When Trust Falters

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5 NIV

I set up a window bed for my cat, Finnegan, several months ago. It has been his favorite bed in the entire house. He is able to perch there while I’m writing, blogging, Skyping, coloring or working on puzzles. He likes it because he can look outside at the birds and people walking their dogs while I’m busy. It keeps him close to me without having him sprawled across the keyboard or on my coloring page. But it fell off the windowsill last week. I fixed it with new velcro strips, but he doesn’t trust it now.

It reminds me of how we can lose trust also. Maybe we are praying for a loved one to be healed, and we trust God will answer. Sometimes he answers in a way that causes us deep pain and sorrow. We don’t see the good in what has happened. We ask God why? And we can waver in our trusting Him with future prayers. If He let us down this time, He might do it again.

We become like my cat, who stares at the bed, wanting so much to jump to the comfort he once felt but doesn’t trust it will hold him.

Dear readers, I assure you God is trustworthy. We may not understand the why of our unanswered prayers or mis-answered prayers. We look at things from a human perspective through our own disappointment and pain. But if we take a step back from the darkness around us, we will see our loved one is alive and completely healed. This is God’s love and promise fulfilled. What cannot be healed on earth, can be healed in heaven.

Are you struggling with trusting God? Can you take a step forward and reach out in prayer for Him to remove any pain or anger and to heal your heart?

Father, forgive me for doubting You and leaning on my own understanding instead of trusting in You. I know I am a broken human and I need You to show me how to trust again. I know there is a reason for what happened and that I may never understand the why. Help me to accept this and move forward in trust. In the trustful name of Jesus. Amen.

Writer's Journal

Rule Makers of the Publishing World – To Listen or Not

A few days ago, I thought the book I’m now writing would be my last. Why? Because I had reached the middle. Looking back on my writing over the years, I remember how I hit that doubt point with every single book I wrote, except for my first.

With the first, I wasn’t considering if it was good enough or if I was “following” the rules…

So what are those rules anyway? Things established by people who are writers, editors, publishers. Sometimes these rules get too stringent and too literal. A writer can get caught up in trying to be “perfect” while the popular best sellers don’t adhere to these rules at all. We are told it’s because they have already established a name for themselves with readers.

My argument is this. If they established a name for themselves with not following the rules, why don’t we do the same? As I’ve matured, I learned to stop listening to the rule makers of the publishing world. Doing so can cause a writer to lose their voice and become one of the masses.

I don’t want to be one of the masses. I am an individual. That’s how God created me. I want every book to bring hope to a broken world and to honor Him in doing so. If I become a “established a name” author, it won’t be because my work is “perfect.” It will be because what I write is pleasing to God and He deigns it to be so.

Finnegan's Diary

I Love Children and Dislike Beds That Fall (Finnegan’s Diary)

I was so excited when my best buddy, Rhyan, came to visit on Sunday! She came to see me when I first came to live here and she’s been back a couple other times. She loves me and we have a lot of fun playing together. Mommy thinks my past home had children in it, and I’m thinking it’s true. I do love the children. They are smaller than the big folks and get on the floor to play with me. I know they won’t ever hurt me and I let them do things I don’t even completely trust my mommy to do…like pet my tummy.

Rhyan and I had so much fun playing together. Here are some pictures.

The last picture is me, Rhyan, and Rhyan’s grandma. Mommy took the picture. Can you tell how much I love Rhyan? I really do.

I was sad when they left. On Monday, even though I was napping on mommy’s lap and knew she wasn’t gone, when I heard the garage door (mommy says it was the neighbor’s door) I hurried to wait by the kitchen door to see if Rhyan had come back to play with me. I wish she lived here, too. Mommy keeps saying I need to have another kitty to play with, but she is worried I might not be nice and want to share my home, plus our house is small and she doesn’t know where she’d put more cat litter pans. That’s okay. I’d rather she would get me a little child instead.

On Friday, there was a bad thing that happened. My favorite cat bed in the office window fell down. I was sleeping so soundly and happy and then it just collapsed and made a huge noise. I fell to the desk and mommy’s water glass spilled and the container of pens fell and rolled all over the floor. Mommy fixed the bed and even put a stack of books under it in case it ever loosened again, but I don’t trust it. I have been completely avoiding it. I’ve spent all my time in the bedroom either looking out that window or sleeping on the bed. This morning mommy moved all the furniture around and put my cat tower in front of the living room windows so I’d have another place to lay where I can watch what’s happening outside. Sometimes I just lay on mommy’s desk when she’s there, but I lay on the papers she’s working on and she gives up and leaves. I look at that bed and sometimes she puts me there, but I jump right down. It scares me.

Well, I guess I better say so long until next Wednesday. I’m going to head to the bedroom where I feel more comfortable and listen for the garage door.

Author's Life · Writer's Journal

A Writer’s Thoughts About Retirement

I write because I love the art of writing. When my first novel was published in 2006, I felt accomplished. I’d reached a lifelong dream. I was eager to promote myself as an author and to tell everyone about my book. I was with a smaller publisher which taught me a lot about editing and marketing. At the time, I had a lucrative office job, and spent my lunch hours and evening hours writing.

Publishing was different then. Marketing was just beginning through social media and online groups. I was able to remain faceless while interacting through blog hopping, and pretending to be my characters in online promotions. So much fun! I dreamed of retiring from my day job and writing full-time.

Years passed, and self-publishing arrived on the scene. My writing group was adamant about being part of the Romance Writer’s of America organization. I had to pay dues to RWA and to my local writing group. But I had made the decision to branch out on my own and be in charge of my own career. I still don’t know if it was the right move or not, but I can tell you there is a lot of knowledge a writer needs before deciding to self-publish. You can’t just write something and shove it out there. Oh, you can, but those are the kinds of publications which began to give self-published authors a bad rep. The members of my writing group looked at me as someone inferior because I wasn’t seeking a publisher through the traditional routes.

Still, I hung on and did my own thing. Mostly because I retired and had new responsibilities with taking care of my mother who now lived with us and my husband who became very ill. I didn’t need deadlines. After suffering the loss of my mother, then my husband, and soon thereafter, my son, I found writing didn’t offer the joy it once did. I struggled along and published a few books, but no longer was I doing any marketing. Eventually, I decided to fully retire and took my books off market.

In 2022, I felt the desire to write more than my blogs. I picked up a book idea from the past and soon it was a published novel. But I didn’t have the money or the drive to do any marketing. Books that aren’t properly marketed will not survive in the overly saturated self-published sea of novels. My close contacts purchased my books, and some even left reviews, along with a handful of strangers who read the book through Kindle Unlimited. My career fell flat. Now as I am writing another book in the series I planned, I am discouraged when I see my published novels are not producing reads.

It discourages me, though I still have the desire to continue writing stories. What will I do with this? I’m on the fence. On one hand, if I remove the books from publication, I won’t have to worry about the small income when tax time comes. On the other hand, I want to think each book is meant to reach one person and hopefully provide hope and open eyes to how God can work in our lives.

Writing can be a wonderful ride but can also get stuck along the tracks of life. What does a writer do when retirement becomes the driving force? What do we do with the stories in our head or he need to feel the pressure of the keys on a keyboard and words filling the blank white space?

Finnegan's Diary

Puzzles and Big Windows (Finnegan’s Diary)

One of my favorite places to be is at the front door when it is opened. There is a big glass window much bigger than me! I can relax on the floor and watch through the window. One day mommy said it was like spring and then she carried two big pots of green stuff from the garage and put them on the big table on the porch. I stayed inside and watched through this big window. I don’t want to go out there because it is a little scary, even if that’s where the birds are.

It’s been a quiet, normal week for us. Mommy still goes out sometimes, but I hear her when she comes back and wait for her by the door. She is always happy to see me and that makes me purr. She didn’t bring me any new toys. She says I have enough. I think I need more because I do get bored. She’s been talking about how I need a buddy to wrestle with and play chase. Mommy plays chase with me and I will run from room to room, but she never tries to really catch me. Then I dive into the tunnel and she plays like she can’t find me. It’s better than nothing, but she gets tired quickly.

Mostly I content myself with sleeping close to her in whatever room she’s in. I helped her put together a puzzle. Well, mostly I supervised. It was a big puzzle and do you know what she did when we finished it? She took it apart! That made no sense to me at all.

This puzzle was a little lame because it had a dog in a chair. Should have been a cat! Mommy says she we are going to work a puzzle next with lots of cats in the picture. That’ll be fun. I’m a good supervisor. Her puzzle board tilts up and I’ll run from one side under the board to the other side. She laughs. That’s part of supervising. Making sure she laughs.

Nothing much to share this week. Mommy didn’t take many pictures. I need to remind her she needs more pictures of me for my blog. It’s looking like another sunny day, so I’m going to jump to my window bed and take a morning nap. Mommy is coming and will want to take over the computer. So, until next week, this is me reporting from Finnegan’s Diary!