Year To Date: Change and Abide

christmas2014familyWell, it’s been quite a year – probably one of the most difficult ones of my life, and that’s saying something. For the past three years I’ve chosen a ‘one word’ to focus on throughout the new year. In 2014 my word was Change – and it has definitely been a year of change, transitions, upheavals, and surprises.

In February my husband was offered a full-time job that fit his skill-set and passions perfectly – Pastor of Music Ministry in a  church in Asheville, NC. This meant relocating our family from a place we’d lived for eight years, from a house I’d spent two years renovating, and from a job as a university instructor I loved with friends I adored. For the next four months, my husband stayed in Asheville most of the week and commuted home to us (about an hour and a half drive) for Friday and Saturday. There was so much to do to prepare for the move, of course, including finding a house, checking out schools, and looking for a new job for me. Those months were tough as the rest of our family prepared to transition to our new home with hubs.

IMG_1526Within this craziness, I had three wonderful opportunities. The first was to make a surprise road-trip to St. Louis to visit my crit partner and brand new mom, Amy Leigh Simpson. Along the way I had lunch with Julie Gwinn and dinner with friend and Alleycat, Krista Phillips. IT was a fantastic break in the middle of all the transition.

Secondly, I worked at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference as support staff for Edie Melson and Alton Gansky. It was so much fun to have the opportunity to give back to a conference and a community who had been such an encouragement to me over the years.

Last but certainly not least, was signing with my amazing friend and agent, Julie Gwinn. Wow, what a great match! I’m so thankful. She’s been a wonderful encourager and herald for my stories

IMG_1008We moved to Asheville in the middle of June, the same day I started my new job in a private outpatient clinic. The summer moved along at record speeds and I tried to learn a new paperwork system and adjust my skill set to meet the demands of something quite different than I’d done the previous thirteen years. I missed my colleagues, my students, and teaching. My kids were adjusting to missing their friends and school.

But behind the scenes, Julie was working her magic by beginning a massive network of my writing. She edited my manuscripts, encouraged me in the move and the writing journey, and believed in my writing more than I did at the moment. At the beginning of September, I received my first contract offer. My fun, 10646741_10204870944154085_8514285265217180766_nAppalachian modern day My Fair Lady story, A Twist of Faith, was headed to publication. I officially signed the contract at ACFW with many of my wonderful Alleycats present. God certainly knew what I needed most when he brought them into my life!!!! They’d been such a part of my writing journey I couldn’t imagine signing without them to celebrate with me!!

This conference I also spent time with fantastic encouragers like Jeanne Wynn, Julie Lessman, Beth Vogt, Susan Mason, Rachel McMillian, the amazing Janice Thompson, Jim Rubart, and SO MANY MORE! Wow, I’m blessed!! It was an amazing boost of support to head me into the next big transition.

 

In the middle of November, I received a contract to be a coauthor for a YA book coming out in 2015 associated with a new video game. The game creators, 2nd City Studios, have developed a Steampunk-like game called The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance. It’s been such a fun experience to get to work with these guys in creating a companion novel to go along with their MMO Role Playing Game.

On the heels of this contract came another at the beginning of December – a three-book deal with Vinspire Publishing for my historical romance series, Penned in Time Series. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it was to have an editor be as excited about my book as I was.

jetpackwithcutieI’m in awe, a bit overwhelmed, and really nervous about making this all work for 2015 while being a mom of 5 FABULOUS and FUNNY kids, wife of a minister, and full-time SLP, but I’m finding great encouragement in my new Word for 2015: Abide.

There are many things in this world. Good, bad, crazy, painful, thrilling, unpredictable – but one thing remains the same. God, and his ever-present, all-consuming love for his children.

In John 15, Jesus talks about how to abide, but what does abide mean? In a very generic way, it means to ‘live’, kind of like I abide in my house, but there is much more to it.

It means to rest, to find security, shelter, a ‘framework’ for my life, the structure for what is true and certain.

It’s a beautiful thing to consider abiding in Christ. There is a comfort, strength, and rest in it. It gives us strength because we know our foundation is secure and we’ll always be welcome. We are not called to abide with him because of our goodness, strength, power, beauty, or anything else of our own making, but all because of Christ’s love. That’s it.

As I go into 2015, I pray that throughout all the change, transition, and new adventure, I will keep my heart, mind, and spirit at home in Christ’s love.

Happy New Year and many blessings for 2015

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