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Finding Hope

Our worlds narrow. As we focus on the now around us, on our limits and our needs, it’s hard to look past them to see the more that graces us, just out of reach.

The news threatens us with joblessness, with homelessness, with the falling dollar and the possibility of war. Politicians sit in their cushy chairs and make promises, but the reality of their world barely touches ours.

We forget to look outside. We forget to take walks or just sit, listening to the bird sounds, to crickets at night, to the call of a loon, the hoot of an owl. We forget to stand in a drizzle and let it wash down our hair and over our face. We forget to let the sunrise welcome the day or the sunset ease us into night. Our surroundings pale because we’ve stared at them so long: at the grind of job or home or health. The people sitting across from us at the table—or missing from that table—no longer offer what we need. Their blandness equals ours because we’ve forgotten to look beyond the fear and the hurt and the sameness.

If we live in the city, we forget that there are stars in that night sky, not just city lights. But even the city holds wonders: the subway street musician blowing his horn, the smile of the vendor when we bother to look and offer one of our own, the bustle of humanity with stories so different from ours. We forget to sit and sip and watch, because there’s always that worry, that need to hurry. We forget to listen to someone else’s heart—not just a lover’s.

I spoke with my daughter this morning. Her first baby is due in a few months, and she has the normal fears of impending motherhood. So many of her friends experienced post-partum depression. Will she?

Depression happens. Deep, debilitating depression needs more help than merely an attitude change. Don’t think I take that lightly. I’ve known depression, and I’ve known of those captured by it to the point of suicide. But for most of us, we can recognize the state and consider our focus.

I grew up in the sixties when we were just coming out of the Jack Kerouac “beat” era and becoming flower-children. We wrote and spoke a lot about self, especially in the art world I frequented. Self-actualization. Self-awareness. Self-self-self. It’s very easy to get caught up in that: we want it all. We deserve it all. We can and should be able to control it all.

And then something happens, and we discover we can’t. Someone gets sick. Someone loses a job. Someone fails. Someone leaves. And we want to know why, how, what? Even if the bad doesn’t happen (and, honey, if it hasn’t happened to you, well, I’m thrilled for you), we can still lose sight of the bigger, glorious world. The one in which our Creator beckons with that sunrise, that fish plopping, that bird singing, that wrinkled smile on the subway flutist.

Let’s try to look at the horizon a few times every day. To take that walk and let the endorphins do their work. To look around and see past our tiny little world to the one that offers hope. And let’s reach out. If you’re not the one hurting, maybe someone around you is. If you hurt, someone around you wants to listen. And if they don’t, I will.

No matter what happens. In time of sickness and pain. In time of loss and loneliness. In time of war and disaster. There is hope. There is joy. We just have to look up.

–Normandie

You can find out more about Normadie’s novels on her web page at: http://www.normandiefischer.com/, and if you’d like to communicate with her, there’s a contact link on her site for just that.

Also check out Normandie’s upcoming releases Becalmed and Sailing out of Darkness on her Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/Normandie-Fischer/e/B00BSIF2NI.

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Also, if you’d like to check out my own releases–Hummingbird, Renaissance, and others, they can be found on my Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/David-Stearman/e/B008EKIOZG

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To Find Success, Learn to Embrace the Meantime

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I came from a broken family who only knew broken ways. I felt adrift and couldn’t seem to find direction. Everything I did was always to please others, yet it left me empty and even more lost. I saw others being happy, successful, but every day felt like just more pain. I was terrified of making mistakes, paralyzed by the thought I might “fail” or be a “failure.” That’s one of the reasons I blog so much on changing our relationship with failure. If we don’t, we can never see success.

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Anyway, in college, I ran across a book that changed something very important in my belief system. My roommate was watching Oprah and she was interviewing Iyanla Vanzant and talking about her first book In the Meantime. When I read the book, a large part of what was wrong became instantly clear. I was always either looking back—at my missteps, wrong choices, dumb moves, or even romanticizing the past—or I was looking to the future. I could be happy when…

Once I finished my degree, life would be different…

Once I landed a good job, life would be better…

Once, I had X, did Y, learned Z, THEN it would all be perfect.

What I was forgetting was the largest part of what we experience…the meantime. The meantime has a purpose. It changes us, grows us, prepares us for our futures. When we set about to become successful writers, we are sowing seeds of something great. Years later, Joyce Meyers took Iyanla’s teachings to the next level for me. She taught me that:

There is seed, time and harvest.

More accurately, there is seed…TIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMME, MORE TIIIIIIIMMMMEEE, PROBABLY EVEN MORE TIMMMMMMMEEEE, then harvest. (Repeat)

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Joyce helped me understand that patience is more than the ability to wait; it’s how we act while we wait.We have to learn to get good at the waiting. We need to make use of the waiting. That’s part of why I write so many lessons about the character we need to be successful. The world is full of shooting stars, people who rise to the top, but who lack the character and strength of will to remain there. We can use the meantime to grow as people and professionals so that when fortune finally favors us, we have staying power.

The meantime has a purpose, but it’s usually longer than we’d like it to be. It’s the part the movies puts into a montage. It’s where the newbie and mentor finally are on the same page and we see the protagonist running in the snow, punching bags, or studying all night. It’s about three minutes long and has nifty music, and man, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just do the tough part of this journey in a montage?

*sings * I need a montage, a MONTAGE!

We all want to reach the mountain top , but nothing grows there. We will spend most of our lives in the valley on our way to the next mountain and the next. Once you finish your first book, then you need to edit, to publish. Then there is the next book and the next. Mountain after mountain with valley in between.

But the valley is where we grow. Valley is meantime. Make your meantime count. Learn, make friends, forge relationships. Instead of fixating on sales numbers of your book, let it go. Write more. Read about the craft. Take craft classes and write more books. Meantime is everything and if we don’t learn to enjoy it, we miss out on the largest part of life.

Do you struggle with your meantime? Is it hard waiting? I know I am still growing in that area for sure! Have you become good at waiting? Do you find joy in your meantime? How? Tell us about it!

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of March I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

You can enter Kristen’s contest by clicking here and leaving a comment on Kristen’s excellent blog: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/to-find-success-learn-to-embrace-the-meantime/

BTW–This blog post is an outreach of David Stearman Ministries. Please feel free to check out David’s latest adventure novel, Hummingbird, by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Hummingbird-ebook/dp/B008QMSBW8 

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