My Turn

pats-contract-001Contract offer! These two words stared at me from the subject line of an e-mail which had just arrived from my literary agent. I’d known something was in the works, but the sight of those words on a message to me seemed incongruous.

Like many authors, I’d resigned myself to reality. Publishing had changed in recent years. The number of houses available to print manuscripts had shrunk to a handful and the number of writers with stories to publish had grown in monumental proportions. I’d had a couple of manuscripts make it to the publishing boards of various houses, only to have them turned down. The opportunities for my story to find a publishing home didn’t seem to exist.

This summer, though, through an odd twist of fate, my newest manuscript made it to the desk of a publisher my agent recommended. I’d submitted my novel through the early submission service of the writer’s conference I planned to attend. The editors I’d chosen to see the sample pages had filled their quotas, so I asked the woman coordinating the exchange of proposals to please submit the contemporary sample to this third editor. She agreed.

A week later, I received an email from the new editor. She was confused, she said, because she’d received a proposal letter for one story and the sample chapters for another. But, she said, what she saw in the letter had her very interested. Could I send the correct chapters?

I gasped. In the switching of editors, the coordinator must have confused the stories. What were the chances?

I complied with the request and the rest is history. I’d met the editor who believed in my story and wanted to publish it.

The entire experience showed me once again that God, our heavenly father, is in charge. When he ordains an event to happen and the time for that to occur, it will be done, no matter how clumsy we humans tend to be.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own  understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

My path to publication is proof of that truth.

Next year my first novel, in a series of three, will release sometime in the fall of 2017 with Mountain Brook Ink publishers. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’ve some books to write!

Honoring Freedom’s Fighters

20161111_131623The man who sat at the curb wore a veteran’s hat signifying his service. My family arrived at the annual Veterans Day Parade in Albany, Oregon just in time to grab the space behind him, a garbage can and a passel of children filling in the gaps on either side.

He acted like a tour guide for those of us nearby, identifying each branch of the military as its entourage marched down the street. He’d wave and salute those riding the various floats—the disabled vets, the aging survivors from earlier wars, those re-enactors keeping the memory of the Civil War alive.

As enlisted men passed by, they’d stop and shake his hand, thanking him for his service. They came in all ranks and branches of the military, from new recruit to seasoned soldier, all pausing to pay respect to a man who had helped keep his nation free, and who now relied on them to continue the tradition.

Watching the mutual exchange between strangers whose only link was the military hat on this man’s head, I came to understand the brotherhood of soldiers better than I could have reading a newspaper or watching a documentary. All of these individuals knew what it meant to be part of a larger alliance, to possess a mindset for which they had drilled, trained and served—a defense force engrained in their thinking that would remain with them forever.

His allegiance roused mine. I stood for every passing flag, saluted every drill unit, waved and cheered for each troop parading down the street. When the fighter jets blew out our eardrums passing over our heads, I surged with the same pride as the soldier, knowing our military defense is second to none.

Each of us should feel indebted to these men and women—a highly trained group who have paid a personal price for my freedom and yours—whose service and belief in foundational principles has allowed God to continue to bless America.

II Chronicles 7:14, King James Version: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”




A Kit in Time

test-kitThe little package addressed to me arrived in the mail midweek. I didn’t recognize the return address, nor did I remember ordering anything so small.

I forgot about it.

The next day it still lay on the table. Curious about its origin, I picked it up and turned it over several times. I considered tossing the entire envelope, but the middle contained some sort of gadget, so I decided to investigate. I slit the top and let the contents spill—a piece of white paper, a plastic container the size of a keychain, and a letter from our health insurance provider. The return envelope bore the address of an unknown lab.

As I read the letter, I felt sucker punched. A test kit for a stool sample?

My husband was appalled. “They mail those things? The poor postal carrier.”

Of all the cancers, colorectal is considered one of the most treatable. Yet many do not take preventative measures to ensure their good health, partly because for many years the only way to test was to undergo a colonoscopy. For those embarrassed by such a procedure, this kit might have meant the difference between life and death.

Though poking fun at the incident might have been my initial response, I’d known people who’d suffered with the disease. Some survived, others lost their battle. I didn’t want to make light of something so serious.

What offended me was the audacity of my insurance company. When did they receive permission to involve themselves in my personal life? To dictate what tests and procedures I should undergo? To step ahead of a physician I consider quite competent?

Forced into a decision about the package I’d received, I discussed the issue with my husband. He was still stalled on the delivery-through-the-mail detail. Since I am scheduled to see my physician later in the month, I will take the kit to her and decide what to do then. Her advice will determine my next move.

In the meantime, my insurance provider can stay out of my bathroom.