Reaching the end

I’ve been kind of busy, you know… what with FINISHING the complete first draft for book #2. Yes, you heard me correctly. Finished! I’ll tell you the truth. Since this wasn’t a novel, I didn’t really need the words “The end.” But it just felt so good to type them. Over the next two months, I’ll ...

Read More

I’ve been kind of busy, you know… what with FINISHING the complete first draft for book #2. Yes, you heard me correctly. Finished!

I’ll tell you the truth. Since this wasn’t a novel, I didn’t really need the words “The end.” But it just felt so good to type them. Over the next two months, I’ll be working on edits with Bonne, the same magnificent editor I worked with on Praying Upside Down. That gives me great pleasure, because she’s something like magic. She makes me look good. I’ll keep you posted on things like release date (next spring) and the cover and so forth, but for now all I have to offer you is the title: DESIGNED TO PRAY: Creative Ways to Engage with God. It’s an 8-week-long prayer journal/activity book filled with creative prayer exercises, stories, Bible verses and quotations, and lots of fun artwork. And I’m really excited about it. But I’m also quite tired. I’ll be sending this to my editors Sunday afternoon after asking everyone in my church to pray over it first. And now? I’m going to indulge in reading a good YA novel and watching TV with my son. I may also find some chocolate.

Here’s the link to download the new prayer prompt calendar for September. Hope you enjoy!

Sept 2015 prayer prompts

FINALLY!

So. Tomorrow is the day. So much has gone into this. So much time. So much emotion. I’ve held nothing back. I’ve been thrilled to be able to share my book with some of you earlier, before the official release date. But now? My little bouncing baby book is about to come out into this ...

Read More

booksSo. Tomorrow is the day. So much has gone into this. So much time. So much emotion. I’ve held nothing back. I’ve been thrilled to be able to share my book with some of you earlier, before the official release date. But now? My little bouncing baby book is about to come out into this big, crazy world.

It really is a lot like giving birth. And it holds so many similar fears and hopes. What kinds of people will it encounter? Will it be safe? What will it become? Can it withstand scrutiny? What will it be like when not everyone loves it? When people who are not related to it, who are without any emotional or genetic ties, decide its worth? What happens when I’m not able to shelter it?

Because not only is this my baby, it is my life, my faith, my way of seeing the world. And it’s scary to put that out in such a formal, public manner, to risk criticism. Because it’s so personal, it may be hard for me to separate people who disagree with something, or don’t understand, or don’t care for my writing, from criticism of myself.

My friend Stephanie told me something last week that keeps running through my head. I was incredibly anxious about speaking at a pastors’ conference and she pulled me aside and said this: God already gave you the message. All you’re doing is sharing what He already gave.

In other words, too late for angst. Too late to worry about specific words and stories. It’s time to sit back and keep my eyes open to see what God will do, what people He will reach, what lessons He has for me in this. I’m totally fine with that. Pressure is off. I’m now here prepared to enjoy connecting with people who cross my path… starting with the book release party here in Crawfordsville on Friday, May 1 at 7 pm at the Carnegie Museum! If you’re even semi-local, I hope you’ll come by.


SEEING-GOD-graphic-e1430308096807

I’m posting about the release one day early, because I’m going to have lots of guest blog posts to share with you. I’m especially excited that I was invited to post at (in)courage tomorrow, so I’ll be posting that one then. But I’m also really excited today to post at Courtney Westlake’s blog Blessed by Brenna, an amazing blog about an amazing family. Courtney and I share a literary agent and she seems absolutely lovely. Read about some of the things that keep us from seeing God (surely I’m not the only one who stumbles)—and enter to win a copy of my book!


In the meantime, feel free to download a copy of my NEW May prayer prompt calendar. It’s available now.

And now I must go… because TOMORROW IS THE DAY THAT MY BOOK OFFICIALLY RELEASES!

 

 

An Impatient Life: Guest post from Matt Appling

Today I’m thrilled to bring you a guest post from Matt Appling. I discovered him when his book, Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room, was released in 2013. He’s a pastor and an artist—an unusual combination, but naturally one I like :-). He’s a great ...

Read More

91C0JyfdI-L._SL1500_Today I’m thrilled to bring you a guest post from Matt Appling. I discovered him when his book, Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room, was released in 2013. He’s a pastor and an artist—an unusual combination, but naturally one I like :-). He’s a great guy, and I’m indebted to him for a wonderful blurb he gave me for my book. I’ll share that with you later this week. But in the meantime, enjoy this post and check out this book. I just got a copy and haven’t gotten to read it yet, but I am convinced it will be a powerful book for people who have (or are) battling infertility. And I suspect there are insights about life for all of us. Enjoy!


Patience.

It’s a virtue, but it’s never been my strong suit.

It’s not that I’m a demanding person, like I say to my wife, “Where’s my dinner? I want it NOW.” It’s more like “This was supposed to be done yesterday, why is no one moving as fast as I think it should and it’s still raining the weatherman said it would be done by now and I still have about ten things to accomplish before the weekend is done and why hasn’t that person returned my email yet and my kid is crying, when is he going to grow out of this phase?”

You know, it’s like I’m always in a hurry. I want everything to get done yesterday.

Patience has been a slow learning process for me.

_____

IMG_6402 copyFive years ago, my wife, Cheri, and I decided we wanted to have a child. We had enjoyed a few years of happy married life and decided that the time was “right” to upend everything.

And so we tried. And we prayed.

And we waited…

“Why isn’t this happening?” we asked ourselves. We had decided that we were ready to have a kid. We had made plans. And nature was now deviating from the plan. Month after month, no baby came.

After a year of trying, we went to a specialist. Cheri was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s basically the common cold of infertility, very common, but easy to miss with general practitioners. A few treatments here and there, we thought, and we would be on our way.

And yet still, months passed. No baby.

Now we were getting impatient. We felt ourselves pushing against the “clock.” We were starting to get worried. We saw our friends taking the plunge into parenthood. We watched their children grow at an almost alarming rate. A year is a huge difference in the life of a child.

As months turned into years in our infertility journey, we started to learn something about the discipline of patience. We began to realize that no matter what the doctor said, she could not make any guarantees. No matter what treatments we went through, there could be no promises. It was still in God’s hands. No matter how much money we threw at the problem, or how much we prayed, we could not make our child appear any faster.

See, the sensation of impatience comes from the feeling that we should be in control of something. Impatience is our brain rebelling against a world that is ultimately not under our power. When I feel impatient, I want other people to do and act as I see fit. I want the world to bend to my will. I want the Earth to spin a bit faster. I want people to hurry up.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I started to let go of impatience. I sat with Cheri for a week in the hospital when her treatment took a catastrophic turn and thought “This is how our story goes. There is no sense in trying to rush it.” I helped her get back to health for weeks after, over Thanksgiving and Christmas. We planned on more treatments, but then she got sick again and we had to wait a couple of months more.

All of this time, just spent waiting. There was nothing we could do about it. No amount of wailing or worrying, no amount of complaining would change it.

Spending five years waiting for a child changes two people. When my one-month-old son cries, I try to be patient through it. I do not try to rush him through this phase of life. I do not try to make Cheri move faster.

A life spent impatiently is one in which we are never living in the present. A life spent impatiently is one in which we are constantly wishing for a future that is uncertain. An impatient life is a life rushed and a life wasted. Every moment of every day has its value, from the few minutes being stuck in traffic, to the years spent stuck in infertility treatments…

…If only we are willing to be patient.


Matt and Cheri Appling are the authors of “Plus or Minus: Keeping Your Life, Faith and Love Together Through Infertility.” Find Matt’s blog at MattAppling.com.

This website and its content are copyright of Kelly O'Dell Stanley  | © Kelly O'Dell Stanley 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red