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Encouragement, discouragement, and publicity

Almost finished! Raspberry Italian soda at Grounds

As I sit here finishing my raspberry Italian soda at Grounds for Thought (oh how I’ll miss this coffee shop when I’m gone!), I’m contemplating my writing, both my blogging and my article and book writing.  I’ve been both encouraged and discouraged to write recently.  Strangely, publicity has neither really encouraged or discouraged me, but it has been a touch overwhelming.  Also, I can’t figure out how to make publicity rhyme with encouragement and discouragement (which don’t actually rhyme since they simply have the same final sound).

Anyway, I’ll begin with the encouragement.  First of all, all of you, my readers, have been a source of encouragement for me.  The response I get when I post encourages me to post again.  Secondly, my husband John has been amazing and supportive of my writing endeavors.  Rather than asking me to pursue writing as a hobby and look for a profitable career, he has accepted and then prompted me to act on my desire to become a barista and writer.  Also, I have been blessed with the most spectacular friends.  They, along with John, tell me the truth about my writing, help me edit, and push me to keep writing.  Finally, all of the people (mostly friends) who have heard my story and then told me that I should write a novel have motivated me to actually pursue the idea… or at least to continue writing and blogging while I begin my novel.

The encouragement is very… well, encouraging.  It motivates me and pushes me to carry on when I’m discouraged, down, or frustrated.  I’m frequently very insecure about my writing and sadly let that fear inhibit my writing.  I choose to do so, which is not fun to admit, but it is true.  I could choose to write every single day.  I want to write every day.  I want to improve and hone my skills.  I could choose to edit my writing and really pursue what I say I want, but I let myself be discouraged.  I let myself believe that I am a terrible writer.  I let myself think that people don’t care about what I have to say.  I become discouraged and don’t write.  It’s something I think every artist/writer struggles with.  The truth is that my identity isn’t in my writing or how much I achieve as a writer or otherwise.  The truth is that my identity is in God as His child, and I could accomplish absolutely nothing with my life and He would still love me.  Of course, He wants me to be obedient and follow Him.  Right now, at this very moment, that means writing this post.  In the next few weeks, it looks like writing a book proposal and a query letter, then sending that query letter to agents.  Then it means packing everything I own into a suitcase and my backpack, boarding a plane, and moving to Portland with little to no money.  If God really did tell us to go, He will provide.  I would be a liar if I said that I was totally confident in that; I doubt it almost constantly.  Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, I often find myself discouraged and staring at a blank screen that just begs me to begin typing and fill it with words if only I could get past and out of my own mind and fear.

Then came the publicity.  I actually finished an article, which sometimes feels like a small miracle in and of itself.  It wasn’t anything I was proud of; in fact, the subject matter was rather personal and embarrassing.  However, it was published on Relevant’s website, along with an article John wrote from his perspective.  The response I received was surprising, from the e-mails and questions I received to the debates and personal attacks in the comments on Relevant.  I wasn’t really prepared for it, though I should have known to expect it.  A week later, a writer from CNN.com contacted us and asked if he could link our articles to CNN’s belief blog.  We said yes; the response was entirely overwhelming.  People were really reading what I had written and contacting me.  Random people who have mutual friends were asking if we had written these articles.  We even got interview requests.  After praying and thinking about them, we turned down a TV appearance and accepted a radio show interview for a Christian radio show in New Zealand.  That interview was yesterday night; it was intense and surreal.  I still don’t believe it.

I have mixed feelings about all of the publicity we’ve received as a result of these articles.  The article I wrote certainly wasn’t I wanted to be known for.  Our purpose in writing them wasn’t to bring attention to ourselves, but rather to exhort and encourage people in their lives and walks with Christ.  Even though the attention makes me uncomfortable, I am encouraged that people were touched.  Knowing that I was obedient in writing and publishing this article and that people were touched and helped makes all of the negative attention and discomfort worth it.  A follow-up article, jointly written by John and myself, will be appearing soon.  I’ll not give away the date and let you all be surprised. 🙂

This post has been a bit more personal than most that I write, but since you all read my writing, I thought I’d share a bit of what I think about my writing.  What are your thoughts?  Areas I could improve in?  Adventures you would like to hear about?

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

It is an absolutely gorgeous day today!  The sun has been shining since about 7:45am this morning; it is glorious!

I celebrated this sunny day by going for a 4 mile walk/run after I did Pilates this morning.  After warming up, I ran about 1/2 a mile, which isn’t that much.  However, I haven’t run in forever, so I didn’t want to push myself too hard today since I want to go running again tomorrow.  That and it was so windy (gotta love Blowing Green ;)) that the wind was shredding my lungs, so I chose to walk.

Anyway, it is a beautiful day!  I love it!  The sunshine boosts my spirits after such a long, grey winter here in BG.  Walking downtown this afternoon was so pleasant in spite of the St. Patrick’s Day partiers.  There are times I don’t like living in a college town.  Huge party days are definitely one of said times.  Oh well.  Being outside in the warm sun was totally worth it!  Who knows when it will be almost 70 degrees again?

How do you enjoy sunny days?

Toll Roads

To sum a long story up into a short, succinct point, let me say this.  Toll roads are freaking expensive.  Is it really necessary to charge $7.50 to drive a little over 100 miles?  I think not.  That is all.

Change of plans

Welp folks, there has been a change of plans.  I don’t know why I’m surprised really.  Life has a tendency to shift unexpectedly, throwing everything off balance.

Anyway, my rockstar eight city tour is now going to be a six city tour, which is more like an indie band tour.  Not that I have anything against indie bands.  In fact, I actually like indie banks quite a bit, so perhaps an indie band tour is really more up my alley now that I think about it.

Regardless of what kind of musician I feel like (is that my musical subconscious crying out for attention since I’ve sorely neglected it recently?), I am now only stopping in six cities on my way to Portland, OR.  That’s right folks, only six cities (like that’s not a lot ;)).  We had to cut the trip to Florida via Durham out of our travel plans for reasons I don’t really wish to get into at the moment.

This change of plans means that we are going to be in Ohio until we fly out to Portland on the 30th of March.  Oh right… the date change in our departure is part two of the change of plans.  We are now leaving a day earlier because the tickets were significantly cheaper to fly out on the 30th.  The cheapness of the tickets also depended on our willingness to arrive at the Columbus airport no later than 6 am, but such is life.  A few fewer hours of sleep won’t kill me (at least not yet), and I’ll more than likely sleep on the plane anyway.

Our new departure date leaves us with 19 days until we arrive in Portland, including today and the day we travel.  How time flies!  It hardly seems like almost seven weeks have passed since we returned to the States.  Absurdity.  I never thought we would be in Ohio this long, though I’ve definitely enjoyed my time.  I’m going to miss my friends dearly when I move, though I’m excited to explore Portland and develop new friendships.  Here’s to new adventures (some of which are caused by changes in plans)!

Working out, waking up, and wandering about

Image taken from a Google image search

“I know it’s burning” is a phrase I’ve begun to hear on a daily basis.  Every morning Lara Hudson says it as an encouragement to keep with a particular Pilates movement when I’m just about to give up and relax my body.  For a little over a month now, I’ve been doing Pilates at least five mornings a week with a 10 Minute Solution Pilates DVD.  Using one of these DVDs (I used one for a month then switched) has been an awesome way to ease into working out again because each DVD has five 10 minute segments.  I can do just one, all five, or any combination of the segments.  At the beginning, I started with just one.  Now I try to do two or three segments every morning and all five on Saturdays.  I’ve seen an improvement in my flexibility, a loss of excess body fat (just a little more to go), and a more toned (and therefore more sexy) appearance in the mirror.  But the real test of my fitness level came yesterday when I went to the gym with a friend.  I haven’t been to a gym in well over a year, and it’s been even longer since I lifted.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Mal because she works out regularly.  However, I was able to work out for the full hour and even lift 100 lbs with my legs on all the leg machines.  It was fantastic!  Also, I was pleasantly shocked this morning when I could move without pain.  Apparently doing Pilates on a daily basis is quite the healthy habit.  Once the weather warms up and I move to Portland, I want to begin biking and running in addition to Pilates.  I just can’t quite convince myself to run in the freezing cold quite yet.

Image taken from a Google image search

In addition to being committed to working out on a daily basis, I decided yesterday that I want to wake up at a reasonable hour to begin my day.  Since I’m freelancing at the moment, I’m not really required to get up and frequently wake up between 9 – 10 am and don’t get out the door until almost noon.  More often than not, this frustrates me because I don’t wind up getting much done.  So I decided to wake up no later than 8 am and actually get out the door at a reasonable time.  One of my friends also wants to start getting up early, so we decided to text each other by 7:30 am each morning to motivate each other.  To be honest, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning if I didn’t have to text her.  Accountability is motivating.

To keep with the alliteration trend and the healthy habits, I’ve also been wandering about Bowling Green recently.  By wandering around, I mean walking more, but wandering about sounded cooler.  The temperature is slowly, but steadily, climbing, so I love leaving a bit early and walking wherever I need to be.  Since my Grandma gave me an iPod when I got back from China, I have sweet music to listen to on my walks, which I love.  Walking helps me clear my head and organize my thoughts.  There is something quite soothing about the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, which is also why I love to run.  I can’t wait until I can legitimately wander about and explore Portland.  A whole new world (ok, city) awaits!

What is your favorite workout?  Where would you wander about if you could?