Monday, February 24, 2014

A Beautiful Delay

What a surprising journey life can be!

The Lord has recently blessed me with an amazing opportunity- and I don't use the term lightly, it's truly amazing!

My dear sister, Sonia Grace, starting taking gymnastics a while back. After conversations with some of the moms during gymnastics, my mom and I figured out that one of these ladies used to be an editor for Harper-Collins Publishing.

Did you catch that?


Then there's me, sitting nearby writing a book.

(Skip ahead a few weeks.)

The proof copies of my book come and I have an extra. My first thought is to give it to our editor friend from gymnastics and ask her to read it and see what she thinks.

I hand her the book and she is ecstatic. Naturally I am, too.

Days later my mom gets a text from our friend saying, "Hey, if she'd be interested I'd love to meet with you and Bailey sometime to talk about her book. I've gotten through the first two chapters and I have a few ideas. Just let me know when and where, etc."

A former editor wants to talk to me about my book? YES PLEASE!

This past Friday we met with her at Starbucks(in case you were wondering- I'm not a coffee person but their hot chocolate is sent from Heaven).

Honestly, I was terrified she was going to hate it. I had never had someone as professional as her read it, much less talk to me about it.

We got there and she said, "First, I love this story and where it's going, I can't wait to see what happens." Then she proceeds to tell me that I need more details here and there. A word needs to be changed in some sentences.

I began to become thankful that she was(and is) spending the time reading my book and putting thought into it.

The ideas she had were beautiful. The editing and the new paragraphs would be in my words and they would make the rest of the book so much stronger.

All of this being said, Saturday morning around 8:45am, I began the editing process for the 387th 4th time. If we're being honest- I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This sweet editor friend is going to go through the entire book with me a couple chapters at a time and I'm SO excited to see the end results.

So if you're sitting there reading this post you're probably thinking, "Well, won't this delay the publishing of her book?"

Yes. Yes it will.

But I would rather someone open my book and think, "Wow. I can't believe a 16 year old wrote this." Then think, "This is pretty good."

My goal for publishing(the book being for sale to the public) is now this summer around July.

Thanks again for walking this journey with me. Even though it may be a little later than I was hoping, I cannot wait for you to read this book.

Through this all He has shown me that His way is greater and that He has amazing things in store for me if I just wait for Him.

I know waiting for July will be hard and it will seem like the longest five months but I also know that He will make it beautiful. It will be a beautiful delay, a beautiful time of waiting and writing.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Of Stress and His Presence.

Long story short: it had been a long day.

Late for an appointment. Find out it had been cancelled. They see me anyway. Brother is sick. Car troubles. Chemistry and math left to do and it's after four o'clock.

At that point, I was still reminding myself to breathe. 

I hugged a friend at church, "It's been a long day," I said to her and began my story. She listened and we laughed at the mishaps.

We sat down for the announcements before singing began and my soul was uneasy. It had been a crazy day to say the least.

We began to sing. One of my dearest friends led from the keyboard. And I breathed in His grace as I stood worshipping.

Within seconds, I felt Him saying, "I'm here, dear child. You have no need to worry." I smiled and sang to this Jesus who promises rest after the craziest days.

With hands raised and voice praising Him, I remembered what my Bible study had talked about just that morning.

The Ark of the Covenant was made so the Lord could dwell in and among His people as they traveled throughout the desert. The Lord made the ultimate sacrifice so that He could dwell within us, day after day.

I then realized I didn't have to stand at church to feel His peace and Presence. His peace and presence are with me every moment of every day.

What a beautiful gift. What a beautiful Jesus.

As I write this, the sun is shining and the clouds dot the sky like stretched out cotton balls and I smile. Last week it was snowing and cold. This week it's 60 degrees and I wouldn't have it any other way.

He is near, friends. And He wants us to enjoy the things around us that show us His glory and majesty so clearly.

The sun and the warmth remind me of His mercy and grace.

The clouds remind me that He is always near, even in the hard days- like yesterday.

And together I'm reminded of what a glorious, gift-giving Jesus I serve. The Jesus that allows us to be in His Presence day in and day out.

These lyrics are the same ones I sang last night as a cry to Jesus. Read them and rest in His Presence.

"There's nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You're our Living Hope
Your Presence

I've tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord...
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord..."

{Lyrics from "Holy Sprit" by Jesus Culture.}

For He is our living Hope. He is the sweetest Love. His glory is what we long for.

Don't let the stress of the day get in the way. Rest in His Presence.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Celebrate. And Live.

Today you are 22. And as Dr. Seuss would say, "Today you are you-er than you!"

If you were here I'd have sent you a tender birthday card to add to the pile of letters we had sent over the past two years.

If you were here I'd call and we'd sing "22" at the top of our lungs, laughing at the end.

If you were here we'd have sent you a birthday in a box like we did your sophomore year.

If you were here...

But you're not.

And today that hits like a brick.

Today on your birthday I wish you were here.

I wish you were here so we could laugh about the craziness that is my life. 

I wish you were here so we could text all the time.

I wish you were here so we could send letters and have our special days.

I wish you were here so you could see my book published. 

But you're not. 

Today you wouldn't want me to be sad.

You would want me to live abundantly for Him.

So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

I'm going let today bring healing.

I'm going to let our Savior refresh me in His grace, step by step.

And I'm going to celebrate you by LIVING.

I miss you. A lot.

Happy 22nd birthday, Paige Elizabeth.

I love you, dear friend.

~Bailey Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Read Books. Go Places.

Over the years, I have read a great many books.

Some were novels. Some story-books.

Some were read to me. Some I read myself.

Nevertheless, a book is a marvelous thing. Words strung together, sentences paired, conversations created to make something wondrous, sometimes even adventurous.

When I was younger, I loved to have stories read to me. Sometimes at night we would sit in the living room, gathered together, reading books together as a family. If dad didn't read, he without a doubt fell asleep. But when he did read, the stories seemed to come to life a little bit more.

Around age twelve or thirteen, my mom insisted I read a book entitled, Little Women. It seemed dull, boring and I didn't want to read it. When I became bored one day with nothing to do, I finally gave in and began devouring the pages. The characters were enchanting, the writing beautiful and the story captivating. I fell in love with the lives of Jo, Beth, Amy, Meg, and Laurie, too, of course. This story of four Little Women became my first favorite book.

My best friend began suggesting books, and to her, I wasn't really a reader. She, however, was a reader. Emily read books all the time, she always had a new story to share with me. One day she basically handed me a book and said, "Read this." I read it. And after reading Little Women and several others, I guess you could officially say I was a reader.

Because I am a reader, I am a writer. New books still captivate me with their stories and characters, if they are good books.

I learn to write by reading. I better my writing by reading things by better authors than me.

But in every book I read, I go somewhere new. I learn new things.

In each page turned, in each character I read about, my imagination grows.

In each scenario, each place I read about, I go somewhere new.

Some people say reading books is a boring thing to do.

When you read books, your imagination is given the chance to grow, to go places you would have never dreamed of going.

When a character dies, when you finish a fabulous book, your heart aches and it feels as if you are leaving a piece of you behind.

So I sit here writing, hoping you will read this, or at least read something.

Because I go places in my writing, in this gift He has given me.

God, for His glory, has given us the gift of imagination. Use it.

Read books. Go places.