Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I laughed the first time I saw this photo and the caption underneath it: Not Mom's Favorite. It made me think of all the times my sisters and I teased one another about who the favorite child was (and is) in my parent's household. Of course, Mom never really had favorites, we just liked to say she did.

My relationship with God is a lot like that. When I am blessed, I feel like the bigger chick, receiving freely from my Father's hand. When I am not, I feel like the smaller chick, always watching while someone else receives the blessing. The reality? God has no favorites. He bestows blessings on all of us, just not the same way.

I should hold my published book in my hand this coming year. The last word from my editor was a release date of April 11th. How I thrilled to hear those words...but a part of me grieved for friends who have worked so hard and have yet to get THEIR phone call. It will happen someday I know. They are much too talented and dedicated for it not to. Still, who am I, that God should choose to allow the desire of my heart? Certainly, it is not because I am His favorite. More like, His favored.

And so, my prayer for the coming year is that my words will somehow bless another person. I pray I will bring honor to the Lord, and that He will use me to accomplish His purpose. I know not why or how. I know only that I am willing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Of all the traditions of Christmas, my favorite has to be the opening of gifts. I’ve always loved seeing the expression on my kids faces early Christmas morning. Nothing else compared to the joy and excitement they felt one time each year. The only drawback was that it was over too quickly. Like the rush that comes from eating too much sugar, the letdown immediately following the gift opening seemed anticlimactic somehow…a little disappointing after the weeks of anticipation and buildup.

The answer came quite by accident.

Several years ago, my sister sent me a package of presents. Excited by the box, my kids scrambled about, peeking inside at all the unwrapped gifts. I couldn’t see the point in withholding the items, since they’d both already seen what was inside, so I gave them their gifts, and for the remainder of that day, my two kids enjoyed the present sent to them by that one person.

The next day, we decided rather than fight the throng of people at the movie theater, we’d stay home, pop some popcorn, and watch a movie. Pirates of the Caribbean had just come out, and since the DVD was sitting under our tree, wrapped as a gift to my daughter, we decided to let her open it, and my son of course got to open one of his. As a family, we enjoyed the gift of the movie, huddled together on our couch.

And so the tradition began. Now, every year, we start opening one gift a day, several days before Christmas. No longer do the kids rush to rip open presents, discarding one the second another one is passed to them. Inside, they savor their presents, taking time to appreciate the gift and the giver for one whole day, looking forward with anticipation to the next day, and the next person. It is and always will be, my favorite tradition of Christmas.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Editing can be a long process. Having survived my first content edit, I had begun to think it was smooth sailing ahead, and it was, until. . .

Line edits.

Things that had escaped my attention did NOT escape my line editor. She was as meticulous as a surgeon, carving up my manuscript like a Thanksgiving Day turkey. Despite the pain, I agreed that many of her suggestions were necessary and that the changes would make my story stronger. But what about the ones I didn’t agree with? As a first time author, was I obligated to accept all of her recommendations? Would not accepting them mark me forever as a “troublesome” author?

Fortunately, I’d sat in enough workshops to know that asking questions is not frowned upon by most editors, and I’m blessed with a great editor who welcomes communication with her authors. She answered my questions, gave ear to my concerns—after all, her goal is the same as mine. We both want to make my story the strongest it can be.

Bottom line? It is not a sin to question the recommendations your editor makes. You do, however, want to maintain a level of professionalism in your communication with her, so she doesn’t cringe every time she has to open an email from you. Most important of all—learn to choose your battles. Your editor is on your team. Next to your momma, she wants your books to succeed more than anyone else, and she’s working hard to see that it does.

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