Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Have you ever seen a commercial for Staples or Office Depot about selling school supplies? It first came on a couple of years ago and today my heart swells with joy when I think of it.

Swells? Really? For a commercial?


You see the father is pushing a cart picking up school supplies and his two kids are trudging along, obviously upset about going back to school. But the Dad, well he is anything but upset. In fact, as he pushes the cart he also dances. The music in the background says it all. It is the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

This is how I feel. My heart is swelling with relief and joy. Noah is safely, wonderfully, FINALLY back at school. Before you go and start calling me Bad Mom, let me assure you I am not alone. Many, many, many parents celebrate with me.

Those days of crying as your little precious enters the world of kindergarten…they are over. I adore Noah and I am so grateful to have a son. But this summer was long. Very, very long in some ways. In other ways, it flew by.

He is in fourth grade and already loves it. I am in my home alone with Scooby, writing away, and I love it. See we are both happy!

It is the most wonderful time of the year!

A Gift from God - My Writing Group!

In January, 2007, a mere one year and eight months ago, I walked into a room at Southeast Community Church in Parker. Greeted immediately by a tall woman with big hair and a big smile, I felt a bit more at ease. I sat down, unsure of myself, but ready to begin a new adventure. Only a month had passed since moving to Colorado. John and Noah and I were welcomed to Denver by two blizzards and several feet of snow outside our condo. Coming from sunny California, we were still in shock. At least I was.

But on this day, the snow was receding. A bit. The sun was shining. A bit more. And I was hopeful that my dream of writing could be spurred on to a new level if I joined a writing group. So it was that I came to be a part of Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild.

Today I am so thankful for this group of people who love words and who cheer each other on to write for the Creator of Words! In this group, I have been given the tools to improve my craft. In this group, I was handed a list of places to submit my writing. In this group, I had the joy of sharing that I was going to be published for the first time in a Colorado magazine/newspaper called Prairie Times. In this group, I giggled through the thrill of announcing that my writing would be in Chicken Soup for the Tea Lovers Soul.

And in this group, I have stood and announced countless rejections. Each time I do, I get the exact same response as when I get an acceptance. My fellow writers applaud and cheer. They know that it takes courage to submit. A rejection is not a sign of failure, but a sign of that courage it took to hit the send button.

Sharen Watson was our leader but has moved back to Texas to be with family. While she was here, she encouraged me immensely. She gave me courage to keep going and to spread my wings a bit. After I made a flyer to send to MOPS directors to volunteer to be a speaker, I became frozen in fear. I couldn't send it out. No one would want to hear me speak. Or would they?

I approached Sharen and shyly said, "Would you look at this?"

Sharen read it over and exclaimed, "Do it,Robbie! This looks great."

I did. And I was given the honor of speaking for several MOPS groups last year and will speak to even more this year.

Megan, our co-director, authored a novel, Searching for Spice, last year and has another book, Out of Her Hands, coming out in October. Her success has given fuel to my dreams. To see someone go through the process with its ups and downs has been an education in itself for me. I remember so clearly the day Megan taught on finding your voice. It was after listening to her and taking a lot of notes, that I found the confidence to write as me. Not me trying to be another author. Or me trying to be a better me. Just me.

Now Michele leads us and I am so excited to see what God will do in her and through her. Michele is a professional speaker and has already added so much to that part of my calling. This October I am going to go to the Dynamic Communicators Workshop for five days in Colorado Springs to polish my speaking abilities. Michele opened the doors for me to go.

So I am blessed. God called me to write, seriously, a few years ago. When I moved to Denver, He handed me this beautifully wrapped gift for me to use for that calling. He gave me Words for the Journey.

Last night, we started our new year with a meeting at Barnes and Noble. During the meeting, Michele announced two winners for the WFTJ devotional contest. My name was called. Thrilled, I went to the front and accepted my prize. When I got back to my seat, I whispered, "Thank you, Jesus." It wasn't just a prayer for the gift card I won. It wasn't just a prayer for giving me the words to write. It was a whispered prayer of thanksgiving for that beautifully wrapped gift He gave me one year and eight months ago.