With all the changes on the home front and in my life the past few months, and the intensity of having a new job, a very special day nearly snuck up on me without my noticing. Publication Day!
Today, the third book of the “365” series, 365 Life Shifts, is available for sale. This is the second book of the series that I have been published in. (See this page for the first book I was in, 365 Moments of Grace, which became an International Best Seller.)
“365 Life Shifts” could be a daily devotional, or a book you dip into randomly whenever you need a bit of encouragement. The stories, from over 200 different authors, flow together in themes of changed perceptions, changed mindsets, and changed lives.
My story, “The Lesson of the Zipper,” came about by request. My chapter in “365 Moments of Grace” happened to be about my daughter. So, this time around, my son requested that I write about him. Fair’s fair, and so I did.
My chapter in “365 Life Shifts” tells the story of a day of firsts for my son – several life shifts that launched him from the path of the little child, onto that of the big boy.
My hope is that my story, and the others that you’ll read, will encourage you to make your own “life shifts.”
Purchase your own copy through Amazon or direct from me for a personalized autograph message.
And check this blog Wednesday for something special!
Unsigned Paperback: Click Here or on cover photo to order directly from Amazon!
E-book/Kindle: (coming soon!)
Signed Paperback…complete the form below! (Please allow two to three weeks for delivery as I personalize the inscription and mail these books myself.) $26.00 includes paperback book, author dedication and signature in ink, and shipping anywhere in the U.S. I will email you before signing your book to verify the details.
As I mentioned a blog or four ago, I have been out of work since February 1, 2016. Nearly 53 weeks at this point.
At first, the time to regroup and decide what I wanted to do was wonderfully refreshing! I probably spent a little too much time online, but through various courses, and interacting with my friends who were coaches, I was learning a lot. Changing and growing a lot, too. Beginning to figure out where I wanted to go with my life.
So why then was I stuck in unemployment, with no decent prospects? That was a good question, one that I didn’t have an answer to.
Six months dragged by. I applied to only “good jobs” at first, but quickly moved on to “any job that is legal that I can physically do, whether or not I’d like it.” (Not particularly a good vibe to have when job-hunting, by the way!)
Unemployment benefits ran out in August, and I began scrambling to pick up odd jobs (online, mostly) to supplement occasional income teaching sewing and other crafts. I began to go through a lot of “who am I” and “what do I want to be when I grow up” soul searching. And, I prayed for a good job, a job that would be interesting and use my strengths and meet my financial needs.
Come January, those prayers were getting urgent. I was nearly out of money, budgeting gas to get to church and other places I had to be. I didn’t know what I was going to do when the last dollars disappeared.
Then – a miracle.
A phone call out of the blue. A call from an out of state recruiter about a job I hadn’t even applied for.
Now, at first I was skeptical, thinking it was a scam. But no! It was a real job! One that would be steady work, in an interesting field, using my strengths. Okay pay, too, considering how drastically I have cut back expenses in the past year.
In hold-on-to-your-hat speed, I had a phone interview, an in person interview, a second in person interview, and a job offer…all in just five days and it might have been faster except for the intervening weekend.
This time of year, so many of us have favorite traditions. Some traditions go back years, some decades, a few go back centuries. But millennia?
Yes, millennia. Nearly 2,000 years, to be exact.
Let me explain.
A bit over a year ago, I tagged along to visit a church that I knew nothing about, which automatically made it “weird” and “wrong,” right? My main motive was to listen to the “strange teachings” they were bound to try to pass off as truth, and counter them with the real truth from scripture.
That first evening, it was like another world. Strange doesn’t begin to cover it! To my traditional-Protestant-and-non-denominational eyes, this was anything BUT traditional!
But, then I learned more.
I learned of the faith of the early apostles, and of the men they directly taught and to whom they passed the responsibility of teaching the Gospel. I learned of the lives of the people who taught that Gospel orally for years before writing down what they knew, in books and letters that became our New Testament. I learned of traditions that I had never known existed, traditions that had been followed for nearly 2,000 years in some cases.
Gradually, the strange little church and its people grew on me.
Beeswax prayer candles were the first tradition to feel okay, followed by a cappella choral music. (Their rendition of a song described in 150 A.D. as “that ancient hymn” became the perfect way to greet the evening.) Incense ceased to be a strange smell, and began to represent our prayers being borne aloft to God, a sweet smell in His Presence.
Slowly, but surely, the little church drew me in.
So much so that, late last summer, I officially declared my intent to become a member of this beautiful, old, traditional church. And today, December 10, I was accepted into the Orthodox Church through baptism and chrismation (anointing with oil, which represents being anointed with and sealed by the Holy Spirit).
This year as we approach Christmas, I am experiencing a deeper, older tradition than in any years previous – a tradition that includes Saint Nicholas, the real person who later was generalized into Santa Claus, and many other traditions as well.
There are elements of my old traditions this year – traditions mere minutes old when compared to true traditions – though much of what is truly old feels very new to me.
It will take time before these new traditions feel like old friends. But I’m glad to have discovered them!
Whatever your traditions this year, have a wonderfully traditional Christmas!
It started out in January with a health scare involving my boyfriend’s parents, which lead to him spending a month located three states and a time zone away.
A part time job that had only partially met my financial needs ended on February first.
I started an online business (The School of Lost Arts) teaching long-forgotten self-reliance skills via two-way live video, and got my first students.
I came to understand my faith in a way I never had before, thanks to a small church in a very old tradition (more about that in a later post!)
And, that understanding lead to a need to make a change in living arrangements.
It was hard.
It felt like we were breaking up.
I fervently hoped and prayed that certain jobs I’d applied for would come through, because unemployment was ending and I had no prospects – and I very much wanted to rent in the same part of town, if I could.
But nothing materialized. My options were nearly non-existent.
I held on to indecision for awhile, till I couldn’t hold out any longer. It tore me apart, but I moved back in with my mom.
Granted, she needed the help, and I needed a place to stay, but at my age? Moving in with Mom felt like a giant leap backwards.
I was in denial. Still am. I’ve refused to unpack so far (except for hanging some clothes in the closet, I’m living out of a suitcase). I’ve slept on the couch instead of claiming one of the bedrooms.
I didn’t want to admit things were changing.
Changes can be unsettling, difficult even. They force us to give up something in order to get something else.
“Is this a step forward, or a step back?” we wonder.
We fear the worst, and hope for the best.
Was this move a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know, yet. I just know things are ch-ch-ch-changing and I didn’t want them to.
In case you’ve been lost in the wilderness the last month or so, the last couple of weeks I’ve been talking about the book that I’m a collaborative author in. 365 Moments of Grace published on June 21, 2016 and became a near-instant international best seller, much to my surprise and delight!
The book is full of stories of grace: everyday grace, inspirational grace, unexpected grace, and miraculous grace. (I’m particularly fond of my story on page 38. 😉 )
But that is not the “grace” that I was surprised by, that I’m writing about today.
About a week ago, a few days before the book came out, my boyfriend and I planned a hiking trip with some new church friends up to Tent Rocks in north central New Mexico. The day was forecast to reach 100 degrees or a bit higher, so we planned an early start, to get there before the day got too hot.
As we were driving on the freeway at 75 mph, I heard and felt something “clunk” against my feet. “What was that?” I wondered. I hadn’t remembered seeing any debris on the road.
My boyfriend changed lanes to pass a slow-moving vehicle, then moved back to the right. “Clunk” again. Now, this was weird. I’d been watching and definitely didn’t see anything at all on the road that time.
“Clunk” a third time. I looked at my boyfriend with concern. “What was that?” I asked. “I didn’t see anything on the road.” Neither had he, though he was already slowing, to around 65, as other cars passed us.
About that time we started to feel an occasional shaking in the front wheels. “It’s been doing that after I go over a bump on the highway,” I told him. “I guess I should get it checked out. Maybe I lost a wheel weight.”
The shaking was intermittent, but worse at higher speeds. My boyfriend began slowing down even more.
Then, the shaking intensified. I had been clueless as to what was going on, and thought that he was being overly cautious by slowing and beginning to pull over. “What is it?” I asked.
“Gonna find out,” he responded, as he pulled well off the shoulder into the dirt alongside the freeway.
I wish I’d thought to take a photo while the tire was still on the car. Big, huge chunks of tread of the tire directly beneath my feet had been shed like an old snakeskin, and the sidewall on the outside edge was completely broken through.
“Wow!” I thought, and began getting the jack out while he unmounted the spare.
If I’d been thinking, I would have taken photos for the “How to Change a Tire” lesson I should probably put up here, but it didn’t occur to me until much, much later. And, of course, I’d just “looked” at the spare when I checked the air in my tires and it “looked” okay, but the tire turned out to be quite low on air…not nearly enough air to drive on. Another point to remember for my “Basic Auto Maintence” freebie.
So, while my boyfriend walked a mile back to the nearest exit to locate some compressed-air “fix a flat,” I made a mental note to put my little case of emergency gear back in the Jeep…emergency gear that included an air pump. And, I took the tire’s photo before wrestling it into the back.
With two cans of fix a flat, the spare tire was still low, but driveable. We drove slowly to the next exit and its gas station, and inflated all the tires to spec.
“Want to still go hiking?” my boyfriend asked.
We were about ten minutes away from our destination then, and all the tires seemed okay.
“Sure,” I said. “We’re nearly there.”
So, we still got to go on our hike. And, we ran into our friends in the parking lot (not literally) as they were leaving and we were arriving, and they got to hear the whole story.
So, what was the issue with the tires? I had assumed UV exposure, as we live a mile up in the high desert where the sun is strong and hard on rubber. The tires still looked nearly new, with about 2/3rds of their tread. But when I took the Jeep in a few days later, I was shocked: it was age. The tires were 16 years old.
16! Most only last three to five years. Wow.
Then I thought of all the road trips we’ve taken, high speeds and at night and in remote locations, on tires well past their use-by date. California once or twice. Arkansas and Missouri another time. Seattle. The Texas Coast. Sometimes on freeway, but often on skinny mountain roads with dropoffs, or remote county roads without much traffic.
All those trips where a tire might have blown out at high speed without warning, perhaps when I was driving instead of my stronger, more capable boyfriend – or even my son, on one of the trips.
And that was when I realized that this was another moment of grace. A bunch of extended moments of grace, really, over the course of several years: that nothing bad had happened, and that I hadn’t even been aware of the extent of the danger until we were safely parked and had gotten out of the car that day.
“Surprised by Grace” – God’s grace – that had kept us safe on the road the last few years.
Three years of everyday grace that kept us safe. And I gave thanks.
I want to thank you, too, for visiting my site today, if this is your first visit. I am continually adding content and courses, with a lot of basic information available for free. Additionally, I offer one on one private lessons for the most rapid learning possible, online via Skype or Zoom.
I also invite you to explore the sites of the other authors in the book via our blog tour, and to visit this page to order your own copy of our book, if you haven’t already.
Today, June 21, 2016, I have reached a goal that was a long time in coming – I have become a published author!
I’ve been writing online for quite awhile, but that wasn’t quite the same. I wanted to see my words in print – and not just in the “letters” section of the paper! (I reached that goal for the first time when I was sixteen.)
I love the book I’m a part of. It is a collaborative book about the various ways that grace enters our lives and makes it better. There are 365 such stories, by more than 250 authors from all over the world.
I will be sharing my piece here, later, as a “taste” of the book. So watch this blog! Or buy the book to read it on page 38. 🙂
Please use my links below to order the book on Amazon. (These links give me a small commission which is my only compensation as a collaborative book author.) You may order the e-book and get immediate delivery (available soon), or a paperback, directly through Amazon. Contact me using the form below to have me sign a paperback personalized just to you.
All orders the first two months receive a bunch of free gifts from the authors of the book as well! Enter your Amazon receipt number at the 365 Moments of Grace webpage if you order through Amazon. I will email you the gift access information when you order your signed copy directly through me.
Unsigned Paperback: Click Here or on cover photo to order directly from Amazon!
E-book/Kindle: (coming soon, approximately the beginning of August!)
Signed Paperback…complete the form below! (Please allow two to three weeks for delivery as I personalize the inscription and mail these books myself.) $24.00 includes paperback book, author dedication and signature in ink, and shipping anywhere in the U.S. I will email you before signing your book to verify the details.
Here is my author interview for the upcoming book, 365 Moments of Grace, publishing June 21, 2016.
Please share more about yourself.
I am a bit of a study in opposites – a former homeschooling stay-at-home mom who ended up a working single mom most of my kids’ lives; a woman who doesn’t believe in divorce who got divorced; and a creative free spirit who drudged for years at a desk job before calling it quits earlier this year (2016).
Why did you decide to join as a contributing author in our book?
I have always loved to write – that creative spirit I mentioned earlier – and have a dream of being a published author. I plan to write books: both shorter, non-fiction, how-to books, and longer, fictional, novels. My first novel is midway through the first revision right now. But making that transition from wannabe author to published author is scary. Taking part in a compilation book is easier, and, it turns out, lots of fun!
What do you hope each reader will take into their heart after reading our book?
The very different but real ways that God (or Spirit/the Divine/however you label it/Him) speaks to us in our everyday lives, all the time. We need to learn to listen more.
How do you define Grace?
The textbook answer I learned in church is “unmerited favor” – but as I’ve matured, it is that and so much more! It is God (the Divine, etc.) reaching down into our lives and making Himself known in some small way.
What’s one way Grace shows up in your life?
Bringing the right ideas and opportunities into my life when I’m ready for them…and not necessarily when I start looking for them! Usually I am not ready yet when I start looking. At the right time, though, the right thing shows up, sometimes nearly miraculously!
The main website is TheSchoolofLostArts.com, and I have branded my teaching videos as Make It With Pam. I offer pre-recorded courses, group classes online, and 1:1 lessons in everything from sewing and knitting to candle making and food preservation!