Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Home...Where Your Story Begins

For nearly a year, I worked tirelessly to finish a book trilogy. Along the way, I lost stem several times. In January, I was inspired to finish because of an interview with a respected surgeon turned author, Dr. Paul D. Parson. Paul D.Parson has written a series of books base on the Zulu beads given by Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boys Scouts, to the original Scout Masters. With historical events as the back drop, Parson  takes readers on a fictional journey to locate the Baden-Powell's beads. Paul shared with me he wrote the entire series before he released the first book. I was inspired after hearing his story and marketing strategies. So inspired, that I decided I would follow in his footsteps.

As a writer, my interest in authoring books was encouraged by many but Derrick Miles of Milestone Motivation Group was persistent in reminding to write books. Two years ago, I was a contributing author to Super-Human Performance. Derrick, known as the encourager, would say often, “Genma, you must put your stories in a book." I shared with him on several occasions about my desire to finish a book I had started that could be written as a series. After much encouragement from him (and many others) along with Paul's story, I said, “yes” to making it happen. For inspiration, I began reading through twenty-six years of journals that chronicled my every thought.

As I read my journals, I had forgotten how much they held. I put everything in my journals; the good, the bad, and the ugly. At times, I wondered out loud if my writings were from a woman going mad! Some years, I probably was. Many pages captured cherished moments from the lives of family and friends and my spiritual victories of hard fought battles. I rejoiced at seeing growth from one journal to another, laughed hysterically at trying to balance social commentary with social politics, lamented over the painful years of trying to raise teens, and was reminded how much has been accomplished over the years despite years of struggling. My journals were the perfect antidote to get me going. Along with years of blogging and writing for many publications, I had an abundance of material.

When I embarked on completing the series, I did not realize I would be pitted against will and might. Suddenly, it appeared as if the universe began to work against me all at once. Alex, the grand prince, became ill and spent weeks back and forth to hospitals. After getting him well, I was plagued with health issues from out of nowhere, while business accounts that were once solid were on shaky grounds. With illnesses taking front seat to life, invoicing got behind. Sending invoices is essential to getting paid. Very few folks voluntary pay a company.


What in the world was happening, I wondered often? The more I pushed through the more pressure mounted that sapped my energy daily. Pressure, anxiety, stress, and tension, entered my body, mind, and spirit. Not to mention, I had isolated myself to finish the book. Can wanting to finish a book bring strife in your life? I was seriously beginning to believe some evil force was hounding me. However, in spite of the hellish last several months, the final sentence was written.

How did it happen? My firm belief in praying daily was my foundation for staying strong. Add that to pure determination and inspiration found from a wooden sign also empowered me to complete what I had started. A wooden sign? Yes, prayer, determination, and my beautiful wooden sign!

At Christmastime, I bought a gift for myself from Mom’s Sign Company. Mom’s Sign Company is a Franklin, TN based company owned by Margaret Ziegler that specializes in hand painted wooden signs with heartfelt words for any occasion. I had ordered signs for gifts from Mom’s Sign Company before but never for myself. After browsing the site one night around midnight, I saw a sign that read “Home is where your story begins…” immediately my heart skipped a beat. I felt as if God was giving me the "okay" to share my heart and stories from the place that influenced me the most, home. My home, after years of starts and stops, had become an Oasis in my life.

After I received my sign, I nailed it to my wall above my office desk. This was the first time in a very long time that I actually bought a gift for ME! My office is where I work but it is also where I retreat to write for pleasure. Nailing my sign to the wall felt as if I planted the flag on the moon! I did not realize at the time how my sign would be such a powerful motivator over the next several months

When I entered into my writing zone, my words flowed freely for several weeks. But as weeks turned into months, unforeseen circumstances invaded my life. Illnesses hit my family, from my grandmother to my Grand Prince, like the plague of centuries ago and kept me distracted. There were many days spent wondering if Grand Prince Alex would be okay.  I would glance at my sign as I passed by my office door and read it boldly after praying for his recovery. When I became ill and wondered if I was going to see the next day, I repeated the words from my sign along with every prayer committed to memory. When I was discouraged, depressed, drained, and done, the words on my sign would inspire me to keep going. “Write a few words today,” it seemed to whisper. “Keep at it” it would remind me at times. “Do not give up,” it would yell often. And each day, no matter what, I added words to my story that started at home.

Last week, I met with several editors who looked at me as if they were seeing a ghost. I could read their thoughts, “She has been sick, when did she find time to finish?” I smiled to myself knowing that at home my secret weapon, my sign, helped me accomplish what many would have said was unthinkable. A believer in the power of words, my sign kept me motivated through tough times and was a constant reminder of the beauty of where your story begins.




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