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The Year of Trust

Word for 2018

It’s that time of year . . . where people all across the globe are reflecting on the year that’s behind them and anticipating the new year that’s ahead of them. Wow, where did this year go? Truly seems like I was sitting on the couch only moments ago, wondering how 2018 would shape up. Guess it shaped up fairly well—we’re at the end of it now!

Now . . . as I sit at my computer on Christmas Day, listening to Mannheim Steamroller and reminiscing all that 2018 had to offer me, teach me, encourage me, and grow me, I sigh with satisfaction. Satisfaction that even through a rocky and unpredictable 2018, my chosen word of the year—trust—really guided me every step of the year’s journey.

The Trust Journey

From the train station to the plane station, traveling different modes of transportation allowed me to see the world from different viewpoints—and each one super special. Getting to talk with complete strangers about their jobs and their lifestyles helped me to appreciate people more.

Boston Countryside

From California to Boston, it was such a pleasure to meet so many new friends and catch up with old friends. In all, I traveled ten times, and each one a matter of trust because it was definitely an investment year for my writing and editing business.

From my home to others’ homes, the joy of spending time with people and sharing their daily lives is always a treat.

From being a guest on a podcast to giving two talks about self-editing at a writer’s conference, I had the privilege of getting involved in other writers’ lives and sharing the wonderful world of writing . . . and editing. Loved connecting with writers and talking about their books!

Big Apple in Michigan

From having no contract to securing a contract with a publisher, it was such a joy to see this process unfold. Years of hard work, prayer, and mountains of trust happened to get to this happy place! Sharing about this on the blog soon!

And with all the ins and outs of expanding a freelance editing business, more trust than I thought possible was required this year. But a-trusting we did, and seeing the results of blood, sweat, tears, and much prayer is so rewarding! I’m blessed beyond measure to serve the authors and publishers I work with. Truly it is a team effort to get books out into the world!

What Did Trust Mean For Me?

Throughout all of my travels and adventures this year, I learned to trust the process and the plan in each situation I found myself. Sounds easy? No, my friend, it was far from easy. But it was rewarding after I was able to look back and see how each step was laid out exactly as it was supposed to. Then the trusting was definitely worth it!

I’m starting to see a trend here though. 2017 was Adventure, 2018 was Trust, and 2019 looks like it will be either Encourage or Joy. Maybe the two will end up mixing? We’ll see! But the trend I’m seeing is that these words fit well together, as far as the lessons I’ve learned from each year’s events. Each year has built on the previous, but isn’t that life life though? We’re constantly learning, constantly growing.

What Am I Doing in 2019?

Well, here’s the working plan:

  • Give two talks on self-editing at FlourishWriters, a mega online writer’s conference. If you’d like more information, click here. Starts January 22!
  • Keep writing my second historical fiction (post-WWII) novel.
  • Work on edits from my first historical fiction (WWII) novel.
  • Attend a writer’s conference. Or two. Maybe more.
  • Continue to work with great authors. If you’re interested in any of my editing services, please visit my Editing Page to see how we can work together to make your manuscript shine! My 2019 calendar is filling up fast, so get in touch today to make sure your manuscript gets into the calendar!
  • Continue to bring you exclusive content that is helpful, beneficial, and enjoyable. If you have a topic or subject you’d like to see, please contact me, and I’ll see what we can do to deliver that to you!
  • Get excited and plan an anthology book launch, coming fall 2019! I’ll be sharing a post about that, but to keep in touch of the progress and to get in on launch goodies, sign up for my newsletter. Delivered only four times a year—and may or may not include a gift card!
Wishing You a Very Happy New Year!

In 2019, I want to continue to learn and grow and reach out to others.

How about you? What are your 2019 goals? Plans? Trips?
I’d love to hear from you!

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Defining Success Part Four


Sometimes I’d like to quit. Really. Just close up the piano and bolt the lid, and snuggle down with a nice cup of coffee and listen to good, encouraging music. This is true when I feel like I’ve made an egregious error or said something that came out the wrong way when I didn’t mean for it to—but the “enter” key has already been punched before I could delete; and the words have escaped my lips. And especially true when I may not have gotten as much sleep as I wanted, or have had a full calendar. It’s then life becomes one big mess of words, you know?

Do you ever struggle with saying the right words at the wrong time or the wrong words at the right time? Perhaps I’m not the only one who feels this way from time to time. . . Nevertheless, it’s a part of fallen humanity, and I imagine we’ve all had those moments of “Oh man, I can’t believe I said it that way. . . Well, guess it’s too late to retract my words—they’re already out there.” And then we find ourselves praying, “God, please forgive me. Strip away any words that would sound arrogant or unhelpful or unkind” or “God, please use this experience to help me grow,” and “Please help me to choose my words more wisely next time so that they reflect you.” However the case may be for you, dear reader, when our words—spoken or written—come out sounding all wrong like a piano with a bad cold, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to reflect.

Such is a moment for reflection, and midyear is a good time for it, right? And in reflection, we can indeed grow from that little experience and thus know how to respond better the next time. Sometimes it always feels as if it’s the next time most of the time.

Perhaps a personal anecdote may illustrate this. Usually I like to read agency blog posts and comment on nearly every blog post. The particular blog post spoke of the tension in promotion (of an author’s books), and was it faithful promotion or self-ful promotion? Was there indeed a tension? the agent wanted to know. And so I responded, essentially saying that there necessarily wasn’t “tension in the marketing,” and the rest of my reply, the way it sounded—after, of course, I posted the reply—was like fingernails across the blackboard, and what sounded like a prideful statement. In reality, however, that’s not how I meant to say it at all.

Ah, broken humanity, such as we are. It is only by God’s grace that we aren’t in worse shape, for God’s grace keeps us and encourages us and, yes, admonishes us when we need it. From there, we can learn and grow so that the next time becomes less and less.

So the next time I’m—we’re—tempted to say something, let’s give our answers a third glance-over or engage our brains a little deeper and make sure that’s how we truly want to word it, and what we really mean to say. And as a writer, it’s such a huge responsibility to type each word, and it sends humbling chills down my spine to think that the words God’s given me will someday be read by others, if he so chooses.

Words. They’re tricky little things, aren’t they?

As Ignatius Loyola said, “Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.”

I guess maybe quitting isn’t the best course of action, because I truly love what I do. And maybe I really don’t want to quit. Perhaps the best course of action is to make sure we’ve had enough sleep, or enough coffee in our system, or re-read a passage for better clarity, so that we can have that certain measure of confidence before sending our words out into the world. And by that—and especially by keeping the focus where it needs to be, on God—we can rest in the success, knowing that it truly is from him because he created words.


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Empty Your Pockets

Empty Your Pockets: A Conference Review of Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. 2018. California.

I started writing at age eight. At the childhood years, writing is mostly fanciful scribbles across bits of notebook paper, plagiarizing famous authors (Louisa May Alcott, for one. . . . Hey, why not copy the masters?), manuscripts that are presented to Mommy in one huge run-on sentence or paragraph (bless my poor mother’s eyes!),  and writing about your pets or family.

But when I grew up, I learned writing was a whole different world.

Writing was a business. An art. A calling. Networking. Numbers. Devotion to the craft. Long hours of spewing prayers with friends and in your prayer closet. Finding a mentor. Asking 695,708,214,999 questions. And then asking a few more. Learning from writers, mentors, agents, editors, publishers. Soaking up every piece of information found in Writer’s Digest or any online writing instructor’s super helpful blog posts (like Linda S. Clare and Ginny L. Yttrup), or writing craft book or building platform book by Michael Hyatt, and countless other great professionals.

Writing is a determined path to publication fraught with the key to acting as a little yellow sponge for anything about writing and editing. For only the best advice about writing and editing, that is.

So what does this have to do with emptying your pockets? you ask, scratching your head and tilting your mouth sideways.

Ohhh, my friend, let me tell you!

True. I’ve been writing since I was eight. But I’ve been really writing and studying the craft since I was 12, when I started my WWII series about horses and the American home front. And seriously writing and devouring craft of writing since 2016, after graduating with a master’s in English Education.

I’d heard about Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for a few years, and Director Kathy Ide even encouraged me to go last year. But I couldn’t afford it. At all. I’d just moved, getting settled into my new place, making a living on my own as an editor. No. Way. A conference all the way in California was going to happen. Midwestern girl, that’s me.


Well . . . I have been known to rethink things. Blame it on that analytical side of my brain where I have rationalize and consider all the possibilities for success. Yeah. That happened—the longer I read through the Mount Hermon conference website information or saw a Facebook post from all my West Coast author friends. Logic over passion, I closed each tab that talked about Mount Hermon. No. Just no. I simply cannot do it this year. Maybe next year.

Passion has a way of wiggling in and winning. You know how it works.

It was then my friends messaged me and told me I needed to attend! I shook my head. Seriously, people. I’m a starving and poor writer living in the Midwest. NO! And I’ve even read Real Artists Don’t Starve too.

So if passion wiggles in and takes root, then God’s prodding must be even stronger, right? Right. God reached in and would not let go. I tried to pull—yank—free. How sad on my part.

Go to this conference, God?? The airfare is nearly half the conference cost!! Can’t you send me to a conference that’s closer? Like in my own state? There’s one coming up in June . . .

No. No? No! You sure know how to pull a fast one.

With Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference only five weeks away, I had to do something quick. Like pray my guts out. I had no financial resources to even attend. Well, my credit card . . . but then there was paying the thing back, and I am not one for accumulating debt. (Yes, Dave Ramsey and common sense all the way.)

“Trust me,” God said. Trust. Right. Wasn’t that my “word” for the year, anyway? Hadn’t I asked God to let me trust him? Where was MY faith now? Hadn’t my word for 2017 been “adventure,” and hadn’t I asked God to increase my adventuring for 2018 and add “trust” to it? What a liar I was. Fraud.

I wanted to crawl into the closet. Not the prayer closet. But the closet of shame. My faith wasn’t even the size of a mustard seed. And I called myself a Christian. Sigh. Okay, God, I’ll pay for this conference with my credit card. I’ll trust you for the money and the results.

Then I saw my favorite author Sarah Sundin was teaching a mentoring clinic. Wouldn’t that be the best dream ever to receive a manuscript critique from her? Immediately, I shut down the thought. I’m broke! No. Money. Remember, Tish?

God said, “Register for the Mentoring Clinic. Empty your bank account.”

Regist—really, God, now this isn’t funny.

“Just register already.”

I registered, hands shaking, my bank account sobbing, my head spinning. My lips moving.

A few weeks later, I learned that Sarah Sundin would not be leading the mentoring track. Someone else would. As I read the email again, I picked up the phone to cancel the trip altogether. If I couldn’t sit under my favorite author’s instruction, I might as well not go.

“Na-uh,” God said. “Don’t do anything.”

To be quite honest with you, I was mad at God. Why are you turning everything upside down? Why? This mentoring clinic is my only one pleasure out of this whole trip all because you asked me to empty my pockets.

I could hear him laughing.

When I bought the plan ticket, I had a miser’s heart attack. When I left for Mount Hermon, I had no solid plan because I’d spent the last four weeks proofreading the only gig I’d probably have for a while. “Trust,” God said. Okay! I trust you, but you’d better please make it good. 

I stepped onto the campground in the Santa Cruz Valley and the feeling of freedom engulfed my spirit. This place was beautiful with its sky-reaching redwood trees, quaint cabins, and beautiful grounds. However, that feeling of fear gnawed at me the whole conference, even though I was trying hard to trust.

IMG_20180326_171550732But like a good writer trying to make good on a business investment that was sure to fail, I went to the mentoring sessions, talked to my peers and instructors, met many writer friends, exchanged business cards, pitched my book, laughed and took silly photos with Sarah Sundin, Marci Seither (Mount Hermon emcee), Crystal Hughes (who won the True Grit Award and has an amazing story), and Robynne Miller (Director of Inspire Christian Writers), got my manuscript critiqued from the Critique Team, and even got my picture taken with the “legendary and scary” Steve Laube of The Steve Laube Agency.

For those who haven’t met him, Steve’s not scary but a kind agent who has the patient heart of a teacher (as do many other agents). Even though he rejects nearly every writer who’s ever submitted to him, it’s not the agent’s rejection that’s important, but what you learn from that rejection. That’s another Mount Hermon story for another day.

IMG_20180323_101144193And like a starving writer, I let whatever come, come. Thanking God for the connections, new friends, and much-needed conversation about writing and editing. I even visited the beautiful chapel to spend some time to calm my spirit, which was a royal mess.

Throughout the week,  in those moments of fear, that aren’t necessary but you have them anyway because you’re just as human as the next person, I saw God give confirmation to me as a writer and and an editor, But that wasn’t all. That pocket starving inside the writer? By the end of the week, it was groveling. I had emptied my pockets, given my last two mites to go to this conference.

Then God showed up through the giving and gracious heart of a dear friend I’d just met that week. My new friend found me at dinner and handed me a card, hugged me, and said to keep in touch. Of course. I forgot about the card, until I was on my last flight home.

A beautiful card about “trusting God”—there’s that word again!—“to remind [me] that he is near, he is able, he is faithful . . . in all the ways [my] heart needs most.”

Inside that lovely card was a generous financial gift that filled my pockets to the full, sent tears streaming down my face, causing my faith to fly where it deserved and needed to be—on God.

Truly a Mountaintop experience? I’d say so.

Here’s what I learned from Mount Hermon:

  • Sometimes God asks us to work with him (as Allen Arnold had said in his closing keynote) and to empty our pockets, drain our bank account, just so we can watch him fill it up again.
  • Never turn down an opportunity, even if it’s not the one you had your heart set on.
  • Our fears are our greatest enemy, but our fears can also be our greatest motivation.

So, what about you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

What is your greatest fear that’s going to be your greatest motivation?

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