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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Moving in a new direction

So... I'm just going to admit that I'm breaking all the blogging rules with this post. But I've had a lot to say, and I haven't said it because every time I open up my blog, I realize I haven't posted in so long that it's crazy to post something. A few weeks ago, I realized that it's crazy to not post because of that. But then I had so much I wanted to say, I didn't know where to start. So here I am, starting.

Which is a great rule of writing anything. Sometimes you just have to start. Stop worrying about all the junk, and just do it.

My plan is to post more, but I'm hesitant to put it on a schedule. Partially because I want to be free to do my own thing, but also because this year has been all about blowing up my schedule. For those of you who don't get my newsletter, (WHAT? Why not?? Sign up here!) I was in a car accident in March. Though it was not a serious accident, my car was totaled, and I ended up with a mild concussion and a mild case of whiplash. I'm still in treatment, but improving. Still, there are things I think I can do, commit to doing, and then I have to take a nap instead. Like today. I wanted to write, but I spent that time napping. I give myself a lot of grace for those moments, because as the doctor reminds me when I want to push myself harder, this is the only way I will heal. So, all right. I nap when my body tells me to nap, and I do my best to respect my limitations. I sound very zen about this now, but for a while, I was very angry at feeling so helpless. At being unable to kick butt and take names the way I always have. Now I am allowing myself to be open to rest, and to be open to whatever God's plan is in this difficult time.

Speaking of God's plan, so many of my plans for my writing career have changed this year. I can't share them all, but I've had some doors close, others open, and a few paths revealing themselves, but I don't know where it will all lead.

Uncertainty has become my theme for the year. There are many other areas in my life I'm finding this to be true, and I'm learning to be okay with that. I'm also learning more about things that I am and am not okay with. One of the things I am not okay with is all of the negativity swirling around at times. I understand that many people are unhappy with how things are going in the world; there are many things that are making me sad as well.

But I learned something while writing An Unlikely Mother. (Yes, I know, it's not on my website yet. One more thing I've put off while letting my broken brain heal.) My editor asked me out of curiosity why Flora had been mean in the first place. I told her that Flora thought her meanness was kindness. That she thought, that by being mean to people, she would make them change what she thought was bad behavior. I spent a lot of time thinking about that, and how I spent many years of my life being bullied. I stayed in situations I should have left, but I believed the lies people told, and I believed that there was something wrong with me, and that if I could only fix those things, I would be better. I thought people were mean to me because I deserved it. They thought I deserved it. As I wrote about Flora, I remembered one time when a particularly mean group of people pulled me aside, told me all the things that were wrong with me, and then they told me that they were just being hard on me so that I could be a better person. Writing Flora's story taught me how to love those bullies of long ago. I can't say that I would want to invite them over for a barbecue, but I forgive them.

Which leads me to my new direction. All of these bad things we see, we lash out in negativity, thinking it will prompt the change we desire. But all it does is wound. Most people don't look at their wounds and think, "huh, I guess I'll change and completely embrace what the person who wounded me wants me to do." Rather, the wounded person gets defensive, and lashes out, trying to keep from being wounded again. Which wounds the other party, and leads to more wounding. So here we are, wounded people, bleeding out, but doing our best to strike out to get the other party to just stop it already. And it doesn't work.  I think about all the times I was mean to others, and it has always been in response to something mean they did to me. But it never made the situation any better. All the people who've been mean to me... it has never made me do the things they wanted. Mostly, it just made me more stubborn in my resistance. So I am done.

I'm choosing to spread positivity and love. I may not always succeed, and I certainly will need to remind myself of this idea in traffic, when I use way more bad words than I should, but I hope that the additional positivity and love in the world will make it a better place.

In that vein, I am joining in a new movement, started by author Trish Milburn, called Upbeat Authors. The goal is to spread positivity and happiness. Trish noticed all the negativity out there, and how it was impacting her life in a negative way, and she asked if people wanted to join her in sharing more positive messages on social media. I was all for it. The idea answered a longing deep within me that I'd been wondering about for a long time. Was I the only one in physical pain because of the negativity in this world? If you read Trish's post, you'll see that a lot of others felt this same need, and I am so proud to be part of the group.

There is so much out there in the way of bad news. Hard things. And as much as we feel bombarded by those things, we can't fight it by lashing out anymore. It's time to sow seeds of the good things we wish to have in our lives.

Today, I'm sharing a picture on social media of our new baby chicks. Mama looks big and fat because there are three chicks under her, keeping warm. If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a video a couple of days ago of the chicks peeping. It's well worth a watch. Mostly because it makes me so happy to hear them chirping. This week's theme for the upbeat authors is the joy in simple things. Those little chicks are such simple things, and they bring me so much joy. There is nothing more healing than the sound of those little babies peeping about. Those noises are why I call my chickens the peeps.

So that's my new direction. I'd write a better conclusion, but it's past my bedtime, and I'm out of words for the day. We'll chat more another day.

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