She sang and danced her heart out every day after school, in the basement that served as her studio. (Basements= the original auto tune.) 8 track tapes blasted from her parents stereo. (google it, younguns…. think music recorded on something the size of a trashy paperback…really old  school Cd’s) “Delta Dawn” “I will Survive” And loads of Helen Reddy and other angsty belty 70’s music filled her repertoire. She was pretty sure that eventually she’d be discovered for the amazing talent she was… and she’d show everyone just how special she was.

The dance practice and singing went on all through high school. She graduated from 8 tracks to cassette tapes and a “Walkman.” The headphones made her sound even MORE amazing. Besides, now it was all Flashdance and Footloose….80’s music reigned. Someday she’d be: queen.

Except she couldn’t really sing. She wasn’t awful… just more -second -soprano- sing -the -harmony -you’re not really solo material- good. Her dance moves were party ready but, never going to wind up in a music video.

Still, she hoped.

“Someday, I’ll be discovered.”  She waited. She once heard the story of a famous starlet being “discovered” in a soda shop. The there were the stars discovered in music classes and on street corners….. “Someday.” Except: she was dancing in the basement. The only thing she was going to be discovered by was dust bunnies and dirty laundry.

She’s still waiting.

She’s me.

I gave up dreams of music and dance somewhere during my senior year. I just didn’t have “it.”

But, I discovered something I could do…. I could tell and write stories.

My dream shifted….”Maybe someday- I’ll be discovered- as a writer.”

I took classes. I read books. I wrote and submitted articles. I recieved lots of very nice rejection letters.

And then…. things got published. Doors opened. Speaking engagements became part of my norm. I went through (and go through) every door that opens. When I write- I feel like that dancing kid again….. I can do and be anything.

Almost. Kind of. Mostly.

Except for one thing: Be discovered.

I’ve been wondering why… I’ve been praying about it. Kind of whiney, actually. I keep seeing friends online (and off) that I’ve followed and written alongside, get book deals. (I’ve sinned- okay? I’m jealous.) I get good feedback about my writing from professionals. I’ve been encouraged to write more.

But, that’s as far as it goes. I  keep writing…. and waiting. To be discovered.

I set up a blog years ago and love writing here- however, I realize that I set up a virtual soda shop.  That I keep hoping that someday, someone would stop by and “discover” me. I keep hoping to open an email that (for once) wouldn’t be from an Ethiopian Prince wanting to gift me money. But would be from a publisher- or a literary agent. It would ask me to write a book. My book. The one in my heart. At least one of them… (I have a few brewing away.)

Here’s the thing: My longing to be “discovered” isn’t a dream. It’s insecurity veiled in a dream. The truth is- I dream of being “discovered” because I long to be: Affirmed. Chosen. Special. Gifted.

All of which, I already am. Affirmed by God. Chosen by Christ. Specially created to fulfill a purpose (My purpose) on this earth. Gifted- not (just) in writing- but in love and by love, in grace and by grace.

The truth is- I’ve already been “discovered.”  It’s time to stop dancing in the basement. It’s time to stop waiting and get to work- writing.

You have already been discovered too. You are not invisible. You are not relegated to waiting on a soda shop stool hoping to be discovered. God created YOU with a purpose to fulfill. God discovered you, long before you were born. He has chosen you. He affirms YOU. He has gifted you, in love and with love- in grace and with grace. It’s your choice how you use them.

Will you keep singing in the basement, sitting on the soda shop stool waiting to be discovered? Or, will you get to work and do what God has planned for you? This year- I want to leave the soda shop. I want to leave the basement. Because, I just discovered something…. I’ve already been discovered.

Will I ever be a “real” writer? I don’t know. But, it’s not good enough to keep dancing in the basement. No more soda shop waiting. It’s time to find out.

Maybe, I’m not the only one. What about you? Are you waiting to be discovered? Maybe your longing to be discovered is veiled insecurity too….it’s time to rip off the veil. We’ve already been chosen and discovered. Let’s get to work.

“4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2 

Dear Lord… this is either from you or from me… I haven’t got a clue- but you’re words are true regardless.  help me to overcome my insecurity- help me to stop waiting to be discovered- and help me to do the work you’re calling me to do. It’s not about dreams…. it’s about you- I love you lord and pray for courage for every one who reads….. let today be the day we take the first step- off the soda shop stool, out of the basement…. and into your light. amen

 

“I’m a writer.”

It makes my stomach churn to say it. It feels just  like  when I used to lie about my homework in junior high. (And elementary school. Okay- it may have happened a lot. Sorry, Mom.)

But, it’s not a lie. It’s the truth. It just feels like a lie.

I thought it would feel “true” when I saw my first byline. It didn’t. I thought it would feel true when I got my first contract. It didn’t. Then I thought maybe it would feel true when I deposited my first check…. Nope.

I’ve been thinking maybe it will feel true when I get a book contract. Or an agent. Or maybe when I hold my first *swoon* book.

But this week I’m stepping up to a challenge- one put out by Jeff Goins- 15 Habits of a Great Writer. (more…)

sandcastle

“First, we dig a moat, then, we need big walls to keep out invaders.  We have to have a strong army and traps and lots of weapons!” Noah S- 8

I’ve spent countless sun-filled hours watching my boys sculpt sandcastles.  I’ve been in awe of their creative use of beach rocks, buckets and stones. I’ve watched them re-routed entire water-ways by digging trenches to protect their castles from in coming tides and I’ve watched the tears fall when it was time to go home and they had to be left- unguarded.

I’ve returned to the same beaches early in the morning a day later, only to find the beach scrubbed clean by wind and surf.  Regardless of the intricacy or grand engineering of the protective plans, the sandcastles always succumb to the tide.

Children aren’t the only sandcastle builders.  I can see my own actions reflected in their planning and building.  I’ve tried to dig protective moats and build high walls around their lives, too. I’ve been pretty creative in my use of private schools, homeschooling, controlling TV viewing, interviewing perspective friends, centering activities around people we know and place we know.. In truth?  My protective plans have been about as effective as sandcastle builders have.  Maybe less so.  Some of them have only proven to do their own type of damage.

Life happens.  Wind blows, sand shifts and the tide comes in. What seemed safely protected yesterday, is a wind scrubbed beach, today.

Maybe that’s the way it should be.  Maybe  beaches aren’t meant to be turned into protected castles.  Maybe, part of their beauty is the wildness, the changes that happen each day.  Maybe learning to enjoy the changes and challenges as they come, is part of a bigger plan.

Today, I’m heading to the beach of my life without a bucket or a protective plan.  I don’t want to look back and find a day spent building and protecting a temporary sandcastle. I’d rather find a day spent exploring and enjoying every incredible aspect of a beach. It’s risky, I know.  Rocks and wind and sand and waves can be dangerous.  Bad things happen, the truth is- they happen whether we try to protect ourselves or not.  Then again…so do wonderful things.

I trust the one who created the beach for me to play in, and who has a plan for the sandcastle of my life.. I’m  going out to enjoy what I find there… will you join me?

“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”- Jeremiah 33:2-3

**the sandcastle pictured is not the work of my guys.. but of the beautiful and much loved Holland Family:)***

Vintage post- 

I sat in a be-ribboned garden chair, conflicted. “Does he know what he’s getting into?  How can he do this? Will it last? Does he really know her?  Does he know what I know about her?” The wedding march played in accompaniment as my thoughts ran on like a third grader’s sentences.

I watched him at the sun-bathed altar. His eyes were so full of love. There was a smile of delight on his face. He glowed. Honestly?  I wondered whether he was naive or just stupid. But, I love him. So, I smiled. The sun beamed. INstead of bathing the scene in beauty, it’s light just brought my conflicted feelings into sharper contrast.

A tear escaped my eye as she walked past me. It wasn’t a tear of joy.

She tripped on the runner.

She stumbled.

She fell.

She tried to catch herself on the pew. She didn’t. Her knee landed just off the runner in the grass, it stained her gown. “Is she drunk?” I wondered as she kept lurching towards the altar. As she walked past me, I noticed her train was torn. The gown wasn’t flattering.  In fact, the fit was awful.  Besides, should she even be wearing white? Who is she trying to fool? She didn’t fool me.

I sighed and tried not to roll my eyes. I dabbed at them with tissue and hoped the other guests would think I was touched. But I noticed whispers. Maybe I wasn’t the only one doubting the wisdom of this choice.

He could do so much better.

She’s not good enough for him. I know things about her. Bad things. Things that should make him (like me) reject her.

The list flew through my mind like leaves in the wind:

  • She’s got a history, you now- with men.
  • She’s a user, an abuser.
  • She’s controlling.
  • She’s manipulative.
  • She’s judgmental.
  • She’s sloppy.
  • She’s naive.
  • She’s vindictive.
  • She’s pompous.
  • She’s simplistic.
  • She’s too pie in the sky.
  • She thinks she knows everything.
  • She argues over nothing.
  • She holds nothing sacred.
  • She’s narrow minded.
  • She’s too permissive.
  • She’s self righteous.
  • She’s just not right.

The list went on and on. So did the ceremony and my torrent of thoughts:

“I can’t accept this. I refuse to have anything to do with someone like her. I just don’t have anything in common with her. Maybe, if she listened to me and changed some of her opinions… and ways….we could work this out…But, I doubt she’d see things my way.” 

I didn’t hear a word of the ceremony.

Then, suddenly, it was over. It was too late. They were joined. United. One. I sighed.

“I love HIM. But, what do I do with HER?”.

I waited in the receiving line, wishing I was anywhere else. I don’t “do” faking it well. “Congratulations” and “Welcome”  were the furthest things from my heart and mind. I wanted to shake some sense into her.. not shake her hand kiss her cheek and welcome her to the family.

As I got closer to them, my heart beat faster. “What can I say that isn’t a lie?” I wanted to scream at him, shake him and tell him what a mistake he’d made. “It’s not too late- this can be annulled or something, can’t it? RUN!” I settled on telling him the truth..  at least he couldn’t say he didn’t know. And I could live with a clean conscience.

At least, that’s what I’d planned. Until I stood face to face with him.

I looked into his eyes.  I saw the truth.

He knew it all, worse yet- it was all true.

He also knew what I felt. He knew before I ever stepped into that receiving line.

He knew it all. And He loved her, anyway. And he loved me too. Regardless.

As we stood toe to toe, and I looked into his eyes and saw his love for her, I knew that if I rejected her.. I’d break his heart.

How could I?  When he’d already accepted Me?

I wrapped my arms around them both. I held them. I cried.

She’s still all those things….. But, I love her. Because I love Him.

Even if I disagree, even if I think he’s naive.

I refuse to break his heart. I won’t reject her.

She, is the church.  She, is me. She is All of us. 

And he loves us. As we are.

Dear Lord.. Thank you for loving your bride, messy, clumsy and sin-filled and conflicted as she is.  I pray that you’d help us to be beautiful in your sight and in the sight of those around us….help me to set aside my judgements and struggles with the disagreements I hold so tightly– bind our hearts and lives.. make us one… and let us love, whether that means helping to keep each other from sin or to clean up and heal the wounds our sins cause.. Lord make your beautiful bride.. fill our hearts so full of love there is no room for hate….in Jesus name- amen.

There is a lot of angst about the “church” in our world… both inside the christian culture and outside…I’ve had my own share. I think I have the spiritual gift of criticism…. hello?  It’s not a gift.  As I sat in my devotions this morning.. this is the picture and truth that came to mind… I can’t hate the bride he loves, without breaking his heart.

“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. Revelation 19:7-10

This week is a celebration of unity across christendom. Started by Rachel H Evans A “Rally to restore unity”  Something I  think could change the world… if we stopped sniping at each other, and started accepting respecting and  *gasp* even appreciating our differences…. the world may just see the love of Christ through us…

And because unity should bring us to action… Rachel’s raising funds for Charity water-— who would argue  with clean water to save lives? 

In just a few minutes, I’m heading out to the mall. Not for my typical mall run that involves coffee and bookstores and shoe shopping.  I’m going to do an experiment in judgment. I’ll be counting the number of times I make snap judgments about the people I see there. In one hour.

I’m nervous. Let’s just say, if my theory is right, and we all do this everyday… then, the same number of people  will (possibly)  be making snap judgments of me, while I sit there sipping a latte.

So just for fun, and maybe  a contest…. How many judgments (assumptions made about someone’s character based on their appearance or quickly observed behavior) will I make in one hour?

The experiment will work like this: I will move to 4 different locations around the mall during that hour- so I don’t stack the deck by sitting near any one particular store… (ummm yeah…. my Grandma shops at JC Penney and the goths all shop at Hot Topic… sooo too easy if I just sit there :P)

Post your guess in the comments-  I’ll pick up a little giveaway while I’m there:)

Edited to add— I’ll keep the comments open for this post until Midnight 9/17  *** the prize?

Hello Kitty Earbuds purchased at the mall, of course:)

if you send tweet a message linking here- or facebook post a link let me know and I’ll give you an entry for a second pair that will be drawn at random:)

The experiment went well- but I’ll be running it again- I only counted my negative judgments.. and I know I made positive ones too:) I also want to go on a busier day/ time and to a bigger mall… although I’m kind of scared of the results!


“Huff, puff.  Slap, slap. Huff, puff.  Slap, slap.” No, there wasn’t something dragging from the bumper of a passing car.

The sound of me, on the road this morning.  At mile: 4.

Which is when I lost my mind. I suddenly decided to try to run mile 4 (of 6) straight.

I argued with myself as I walked from mile 3.5-3.9…

Mile 3.5- “I wonder if I could run a mile straight?”  “Are you nuts?  You haven’t run a mile straight in 20 years.”  Mile 3.7 “Yeah, but I’ve been upping my intervals… and maybe I could!”  “I don’t think so. You’ll croak.”  Mile 3.9 But what if I DID it? THAT, would feel great.”  “Fine, give it a try, but if you die, don’t blame me.” Mile 4.0 “Oh, Lord”

As soon as Endomondo clicked over to mile 4… I started to run.  Not flat out- make yourself puke or break your neck…just a slow, easy pace.  After a couple hundred yards, (what I’d typically run as an interval) I thought about walking. Then I thought about knowing Id actually RUN a mile.  I kept going.

I came to a crosswalk. I crossed.  I thought about walking.  I didn’t. I ran.

I had to change playlists, I thought walking.  I didn’t, I kept running.

I made it .52 miles.  I thought about stopping.  I decided to stop looking at my mile tracker.

I cranked up U2 and tried to keep pace.  I did.

at .74 miles (I peeked:P) I looked at the road ahead.  The freeway overpass was coming up.  It was too close. Like- the top of it would be right  smack dab at about where this mile I decided to run, should end. It’s a long, high hill. It’s gravely and steep. I thought about walking.

I kept running. Toward it. I made it to the base of the hill. I peeked again. I thought “.88 miles is good.”  I can walk the hill. But it just didn’t feel quite like having “run a mile straight.”

I kept running.  I couldn’t get this close and quit.

“Huff, puff.  Slap, slap. Huff, puff.  Slap, slap.”

I’m pretty sure I looked more  like a slow-motion replay of a runner, than an actual real time runner. It doesn’t matter. When I got to the top of that overpass and my iphone announced “5 miles.” I knew I’d done it.  I was Rocky running the steps.  I was Carl Lewis or maybe more like Florence Griffith Joyner….(hey– we both have nails- don’t bring me down!) Ok– well maybe not like either one.

But, I was me. Running.  Not quitting when it got rough. But to the finish.

I did it.

This week’s theme has been confronting what I believed, were personal limitations.

I posted about taking a risk and allowing one of my book proposal ideas to be presented to a publisher.  *gulp* By someone else.  *gasp* When it isn’t perfect. *wheeze* When I wasn’t there to see or control it’s presentation. *slap* *huff* puff*.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I wanted to run. I wanted to back out.

I didn’t. But I wanted too.

I spent the day pretty freaked out. I wish I could say I had “perfect peace that passes all understanding.” I didn’t.  I ran scenarios in my head like a bad movie on repeat. (Think the Bear in the big Blue House Potty Video.. yeah.. that bad.)  I pictured  the publisher literally laughing at the mundane-ness and lameness of the idea… I pictured an editor a lot like Simon Cowell ripping it apart and asking “Did your friends tell you you could write?  If so, you need new friends.” I pictured the opposite.. “This is magnificent… sign this woman up, she’s got a voice that needs to be heard.  It’s fresh, relevant, reverantly irreverant, authentic and true…” I’m not sure which I was more afraid of. I was afraid I’d made the wrong decision and shouldn’t have ever answered that phone call. I was afraid I was about to be crushed like a bug.

I waited.  I didn’t hear anything.  I had the feeling that: “no news is bad news…” I ate cookies, and a peanut butter sandwich with m&m’s to console myself, and got ready for bed.

I checked my email one more time. There was something in my inbox.

It wasn’t what I’d expected. No Simon Cowell or raving review.

Ideas were presented… but not mine. I was disappointed and relieved.  I also kind of wanted to cry. It wasn’t sadness.. it was all that energy wasted in fear.

I didn’t do much the next day, to be honest.  Maybe I was wallowing.

But then, this morning.  I ran a mile. STRAIGHT.

I didn’t think  could do it, but I did.

You know what?  Sure.. the idea didn’t get presented, like I’d thought it would.  BUT.  I let it GO. I didn’t let my fear say “NO. It’s not perfect, you’re not good enough or ready.” When the mile tracker of my life gave me the opportunity to go ahead and see if I could run that mile.  I ran it. Scared and messy as it was.

I did it.

The race isn’t over. I’m not done running or writing. I’m just getting started.  I have a feeling I’m going to find out there are lots of miles that I thought would be too hard.  Lots of hills I think are too high, and lots of things I think I can’t do, I also think I will find out that I can. If I try.

And so can you.

I hope you find courage in the race before you.  I hope you go ahead and try to run that mile.. let that idea go out into the world… take that risk.

You just might find out you can, too.

I’m not settling for standing on the side lines… I want to run in this race we call life…   I’m running to win. Not running to beat you.. but to run with you. I don’t have to win… but I’m learning that I do have to run as IF to win… by giving it all I have.

Come on.  Let’s go!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor 9:24

Besides…I guess.. if I want to write about “A Mile In Her Shoes” I ought to do one in mine.. huh?  Well, I guess I just did:)

Just a quick post to point you to an article of mine that MOPS has published…

“Separation Anxiety is Contagious, You catch  it from your children”

I cry and giggle every time something is accepted for publication… it’s just amazing to me!

Stop by the MOPS site and give it a read!