Christian—adj. 1. Of Jesus Christ or His teachings. 2. Of or adhering to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ

    Inspirational—adj. The act of inspiring

    Inspire—v. to fill with animating or exalting influence 2. To arouse or generate (a feeling, thought, etc.) 3. To affect with feeling, thought, etc. 4. To guide or control by divine influence.

    That little vocabulary lesson come courtesy of my little red Random House Webster’s Dictionary. It is as much for my benefit as it is for yours. Those words have been on my mind lately. A comment was made recently that the words “Christian” and “inspirational” can be interchangeable, at least when it comes to music and literature. It came up during a discussion about my writing. I call it “Christian Fiction”. A writer friend mentioned that I might reach more readers if I call it “Inspirational Fiction” instead. She said that the label “Christian” might alienate potential readers who don’t want to read about God and don’t want to be preached at. But the label “Inspirational” is more likely to make readers think uplifting and positive. She went on to say that someone not looking specifically for Christian work might pick up one of my books and be touched by what I wrote.

    Yet I am really torn. Yes, I LOVE the idea of reaching more readers. What writer wouldn’t? At the same time, I do not like the idea of compromising my beliefs and values to get those readers. Calling my work something other than Christian makes me feel like I am compromising.

    I mentioned this on Facebook this morning. Most of my FB friends have been supportive, telling me to call it what I want and let the readers decide for themselves if they are going to be offended or not. One writer friend, while still being supportive, took a slightly different approach. She said, “BUT if you don’t label it, someone who would not normally read “Christian Fiction” may read it and be inspired by your message of faith. Wouldn’t that make it all worthwhile?”

    That has really made me wonder. Would that make it worthwhile?

    I mean, sure, I want to inspire others with my work. And I do feel that every word I write was given to me by God, so all of my work has been inspired by Christ. So going by definition #4 of inspire, then my work is inspirational.

    So why does calling my work simply “inspirational” feel so wrong to me?

    Not that I am saying it is a sinful thing. That is not the wrong feeling I am talking about. It just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like it is the appropriate definition of my work.

    I am a Christian, and I am not ashamed of that. In the book of Romans, Paul said, “That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.” (Romans 1:15-17, NIV) I don’t know that I was called to preach; I was called to write. Pastor Clive often says, “You may be the only Bible some people will ever read.” In the same way, my work may be the only sermon some people ever hear. I trust that God will get that “sermon” into the hands of whoever needs to hear it, no matter what label is placed on my work.

    As for me, I have decided that I will call my work “Christian Fiction.” Will that cost me any readers? Only God knows. But it will be honoring to Him, and that is more important to me than who reads my books or how many copies I sell.

    My writer friends may well be right. The label I put on my work might alienate certain readers and offend others. Strangely I am OK with that. It’s better to risk my career by offending possible readers on earth than to risk eternity by offending my Father in Heaven.

Personal Pause

    So I went and saw my therapist yesterday. She’s real nice, though I must say that I don’t like going. I mean, if my own family doesn’t think my problems are worth discussing, why should a virtual stranger think they are?

    Anyway, she told me that she thinks John and I need to work on our communication. I need to tell him what is going on with me and let him know how I think he could help me rather than just expecting him to know what to do. She also said that I need to work on finding ways to feel good and useful that do not depend on John’s approval. I told him that and he said, “I don’t have a psychology degree, and I even told you that.”

    Somehow the discussion moved on to my monthly cycles. She asked if my periods have been regular and I admitted that I haven’t had one, really, since May. “I had one in May, spotted in June and July, and then nothing, until spotting started again last night.” Her eyes about bugged out of her head. She asked if I had talked to my family doctor about it, and I said that I had and he had run a PG test, which was negative. She then asked if I’d had night sweats or night terrors, hot flashes, or moments of forgetfulness. I laughed and said, “Only all the time.” So she suggested I call my gynecologist. She said that my symptoms sure sound a lot like menopause. I told her that I had mentioned that possibility to my family doctor and he said it was possible.

    “So why have you not seen your gynecologist?”

    That was easy to answer. “Because I don’t want to know.”

    “Are you planning on having more children?”

    “Oh no,” I said with a little laugh. “I had my tubes tied after Seth was born.”

    “Well, if you are done having children, a period is just sort of a cruel thing to have to go through, don’t you think? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are all done with them?”

    “Sure,” I said. I mean, life without a period is only something I have dreamed of since I was 12 and went through my first one.

    “Did you know that it is possible for your gynecologist to estimate by the monitoring the changes in your uterus how long you have until you are all through menopause?”

    I didn’t know that. Still, it didn’t make me want to rush out and find out.

    “Why don’t you want to know?” she asked. “Are you afraid of something?”

    I shrugged. “Old ladies go through menopause,” I muttered. “I am 33. I don’t want to be old.”

    My therapist didn’t laugh the way I was afraid she would. She just said, “So it’s tied to your identity. You know that is not true, right? Some women go through menopause starting in their early 20’s.”

    She talked more and said that it is possible that my problems right now are not really from depression. Menopause causes a lot of hormonal changes. Those changes can affect mood. They can affect sleeping patterns, body temperature, and memory.

    “If this is a hormonal thing,” she told me, “it doesn’t matter how often you see me or Dr. Mogerman. And it won’t matter how many times he adjusts your medication. Antidepressants help the chemical imbalance in your brain, but won’t do a thing about a hormonal imbalance.”

    Before I left her office, I promised that I would call my gynecologist. Have I done it yet? No. I plan to. At least I think I plan to. Even though every little thing she said made sense to me, I am still not sure that I want to know for sure that I am menopausal. I have three older sisters. To my knowledge, none of them have gone through the big M yet. I was the last to get married, the last to have kids. Why should I be the first one to do this?

    OK, so maybe I am being silly and petty about this. BUT I DON’T WANT TO GROW UP!!!!!! Something about menopause sounds too grown up to ever go back….


This year’s effort? BLINDSIDED!!!

For the third year in a row, I have decided to participate in National Novel Writers Month, NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short!  This year is extra special to me.  October was a hard month on a lot of personal levels.  NaNo is going to be a form or therapy for me this year.  I’ve already started, and I am on pace so far.  I’d like to finish at least 50,000 words by Robby’s birhtday, November 21.  Even if I am not “done”, I have promised him that I will take his birthday off.

My novel this year is called BLINDSIDED.  It is a story that I have been developing for months.  I already feel like I know these characters very well.  Still, as I write about them, they are sharing secrets I had not imagined.  I hope you enjoy the book as much as I do.
Here is a brief synopsis of BLINDSIDED–

Recent college graduate Janessa Warner has the perfect life. She has a close relationship with her mother, step-father, and half-sister. Besides that, she has a wonderful fiancee and is looking forward to her future. That all changes the night a stranger runs a red light. Janessa’s life is shattered, and she doesn’t know how to begin to pick up the pieces. She’s not even sure if she wants to put them together.