I can’t believe I’m really writing.  Not personal journals or diaries.  Really writing….  It’s completely new and unfamiliar.  I’m scared and excited, anxious and confident, energized and incapacitated – all at the same time.  I don’t know where this is heading.  I don’t know the ins and outs of this world.  There are far more questions than answers. 

And yet – when I stop fussing, close my eyes, breathe slowly and deeply, and listen to my heart – I know it is right.  God has been guiding me to this gift for many years. 

My writing began as a simple means of communicating information and evolved into something much deeper.  Like breathing in oxygen, it brought me life.  As I exhaled and released my thoughts in the form of words on a page, my spirit could breathe in gifts of God’s grace and strength that was carried to me by my readers.  With each entry, people responded and filled me with encouragement, prayer, hope, and the sharing of their own stories. 

In July of 2011, I launched a Caringbridge website for my husband, Kevin as he battled cancer.  In the journals, I opened my soul, shared our life and connected with those who followed our journey.  No hiding behind clichés, quick reports or practiced, fluffed-up responses.  Instead I chose to paint the pictures of our life from my heart -- with honesty and transparency.  Family and friends walked along side of us and responded with love, support and encouragement. 

On December 7th, 2013 Kevin died and I began to walk a new path without him.  In my day-to-day life I attempted to bury and control my grief.  But I couldn’t do that in my writing.  I kept going back to the breath of life I found in the community of Caringbridge readers.  I poured out my pain, shattered heart, broken spirit and journey through the wastelands.  Grief, pain, confusion and loss oozed out in my words, tears fell freely and as I told a story of life shattered and broken yet sprinkled with glitters of new life, God began to quietly and gently put my pieces back together.

I can’t count the number of people who encouraged me.  “Write a book.”  “Share your story.”  “Publish something.”  “Your words changed my life.”  “People need to hear you.”

I was grateful for the kind words but couldn’t truly believe them.  I couldn’t wrap my head around the possibility that writing could be anything more than my boring "blah, blah, blahs…." I kept saying to myself, “I’m not a writer….”

Meantime, God continued His work.  Healing took way more time and energy that I expected.  The culmination of years of fighting cancer at Kevin’s side and the excruciating pain that accompanied his death overcame me.  I was unable to continue working and requested an extended leave of absence from my job.  Ultimately, I did not return to the position. 

In the midst of this huge and frightening transition, God winked at me.  My cousin posted a link on facebook for an online organization called FaithWriters.  My finger “accidently” clicked to the site and I acknowledged God’s wink with a shrug and a nod.  Okay.  Perhaps this was a worthy investment and will help me heal.  I didn’t tell anyone.  I just blindly joined. 

And God smiled and “ramped it up”.  Just for the heck of it, I submitted an article to a magazine out of Chattanooga, TN and it was accepted and published.  I wrote a personal testimony for a competition and it was accepted for publication in a book, “Trials by Fire II” scheduled to be released in 2015.  I’ve written four articles for FaithWriter’s weekly writer’s challenge and each one has placed in my category.  I submitted a book proposal in a contest for publication and placed third.  Most importantly, the publisher was extremely positive and invited me to complete the manuscript and submit it for consideration and publication! 

All the while, I’m shaking my head in wonder and trying to come to grips with this new gift that is rising out of my shattered life.  Much is still unfolding.  I haven’t fully begun to comprehend what it means right now -- let alone dream of the future.  I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve turned my palms toward heaven, shrugged my shoulders, tilted my head to the side, furrowed my brows, squinted my eyes and looked up to the heavens to ask: “Excuse me…?  Are you sure? Can this be real?  This is not what I expected.  What the heck is happening here?” 

The answers come back in God’s promise from Isaiah 43:19: "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (NIV) and from Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

It’s comfortably uncomfortable but I’m choosing to lean forward, step out and take a leap of faith.   I’m working on my manuscript.  I continue to write articles and participate in challenges on FaithWriters. 

I’m launching this website.  It’s in its infancy.  I plan to expand and develop it.  Ultimately, my goal is to offer a place that encourages others to experience and be in relationship with God.  To share the wonder, the questions, the tough times, the ordinary moments and the grace-filled glories of life with words of peace, encouragement, beauty and honesty. 

This is a learning process.  I’ve gotten help along the way but I’m not a professional web designer by any means.  I’ll likely mess up.  No matter what, I hope you’ll keep coming back and share it with others.  Please offer your thoughts, comments, questions, stories and ideas for the site.  There’s a page to subscribe, places to publicly comment on each blog and a contact page to connect with me privately. 

God is leading...  I’ll keep writing...  You’ve been speaking...  Please don’t stop.