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Monday, April 12, 2010


Dig Deep and Trust the Process

Several years ago my husband and I were putting our boys to bed. It was at least 10:15 one of those nights when I was stone exhausted after a full day of work; dinner, dishes, homework, showers, reading a bedtime story. All I could think about was getting prayers said and winding down for the night.

Of course, that’s when I heard a tiny crack. Nobody could miss the crash that followed or the obvious sound of glass shattering in the bathroom.

No way. With a groan (and maybe a word or two I shouldn’t have thought, especially during prayers), I lifted myself off the edge of my son’s bed and dragged my feet into the bathroom.

Remember those corner shelves that you’d twist underneath and two nails (and tension, I guess) defy gravity to hold it up against the wall? Word of experience: the holes those little nails make eventually wear open and the shelf will fall at the exact moment you are most wiped out and drained of your life’s blood, taking with it that tall green bottle of bath oil your sister-in-law was kind enough to give you for Christmas. It looked so pretty up on that shelf, along with a few other ceramic tchotchkes.

Even before I made it into the bathroom though, I was convinced of one thing. One of the pieces had survived. I knew exactly which one.

I dug deep, especially once I saw the mess that awaited me: shards of green glass and porcelain in God-knows-how-many-sized-pieces, all swimming in bath oil around the base of the toilet on the polished, black-absolute granite my brother the tile-man insisted would give me a ‘classic black and white bathroom’, a great selling point for a house I can’t get out of after fifteen years. (My husband jumped right on that bandwagon. And did I tell you dirt and dust aren’t black? They’re shades of gray, and every speck shows up on the equivalent of a black mirror laid horizontally under your bathroom fixtures.)

So now what? It’s not like I could have left the glass on the floor and closed the door for the night. (Not to mention the next day was a workday, too.) I had to plow into my deepest reserves of will to do what had to be done.

I started with trying to find one positive thing about the situation. The best I could do was be grateful it was bath oil and not olive oil on that floor—can you imagine how long that would take to clean? So one piece at a time, while Dad finished putting the boys to bed, I picked up glass and wiped bath oil off the jet-black reflective surface.

I came across that one piece I knew had survived (sort of), a tealite holder whose tealite holder had snapped off. The faceplate had made it through. Guess what it read? From the New Testament, “ I can do all things through Christ.” (Phillipians 4:13)

Is this a religious lesson? Not necessarily. Do I consider myself spiritual and believe God gives me what I need exactly when I need it? Without a doubt. Chances are, whatever skills or talent I need to get through each experience I face I already have anyway. This became one more opportunity to reach into my arsenal and learn to use what’s there in another way. (Sort of what my most recently completed manuscript is about, now that I think of it.)

By the way, that faceplate still has a home in my bathroom. Like that night, I still dig deep,usually for the mental energy to swing all that needs to be done on a daily basis, especially at my busiest time of the work year. The boys are a little older and pretty self-sufficient but they still keep me busy. (They bring lots of friends now, too, and keep my home hopping and anything but quiet.) Then there’s the day job; writing, and everything that goes along with it. Waiting for a response to that partial that just went out; the patience to sort out the jumbled ideas that are supposed to be the spinoff to that partial. What to do with that polished first draft that should have been next in a series but no longer fits where I thought it would.

Choice is a factor, too. That night I could have gone negative, decided my life was too overwhelming to live and shut down (I certainly felt that way). By looking for that one positive thing, though, I found the strength to rise to the occasion and did what had to be done. (Made that floor look good for a short while too! :-) ) Like inspiration (or bills and taxes, lol) those pesky life lessons are everywhere I look. I may not like all of them but hanging on to them, turning to them when I’m most insane or caught up in day-to-day chaos grounds me somehow. Helps me get centered and make that next best decision, do the next right thing. A little vague? Maybe, but without those unexpected moments of hope and gratitude, where would I be? It’s all part of trusting a process, something I hopefully do a little more each day, as one more experience falls into place and gives me yet another perspective. I add that to the storehouse of life lessons then trust a little more.

In case you didn’t already know:

I’m an avid reader whose writing roots stretch back to my early teenage days. Life got in the way until ten years ago, when the story playing out in my head insisted I put it down on virtual paper. I’ve been writing and honing my craft ever since. No Matter Why (The Wild Rose Press),my debut novel, hit the virtual shelves on January 15, 2010. (A blurb is posted below—don’t miss it!) At present, I’m busy revising its sequel, learning all I can about promo, building my web presence and finding time to work a day job and manage a home along with everything else!

Learn more about me (and find a great recipe or six) at my website:

Find more of my mental meanderings at and lately, at different blogs; anyone who so desires can follow my growing blog trail! Check my blog for a list of appearances.

Here’s that blurb:

Trust and stability became empty words the day motherless, sixteen-year-old Carrie Norwell came home to find her brothers murdered. Within moments, her father arrived and his heart gave out at the scene. Five years later, is it any wonder the walls with which she's barricaded her heart are virtually impenetrable to anyone looking to get close and offer what she wants more than anything? The security only a loving family can give? Or someone with whom to build her own?

Billy Jay Eldridge wants to offer exactly that to the right girl. Operating on a heart and spirit rivaled only by his looks, he’s two years out of college and where he thought he wanted to be, managing a store at the assistant level and on his way up PharmSmart’s chain of command. He never counted on not synching with the corporate/retail atmosphere—enough to toy daily with the idea of a major career move that promises to make nobler use of his God-given talents. Neither did he think he’d blur the fine line between supervisor and peer to the young ladies in his charge—that is, until shy, quiet Carrie joins his crew. Intrigued and charmed by the girl’s haunted eyes and withdrawn ways he sets out to know her better, clueless that his life’s calling will be the biggest setback to getting her to accept from him what she wants and needs most.

Want a little more? Read an excerpt!

My heartfelt thanks to Marianne and Judy (and anyone else involved) for welcoming me and allowing me the opportunity to share with this readership!


Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Joanna, I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. When my husband lies in bed for hours worrying about something, I'm able to sleep knowing if I can't change it, I'll just deal with it the best I can. Sometimes when things look the absolute worst, if you look for one tiny little positive like you did, or laugh when you'd rather cry, things take on a whole new perspective.

Best of luck with finding the positive every day, and hope you have great sales for your debut novel! It sounds really good. :)

joannaaslinn said...

Thanks, Stacey! I greatly appreciate your comment and hope to hear your feedback should you one day choose to read No Matter Why!

Have a great day!

Mary Ricksen said...

It's all a test. You just keep going and someday you will pass it!
But for awhile things can get hard. They can also be rewarding and fun. Just keep on taking the tests as they come at you!

Danielle Thorne said...

Thoughtful post. Congrats on your new release--and welcome to the business! LASR is a great place for promo. I love it here.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Sometimes you just have to chalk it up for one of those days. We've all had them.

On the bright side, no one was in there when it happened and no one was hurt.

Congrats on your new release. May there only be bright days in your future.

Take Care!

joannaaslinn said...

Thanks to all of you who stopped by! I like it here, too and hope to visit more as time goes on :)