Faith

A Writer’s Journey

It’s been about five months since I last took the time to sit down and write on this blog. That is the longest break I’ve taken since I started “Every Small Voice” and I still don’t know what the future of this space will be… but one thing I am certain of is that there’s a season for everything.

And there was a season for blogging in my life as well. Maybe there still is. I’m not ready to pull the plug just yet.

I started writing here way back in 2016, after a painful experience of rejection from a group of believers. This was a safe place to share some of my deepest feelings without resorting to gossip or getting too specific about the details with others. It was a healing process for me. And in the meantime, I fell in love with writing.

I began to see the benefits of sharing my story through carefully thought out words, rather than the thoughtless stream that often flows from my lips when I’m in conversation. It’s through writing that I can get out all those thoughts, emotions, and stories – and then – carefully look through and process everything.

Spoken words come out too quickly for me, and once in a while I long to take them back, only to realize its too late. Written words allow me to take the needed time to reflect.

In truth, I’ve loved writing my entire life.

As a child, I wrote silly little tales of children running away from home and visiting abandoned mansions or scary forests. As I teen I wrote poems that reflected whatever I felt in the moment. I loved poetry and it comforted me when I was feeling down.

Then in 2006 I became a mother. This changed the way I wrote for many years. Most of my writing was for my kids: notes to them for when they were older, scrapbooks filled with funny facts and anecdotes of their baby years. And I also journaled, filling up notebooks with the interesting moments of Motherhood, and also prayers to God through each ordinary day.

It was really in 2016 when my writing took a turn. I began sharing my stories; my many thoughts and feelings with the world. People seemed to connect with what I wrote which spurred me on. For four years I continued writing about little lessons that God was teaching me.

In 2020, our fast paced world changed abruptly. For the first time in history, everything world wide seemed to shut down. Travel was put on hold. Education was brought to a halt. Sports and entertainment, restaurants, and churches alike stopped… just like that.

And for the first time in my adult life everyone seemed to have something to write about and they wanted to share it with the world. I felt drowned out and suffocated with all the noise. The longer the season wore on, the louder the voices around me became and the less desire I had to be online at all. Everyone seemed so political, every topic became over-discussed and even the once lighthearted comments just seemed too heavy. So I slowly withdrew. Finally 2022 hit and I stopped posting altogether.

Yet, my writing is still very much alive.

A year ago I joined a small, but life-giving writers group that has both inspired me to keep writing and challenged me to grow in it. We meet every other month and critique each others work on the “off” months. Through this group I am able to write both fiction and non fiction, get feedback on my work, and discuss many of the common struggles that writers face.

I have three fictional pieces I’m currently working on at various stages:

“Project Slone” is the piece I’m most engaged with right now. It’s a fictional piece with a dystopian feel about an experimental community of children being raised by “qualified professionals” instead in homes with a family. I’m at 35,500 words that have been revised and edited, and although I’m only half finished, I am slowly going through the first few chapters with my writers group.

“The Millionth Penny” would be considered juvenile fiction and I’m at about 12,000 words, but I feel far from done. Although it truly is my favourite of all my fictional pieces… I am stuck. One day I’ll get back to it.

“Tales from the Secret Wood” is definitely in its beginning stages with only 6,000 words, not to mention, I’ve done zero editing on it. Somehow though, I see the most potential for this book to be fully finished first. Those 6,000 words only took me three days to write but the story is about a third done. It was written for my youngest two boys and it’s going to be a children’s chapter book so the final story will probably be quite short (maybe only 15,000-18,000 words).

I also lead a women’s group in my church and for the past two years I have been given the opportunity to write Bible study and devotional material for them.

I have finished (but not edited) two “15 Week Bible Studies” written especially for young moms to go through as a group:

“A Mother After God’s Heart” at 12,000 words.

“A Fruitful Motherhood” (based on the Fruit of the Spirit) at 17,000 words.

These are saved in a printable PDF format and I send them to women who are looking for such material free of charge. So far the feedback has been extremely positive and encouraging.

It’s a new world of writing, and although it’s certainly not making me any money, the journey is exceptionally rewarding in other ways. I still have dreams of someday publishing my work, but for now I am at peace with being where I’m at.

How about you? What is your story? I’d love to hear about your “Writing Journey”. Feel free to share in the comments below!

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Faith · Purpose · Wisdom

A Forgotten Grave

I sit at my desk, once again, tapping the keys on my laptop. Trying to form another post. I must’ve started fifty in the past months. Fifty posts unseen to the world. 

There is a largely unseen aspect to my life right now, and for the first time, I’m okay with it. I mean truly okay.

I wake up. Journal. Read. Pray.

Connect with my family. Send them to school.

Clean. Bake. Cook. Shop. Volunteer.

Kids come home. I make supper. Connect with my family some more. And then go to bed so I can repeat it all over again in the morning.

And I feel full.

I think it’s because I’ve finally come to the point where I’m no longer trying to move to the next stage and the next. I’ve become content with the journey itself.

We do that a lot in life, don’t we?

Wake up Monday and just try to make it till the weekend.

 

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Start a job and go through the motions… just surviving until the next holiday.

Start parenthood, just waiting until the baby is sleeping through the night… then till they’re potty trained… then just till they’re in school…. finally until they’re out of the house.

And then we still wait! Until retirement. And even then. Fill the schedule so full of social outings and volunteering that we just long until we can go south for the winter.

Is this really what life is about? Waiting for the next good moment?

Now just a caveat: I’ve seen many take this idea to unhealthy places, where people start feeling guilty for even enjoying anything in life. Breaks are fine. Holiday’s are good. Rest is good.

Let’s not get weird.

Yet what I’m saying is this: What if, we actually saw the journey as the purpose; the moment we live in, as the joy of life? And the breaks as just that: A short pause; a rest before the next stanza in the symphony.

Not the only thing to look forward to.

And most certainly not the meaning of it all! For what would a symphony be with no sound?

I’ve decided to homeschool my younger two boys again next year. To finish what I’ve started. Why? Because I’m happy with the results of the older three kids, with the time I’ve put into their lives, with the good relationship we have and I want to provide my younger two children with the same opportunities.

I think, our culture at large has no idea how much time it takes to raise children. To create loving and close bonds with the next generation. That’s why I often chuckle at younger moms or others who are just waiting until the next stage.

Guess what? A teenager needs the same amount of time as a toddler.

HA! I bet you didn’t know THAT! (As most people reading this gasp and shake their heads. Now they know I’m off my rocker!)

How can I make this bold claim? A teenager can do almost everything for themselves!! Yet… Most teens feel so unconnected to their families that they are known to cause trouble, run off, steal, do drugs, engage in risky sexual behaviour. It’s why people dread those teenage years.

My older two are just entering these years now. And I am LOVING it. I love my teens. They are SO much fun! They understand so much. They have a spark that I’ve lost. They are losing that lame elementary school humour and becoming hilarious to be around (sorry to my younger kiddos, it’s just true!!). We spend most evenings together. Chatting. Eating supper. Cleaning up together. Laughing. Playing games.

And my question is this? Where are the other parents of this generation?

At work. Rushing to unimportant outings. And hiding behind screens.

I get asked a lot about my relationship with my children. Why they like church? Why they like our family cell group? How I get them to share their struggles openly with me? How do I manage to have our teens enjoy family times together?

The answer is quite simple, but it isn’t easy: It is quite literally laying down my life daily for my family.

I have no career.

I do not travel.

I have no outside hobbies: my hobbies happen at home. I run at home. I read at home. I bake at home. I write at home.

I have no fame.

I have no degree.

I am nothing, No one to the world.

HA! Feminists HATE this kind of talk. Why am I not doing something for me??

Oh, but I am.

I have no importance to the world, yet I am filled with a profound sense of purpose: I am raising the next generation.

Do you understand the importance of that statement??

I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION!

Unseen. Unheard. Probably will never be known or famous. One day, a century or two from now, my graveside will be long forgotten.

But there will be five kids who will live on… and build five more legacies, and their legacies will multiply and their children will have children. And on and on. And perhaps the most profound thing will be this: they will have a legacy of love.

They belonged and they were loved. So they too will love and invite others to belong.

If I could have one wish, it’s that every single person, every single parent, every single mother could see this.

Our purpose isn’t to provide a fancy house, car and clothes for our children. It’s not to give them that dream vacation. It’s not to give them every opportunity with career or extra curricular event. These are usually just our dreams for them anyway.

Our purpose is to be there and listen. To love and connect.

To build a strong legacy, which may never be recorded in the Guinness World Records or history books, but will be written on the hearts of our children and grandchildren.

Our purpose is to let this love overflow to the world. Because the more I love and take time for my family, the more I find myself caring about those around me. Instead of judging, wondering, do they have a place of belonging? Do they have someone to care?Often, the answer is no. So we invite them in: Come, join our family.

No, maybe I won’t end up in the Hall of Fame, and there’s a good chance that my grave will one day be forgotten, like the millions of heroes and saints that have gone before me. People pass away. Memories are forgotten.

But you know what doesn’t pass away? The fruit that comes from a labour of love.

Writing

Quick Thoughts

This post will be short, as I have so little time these days, but rest assured, I’m still writing. I’m just mostly working on my book and putting thoughts too private to share in my journal.

However, I’m in a good place these days.

Sometimes I worry about those who go silent online, so I just figured I should say something about my recent silence. This is just for a season… I really want to get my book finished.

To be honest, I have four books going at once. One is almost done. Two are half done. The fourth is just barely started. They are all so different from each other. They are geared to different audiences, age groups, and written for entirely different reasons. I do this so I can keep writing. So that when I’m in a magical world sort of mood, I can write. When I’m in a spiritual moment, I can write. When I am thinking of political and culturally relevant matters, I write. When my heart is heavy, I write. When I’m feeling silly, I write.

No matter how I feel, there’s a book to be written.

So, you can see why I’ve been quiet here lately. I apologize to those who’ve missed me. Regular posting and reading others blogs will resume in a month or two. I do miss those I’ve connected with on WordPress.

Keep writing, your words matter. And your perseverance inspires many. We need each other desperately. Thanks for sticking around.

Love Always,

Heather

Authenticity · Blogging

Blogging Popularity

I was naive when I started blogging.

Early on, when I still was in the Facebook world, I got a lot of views. In fact, sometimes hundreds of views a day. I figured that starting off with such popularity was a sure ticket to my success. After all, my writing was still pretty rocky at first. I had a long way to go and a lot of improvements to make. Nevertheless, deep down, I truly believed one of my posts would one day go viral and I would have an easy path to becoming a famous writer.

Call me a quitter.

Call me a pessimist.

Call me impatient.

But I’m loosing all desire to blog for numbers.

In fact, new followers mean very little to me. Unless, of course, I get to know them through their blogs and comments. In that case, there’s nothing that delights me more than a person who actually reads and responds thoughtfully to my posts. I love reading the posts of these authors as they seem to have a depth that much of the blogging world is missing.

So the question is why, in a mostly positive community of writers, would I feel a lack of passion and drive to keep growing my readers?

I guess you can say I’m realizing a lot about WordPress. Somethings are good. Some are not so good.

Good, like for instance, I have never once had a negative comment on one of my posts. In fact, I believe every single comment on WordPress has been encouraging, uplifting and positive. It’s as if this world of blogging still believes in the magical words we used to all try to live by: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I definitely can’t say the same for the comments I got on Facebook.

But there are still some things that are frustrating to me. Am I wrong in noticing that the people with the most followers on WordPress aren’t the best writers? They are merely the writers with the most quantity? Multiple, mindless posts a day, just to gain more, more, and more followers.

As a lover of good writing, this saddens me.

There also seem to be far too many people who scroll down and follow everyone, just to gain more followers themselves. Who click “like” on every post without reading a single one. It makes me feel as if all my readers have hidden motivates, only reading and commenting to boost their own popularity.

It’s kind of a depressing thought. I don’t really want a part in that side of blogging. So the question is why am I still posting on WordPress?

Because I love writing.

I want to grow in my abilities.

I want to make connections through my writing.

I wish to receive feedback.

And I long to encourage others as well.

I’m not here to become famous. I’m just here to write.

Today, I needed to remind myself of this again. And I wonder if possibly, someone else out there needed the reminder too.