take all the courage you have left

About two weeks ago, I decided to start reading again. I haven't made time for the written word in far too long, so I committed to it once more. I'm on my fourth (or fifth? - I've lost track) book in the past two weeks now. Reading has awakaned my heart and spirit. It's made me excited to write more - both on my blog and with my current work in progress (WIP).

I'm still figuring out time. How this all works when I'm working, working, working. But God is good, and I know He will lead me towards where He wants me to be.

Thank you, Laurie, for tagging me and reminding me just how important reading and writing is to my soul. It was your tag that helped me remember and rediscover words.

1. What is the title of your book/WIP?
I think it's going to be Second Chances. I've also considered This Time Around. It could change, though, depending on how the story plays out.. I may use whichever title I don't choose for this WIP and apply it to the second book as I think I want this story to be a series.

2. Where did the idea for the WIP come from?
I've worked in the realm of foster care and child welfare for over four years now. I started as a social worker, changed to a foster care specialist, and am now working as a social worker in a group home setting (part-time). Working with those kids is my heart, and I want to bring more awareness to foster care. That's how I decided to approach the subject of foster care. The rest of the story? I'm not sure exactly how I got the idea... God breathed I suppose!

3. What genre would your WIP fall under?
I hate genre's to be honest because I don't know if anything I write fits into one true genre. I think the WIP will be one women enjoy more. So maybe chick lit? I've been reading quite a bit of Karen Kingsbury lately and so I want the story to be inspirational -- just not sure I want to commit to it being a piece of Christian fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Shayla Johnson would be played by Sophia Bush. Sampson Douglas would be played by Justin Timberlake. Abigail Thomas would be played by Amy Adams (but with frizzier hair). Emily Johnson would be played by Jennifer Lawrence. Noah Douglas would be played by Jackson Brundage.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your WIP?
Shay spent 17 years of her life being shuffled from foster home to foster home before escaping six months prior to turning 18. Years later, she finds herself back in the town she ran from, opening her home to a 15-year-old girl whose life mirrors her own.

6. Is your WIP published or represented?
I wish! It will be one day; I truly believe that.

7. How long did it take you to write?
I'm still working on it, so it's not yet written. I've been considering it for about seven months and started working on it back in January. I am ready to tackle it full force though I am a bit (read: A LOT) nervous.

8. What other WIPs within your genre would you compare it to?
I'm not sure. The only story close to what I'm working on (that I know of) is Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this WIP?
Karen Kingsbury. Jennifer Weiner. Megan Crane. Caprice Crane. Liza Palmer.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your WIP.
The WIP is not as straight forward as the summary shows. There are a lot of twists and turns that I can't (and won't!) put into the summary as I don't want to give anything away. It's a WIP I am loving and constantly thinking about. I feel like I know these characters better than any others I've ever written.

What about you? Do you have a WIP? If so, please tell me about it!

(title from "little lion man" by mumford & sons)


now i'll be bold as well as strong

Today I start over - yet again.

I keep telling myself that I've got this. I know what to eat and how much to eat. I understand how important exercise is and that nutrition is even more important. I've seen the number on the scale shrink along with my waistline. But I still let myself trip up.

It just takes one time for me. One diet coke. One order of Chicken McNuggets. Just one and all my hard work is forgotten as I eat McDondald's for a second, third, fourth, and fifth time. Just one, and I forget how much I need water and instead want nothing more than a huge, ice cold diet coke.

Some people can enjoy those things in moderation. Maybe one day I will be a some people. But today I am not.

The past few weeks have been some of the hardest I've experience recently. We moved out of our house and in with my in-laws. The move was quick, and we anticipated the closing on our house - the official end to one chapter of our lives. But instead, the closing has been pushed back five times and we continue to wait to sign on the dotted line and hand the keys over to the new owners,

I've worked more than normal. While 60 hour work weeks aren't easy, I adjusted to them and they became my new normal. But the past few weeks have brought 70+ hour work weeks, and I simply can not adjust. I've spent most of my weekends sleeping in and napping. Thankfully I've been able to work week adjust and stay home late some of the mornings. I think that's been the only saving grace.

And exercise? What is that? I did so well for so long. I decided to invest in myself and hired a personal trainer. I could feel and see the differences just a few weeks in, but then one evening, after an especially grueling session of step-ups and squats, I sat down on the step for a break and almost cried. Something was wrong with my knee.

It didn't hurt when I walked - only when I bent it. We took it easy for the rest of that session and the one following that. Then over a week went by with no work outs. I had what is commonly called runners knee, also known as iliotibial band syndrome.

To me it was my worst fears coming true. And I fell apart. The busyness, the lack of a closing, being injured.. it was all too much. So I turned inward and let myself seek comfort in diet coke and food that did nothing good for my body or my soul.

Through it all, I've prayed. I've sought guidance from the Lord and asked for strength. There have been lots of tears, but He has met me where I am. Now it is time for me to meet Him where He is waiting for me.

So I am back on track. Sitting at my computer and writing. Reading blogs I've just barely glanced at in a month. Signing up to do guest posts. Purchasing fruit from the grocery store. Promising myself that I'll once again drink unsweet tea with lots of lemon or water and not diet coke. Reminding myself that I've come too far to go back to where I started.

And hoping that maybe there are others who understand, other who struggle, others who will recommit with me.

I know I have to have a plan or else I'll be back where I started today. My lifestyle is hectic and makes it difficult to cook and plan every meal but not impossible. Nothing is impossible if I set my mind to it.

With that in mind, my plan is this:

I need to simply remember. Remember why I want this. Why it is important. Why I can not and will not give up. Because it's not going to stop being hard. My life is not going to stop being busy. Only I can change my perspective. Only I can be disciplined enough to remember and never forget. Only I can be disciplined enough to keep going even when it seems I am doing nothing right and it seems like the hard work will never pay off. Because one day the hard work will be worth it. One day I will be a success story. One day I will look back at this moment and know that I did it because I chose to be disciplined.

(title from "i will wait" by mumford & sons)


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