Monday, July 31, 2017

Washing Away Past Hurts

Tomorrow I have my first edit deadline for my book, Not Really A Princess . As I have been going over my manuscript, the tears still come. It is a healing process to write one's past anguish, failure and pain. I relive it as I write but I choose to be grateful for God's amazing master plan to help me break free of my past.

I know it is quite possible that my editor will ask more questions as she helps to develop this story to its fullest. Some things I may not remember and some I may choose not to remember. But my goal in writing this book is for others to see that there is hope for a future of joy. That I do not have to remain in the pit.

I am sometimes amazed at the giant puzzle of how everything has fit together in my life and how I am actually writing a book about it all. Not just writing it but it is now a reality that it is being published. The past several years I have fought myself on finishing it. Thinking who am I to write a book? I never loved english. I preferred foreign languages. How can I accomplish this feat? But I believe God kept prodding me. Pushing me on.

As I started getting closer to finishing the manuscript I continued with self-doubt. Even at the Writer's Conference I went to when I met with several agents, editors and publishers. Some would say maybe I could make it into a study book or a novel. My book proposal looked amateur and I did not feel very encouraged. Workshop leaders and keynote speakers all said it could take years to find a publisher and to expect many rejection letters. Doubts continued.

So I sent two unfinished, unpolished copies to two people I had met at the conference. Two. I received an email within a day from a publisher that was at the conference. I was crazy excited. Could this really happen to me? Me? A nobody? I still am in shock. And now I look at all the rejection in my life and I pray with all my heart that I can encourage others to look past hurts and push on to live joyously and abundantly.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Are Things As They Seem?

Things aren't always as they seem. People always assume since I am a generally warm, friendly person that I have all the confidence in the world. It's totally not the case. This weekend is my 40th class reunion. And although I really wanted to come I had moments of panic about it. My closest friend from high school was not coming but several other close friends were so I messaged one of them to give me a ride and walk in with me.

I have a very difficult time walking into a group of people. I only have this problem if I actually know the people and I feel they all have their own friends with whom they are visiting. I don't want to push in and there is still that prevalent feeling of the possibility of rejection. Once there, I am usually fine.

Yes, it's true.

When I was in high school I was a student leader, ASB officer and by most standards fairly popular. But I hid out at lunch time because I wasn't sure who to have lunch with and my closest friend had a boyfriend. This will be a shock to fellow classmates. What? Nicki? She was so popular and friendly.

And I repeat, things aren't always what they seem. Last night as many of my classmates were asking about the upcoming release of my book Not Really A Princess, I explained briefly what it is about. Some of this has to do with what life dealt me at home during the high school years. They were shocked and surprised that they never knew what was going on at home.

I think we assume so much about others around us. We "think" they have it all together and make swift judgements. They may have it all together but most likely they too have hurts, struggles and skeletons in their closet.

My hope and prayer is that I would try my hardest to not judge them but see through to who they really are and perhaps, just maybe, I might offer some sort of encouragement to them. The main reason for writing my book is to share my own story and hardship so that it can show others how to turn the page on bitterness, fear, self-doubt and to push on to become someone who thinks of others first.

So tonight, at the second night of our reunion I hope to walk in to see how I can give a kind smile to whomever needs it and a listening ear to someone hurting. I hope to not be so self-centered and scared but be all that God has intended in this life He has given me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Being a Perfectionist in an Imperfect World

Guest Blogger: Jessica Everett
Jessica is a mom of three. She loves music and is an avid reader of anything and everything.

I have often struggled with being a perfectionist. Oh, it can have its good points. I am very detail oriented. I like to complete tasks. I am organized and neat. However, more often than not I struggle with it.

I get anxiety over not completing tasks, as a mom this happens more and more. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy if things are not done completely, perfectly, and with time to spare. I struggle with guilt if I mess up. I struggle with anger and frustration when others don’t do things perfectly. My mind knows that I cannot expect others to do things perfectly and that I am being unreasonable. After all, we perfectionists are a minority. However, I want things done correctly and in a timely manner and then I get upset at myself that I cannot have perfect empathy and compassion when this does not happen.

The last few years I have really begun to see this side of myself more and more and am constantly having to remind myself that the world will not crumble if I cannot be superwoman that day and the sky will not fall if others are not perfect. No one is perfect! The Bible says so. It tells us “there is none that doeth good, no NOT ONE!” This “not one” includes me. I cannot be perfect. I cannot achieve this no matter how much I strive for it or how much I agonize over falling short. But that is ok.

God has made a way. He sent His only perfect son to die for me because I am not perfect. In return I am not expected to be perfect to pay Him back or earn it. I had a professor in college who told me that I should not strive for perfection but for excellence. And not because I could be excellent but because God deserved my excellence and I could represent Him and glorify Him by striving for excellence.

So while I still struggle sometimes with anxiety and frustration over not being able to do everything perfectly, I can remind myself that God loves me because I am imperfect and because I serve an amazing God I should strive for excellence to better serve and glorify Him.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Joy of Jet Skiing

It is a wonderful thing to have family get togethers. When kids are older and they all have jobs it is SO hard to get everyone together. I try, but I also realize that it doesn't always have to be ALL of us.

We had a camping adventure this weekend with all but three of us. Kids and grandkids. It was 100 degrees with only one tree in our three campsites. But to this mother's heart it doesn't matter when or where or the weather. It is time spent. I am sure some of you can relate to this.

We rented jet skis one day and as I was out in the middle of the gorgeous, deep blue mountain lake I could not help but be so incredibly thankful. For family, for creation, for the means to be there.

We were in our family's favorite place and doing our favorite thing. How fortunate is that?

Jet skiing gives me such a sense of freedom. Flying over a wake or driving around as fast or slow as I wish looking at the mountains and thousands of pine trees. Clearing my mind and just enjoying the incredible beauty surrounding me. I am such a nature girl. There is nothing that helps me think or gives me such amazing peace as being out in God's creation.

Even looking out my window and watching my chocolate lab, Ginger chasing a squirrel can bring me such joy. Sometimes I need to LOOK for the joy, LOOK for the peace and BE thankful. It is a choice. I only jet ski once a year. I am not always able to see my kids and grandkids when I want. That can't be the basis for my joy. And sometimes I can't always be outside peacefully sitting in a lovely nature setting of a mountain lake or an ocean beach.

So then what else gives me that same feeling? Reading God's Word. I can get lost in it. It gives me true peace anywhere and anytime. It sustains me. And when I feel lonely or sad I go to His Word and know God has everything under control. He holds me in His hand and I can just kick back and rest.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Book's A GO!

I am an ordinary person. I have worked a variety of jobs. I am a wife. A mom. A grandma. An artist. A teacher of the Word. A lover of God. And although I have always been a busy person I have sometimes wondered what I have accomplished at all.

I am also a procrastinator and although I am FULL of ideas that race around in my head...I seldom follow through and finish. Truly finish the idea, see it through. Sometimes its too many things spinning and sometimes I get distracted.

You all know I have been writing a book. As it is nearing completion I decided to seek out publishers. I had a couple leads to follow up on from the writer's conference I recently attended and decided to start there. I had been told I may need to contact 20 publishers or more before finding one to accept my work as a new author and to not be discouraged.

I also realize that I am not a "great" writer. I was told in a workshop at the conference that I needed two of three things to get a book published.
-Big Idea
-Great Writing.
Ok so I have a platform and big idea but I do not consider myself a great writer. It has been humbling to have some people jury and edit the book.

Two weeks ago I sent my manuscript to two publishers. The next day I heard back from one and he set up a phone conference with me for this morning. Last night before bed my phone said disabled.
This morning is was still saying disabled. I had a couple minutes of panic until the issue was resolved about an hour before the call.

I sat with my Bible and read and prayed. I needed peace. I needed to be okay with the fact that I may need to continue my search. Psalm 84:11 says,"No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly, O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in HIm." And in Psalm 138:7 it says,"...The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of thy hands"

I have struggled with REALLY feeling that something truly good could happen to me. Not like a wonderful home and family but BIG like ministry or career. Could plain Nicki actually get a book published? That seemed crazy.

Well, guess what? It happened! I am shocked. And he even said he liked my writing style...I didn't even realize I had a style. SO please SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! The book is coming soon to a bookstore near you!
I wish I could share a whole row of emoticons here! #notreallyaprincess

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bonfires, marshmallows and freedom.

Freedom. It can mean something different to each of us. 4th of July is our country's Independence Day. A time we can reflect and be thankful that we can work where we want, live where we want and worship where we want.

It is also a time to spend with family, friends and neighbors. Eating hot dogs, potato salad and brownie sundaes. Waiting impatiently with little ones for it to get dark  so we can finally light colorful and loud firework displays.

My childhood home had riverfront property so we would have a bonfire, swim and stick rows of sparklers in the sand. We would catch our marshmallows on fire and eat them till we were sick if we wanted.

I also think of freedom as a time to release the past and turn the page from hurt or pain. Getting rid of the negative and being thankful for all I have been given in life. Even the hard things that form us into who we are to become.

This year there has been so much negativity in our country and yet I always hear people coming to this country because they do not have the freedom to read what they want, live where they want, work a job they love, get an education or even marry whom they want. I CHOOSE to be grateful that although our country struggles, I have a greater chance to worship, love, work and play as I desire.

I hope you celebrate your freedom and what this day represents. And maybe you can relax more as you see our beautiful country, enjoy your time with family, and hopefully turn the page on past trials. Claim the freedom you've been graciously given. And don't forget to thank our military for protecting those freedoms.

Galations 5:13, "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

Why do we obey? -Guest writer: Jessica Everett

 One of my favorite songs, that I often sing in my head when I'm trying to sleep or in stressful situations is "I'll obey and s...