Monday, April 25, 2016

Answers to Prayers


I don't write too often here about my religious experiences and faith. I do write a lot about my churchgoing activities. But those are not the same as religious experiences. I usually choose not to share my faith because I don't care to share something so personal with an anonymous audience who may choose to criticize me for it. Call it "pearls before swine," although that would make you, the reader, the swine.
But today I feel like sharing a little bit. Why? Because along with the answers came a strong feeling that I should share it.
Recently I suffered a serious setback in one area of my life. It broke my heart. All of my hard work, efforts, and good intentions meant nothing. Someone who quite frankly didn't know what they were talking about, held all of the control in a situation, and pretty much chose to hurt me. There were a lot of ways the situation could have gone, where the person could have still exercised their control, but s/he chose the route that personally hurt me.
A lot of tears were shed over the situation. A lot. It's not often that an adult would take such measured calculations to inflict pain on another adult. But it happened.
I was left with a lot of questions along with the sadness. I was sad that someone would seek to hurt me so personally. I was hurt. And most of all, I wanted out. (And still do.) I can't think of one reason why anyone would chose to stay in a situation where such ill will is dished out.
So I prayed for an answer on how to handle the situation. I prayed for the strength to not rush back in there and yell at the other person and inflict pain of my own on them. I prayed for a huge, big, obvious answer on what to do next. The words I used specifically in my prayer were "I need an answer as big as a billboard." Because in my emotional state of mind, if it wasn't that big and obvious, I wouldn't be able to see it.
And I got my answer the very next morning. Things that never happen happened. We're talking packages arrived early even as the tracking information was still saying it wasn't coming for days. A news article publishing on exactly the right day. An email from a friend with exactly the right words and timing.
The answer I got reminded me that it's okay for things to be hard. In fact, they will probably always be hard. But there is a path laid out for me to follow, and setbacks can be a part of that path. And that there are answers to prayers that can be as big and obvious as a billboard, right when you need them the most. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Participation Medals

You know that feeling you get on Sunday evening, when you're just finally getting the hang of this relaxing and resting thing, and then you realize you have to get up and go to work again on Monday? There needs to be a word for that feeling. A word that means "relaxing interrupted." Someone want to coin that word for me? 


This was a big weekend for me. Two significant things happened at the same time. The first was that I participated in a 5K. It was just the Color Run, which is non-competitive, and not timed. It's just for fun. But the point is, I did it. For a year now I've been actively working out and trying to lose weight. And I've actually reached a point where I enjoy exercising now. Running for more than a few minutes still eludes me. But I can walk about 6 miles before I start to tire. I could possibly go longer than that, but by then I'm so bored I don't care. But I digress. The Color Run was fun and I'm glad I did it. How I got purple powder through my shirt, and my bra, to stain my chest and cleavage, I'll never know. Not to mention somehow my belly button got stained orange. (Which made me laugh because "navel orange.")

The second significant thing is that I went out and did something with a friend in Roanoke. Christi and I actually see each other a few times a week to go walking/work out. And we've met up for dinner a few times as well. But this was different and it was a big deal for me. For the first time ever I did something fun and social with someone in Roanoke and it had nothing to do with church, family, and/or work. That has never happened before. It was nice to know I'm still a social human.






Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fun Surprise from Samoa

How fun is this?
My parents are serving a mission for our church in Samoa right now. I called to tell them about my book arriving today. They surprised me with all these fun videos!
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When Books Fly is LIVE!


I'm not quite sure what happened, but the book I didn't expect to see until May 10th is already here! My book is live!
Now to go full throttle into a book launch a month earlier than anticipated.
You can get your copy of When Books Fly: Social Media Secrets for Best-Selling Books on Amazon here and Barnes and Noble here.

Obviously a new book means it's time for a HAPPY DANCE!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Next Chapter



I’m writing this from an overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was driving back from Virginia Beach to Roanoke, and decided on a whim to take the parkway home. It adds a few minutes, but a lot of beauty, to my drive, and I don’t mind.
Right now in Roanoke, a major chapter of my life is coming to a close in a bittersweet way. Instead of it ending on a high note, it’s ending on a rather sour one, which makes it both hard to let go, and easy to not look back at the same time. In other words, I’m more sad than happy, but accepting that this is how it ends.
It leaves me free to open the next chapter of my life without attachments or remorse. And I’ve don’t nothing but think about what that next chapter will be for the last few days.
One year ago when I left Northern Virginia for Roanoke, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly never foresaw the confusion, stress, and pain of the past year. I had expected one friendship to be waiting for me when I arrived, but instead, that person was the cause of much of my angst.
A year ago, I said goodbye to one particular friend and fully expected at that time for that to be the last time I would ever see or speak to that person. Here we are a year later, and that person and I communicate almost daily- far more than we did a year ago at this time. And now there is a chance we’ll have to say goodbye again, and I wonder how that will change things.
When I left NoVA I had a crazy idea for a small book. I didn’t even think I had enough material to make it a full book. I figured it was more like a really big pamphlet. But I wrote it, tried it out in a class, and submitted it to a publisher. By the end of this week that book will be in bookstores across the country. By far my biggest book release yet. My first book to be sold in the mainstream, and not just in LDS bookstores. (I’m a little overwhelmed at the thought.)
You probably figured it out before I did from my blog posts, that I really lost my identity this past year, maybe even before that. I haven’t been at liberty to share the details of the difficulties I’ve dealt with, and I am still not. Maybe by saying this much, you’ll understand why- when the lawsuit is over, maybe I can share my side of the story here. But I may not choose to share the details, if I think saying anything will make it harder for other parties to heal.
I think I am in the clear enough to say that for nearly a full year now, every single aspect of my life has been criticized. At work, at church, and as a writer. It has taken its toll on me in every possible way. I’m as fragile as they come these days. I’m defensive and suspicious (something I never was before). I expect that everyone and anyone I meet is going to think the worst of me or tear me down (because they have so many times).  Never before have I felt more single – no partner, no person to share my burden and cares with. I know many people see my struggles, but there is little anyone can do for me. My problems are mine and mine alone to carry.
But I know this one thing to be true- that the Lord knows and cares for us. No matter the load we are forced to bear, we are loved and never forgotten.  Jeremiah 31:3, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”

I do not carry my burdens alone. I have the strength of a loving Heavenly Father to help me along. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30.)  

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mormon dot org

If you are reading this through an RSS feed, and not on the actual blog, you are missing out on seeing the awesome ad to the right! It's my dear friend, Tim Gates of Due West, in a Mormon.org spot. I've seen the video featuring Tim and it's just wonderful. I highly encourage you to watch it. Learn more about what makes Tim (and his family, and his Due West family) so incredibly awesome. Makes me humbled and happy to call him my friend. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How Much is That Doggy in the Window (middle of the street)?


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Just a funny little story for the heck of it. 
Last week I was driving up Bent Mountain Road where the road goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. But right before that should have happened, traffic suddenly backed up. But this is Roanoke. We don't have traffic. But my lane was the turning lane, and it hadn't stopped, so I was able to move a little closer.
Just ahead several cars were in a circle in the road. All the cars in all 4 lanes had stopped and people were running around in the road. The firefighter in me thought it was about to be an awful car accident. 
That's when I saw a beautiful brindle greyhound dog running around. His tail was tucked, ears down, and he looked terrified as he ran between the cars. People were chasing him all over. One guy looked like he was trying to lure the dog with food. Several people opened their car doors, to try to trick the dog into jumping in. (Truth be told, if I had been a little bit closer, I would have done the same thing. That trick usually works.) 
I wasn't going anywhere, and I felt bad for the dog and all the people. So I got out of my car to help, and picked up Kaya's (my dog) leash out of the backseat, (she wasn't with me), and held it up. 
I was actually holding it up so the people would see me and the leash. The man with the food had nearly grabbed the dog a few times, but the dog had slipped away. I figured maybe a leash would help.
But the dog saw the leash and ran right up to me. I put the leash right on him! 
The man with the food was actually the owner of the dog. He said he had jumped right out of the car window while it was moving. The poor man looked as traumatized as the dog did. I let him take my leash. It seemed like a good causse.
I walked back up to my car the hero of the traffic jam. People were clapping for me and yelling thank you. It was cute and hilarious all at the same time. Nobody knows that it was a fluke that the dog ran to me. I didn't expect that to happen!
The only problem is now I don't have a leash. And Kaya is not going to be happy when she finds out we can't go for our Sunday walk. 

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