jen hatmaker is my best friend

You know how we read the news online and gasp at the ridiculous things people do to either meet a celebrity or try to convince a celebrity that they are marriage material or whatever?  Psh, THOSE people are nuts.

I like nuts.  Pecans are my favorite.

I’m a special kind of nut in that I am pretty convinced that Jen Hatmaker and I would be excellent friends.  We’re both transparent, I’m hilarious and she’s not so bad herself, and we both love to write.  Now granted she has WAY more energy than I do and she could run circles around me in the ways that she gives and serves and just … DOES… but I think we would still make great friends.  Did I mention we both love to write?

photo from jenhatmaker.com
photo from jenhatmaker.com

She totally tweeted me yesterday…
(but only after I told her I would be traveling to her house to watch her new show since we don’t have cable)

And she’s coming to my church in Frisco, TX to see me…
(and about 749 other women who will just happen to be there as well)

I’ve read one of her books, and loved it…
(although she has written 9 others that I haven’t read)

And our hair is very similar – so there’s that.

I would love for you to come listen to her speak at Preston Trail on October 25th and 26th, but you should know that she will be VERY busy talking to me…
(from the stage and 749 other women will be rudely listening in on our private conversation)

You think I should buy us friendship rings or those cool heart pendants from the 80’s that say “Be Fri” and “st ends”?

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re-entering the atmosphere, part 1

I know I am in the fires of life sometimes, but it’s when I let myself believe that I am actually burning-up that I get into trouble.

In the movies when a shuttle or space capsule reenters the atmosphere I am completely amazed and wide-eyed.  It’s burning, but not burning UP.  And then it’s just fine when it gets through to the other side.

Photo from http://www.orbiter-forum.com/
Photo from http://www.orbiter-forum.com/

Recently we were in Tennessee for our family vacation and I can’t explain what happens to me there.  It just makes no sense.

I
have
no
pain

No joke.  We don’t know if it’s the elevation or the cool temps or a combination of both (that’s what I think it is, a combination of the two).  It’s blissful.  I feel alive and free from the bondage of pain.  It’s better than pain killers because I don’t have any side effects!  We hiked over 25 miles as a family.  I slept well.  I laughed.  I enjoyed every second of it.

But then I had to re-enter the atmosphere of home.

Coming to terms with my illness (fibromyalgia and an immune system that only functions at 50%) and all of the baggage and life change that comes with it was hard enough to do the first time.  So here’s the next thing I can’t explain — I am having a harder time accepting being “back in my body” this month than I did all of last year.

If I didn’t have such a strong faith foundation (that is still being constructed and I hope to never cease construction!), I would be asking things such as:

Is God punishing me?
Did God make all this happen in my body?
Why won’t He take it all away?

I’m going to tackle the first question in this post, and the subsequent questions in more posts this week.

The short answer is NO WAY, JOSE — that’s Ho-zay for you non Texans —
God is love.  He crafted you one molecule at a time and He knows every single hair on your head.  He gave you the ability to think and feel and reason and love and laugh… and so much more.  You are intricate, and believe it or not you have some of God’s characteristics IN you.  You are made in His image!

If you have a dog or a cat that you just love to pieces – like he is part of your family, ok let’s face it, you talk for him and make it sound like he is speaking.  You know you do.  Imagine Spot making a mistake like say … throwing up on the carpet, repeatedly … you would never wish chronic pain on him because of that mistake, right?  Yes we would love for him to clean it up and sanitize the carpet but we know Spot isn’t capable of that.  He wasn’t created to work that way.  So even though you may be disappointed, you are concerned for his well being and you check on him at least before you yell at him (oh wait, is that just me?).  Oh and PS: Spot is going to puke on the carpet again.  IT’s to be expected.

Am I comparing us to dogs?  Sort of.  But not how you might think I am.  God loves you so very very much that He would never wish chronic pain on you.  Ever.  The God you read about in the Old Testament with Abraham and Moses was completely irritated because we kept “puking on the carpet and not cleaning it up.”  Can you blame Him?  Gross.  BUT, when Jesus died for us on the cross, He took all of our carpet mishaps with Him.  Not a single stain was left behind – the carpet is white as snow.  Yes, white.

If you struggle with wondering if God is punishing you, please believe me when I tell you He celebrates you.  You are the work of His hands.  If you’re an artist of any kind, you can appreciate what it means to make something with your own hands.  It’s kind of a big deal.

You aren’t burning up.
You’re going to be ok.
Your circumstances might completely … well, suck… but there are so many of us who understand what that feels like.
You are not alone.
Ever.

So put some sunscreen on, because we are going to have to learn how to appreciate the burn.

an unexpected journey

Three different experts.
Three different ideas.
One prayerful heart.
I just had the last of my three 1-on-1 appointments at the She Speaks conference. The first was with an agent and the last two were with editors from well known publishing companies. All three women were excited about this book topic and provided three incredibly different pieces of advice.
Getting three different pieces of advice was fabulous but led me to an unexpected journey. I have a million ideas in my head and so many possible routes to take from here that I can feel this will take prayer and wise counsel to determine the next steps.
No book contracts were in the cards for me, but I really didn’t expect one considering I am brand new to this.  In one way I got exactly what I hoped for, which was guidance. But the strong thirst for God’s wisdom about which path I should take next, is compelling and unbelievably humbling.
I know this much – you can expect many more blog posts as I explore this writing/author/speaking journey!
“Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing our God cannot do.” <– song lyrics from a KidMin song that I love!

mr. potato head is in my book

I am editing some of my manuscript today and this section made me giggle… and also reminded me that my husband is amazing and I am incredibly blessed to have him by my side:

There are a million and 7 books out there about how to relate to the opposite sex, and communication is typically a pretty popular topic within those books.  I know this sounds as silly as bringing a Mr. Potato Head to your next work meeting, but maybe you should tell your husband/friend/brother that when he says, “put your big girl panties on,” it pretty much fills you with a roller coaster ride (of the throw-up variety) of emotion, none of which are love, and gratitude.  Communicate with him, dear child!

endure many trials (for a little while)

This past weekend, one of our pastors read these verses and I have gone back to them several times this week.  I know that Peter wasn’t talking about chronic pain, the loss of a child, or the pain that comes with divorce … but I also know that the words within the bible are literally infused with God’s spirit.  His spirit moves through us when our eyes and hearts get stuck on passages like this one:1 Peter 1:6-7

I know that at my weakest points last year my first thoughts were not to take my anxieties and my worries straight to the feet of Jesus.  My first thoughts were to text my friend Dee.  And because God is so dang cool, she almost always would respond with “have you prayed for yourself yet today?”

God knew that my lowest point was only “for a little while.”  I couldn’t see the end of the hallway of pain and suffering, but He could.  He also knew that my faith was being put through the fire, but not to burn it up and make it unrecognizable!  He put my faith through the fire to make it shine like a precious metal.  Gold.

And just as the scripture says, my faith is even more precious than gold.  It’s worth more and it’s purer.  It also has given me ways to share about Jesus to those I meet who are suffering.  He was building a testimony in me.  And to think I asked “why” over and over again.

He knew why all along.

the no name book

The book that I have been working on for months used to be called “Why Me?” and it might still be called that – but I’m the artsy type, I change things often, and with pizzazz.  Don’t get confused, I’m not a thespian, no jazz hands, but LOTS of exclamation points!!!!!!!

This book is for people who are going through some kind of trial.  It could be that you are recently divorced, or like me you live in chronic pain, or like one of the people I interviewed for this book perhaps you had an abortion in High School.  The amazing thing I have learned on this journey is that no matter what the inciting incident is, we all tend to carry our pain in similar fashions.  

I am attending a writer and speaker conference at the end of July and will have the opportunity to meet with editors from three publishing companies.  My goal in the next month is to really nail down my book proposal – and from there my only goal is to honor God by sharing the things I believe He has placed on my heart to share.  

My son used to watch Little Einsteins and I can’t help but sing this in my head ….

“we’re going on a mission, start the countdown….FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE!”  listen to this link — you’ll “thank” me later.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eL1Bfv8Y9k