Friday, December 27, 2013


Christmas, a magical time for most people. It's a time to plan and dream. Children look forward to Santa, who they hope will fulfill their deepest desire of the moment. It's a time when the retail world convinces you that your wants are indeed needs. Families travel, gatherings are numerous, and activities are at an all-time high. The hustle and bustle of Christmas reigns in December!

How did you fare? Did you get what you wanted? Did your dreams come true, and were your plans fulfilled? Did the busyness of Christmas leave you with magical feelings of peace and contentment? If you said yes, I am so happy for you. But I have to ask, "What made it that way?" Was it really because you got what you wanted? Or maybe it's because you spent time with loved ones and treasured the moments. Indeed, these are blessings, to be sure. But what if you got nothing? What if you had no family gatherings or magical moments? Would Christmas still be special? Would your heart be filled with peace and joy, anyway?

My husband and I didn't bother getting gifts for one another. I believe it's partly because we've been married 20 years, and partly because we continue to grieve the loss of our son. We also didn't spend time with extended family or do much in the way of outside activities. I wouldn't consider our Christmas to be magical, yet it was blessed. Blessed because we had the presence of God and the reminder of His sacrificial love for us. We meditated on the birth of Jesus Christ through the advent story titled, "Tabitha's Travels."

With this being only the third Christmas without our son, I still have a difficult time saying, "Merry Christmas!" However, that doesn't mean I don't wish others peace and joy. The "good news of great joy" (Luke 2:10) is something I carry every day of the year, knowing that Jesus is with me, with us. Because of this abiding joy, I can say instead, "Have a blessed Christmas. May Christ be birthed in your heart!"

Friday, December 20, 2013

You know the saying?

You know the saying, "I want it so bad I can taste it?" Yeah, well, not so much with me. I mean, yes, ever since I could read, I knew I wanted to be a published author. But no one ever told me that the closer one came to having one's dream fulfilled, the more upset one's stomach gets. The feeling is a bit like sitting in a roller coaster car that's climbing to the top of the track. It's a curious place to be because you know the top isn't all there is, there's a descent coming, the reason for the ride. It's why you got on, after all, to feel the thrill of the fall. It's the precipice, a "no turning back" moment.

I got a taste of the ride on Tuesday when I received a reply to my email query the week before. I was invited to send my manuscript to the editor. I realized then as I hit the reply button that I was about to plummet to the bottom. I suddenly freaked out screaming in my head. What if she thinks it sucks? What if my friends and family are the only ones who think I write well? What if? Thank God screams end, because it was after screaming that I took a breath and realized it was going to be okay. The ride may end, but I'll get in line for another go at it.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oddly enough, I was actually hoping to receive a rejection letter from my first submission. (Of course, an acceptance letter would have been even better!) Unfortunately, rejection letters are, apparently, a thing of the past. Submission guidelines on many publishing sites now simply state that a lack of response within a range of about three months is to be considered as a no.

I really wanted a letter, however, because it would be a tangible mark of my entry into the "official" world of writing and of becoming a published author. I guess that my spreadsheet of submissions with no reply will have to serve as a rejection letter.

The first submission over with, I've now moved on to the next prospective publisher and submitted a query via email. Again, another reminder of how things have changed in the book publishing world. Technology is amazing, but I'm betting Random House and Simon and Schuster didn't count on it changing so quickly. I guess you could say I'm going to learn to love the chameleon-like nature of this business. On to the next opportunity!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The right support

The right support is key to success, whether it be in business, like writing, or personal endeavors. The support we've received through Compassionate Friends the last two years has been instrumental to our healing. As Sunday draws near, it is my hope that I, too, will be of support to others who have joined in the journey of grief in the loss of a child. Sometimes the best way to show support is not through many words, but through acknowledgement. Acknowledge someone's loss and light a candle this Sunday. Thank you.