book asks, “who knows what is good for a person?”

In that period where my speech was limited I set out to find the answer to Ecclesiastes’ question. It was that first question that set me on the path to where I am today, still a full-time student of the Bible! And still a full-time student of the lessons that God so graciously taught me as an over-confident college student.

1) We are limited as human beings. Our bodies can fail us, our circumstances can get out of our control. We can put in all that effort to “be all that I can be,” and still be, as Paul says in Romans, “subjected to futility” along with creation (Romans 8:20) BUT

2) Our belief is in one who, though he had no limits, took on all of our limits, in order that we could be redeemed in our failure as much as in our success. This is our mystery, where we are now free to encounter our limits as temporary, we are free to struggle against them in the belief that even the “no’s” are redemptive.

It took my struggle with the small limit of losing my voice for me to be forced to grapple with the nature of a God who embraced all our human limits, even the greatest one, of death. Somehow it was on the other side of that experience where I found a kind of freedom to love my work without a crippling fear of failure. It is a joy, of course, to succeed, but not a need.

So now, maybe we can be free to fail, free to realize our limits, free to realize the weakness of our bodies and our minds, and instead of thinking we have to be excellent for Christ, realize that our failures can be testimonies to his excellence.”

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wanna snoop in my life?

Two weeks from today is opening night! I’m going to be in Quad City Music Guild’s production of Les Miserables, which is totally a bucket list show for theater people. 🙂

I’m a factory girl, a “lovely lady,” a beggar, a grieving sister, and a person excited about the revolution. And the leads in this show are ridic so you should prob get your tickets now. Details here.

Anyway, there’s a line in the show sung by the beautiful Cosette:

“In my life…there are so many things unclear, so many things unknown”
So many things

That’s sorta how I feel right now. The future seems like it could go in so many wild, amazing directions and I’m just along for the ride. Some of the uncertainty, though, totally freaks me out. Here are the 4 areas of life about which I’m feeling nervous and excited for the future:

1) Our house. This one is at the forefront of my mind because we have been cleaning like mad people up in this crib. Crazily enough– the house that me and Kev moved into 1.5 years ago, thinking we would live here forever and raise tons of babies in, has been feeling TOO BIG. Like, we have two kids..(both still practically babies) and 1,300 square feet per person is just a LOT! We had a totally groundbreaking, God-moving conversation a few weeks ago where we both shared that we were feeling led to downsize!!

It was a scary conversation…I might have cried about having to let go of some of the hopes and dreams I initially had for this house, but mostly I was crying thankful tears. I’m so grateful that God moved in BOTH of our hearts. Now future-wise…just feeling a little uncertain! What will showing our house be like while we still live here? Will God bring a buyer? What will actual moving with two toddlers look like? What will our new house be like? Where will it be? Will our new neighbors be as awesome as our current ones? If no one comes to buy it, we’re cool with that too. But we feel like we’re stepping out in faith by putting this house on the market. We’ve done a ton of updates, and feel like selling it would put us in a great financial position to become debt-free, save aggressively, and give generously. These are a few pics of the house if you want to come through it and maybe buy it 😉

House collage

2) #1 leads me to #2. Babies. We always thought we wanted babies…boom boom boom…one right after another. As many as God wanted to give us!! (or 5…probably the lesser of the two). (Hence, moving into a 5 bedroom house.) Now, I keep going back and forth on this one. Part of me thinks there’s something Biblical about the Duggar philosophy…and part of me says (holy mama. I can’t believe I’m typing this) “I think I could be completely content with our two miracle babes.”

I’m not saying I don’t want more babies. BUT, as much as I thought I would be ready to try again by this point (Annabelle being over 1 and pretty darn amiable), I’m just not. And I don’t know when I will feel ready…waiting for God to prepare my heart for that. Obviously, I wouldn’t be upset if I got pregnant…but for right now, I don’t want to hop back on roller-coaster-let’s-try-for-another-baby. #ohmiscarraiagehowifearthee 😦 I love that our family in heaven is big, but I so fear pregnancy. It’s the most intense Love/Hate relationship I have evaaaaa felt. SO, no babies for team Ryan as of right now. As far as we can control it.

3) My writing career. My query letters are at the Ready…Set…when-I-click-send-it’s-GO point. My proposal is being tightened up and edited on a few levels. The first book in my series, “Bearing Hope: Your Inspirational Companion Through the Darkness of Infertility” is in the starting blocks as far as getting an agent/editor goes. On June 7th I will be attending the Write-To-Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois and I’m hoping to make some professional contacts and generate some interest in my series. This is a terrifying AND exciting place to be. I know the rejection letters are inevitable, and I’ve actually already gotten one! (Hooray! AND oh crap!) The fears are setting in big time.

The voices in my head chitter chatter back and forth:

“Am I cut out for this?”

“I AM GOING TO BE PUBLISHED”

“I need a more professional website.”

“I CAN DO THIS!”

“My resume is too short.” Etc. etc.

I want to believe in myself with my whole being, but it’s a VERY competitive industry and it’s easy to cop-out and simply give up before I even put myself out there. Why? Because rejection is terrifying. The thing is, I feel called to this. I feel equipped. I feel like I have something amazing to offer, and I am willing to fight an uphill battle to make this happen!!

My book is written in a similar, creatively handwritten style like SARK, and she is a National Best Seller who has been published by RANDOM HOUSE!! If she can do it, I can do it. Plus, I have a gorgeous amazing illustrator named Hannah Slay who has drawn some amazing pics and fonts for me. I KNOW KNOW KNOW my books will change the world for God’s glory! They will change the lives of people walking through infertility, miscarraiges, eating distorders, etc…so it’s WILL happen. It’s just a matter of when…and finding a visionary editor. Will you pray with me for that?!

I am fighting to believe what SARK says: “Have the mentality of ‘they will be lucky to find me.'”

4. My financial representative career. Yesterday I passed my Life Insurance and Disability Insurance exams to become a licensed part of my husband’s financial planning practice! woot woot! My sexy husband, Kevin, has had the honor of growing a thriving practice with Northwestern Mutual since day one of his college intern career 7 years ago. Our dinner conversations have  pretty much been about financial planning for forever, so this is a pretty natural move. It’s also natural because I have already been a part of his team in the marketing aspect for a few months. However, my role is changing for the better. I know I have what it takes to help people in the same way Kevin does, and working in this regard will help expand the reach of his practice and make it more efficient. I am excited tohelp people I care about make wiser and more secure financial decisions!

Kevin’s passion for helping people is contagious, and after a couple years of struggling to find the right person for his team, we made the decision that I will work as an Associate Financial Rep with him for a year or two and see how things progress from there (personally and professionally). The best part is, I’ll still be working part-time hours so I don’t miss a full day with the kids (I’ll miss a few morning hours and then be home when they wake up from their afternoon naps). And bonus: Kev is super fun and easy to work with.

 

SOOOO yeah, Big changes ahead around here.

You guys, life is crazy. We just never know what twists and turns this journey called life is holding. I’m so glad I am surrounded by people who love me, love our kids, and love Jesus. Even with “so many things unclear, so many things unknown” I can hold fast to this passage from Isaiah 46:9-10:

“Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”

God is in control. It’s all going to be okay. (But I’m definitely wearing a seatbelt because whoa…)

Does anyone else ever experience twists and turns, or is it just me?

It’s a good thing I love change.

Random Friday Thoughts with Liv

1. How much is Sam’s Club’s electric bill each month?

2. How much $moolah would Stay At Home Moms actually make if it were calculated? The cooking+ the cleaning+ the BABYSITTING. Glory. We would be rich 😉 I guess our richness comes from things like snuggles. (I think it’s more than this lady thinks. She says $115,000. I say there should be a 20K bonus for each kid under 5 and 50K for each under 1).

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3. How the heck do weeds grow so fast?

4. Why do coffee, tea and wine stain your teeth, but chocolate and grapes and other dark colored foods don’t?

5. How is music so powerful? It’s so one of God’s coolest inventions.

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6. Why does there have to be winter? How sweet would it be to just have Spring, Summer, and Fall on repeat?

7. Why are teenagers so crazy?!

8. How did someone think to invent the internet? Ahh, life pre-internet…what the what would we do all day?! lol. Don’t answer that. Real interactions…blah blah blah. ;o) Are there other equally revolutionary things yet to be invented?! It’s kinda exciting. And terrifying.

9. Why are some people so malicious and mean? It makes me sad.

10. Why are infertility and miscarriage so rampant?

11. What is heaven actually going to look like? Feel like? Smell like? Will we eat? What will He look like…in all of his splendor and majesty?! What will my babies look like? I know it will be better than I can imagine and I can’t wait.

😀 I am an odd one. But most artists are kinda strange…so I’ll take it 😉 This article on weird writers made me smile.

Happy Friday!

bite sized chunks

“SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME!”

You know those huge goals you’d love to reach someday? Maybe they include:

Fitness & health goals…

Businesses open…

Higher Education degrees….

Books written….

Marathons run…

A life of discipleship lived….

Places seen…

A strong marriage built…

Financial goals…

etc, etc.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I love setting goals and going for them. But my proclivity is to think about the end goals, and then want to accomplish all of them RIGHT NOW, TODAY by the end of the day!

Hah! Not possible, of course! But I want to anyway, and that leads to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Are you good at breaking your goals down into bite sized chunks?

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The Marathon (12 days away!) was broken down for me by a specific training schedule. I have written my daily running goals on the calendar, and boom! Attainable, bite sized chunks…easy as pie! (Because I will have run 500 miles over the course of my 7 month training, I’m working to raise $500 for Compassion’s clean water fund…if you feel compelled to give $5 or throw in $26.20……or $79 to give a child clean drinking water for his or her whole life, here’s the link to check it out).

For other things, breaking down goals hasn’t been as easy. (Especially something as unpredictable as writing a book.)

Picture a funnel with a BIG jar underneath. This funnel is what you pour your energy and efforts into so that you can eventually fill your jar! (Jar full=Goal accomplished!) Funnels frustrate me…in cooking and in life, because patience isn’t my #1 virtue. Funnels don’t magically filter through stuff quickly when you’re in a hurry! They require patience, attention, and time. If you dump too much into the funnel at once, it overflows and makes a mess! (been there, done that.)

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Today, I’m intentionally saying to myself :

“Deep breaths. One step at a time….bite sized chunks.”

I will not rush this life away! I will intentionally celebrate my smaller goals as they’re reached, and eventually accomplish the biggies. Specifically: Getting published.

I sometimes feel discouraged when people ask, “How is your book coming?” Because I want to be able to tell them I have a publishing contract! BUT it’s okay that the time has not yet come. I’m wearing more than one hat right now, and I want to enjoy every aspect of my journey through life, not just the day I reach my goal of being published. (Although that day will be magically magical!)

If you’re wondering about my book update…I’m currently refining my query…finishing and tightening my proposal (YAY!!!) and finishing the last 10% of the (typed) first draft of the book. It’s SOSOOO close I can almost taste it. The day I send out my first few query letters, will be a day that I celebrate. And I will undoubtedly share that celebration with you!

But for today, bite sized chunks. (That phrase makes me think of cookies, which are my favorite dessert ever. You can call me Mrs. Cookie Monster if you want.)

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Which of your goals is most important? How have you broken it down for yourself?

 

Sometimes, someone comes along who changes everything

For me that person was Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, aka SARK. (Of course there are others too…namely, JESUS, Kevin, Coleton, Annabelle) …

But today, you get to find out about how I met SARK. 

I remember the moment I came across SARK for the first time. It was in Barnes ‘N Noble, my favorite pre-kids hangout, and I was in the beloved self-help section…which at times has been my favorite section of the bookstore, despite my annoyance with self-help books that breed narcissism. I was nonchalantly browsing for nothing in particular when the title “Eat Mangoes Naked” jumped out at me. 🙂 Obv, the title is pretty racy and catchy…and the book was was strangely pretty! 

As I pulled it out of the crowded shelf and started my typical 30 second-flip through, it was like the scales fell off of my eyes! I was holding pure gold, people! It was like Christmas morning. There dancing across the pages before me was the HANDWRITING of this beautiful, free-spirited author who THINKS JUST LIKE I DO! She writes in color. She draws in the margins, and makes cool charts and wheels and random thought expressions throughout her stories! A part of me came alive in that moment.

Her books aren’t in a cool, artsy font. It’s REAL pen on paper handwriting! It’s not “in the box” for once! HallelujaH!

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Her books, and her brave new style changed everything for me. I purchased and devoured every single one of her books within a matter of months, feeling inspired and FREE! If you know me, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard me talk about her. I’m sorta obsessed. SARK is the pioneer of REAL creative non-fiction, at least in my book.

The way she writes speaks to me and inspires me. Like REALLY inspires me. Why? Because I have always wanted to write books, but her style finally FREED me from the fear of writing them the way I want to write them! I didn’t have to be afraid of the big scary publishing world saying NO WAY! because SARK had done it, and not just self-published or squeaked by. She was and is wildly successful!

The book I’ve been writing, Bearing Hope: Your Inspirational Companion Through the Darkness of Infertility (that I’m going to be querying within the month most likely!) is creatively handwritten too. When I explain to people by saying, “similar to SARK’s style”…they always kinda nod their head, but I can tell they don’t know what I’m talking about because the people who do know SARK are like, “COOL!!! I LOVE SARK!!”

 

My favorite thing about her creative, colorful handwritten books is that they’re easy to read. They’re fun to read! When someone is walking through a dark season, they need something light. Something easily digested!

Of course my book has its own rhyme and rhythm and is more of an interactive journal book; my goal isn’t to be a SARK copycat. I am insanely excited to share it with you soon!

Now, I have been praying for and just need God to bring along the right visionary agent and editor, because when submission guidelines call for “Times New Roman 12-pt” font, I die a little bit inside.

Today, along with the gorgeous sunshine, I am so thankful for SARK who wasn’t and isn’t afraid to break the mold. I’m so thankful that she came along and changed everything…

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(I’m guessing my face looked something like this when I stumbled upon the greatness that is SARK!)

If you’re reading this SARK (in my dreams), THANK YOU and YOU GO GIRL!! 

Who has come along in your life and challenged everything you knew as truth? Who is a major role model for you?! 

 

Dream Writing

I was selected a couple weeks ago to start writing for the Quad City Moms Blog and I’m super excited!! My first post is coming up in a couple weeks, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to write about. (Don’t want to get too intense but want to tell who I am and where I’m coming from a little bit!) SO, now that I’m pregnant…I get up to go to the bathroom about 2 times per night of sleep. Yeah, it’s awesome. (not).

Anyway, last night was not the first time that I woke up with some great writing ideas…and specifically last night it was an awesome intro idea for my first QCMB blog! I was so excited that I was being productive in my sleep, and almost took the effort to get a pen and paper and write it down…buuuut…that middle of the night haziness took over and I went back to sleep, positive that I would remember what I was thinking because it was **crystal clear** at the time.

Dang it. I don’t remember a thing. Is this always the case with dream ideas? Yes. Yes it is. Writing it down is the ONLY way to remember!! Let’s just hope it was a really dumb idea and wasn’t worth remembering anyway. *sigh*

Now when is my new IMac going to get here so I can really start having some blogging fun?! Or maybe I should go take a nap and get those good ideas flowing again 🙂

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Found a sweet poem in my book today. it’s called “clothesline”

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you

us

them

those people

wouldn’t it be lovely

if one coule

live

in a constant state

of we?

some of the most 

commonplace

words

can be some of the biggest dividers

they

what if there was

no they? 

what if there 

was only 

us?

if words could be seen

as they floated out

of our mouths

would we feel no

shame 

as they passed beyond 

our lips?

if we were to string

our words 

on a commmunal clothesline

would we feel proud 

as our thoughts 

flapped in the

breeze?

-Marilyn Maciel