Friday, February 27, 2009

Where Did Spring Go?

For a few blessed days it was above 45 degrees here in beautiful Washington. I basked in the sweet smell of spring that seemed to hover in the air. Rain fell, but it was a soft rain. The kind that brings thoughts of gardens and flowers and green leaves.

And then winter returned.

I wonder if the robins that have been hopping around in the yard are as shell shocked as I am.

At least the quail are happy. They've been running around the yard. One in particular always makes me smile. He seems happy to be with his buddies, but happier still to find food. Often, the covey of quail will be in the neighbor's yard. Then, as if all are wondering about the grass being greener on the other side, they'll run in mass toward the fence, quickly ducking under it. All except for my favorite little guy. He runs just a little slower, arrives at the fence just a little after everyone else. Then he tries to squeeze underneath. Oh, how he tries. Pushing his cute little head under, realizing that he can't proceed, backing up and trying again. Only to finally understand that he simply cannot squeeze beneath. Suddenly, he'll hop from the ground, spread his wings, soar for just a moment before he lands on the other side.

I've seen the quail do this a half a dozen times since we moved to Spokane. Sometimes I think the poor bird is a little dense. I mean, he's tried six times and hasn't made it under yet. Other times, I think he's foolish. What if a cat were coming? Would he still try to go under the fence or would he immediately spread his wings and fly. Most of the time, though, I admire his pluck. Failing once hasn't kept him from trying again. To him, getting under the fence has never ceased to be a possibility. Trying and failing only gives him more impetus to try again.

And who knows? Maybe one day he'll make it under that fence. I can almost see him now, strutting his stuff through our winter-barren garden, his feathers fluffed and his head high.

If only I could so clearly see my own failures as opportunities to persist. If only I could believe as strongly as that pint sized bird that anything is possible. Animals are not capable of faith, but they are capable of persistence. Why is it that we humans, who have faith opened up to us, are so quick to see failure as the end of the road rather than the beginning of another chance?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New York or Bust

It's been a while since I've gone on any writer conferences. Between the adoption and our move, I've had little time to think or plan a trip away from the hubby and kids. When my editor asked if I'd like to attend BEA this year, I jumped at the opportunity. BEA is a huge book expo. Lots of people. Lots of books. Lots of fun. Basically, I'll sign books for an hour and then wander around visiting other booths and collecting tons of freebies. Gotta love the freebies. This will be my third BEA. My second in New York. The expo is at the end of May, and I'm planning to fly into Baltimore and take the train up to New York. My Mom and oldest sister both want to come with me, so we can have some great family time as we ride up on the train. I'll get guest passes for both of them and they can visit all the booths while I sign.

Seeing as how kid #5 will arrive sometime this summer (we hope), BEA will probably be my last conference until next summer. I'd planned to attend RWA, but at this point have put plans for that on hold. Being an author is a great and wonderful gift, and I love it. But (big but)family comes first. Once Q comes home, she and the other kids and hubby will need me on the home front. I'm a little sad at having to say no to a trip I've been planning for a year. RWA in D.C. was going to be awesome! Harlequin is celebrating its 60th birthday, and I so wanted to be part of the party.

This is the hard thing about being a working mom. Finding balance between pursuing a career and being around for the family.

Of course, in this situation, it's a no brainer.

I rest in the assurance that God chose the path I'm on. He placed my feet on it, He patted me on the back and whispered encouragingly, "Go!" and He's walking beside me all the way. There may not always be balance in my life, but there is always faith. And where there is faith, there is hope and there is peace.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting...

Well, it seems like I'm waiting for everything lately. Waiting for preapproval from China is torture. Add to that a wait to hear back on my newest proposal and things get even worse.

I can't complain about the wait on the proposal, though. After months of suffering writer doubts and putting off mailing in the completed proposal, I finally managed to get up my courage and mail it. LAST WEEK. Sigh.

This morning, I heard from my wonderful editor Melissa Endlich. I'm happy to say she already read the proposal. I'm even happier to say she loved it. She asked for a brief description of the second and third story in the series I was proposing. Fortunately my procrastinating to mail in the proposal gave me plenty of time to think about story ideas. I was able to do a one page write-up for each book and email it to her within a couple of hours of her query.

So now I'm waiting again.

I suppose Melissa will send the proposal up to Tina who will make the final decision about buying (or not)the three book series.

I love writing. I love being an author.

I do not love waiting.

Saturday, February 21, 2009 it's been a (long) while

I admit it. I got caught up in six million things since our move. I thought I'd easily slip back into my schedule, but moving across the country takes a little more than a week to recover from. Here I am, six months in, and still trying to figure life in Washington out.

And I mean that in the best possible way.

Do I love it here?


Would I do it again?

Of course.

But a move is a life change and life changes need time to be recovered from. I love our new house, our new neighbors, the rural feel and the closeness of town. I love the view of the mountains that I see every time I glance out the kitchen window. I love our land and our little red barn (which will soon be home to several chickens). I love our new church and our new friends, but I miss our old church and our old friends. I miss my family. My nieces and my plethora of nephews. I miss going out to the store and seeing a dozen people that I know.

What I've realized about this move is that life is often about taking chances. We can choose to sit and let life happen to us or we can choose to take action and happen to life. Rodney, the kids and I....well, we happened to life when we arrived in Spokane. Our loud, exuberant family took the quiet street we live on by storm. We barged into churches and dance studios and art centers. We banged out piano songs and sang loudly. We laughed. We happened.

That's not to say it was easy. God has planned this for us for a long time. I've no doubt about that. Selling our Maryland house to the first people to walk through the door, finding our new home that met our needs so beautifully (and was built by a man who was building for no one but himself...proving that in 1978 God was planning for us to live here)...everything fell into place. But change is scary, isn't it? The unknown, the unseen, the invisible roads that will lead from this place and to is hard to walk toward those things no matter how much faith we have that God is in them.

Which brings me to some news that I share with the greatest fear and the fullest of hope. Soon my family will 'happen' to China. In three months or four or five or six we will travel to meet the newest member of the McCoy family. At this point we are still waiting for a pre approval letter from China, but we have submitted a letter of intent to adopt. In other words, we have accepted a referral for a little girl. She will be seven in March. She needs us as much as we need her. Like our other children, she is talkative and outgoing, loves music and activity. My mother, on viewing the photo, said, "She looks like another live wire. Well, what's one more?"

So true, Mom, so true.

Once we receive pre-approval I will be able to post more information, but for now, I leave you with this thought: Doing nothing is safe. Doing nothing is easy. Make it your goal to not do nothing.

Not do nothing.

I've heard that six million times on the Christian radio station lately. Such an easy concept, but so difficult.

Whatever your dreams, whatever God's desire for you....go forward boldly and do NOT do nothing.