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Let It Marinate

21 Jul

I am nearly finished with a project that the author and I have been working on for more than seven years.

Seven years!

When I think about that timeframe, it seems unbelievable. First of all, my kids were 11 and 8 when we started, and now they are 18 and 15 (what?!). The author has lived in three states. The way I spend my time during the work week looks vastly different than it did when we started this project. A lot changes over seven years.

Certainly, we could have finished this project in a shorter amount of time. Maybe we should have. But what this project has taught me more than any other is the benefit of letting a project marinate.

Yes, there is a place to set productivity goals and deadlines. Sometimes these are exactly what we need to keep moving forward, especially when faced with a project that is big and complicated and that sometimes makes you want to give up. Sometimes we don’t have a choice in the matter; these deadlines are set for us.

But I wonder how many times these productivity goals and deadlines are actually a hindrance to the quality of the finished product.

Over the past seven years, there were weeks (and sometimes months) that I did not look at this project. Sometimes these breaks were because I was waiting on the author (this is not a criticism; this is the normal back-and-forth of a project). Sometimes they were because I over-committed (still working on NOT doing this) and there just weren’t enough hours in the day.

But sometimes I didn’t look at the project because when I did, I could not see the way forward. This was unsettling given that the author hired me to find the way forward! In these moments I felt incompetent, which frustrated me further. I don’t like not to be able to figure something out. I don’t like being unable to produce. I spent time and energy feeling anxious and even guilty.

What I began to understand, though, was that these breaks were not a hindrance to completing the project. They were a help.

After a break, I almost always had new insight. What had previously seemed an enigma was now obvious. Often, something I had heard or read or talked about during the time away was exactly what I needed to incorporate to give the project new insight and depth.

The truth is the project needed time to marinate. I needed time to marinate.

  • I learned to accept the uncertainty and messiness of a project at a standstill as a valuable part of its development.
  • I learned to trust that the project would not always be as it was.
  • I learned that, at the right time, I would receive exactly what the project needed to move forward.
  • I learned that it was less about me figuring it out and more about me trusting it would be figured out.

If I can accept these truths about the project, can I also accept them about me?

  • Can I learn to accept my own uncertainty and messiness as a valuable part of my development?
  • Can I learn to trust that, in all my mess, I will not always be what I am now?
  • Can I learn to receive what has been given to me as what I need to move forward?
  • Can I learn it’s not about me figuring it all out but rather trusting that it will be?

Yes, I can learn. Can you?

 

 

Still Living Still

21 Feb

Living Still CoverRecently I have been working with an author on another book project.  Engaging in the editorial process has brought back so many wonderful memories of my experience working with author Abby Lewis on her book Living Still.

As I have recounted several times on this blog, working on Living Still was life-changing for me both personally and professionally.  But perhaps what has been the most encouraging is to see the impact that it is still making on those who take the time to read and ponder it.

Every once in a while, I look at what people are saying about the book on Amazon, and I am humbled to have played a part in crafting Abby’s inspired message.

If you have not investigated Living Still, I hope that you will check out this book promo video that Abby created to capture the message of the book.

Enjoy!

In the News!

26 Jan

newsOne of the things I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to work on a variety of projects.  All of them involve some type of writing or editing (no kidding!). But for the past few months, I’ve gotten to come out from behind my computer screen and embrace a new role . . .

 

I have added “reporter” to my list to my list of “can dos.”

Yes, I have had the chance each month to interview some local high school students who are participating in a six-session leadership training program called the Legacy Youth Institute and then to write a news story about that month’s session.  I must admit that at first I was a bit uncomfortable with this role (the interviewing part of it, anyway).  I mean, there are so many things that could go wrong!!

Would I know the right questions to ask?  Would I be met with blank stares?  Would I be able to write fast enough to properly record what they said?  Would I, heaven forbid, misquote or misrepresent what they said?  That actually happened to me once in an unfortunate (read, I’ll never do it again) exit-poll interview, so I am super-sensitive to NOT doing that to someone else!

All valid concerns, but I am happy to report that I survived to tell about it . . . and, I actually came to enjoy it . . . and, I managed to write news stories that our local radio and newspapers found worthy to run.

And, I was reminded of  a valuable lesson . . . it is a good thing to stretch yourself, to try new things, to learn how to do new things . . . even if you feel uncomfortable and even if you aren’t sure you are going to master it.  For a “recovering perfectionist” like me, these are good things to know, and even more important to practice.

So, a big thanks to my client, Ozark Mountain Legacy, for giving the me opportunity to expand my professional horizons.  I trust that this experience will remind me to embrace new things that come my way in the future . . . I’ll keep you posted!

Check out a few of my news stories about the Legacy Youth Institute (and also about EarthWise Recycling Center!) – I am honored to have played just a small role in both of these awesome community initiatives:

Legacy Youth Institute Kick Off

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #2

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #3

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #4

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #5

EarthWise Recycling Center Grand Opening

Living Still

6 Jul

So, I mentioned in my last post that I had been up to one other thing this spring.  So, here it is . . .

Over the last year, I have written several posts about Abby Lewis’s book, Blossoming out of the Valley.  This project is near and dear to my heart for lots of reasons (which I blogged about here, and again here!), and both Abby and I have been blessed to see the impact that this book has made on people’s lives.

A few months ago, Abby decided to re-release this book under a new title, Living Still, which she believes better communicates the central message of the book – learning to live the life God has planned for each of us through the practice of “stillness” before God.  Or, in other words, “living still.”

We took the opportunity to update the book to emphasize further the many blessings of “living still” and added some additional personal testimonies that we hope will encourage and inspire you.

I am honored to have Abby Lewis as my guest writer today.  Welcome, Abby!

Warning:  Drought Conditions . . . Danger Ahead?

During my walk the other morning, I saw that most of the yards I passed were dying.  There was no color left in the grass or flowers and the leaves on the trees were beginning to turn.  Yet a few houses down, I saw a yard vibrant and alive, full of color and beauty.  It is obvious why one yard is thriving and why the other one isn’t, right?   We all know the answer to that.  One has been nurtured, fed and watered, causing it to thrive while the other one has not, causing it to dry up and begin to die.

I love nature and it breaks my heart to see everything dying during this drought, to see the life and color just fade out of God’s beautiful creation.  But there is something that breaks my heart even more….people in a spiritual drought.

I look around and see exactly what I saw during my walk the other morning.  I see some people thriving, full of joy, peace and love and then I turn around and see others who are stressed, bitter, full of anxiety, depressed, angry and so much more.  I would guess that the ones who are thriving are choosing to spend time with God while the other ones aren’t.  The ones who are full of joy are choosing to feed themselves daily with the word of God while the other ones are listening to their own wisdom.  The ones who are full of peace are choosing to seek the heart of God in the midst of their circumstances while the other ones are relying on themselves to figure it all out.

It breaks my heart so much to see this because 10 years ago I was there.  I experienced what life was like when a person chooses to live far away from God, when a person chooses to live in a spiritual drought.   I was only twenty-four years old, but I was in complete chaos.  I suffered from extreme anxiety, control issues, depression and numerous addictions.  My marriage was falling apart, as were my relationships with my entire family.  My thoughts and words were filled with negativity and lies, and I had accumulated major credit card debt.  As my problems piled up, they began to manifest physically through severe neck and back pain, as well as numbness in my left arm and left side of my face.  I had no love for myself, no joy, no peace and no happiness. My entire life was in complete and utter chaos.

So how did I come out of all of this?  How did I begin to thrive and be so full of life?  How did I become peaceful and joyful?  How did I get out of the spiritual drought I was in?  It really is very simple.  I chose to spend focused time with God each day, and in the midst of it, I learned the practice of “living still.”

What is living still?  Living still is not adopting a life of inactivity or solitude; rather, it is choosing to live in tune with the voice of God in the midst of the inevitable noise around us.  Living still is recognizing that without God, we cannot experience the fullness of life. It is choosing to trust God more than we trust ourselves. Living still is learning to rest in God’s perfect love for us. It is taking the time to listen to His still, small voice with the expectation that He will lovingly guide us, one step at a time, toward freedom. The practice of living still works. Learning to live this way delivered me from the pit and continues to transform my life each day.  And, I am confident that living still can change your life too.

Read Abby Lewis’ powerful, life changing story, in her new book Living Still.

For a limited time, download the Living Still e book for FREE.

Click Here to Look Inside Living Still

Click Here to Read Reviews on Living Still

Click Here To Download Your FREE Copy

 

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

 

Abby Lewis has a degree in Health and Wellness and her massage therapy license. She is the author of Living Still and producer of A Breath~in Stillness.  Her life’s work is to passionately encourage others to experience transformation of spirit, mind and body by learning to practice “living still.”  In January of 2006 Abby opened her own business called Healing Naturally. To learn more about Abby visit her website at  www.myjourneytohealing.com

Wow . . . It’s Been a While!

3 Jul

I absolutely cannot believe that it has been three months since I’ve posted!

I will offer no excuses.

But, I will tell you what I’ve been up to . . .

  1. This winter, I did some editing for an very talented young author, who has begun work on a series of fantasy novels (well known novels in this genre are Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia).  I am continually amazed by her creativity and am so glad that she decided to add that Minor in Creative Writing to her college coursework!  Click here to learn a little (or a lot!) about the fantasy genre.
  2. This spring, I have been working with a local non-profit called Ozark Mountain Legacy on their awareness campaign (letters, press releases, etc).  This organization is all about encouraging people to intentionally preserve and pass on the positive values of our community, which I think is a pretty important thing.  Working with them has prompted me to evaluate whether there is a consistency between what I claim are my personal and family values and how I live . . . a good exercise for all of us, in my humble opinion 🙂  I’m looking forward to all that they have planned in the next year!
  3. I have been editing for a doctoral student who is pursuing a Doctor of Christian Ministry.  Though some close to me think that editing a dissertation would be worse than poking your eye out, I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying it!  It helps that I have a real interest in her topic and that I have a pretty deep humanities background (liberal arts majors unite! whoever said that we couldn’t be put to good use?!).  I am looking forward to working with her during her next two years of study.
  4. This summer, I have again taken over the The Track Family Fun Park’s blog . . . this year, they are calling it the “Mom Blog,” which is a good description since I am a mom who blogs.  Click here for a little taste of my writing antics.  I’m having fun with it – enjoy!
  5. And, there is one more thing that consumed some of my time this spring . . . but you will have to wait until later this week to find out what it is!

There you have it.  I have been blessed beyond measure with work I enjoy.  You can’t ask for much more than that!

The Other Side . . .

29 Mar

So, what I didn’t show you in my last post was “the other side” . . . of my office, that is.

Are you ready?  Here it is:

Yes, that is a very comfortable queen size bed.

Remember that proud exclamation of productivity I recently made in my last post?  Well, this might be my nemesis.  Only time will tell.

If I am able to overcome this temptation that awaits behind my desk chair, you will surely hear about it.  If not, I’ll probably ignore the fact that I actually thought it was an amusing idea to let you in on “the other side.”

Stay tuned.

Well, Would You Look at That!

13 Jan

I’ve been a little quiet on the ole’ blog these past couple of months, but I am now breaking my silence (which was simply caused by a little surgery, the holidays –  you know, minor distractions :-)).

So . . . what’s the news that makes me speak?  Well, in the past couple of months, my client, Abby Lewis, has received some very positive publicity and reviews for her book, Blossoming out of the Valley, that I would love to share with you!

  • The book was listed in the “Under Review – Also of Note” section of the Baylor Line alumni magazine.  And let me digress for a moment to say how proud I am to be a Baylor alum – congratulations to Heisman winner, RGIII!  OK, back to the book . . . Click here and go to page 51 to view!
  • Cherie Hill, best-selling author and #1 Book Reviewer for Thomas Nelson, as well as an avid reviewer for Zondervan, Amazon Vine, Bethany House, Tyndale, Waterbrook/Multanomah and Revell Books, had this to say about Blossoming out of the Valley:

5 Star Rating – A Treasure

“Abby Lewis is a woman after God’s own heart. With beautiful transparency, she walks you through her journey from darkness into Light. Blossoming out of the Valley is compassionate and compelling, as Ms. Lewis conveys the love God has for you, and the grace that is ready to be poured down into your life. The author takes you through “first steps” in learning to walk with God. The message within the book brings you to a place, at the foot of God’s throne, where there is complete transformation from the inside out . . . leading to healing for the body, mind, and spirit by learning to receive all that God has to offer. After reading this treasure, you’ll be more aware of God’s unconditional and unfailing love for you-you’ll learn to draw near to God, so that He might draw near to you.

As if the book were not enough of a blessing, Lewis’ Cd, “A Breath in Stillness” is absolutely remarkable. I didn’t expect to experience such peace and calm while listening to it. I was captivated by Lewis’ beautiful voice that sounded as if I were hearing from an angel sent straight out of heaven.

Lewis’ book and CD are treasures from Heaven and her sacrificial life is a blessing poured out to all of us.

Obviously, I HIGHLY recommend this book!”

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take some time to read Blossoming out of the Valley by Abby Lewis . . . be inspired!

Parenting Peace

17 Oct

Well, it seems that the same day I wrote my last post in which I mentioned my work on Mark VanderLey’s workbook, Parenting Peace, he started his own blog called “Parenting Boys . . . Raising Men”  at www.parentingboysraisingmen.blogspot.com.

Be sure to check it out!

Mark has also announced on this blog the upcoming release of Parenting Peace as an e-workbook.  Since I’ve already seen the material within (there are perks to being the editor!), I can tell you that this workbook is a great resource for ALL parents, from those who are having serious struggles to those who simply want to fine-tune their relationships with their kids.

Congratulations, Mark!

Grateful

13 Oct

When I started polish, I had no idea what projects (let’s be honest . . . if any projects) would come my way.

Today, as I reflect on the opportunities I’ve already had to work on a diverse (honestly, that is an understatement!) range of projects, I am energized, affirmed and excited about the future.  But, most of all, I am grateful.

Grateful.

I am grateful for the the beauty of working closely with others to reach their goals.  I am grateful for the chance to use my God-given gifts in a way that brings deep satisfaction and a sense of special purpose.  I am grateful for the friendships that have developed through this “work.”  I am grateful for the challenge.  I am grateful for the gift of learning new things.  I am grateful for the way I have been inspired in a unique way by each author I have worked with.

For the past few months, I have worked with my friend and licensed professional counselor, Mark VanderLey, on his workbook, Parenting Peace.

parenting peace

We certainly had our share of frustrating technical difficulties (I’m beginning to accept that this is the norm in this business!), but we also had some great triumphs . . . Mark experienced the joy of completing a project that was years in the making.  And, I got (paid) to learn how to be a better parent!

Truly, the material in Parenting Peace is a great reminder to me of the importance of intentionality in our roles as parents.  And, I must say that in a world where our schedules (or maybe our mis-placed priorities) can foster a tendency toward reactionary parenting (which inevitably leads to stress, misunderstandings and even hurt), we parents need to hear this message . . . over and over and over again.  Thank you, Mark, for your wisdom and insight.

Again, I say that I am grateful.

Facebook = Official

24 Aug

It’s a big day.  You can now find Polish Writing & Editing on Facebook.  I guess that makes it official!  In fact, look over there to your right =>

You can connect to my Facebook page from right here.  Go ahead and press that button!