How are You Making the Most at Staying-Home?

I’ll say one thing, for staying-at-home, I’ve been rather productive. Besides baking up a storm, spending quality time with my family and keeping up on chores, I’m writing. A lot.

There’s always the fear writing won’t go well. It doesn’t matter how badly you want to write, sometimes things just don’t come out right. I’ve stumbled onto Reedsy and am really enjoying writing for their short story contests. It’s keeping my writing-monster fed and I’m getting a great deal of satisfaction.

Better still, I finished my first Christian Romance (Finding Liberty) and am now in the editing process. For a gal that hadn’t written for over five months, I am over the moon with progress. I have two other book series in production and have also found the inspiration to continue my marriage of convenience series. It’s a regular Contemporary Romance, but I’m not a gal that likes to only stick to one genre.

The Christian Romance was a departure from my usual writing and I enjoyed ever word as a labor of love. I was able to focus on character development and making a story that hopefully will inspire or at least draw readers in. My characters are real, but they’re good people, who are just trying to get by in a world where ‘getting by’ can be a huge struggle.

I’m hoping my fellow writers are finding inspiration during this time. I hope everyone is. It’s amazing what slowing down will do for us. We look at things we might ordinarily not. I think we are careful to take nothing for granted, as well. We need positivity in this crazy time and we need people to keep pushing on!

Someday, we will look back on all this and know we won, in so many different ways than just stopping the spread of a virus. We aren’t quitters and we won’t give up a thing! My prayers are with you all during the pandemic, and I hope you are well and safe, dear readers!

My Two Cents on COVID-19 as a front-line worker.

I just got my People Magazine in the mail. There’s an article in there hailing nurses and doctors as heroes. It’s funny, because I don’t feel like a hero. This is what we everytime we go to work. The stakes are just higher now.

Nothing has changed. We still do our best with less, take care of our patients
as we would want someone to care for our parents or grandparents. We hold their hands while they cry, walk them through their treatments, do our best to get a smile or a laugh. During the days they are in the hospital, now though, we are the only lifeline they have. No visitors.

It’s a big responsibility on a normal day, now we realize the pressure has increased. It breaks my heart sometimes to have a patient and have them ask, “Can so and so come visit?” And I have to tell them no. And their face falls and they nod, knowing it’s for the best, but still hurting.

A long time ago, I realized I loved medicine. I first thought I wanted to be a doctor, until I was about 20 and my mom said, “hey, why don’t you try nursing, instead?” I am forever grateful to my mom, so grateful that I took that first step. Nothing (apart from being a mother and a wife to an awesome husband) fulfills me more. I truly believe this is God’s purpose for me and it both humbles and amazes me everyday I can serve His people this way.

I’ve seen a lot. Death, illness (both small and big), emotional highs and lows in my patients… Those men and women serving beside me, doctors, nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists, on down to radiology, I appreciate you all so much for what you bring to your patients and what you bring to the team.

We WILL beat this. Someday, we’ll look back and pray it never happens again. But please, for the safety of yourself, your family, your neighbors, US healthcare workers, stay home and stay safe. No one is trying to tell you what to do, or how to live your life. We’re trying to control the spread of this terribe COVID-19 and protect the vulnerable from death.

Let that sink in. If you go out, and you’re infected and you don’t know… You could potentionally infect EVERYONE you come into contact with. Your 90 year-old neighbor? He doesn’t have the reserves to fight this, especially if he has illnesses of his own. YOU could KILL him. I know it’s not intentional, but when you don’t listen to ‘stay-at-home’ orders, you are being SELFISH and risking just that.

I don’t like being cruel. I care for people for a living, it’s what I do. But I’m not mincing words here, people. This isn’t some virus you can shrug off like the common cold. Isn’t the devastation and destruction around the world enough to convince you? Don’t wait until it’s too late, until it touches you personally.

Be safe, be smart and pray, because the world needs a whole lot of God right now.

The Business of Writing

What is writing? Sometimes, I think it’s a form of self-flagellation. Those images of a writer struggling over a manuscript got it pretty much right, but they left out the sweat, tears and swear words… Writing is a labor of love, you say? Well, yes, it is, but it is also an exercise in self-torture. Creation is not always a glorious production. I often wonder if I spend more time staring at a blinking cursor than writing any actual words. But the caveat… Would I give it up? No way!

Oh, the joy of books! I found early on I could escape into other worlds as magical as C.S. Lewis’ Narnia or as fantastic as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit hole in the side of the hill. What made me decide I, too, could be a writer? That would require a time machine, and you’d be stuck listening to 11-year-old me espouse on the greatness of Stephen King (he’s still great, by the way). But I’m not sure of the exact moment I decided I wanted to do something I had no idea how to do or if I’d even be any good at it.

My writing has jumped many genres over the years, finally ending up somewhere in-between romance and action. Alas, I have a huge, weepy heart, and I love, well, love! Regardless of what I write, romance seems to wiggle its way in there, no matter how insignificant. So, now, here I am, 31 years later, finally admitting to myself that romance is my genre (and I can sprinkle whatever else I want in there, but it’s gotta be romance) and those horrific (in a bad way) horror novels I wrote as a young teen should never see the light of day (Stephen King would probably laugh himself silly, and humor is not a reaction you want in a horror novel).

Still, I’ve struggled, searching for exactly where my writing belongs. Now, it’s about life. It’s about family. It’s about faith. Those things, which mean the most to me, need to be a part of what I create. So, my focus has moved to Christian Romance, and I am so deeply in love with writing it, I can only pray I convey that love into the words on the page.

But this world I write in… It isn’t the same one I started in 31 years ago. You need only look to Amazon to realize the enormity of books in the world has grown exponentially. With so much to choose from, many might say, why even bother? If I can get my writing out there, touch one soul, entertain one person in need of an escape into a world not their own… Then maybe, that’s just enough.

If you want a great blog recommendation for writing, check out Writer’s Digest There Are No Rules. It’s a wonderful, comprehensive blog with a lot of good tips on writing. Also, one of my favorites.

“All who wander are not lost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien