Professional Conference Anxiety, Anyone?

Professional Conference Anxiety, Anyone?

When a friend asked me why I hadn’t signed up for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference yet, I had to stop and consider what had stalled my determination to go for the first time.

Gulp.

Seems it’s one thing to pound away day after day at my computer but quite another to dress up, spend money, and declare to the best in the business that I want to be a professional writer.

Not just that, but all that’s involved with traveling and feeling safe in a new place, trusting my instincts to make good decisions and not to make a fool of myself. Not to mention, wanting to blend in and needing to promote myself. It’s enough to make my stomach hurt.

So, like any decent psychology graduate, I analyzed what was holding me back. I processed my fears. And just as an aspiring author would do, I wrote a story about my anxiety thus creating Lilly. Because not even I could be this big of a mess! Let’s pray none of poor Lilly’s experiences happen to anyone attending the ACFW conference in September.

Continue reading “Professional Conference Anxiety, Anyone?”

Child of God: Facing Illness Without Fear

Child of God: Facing Illness Without Fear

I have stage two breast cancer. Now is the time to decide if I want to do chemotherapy because there is no turning back after this procedure.

I lay on the pre-op cot awaiting the surgery to insert a port below my collarbone. The device will permit powerful chemotherapy drugs to be administered directly into my heart so my blood can dilute the chemicals enough to prevent them from burning my blood vessels.

My brain’s foggy from lack of sleep, and my thoughts whirl with the sentiments of the anti-chemotherapy crusaders whose words kept me from sleeping the night before. They tell me I’m young, and there’s still time to undo my cancer with healthy foods and herbs to allow my body to heal itself. The medical professionals say they have a treatment with a high success rate.

A treatment that could kill me, give me a different cancer, leave me damaged and unable to raise my three boys.

The confusion swirls in my mind. Who do I trust?

Please go to http://jerushaagen.com/child-of-god-facing-illness-without-fear/ to continue reading my guest post on author Jerusha Agen’s Fear Warrior Blog.

The Time Change and Ungrateful Children

The Time Change and Ungrateful Children

The time change put our family in frantic mode this morning. I had to yank my three-year-old, Isaac, out of bed so I could take my five and nine-year-old to school.

He wailed.

I wanted to scream, “You wouldn’t feel this way if you’d gone to sleep last night, instead of sneaking out of bed to play with Legos until midnight!”

But I just strapped him into the car seat while he cried and yelled, “No. No. I don’t want to go. I’m cold.” As if he ever got to choose not to go.

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Safe Within Faith’s Circle

Safe Within Faith’s Circle

The story below is based off of a dream I had after learning of my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m sure it was born out of the outpouring of prayers from my church, friends, and family. Thank you. Your prayers are powerful.

The mouth of the rocky valley I trek widens into a high green meadow. A stream meanders the length of the grassland and trickles into a reflective pool at the opposite end.

Thank you, God. I slip off my shoes and splash into the pristine brook. The smooth rounded stones massage the balls of my aching feet. I dip my cupped hands into the water and relieve my parched mouth with the sweet, cool liquid.

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Restored, I strut into the meadow. Soft new grass slips between my toes. The setting sun peeks over the top of the mountainside and tinges the wispy clouds in the sapphire sky with vibrant reds and orange.

A warm breeze lifts my hair. Some barriers along my journey had seemed impassable, but my skill had prevailed. I spread my arms and twirl. I’ve arrived.

My toes sink into a cool patch of black mud. Where had this come from? I step into a deeper patch, and mud oozes across the top of my foot to my ankle.

Sinister cackling echoes off the rocks. Satan stands atop a boulder at the edge of the valley. Against the glowing orange sky, the silhouette of his open-mouthed laugh reveals his cobra fangs. He wipes a string of venom from his chin.

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Wasted Time and God’s Blessings: The Writing Dream I Ignored

Wasted Time and God’s Blessings: The Writing Dream I Ignored

The first time I wrote fictional dialogue, it was an assignment for my British Literature class at Abilene Christian University. On the day we would receive our scores, I was eager to see if my creativity had paid off.

My professor, Dr. Jack Welch, tall and lanky with gray at his temples, faced our class and grinned, a twinkle in his eyes.

That look, I’d seen it before. I settled back in my desk and prepared to be entertained by his dry humor.

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Indivisible: Learning to Recognize God’s Love in My Cancer Journey

Indivisible: Learning to Recognize God’s Love in My Cancer Journey

The nurse squeezed my arm before rolling me into the MRI machine. I hadn’t missed the pity in her warm brown eyes. She’d read my chart. Stage 2 breast cancer at 39.

But breast cancer wasn’t a death sentence anymore. Unless my tumor hadn’t responded to the Chemotherapy and God chose not to heal me. Sweat broke out on my brow. The machine clanked over the foam headphones I wore. Soon I would know the answer.

I closed my eyes. Please God. Heal me. Allow me to raise my boys. Be David’s wife.

I swallowed and tried not to move. Or will I be meeting you soon?

Continue reading “Indivisible: Learning to Recognize God’s Love in My Cancer Journey”