Climbing Out of Quicksand

Ever have a day where you feel as if you are stuck in quicksand? Not that I’ve ever been in quicksand, but today I feel that way. Nothing seems to interest me. I can’t get inspired or motivated by anything. Sigh.

There are many things I could accomplish, but I don’t have energy to apply. This happens to me occasionally, but I’ve never been able to understand what causes it. Perhaps it is not having any commitments, and not having anyone, human or pet, who needs my attention. Looking back over my life, it seems I’ve always been taking care of someone or following through on commitments (mostly work life).

Now I’m retired. I live alone. I am dependent on myself to make a good day. I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a fish. A fish wouldn’t require a lot of clean up, like a cat or dog. I know I’m missing my furry family a lot. I’m also missing my hubby. Someone who I can talk to, or who will interrupt me when I’m concentrating on writing.

I used to think I was an introvert who could live alone without any companionship. God showed me this isn’t true. So today I may venture to a pet store and purchase a fish. Maybe that will give me a branch to climb out of the quicksand. Anyone a fish fan?

Turning Things Around

My writing is usually about showing how God can take broken lives and mend them providing hope and forgiveness. However, my first two books were written for the secular marketplace and published through a traditional publisher. In order to offer the kind of books I wanted to write, I became my own publisher at a time when self-publishing was looked down upon. However, I knew this is where God was leading me.

My time with the publishers taught me the basics of the publishing world and I spent time learning as much as I could before publishing on my own. Since that time, the publishing world has changed drastically. Many, many people have begun self-publishing. This, to the extent, that a reader has a lot of choices. While my first two books remain showing on Amazon as unavailable, they can never be deleted. Sad. So when I republish them, they will have new titles and new covers.

With thoughts about turning things around, I decided why not use the two stories I wrote nearly 20 years ago and make them new? Resurrect them and give them new hope? Write them from a Christian viewpoint? So that is what I am doing now.

I have learned it is possible to write a good story without needing curse words or sex scenes. The books I write and want to continue writing offer a safe reading experience about real people, real emotions, and the problems they face. But they also offer hope and healing because God always has a better plan.

Look for two new books to be released this year that have been resurrected and given new life through God’s better plan! More to come…

The Blessings of Life

Today I’ll be spending the afternoon with my granddaughter, who just turned 17, as we celebrate her birthday watching the movie Top Gun – Maverick, followed by dinner after. I have enjoyed sharing one on one time with my grandchildren for many years on each of their birthdays. The last birthday we do this is on their 18th. In three years, all my grandchildren will be 18 or older. Hard to believe how fast the years have passed.

I was thinking this morning of how special our grandchildren are to us, and how different from when our children are born. With our children, we learned with them as they grew. We made mistakes, we worried, we prayed and tried our best. Then one day, we were holding the child of our child in our arms. This little one became the responsibility of our child to raise. We were at a different stage of life and these little babies were ours to spoil and send back to the safety of their parents’ arms.

I’ve heard my children say many times: “That’s not the woman I grew up with.” And one day, they will hear the same thing. Life is a circle. I feel blessed to be part of a never-ending circle of life. As my grandchildren come of age, I no longer carry a picture album in my purse to show to everyone I meet. Times have changed. My grandchildren are getting married and having babies of their own. Now I hold great grandchildren in my arms. And when I do, I remember God telling Abraham He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. He has carried through on that promise, and I thank God I am part of those descendants, as are my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

The Child I Was – Background

I’ve been thinking about some books I’ve written about heroines scarred by living in bad foster care situations or with mothers who suffered addiction or mental disease. I have memories as a child that made me long to be with a mother who abandoned me for four years and my brother since he was two and my sister a baby. I will never know her full story because she didn’t ever want to talk about it. As a child, my imagination spun stories all revolving around my mommy coming home to get me.

I was different from my friends, who all lived in families with a mom and dad and siblings. I lived with my grandmother and grandfather and my brother lived far away with his dad, my stepdaddy. My baby sister lived with her aunt and uncle and was raised as their daughter.

Those early formative years for me began the process of making me an introvert. I never felt truly loved or wanted. Not even after my mom came to get me to live with her and my new stepdaddy. We all lived in a house with my new grandparents. I missed my other grandparents and cried and cried when I was taken away.

Throughout my growing up years, I never felt as if I belonged anywhere. I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. When I lived with my grandma and grandpa after mom left, we had running water, a bathroom and bathtub. After mom took me away, we lived in a house that had a pump outside where we drew water into a bucket. We didn’t have a bathroom with a tub and toilet. The toilet was outside in a little wooden house.

This was a huge change in my life. But children adapt easily. Except for a little girl, whose imagination, created stories of better places, better things. Stories made while riding a horse made from a stick and galloping into fairy worlds beside the creek waters.

This is the memoir I’m trying to capture for my family. The book I’m titling “The Child I Was.” The years they never knew me. I want them to understand what made me the woman I am today. So why did I begin this with the previous novels with heroines who had scarred childhoods? I think you can figure this out after reading the blog post. And also because in novels you don’t often find parents being a big part of the story. In many novels, the parents are deceased.

No one is perfect. We have children and do our best to raise them with good morals, hope, and lots of love. We make mistakes along the way because we are learning along with them, and our pasts help and hinder us.

A Word Can Change A Life

Our words are powerful. The Book of James teaches us that none of us can tame the tongue. With offer blessings and curses from the same tongue. Ugh. Have you ever stopped to think about that? About your words?

Looking back, I see how I’ve failed in the past to use kind and encouraging words. Instead I spoke through my own pain trying to wound another, and I’m sure succeeded. I sinned. And by doing so, I caused pain not only to another, but brought more pain upon myself. But words cannot be unspoken or unheard.

As I have matured in Christ, I hope I’ve become less apt to speak without thinking. Words can hurt or encourage. I want to be an encouragement to others when I speak. Last fall, a follower of my blog, Andy Oldham, commented on one of my posts that I should add my books back for sale on Amazon. He didn’t realize how much I needed encouragement to come out of a boring retirement. I’d been receiving signs from God not to waste the gift He gave me. This was another, and one that gave me courage to move.

This word of encouragement led to the rising of the passion to write again. To share stories of how God uses the pain and brokenness in lives to create a new faith-based life through forgiveness and trust. Katy’s Heart, a book God asked me to write years ago, came to fruition because God used one of my reader’s to light a fire. Thank you, Andy!

Katy’s Heart was published in digital format on June 7, and paperback on June 9. The reviews on Facebook have been encouraging. All glory goes to God. I write always after prayer and seeking His wisdom. God never fails!

Some “reviews” left in comments on Facebook.

“I have just finished reading Katy’s Heart. By far the best inspirational and heart felt book. I enjoyed every page from beginning to end. Carol Ann always puts her heart and soul into her books and I recommend everyone should read this one.”

“LOVE your book. Can’t put it down!! I’m in awe of your talent.”

“I started this at 2 AM and am on chapter 13….I love it….”

“Just finished your new book on Kindle. It was AWESOME!! Amazing work! Hope you have a great day. Love you Carol Ann Erhardt!”

Word of mouth and Amazon reviews are the only advertising I do. I encourage anyone who reads my books to please leave an honest short review on Amazon and tell your friends.

Use your words to encourage others and not to hurt them. If they hurl insults and curses at you, do not retaliate. Whisper the name of Jesus for strength and to provide a protection, and then pray for the ones who mean to do you harm. I speak truth in telling you how a word of encouragement from a virtual stranger changed my life. Be that person in the lives of others.