Sharing my feelings and thoughts, and what I think are creative anecdotes, puts me in that vulnerable spot of possible judgment. It's downright scary! ( I still feel anxious when I want to share). Rhyming silly poetry all my life and excelling in essay writing in college; journaling finally became a constant in my life about eight years ago. Notebooks were my companion after losing our house to a fire, not only for practical reasons to keep information, but I started writing out my prayers during this very trying time in our lives. Documenting my son's illness, both our good days and our not so good days, helped me to keep a good reality check on myself. A yellow highlighter marked the answered prayers and those notebooks became a personal but tangible way to see God at work in my life. Somewhere in that fog of what I call my "cave dwelling years" , I started to share a little of my writing and I also purchased a sketch pad and some pastels off eBay. God gave me a memory of the artist I used to be. Could I rediscover her?
Later, A friend told me about a writing site that she had heard about from another friend called Faithwriters.com. I was new at this writing thing, well, the "writing for purpose" part anyways. I just knew in my heart that I enjoyed it. I certainly knew I needed to keep busy and this was how I wanted to do this and grow in my faith as well. God filled my days and nights with thoughts, inspiration and memories as I allowed myself to spiritually feel His presence and seek my destiny...His purpose. Out of my personal grief, I heard heaven so loudly, I felt every touch of His Spirit, I saw everything as Spirit-driven, the Fragrance of God infused my thoughts and His sweet voice spoke to my soul. Unable to contain all God was doing, I had to write. Poetry flowed, devotions from my study of God's Word took on analogies, observances in life around me became an applicable storyline. Writing brought me peace in a time when I needed it most.
When it came to the Faithwriters site, I was hooked right away, submitting stories almost every challenge. I enjoyed the feedback and especially the challenge of coming up with a story or poem to fit the topic. As my writing slowly improved, connecting with a few other writers became an added bonus. Although I was not real active on the message boards, the names of the writers and the ones like myself who wrote continually and amazingly, I might add, became familiar. In June of 2009, Empty/Full appeared as a new weekly topic. When I pondered that subject, I thought about a "glass...half empty or half full."
Two characters, one with this optimistic view of life and one with this pessimistic view of life, crawled across my keyboard (well, not literally), thus "A Worm's Eye View" was born. Yep, my characters were two worms. As the story goes, these brothers, twins actually, see things differently until one day, the more positive of the two, Peter, decided his brother Thomas really needed a make-over, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well. The attitude just had to go!
I was rewarded with a First place in my category from the Faithwriter's Challenge staff. This was so encouraging! Later that summer, I was able to attend the Faithwriter's Conference in Livonia, Michigan. I had a wonderful time, learning so much and especially meeting fellow Christian writers like myself; many already tasting success in the writing world. In common, we all love the Lord and wish to share His great love, by allowing God to use us to inspire with what words we may share.
Faithwriter Conference 2009
Some of my Faithwriter buddies
Through the "Yellow feedback bars," some thought my entry could make a great children's story, and could see this book illustrated.:
"This could be turned into a cute children's story/picture book."
Glynis Becker 06/13/09
God gave me a little talent in that area as well. I found myself in art class doing projects right along with my students and feeling the joy it brought me to create and use different mediums in my expression. The artist in me had been on hiatus for way too long. Through the added inspiration of Ms.Hunt at Don Lugo High School, I rediscovered my talent. Thank you also to my friend Cathy, and artist herself who joined with me in this re-booting of a gift.
It was very soon, that I attended a one day woman's seminar with my friend Cyndi at a church neither of us attended. She just thought it sounded fun and would be a chance for us to fellowship and spend a day together...and what a glorious day we had! This group of women , a little more charasmatic than I am used to, really spoke to Cyndi and I. We truly felt the Spirit of God moving; an exciting hope of what was to come. I believe our friendship that day took another turn as well, becoming even more intimate as we humbled ourselves before the Lord and petitioned for His understanding, forgiveness and His restorative purpose for our lives.
Cyndi and Coleene
Receiving a special gift, a large book filled with blank pages, graced each attendee. Creatively telling God our dreams, aspirations, and prayers, with scizzors, glue and magazines, we were instructed to "cut out and tell a story." Like a ransom note, I snipped out words that spoke of a plan, and a purpose I hoped God would honor through me. I told Him how I wanted to feel again, how I wanted that restoration that was already taking place, to continue. It is in the inside front page of this same book that I would begin to illustrate Thomas and Peter and their own journey and discovery adventure.
Psalms 37:3-4 (NIV) 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
That summer, sketching out a couple of "googly-eyed" worms, deciding I would use my artist colored pencils and praying for a vision for each page, I began. Many warm nights, I sat in the living room with the sketchbook in my lap, invisioning and bringing these characters to life. My own backyard would come alive in the pages of the book and detail was paramount. I became passionate about every page, anticipating what picture best illustrated the dialog. Packing up the book and my pencils, they traveled with me to the conference, where I shared part of the beginnings of my dream with my new friends. It would take me another year to complete.
New Year 2010, after the Facebook explosion, and reconnecting with many friends, I enjoyed a mini-reunion with some of my high school buddies at a resturant in our home town. Close to completion, I the took a chance to share my storybook. Thank you Karolyn for taking this picture.
"A Worm's Eye View" is completed. I have written a query introduction and I am seeking opportunities to publish now. What is God doing? He is bringing the opportunities right to my doorstep. An award winning author of over 70 books lives right here in my town, Nancy I. Sanders. http://www.nancyisanders.com/. She leads a writing group I had inquired about, but it met during my working hours. I never met Nancy, but it seemed we had mutual friends. I e-mailed her and attempted to make a connection, but she was booked for six months and by that time, I was full swing into my own writing group and our self-published projects, thus 2010 almost went by without meeting with her. A few days before Christmas while in Staples, I waited while I was having some things lamenated and a woman and her husband walk in. Striking up a conversation because she looked familiar to me, we continued to chat, but I could not place her face. Back and forth we went until she got a hint, and then introduced herself as Nancy Sanders. Why did I recognize her but not quite place her in my life? Pictured on a news clipping, posted on the back of my desk behind my computer all year, Nancy Sanders! In my busyness, God literally brought her to me. Long story-- short, as the cliche goes, we met after the holidays, she saw my book, she liked it, gave me encouragement, some possible ways to get it published and doors continue to open. Moving this project along, God grants me the desire of my heart.
Encouraging friends and family supporting me all through this, I thank you so very much. On Thanksgiving day, I completed the back cover. The first week of January, I wrote my query proposal. Editing, re-copying and digitally copying the story, I am about ready for submission. Waiting on God, I continue to move on to many other projects, including two other stories I want to illustrate and several submissions to "Chicken Soup," and a novella loosely based on my own mother in which I am already over 10,000 words. I am serious about this "writing thing" and so thankful to God that this seems to be working for me. Perserverence and patience to know that God's timing is perfect timing in now my prayer, To God Be The Glory.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."