What do you do when your world turns upside down?

I’ve always considered myself to be a person who can roll with the punches pretty well. I inherited much of my dad’s personality, the easy going, level headed kind of personality that makes it easier to accept difficulties and move past them. I’m thankful for that. But even then, change can still be hard for me.

I’ve also always considered myself to be the sort of person who doesn’t need a lot of comfort to be content. I’m perfectly fine with not having a lot of modern conveniences. I try to live a life that doesn’t keep me too comfortable in any sense of the word, although I’ll readily admit that my level of comfort has increased dramatically in the last four months since I know for sure that I have enough money to buy groceries. And that’s something I hope I never cease being thankful for.

But there’s been something that’s been on my mind for many months now. It’s something that concerns me. And I think getting this new job has a lot to do with it.

I also know that I’m the sort of person who feels God’s presence in my life the most clearly when I’m struggling through difficult times. It’s in the bountiful times that I struggle to keep close to Him. And I’m afraid that I’m getting too comfortable now.

Maybe it’s just me but there are times when I can almost tangibly perceive that events in my life are balanced on the edge of a cliff; maybe it’s just me worrying or maybe it’s just that I have an overactive imagination. But when things in my life go so well for so long I start wondering when the floor is going to disappear from under my feet.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m so very thankful when life is good. I wake up in the morning (it’s actually daylight when I leave my house now; talk about a blessing) and I drink my coffee on the way into work and I praise and thank God over and over for what He’s done for me. I go to church every week and I thank God over and over again for the amazing place that NewSpring is. I hang out with my friends and my family and I thank God over and over again for the awesome people God’s put in my life.

But beneath my thankfulness, I always try to be ready to give it all up. Does that make sense? Is it even possible to be thankful but willing to leave everything behind? Or is that the essence of learning to live and be content no matter what state or stage of life I’m in?

I said before that change is still hard for me.

In high school, it seemed like life changed daily. I never knew what was going to be different from one day to the next. (Bro. Poore, I think that’s your doing. =D) And I learned how to step outside my comfort zone. I learned that being comfortable isn’t really something that I should strive for. Be thankful for—yes—but not to make it a goal to achieve. And I don’t think I have. I don’t really want to be comfortable.

Being comfortable means you’re perfectly happy to stop trying. Being comfortable means that you’re perfectly content to stay on a plateau and never strive for something bigger. Being comfortable, to me, means that I could produce a manuscript and be happy that it’s not the best it could be. Who wants to live like that? Who wants to accept the implications of living a life that doesn’t strive for excellence? That’s the kind of life I want to present to God—a life that never stopped trying to be the best it could be for His glory—not a life that stopped short of what it could have accomplished through His power.

It’s one of those things that I believe but I don’t know what it looks like. And I’m not sure how to live it. Do I pick up everything I have and leave? Do I give everything away and chase after dreams? Or do I do what I always do—stay put? I always end up staying put while everyone else around me moves on. But is that wrong? I don’t think so. But I don’t really know.

I really don’t know where any of this came from. I just know that things are getting ready to change. I know a huge part of my life is getting ready to turn upside down, especially when my last bunch of kids leaves for college. I mean, there are a couple of teens still in ClayHouse who I worked with—but this batch that graduated this year are made up of the ones I worked the closest with—and when they leave for college, that’s it. Major turning point for me.

Is it possible to have empty nest syndrome when you have no children?

I don’t know if this is stemming from “my kids” all going to college or from friends getting married or from other friends getting ready to leave town, I just feel like life is going to change. I feel like I’ve gotten too comfortable in spite of my best efforts to avoid it. And I feel like God is going to have to shake me up. I’m excited about that, honestly. I mean, part of me is scared to death. But the rest of me is excited. Because God always knows what He’s doing and no matter what happens, He’ll always bring about a change and a result that’s better than anything I could have designed.

Change is hard for me. And I don’t know when I started getting comfortable, but, God help me to get uncomfortable—or to at least be ready to be uncomfortable. Give me strength to accept whatever change you bring my way, especially the giant change approaching in mid-August (Brookie, dear, I’m going to miss you so much). Help me to remember that change is good, that change is inevitable—a part of growing up—and that there are no surprises for God . . . and that He’s the only One who never changes at all.

On the road again . . .

Or . . . in the air again . . . that might be more accurate. I’m leaving for New Hampshire today at 2:30 pm. This is the first time I’ve ever traveled for work so this will be a new experience. If possible, I’ll try to update while I’m there just so folks can keep up to date with my adventures with the Yankees . . . . =P

Later, gators! =D

Gravity is a drag . . . especially when you’re uncoordinated to begin with

So . . . I discovered that it’s not a good idea to be chased by wasps shortly after I wake up in the morning.

I’m not a morning person. At all. So right after I woke up, I went outside to feed the cat today and opened the garage screen door into a herd . . . horde . . . pack . . . gaggle . . . swarm (there it is!) of wasps (or some other kind of random buzzing insects) and they began to dive bomb my head, thumping off my scalp, trying to run away from them was an unwise choice.

But, admittedly, I was still half asleep. And I have gotten wasps stuck in my hair before (refer to the few blog posts on that subject on the Everyday Adventures of Dorkus Dingbat). But apparently my gross motor functions don’t kick in until later in the morning. Because my balance was all off.

So in trying to escape said buzzing insects I ended up stumbling and eventually falling right on my knees and the palms of my hands, while the wasps were still dive bombing and thumping me on the head.

So . . . long story short. I escaped with no stings . . . just bruised knees and scratched palms . . . and I won’t be feeding the cat first thing in the morning anymore . . . at least not until the winter freezes those horrible little buzzing things to death.

Look! A Post!

. . . and it hasn’t even been a week. Isn’t that impressive? You should be impressed. I am.

Not a whole lot to report. I’m currently at my spot in the video booth at church waiting for rehearsal to begin. Since Val and Wheezy are still in Puerto Rico, I’ll be in all four services this weekend again. I actually really enjoy it. Some people think it’s tiring, but I think it’s fun (not that it isn’t tiring . . . but for me the fun outweighs the exhaustion).

I didn’t really report much on the job last post because I was posting on break and had to get back to what I was doing. Gee. I don’t even remember what I was doing at the time. It’s so busy. But it’s really awesome because I can go into a meeting and come out with six new projects–and all I have to do is WRITE! It’s SO COOL!!!!

Like I get an assignment and it’s just like writing 500 words . . . or 700 words . . . or 300 words . . . or designing a web page . . . or interviewing someone and knocking out a 200 word article in ten minutes . . . . it’s SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!

And on top of that, I get to go to New Hampshire in about two weeks.

It’s mostly for training. Going to learn about the products I’ve been writing about for the last three months (I’ve mostly been faking what I write down . . . either that or digging up information in old files or trailing along after the product managers begging for info). But while I’m up there, I get to go to a baseball game (which, I really don’t like baseball . . . because it’s a sport . . . . but I’m going to take notes and write something about it for fun because then it will be interesting . . because it’s at Fenway Park . . . and I’m not a super sport nut but I know what Fenway Park is . . . . ) and a New England Style Clam Bake . . . . So . . . I’m going to Nashua, New Hampshire to learn about pipes, hydronic floor heating systems, baseball and clams . . . I think it’ll be a hoot. My boss is going with me to show me the ropes too . . . because we’re also going to travel around the area to job sites that are currently using our products and conduct some interviews. So from now on, when there’s a job site or any other place using our products and we want to write an article on it, my boss will just be able to send me by myself.

We leave late morning on Sunday, July 11 and we’ll be back in Wichita early afternoon on Friday, July 16.

The other big exciting thing that I’ve done . . . . well . . . . we’ll see if it’s big and exciting. I’ll probably blog more about it . . . or maybe I’ll set up another blog . . . no. I have too many blogs as it is. I’ll just blog here. (Sorry for the random, stream-of-consciousness moment.)

This is what I have done: I have enrolled in a writing program that will be the equivalent of 7 college credit course hours (at least, that’s what it would be in Connecticut). It’s a highly respected program called the Long Ridge Writers Group. Basically, it’s a long-distance creative writing course. You get a mentor. You get text books. You get your work edited and you make contacts in the writing field.

I got an informative packet from them in the mail and started doing research on them. It’s a pretty impressive program. At least, it looks like a pretty impressive program. I’ll let you know in a few weeks how it’s going.

It should take two years to complete, and they say you’ll have publishable material at the end of it . . . emphasis on publishable and not necessarily on published. But I decided to go ahead and do it because I had the money and I had been trying to figure out what I was going to do with my writing business, because nothing seemed to be jumping out at me. I keep entering contests and looking for editing work, but nothing ever really happens with any of it. I’ve won a few contests, had a few skits published (number 3 is in September now), had a short story published but nothing is really working out. So I figured, I could wander around aimlessly for two years entering whatever contests I could find . . . or I could use the resources I have right now to focus my talents on actually accomplishing something.

So, there you have it.

From what I can tell, this program is similar to the Christian Writer’s Guild’s Apprentice program. It’s cheaper though, and it’s not specifically Christian . . . which I will honestly admit appeals to me. I don’t think I’m cut out for Christian fiction . . . . So be praying for me as I embark on this crazy journey and we’ll see what God does with it.

And while I’m on the subject, let me just announce some uber-super-spectacular news that very few people will really care about (but I care immensely): I have FINALLY completed the FIRST REAL HONEST TO GOODNESS rewrite of the STORY I’ve been writing SINCE I WAS ELEVEN FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD.

“There. I said it. I feel better for it.”

I started seriously writing when I was eleven, with a mechanical pencil and a notebook on the way down to visit my cousins in Arkansas (who are actually coming up to visit us this coming weekend). I wrote it by hand. And it was terrible. But it was a story. Andy and Dad finally convinced me to type it out on the computer (at that time, I didn’t want anything to do with technology). And then I gave it to good friends Amy and Carrie Lemke to read, and they raved about it–said it was great. So I continued. I had the entire series mapped out in my head — an epic to end all epics, made Lord of the Rings look like a Saturday morning cartoon strip — and I knew it would take me forever to get it all written, but it was my story and I loved it. So that was pretty much my life through the rest of school–writing writing writing. I think I finished 25 of the stories before I stopped working on them, mainly because I started working on Destiny and wanted to focus seriously on getting published and I didn’t think there was anyway these crazy stories would ever see print.

To make a very long story short, I kept writing these silly stories because my First Fan Club loved them (Amy, Carrie, Kristina, Maria, Elena, Katie, Lindsay, Matthew, Andy). I stopped working on them because I wanted to get serious about writing. Well–I decided that I’d been too serious for too long and I needed to stop writing for the industry and go back to writing for myself. So–that’s what I did.

As of today, the book that started it all is done — at least, the first real rewrite is done. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve rewritten it, but this time I can actually honestly say that I’m happy with it. Honestly. Completely. Truly.

The name of said manuscript is Chasing Rainbows and it’s about 320 pages. It still needs work. I still need to go through and rework some things. But all in all, the idea is there and it’s not changing again. It will probably never see publication, but I don’t care. So–if anybody wants to read it, let me know and I’ll see about killing a tree to get you a copy. =)

And now the band is getting here so I’d better sign off. Rehearsal time! Oh, and by the way, the new NewSpring Band Album comes out Watermark weekend! I got a sneak peek AND IT ROCKS!!!!!! I’m so excited to have NewSpring versions of these songs . . . .