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Monday, December 8, 2014

My journey - what now?

I’m not sure how many times I’ve sat down to write my story about sexual abuse.  I start a page, maybe finish a chapter and 6 years ago I wrote an entire 300 page novel.  That first novel was fiction, of course, but the story was about me.  I’m there in every page.    

From day to day, my motive changes.  One day I want to write for healing; another day I want to write to help others and some days I want to write to explore.  But, every day I can’t help what I write; for writing has been most healing and I have to let it carry me where it wants. 

What do I want to share?  What will help other people suffering the most?  Could my story prevent others from being hurt?  Can I do it?

As I get older, I’m so impressed with people who share their unique challenges and trials; their hurts and fears cupped with spoonfuls of hope.  

My favorite books of 2014 include A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

 My Story by Elizabeth Smart 

and Finding Me by Michelle Knight.   

The heartache and fear; the horror and despair, but these girls found a way through there abuse.  They over came in such a triumphant way, their courage and faith like fireworks during a thunderstorm.  These girls are my hero’s and I strongly recommend these memoirs to anyone. 

I’m finally at a place where my past no longer hurts me.  It’s been this way for a couple of years now.  This is because of my Savior, Jesus Christ and also because of the tender, nurturing love of my husband.  My story now feels just like that – a story.  Some days, it’s even easy to forget that scared hopeless girl was me.  In many ways I’ve overcome, but almost every angle of my character has been built on my struggles of overcoming. 

Where I was once vulnerable, I’m now acutely aware.

Because I was hurt, I’m now able to see the hurt in others.

The loneliness I once felt serves as a constant source of gratitude; for I never forget the blessings that surround me. 

I’ve always been happy; that was one element not taken away from me; but now I’m happy deep down to my soul – not just as a coping mechanism.

I most relate to teenage and young adult girls, because this is the age my life took a difficult turn.  It took me nearly a decade to get back on track.

Because of my healing, I could move on easily.  No longer do I have flash backs when my husband touches me a certain way, no more panic attacks at strange hours of the day, but something inside of me says “Don’t forget.” 

About a year ago, I started project:USED.  
You can read about my inspiration for project:USED here.  It was an incredible undertaking with so much support, but I’ll never forget how vulnerable I felt releasing the video.  Days before the release, I cried into my husband’s shoulder.  What was I feeling?  Was it shame?  Hurt? Fear?  I’ve always been good at keeping secrets.  There have been so many things in my life no one was every supposed to know about.  I think the hurt came from breaking open a secret. 

I continue to discover my path.  I have a great desire to save.  Sometimes this come out in the way I salvage thrift store finds. It’s a fun way to save- to redeem.  My Dear Trash ( six years old now and almost 1,000,000 hits) is full of hope.  Where I once felt like trash, I found value again in myself.  I find a little bit of myself in every piece I work on.

Then I wrote my first novel The Mermaids Handbook of Secrets (originally titled Colors of the Sea).  
I explored scientist Rachel Carson and her desire to protect the sea and our environment.  I’ve always loved Rachel Carson and her books, even making her a major part of my studies through my communication degree at ASU.  I took a postmodern twist on Rachel Carson and developed a character for the young adult audience that would reintroduce her passion for the sea to a new generation.  There is an underlying theme of saving the sea from environmental trauma and the sexual abuse my character faces.  You can read the first chapter here

Then, my daughter was born.  Her presence; the very essence of the female spirit radiated in her.  
She.  Girl.  Safe. Loved.

And I’ve learned so much about myself and mothering from having a daughter.  
Here is Eden with my mom.
Eden is my perfect mirror.  If I love myself, she’ll learn to love herself.  If I’m strong, she’ll learn to be strong.  If I celebrate my female spirit, she’ll do the same.  How I've grown seeing the world through the eyes of my wonderful innocent daughter. 

Next, I wrote The Memory Catcher with my mom author Sarah Hinze.  

The book is her memoir; her journey of her own miscarriage, to studying prebirth experiences and finally to becoming a voice for the unborn.  
Her books share how unborn spirits can warn, protect and enlighten us.  Then, unexpectedly her research presented evidence that aborted babies may die here on earth, but their souls live on.  These real-life accounts in a book she wrote called The Castaways provided healing and hope for so many.  
Coming soon, the 15-year anniversary edition of The Castaways (more on that later).
I learned God can lead us when we write, especially when we write to honor Him.  The experience made me crave inspiring memoirs and I broke out of  my normal reading genre - fiction.  I’ve always known difficult things that happen to us can lead to good things, but I learned it in a literary sense.  There is a beautiful way to share such stories.

I can’t forget my new found love of Christian music.  I spend a lot of time painting and restoring furniture, working in the kitchen and so forth.  I stopped listening to political radio and top 40 and turned the dial over to the inspiring messages and gorgeous tunes of these amazing musicians.  So many songs touched my heart, but the one that stands out is Overcomer by Mandisa.  Her story is amazing.
I was being spiritually nourished throughout the day.  My relationship with Jesus Christ grew in leaps and bounds.  

Then, project:USED (  
Dresses, the very core of woman; some might say its sexist, but with the inspiration of DRESSEMBER and a new look at what it means for a woman to wear a dress, I found dresses liberating.  The dress became a symbol of what it means to be a strong woman.  Don’t hide behind pants, celebrate the female spirit. 

After all that, what now?  I’ve come a long way as a mother, wife, an entrepreneur, a writer and a girl.  I’ve blogged for almost six years.  My dear readers, what courage and healing you’ve provided me!  It’s been so much fun.  Thank you for following me on this journey and I look forward to continuing the exploration of My Dear Trash.  In addition to my blog, I’ve written and completed almost five novels all about strong young adult girls that overcome in their own way.  An exciting twist, my last two novels are historical fiction.  God willing, I think I know where my next step leads.  I’m currently working with a literary agency and I think my time may have finally come to publish my stories.  Yes, it’s a big leap, but oh my! Am I ever ready to hold own of my own books.  You’ll find me in a puddle of tears jumping for joy. 

All these experiences (and too many to count) have lead me to light.  I have so many stories and ideas; dreams and goals – all bringing another step closer to the joy of being a strong, confident girl!  

I love having so many artistic outlets in my life. If it wasn’t for the therapeutic outlet of furniture restoration, I wouldn’t have so much time to collect my thoughts and explore plots. If it wasn’t for writing, I’d probably explode in a big pile of ideas!  So, wish me luck and courage and I take this leap of faith into the world of publishing.  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!

You can check out my website at
Follow me on facebook for My Dear Trash here and for project:USED here.
I'm also on pinterest here.

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