Where oh where to begin? I just finished a draft of my article from my recent visit to San Antonio (about how the cities are taxing themselves to pay to purchase lands in neighboring counties in the aquifer recharge zone to help make sure it stays healthy). I now have another 9,000 things to do, but that's life, aye? So much has happened, pretty much all good, I almost don't know where to begin!
I'm finishing up Experiencing God bible study, and it has been one of the most amazing experiences - I won't say just studies because it's been an "experience." Before my divorce, I used to do bible studies pretty regularly, including ones at my church and even attending the Beth Moore Tuesday night bible studies downtown (she is a huge inspiration). And though since then I've read my Bible, and had an active prayer life, I sort of started to feel like God stopped talking to me. Well not as much. No, I'm not crazy and I don't hear a "voice" but God answers prayer in real ways, and sometimes delivers messages by when you'd sort of see the same bible verse in several places, that spoke to your circumstance, or that kind of thing. But to be honest, when I went into the study, I'd just come out of a period in life when I wasn't getting this kind of serendipity or any sort of word from God. And boy has that changed in just a short time!!
I entered into the study sort of placing my book and my life "on the altar" so to speak. When I wrote that blog post ch-ch-ch-changes, I was searching for a full-time job. Money is tight, the publishing industry is going to hell in a handbasket. And then after I wrote that post, the tragedy of all tragedies for a writer happened to me. My book publisher cancelled my contract. No real explanation. No extensive feedback. I don't mean to belittle the tragedy of miscarriage, but it was kind of like having a miscarriage. To any writer or artist, you understand a book is your baby. I've been working on it for 5 years, and on the experiences behind it for 10 or more. Deep breath. So I was devastated the first few days. And maybe I should add that to me, it was more than just a book. I've long felt that it was my Christian ministry to reconcile science and faith. So this sort of led to a faith crisis. Was I wrong? Did He not want me to follow this path? Don't get me wrong I'm not ever going to turn my back on the science of evolution, or on my Christian faith, but I just thought maybe something wasn't right in my message, or my approach, or maybe that was not my path to do.
But I set it aside, and started the bible study, placing the book on the altar as I said. That meant that I asked God what He wanted me to do with it. I was totally ok with completely walking away and throwing it in the waste bin. Or I would work on it more and try to find a new publisher. And through the class I've come to realize that God does want me to continue this path. It just wasn't the right publisher. And maybe I will self-publish or maybe I will find another publisher but I'm not in a rush.
I also heard the Lord speak "teach." I don't know exactly what that means yet. It may mean apply for a teaching job. And I have been investigating options for teaching jobs. I'll be teaching basic & advanced magazine writing workshops through Leisure Learning in Houston during June and July(hey the online catalog just became avalable! Here they are - Intro to Freelance Writing Jun 14 - $57 and Make Money Selling Nonfiction to Magazines July 19 & 26 - $150). And I may start teaching biology at an online university. But I also want to teach bible studies at some point, or even write them. So this is in the back of my mind. And one thing led to another and I'm going to be doing a "discipleship huddle" at the church. I'm super excited about that! I truly love learning about God's word, and studying it, and applying it to my life and to growing in spiritual maturity.
And so I came across this Writing Away retreat a couple months back and for some reason it just resonated with me. It's not like I can afford it, but I contacted the lady who runs it - Cicily Janus - and got some info. And then just 2 weeks ago I just knew in my heart that I needed to go. I don't know why, but I do. The retreat is an all-inclusive stay in a cabin in Breckenridge, Colorado in May for 5 days with agents and editors from publishing houses. I will get feedback from each of them on 10,000 words of my book, and the time to work on my book while there. She says she has an 85% placement rate in helping writers find agents and publishers. That's pretty phenomenal! I know this book needs to find its audience. So many people tell me all the time that they want to read it. I have to get it out there, with God's help of course. Maybe I was not writing it with Him close by every step of the way before but this time I hope to. So I signed up and bought my plane ticket today!
Other cool news that has lifted my spirit even more: I have made a couple of new friends, which is always so wonderful! I had been working out with Doug almost every day, and since he went offshore, I had that lack. But one of the new friends (both as a matter of fact, though one is more recent) work out there! And this may seem like "bad news" but it seems like the relationship of Doug and Wendee is winding down. It's been for some time. It breaks my heart, in one way, but I just feel like it's what I need to do right now. He's ok with it, in fact that makes it harder I think! To be real honest we've broken up about 900 times I think. Ha! But I never said much, and now it's concrete. I'm at peace and in fact happy. I think the hardest part of that whole thing was not knowing God's will for the relationship. I went back and forth a million times between my head and my heart. Ultimately my head won out... Sometimes I wish God would just speak out loud to make things obvious, but in that situation it was apparently my path to choose and not so clear.
In all these things that could overwhelm my soul, the loss of the book contract, the slow demise and breakdown of my relationship, I don't feel devastated, really at all. It is like God is carrying me, and I'm floating as if on a magic carpet above the "stuff" that otherwise could get me down. It just isn't. I just feel joy most days and it's unexplainable!
And here's another stupendously amazing God-thing: yesterday, a perfect stranger emailed, offering to give his used Honda Accord to me, after finding me online through a Google search. He and his wife had the desire to give back and see it help someone rather than just sell it to some random person. I'll post some details after it all happens in a few weeks, but I'm speechless! My Subaru has nearly 180,000 miles on it. All I can say is God is amazing!
In other news, our family recently sponsored a little Kenyan girl named Happiness through Compassion International (Savannah is going to be the primary person to write her and keep it up). We also donated to The Invisible Children, an organizatoin that helps rescue child soldiers in ganda. They came to talk to my daughter's school this week but even before that she was moved by reading about it online. She has developed quite a deep passion for helping orphans in Africa, and it will be wonderful to watch her life unfold.