Day 334 – June 30, 2015

I don’t feel like blogging today, mostly because I can’t escape the cartoonish black cloud of rain and despair that hovers over only my head. I know that I am not the only person dealing with anxieties and concerns, but there are just days that it feels that way. And there are days that I don’t work too hard to get rid of the black cloud, because I’m so tired of trying to look on the bright side, and focus on the positive.

So I decided to look back through the last 333 days of blogging faithfully, and see if I could find something to post. I mean, we’re coming up on the end, so I could totally pull something out from Day 2, or something, and say, “Look how far we’ve come!” But as I looked back through a bunch of old posts, I was somewhat disheartened to discover…NOTHING HAS CHANGED!

I’m not talking about circumstances. Circumstances have changed. My attitude has not. For 334 days now I have been hopeful and optimistic, and then something happens which is a little more difficult to deal with, and so I sink into a gloomy period, before saying “No more! I’m tired of being gloomy!” And then I begin praying and hoping for some encouragement, which I get, and it’s all sunshine and roses again. Until something happens which is a little more difficult to deal with…

How monotonous! How predictable! How…human.

How quickly we forget God’s blessings. How easily we forget how God pulled us through the last time.

So I’m going to try not to go through it all again. I am going to try not to focus on all of my worries and stress. Instead, I am going to try to focus on the way God has always been present, and the way He is present still.

And, yes. I know I’ve probably said that before.

Day 333 – June 29, 2015

It was lovely to wake up naturally this morning. It was the first day I haven’t had to set an alarm in quite a while. Mind you, I’m not just now getting up. I’ve been up for a while and essentially awoke when my alarm would typically go off anyway, but it’s a totally different feeling to wake up at that time, just because you’re ready to get up.

I am a person who really needs eight hours of sleep. I can survive on less, and usually do, but I don’t fire on all cylinders on less than eight. That truth remains, but in so many other ways, I seem to have changed when it comes to biorhythms and the like. I used to be such a night owl, and hate mornings. My perfect schedule would allow me to go to bed at 1:00 in the morning and get up at 9:00 or so. I think I am trying to hang on to that. Why? Maybe because it helps me to feel young. Maybe because the way my body actually wants it to be now seems to mean I am officially old. I think my body really would be happiest if went to bed at about 10:00 and woke up at about 6:00.

But I fight it. I don’t want to go to bed that early! I am a wild and crazy night person, right? Late at night, well…that’s when I’m just getting started! Creativity and energy abound, and I accomplish things!

That’s how it was. When I wrote the first books, they were written almost entirely late at night. Creativity and energy did in fact abound. Now, if I manage to stay up past 10:30, it’s only to settle into bed and watch 90’s sitcoms on my tablet. And sometimes, on the really wild nights, I make it through an entire episode.

But then I end up waking up early anyway. And I’m short on sleep.

I think it’s time to admit defeat and settle in to being middle-aged. Fantastic.

Day 332 – June 28, 2015

Remember my post from yesterday? I was talking about how fun writing is, and I was delighting in the fact that I actually had a few moments to write, not just blog. At the point (I think it was about 9:00 am), I was incredibly optimistic about the day. Then the day really began.

We received a couple of overdraft notices in the mail from the bank, which didn’t make sense. I mean, I knew we were tight, but I had paid all of the bills which are due prior to the next payday, and we had enough left over for a tank of gas and a few groceries. I though.t Well, actually, yes…we did. But I wrote down a transfer from one account to the other – I just apparently forgot to actually do the transfer. So, we had the money, but it was sitting in the wrong account. At the same bank, mind you. We got it straightened out, but by the time the overdraft fees are deducted…yeah. There went the cushion. And I just felt like an idiot. Yes, it was a mistake and it could happen to anyone, but it happened to me. And I know that my standards for myself are often far too high, but in a case like that, I literally can’t afford to make a mistake. So I beat myself up pretty hard about that.

And then my whole attitude kind of turned downward. I’m tired of worrying. I’m tired of the internal battle going on in my mind, all the time. I’m tired of always knowing how truly grateful I should be, and feeling guilty when I am having a difficult time being grateful. I’m just tired.

And then once the negativity begins, I can’t seem to stop it.

What if nothing comes of this publishing opportunity for Middle Ground? I asked Kelly that question, and of course he answered it perfectly. “Well then, we’ll look forward to seeing what God has in store.” (He said it better than that, but I can’t remember the exact wording.) Yes. YES! I know that, I believe that, and I sincerely trust in that. I do. But if this isn’t it, do I have it in me to wait around for the next thing? I just don’t know. I’d like to think so. I hope so. But I just don’t know. It feels like I’ve got all of my eggs in one basket right now, but not as a result of bad planning, I don’t think. I’ve got all my eggs in one basket because I truly believe it’s the basket God gave me. But no matter how certain I am that God gave me the basket, I have no guarantee that it isn’t just a basket to get me through until the real basket comes along.

I have no guarantee that I won’t drop the basket.

I’ve faced rejection…so many times. Like I’ve said before, my first novel was rejected 74 times. Middle Ground hasn’t been rejected nearly as many times, but only because I haven’t given it the chance to be. Obviously, I can handle rejection. I’ve proven that. But I’ve never made it this far. I’ve never come this close. I’ve never felt God directing my steps as clearly as I did to get to this point with this book.

And July 2nd could be the end of this leg of the journey. And if it’s not, July 8th could be. And maybe it won’t be the end, but I have to be honest…I can’t grasp the possibility of this actually happening. I just…can’t. I don’t know what that feels like. But rejection? I am very familiar with that feeling. Having said that, if this ends in rejection, I just know it will be unlike anything I have ever felt before. No matter how certain I am that God is still at work, I will be heartbroken. I can’t bring myself to actually expect this to end well, but I so desperately want it to. But because I can’t bring myself to actually expect this to end well, I instead prepare myself for rejection.

I’m tired of preparing myself for rejection, but I can’t grasp any other options right now, no matter how much I would like to. Because as heartbroken as I will be if the answer is “No” on July 2nd or 8th…I know that heartbreak will be nothing compared to what it will feel like if I expect acceptance.

I can’t tell you how much I desperately want a break from myself some days.

Day 331 – June 27, 2015

I got up early this morning to get some work done, and then I had a few minutes of free time before the rest of the house really started stirring. And I actually took that time to pull out one of my works in progress which I hadn’t touched in a very long time.

Writing is fun.

Blogging? Not always.

Why is it that creating completely new stuff – new people, new places, new events, new circumstances – from scratch is usually so much easier than just telling people a little something about my day? Weird.

Day 330 – June 26, 2015

We just got home from a Date Night event at church, and Kelly and I are exhausted. Just completely pooped. But it went well, I believe. Now I have a bunch of book club work to do, but at least I get to sit to do it. Hooray! Victory!

Want to hear something funny? Every time I have looked at a calendar today, or even just realized the date, I’ve experienced a moment of panic. Today was my deadline to have revisions to the potential publishers for Middle Ground. But then I remember…oh yeah…I got that sent in last week. Now that’s a good feeling.

I don’t know if that is a lesson against procrastination, or proof that I usually procrastinate – thus the feeling of panic, which is all too familiar. But not today, my friends. Not today.

Now if only I could go to bed now… But I can’t. I have all of that book club work that I put off until the last minute…

Day 329 – June 25, 2015

Each year my sister hosts “Guest Blogger Month” on her blog. I’m delighted to be asked to be one of her guests each year, and Jonathan, who has been my best friend since college, is also invited each year. Well, it was 2011 when we first decided to submit a joint entry.

Now, here’s what you need to know about Jonathan and me. We have more inside jokes than you can possibly imagine and, not only that, we are experts at pulling them out. We can literally conduct an entire conversation during which any bystanders will be forced to think, “I hear them talking…sounds like English…why don’t I understand a word they are saying??” That’s us. The other thing you must know is that despite the fact that we are intelligent, educated (he much more so than I), accomplished individuals, our brains are made up of 95% pop culture, 5% other stuff. So, in 2011 we made up alternate endings to classic movies. That was fun, but we are always looking for ways to better ourselves, of course! Two years ago we introduced a bracket system to determine the Greatest Celebrity of All Time. Now, here’s where the fun (and the brilliance) truly began…

We went about it very scientifically, of course. We each contributed eight random (and I do mean random) celebrities, and the the sixteen entrants were put into a randomly-generated bracket. But we didn’t want to select the winner. After all, we had chosen the nominees. Instead, we asked my husband Kelly to complete the bracket for us. (I say we asked, but truthfully we didn’t give him a chance to say no.)

Now, here’s what you need to know about Kelly. The man has the quickest wit of anyone I have ever known in my life. He is dry and extremely intelligent in his humor…which of course makes for an absurd comedy combination with Jonathan and me. Not only that, he’s not all that into pop culture. There were several celebrities in our bracket whom he had never even heard of. He isn’t a movie buff, at all. Meanwhile, Jonathan and I have seen most of the movies ever made, and if we haven’t seen them, we can still tell you the cast and the plot – and whatever behind-the-scenes gossip/drama was going on at the time.

So, Kelly helped us with our silly little project, and I recorded his hilariously snide remarks along the way. That can be read HERE. The next year, we decided to stick with the bracket approach, but we were trying to determine the Best Song Ever. Again, Kelly did all the work, and it was hilarious.

This year, we are setting out to determine the Greatest Moment in Movie History.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, actually, this wasn’t for you. I hadn’t broken the news to Kelly yet, and I thought it was safer to do it this way…

Day 328 – June 24, 2015

As I try to figure out what to blog about today, my brain is having difficulty settling on anything. Here is basically what’s going on in my brain right now:

I had a pretty long blog yesterday, so I could probably get along with a bunch of nothing today. But I’m only blogging daily for another 37 days or so. I guess I should make them count. So, let’s see…what is weighing on my heart and mind right now? Why can’t I think of anything apart from the Independence Day sequel? Ooh! It’s almost Independence Day, so I get to watch Independence Day. And 1776, of course. Ooh! I haven’t even watched the new special edition 1776 I got yet! I probably shouldn’t have bought that, but really, I had to. I still don’t understand how Brent Spiner’s character is supposed to be alive in the Independence Day sequel. I’m sure they have a perfectly good explanation, but I really think that if they were bringing people who died in the first one back for the second one, they should have made Harry Connick, Jr. a priority. Yes, he blew up in a fighter jet, but Brent Spiner was choked by an alien. So anything’s possible. Hey! Brent Spiner was in 1776! I haven’t listened to that cast recording in a long time. Where is that CD? He was a good John Adams, but Williams Daniels IS John Adams. Although Paul Giamatti was good too, but he didn’t sing. Ooh! I wonder if Paul Giamatti will make an appearance on the final season of Downton Abbey? Aww…the final season… What am I going to do without Downton? At least I’ll still have The Walking Dead.

That’s how my brain works, people. Scary, huh?

Day 327 – June 23, 2015

You know my running joke that my mother hasn’t accept my friend request on Facebook? (BTW…not actually a joke. 100% true.) Well, my sister and I have a running joke that she only skims over my blog each day in order to see if she is mentioned in it. (Also not really a joke. I would guess that is about 97% true.) Today, there will be something to catch her eye…

Well, my sister and I have always had this competitive, one-upmanship thing going for us. For instance, we received at least two decades-worth of entertainment from our contest of wits regarding how much money our grandmother gave us for Christmas or birthdays. (Our birthdays are three days apart, so we would always receive our birthday cards in the mail at the same time.) It would go something like this: We would each receive $100, perhaps, and then the first person (usually Missy) would state how much was received, and then the other person (usually me) would claim to have gotten more. Sometimes the first person (usually Missy) would claim to have received more right off the bat, in an attempt to beat the other at their own game, but the other person (usually me) would then just calmly claim to have gotten more than that. Or, in my best year ever, it went down like this:

Bethany: “How much did you get?”

Missy: “$150.”

Bethany: “Aww, man! I only got $125!”

Of course, we had each gotten $100, but her reaction that year was priceless. She was so sure she would get me.

So, this is the sort of thing I’m talking about. We’re extremely close, and each others’ biggest supporter, but just a wee bit competitive. Even down to our surgeries and who has had the most extreme medical situation. Each time one of us has a surgery or procedure, we joke that we’re determined to outdo each other.

Well, on June 15th, she decided to blog every single day for the rest of June. Ooh…don’t overdo it! And already, on day 8, I believe it was, she blogged that she had nothing to blog about.

So, I thought I would use DAY 327 to finally blog about my sister. Because I love her so, so, so, so much, but also because I just have to say…I win.

(And, by the way…you should check out her blog! Click HERE!)

Day 326 – June 22, 2015

Revisions have been received, the awesome individual I get to work with at the publishing company has re-read the book already, and she said she thinks it is already a stronger manuscript. Also, she fell in love with the characters all over again.

HOORAY!

And now, I wait…

For those of you who are praying (and I am so grateful if you are!), the next specific date to pray about is now July 2nd. That will be the day that the manuscript goes before the Editorial Review Board for the second time.

A week and a half. Okay. I think I can manage that one…

Day 325 – June 21, 2015

After church today, we went to Durango to have lunch and walk around the mall a bit. It was quick, and nothing huge, but it was so nice to be able to just spend the day with the guys on Father’s Day. I finally got to talk to my dad this evening after playing a bit of phone tag, and now I have just opened up my laptop for the first time all day.

After the writing and revising marathon of the past few days, that feels lovely.

The revisions ended up going pretty well, I think. I changed a lot – more than I expected to, actually – but I actually like the book more now than I did before. I really didn’t expect that. And, I have to say that as tired as I am, and as nice as it was to not write at all today, I did have fun with it. There were moments of struggle and difficulty concentrating, and fighting to keep my eyes open, but there were also moments of pure inspiration. I hadn’t had moments like that in a while.

So, for now it’s out of my hands again. I’ve done what I can do for the moment, and I am left to hope and pray that they are happy with the revisions.

In some ways, this is the easy part. My work is done (for now). But in other ways, this is the most difficult part of all! As you are all probably aware if you know me at all, or at least read the blog faithfully…waiting is not my favorite.