The long exhale of a song.

Singing isn’t easy when you’re breathless from carrying the baggage of hurt or sadness on your back.

But like this old proverb says, the first step of singing is breath.

Take a deep one this morning. Hold it in, savor the coolness of the inbreaking autumn air. Then exhale gratefulness that a new day unfolds before you, another opportunity to sing, whether in the rain or the sunshine or the pain.

What song will you sing today?

Or will you be savoring that one single breath, the one that takes all your strength to muster, but the one which keeps you alive all the same?

~Selah

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patterns. a poem.

pull and push
i feel the wind fighting
unseen patterns of frigid
and warmth
ancient, invisible sky rivers
an annual
tug-of-war
as i dive under blankets
wishing for ocean waves
instead
of the frost
forever covering life
pushing and pulling
fearless
terrified
toward the sun

*****

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How do you spell relief? Thoughts on the eve of publication.

pregnant-belly2R-E-L-E-A-S-E.

That’s how I spell relief.

Lots of folks are asking, so I figured I’d talk about how I’m feeling about my book’s debut, which happens in five short days.

Of course I’m excited.

Of course I’m thrilled.

Of course I am on my knees with gratitude when I consider how many twists and turns this manuscript has taken and the years which have passed from conception to publication.

But today, I feel relieved.

The editing is done–all umpteen rounds of it.

The cold dinners, on-your-own dinners, lame dinners, and lack of dinners my family have suffered as I struggled to keep my head above the water during the months of hard work have subsided–some. (I’ve never been the best at cooking multi-course family dinners anyway. Family dinners, yes. But too often, Pop-Tarts have counted as a main course.)

Blank expressions on my face because my brain is functioning, thinking, working in a whole other dimension called Storyland rather than being present in real life have been replaced with … um … well … blank expressions. Because my brain feels is blank. I’ve got nothin’.

Fur balls (from my three goldens who are currently all blowing their coats) are being consistently swept, the lizard is getting fed, and I even wiped down a baseboard or two the other day.

I am not lamenting the process. I love the writing. I even enjoy the editing. And I never, ever take how far I’ve come for granted. Not for a second. But I am plum wore out, people. I’m not kidding when I say I feel as if I’ve been pregnant with this sucker for eight long years. The last two years of editing have felt like a constant series of Braxton Hicks, a push and pull of what to cut and what to add, what to celebrate about the publishing industry, and what to shrug off of my too-thin skin. I dream about commas and ellipses, type-os and plot outlines. I wake up nauseous thinking about a scene I forgot to add or a scene I worry I shouldn’t have left in. I’ve been waddling around with the heavy expectation that everyone in the whole entire world is going to hate my book, and on Sunday, March 2, my Amazon ratings are going to consist of thousands of little, tiny, one-star beratings.

But overall, relief for me is release. The book is what it is, the best I could do at this time in my career. All of my heart. All of my tears. And the truth is, just like a real child, the story is–and always was–in God’s hands.

The funny ridiculous thing is, just like I told my husband 15 minutes after the 22 hours of labor and emergency procedures with my first born son, I want to do it all again.

Surely this means I am a crazy person.

Lucky for me, on my desk this very moment sets the biggest 3-ring binder ever known to man. The binder holds 283 pages of my second novel, which, in its current developmental stage, thoroughly and completely and overwhelmingly sucks. I have three months to fix it. 6-8 months of edits after that. And in the spring of 2015, it’s due to emerge from the womb of literary incubation just like this one.

After that, I’ll be relieved.

And then, I’ll want to do it again.

And again.

And again.