Loveys, how are you? So the blog has a fresh new look and I hope you like it! Springtime makes me feel like changing things up a bit! This has been a fun week for all things Chosen. That's the book my sister and I worked on together for years, and has finally released! It made the rounds on Instagram yesterday, which was just awesome! I'm posting just one peek of a bunch of fun posts. It's thrilling to see the book in final form, out there in the world, meeting new people. :) Hop over to Amazon, read the preview, and see what you think!
There's something about finishing something that feels really good, don't you think? Crossing a goal off your bucket list. Doing a good job on a project at work. Turning something in and feeling the stress lighten.
Chosen was a long time in the making. Writing and rewriting and editing and brainstorming and talking together for hours over plot and characters and such. And so, to hold the finished work--well, it's a good feeling. I'm so proud of Sara. We both worked hard, and this is a stellar moment for my sister. I'm thankful to have been brought alongside this fun project. I really love seeing our names together on that beautiful cover! I think there were times when we both wondered if we'd ever finish! Now it's real and here and complete. Effort and time and a dream comes true. That's how it works sometimes.
At one of the first writer's conferences I ever attended, a well-known author spoke. I soaked up her every word like a sponge, eager and ready to learn. But the truth is, I've now forgotten nearly every thing she said. Except one thing that stood out to me. She said that she basically was published on her very first try, and God made this happen because he knew she wouldn't have kept trying if she'd been turned down. (I'll be honest that for a long time, her words came back to me, and I would start to feel discouraged. Why doesn't God help me get published right away? Maybe I'm a terrible writer. Maybe it's not worth it to keep trying.) In all truthfulness, I can still get very discouraged.
Loveys, I don't know why things work out for some people and not others. But I kind of doubt it's because God thinks that some people wouldn't try anymore, so they better receive success right away. That's just my feeling about it.
Sometimes you work hard for a long time and you still feel stuck in the same place. And you know what? I think God is right there with you in the disappointment. Some people catch a huge break and God is there, in the success. (This is on my mind because I just finished reading The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines!) Every journey is different and comes with twists and turns and surprises. And success looks different for every one.
My family went out to dinner last weekend. And in the restaurant, I had Lily next to me (throwing rice on the floor), Jeff was on the other side of her, laughing at Lincoln as he gobbled up ice cream for dessert, and Ashtyn was on the other side of me, reading a new American Girl book I'd just bought her. And gosh (besides the fact that going out to eat with kids is crazy and not recommended), I just had this moment where I loved my family SO much. I had won dinner for two through a contest, but I called the restaurant and said that we're a tribe of five. :)
Success sometimes looks like that. Just love.
Does God grant success because of a way that a person believes, or what they believe in? Does God give success to only people who deserve it? I don't think so at all. Loveys, I've found that it doesn't work that way. Have you ever known someone who seems to get lucky with everything they try? (Yes, it can be hard to be friends with those kinds of people!) The more people you know, the more you realize that for some people, just safety--or escape--would be a dream come true. Financial security--forget fancy vacations--would be enough. A family to love. A baby. A good job.
We have to keep our definitions of "success" in perspective. Love our people. Do the task at hand. Chase dreams but have a heart that can be content. I think there are people who chase dreams (I can be one, when I find the energy!), and people who chase happiness. Sometimes those go hand-in-hand. Sometimes they don't, and you have to be able to separate them. Can you be happy if certain dreams don't come true? Is there a way to make those dreams--in some form--come true on your own? (Indie publishing definitely helps with that when it comes to writers.) Does happiness depend on what we have or accomplish, or is it something that can be deeper--going down to who we are inside?
This book, Chosen, was about nine years in the making. Some things take time. Here it is finally, and Sara and I both have a sense of gratitude and accomplishment. Over the next couple of months, I'll be sharing more about my novel The Last Summer, that releases in June. That book has been twenty years in the making. So be prepared for cover reveals and excitement. Do I wish it had been published way back when I first graduated college? That would have been amazing. But I feel no less happy and thrilled that after so much work, it will be published this summer. The story is different now, it's grown and changed as I have over the years.
And it's stayed with me all this while. In June, I'll let it go and see what happens. I hope you'll stay with me on the journey, lovey. You can sign up for my newsletter (see sidebar) if you want, to stay up to date with book releases and such.
To me, success looks like doing the best we can and loving our people well. And it's working hard (or taking a break and breathing deep!) and pouring ourselves into what we love and believe in. It's just becoming who we're meant to be, lovey.