Your Aunt Angie knew when she was six that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. I could never pick just one thing I wanted to do, but I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to raise amazing kids who would change the world. I kid you not, I remember writing a paper about that at 17.
I told your dad when we got married I wanted at least four kids. He told me he wasn't having more than two. (God ultimately made us compromise with three.) When we lost our first baby towards the end of the first trimester, I was devastated. I felt like there was this big, gaping hole in the middle of my soul. And then, I remember God comforting me with this: It's going to be okay. You're going to have a son, and things will never be the same.
Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant. And God was right, things were never the same. From the moment you were born, you made this world a better place. You brought joy and peace with your presence. There's always been something special about you. Others see it too, so it's not just mom biased. I can't even begin to say how many pastors have told me "God's hand is on that child."
You're an amazing brother, and a role model to your two younger brothers. You dispel the myth that a teenager has to be disrespectful. Even as you formulate who you are independent of your father and I, you always honor us. There are times I can see you reigning in your temper when we do clash. But you do. You're not perfect, no one is. But you humble me with how diligently you seek to do what's right, with how you humble yourself before God when you do misstep. You've taught me as much as I've taught you over the years.
I've been a little weepy today because it's hitting me that you really have transformed from a boy into a man over this past year. (It doesn't help that you look 26, not 16. Sheesh.) I'm treasuring these moments with you because I know that my time with you is nearing its end. In another year, you'll be finished with high school and I can see how ready you are to start your own life's adventure.
It's a great big world out there, and I know you're going to make it a better one. It's what you were always meant to do. And I was always meant to prepare you for that.
But for now, I'm just going to soak up your presence. I'm going to enjoy that you're still my boy. And today, I'm going to celebrate you. You're one of the greatest miracles God's ever worked in my life.
Happy birthday Dylan Sean.
I'm not much of a joiner these days, I meant to join the Ozarks Romance Authors group (ORA). It took a fellow Booktroper inviting me to the local conference for me to finally take the plunge. My marketing manager was so proud. "Go make friends," she admonished, much the same as I would have encouraged my kids when they were little. I've gotta admit, it was justified. I've been a bit of a hermit lately. Ellen Harger (the fellow Booktroper) and I took a selfie to prove I'd made a friend. The picture turned out pretty blurry, though, so I'm not so sure it'll make it off the phone. Kate will just have to take my word for it.
Photo evidence or no, it was a great weekend and I was happy to meet so many talented authors right here in my neck of the woods. Working for an online company based out of Seattle, it's sometimes easy to get so wrapped up in the interwebs that I don't get to see people face-to-face. It was a nice treat, even for an introvert like me.
And the best news? I'm totally psyched to get my behind in gear on the next book. Cross your fingers for me - this one's long overdue.
It's been way too long since I've checked in. I feel like my books and my readers are long lost friends I haven't seen in a while because this entire year has gone by in such a blur.
You might recall that at the beginning of the year, I accepted the role of Managing Director for Booktrope's Christian imprint, Vox Dei. I love it so much, helping others bring their books into the world. In fact, this past summer I accepted the role of Managing Director for two more of Booktrope's imprints, UPrush and UPdrift. The simplest way to explain those is this: Books parents want to read and the books they want their children to read. They are our parenting and children's/middle grade imprints. That's brought with it a whole new set of challenges, but I love it. I know it's a blessing to have a job that you enjoy as much as I do mine - although sometimes I have to remind myself of that when I start to feel overwhelmed!
Life on the farm has had its usual ebb and flow - things get crazy, then they settle down, only to get crazy again in the blink of an eye. We've added a puppy to our canine numbers. Ralph was dumped on our dirt road, and he's quickly become a part of the family we can't imagine life without. Big sister Holly loves him a lot. Except when she has to share toys - even his - she thinks they all belong to her.
My boys are growing like weeds. Even in all of the chaos, I'm trying really hard to take time each day to simply drink in being their mom. As Dylan gets serious about deciding what to do in life after high school, I'm realizing how quickly they'll all be gone.
A part of me feels guilty for not wrapping up poor Vance's stories yet. But I think my brain needed the break. The stories won't let me not tell them; they just needed to simmer a bit longer.
Oh, and I'm working on a charity event that will be in St. Louis in November. Stay tuned for updates on that, and the organization it's for. They're amazing, and I'm super excited to be some small part of their story.
I hope this summer has been a good one for all of you. Here's to a lovely fall, as well!