My (not so) Hidden Agenda

I picked my manuscript back up. It is an on again off again relationship with it. I tend to be all or nothing, and will be all in for awhile and then lose focus. As I delve deeper and deeper into the enneagram (raise your hand if you are as obsessed as I am!), I am learning so much about myself. The weaknesses of who I am are especially insightful. In typical enneagram two fashion, I tend to let the needs of the people that I love suffocate my own needs. Frankly, I use that as an excuse too often as well. Last week we hugged our oldest son goodbye for at least a month. He boarded a plane to Europe, landed in Denmark, where he will stay a bit before moving on to Sweden, and possibly Portugal. He is chasing some big soccer dreams, and is at the beginning of a huge crossroad. I am so excited to watch his future unfold, and inspired watching him pursue the dreams of his childhood. Before he left, he made me promise to keep chasing my own dream of publishing a book one day. I want to see my children flourish in their dreams, but I believe that they need to see their mama flourishing in hers as well. So, after making that promise, I metaphorically dusted off the manuscript and got back to work. I joined a writing group that is challenging me to write five hundred words a day, and so far, so good. For the first time in almost fourteen years I am finding myself home alone during the weekdays, with no kids to take care of or home school. It’s a good time to write, and the excuses are disappearing.

But why am I blogging? One of the reasons that I allow myself to use the needs of others to neglect my own when it comes to writing is how cut throat the publishing market is. I will be earnest for a bit, and then the reality of the world that I want to jump into sinks in, and I get scared. The truth, from my research, is that publishers, and agents alike, are not looking for quiet, little introverted homebodies who find their voice in writing over talking. I am beginning to think that I was born in the wrong publishing era. It seems as if everyone is looking for writers with a platform, and if the writer is also bubbly and engaging in person, well that is a bonus. I cannot change my personality. I cannot make myself extroverted and a dynamic public speaker, but I can work on a platform as I continue to write my manuscript. At one time, I had a good blog following – back when it was trendy to blog and I spewed a lot of stuff that I no longer even believe. So my motive in blogging is not entirely pure. I need you to come here and read, so that I can rebuild some kind of platform – something that will at least put me inside the pack when the time comes to hire an agent.

I think that I still have a lot to say. It is just different now. I am no longer a mommy blogger. I am no longer certain about so many things that I once was. I am no longer dogmatic about adoption, or willing to exploit my kids for some decent blog traffic. I worry that inspiration won’t come, or that I will keep pushing this dream down for the rest of my life. But right now, today, I am willing to fight for it again. It just might be a series of todays that gets us to the someday where our dreams are fulfilled. So maybe this will be a symbiotic relationship, you can help me build up a platform, and perhaps something I write will resonate with you. I like the connection that writing brings. Writing is one of the only ways I have ever felt like I could affect the world around me, and it helps me unwind my heart and find my way. And maybe, just maybe, we can find our way together in this little space.

What is your dream? Is it unleashed or is it suffocating?

Here’s to the dreamers – I believe in us.


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Little brothers talking to their big brother who is chasing a big dream in Europe.



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Does Anyone Read Blogs Anymore?

Is “blogging” still even a thing? I honestly have no idea if people write, yet alone, read blogs anymore. I am not sure if I care enough to have that keep me from writing here. But I am not sure if I don’t care either. I used to be so good at this – at keeping a little space occupied with words and filled with photos. I am not good at it anymore, and I cannot decide if that matters to me. Somedays I want to write, but sometimes I wish only strangers read the words, because it feels so vulnerable to have people that I know read them. But then I kind of like this little space, and the thought of moving and starting again is not at all appealing. All I know for sure is that,  I am a writer. I don’t say that in an arrogant way, because honestly, it means little. It certainly does not mean that I am a good one. It simply means that I was created to communicate words through my hands more than with my mouth. So write, I must.

I have been working on a manuscript for literal years now. To be honest, I scrapped the first one. The one that detailed our adoption journeys, because in the midst of writing I began to really transform and grow from the person I once was and all I believed. I realized that first manuscript was not a story that ever belonged to me, and that it was not ever mine to share. Plus my thoughts on adoption have radically changed (along with church, missions, theology, and just about every other major brick of certainty that was at one point the scaffolding of my life). I love my sons with all of my heart, and I cannot imagine my life without them, but my ideas about how they joined our family are catastrophically different from the ideas that I was once so vocally passionate about. That is best left to discuss over coffee, face-to-face, because even when someone is better at words through her fingers and behind a screen, there are certain topics that need eye contact, voice and relationships. I suck at that, but I am trying. So manuscript number one was deleted, and it was the very best right thing to do. I have no regrets, and am so thankful that it never went to the publisher.

The idea for manuscript two was birthed almost two years ago, and I was so excited about this one. For awhile I wrote passionately. But, as characteristic of myself, it eventually got pushed to the back burner for other things and other people. I am not the best at self care  – of making margin for what is actually life-giving to me. I make promises to myself and break them all of the time – promises that I would never dream of breaking if I had made them to another human and not just to myself. So this summer, I picked that manuscript back up with renewed focus and determination. I also picked up another life-giving activity that I have neglected – reading. Reading makes me a better writer and an overall better person. I picked a wide variety of books from a wide variety of authors who believe a wide variety of things. The stack was large, and I am still blissfully working my way through it. It has been so refreshing to read view points that I once would have feared to read and to relax in the freedom of reading for pure enjoyment. One of the books that I read this summer was Shauna Niequest’s Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes. First of all, it is a beautifully written book. Second of all, it is my manuscript. I mean it is exactly what I was in the middle of writing, but it is so much better. I cried as I read it, not because the writing moved me, although it did at times, but because I felt as if this second manuscript, which I was so proud of, is a cheap knock-off of the real deal – a real book, by a real (and fantastic) author.


I didn’t come here today, because I had an epiphany about my writing that I wanted to share (nor am I looking for pity or for people to tell me to just write it anyway). I didn’t come to the obvious conclusion that my story matters, and that nobody else has exactly my story or my way with words. I didn’t decide that I needed to push through and just write that manuscript. I promised myself that I would write a chapter every week this summer, and I read Shauna’s book and have yet to open the manuscript back up. It has been weeks now. I honestly don’t know what I will do moving forward. Somedays I feel as if manuscript number two will be scrapped and that is crushing. I guess I came here today just to write something some place. Maybe to see if I could, if these hands had anything to say or if writing helped sort out my head. Maybe it is to resurrect this little space instead of the manuscript, or maybe alongside with the manuscript, or maybe my writing will take a completely different turn. I have no idea.

All, I know is that I must write, and today it was here.


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Coming home, making art, and having courage – on living the life you were born to live

Slowly I moved from one painting, one sculpture, one portrait to the next, completely immersed in a kind of creative ecosystem. As I wandered art galleries in Barcelona, Spain, my being welled up with intense, undeniable emotion. At first this feeling left me confused, as I am not an artist, at least not that kind of artist, although I can certainly empathize with being a creative. So, maybe I really am an artist. Maybe we all are. Probably we all are, once we discover our own kind of art. Upon further prodding and introspection, I discovered that the emotion I was feeling, as I took in the art around me, came from a place of longing, a place that I did not expect to have tapped into with a few visits to art galleries. But there was no denying what I was feeling was indeed longing.

To get a glimpse into someone else’s imagination through the portal of their art is a gift for sure, but for me it went so much deeper than this. As I gazed upon art and read bios about artists, I realized that I was witnessing people’s life works – I was witnessing work that flowed out of what these people were born to do, and it made me long for the ability to do what I was born to do. I encountered this theme, and the emotion that was married to it, again, while I watched my oldest son train for soccer in Barcelona. As I watched him essentially make his own kind of art out on the hot pitch with a soccer ball, I was reminded anew that indeed he was born to play soccer. I wrote briefly of this on my social media accounts, and likened my son’s stepping onto the soccer pitch to ‘coming home’, because that is what I am reminded of when I see him with a soccer ball. Everything else falls away, his true self surfaces, he is at ease, and he ‘comes home’. I believe that it is true that we are all searching for that place that makes us ‘come home’, and I believe that we all have that place – we all have our own kind of art. As I typed out these thoughts last week, I alluded to the fact that I had not found what it is that I was born to do, and watching him made me ache to discover my own destiny. But even as I wrote out those words and shared them, I knew it was not true. In second grade I knew what I was born to do. It is what I would do in my free time. It is what I dreamed of doing. Just like my son knew when he was six years old what he was created to do with his life. When one is thirty seven years old and still finds immense joy in doing the very same thing she did at eight years old, well, that is probably what she – me – was created and born to do.

I was born to write.

Even typing that brings tears to my eyes, because it is so full of emotion. It also scares me. Because what if I fail? What if, what I was born to do, just isn’t good enough? There are so many writers in this big world, and there are so many good writers that I sometimes wonder if it is even worth a shot in finding my place among them. But just because there are better writers, and just because there are good writers doesn’t take away the gift that I was given. As I encountered art from vastly different artists, each was unique, each had carved out their own, different space in this world, and the beauty of one did nothing to detract from the beauty of the other. Some of the art that resonated the deepest with me did not resonate with my husband, and some of the art that moved him did not move me. And that is okay. That is life, and that is art. Some people may read my words and not relate, some people may not even read what I have to say, but someone, somewhere may need my words; someone may need what I was born to do.

It takes risks and courage to put art into this world  – whatever that art looks like. There is no easy way around that. I become vulnerable when I expose my art – when I write and allow people to read it. It is so easy for me to talk myself out of trying. I let this blog go dormant, and I find a million excuses to not write. I have a manuscript that is years old that has grown dusty, and I refuse to finish it, and perhaps for some really valid reasons. A new, fresh idea was born this winter, and although I write, it is not often enough, and it is with immense trepidation and self-criticizing. I sit here with a mug of now mostly cool coffee, and I wonder if anyone even reads blogs anymore, but then here you are, reading my blog, and you are someone, and that is enough. I fear that I will write and write and write and never get published, and the fear leaves me paralyzed. But if I never try, I will never succeed. If I start now, I can fail faster, and try again. There is never a good time to begin perfecting one’s craft, there are always excuses, there is always life to get in the way, so I might as well begin now. There will always be failures, but what if one out of a hundred times, I don’t fail? The what if is to beautiful and motivating to ignore.

Today is as close to the perfect start time that we will ever have, because nobody knows what tomorrow holds. We will never get better if we don’t begin. What is it that you need to start today? Where do you find yourself ‘coming home’? What were you born to do? What is holding you back from trying?


Now is the best time to begin. We get one, wild life to live; what if we live that life doing what we were created to do? It takes courage to live out our destiny, but perhaps the reward from the risks we take is worth the joy that can only be found inside of our own, wonderful art that we put out into the world.

“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” — Wanda Sykes

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