Friday, June 25, 2010

Playing Chicken with a Duck

As I was driving down a narrow, seldom traveled back road today, late as usual, I spied something moving n the road ahead. Partially obscured by tree shadows, it wasn't until I was nearly upon it that I recognized the object in my path as a fat black and white duck waddling toward me down the center of the road.

I squealed to a stop about 10 yards in front of the quacky quacker but undaunted, she just kept bringing it.

When she wouldn't deviate from her preferred route straddling the center line, I laid on my horn. All she did was stop, stick her stubborn little beak in the air and park her feathered butt to roost right there. She had no pressing engagements; we could be there all day.

What was wong with this chick? Here's a 2-ton van versus a 5-lb bird and she thinks she can win? Steel and chrome versus webbed feet and tail feathers? C'mon!

And we both obviously felt we were entitled - that we had more right to be there and own the road than the other.

It occurred to me, as we stared each other down, halted at an impasse because neither party was willing to give an inch, that I was witnessing a metaphor of my writing life.

How many times am I rendered immobile by silly obstacles that I allow to hinder pursuit of my writing goals? Obstacles of my own making or even small speed bumps that I allow to swell and loom over me like the Alps?

The thing blocking my path may seem like an immovable precipice to me, but in reality, it's the size of a duck.

In trying to remove this pecking roadblock, I discovered that horns don't work, opponent size doesn't matter, time is not a factor and rank is irrelevant. But there IS a way around it. It just takes effort and a plan.

So I got out of the car in the 95 degree heat, walked right up tot he obstinant entree, nudged her with my foot and scrambled to avoid her anpping beak. Squawking her annoyance, she finally moved, herded to the side of the road by my perseverant shooing.

My hot and sweaty lesson? Don't waste your time playing chicken with a duck.

Regardless of your formidable advantage, you won't win unless you formulate a plan, are willing to leave your comfy air-conditioned vantage point, put a little sweat into it and execute.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All Work and No Play Makes Debbie Eat Chocolate

I've been working feverishly on my new book manuscript, Too Blessed to Stay Stressed, and have been struggling to find down time. In that vein of thought, I'd like to share an excerpt from Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers about the importance of taking a break.

The following is from my chapter, "Making Time for a Cyber Sabbath."

When I worked at McDonalds as a teenager, I got so overdosed with the smells and sight of fast food that when I was off duty, the last thing I wanted was a burger or fries. Somehow the writing profession doesn't work that way. The more we write, the more we want to write; the more we need to write.

It's an addiction. The computer absorbs more and more of our attention. We become cyber-junkies.

Writing evolves into not just five days a week, but gradually six, then seven. The "I'll only be a few more minutes" we tell our kids turns into two hours. They finally give up.

As demanding as Jesus' life was, He still managed to find a quiet place for rest and prayer. And none of us have work that is more important than Jesus'! Our weekly respites, like His, can provide renewed perspective, regeneration of energy, and time to invest in the lives of those most precious to us.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Title is Born

Sooo excited to finalize the title of my newest Barbour book this week; after bantering back and forth, my wonderful editor and I agreed on a doozy: Too Blessed to Stay Stressed. It's the first of a series for frazzled women and I've been amazed about the feedback I've received in the few days since the announcement was made.

"Oooh, I need to read that book now!"

"Want to interview me for your book? I'm the expert on stress!"

"Can't wait to sink my teeth into that one!"

"Hey, I could write a few volumes about stress!"

Just affirms that today's women are trying to keep so many balls in the air, we're feeling the strain. We yearn for relief from the fray. We want to stop the madness!

I'm so happy to be able to share with my frenzied friends some of the things Papa God has been teaching me - practical pathways to everyday peace. Of course, sometimes my foot slips off the path and I end up ragged out and battle-weary at the end of a busy day. But I think that's all part of the plan. We have to experience the worst before we can appreciate the better.

And that what makes a terrific book - when we pour ourselves and our experiences into print. Our passion transfers and then transforms the reader as we go through our own metamorphosis.

So we mustn't begrudge our hard times or grueling experiences. We may just be doing book research and not know it!

May your blessings overshadow your stressings!