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Waiting is Not Easy!

I’ll admit – I stole this title from one my kids’ favorite authors. The books are a family favorite. 20170104_133108Turns out the guy who writes them started his career as a writer for Sesame Street.

Despite writing his stories for kids, his messages apply to everyone. They’re usually about being kind, thinking of others, etc. As the title suggests, this one is about waiting. And lately, my life has been all about waiting.

Waiting is far from easy. It’s downright difficult. Rigorous. Torturous. For me, it’s been a lesson in Faith.

I worked for the Pennsylvania WIC program for 17 years – most of it in the same office and some of it as a college intern before I became an official nutritionist.

The job itself wasn’t hard and I thoroughly enjoyed expanding my knowledge about pregnancy, nursing, infants and young children. However, as anyone who’s worked for a government-funded social services program can tell you, other aspects were not so fun. Over the years we dealt with funding cuts, changing administrators, a decrease in benefits, a lack of 401k, and a host of other issues that depended on the current whim of those in office. Despite the frequent uncertainty of my job, I felt called to stay. I found a “supernatural” peace that WIC is exactly where God wanted me to do His work. If the time came for that to change, he would let me know.

That change came in September of 2016, when our contract went up for bid and a new agency took the reins of our program. We worked closely with this agency for years, as they had always been the ones to complete our yearly staff and program reviews. They trained us on any new rules and regulations as well as nutritional topics. I had the option to reapply for my job and continuing working for WIC.

I had the option to reapply for my job and continue working for WIC.

I chose to walk away. I don’t approve of the way this agency conducts itself when it comes to finances or employee relations. The thought of working for them directly left a sour taste in my mouth. It was time to move on. It didn’t take me long to make that decision and when I did, I felt at peace that it was the right one. God had called me on to something new.

I don’t approve of the way this agency conducts itself when it comes to finances or employee relations. The thought of working for them directly left a sour taste in my mouth. It was time to move on. It didn’t take me long to make that decision and when I did, I felt at peace that it was the right one. God had called me on to something new.

Writing has long been a passion for me, one that I’ve dreamed about turning into a career. When I made the decision to leave WIC I had no concrete plans on my next job, but I felt like God was paving the way for me to write.

Squeeeeeee!

My husband and I talked. We made plans to turn one of the spare bedrooms into my “office” and my current babysitter agreed to maintain our current schedule. However, as eager as I was to dive into this new venture, I barely managed to get my toes wet.

It’s been a little over three months since my time with WIC ended and I’ve barely done any writing at all. Instead, God called me to be a stay-at-home-mommy and homemaker. Two things that you would NEVER find on my wish list. However, the only time my soul felt at peace were the times I was taking care of “home” – my kids, my husband, our pets, the house. Anytime I tried to push into a different direction or rush God’s timing, I met resistance in one way or another.

Looking back, God knew what he was doing. At the same time I lost my job, my husband took at promotion. It meant more time away from home, sometimes overseas for a week at a time. I became the “It-Girl”. I needed to be able to pick up the slack to allow my husband time to find his stride with this new job.

So, even though I desperately wanted to write, I graciously -(at least I hope!) – became a servant and took care of whatever needed taking care of. Surprisingly, I fell into the role easier than I would have thought possible.

God had called me to wait.

I never heard him say, “No, you can’t write.”  Nor did he ever divulge his plan to me in any degree. Nor did he drop any other kind of grand career opportunity in my lap. Instead, I’ve been standing in the hall, knowing that closing the door to WIC remained the right decision but not knowing when or if or how the next one would open.

Guys.

Waiting is HARD!

Especially when you’re waiting on God’s timing, not your own. Things happen when he’s ready to make them happen, not when you want them to happen.

However, this isn’t the first time I’ve been called to wait. Looking back, I can see other missed opportunities or times when I jumped the gun, all because I reacted out of fear instead of being obedient to his plan.

This time I took a deep breath, put on my big girl panties, and chose to wait.  I’ve wondered many times if other people just think I’m being lazy, that I don’t want to work. When I try to explain this whole I’m-waiting-on-God’s-call thing, I’m expecting people to look at me as if I’m loony.

I’m neither. I’m simply being obedient. I’m refusing to give in to fear. I’m refusing to play by anyone’s rules but those laid out in the Bible. I’m trusting in God to use me where he wants me and that when he’s ready, he’ll make a way for that to happen.

Do I hope it’s through writing?

(You shouldn’t have to ask.)

Of course! But I’m determined to wait for his verdict, no matter what it is.

Last night my husband came home with his three-month review papers in hand and all that waiting paid off. God answered in a big way and it’s opened the door for me to pursue a life I’ve only ever fantasized about.

I still have no idea exactly how it’s going to play out. I’ve still got a lot of unanswered questions. I’ve still got doubts and, yes, fears. I still have to write at my kitchen table because that office is still a spare bedroom. I’m starting a new career, at the bottom of the ladder, at age 37.

But I get to write.

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What has all this waiting taught me?

That we are still learning and growing during the wait. We are learning how to choose Him over the world. We are learning how to trust Him for everything we need. We are learning what it means to live by faith, not by sight.

He uses that hallway to give us an opportunity to grow closer to Him.

Obedience and waiting are choices. Hard choices.

I’m glad I picked the hard choice.

 

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in christian, writing

 

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Bragging Rights

I think I’ve earned them.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

Even if I haven’t, I’m going to do a little bragging anyway.

I’m not checking this blog often, not because I’m not writing but because I’ve taken a break and slowed things down.  Since that writing conference in October and my realization that my goal is to be read, not necessarily “published”, I’ve been focusing on my WattPad account.  In the year since I first took the layoff and spent six months devoted to writing, I’ve finished four manuscripts.

FOUR!

Granted, all of them had been partially started years ago, but finishing all four of them in one year’s time is a feat I’m proud to brag about.

I’ve got plenty more where they came from, some with potential to become full blown novels.  I’ve also got at least three other stories flying around my brain that need to be started from scratch.  I’m not at a loss for material.

However, it’s been nice to set a slower pace.  I’m working part time, three days a week, at my “real job” and am happy to be back.  I love what I do there and I enjoy my co-workers.  Like any job, it’s got its bad points but overall, I enjoy the days I get out of the house to go to work.

That being said, my brain is still constantly tossing around new characters and plot lines, taking notes on the people around me and filing it away to weave into a future story.  It’s not something I can turn off no matter how far I try to step away from it.  There are days this gift takes control and I forget that I’ve got diapers to change or laundry to fold or a “real” life in general.

So, when I have the free time (and no one to neglect, at least too much), I’m still writing.  I’m currently posting the fifth finished novel to WattPad and watching its readers climb before I’ve got it all uploaded!  I LOVE this site and find it a much better outlet for my desire to write and be read.  The feedback is immediate and it’s from the audience that counts – my readers, not an agent or a publisher.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly pursue traditional publishing.  Maybe someday I’ll self publish, just for the sake of it.  For now, I’m quite happy watching people read my stories online for free.  So happy, in fact, I wanted to brag a little.  😉

My current novels and numbers:

Unbidden – 104 reads  (has only been posted for 2 weeks and isn’t finished yet)

Chasing Amy – 1,045 reads (has been posted for roughly 3 months)

All I Never Wanted – 13,626 reads

Broken Vows – 33,306 reads

Full Circle – 7,156 reads

While I’m not the most popular writer on the site nor do my numbers even come close to some of the people on WattPad, I am extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

Just so you don’t think I’ve let it all go to my head – I still give credit to God for this gift and the ability to share it with others.  As much as I love writing and creating, my ultimate hope is that He somehow uses my small efforts to make a big impact in someone else’s life.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

In case you’re intrigued enough to check out the stories, here’s the link to my WattPad account:
http://www.wattpad.com/user/AbbyCraig

Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Reading, writing

 

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Not so coincidental. . .

For those of you who bothered to read my blog musings yesterday, I wanted to share this with you today.  As a member of FaithWriters.com I get devotionals emailed to me daily.  I’m not great at logging in and reading them every single day, so (I’m sorry to say) a lot of them end up getting deleted without me ever reading them.

HOWEVER!

When I checked my email this morning I decided to see what today’s devotional had to say and I’m SO glad I did.  It spoke right to me.  And while there may be such a thing as coincidence in life, I don’t believe anything with God is a coincidence.  He knows what we need when we need it. . .it’s up to us to listen for his response.

The devotional talked about change and how everything in life has seasons. . .including us.  Even though the winter seasons are hard to go through they are important for creating new growth and new life in the spring.  It’s an opportunity for us to weed and prune all the overgrown junk of the previous season in an effort to get ready for the next.  It sounds a lot more “romantic” than it feels, but it did make me realize that while being in employment limbo for the past few months hasn’t been fun it HAS given me a chance to know myself better and come to terms with where I am in life and how I want to contribute.

It’s given me the opportunity to embrace a part of myself that I’ve always been a little embarrassed over. . .the Writer.  I feel like I finally acknowledged a part of me that God wants me to be . . .and the freedom in that feels exhilarating!  I tried to keep that part of me hidden or at least subdued because I thought no one would ever take me seriously when I told them that I write.  Turns out, I was the one who needed to take me seriously.

Even though I have no more knowledge about where I’m headed than I did yesterday, I have been reassured by a Heavenly Coincidence in my email that He truly is working and that no season lasts forever, including the bad ones.

Here’s the verse from the devotional; the part that hit home for me and made me realize this is how God speaks if we only take the time to listen.

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

😀  How awesome is that?!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in christian, writing

 

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Livin’ on the Edge

(To anyone who got my Aerosmith reference. . .kudos to you!  🙂  )

Have you ever reached a point in your life where you know something’s about to change. . .you can just feel the anticipation of something big lurking around the corner. . . and you don’t know whether to hug someone or run away?

That’s me, right now.

I have found this journey towards publishing to be a lesson in patience and had hoped to make my writing skills lucrative by now, in one way or another.  While I’ve discovered plenty of avenues with potential I’m still writing just for pleasure. . .and my readers are still reading for free.

I had also hoped that by the time my recall date for work came up I would be going back.  However, as of August 30th our WIC agency will be closing four of its six clinics and the other two are reduced to one day a week.  Not only am I still laid off, but the money has dried up to the point there may not be a place for me to return.  (Which, by the way, feel free to pray about or call your congressman. . .or both!)

I have been keeping my eyes peeled for something else. . .but a girl with an M.S. in nutrition and no R.D. behind her name isn’t qualified for much in small town Pennsylvania.  I would make a kick-a** secretary. . .but I wouldn’t get paid more than what it would cost to put my kids in daycare.  What’s the point?

I am teetering on the edge of a precipice and I have no idea whether I’m going to plunge to the bottom or fly to the other side.  The first one isn’t an option but my wings haven’t sprouted to accomplish the second.

It’s a scary, unnerving, anxiety inducing place to be.  I’ve gone through plenty of rough spots in life before, some infinitely harder than this, and by God’s grace have always landed safely on the other side.  However, each time one steps up to the brink of another unknown it is so easy to forget about the way He came through before and resign yourself to failure.

Thankfully, I found a fellow blogger who posted some inspiring words and am reminded that even when I don’t have a clue as to the future I don’t have to be scared.  Check her out. . .she’s got some simple but cool posts throughout her blog that I have always found to be uplifting.  (http://proverbsway.com)

The first post:

“Having a rough day?
 Place your hand over your heart.
 Feel that?
 That’s called purpose.
 You’re alive for a reason.
 Don’t give up.”

The second:

“Don’t worry.  God is ALWAYS on time.  Trust Him.”

Maybe they don’t speak to you the same way they do to me, but that’s okay.  It is exactly what I needed to hear (or read) today.  Just a gentle reminder that while the brink of an unknown can be an awkward place to stand it doesn’t have to be scary.

So, I’m going to do my best to wait with anticipation and not fear, for I can feel something coming.  I have no idea what it is but I have been reminded that when everything looks bleak and all hope lost, God delivers. 

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in christian, writing

 

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Brain Drain and Boredom. . . .

I realize that my title doesn’t make sense. . .those two things really don’t go together.

However, that’s how I feel about the writing these days.

Now that Broken Vows is finished it is in the hands of my CP for editing and advice.  So I feel like I’m doing a whole lot of waiting.  (meaning, nothing!)

It is still posted on Authonomy . . .and it’s still a long, slow process towards recognition.  The few who have been willing to read and critique have been positive.  People feel my characters and situations are easy to identify with and that I exhibit strong writing skills.

One reader even said “The book is a nice read, exceptionally well written with a story of love and prejudice, full of beauty and gracefulness. . . .I hope this book will gain momentum very soon.”

From your fingers to God’s ears, my friend.

And it still remains popular on Watt Pad – it had slipped in the ratings for a while and has been fluctuating but is currently holding steady at number three on the What’s Hot list.  I’m nearing 16,000 reads and it seems I get new readers and followers daily.

So, yay!

But I still feel like I’m doing a whole lot of nothing.

So other than sitting on my butt, what have I been attempting to do?

Here comes the brain drain. . . .

Mostly I’ve been reading other people’s work on Authonomy. . . .trading reads is the best way to gain my own recognition.  But man. . . .when you’ve got six books on your list to read at once and only two days a week to devote to every aspect of this process. . .my brain feels like it’s on overload.

I have discovered some great stories on Authonomy and wish I had the time to sit and read the books from beginning to end.  One of them is currently available through Amazon, so I may have to look it up and “officially” read the whole book.

The rest of my time has been spent searching for ways to hone my skills and learn the ins and outs of finding an agent.

I do have access to a course which helps the writer build/hone their skills in novel writing. . .and also teaches us the process of selling to a publisher.    However, it usually doesn’t start until the fall and it’s got a pricey tuition fee.  Seeing as how I’m currently a “starving artist”, I’m not sure I can scrounge up the funds to enroll.

Plus, I have no idea what my employment status will be in the fall.  I’m hoping I can go back to my “real” job – at least in a part-time capacity as before; if that doesn’t happen I will be looking for something else.

As much as I would love to say Sayonara to the regular 9-5 grind, I do need something to pay my bills.  Right now, writing isn’t it.

So between the worrying for the future, the hoping for success, and the learning curve into the publishing world I do feel at times that my brain is oozing out my ears.

My only conclusion to solve both these dilemmas?

Get back to writing!  That’s the fun part!

I’ve got one manuscript that’s been on hold – some of you may even remember Chasing Amy.  And I’ve got a solid idea for a brand new story.  So, I think I’ll take a break from the brain drain and boredom and get back to doing what I love.

Writing.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in christian, Indie Writers, love, Reading

 

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Welcome to the first official blog in the spot where it’s supposed to be – on the homepage!
Since my last blog posting I’ve gotten mixed comments – some saying “Way to stick to your guns!” and others asking “Why are you so adamant to be labeled as a Christian novelist?”

I hope I can explain it so you can understand it.

You’ve all heard me babble about how I believe writing is my gift – that we’re all born with some type of gift from God and it’s up to us to figure out what it is and how to use it.

Within that belief is the inherent principle that we aren’t just using that gift for a good time – we’re using it to do good and ultimately, shine the spot light back at God.

That’s what I’m trying to do with my writing.  No, I’m not writing long preachy novels that read like the Bible – even I have trouble understanding that!  But at some point in my story there reaches a point where my character must choose whether or not to believe in God and all that comes with it.

It’s a Christian novel.  It talks about God.  It talks about conversion.

I’m not going to conveniently leave out the “Christian” part of my genre just to gain more readership.  I don’t want to trick people into reading it just for the sake of having readers.  I want people to read it anyhow, discover that it’s good, and recommend it to somebody else.  But I want them to know upfront what they’re getting into.

Now that Broken Vows is completed it’s dropped through the ranks in the What’s Hot category, so I’m nowhere near number one anymore.  But I’ve still got new readers every day and I’ve picked up new followers as well.  Every time someone stumbles across the story, they stick around.  (Okay, maybe not every time, but you get my point.  :-p    )

Just yesterday I had a comment from someone that I hadn’t heard from before.  This is what she had to say – about Broken Vows and Full Circle, which are both posted on Watt Pad.

“The two stories I’ve read of yours have been a wealth of knowledge for me. I’ve learned more about God and it’s given me some peace.  Your stories are excellent tools of learning and I hope you write more. When Gabby threw the bible I so felt the pain rip through me too.  Thank you for beautiful stories of such deep faith. I’ll treasure all I’ve learned.”

And that folks, is why I write.

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in christian, Reading

 

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