Memories of Noel: The Darkness and the Light

Alex Quote

Sometimes God does things we don’t understand.  Sometimes we go through something so hard that it feels like the next breath will shatter all that we are.  Yet, He’s always with us.  Even in the darkest of moments, He is there.

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you will know of Noel’s story.  Of the miracle of her life.  If you don’t know Noel’s story, please click here and read what I’m talking about.

Noel's Slideshow

I’ve been honoured to share Caleb and Alex’s journey through all this.  I spent months praying for little Noel as her due date approached, I’ve rejoiced with them as she defied all odds and they brought her home, I remember well the tears I cried as they asked for desperate prayer a short time before she went home and then in the days that followed.  My family still prays for this wonderful, godly couple with each new day.

I am so grateful that, of all my blog posts, Noel’s story is the one that is visited the most often.  If I get a day where Noel’s story hasn’t been viewed at least once, that’s a rare day.  This story of God’s mercy, love and strength is still reaching out to people around the world.  To God be the glory as He continues to move through this amazing little girl and her wonderful parents.

As we remember Noel’s arrival into the Father’s arms, I wanted to chat with Caleb and Alex about this journey that they have been on.  They have been, from the beginning, so honest and open with everything.  I wanted to give my readers, those still visiting Noel’s story, a look into the lives of this amazing couple.

If you’ve been through the loss of a child, some of the questions and answers may bring back memories of your own.  Caleb and Alex have been honest about their struggles and triumphs and I know that you will be kind as they answer some very tough questions.  🙂

Thank you Caleb and Alex for being willing to join me and discuss this past year and all that it involved.  I continue to be amazed and inspired with how you walked this journey.  I can’t imagine how difficult this has been and I’m honoured that you will let me share your thoughts and feelings for those who have been following and for those that may walk a similar road in the future.

Thank you both, for being willing to chat with me about your precious daughter and how your lives have changed.  First of all, can you tell me a little about your journey in the past year? Emotionally and spiritually?

Alex: Wow! That is truly a loaded question. Emotionally right after we lost Noel I was a complete and total wreck. I was depressed, suicidal, and hopeless. Depression hit me hard. I have never been depressed before, but now I understand why some people commit suicide. I understand how hopeless and alone and lost depression makes you. I tell Caleb, it’s so hard, what we’re going through is so hard, and we have Jesus, I still have hope, yet thoughts of suicide still run through my mind. There are people out there who don’t know the hope that I have. And that is a scary and real thing to realize. I was so attacked by the enemy; suicide was not a distant thought. I thought it day and night for months. I clung on to the little hope that I did have in the Lord. I honestly believe if I didn’t have Jesus, I would’ve killed myself. I remember thinking that every day. I remember telling the enemy, no I’m not going to kill myself, I won’t do it because that’s what you want and everything will go in vain. Spiritually I was so mad at God. I remember telling Him all the time that I was so mad and disappointed in Him. It was in those moments that I would feel His arms wrap around me and tell me He knew what he was doing. I felt Him say it was ok that I was mad and disappointed, but I couldn’t lose my trust in Him, my faith in Him, my hope in Him. So that’s exactly what I did. I would sob each day, tell Him how hurt I was, and each day He would reassure me that everything I was feeling was normal and that tears were medicine.

Caleb: It has been a hard year. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Our marriage was on the rocks for a time and we have had many emotional nights and many tears we have cried. We have had to rely on God to get us through this.

Noelfamily

How has your world changed in the past year?

Alex: I turned 24 right before Caleb and I got married, I got pregnant 3 weeks after, we had Noel 39 weeks later, lost Noel after 15 days with her, and 13 days later I turned 25. Who would’ve thought in one year your world could turn completely upside down. You see things differently, feel things differently, and live life differently. You learn to cherish moments you wouldn’t have cherished before and try to not take anything for granted. The Lord has showed me that beauty really does come from ashes.

Caleb: I view people with special needs in a whole new light. Any time I see a person with special needs I immediately think of Noel because that’s what she would have been. I used to think about parents that had children with special needs and wondered if it was hard having a child like that. Now that I have had a daughter like that I realized it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter the disabilities they have, if they would have to live with you their whole life, if it would be expensive, if it would be a difficult emotional journey etc. You would do whatever you needed to do because you love them so much. I also see having a baby in a whole new light. Many people take having a baby for granted. Like that’s just something you do. It’s a part of life. But for us it isn’t. Chances are we will never be able to have a healthy baby of our own.  One of the things I feel God has been teaching me through all this to be thankful. So often I think about other people and how easy it is for them to have healthy babies and I think why couldn’t we have that? But God has been showing me that I need to be thankful for what I do have. I can walk, I can see, I live in a developed country with clean water and food. He has been showing me that I need to appreciate and be thankful for all that I do have. It can be hard sometimes but really try and see all the blessings he has given me because there are so many!

Your marriage was still very new when you found out you were expecting Noel, how do you both feel Noel’s life affected your marriage?

Alex: It was extremely new! Her life was my biggest blessing. She did things others couldn’t have and shined Jesus brighter than I’ve ever seen anyone shine Jesus. I wouldn’t change having her for one second. Did you know the divorce rate for couples that have lost a child goes up to 90%?!?! I’m not going to lie, losing a child is extremely hard on a marriage. I am blessed to have a husband who will fight for me and stand by my side no matter what. There were times I was ready to get divorced and Caleb would sit there and say no. He fought for us every single day. Everybody handles grief differently. Losing Noel didn’t hit Caleb has hard as it hit me, and that’s ok. I had to come to a place and understand that I carried her and he didn’t. I had a connection and love for her that he didn’t, a mother’s love. That was hard to understand. Would I go through having her again, absolutely! Would I want to handle my grief differently, of course. I believe it was by the grace of God that our marriage is where it is now. I’ve never been or felt more in love than I do today. I married an exceptional man of God.

Caleb: It affected our marriage tremendously! For a while our marriage was really struggling. The number of fights we had and tears we cried I feel like were in the millions. There was a long time that I did not know if we were going to stay together or not. It was EXTREMELY difficult. But we have made it through and I think our marriage is stronger because of it. I feel like if we made it through this we can make it through anything!

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Throughout all the tears and all the struggles, did you get support from unexpected sources?

Alex: Yes! A Thousand trillion billion times yes! I once read a blog and it said that it’s extremely hard for people who are grieving to reach out to others, and I completely agree. When someone would text me to let them know if I needed anything, I thought, I can barely get out of bed in the morning. I learned that I want to be a good support system for others who are going through a similar situation, God really convicted me. I honestly think it’s really hard for people to be sensitive, or somewhat understand, if they haven’t been through what you’ve been through. That‘s also something I’ve learned… to be more sensitive, I want to be more sensitive. Now when I hear of someone going through a situation that was close to ours I go home and cry and have Caleb hold me. I pray for them A LOT.

Caleb: The support we got from the members of our church was unbelievable. When Noel was here someone was at our house everyday bringing us food. Not only that our whole church family was standing with us and praying for us and Noel. What is just as amazing is the prayer and support we were getting from everyone all over the world! There were people praying for us that we have never even met! Alex and I were in awe of the amount of people praying for us. We felt so loved and honored to be prayed for and thought of as much as we were. People were praying for us from all over the world!  Also, when my family set up the donation fund we got donations from dozens of people! Some from my work, family, and friends of ours. We even got donations from people we had never met! I could not believe how giving people were! I even got a card and donation from two former students of mine that I thought weren’t very fond of me. But they both had recently had children and our situation must have hit home for them. Even now just thinking about all of it, I cannot believe how many people supported us

It was such a joy to watch the support pour in.  Even on the blogs I did, there were people reaching out with prayer and support!!  Were there any positive situations that arose that surprised you guys?

Alex: Oh gosh yes! People came to the Lord because of Noel. I mean two souls were saved because of one person. That’s amazing in my opinion. I’m honored to be called her mom. God is good, even in the darkness. To know that that was her purpose in life, well it leaves me speechless.

Caleb: The amount of people that Noel’s life touched is unbelievable. I had no idea how many lives she would touch. Her life went around the world. We heard many stories of how Noel touched their lives and I know there are many more that we will never know. Some people even came to Christ because of it. It is hard not having Noel here and it hurts. It hurts a lot. But knowing how much she has done for the kingdom of God makes it so much easier. She did more for the kingdom of God than I probably ever will.

What is your most favourite memory of your time with Noel? (If it’s even possible to pinpoint one or two)

Alex: I was just praying on the drive home that I would never forget the day we brought Noel home.  I love that day so much! We never thought we were going to bring her home. I remember praying so much that we would bring her home, and we did J I loved the day she was born. I loved having her on my chest and having her all to myself. I absolutely loved being pregnant! I tell Caleb all the time that I miss it so much. I miss being uncomfortable and peeing every 2 minutes, and feeling her kick my ribs, and not being able to sleep at night. I miss it so much! The Lord really showed me that I NEEDED to enjoy this because there are hundreds of women out there who will never experience this. I was so honored that the Lord would allow me to experience feeling Noel and I really embraced it. I had a choice, I could either sit there and complain about the miracle that was happening inside of me, or enjoy every second I had with her. I mean, those nine months were the longest time I had with her.

Caleb: I don’t have one favorite memory of Noel. I love them all! I loved holding her, I loved her smell. I even loved changing her diaper! I thought I would hate changing her diaper! Because seriously!?! Who likes to change a baby’s poopy diaper?!? I didn’t think I would but I did. Because it was Noel’s diaper. It was my beautiful daughter’s diaper.

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Despite all the joy and peace that you have been able to find, what do you still struggle with?

Alex: Depression. I still have more bad days than good and still cry most days than not. But I’m more ok with not being ok all the time. I know I’m not going to feel this way the rest of my life but the Lord has assured me that crying is perfectly ok. I don’t let it consume me like before and I know that no amount of time will heal me, but through the Lord and his unfailing love I will be more than ok one day.

Caleb: It can still be hard to see babies and women who are pregnant. Whenever I do I think of Noel. It can still be quite difficult for me.

Do you struggle with anger at other parents? With the Lord?

Alex: I don’t think I ever really felt angry toward other parents. I feel sad, because I miss Noel. I would get irritated when women would complain about their pregnancy or when parents would complain about their late nights and no sleep. Because still, I would give anything to have late nights and no sleep if that meant Noel was still here.

Caleb: I was never angry at other parents. But I do think they often take having children for granted.  Like it’s just part of life. I wish they could all truly appreciate what a beautiful gift they have. I was never that angry at God. A little at times but not much because he so amazing and I know he loved Noel even more than Alex and I did. And he loves us and hurts when we hurt. So he was hurting even more than we were through all of this.

It’s a very good reminder to me to never take a day with my kids for granted.  We were amazed at how you handled Noel’s health and her homecoming, who do you attribute your strength to?

Alex: The Lord. All the glory goes to God. My flesh failed a LONG time ago. To this day it is because of His strength that I can get out of bed in the morning.

Caleb: My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is Lord of my life and the one I turned to through all of this.  Without him I don’t know where I would be!

If you knew that this was how Noel’s life was going to unfold, would you do it all over again?  (I don’t even need to ask but I love the answers!)

Alex: Yes, yes, yes, yes! She was and is worth every tear, every piece of my broken heart, and worth more than I can even fathom. Psalm 139 is real to me now.

Caleb: ABSOLUTELY! I would do it over again a million times if it meant I got to meet her and hold her.  She is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I am so glad we had her and got to meet her even despite everything that happened and we had to go through.

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What does the future hold for you in starting a family? Will you be considering adoption?

Alex: I’m still healing so I haven’t thought about that yet.

Caleb: We probably will adopt. Before everything happened it was on our hearts to adopt. We wanted to adopt internationally in the less fortunate countries because those are the kids that do not have an opportunity and need help. They often end up dead, as prostitutes, or in another unfortunate life.  But it is hard to say when or how we will do that. We are both still healing and are not ready for more children. And ultimately we want God’s will. Whatever that may be.

Is there any advice you could give to other families that are going through similar situations?

Alex: First, I would cry, because I know exactly what they are going through. Second, I would ask to pray with them. I know I couldn’t do it without the Lord and would want them to have the same hope that I have.

Caleb: Lean on God. It’s not an easy road at all but leaning on him makes it more bearable.

Let’s end this conversation with some wonderful news!  I’ve heard that there is a fantastic bursary that has decided to pay tribute to Noel, can you tell us a bit about it?

Alex: Of course! Tara, she’s one of the directors for Youth for Christ, a school lunch time club that teaches about Christ. She was in awe of how Noel defied all odds and thought her story fit perfectly with students who go away to university. Most kids who attend university out of state/town usually fall away from the Lord. The scholarship is supposed to encourage students to stand firm in the Lord and hang onto His truth. And I know that’s exactly what Noel did.

Caleb: We feel so blessed to have this scholarship named after Noel. When Tara said she wanted to speak with us we had no idea what it was about. She started telling us about this scholarship and neither of us had any idea what that had to do with us. We actually thought she was going to give it to us! We were both thinking, we don’t want the scholarship give it to someone else! Once Tara told us she wanted to name it after Noel we both felt EXTREMELY honoured and just started crying. It is just another instance of the impact she has had.

Noelfamily

Thank you, Caleb and Alex for having this conversation with me.  I appreciate your honesty so much and your willingness to let me share your journey.  You are both amazing and I am honoured to know you and see how God is moving in your lives.

 

Here are the other posts for Noel:
Noel at home

Happy One Week Birthday Noel

Blessings

Two Week Update

Urgent Update

Sorrow and Comfort

Until We Meet Again

Memories of Noel: The Darkness and the Light

 

Sarah

 

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Tired of Failing

Romans 7 15 blog 1

This has been my life in the past three weeks.  Honestly, the last 32 years, but it seems a lot more humiliating and disheartening within the last month.

I seem to be incapable of making wise decisions, from the smallest on up.  If I can mess up a decision and choose the worst course of action, I do.  The only thing I feel capable of doing this month is screwing up.

It’s been an interesting and uncomfortable journey as God reveals to me, in a torrent similar to being drowned in a waterfall, where I need to improve.

Dear friends, let me tell you, it’s ugly.  My confidence, which was probably not right in itself, is low.  I worry for each decision I make because failing seems to be inevitable.

Selfishness, irresponsibility, impatience… did I mention selfishness?

One of the biggest reminders this last week was that anything or anyone can become an idol.  Yep, I knew this.  I know this, yet it seems to easy for me to give credit to something or someone who is wholly undeserving of my thoughts, compared to the Father.  Yikes!  What is wrong with me?  I’ve seen the power, might, compassion, care, faithfulness, forgiveness and never-ending love of God.  He is wholly deserving of thought, praise and focus.  Yet I drag myself to worship at the feet of an idol.  An idol who has done nothing for me besides fail me.  It’s not the idols fault.  When compared to the Father, we all fail and that idol didn’t stand a chance.  It should never have been my focus in the first place.  My eyes should be fixed on the only One who never fails.

I grow accustomed to the world.  Complacent in my thoughts and actions and I end up failing.  How can I not?  I’m not focused on the One who is the reason for every success, every good decision and ‘every good and perfect gift’.  I get arrogant in how well I am doing.  The people I know.  The things I have.  Everything that means nothing.  Then, when God opens my eyes to the fruitlessness of worshiping the world, I crumble.

My struggle now is… where do I go from here?  I’ve hit a place where I feel so completely and utterly incapable of any good.  Any good, that is, besides God moving through me.  All I can see is failure.  God is good and can work through me, this I know.  I just don’t see how.  How does one take a pot that is so full of holes it no longer holds water and use it?  I don’t even know how to allow God to begin to move.  All I see is broken pieces.  Pieces that, even if put back together, I will probably just shatter again in my stupidity.

I keep thanking God, even when all I see is that I am broken.  For He is capable of so much good through me… if I can just get out of His way.  There’s a strange comfort to knowing that I am nothing without the Lord.

I’m sure that when a pot is empty and broken, it can still be put to use somehow.  I’m just waiting to see how He will choose to use me.  Until then, I’ll rest in the knowledge that He is doing a good work in me.  Even if it is painful.  Pruning is painful.  Hopefully something beautiful comes out of this.  I’m trying to be patient in the waiting.

“Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.”

Darkest Before the Dawn

I have friends who are struggling.  We all have friends who are struggling.

When the valley we’re in seems more like a pit.  The darkness seeming to wipe out all traces of light on the horizon.

It’s so difficult in a situation like that to keep our eyes focused up.  On the One who is there.  Walking the road with us.  Down in the pit with us, wiping the mud from our eyes so we can see the light.  It’s so hard to see that.  Unless we are keeping our eyes open for the tiny glimmers of light, they are easy to miss.

I’m a tiny way up the hill to the side of the pit and I wish I could reach down and pull my friends out.  I long for them to see what I’m seeing.  The glimpse of the horizon.

Sunset 10-29-13 edited

The beauty in the plan.  It wasn’t that long ago when I was in the pit and I could be there again tomorrow.  For now, all I can offer is my undying support and a few songs that have helped my limp through my own pit.  My dear friends, those I know and those I don’t, I pray that these are encouraging to you.  That they offer a glimpse of light in the darkness.  Sometimes just a glimpse is all we need.  Remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn.

“You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:9-10

31 Days: Day 7 ~ Villainous Intentions

31 days buttonWelcome back to my 31 Days of Sneak Peeks (and writing tips).  If you’re just joining me, you can find days 1-6 linked HERE!

Yesterday I shared a bit about my villain, Blaze!  As dark and insidious as my villain is, I love Blaze as a character.  He’s the worst kind.  Power-hungry and driven by forces inside that are dark as night.  I didn’t think I had it in me to write a character so dark.  He’s bordering on the psychotic and I’m not sure what that says about me.  😉  Kate and Chris were easy to write because they are much more who I am.  I’m not a dark person, so writing characters who are trying to do the right thing is easy.  Blaze was much more difficult, and interesting, to write.  I say interesting because I’m not used to thinking in such dark ways.  It was interesting to see a situation arise in the book and say ‘now how would Blaze handle that’?  Blaze is very charming, calculating and clever and it was a challenge to make sure he reacted just right to the situation.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to share this but I really wanted to so…

Blaze Collage 1

I’m going to post a bit more about Blaze and the dire situation he put Kate into.  This is shortly after the section I posted yesterday, yet much more has gone on that I will leave for you to find out when you read it.  (There’s that optimism again!)  I’ll also throw in a bit more about Chris because the pieces go well together.

Blaze drew near and she saw the fire reflected in his eyes.  It was fitting, for inside burnt a fire more dangerous than any physical flame.  “They say that the most horrible death is to be burnt alive.  Do you fear it, Kate?  Can you feel the flames?”  His other arm snaked around her and locked her arms to her side.  Agony ricocheted through every cell as he pulled her against himself.  “Goodbye, Kate.”  Blaze leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.  She cried out in disgust. He pulled away abruptly, digging his fist into her wounded side.  She reeled with the explosive pain and she saw his fist coming towards her. 

 “Chris.”  She whispered.

 There was an explosion of fresh pain and then darkness.˜˜

*****************************************************************************

Chris cursed into to the sky as he raced along on horseback.  To his left there was a force of about two hundred men, riding hard.  On his right, the rest of the enemy army made its way towards the people he loved.  He had been right.  It had been a trap for her… and him.

 He had decided at the last minute to ride the ridge and though he was grateful he’d spotted them, he was crushed that he’d had to make a choice.  To get to Kate he would have to abandon his people, his family.  He had ridden fast, gone through two horses already, trading them when his were spent.  His whole ride was spent thinking about her, needing to have her safe with him.  Now, just when he was getting close, he had to abandon her.

The curse burst out of his mouth with explosive force.  “I’m sorry Kate.”  He knew she would understand, but he was burning with rage.  He spurred his horse on, pushing it beyond what he should.  He had family to warn.

After this the story picks up pace and I love putting them through twist after twist.  I’ll share more in the days to come but for now I’ll leave you hanging on and wondering what is going to happen.

After all, that’s what a good story-teller does right?  *evil laugh*

~Sarah

31 Days: Day 6 ~ The Bad Guy

31 days button

Welcome to Day 6!  Yep, I’ve almost made it a whole week.  Thank you to those of you who are on this ride with me and to those that are just joining me.  If you’ve missed day 1 to 5, you can find them HERE!

Today is going to be a bit shorter since this is my crazy day!  I’d like to take today and introduce you to my villain.

A villain is a tough character to write.  You need to determine what kind of bad guy you want.  Do you want your villain to be dark and misunderstood and therefore the reader is somewhat sympathetic?  Or would you prefer your villain to be evil and power hungry, someone that it truly vile?  One of my favourite villains from the movies is Loki from Thor and The Avengers.  He was fantastically written (and amazingly acted).

Loki

However, I didn’t want my villain to be like him.  Loki was so charming that I found myself secretly rooting for him.  (Don’t judge me!)  🙂 My villain had to be evil.  Dark, power hungry and truly scary.  I want him to be a villain that the reader really hates.  No sympathy for my bad guy.  He shows no mercy, no compassion and doesn’t care about anyone but himself.  A villain that seems soulless.  I hope that I achieved that.  This is just a clip and it doesn’t show the full extent of Blaze’s psychology, but I think it gives you a good idea of his character.

Blaze dug the knife dug into her side and twisted.  Excruciating pain shot through her and she screamed.  Unconsciousness rode on the pain and she blacked out.  The relief was short though, as the men holding her released her to fall to the floor and the jolt shifted the knife.  Desperate for relief she grabbed the knife, clenched her jaw and pulled it out.  A moan escaped and she felt tears flowing down her cheeks.  A boot kicked her hand and the knife was ripped out of her grasp, leaving her hand shaking and defenceless. 

 Blaze knelt beside her and wrapped his hand in her hair.  Pulling her head back he leaned in and brushed her cheek with his.  A chuckle resounded through the abbey.  “Do you have anything you want to say?  Do you want to beg yet?”  He whispered in her ear, satisfaction coating his words.  Salt in an already agonizing wound.

Kate’s situation is pretty bad.  Writing this section had my heart going.  Even I wasn’t sure how Kate was going to get out of it.  That’s the thing about my characters.  They dictated the flow of the book.  The situations and conversations.  It’s pretty crazy when the writer is just along for the ride.  Here’s a quote that I found totally appropriate for my writing.  Perhaps it is for yours as well?

writing schizophrenia

~Sarah

31 Days: Day 5 – Stories Die Every Day

31 days redone small

I’ve really just realized how many days I still have ahead and I’m really hoping that I have enough material/thoughts to cover 31 days.  I don’t want to bore you guys to death.  🙂  If you’ve missed day 1-4, you can check them out HERE.

Tomorrow I want to give you a sneak peek of my villain, but for today I want to talk a bit more about the joys and agonies of writing.

I’ve gotten through a lot of my writing woes thanks to a man named Kevin Kaiser.  I’m not sure how it happened, but when I started this journey I stumbled upon Kevin on Facebook and was drawn to his blog.  Kevin is a writer and it seemed like every time I struggled with something, he blogged something that would help drag me out of the mud I was spinning my tires in.  I will post a bunch of links to the posts that helped me below.

One that impacted me most is titled ‘Stories die every day‘.  I’ll quote him a few times here too.  Kevin talks about different ways that stories die.  The interesting thing about it is that they are all because of ourselves.  Sure, life circumstances can make it tougher, but it’s up to us if we let it stop us from getting the words out.  I never imagined how hard it would be to write a book.  I always just thought that to those who were born to write, that were given the writing gift, that the words came easy.  The thoughts and ideas and characters all flowing like water.  Granted, some days are like that.  Others though, are a terrible struggle.  Self-doubt and giant gaps in the story can cause even the most experienced writer to question whether they really ‘have what it takes’.  Two of my favourite writers, Ronie Kendig and Shannon Dittemore, have confessed that doubt plague them too.  These are women who have published and put out amazing books!  Ronie has 11 books in print (Beowulf is on the way) and is working on a new series that I am dying to read.  RAPTOR SIX!  Sorry, got sidetracked there.  Shannon Dittemore has written a series that I adore.  The Angel Eyes Trilogy is amazing.  These women struggle with self-doubt and I consider them to be awesome writers.

Ronie Kendigshannon dittemore

What can separate us from these amazing writers is our fear of pushing through those tough times.  I admit, there were times I almost quit.  When the blank page that was staring back at me appeared as insurmountable as the tallest mountain peak.

“Stories die every day because the blank page is terrifying to face.”

It can be terrifying, disheartening and crushing when the words aren’t coming.  When the characters that were screaming at you before, are giving you the silent treatment.  It’s in those moments though that I believe show our commitment to a story.  Do we ditch it and start something new and fresh or do we force ourselves through the silence?  I have begged and bribed my characters to get them to talk to me again.  In all honesty, I threatened to kill off one of them unless they began to converse again.  You know what?  It worked.  I was at the end of my rope and I wanted this story to not be another one that I just started and never finished.  It was a stressful time, one that I’ll chat about more in coming days.

I am so thankful that I pushed through.  There is something so satisfying about seeing a book through to the end.  If you’re a reader, you know that feeling when you get to the end of a great book. Well I’m here to tell you that the feeling when you get to the end of your own book is like that times one hundred.

If you have a book in you, write it.  Even if it never sees the light of day, you’ll be so happy you did it.  Don’t let the blank page scare you.  Don’t let your characters push you around.

“Stories die every day because giving into gravity is natural and flying isn’t.”

Don’t let gravity keep you down.  Let that story fly.

“Stories die every day because we let them. And only because we let them.”

Here’s those links I promised you at the beginning.  Each of these posts meant a lot to me when I read them and I hope that they will help you too.

The Secret to Telling Every Story

Pull the Trigger Already (the post is good, but I’m not a fan of the image used)

10 Steps to Make You a Better Writer

~Sarah

I'm doing 31 days

31 Days of Sneak Peeks: Day 3

Good Morning everyone!  Whew.  I am so behind.  I planned to have this blog post ready by yesterday, but life gets busy!

31 days redone smallToday, I’m going to show you what I picture my hero and heroine to look like.  The dream that began this story originally had Chris Hemsworth in it, so I have always known what Chris looks like.  Kate was a little bit more of a challenge.  I had an image for her in my head but couldn’t find a picture of exactly how I thought she would look.  Until one day I ran across the phenomenal Lindsey Stirling.  Not only is she so extremely talented, she was also the perfect Kate!  I was so excited!  Chris and Kate are the main characters in my book and you’ve been introduced to them already.  I wish I’d had these ready for the first two days but at least I have them now.  🙂

Here’s a short clip and then the pictures will follow.

Her heart was heavy as she walked from the archery field.  There was no way her father was calling her with good news.  Lead weighed her steps down as she walked into the room.  Her mother was absent from the room which made her even more nervous.  Her father was somewhat restrained when her mother was present.  Together Kate and her father were like oil and water.  Kate was always the dutiful daughter but she had lost most of her childhood love for him as she grew.  Her obedience was bought through fear.  Fear of the ever changing mood of her father, the wrath barely held in check.

Kate CollageKate is strong and yet more fragile than she likes to think.  She’s young but knows her own mind.  Her father is her weakness.  He has her under his thumb and knows it.  You’ll see my villain in a few days and learn that Kate has some serious obstacles to face.  Unless you’re a writer, you may not get this next statement.  I love Kate.  I love her flaws and strengths and it’s not because I wrote her.  It seemed some days like I was just following her around, like a reporter, and she was showing me what to write.  (No, I’m not crazy!) Ask most authors and you’ll hear the same thing from them.

Chris CollageChris is strong and confident.  He’s suffered loss in his life but has worked hard to rise above them.  Anger at the loss of his brother can cause him to be a bit quick in his temper, but he is a good man.  Nearly unmatched with a sword, he is a skilled warrior.  I look forward to giving you more insight into the relationship that he and Kate have.  I love the complexity of relationships and Kate and Chris have more than their fair share.  I love the quiet confidence that Chris has and yet, he surprised me at many turns with how he’d react in a situation.

Writing is an amazing journey.  I know that everyone’s experiences are unique, but I truly loved mine.  Most days.  I’ll share a bit about my journey in the days to come and hopefully I can encourage others who are struggling where I did.  The struggle is always worth it!  The triumph made that much sweeter through the agony!

Thanks again for stopping by!  If you missed day 1 and 2, you can find them HERE!  I hope that you’ll take this whole journey with me.  🙂

~Sarah