Friday, July 29, 2016

An open letter to my kids about their police Dad

Hi loves,

I know that this is a scary time for you all.  I saw your face this morning, my sweet firstborn, as the news anchor on the television told you that another police officer was killed and one is in the hospital today.  Forever I will remember the words you said the morning that you saw on the news that five Dallas police officers were killed.  You looked over at me and said, “Mommy, Daddy is a  police officer. I don’t want Daddy to die.”  I am sorry that I didn’t turn the news off sooner.  I am sorry you heard what they were saying.  The last thing I want is for you to be afraid.

I need for you to know, first of all, how brave your Daddy is.  You already know, of course, how much he loves you.  You know him as the man who takes you to the playground and to catch fish at the creek.   The man who will jump with you into the pool.  The man who will make a bowl of popcorn, watch a Disney movie with you and sing every word to all of the silly songs.  The man who will read you stories and pray with you before bed. You know already that you have a good Dad.

Do you know also that Daddy loves his job?  That even though it is a scary time to be a police officer, he is grateful to do it?  Your Daddy is a man who knows when there is a job to be done and is a man who is willing to do it.  He feels a sense of responsibility to the community he works for.  He feels a sense of responsibility to the police men and women that he works with.  You know how Daddy loves us and we are his family?  Daddy has a work family too.  One that he loves and one that loves him back.  Those people that Daddy works with, do you know that they care for you too?  How lucky are we that your Daddy works with people that care so much for all of us?  I hope you are proud of the police family that we belong to.

Your Daddy and his friends are good.  They care for people that they don’t even know.  They chose this job to protect and serve EVERYONE. How cool is that?

It is extraordinary, what they do.  Always know that.  It’s important, it’s noble, and the courage it requires is extraordinary.  Nothing less.

As I said to begin with, I know it is a scary time.  I want to be honest and tell you all that I am sometimes afraid too.  I love your Daddy with all that I am.  I want for him to come home to us every night.  I love your Daddy’s police friends too and I want for them to also return to their families every night.

We have seen in the news a lot lately that some officers do not go home at the end of their shift to their families.  It is very sad.  Sometimes it makes Mommy cry.  But then, we pray.  We pray for those who lost their lives and we pray for their families.  We ask for God to protect officers who are out there serving every day.  And we gain peace from our prayers. 

Kids – now and in every situation I need for you to remember to focus on Jesus.  It doesn’t matter what happens or how bad things get.  He has already overcome the whole world with His cross and resurrection.  We have this amazing truth and hope in Him.  Nothing, I mean NOTHING, can separate us from His love.  No matter what, even when things get scary, I need for you to remember that.  I want for you to all have peace in Him.

I love you all more than can be measured.  You bring so much joy to me, and to your awesome, brave police-Daddy.  You know that though, right?

Until next time….

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My writing life - a brief history

Twice in this past week I’ve been asked “How did you get into this?” in reference to my second book coming out.  Because of the question, I wanted to go back a bit and share my writing history.

It started early, actually. Shortly after I learned how to write, I began writing stories.  I do not have a lot of memories from the first grade, but I do remember writing a story about Halloween on orange construction paper cut into the shape of a pumpkin.  My teacher laminated the story and it was placed in a section of student stories in our school library.  I distinctly remember seeing it on the shelf there in the library, and feeling proud.  I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.

My first business card, made by me at around the age of 10. I had a short-lived desire to help animals, also.

I wrote short stories and journaled quite a bit.  I have a box full of old journals in my closet now (I cringe at some of the entries . . . I made some questionable choices in my youth).  I also have held on to a couple of stories from when I was a girl. 

"Goody Goody Gumdrops" - written by the 4th grade version of me.  I tell a variation of this story to my kids now.

In high school, I became interested in journalism.  I wrote for our school paper – the Haltom Image –  and my senior year was the editor-in-chief.  I loved it.  All of it. News writing, feature writing, editorial writing, column writing .  .  . it was fun to me.

I have a scrapbook with every article I wrote for the school paper.  These are the very first, from my freshman year.

Last column written for the school paper, just before graduation.

At one time I believed I would major in journalism in college, but my life didn’t go in that direction.  I joined the Navy at 19 and told my recruiter I wanted to be a JO while I served – but that rate was unavailable when I joined.  I ended up as a yeoman and never tried to write for the Navy again.  I was happy with what I was doing.  My five years in the Navy were amazing. Really.  I can’t say enough how transformative those years were for me.  I joined the church, met my husband, made the best friends, and grew up during that time. I wrote, a little.  At one point I did start what I thought would be my first book (it wasn’t).  I allowed one friend that I trusted to read the three chapters I had written.  She laughed, out loud, at a part that I had intended to be funny.  It gave me hope!  I remember thinking, wow, maybe I can really do this. Maybe I’m not a terrible writer! (Other writers know – struggling with self-doubt in a constant)  But, despite that little glimmer of confidence, I let that project go.  I didn’t make it a priority.  The Navy, and my friends, took precedence during that time. And that is okay with me.  I have the most wonderful memories of that time.  I’m so grateful.

Flash forward to 2010 – Now a married, stay-at-home mother to a toddler and newly pregnant with a second baby, I decide that it is time to get on my writing again (because, all the free time, right?? HA).  I just knew that I wanted to write a book. Badly.  My husband was working evenings at the time, my daughter was sleeping, and I remember clearly a night I sat in my living room with the laptop open and a blank word document staring me in the face.  I said a prayer.  I asked God to give me a story, something for His will.  And the story of “Absolved” came to me then.

Funny thing is, it wasn’t until 10 months after I started writing Absolved that I became involved with the pro-life movement (Absolved has a major pro-life theme), but more on that another day. 

“Absolved” was written mostly at night, after my kids were sleeping.  After I finished it I began submitting the manuscript for consideration.  I waited, and hoped, for someone to say yes to the book.  At times I wasn’t sure it would ever really happen. 

The day I found out I was going to be published, I was pregnant with my fifth child.  My husband was home.  The way I was crying, he thought I had just received news of someone’s death.  But they were happy tears.  Ecstatic tears.  Wow-my-dream-is-coming-true tears.  I just couldn’t believe that I was going to have a book that I had written in print.  I am so incredibly blessed by my publisher – eLectio Publishing.  I am filled with gratitude for them.

Having one book in print gave me the confidence to move forward and write book number two.  I began writing that one in late 2013, finally finished earlier this year, and was accepted by eLectio for publication yet again.  It will be released in late November of this year.

Now I am writing book 3.  I am on chapter two.  I am mostly still working on character development, and am conducting interviews to help with this process.  I have no doubt, this will be my best work yet.  I’m excited about it.  And I’m excited to see what will come even after that.

My writing life started when I was young . . . but if I’m being honest, this feels like just the beginning.  I want to have several books in print.  I plan to work hard to make that happen.

It isn’t easy, of course.  Most of you reading this know that I have six kids under the age of 8.  No nanny, no daycare.  No part-time maid.  Obviously that makes this difficult to do.  This blog post, even.  I started it yesterday morning.  I had two goals yesterday before I took my girls to their dentist appointments.  1. Finish writing blog post  2. Do dishes   -  NEITHER WERE COMPLETED.  And that is just my life.  So.  I scribbled a few paragraphs on my notebook yesterday.  Finished scribbling it down today.  It has taken about 8 different time periods to get this thing done.  Because I get interrupted.  Baby needs me, toddler needs me, big kid wants my attention, etc.  Quiet time doesn’t exist here.  As I type now my 7 year old is showing me some new clothes her Grandma bought her.  And that is just how it is.  It’s hard to write, and I can’t do it in peace.  But I do it anyway.  Because I want to.  That is my simple truth, I write because I want to.

I guess we’ll see where it continues to take me.

Until next time…