You may have noticed that my website is undergoing a few changes - and there are still more to come as I refocus my energy on the stories. At the moment, I'm busy sprucing up the pages for my books. I thought it would be fun to include a dream cast on each book's page.
Now, I have a few ideas on the subject and I've asked my readers for input before, but it seemed like a good time to ask again. I'd love to hear what you think!
Help me pick my "dream cast" for each of the books by commenting on this post, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I'll pin all of your suggestions on Pinterest and I'll pick my favorites for my website.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
If I had a lick of sense, then yesterday would have been a bad day.
Reggie, our Jeep and only mode of transportation, has gone to the to the big car lot in the sky. True to form, Reggie went out with lots of drama, which included leaving Adam and two out of three boys stranded by the highway. (Thanks for that, Reggie... really.)
Sick animals, sick kiddos, an ankle that refuses to play nice - yesterday should have been the day that sent me hobbling toward the hills.
Only it wasn't. Instead, it was a day that left me incredibly grateful for the wrong turn that put Adam and the boys on a less-trafficked highway when he lost steering on Reggie. Thankful that Adam was able to safely get the car pulled over. Thankful my parents were nearby and willing to help. Thankful for good news delivered on a bad day. Thankful for new life breathed into an old friendship at just the right time. Thankful for kids who step up when needed, who look out for each other.
So yeah, yesterday could have been a terrible day. For that matter, today gave it a good shot, too. Instead, it left me feeling incredibly loved and hopeful for tomorrow.
Oh, and if you're wondering about the new look on the site, it's a work in progress. There's lots more to come, so stay tuned!
I gotta admit, this is one of those weeks when I have to actively remind myself how good I have it. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to have a bit of a pity party.
To properly understand my temptations, let me give a bit of history. When I was a freshman in high school, I injured myself doing step aerobics. Before you descend into giggles over my lack of grace (as my sisters did), let me explain. It was gym class, and the teacher had stacked mats for us to use in our step aerobics unit. The mats were dusty and I was wearing Keds, and that turned out to be a bad combination. I slipped, twisting my leg something fierce in the process. The entire class heard the pop of my ligaments tearing. We would later find out I'd torn every ligament in my ankle and knee on the left leg. I nearly passed out from the pain, and was helped to the school nurse by the absolute cutest boy in school, which was pretty mortifying. (And yes, I felt that despite the predicament. A teenage girl has the ability to be mortified regardless of circumstance.)
So, for the past 23-ish years, I've undergone multiple bouts of physical therapy and surgery on the offending ankle. It was after my first surgery the doctor informed me the ankle was riddled with arthritis and I should come to grips with the fact that the injury could leave me unable to walk by the time I was in my 40s.
I worked really hard to stay strong after that - to keep the muscles in my legs strong to compensate for the lack of ligaments. Occasionally my ankle would give when I was walking because the ligaments, even after reconstruction, were always loose. When the ankle did give, it would swell, I'd stay off it for a bit, then I'd get back to my PT exercises and move on.
Then last year, I was helping my parents move when some wrought iron bench pieces fell on my shin. This time it was the right leg. Doctors weren't much help figuring out the extent of the injuries, but the leg hasn't been the same since. It's still bruised and misshapen 18 months later. Anywho, the point is that my bad leg became my good leg and I found myself putting the majority of my weight on it.
I'm guessing my left leg wasn't happy about that. Maybe it was feeling ignored. For the past few months, I've been having trouble walking without pain. The long days on my feet required by my life have been growing increasingly difficult. I told myself I could suck it up long enough to get through our winter preparations, that there would be plenty of time to rest my feet once the hay was in, fences were done, firewood was stacked and animal shelters were fortified.
But Sunday night, as I was walking across my parents' lawn, my ankle gave again. This time, it was accompanied by the dreaded pop I'd heard so many years ago. For some reason, I had it in my head I could muscle through the night. I see my sister three times a year. I didn't want my injury to become the focus of the night. So I didn't say anything, and I made it back to the house, where I sat on the couch all night. Of course, a friend who's a nurse took one look at me and said, "What did you do to your ankle?" So much for playing it cool.
The night ended with my on crutches and restricted to the couch for the foreseeable future. A torn ligament takes 4 - 6 weeks to heal, and no amount of resenting that fact is going to change it. I hate having to ask Adam and the boys for so much help. I hate not being able to contribute to the mountain of chores and projects still waiting to be done. I miss my animals, and I'm coming to grips with the reality that it makes more sense to downsize the animals and workload until spring.
I feel like my family has walked through many trials in the past three years, and - for the most part - we've done so with faith that God would see us through. We've held on to joy (though we might have lost sight of it once or twice). The hard times have taught us what mattered and what didn't. They've molded us into better people.
But I'm struggling to have a good attitude about this latest setback. I'd just found my stride again with the books (no pun intended). There was an end in site to the constant farm projects. I was starting to hope that we could maybe make some forward progress in our lives instead of always treading water to stay afloat.
And now I'm couch-bound. Maybe it's the pain making it hard for me to keep a good attitude. More likely it's the feeling that I've lost what little control I thought I had. I hate feeling helpless.
But this is the point where I have a choice. I can either wallow in the poor-mes, or I can choose to find joy, to hope, to have faith. God knit my ankle together in my mother's womb. Surely He can fix it now. And if I'm on a couch, maybe that's where He wants me to be. Maybe He's telling me I have something more important than farm chores to be doing.
Whatever the message, whatever the reason, I'm choosing to laugh about my current predicament. It's more fun that way.
Reboots seem to be all the rage in Hollywood these days. I'm usually resistant to them but they win me over in the end. I felt bad for Tobey Maguire when they started over with the Spiderman series, but Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were an irresistible combination. I guess, sometimes, it's not all bad to start over.
After I released Waiting for You, I went into a bit of a hibernation as far as my writing was concerned. I had all kinds of plans in the works that were put on hold. Partly because my life was kinda overwhelming me and I needed to get my feet under me. Partly because I was just in a creative slump.
But now things are kinda-sorta starting to settle down and the voices in my head have been silenced for too long. They're bumping around, demanding I tell their stories once more. Maybe it's time for me to reboot. To that end, look for some changes around the website, a few revamped covers, and maybe even a few more changes to come down the pike.
And I did promise my readers I'd eventually tell Vance's story. I think it's time to make good on that promise.
First, I have a few orders of business to attend to, a few details to iron out before I make official announcements... but stay tuned, because there will be some news in the next week. Vance's story is going to be an event, because he deserves nothing less.
So, I know the Leave Your Mark series is usually a Friday thing, but with the craziness that is my life these days, who knows what Friday holds. It seemed best to put the post up while it was on my mind. So anywho, my church celebrates its birthday every fall with a "homecoming" celebration. Part of the celebration includes a potluck (we love our potlucks) and a concert. People who used to attend the church but have since moved come back to mark the occasion with us. It's quite a festivity.
This year was the church's 114th birthday. I hadn't heard of the group who was playing, and I have to admit I toyed with the idea of not sticking around for the music because I was tired and busy, but since our numbers were sorta puny, I felt guilty slipping out. So I stayed and - despite my lousy attitude - I found myself completely swept away by their talent.
If you've been following my blog for long, then you know that if I could be anything besides I writer, I'd be a singer. After seeing Crawford & Co that day, my boys have started trying to convince me that we should take our show on the road. Considering it took us weeks to practice one song to sing for our little-bitty church, I think I'm content to sit in the audience and sing along softly for the moment. But that doesn't mean I'm not at least a little envious of their talent.
Crawford & Co is a Southern Gospel group that currently consists of three family members - Gary, Peggy and their son Justin - along with a newly-added bass singer, Jerod. The group was founded in 1982, and if I remember correctly, their founder couldn't even read music when he felt called into this ministry. (But maybe I'm just imagining that.) Since then he's written more than 100 songs. The group uses their talents to share the message of salvation through Jesus, and to encourage, to comfort, to bring smiles. I went into the concert that Sunday feeling stressed and busy and overwhelmed by life. While I was there, I laughed, I cried, I clapped (sometimes even on the beat) and I sang. I left feeling joyful - like a weight had been lifted.
A couple of days ago, I went to see them in concert again. This time I drove two hours to do it. My oldest son insisted on going, too. We picked up my aunt, and even sweet-talked my parents into going. Once again, I went into the concert feeling tired and overwhelmed, and I left feeling joyful. I will always treasure the memory of watching my 15-year-old son laugh and sing with his grandpa, or of watching the tears roll down my aunt's cheeks as she listened to the quartet sing "All that Heaven Must Be." (Which, by the way, was the same reaction I had the first time I listened to it.)
The group has been performing a lot lately, so their voices were tired. They weren't feeling quite as "on" as they had the first time I'd seen them. But that didn't temper their talent - or if it did, it was more than compensated for by the obvious joy they took in doing what they were made for.
And that's what the Leave Your Mark series is about: People from all walks of life doing what they were uniquely made to do so the world is a better place. Crawford & Co loves to make people smile, to tell them they aren't alone in a sorrow, to help them find their way when they're lost.
They've found a new fan in me. As long as Crawford & Co can find the voice to sing, I'll cheer them on. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next time I can make the trek to see them, and in the meantime, I'm wearing my new CD out.
If you'd like to check them out for yourselves, here's how to find them online:
@crawford_and_co on Twitter
Crawford & Co on Facebook
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.