One word at a time blog carnival

I’m so happy for you…really!

A whole stack of my writing friends just released new books.

Another group just signed publishing contracts, some for multiple books.

Friends signed with agents. Friends with speaking engagements. Friends with writing jobs that pay the bills.

I read their status updates and their tweets and I’m genuinely happy for them. It is exciting to see a dream realized and they are my friends, after all. I read their writing, it’s good, and I want more people to have the opportunity to soak in their words. Any time you seek to make a living doing something creative, it’s a risk and it’s a joy to know that risk is working out for people who I like.

Sometimes I worry that my congratulatory comments don’t sound as sincere as I intend for them to be. Because let’s be honest, while I’m happy for my friends, I a little bit hate reading those updates.

It’s not so much that I hate their success, it’s just that it reminds me of my lack.

One section of my proposal is explaining why I am the best person to write the book that I hope someone will represent and eventually publish. Seeing updates from these writers makes that so much harder for me to do. I don’t have any formal writing education. I don’t have any training in counseling. I don’t have any official Bible training. So my qualifications come down to “have a blog” and “have friends who are willing to let me write about them.” As I was writing that part, I felt exactly like this.

I think a big part of my frustration is that nearly all of the writers that I know, I know only in the Virtual Village. We haven’t had the chance to sit down over drinks together or talk about our favorite movies or give a real hug to each other. Don’t get me wrong, I value the relationships that I have with the folks online. But there is something extra special about time spent face to face. It’s a unique and beautiful thing.

Tomorrow I head to Story where I am going to get to meet a bunch of these folks that stir up feelings of joy and jealousy. We’re going to have a chance to drink and talk and hug. And I think at the end of that, the next time any of these friends post their good news, my well wishes will be all the more sincere.

At least, I sincerely hope so.


This is a part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You can read more submissions and add your own here.

Things That Have Gone Missing Because My Husband is an Atheist

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When Jason came out to me about being an atheist, I assumed that there would be a litany of shared interests that would be missing due to his lack of faith. Some are what you would expect, like attending church together regularly or having a singular vision for our children’s spiritual education. To be sure, there are times when I absolutely miss these moments.

But I have also discovered that because of his deconversion, there are other things that have gone missing, many that I didn’t expect.

  1. My assumptions about what atheists think about Christians. Obviously I don’t know all of the atheists in the world, but my interactions with the bulk of the atheists that I’ve met online and those I’ve met in person through Jason have pretty much shattered how I assumed that group felt about Christians. I thought that atheists believed that all Christians were stupid; most simply feel that Christians are wrong. I thought that atheists hated Christians; most don’t have any problem with Christians. I thought that atheists were angry; most are considerably more laid back than some of my evangelical friends. Over and over I’ve found that my assumptions keep being proved wrong and are slowly disappearing.
  2. My assumptions about how Christians would treat us. When Jason came out to me, I asked him not to talk about it because I was afraid of how the Christians in our lives would react. I knew that people were going to treat us (and more to the point, me) differently. What I found, however, was that when we finally told people, most embraced us with even more love. I almost never felt like someone’s project, and I’m certain that at least a few times when I did feel that way, it was more perception than reality. I know that plenty do not have such a positive experience, but I do believe that we need to be more generous with our assumptions about people in general.
  3. My assumptions about hell. Before I was close to someone who had no beliefs about an afterlife, I never really gave it much thought outside of “believers go to heaven, unbelievers go to hell.” In the past two and a half years, I have read considerably more about hell than I did in the previous 30-something years. I still haven’t completely settled on what I believe about the afterlife, but I no longer accept that things are as black and white as I’ve always been taught. I’m far more hopeful now, not just for me, but for everyone that I meet. Which leads me to the next thing that is missing…
  4. My assumptions about life now. Because my beliefs about the afterlife are in flux, this has affected how I view the here and now. When I was sure about who was in and who was out, my primary goal was simply to make sure that everyone ended up in the same place. Now that I’m less convinced of this, I am far more interested in knowing everyone’s story. When I can demonstrate that I care about the thoughts of someone I previously saw as being on “the outside” without an agenda, we are able to have a more honest dialogue.

Letting go of assumptions can be difficult. They can feel as comfortable as many of the more positive areas of our relationships and when there’s already a lot of upheaval, our instinct can be to cling to that which is familiar. But I’ve found as I loosened my grip on my assumptions, I haven’t really missed them as they’ve slipped away.


If you’ve had a relationship change, what kind of assumptions did you notice no longer applied? Even without a change, what assumptions do you need to release today?

A Bit Much

I absolutely love meeting new people. One of the goals for my “do year” was to put faces to some of my friends in the virtual village. It’s easy for me to say, “Let’s get together,” and then never actually do anything that furthers the cause. I wanted this year to be different.

One of the ways I was going to meet some people was through the Sacred Friendship Gathering. For months, I was really excited about having a chance to meet David Nilsen face to face. I’ve felt a connection with him since we met a year ago online, and I was very much looking forward to seeing if that translated to the real world as well.

But as the date closed in, I got a little bit nervous. When I say that I’m an ENFP, I can’t stress enough how much of an “E” I really am. Whenever I take a Myers-Briggs test, I score heavily to the extrovert side of things. This means that I have absolutely no problem in crowds. It also means that I have a very big personality. Very loud, very boisterous, very…much.

Often a bit too much.

Normally people have a chance to get to know me over time. They can observe from afar and then ease into a relationship with me if they want.

But when we’re meeting for lunch at Chili’s for the first time, there’s no escape. It’s just me and my off-color sense of humor, my aggressive hugging, and my loud, loud, loud laugh. I try very hard to let people know what they’re getting into before they meet me, but I know there’s no way to explain ME.  I hate making people uncomfortable, but when I’m meeting someone who I feel like I know, I feel like I should be me. And when I’m me, I can make people uncomfortable.

I suppose I could avoid these situations. Keep things safe. Lower my laugh. Make small talk.

And no one would get to know me.

So instead, I walked into Chili’s with David, Lyndie, and Melinda and gave them me.

It may have been too much, but it was me.


What’s your Myers-Briggs personality? How do you feel about meeting new people?


This is a part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You can read more submissions and add your own here.