Patty Smith Hall

Thursday, July 09, 2009

'Never, ever, ever give up.'
Winston Churchill

I was tickled to pieces to read on the ACFW loop that our own Martha Rogers had signed a four book contract with Strang Communications. While these announcements are fairly common on the loop, this announcement holds special meaning for all of us who were in the early days of the American Christian Fiction Writers because Martha has been writing for the Lord for over twenty five years.

I meet Martha the first time at the 2002 ACRW conference in her hometown of Houston, Texas. She had generously offered her home to the board members and conference coordinators for a meal and some fellowship. Tables lined the rooms from wall to wall to accommodate the massivive amount of people flooding into her house. I remembered thinking that I would have had a heart attack at the thought of feeding all those people but Martha did it with a graciousness that I envied.

Over the years, she has served ACFW by providing a verse of the week, often writing about trusting in God's timing and perserving in the face of rejection. She's an example of not simply 'talking the talk, but walking it with grace and humility.

Thank you, Martha for being an example to me. And Congratulations!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

God always amazes me when He hits me with one of those 'Ah Ha' moments. Usually, it's after a lot of moaning and groaning on my part, one of those 'why me' whine sessions that we all fall into now and then. And I've had a lot of them lately. With 2 surgeries in our immediate family, 2 graduations and a cross country move all in the last six months, I haven't had the time or the energy to do much of anything, especially write.

But yesterday, as I was standing in yet another bookstore, putting out bookmarks for various writer friends, I overheard a conversation that snatched me up by the scuff of my neck. Now before I reveal with I heard, I have to warn you that God, in His usual way, had been preparing my heart for this revelation.

Less than 24 hours before, I had been having dinner with my good friend, author Kaye Dacus. She was in town to speak to a group of independent Christian booksellers and her topic was something I found extremely timely for me--Goals, Deadlines and Belief in our Product. I was particularly interesting in the deadline portion of her speech. We talked for a while--me asking questions and her, giving her time to help me with the answers. I was surprised to find out that Kaye struggles with some of the same problems I do, such as self-imposed deadlines. But where I have nothing to show for the ten years I've been writing, Kaye has six books contracted. As I left her at the hotel later the night, I couldn't help but ask myself (and God) what I was doing wrong.

Flash forward to the next day: I'm waiting in line to talk to the bookstore manager when the guy in front of me states talking about everything under the sun; his upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest, the Obama healthcare plan, his wife's dead car battery. The man finally said the words that I myself had been consistently saying for the past six months(or maybe the last ten years)--"I can't get anything done because it's just one thing after another."

I empathized with the guy and was just about to say so when the store manager spoke. "Sounds like you're under attack."

Attack? That was a pretty strong word to describe a dead car battery and an untimely bout of the flu. But the store manager went on--about how Satan would use anything to stop us from doing God's will, the things that bring God glory.

Is that what has been happening to me? And have I fallen into the pattern of making excuses for not writing by blaming it on yet another kink in the road? I thought a lot about that on the drive home--had a little 'come to Jesus' meeting right there on I285. I want to be published , not only because it's the desire of my heart, but because it's the desure of the Lord's heart too.

So from this day forward, I'm going to stop making excuses and write. And if you've ever felt like this, join me as an accountablity partner. We will pray for each other and encourage each other on a daily basis.

And for me, no more excuses.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today, I'm getting a taste of my life to come. Jennifer is back at MSU and Carly is in Orlando on a school trip so here I am. The whole day ahead of me and looking forward to hours and hours of uninterrupted writing time.

I've got to say, as much as I love my girls, I think I'm going to like being an empty nester.

So in a few minutes, I'm getting up from here, packing up my computer, notes and pens, getting dressed and heading off to the local library. I don't know why but I get more done writing in that little study room than I ever could here at home. It's probably because I feel guilty, looking around at all the things that should be done. So off I go.

And when I come home, I feel so much better, like I've accomplished something huge with my day. It doesn't matter if I get 500 words or 2000 words down, I've done something creative, using the talents that the Lord has given me.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

I don't know if it's the possiblity of having lupus or what but I slept until 9:30 this morning. This is out of the ordinary for me--I'm usually up and going by 7:30 or 8 on the weekends. But not today.

So after a quick breakfast, I got dressed and drove to the library for some writing time. The online classes and simply asking questions from people I respect have opened up the flood gates--last week, I wrote right at 4500 words, not a lot but more than I usually do in the average week. I'm excited about where the story in going--I may even get the first draft finished by the end of April.

I came home to get ready for Mikey's funeral service--he was a friend of Jennifer's who passed away last week after a five month struggle with Non-Hogkins Lympoma. Only Jennifer couldn't handle the thought of saying good-bye--Mikey had already been cremated and she just couldn't stand the thought of not 'seeing' him. I tried to talk her into going, told her about how she needed to mourn and have closure, but she said she didn't want closure. I don't think she feels good about it but it was her choice and she has to live with her decision.

So with no funeral to attend, I laid down on the couch and fell asleep for a couple of hours. Can't get over how tired I am but I guess that 's a normal part of this process. I woke up just in time for us to go to church with Dan. Busy day!


Friday, March 13, 2009

I got a bit of news today, information that I've been preparing myself for for the last twelve years. But even well prepared, I was caught off guard when I finally heard the words.

I may have lupus.

I've been half expecting it for years but getting the positive ANA test and being faced with the probabilty is very different than I imaged. From the research I've been doing, I have to change some things in my life--rest more, find ways to reduce my stress level, exercise and work with a specialist in getting my symptoms under control. The hardest thing for me will be the slowing down and reducing my stress--anyone who knows me knows that I plow full steam ahead. But I'm going to have to shake things up to get to feeling better.

And a different note, I can't help but wait to see how God uses this to His glory--I know he has a plan and I'm looking forward to what He has in store. Just keep me in your prayers as I travel along this new(and unexpected) road.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Anyone else out there afraid of technology?

I know, I know--in this day of getting your email off your cell phone, who ever heard of a person scared to death of a device you can hold in the palm of your hand? And computers? I was afraid if I touched the wrong key, the screen would tell me to move as far away from the keyboard as physcially possible. But I got over that--another thing to thank Princess Diana for--and have actually learned how to navigate the internet. But I did something a few weeks ago that has convinced me that maybe I'm over my fear.

I got a blackberry.

I've had a cell phone for years--but then my girls started text messaging me and I took me twenty minutes to type out 'yes' or 'no.' And forget about getting emails--I would have freaked. But between my work and my work(yes, you read that right!) it made sense for me to get a phone that would allow me to text the girls, email work and ring my mom for our bi-weekly phone call.

I hate it. That thing is always buzzing or beeping, and by the time I punch in the password, I'm ready to throw it across the room. With that little phone that's the size of a 4 x 6 card, I 've realized that life is moving too fast, things have become too impersonal. I happen to like the feel of paper beneath my fingertips, the scratch of a pen, holding a phone in my hand, the cord tethered to the wall so that I will slow down for just one moment and give my full attention to the person on the other end of the line. I'm just old-fashoined that way.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I had a wonderful dream last night.

I'm at Panera's, visiting with a few of my writing friends when someone (I think it's Ane Mullgan --I can't miss that glorious smile of hers) walks in with MY BOOK in her hands. She had just come from Barnes and Noble and found it on the shelves. As she handed it to me and I brushed my hand over the cover, joy and a sense of humbleness swept over me. My God had been so faithful, sticking with me even in my obvious writing 'desert.'

Now, I'm not saying I put stock into dreams but I do believe that our God uses them to comfort us, to give us the strength to prevail . This morning, my heart is light, my mind is sharp and I'm looking forward to a day of working on my book. And I attribute this to the dream God gave me, not just last night, but years ago, in a little girl who loved to spin yarns and lived out her imagination.