Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Distance Within

There is a distance. A noticeable distance between myself and something I cannot figure out.  Is it something I once  held dear and forgot or is it something I have been waiting for but still not yet able to grasp? Whatever it is I know is it distant from me.

I turned to my computer, my writing in an effort to push away the things that try to distract me from this distance. Writing is the one place I am able to do this. So I write.  I see it has been a year since my last blog and truth be told a year since I visited new material. In that year I did finally get my book published and it has been a fabulous ride with Sammy the Snail. But getting a book published only means I tirelessly poured over its revisions, story lines and illustrations from a manuscript written 8 years prior. Getting published  does not mean I created anything new. I need new.

I think this idea of new is part of what is distant. I find clarity and depth in my thoughts when I write so much more than if I were to speak the words as they formed. Writing is the one place that the world slows and I get a chance to find myself in a singular focus when the world is telling me to attend to many themes. Writing to find new is important, it does not have to be the new story you hope to publish or a new brilliant idea it simple just needs to be new for the day. Clarity in a crazy world.. well that is new; Hope in a place of darkness, hey that is new!! No need to reinvent the wheel with writing,  I just need to find something new for the day. So I write.

I have been prompted to write for a few months now, but for some reason have ignored it and chosen a mind numbing activity of busyness instead. I am all too aware that busyness does not clear my mind, it jumbles everything together forcing me to fight for clarity when all the thoughts compete for my attention. What boggles me is that still I chose busyness!  So today I write. Not really about much but to get back into the routine of finding that new space in my head where things sort of make sense, where I can hold onto the hope I know I have no matter what the circumstance and where if I am really still can feel the confirmation of why I am  here on earth.

I know there is a distance.  The cloudy foggy brain waves loudly announce it, the unfinished spoken sentences exposes the gap and my lack of direction tells me I am missing something. There is a distance. A distance that pushes me away from sanity and purpose toward the all to popular "prove that you are worthy by being busy" towards the questioning of why am I even here? Towards the ever nagging doubt that I can make a difference.

So to day I write. I attend to the distance that grew within and seek its destruction all the while finding the clarity of thoughts that will fuel my work here on earth. I missed my writing, I missed the clarity and I am glad that for today I wrote something. The distance is not so great anymore!

shine on my friends

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shifting Tears

It has now been six months since the loss of my dear friend Dani. She left us way too soon. My heart continues to ache for her friendship, but something is shifting. Slowly I have noticed that the ache has begun to turn into a feeling of gratitude, still heavy and full of tears but there is a different tone now.  I feel gratitude that for a short while here in Nassau I was blessed with the friendship of an amazing woman. I only had three years with her but she impacted my life so very much. And now I find that even in her death she continues to impact who I am and how I go about doing what I do. I am blessed to have been her friend and I find myself blessed even in mourning. She has challenged me to live my life more intentionally and to see the good in others as she was able to do.  In short while I desperately wish her back here in physical form, I remain determined to continue to find the benefits of what she has left behind. Dani was a gift to many who knew her and one I am forever grateful to God for giving to me.
Shine on my friends, you will never know your full impact

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No More "Not Enough "

 Life often tells us we are not enough. We can never do enough and will never be enough. This message is heard over and over again. A debilitating and paralyzing statement to hear and one that causes us much damage, my self included.
But I was reminded this morning that God not only has given us an Enough through Jesus; God is guarding our Enough, He fills our heart with His Spirit of enough, he guards our heart with enough, and he credits us with His enough. He loves us because we are now Enough!
This was a much needed moment of clarity for me today but as I was reading and praying, many of my friends, family and clients came to mind and I realized, this is most of our stories. Most of us
walk around with a never enough label, a label that brings us down, destroys our hope and causes us to despair. Today, I was reminded that God, because of my status as His, not only thinks I am enough but promises to guard this for me so that nothing can take it away. 
Did you hear that? Nothing can take away our enough. Not the critical looks from someone at church that thinks I am not doing enough or the right enough. Not the questions that I cannot answer from someone desperate for a solution. Not even the  worst bully of all, the eyes of the girl in the mirror who tells me you will never be enough because I am not like other people. My Enough is untouchable, not matter what. Today, I want to live like I am enough because God has reminded me I am.
I have copied two translations for you to enjoy.. then look up your own!
Have a day where you know God is guarding your enough!
1 Peter 1:3-9

A New Life (from the message)


3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.
6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

Praise to God for a Living Hope (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why did the world not stop?

My coffee cup rises to hide my tear stained face as the car goes by. I suppose I could have chosen to keep my grief inside on the couch but my home is already too full of strewn tissues and tear stained pillows. This morning I mourn outside. I refuse to let my grief shelter me from the world. Well today I do. Maybe not yesterday and maybe not tomorrow but today I choose to move.

The slight breeze cools the tears as they fall, refreshing my hot puffy eyes. The bird's relentless worship takes no notice of my sobs, or do they? The traffic regularly and with routine drives by without notice of the one of the porch having one of the more intense few days of her life.

How does the world continue when I know there are so many people this very minute feeling so intensely? How does it keep moving when so many of us are forced to stop by the load of pain given to us by this hurting world? Does it not know that we hurt? We feel like we can't go on? Why did the world not stop?

Sadly, it our pain is not new to the world, it is only new to us. This moment, this pain is only new to me.

 I am both offended and yet comforted by the fact that the world is continuing  Offended that it has not stopped the very second my heart burst with the pain of losing such a dear friend  and then I realize if it stopped completely the pain would consume me. The breeze would have to stop and my tears would continue to burn my eyes instead of refresh them. The birds' worship would stop and I would not be reminded between sobs that there is a  creator. The heaviness of my pain would not be broken into by the bird songs  reminding me that there is something bigger, someone bigger that has got me in this. The world kept going for a reason.

Pain happens. Pain hurts and it is all too real. But the world continues and what at first appears like a big cosmic slap in the face turns out to be the therapeutic rhythm of a world that knows pain but keeps moving so we are not consumed by the pain. Our creator has chosen to help us move through the tragic parts of life by keeping His world going.

I almost missed that today as I hid behind my coffee mug. I almost stayed in the despair but the breeze, the birds and the traffic as observed from my front porch, told me different.  Yes our pain is real and it is devastating but God has ordered this world to keep moving so we do not get consumed by it all together.

I will continue to be in pain for a while, I will continue to cry and sob and wonder, but God will continue to minister to me through his people and world doing very ordinary things in extraordinary ways. I am thankful for this rhythm.

Dani, I already miss you reading my blogs, I miss your comments, I miss your smile and I miss your heart. Your  death has stopped my world and it will not be the same without you. But I will continue to move forward with your friendship etched my heart to work and live in a hurting world, because everyone needs to know they count. I hope you know that now my dear friend.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Choosing an Audience: Turtle Back Publishing News #8

 inside the shell
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Turtle Back Publishing

Choosing an Audience.

Most stores I converse with about my book ask the same questions. Who is this book written for?  Who is the intended audience? Age, gender, culture, situation, and topics all play a huge part in determining to whom you should be targeting in the stores. Valid questions for marketing  but is it really necessary to know your audience for the writing process itself?

I know in previous newsletters I have suggested you write only for yourself, and I am still standing by that. If you begin your process of writing just for the sake of impressing others your writing will lack passion and sincerity. The readers will see through your scheme to appease them and in the end fail to engage with your book.  BUT if you are serious about putting your book out for publication then you must (unless you are okay with your books not selling or being noticed) you must engage in the process of knowing your audience in your writing process as well. I would suggest to any writers to write their story with only themselves in mind at first. Then after your first few drafts when the characters are more fully developed and plot lines make sense then turn to the point of view of the readers, and edit your story accordingly. 

          In terms of story, the only audience I have in mind is me. I’m very much aware that I can’t please everyone when it comes to story,
so I might as well try to please myself. But in terms of communication with the reader, I am very aware of the audience.
                Readers can’t hear my tone of voice or watch my expressions; a sheet of white paper and a series of little black marks is all they have
                  – and via that sheet of paper and series of little black marks I need to convey an entire universe,
I need to make characters who breath. I can’t do that without bearing the audience in mind." 

- Celine Kiernan

In the end your book is about communicating with a reader. If you do not speak their language you will fail to communicate, it is that simple. Write with the story in mind, revise with the audience in view.

Write on my friends!


We want to hear from you!

Be sure to send us questions or ideas you have and we will try to include those in our upcoming newsletters.
Remember these newsletters are only for those who sign up for it, so share this newsletter with a friend, family member or colleague so they can sign up as well.
Turtle Back Publishing is owned and operated by the MacPhail family, Turtle Back Publishing is a total family operation. From the initial conception of a book all way to the marketing and distribution, Turtle Back Publishing is proud of every book they publish.

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children
is not a good children's story in the slightest."

C.S Lewis
Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why writers need discipline. Turtle Back News #7

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Inside the Shell: Future talent discovered. Turtle Back Publishing #6

 inside the shell
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Turtle Back Publishing


Future Talent Discovered

I have been honored to help out at Kpace Afterschool Learning Program a couple times. I first visited this group during my book the author event for approximately 60 eager students grades 2-6. As usual I loved it but there was something different with this group, they were hungry to create something. Noticing the inspiration, Darcy Moss, the amazing director of this program came up with the idea of a creating a writing contest for the children. Rules were established and deadlines were set, I came back a second time to introduce the contest.  I even suggested my favorite way of creating a cover for a book. Take an empty cereal box (and yes I did stress the word empty) and cut a seam open. Fold the box back gently and on the inside you have a blank cardboard surface on which to create a cover, spine and back. The children's eyes were on fire with ideas and thoughts, I left that day wondering just how many cereal boxes were about to be destroyed for the greater literary good and prayed they remembered to ask their parents before doing so.

 Last week, Darcy and I got together to "judge" the books, we laughed out loud at a few and yes I got a bit teary with others knowing the context from which the story was being told. Children innately come up with the best and most unique way to tell a story and these books were proof! They were a gift to read. On Wednesday April 10th- the winners were announced; sadly I was otherwise engaged as I would have loved to be in the room for that moment.

Milani Oliver- over all winner!

 I would love to introduce you to the overall winner, Malani Oliver and the winner for best artwork Kendal Pierre. They both received a gift bag of prizes (one of which was an autographed copy of I Can't Sleep- of course) Darcy was able to make sure all who entered received a prize for their efforts; I told you she was fabulous! Stay tuned to Turtle Back Publishing  I would guess that in the next 10 years or so you might find one of these young authors/illustrators at work on a book with us!









We want to hear from you!
Be sure to send us questions or ideas you have and we will try to include those in our upcoming newsletters.
Remember these newsletters are only for those who sign up for it, so share this newsletter with a friend, family member or colleague so they can sign up as well.
Turtle Back Publishing is owned and operated by the MacPhail family, Turtle Back Publishing is a total family operation. From the initial conception of a book all way to the marketing and distribution, Turtle Back Publishing is proud of every book they publish.
Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp