This blog’s focus is God’s care that nourishes and strengthens through times of joy and times of challenge. He wants all of his creation to sing knowing that, ultimately, He desires that we trust him.
Some postings are my devotionals for Rest Ministries, an online Christian site for those facing challenges. Others are are new writings I feel inspired to share with you.
I pray that as you join me, you will find reasons to sing along.
Feel free to leave comments, if you wish!
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100:1-2 ESV)
As I read this verse, I recall early August of 1987 when I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I was emotionally numb, awakening from surgery to this startling news. The following day, after a sleepless night, a stirring turned me to a flicker deep within. I whispered, “Lord, help me. My eyes are upon you.”
I had a deep encounter with the Lord, who came gently with his still small voice. He had to reveal to me what I was feeling. Each emotion was addressed and counsel given. I later realized that He had personally taken me through the first part of Scripture’s 2 Chronicles 20. Therein, Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah are awaiting enemy armies that totally outnumber them. Feeling powerless, they turn to the Lord for help.
He tells them not to be afraid:
For the battle is not yours, but God’s . . . You will not have to fight this battle . . . stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you . . . Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17)
I relaxed knowing I could confidently face my overwhelming enemy.
The rest of that Scripture has Jehoshaphat instructing his people to go forth to meet the armies, singing praises to God. This became my stance during my months of chemotherapy treatments.
The people of Judah and I experienced victory over a beaten foe.
As to the above psalm’s verses?
I came to recognize more deeply that I serve a faithful God. He continues to uphold me as I face challenges, some lasting years beyond the cancer diagnosis and triumph.
He reminds me very often that the enemy is beaten.
I am not.
He is worthy to be served and praised. He first served me as Savior. Now I serve him with a spirit of joy, gladness, and song because He has shown me that is how one celebrates knowing the Lord is the One securing the victories.
Lord, help me to continue to make a joyful noise, praising you. Your faithfulness is known, received, cherished, and everlasting. Amen.
Okay, my lovely ones who are persevering with me on this journey - now ten months long with the self publication aspect - here is some news! This past week I received the FIRST full look at my entire manuscript from the typesetter.
They are the ones that ready the manuscript for printing.
My job now is to go through every word and page alignment (text and photos) and okay it or ask that what is not "right" be re-done. It is quite more "real" to see this PDF and how all has been put together. There are many needs I am addressing as I go through it in regard to formatting and have run into a few typos of my own.
Gratefully, as I am self-publishing, I have the final okay.
Once I get through this stage, I will submit it and any corrections will be made (hopefully) and I will get it back for another "go through". There is one interior graphic that was not implemented correctly and that re-do will take place once the graphic designer is back from her honeymoon mid-August. I have no clue ( have not been told) as to how long it will take when all of this formatting/typesetting is completed for the books to be printed - they will be sending me a few "free ones"!! An eBook will be prepared elsewhere once all is okayed for printing. It is possible that printing may be done before I am ready to launch the book for sale. There is a lot more I need to seek out in terms of information about the business side of this and I want to be clear before the book is launched. I am kept on a pretty short leash regarding information as the publisher believes in one step at a time. I am still seeking (and have word out) for a website teacher who will take me on in person to complete a website. A website was barely begun with help online in April but that instructor "left" with promises of returning. I realize I do need someone "at my elbow" to help me navigate this process. I learned a lot in the two weeks the online instructor was with us but am now very lost in implementing what I learned. I have the vision for the website which is a plus. If you'd please pray for this need, I am most appreciative. As I have said all along, the timing of when this all comes together IS in God's hands. As frustrating as the delays have been - more correctly the human reasons for the delays - they are all working toward good. The finished book is going to be a wonder! I can barely wait to have "her" available to nourish and encourage others. Below are photos taken in 2011 as I readied notebooks of the full manuscript for those who said they would endorse my book. My workspace (the rug and my couch) are most lovely, don't you think!! However, this will give you a peek at the size the book will be (8.5 x 11). The image is a watercolor done for the text message it reflects. There are 5 such watercolors in the book which were done specifically for it. The rest of the images are 55 full page color photos of real life images - not sketches. And there are 5 interior graphics which are photos used as "headers" with some text flowing out of them.
Okay - off to work I go and am glad to update you as we round the bend going into August.
Oh, how I love the Library of Congress - the literal Library!
It is breathtakingly beautiful.
When I was in 8th grade, and other times in my life, I lived in the Washington, D.C. area.
Back at the time I was in 8th grade, no one under 16 years of age was allowed to use the Library of Congress to do research or check out books. But my 8th grade teacher wanted our class to learn to write a term paper, complete with footnotes, and other resource information. As we were not 16 years of age, we were 14, she got permission from the Library of Congress for any of her students to use the Library.
I remember taking the bus to get to the Library to work on my FIRST ever important piece of writing in 1957. My subject was Thomas Jefferson who I was later, in my young adult life, to learn had been responsible in selling a large collection of his personal library of books to help build up the collection in a new Library of Congress after the original building was loss to fire in the early 1800's.
My 8th grade experience was back in the day of card catalogues in drawers with the names of books the Library had, finding the right book resource one wanted, taking the information up to the main desk, submitting a slip that was put in a carrier tube and sent down to the stacks and soon the books were delivered and I could sit in this quiet setting and do my research!!
I am sure that a whole new system is in place in 2016!!
Fast Forward to December, 2015 (58 years later) and I have full color photographs in my devotional book which is in the process of being published. I had gone online to access the site for getting my photos copyrighted. That application was completed and filed with the copyright office The means to digitally upload my 67 photos was beyond my know how so I went with the option to mail off hard copies of my photos. I got prints made and where did they have to be sent?
The Library of Congress!
It was not until I was addressing my package to mail to Washington, D.C. that the connection of my 8th grade experience collided with what is currently happening!
It made me smile!
On June 24, 2016 - my final approval of interior graphics and a sample template of my manuscript, Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter, When Challenges Dim Our View, was ready to be sent to the typesetter. I emailed it off with my “OK” to my book’s project manager, Amber who lives in Ohio.
On July 7, 2016, I got this message from her:
I have good news as far as Seeking the Light of God's Comforter! I will be able to send everything to the typesetter today, since I finally got your Library of Congress Card Catalog Number back from their office! I'll let you know when I have a file for you to review! I'm so happy we're finally at this very important step!
And I am, too.
There are still miles to go after the see-saw of my receiving the manuscript back from the typesetter and reviewing it, making any corrections, and eventually getting to the point where that part is finished.
Last night I received the template of the beginning sections of my manuscript: Front Cover, Title Page, Table of Contents, Endorsements, Acknowledgements, and samples of what a devotional text with its accompanying photo will look like when sent to the typesetter. Those of you who have been following this journey with me, have read of the many communications - all via email and the written word - that have brought the publishing process this far.
There are miles to go yet.
But this one part is key for the template sets the pattern the typesetter will take to ready the manuscript for printing. Because I am self-publishing, I get final approval via what is sent to me before it is sent off. Now the last part of readying the template can proceed. There was one clarification the graphic designer wanted regarding some interior graphics I designed. She shared with me what she needs to do from her end to make them ready for the typesetter. All else looks great and once she finishes these interior graphics and I take a look, the template can move along and the whole manuscript can be typeset.
"Green Light! Go!"
Thank you for your prayers for me and for those preparing the book for publication. I would ask you to continue in prayer for my stamina for other aspects needing attention outside the actual publication process - that just the right people I need to help me will be set in my path and my own energy for what only I can do will be handed to me by God.
"We" are closer than when I signed my contract last November. That seems ages ago in light of all that has happened. It has been quite a whirlwind. I am hanging onto the One who is the calm in the midst of the "whirl".
I talked with my publisher and explained my confusion about paying a second time for template work, involving some photo graphics, that needed to be done. I had not originally chosen the smaller size book nor knew enough to question that choice. She had seen my mock up notebook of the manuscript which is now the size we are going with. It seemed that along the way of this journey there could have been a change in plans regarding the finished size.
However, we both were too involved that "in person" day to have that be a consideration. Too many other matters took precedence.
I was at odds within myself, living with the uncertainty of what had actually happened in the process at the other end of what I knew - until after the fact of seeing what had been completed.
I emailed my publisher and was honest about my concerns.
I got a thoughtful reply and she took full responsibility for the decisions that had been made and offered me a refund of those monies. She agreed that I should not have to pay a "second time" to have the work done. I was very grateful we could come to a mutual decision that was fair. Now, some more "wait-training" time - but waiting on the One who knows the right time for this project to become all it was meant to be.
A lot has happened since I joyfully announcedthat I was going to have my book, Seeking the Light of God's Comforter - When Challenges Dim Our View,published. At that time, a February, 2016 release date had been proposed to me.
We all got to work - the team and I. By mid-December the copyediting was completed and we took a break for the holidays.
The end of January, my project manager and her husband welcomed a baby boy (via adoption) which had been a 7-year journey for them toward parenthood. Naturally, they needed time to bond with him and she took an 8 week maternity leave which I gladly understood. It left me with other work to do, one piece of it was being able to sit down in person with the publisher so she could see the vision I had for the formatting of my book. In doing this in-person consultation on February 12th, I was told there are photo graphics inside the book which need the attention of the graphic designer who had worked on readying my design of my book's front cover. The publisher took those designs and was to get them to the graphic designer so she could begin work.
There were delays with her getting those designs to the graphic designer, but they did get to her on April 1.
In the meantime, I have been attending to projected marketing needs, among them learning how to create a website, not an easy task for this technology challenged individual. I have a vision for that, too, which I hope I can pull off.
An online course with a great teacher was being offered in April. GREAT timing! I've done everything else "online", why not this key piece? Nine of us are in the course which is being held in a closed group on Facebook. For the first two weeks in April we were instructed (video) with key overviews of the process and plenty of time to make comments and ask questions and encourage one another. There was also a phone consultation with the teacher so she could understand key needs I have. The 3rd week in April we were to begin implementing what we had learned with guided instruction as our teacher showed us how she creates a website. She lives in Texas and mid April got overwhelmed with the floods that were so very harsh in the area where she lives. We have been "off course" for these past two weeks. Hopefully, we will be working again soon.
On April 22 I got the template proof of my book's first pages including text pages, a sample of how the graphic designer had done the first interior graphic of an Introduction page, and two samples of devotionals with their accompanying photos. This was for the purpose of my approving them before she proceeded to send the template model off to the typesetter who then will take the full manuscript and photos and ready them to be printed. I then will get all that back to approve before printing is okayed.
However, back in October when my project was first discussed in a phone consultation with the publisher (and no notebook with my vision of formatting had been seen by her), she chose a 8.5” x 8.5” square 'trim size' for the book as she felt that would do well to fit my horizontal and vertical photos. I appreciated that input. It sounded good to me.
What I came to realize, seeing the template on April 22, was that the ‘trim size” is too "short" in length to fit all the devotional texts on one page. Each devotional is the same word count. The samples the graphic designer used for the template fit as those devotionals are not spaced out as other texts where emphasis was needed by spacing sentences or centering some of them. The other beginning texts (Table of Contents, Dedication, Endorsements, Acknowledgements) look gorgeous!
The Introduction pages (there are four) have a photo header, thus the need for a graphic to be done. Some text flows out of the reflection of the photo image. There was no way the designer could get the full text to fit on one page. She went to a second page and "cut and pasted" a part of the photo header to try and keep "my flow" but to my eyes that did not work. As I know the whole manuscript, I could foresee how that same configuration would happen with the "longer devotionals".
The only suggestion I had to remedy getting the "look" I have worked so hard to attain was to ask the publisher to go to a different 'trim size" with that being 8.5" x 11". I know that will fit as it is the size of my mock-up manuscript notebook, the one she saw!
It will be more costly to print that new size and I will be paying "again" for time the graphic designer needs to re-format the front cover design and the "beginning pages" to that new size as she had done for the template I received on April 22.
Are you tired yet?
I am exhausted!
I also am still expecting! With the way this project is "progressing", I think the due date could possibly be September, 2016.
The bottom line we each know is that the timing of what is to be is all in God's hands!