Monthly Archives: February 2020

Faith, Without Numbers

I’ve been asked quite a few times what the toughest part of the writing and publishing process has been for me. Without hesitation, there are two answers.

First of all, it is separating yourself from your writing project. I heard this advice from my future editor/publisher at a writing conference a few years back. I think this advice can pertain to any project, not just writing. It can be extremely difficult to do if you are a get-it-done, all-at-once, kind of person like me. When you are in the thick of a project and hit a road block or if you think it is finished, step away. Like really away. For at least four weeks. It will give you a fresh perspective and insight as to what you need to do to truly finish it.

But second, the most tough, is keeping the faith. Faith in yourself. Faith in the system. Faith in the fact that you are called to do something. To impact someone. I would have Freddy read early draft chapters and really questioned whether the writing was decent.

But then I realized, we all have different tastes. I’ve picked up NYT Bestsellers and could not for the life of me, get into them. I’ve picked up unknown books from little free libraries that have become my favorites. People like different styles of music and different genres of books and that’s a great thing! My son, who is currently deep in the newest Dog Man graphic novel, has no interest in my book. That’s okay.

Keeping belief levels up can be challenging, but I pray on it (Prayer of Jabez, look up the story) and feel God has blessed me with optimism and enough encouragement along the way to keep the faith, despite setbacks (yes, there have been some). Even now, four months after publication, I have no idea how many books have sold. Yes, it is driving me crazy. I’m used to daily updates in our finance business, but what the publishing business has blessed me with is PATIENCE and FAITH.

Without concrete numbers, I am putting my trust in God’s plan and the fact that I did this to get awareness on this topic in the Midwest. I wanted to honor those involved during World War II, both veterans and the families impacted by the war. I felt the story tugging on my heart and it’s been in the back of my mind off and on for years. I even got a Japanese symbol of love when I was 18 (fun fact!). The seeds had been planted many years ago, but I needed maturity and exposure to rejection in other forms to gain the confidence to take on this project.

So, whatever you are aiming for, keep faith first. About four years back, I had a dream even. It was weird. The entire dream kept telling me James 214. I woke up thinking it was the craziest thing ever. When I opened up my (admittedly, dusty) Bible, I came to James 2:14. “Faith, without works, is dead.”

It’s been my guiding principle since that night. Act on faith. Don’t worry about the concrete evidence. It will come.

Appreciating the Lost Art of…Art!

One of the only constants in my routine is walking our Lab Penny. I love having the downtime of zoning out (That is, when she’s not breaking off her leash to run after a squirrel!)

We like to walk around the middle school neighborhood side streets and coming from a family of carpentry and architecture, one of the things I’m always noticing is how beautiful the older houses are. Not necessarily the biggest houses, but the oldest and most beautiful. They always have so much character in the accents of their roof lines or porches or pop out windows (can you tell I have no architectural experience?!). Even their window panes are beautiful.

I was talking to my Uncle Mark, who appreciates history and carpentry, about this. Our conclusion was that art is kind of a lost art. Just 100 years ago, when someone wanted to build a house or add a room, the carpenters (usually a family member or small family business), had the time. Unfortunately, today builders are under a lot of pressure to put out many houses quickly and they just don’t have the time to put in all of the hand work required for some of these features.

In the past, art was a part of almost everything. It was required for advertising before computer graphics. Think about old billboards or pick up an old newspaper and look at the hand drawn advertisements. As Mark mentioned, even the birth certificates, marriage certificates etc. all had hand drawn scrolling, painting or decorating on them. Old black and white pictures had water painted “touch ups” of rosy cheeks or colored dresses. They’re beautiful. Much prettier than the massively photo-shopped and filtered pictures of today, in my opinion.

So just a thought. Next time you take a walk or look at old documents, take time to appreciate the art that was involved in the process. Look at the detailing (again, don’t know the right architectural word for this) on the upper half of the house or the crown molding design under the roof lines. Take a walk around any older part of any small town or even downtown St. Paul. If you want to go bigger, make it to the Garden District in New Orleans.

When you think about the amount of time put into these buildings and the high quality, heavy wood used, you’ll understand how these homes are often the ones to withstand time and the variable of weather throughout the years. And each one has several generations of stories buried within their beams and walls, waiting to be uncovered.