Life in 2017

Hello new normal!

I teach a Bible study on Thursday mornings. I love the group of women I'm blessed to spend time with around a table where we stretch to make room so all of us can sit together. We're blissfully child-free for two full hours so we can chat about life and God and all the things in between. Sometimes we rush to class late, straight from a morning of chaos. Sometimes we stroll through the door prepared for class and just happy to be with authentic, beautiful women that care about us.

Regardless of how we show up, we always have a great time. We always dive deep into each others' lives and spend the short amount of time we get each week in real, honest conversation.

This semester we're doing a study called None Like Him by Jen Wilken. The subject of the book is God. And His attributes. Jen spends each chapter on a specific trait of God's, helping us dive deeper in knowledge of who He is and in turn, knowledge of who we are as humans.

Spoiler Alert- God is so much greater than us. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Every chapter I'm reminded of how finite I am. How limited. How quickly my life is over. And how unlike God I am even while I'm made in His image.

In one of my favorite chapters of the books, Jen tackles God's self-sufficiency. It's a beautiful chapter filled with all kinds of profound nuggets. But the point that hit me the hardest is that God is completely needless in His self-sufficiency. He does not need humanity. Not our obedience or worship or even existence. He created us out of love and continues to love us because He is love. There is no other motive or reason.

In contrast, we as humans are nothing but needful. He created us this way. From the very beginning, Adam and Eve were created to need. Even before there was sin, before the Fall, they needed food and water. They needed to work and have purpose. They needed communion with God. And they needed each other.

They had needs. Vital ones. And likewise, as humans, we will also always have needs.

This was mind-blowing to me. I had never thought of "needing" as a basic human quality. In fact, being the control freak that I am, I've always considered my capacity to need as a flaw- a problem that I could fix if only I was organized enough or together enough or prolific enough.

Sure, I could never deny basic physical needs. I will always need food and water and sleep. But the other stuff, the need to work and make money and have companionship could be circumvented if I could just be enough or do enough or X enough.

Reading that chapter was like taking a full breath of clean air for the very first time. Not only will I never not need. But I'm not the only one. We're all like this. And yet we're embarrassed of our needs. We hide them. We cover them up with false bravado and practiced phrases like, "I'm fine. We're fine. Everything's fine."

I spent some time meditating on this thought. The idea of exposing all of my needs is terrifying. I flushed with embarrassment from the safety of my own couch in the privacy of my own head just thinking about it. We might all be in this boat together, but I'm not ready or even close to being ready to list out every way that I need for the world to see.

Doesn't it make you itchy just thinking about it?

But I can admit that I don't think I've ever been more needy than I am in this season of my life. With all of these kids and responsibilities and hopes and dreams. With a full-time career and a full-time family and a full-time number of interruptions, I have never, in my entire life, been quite this overwhelmed.

It's exhausting and scary and wonderful all at once.

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not complaining. I love having this little baby. I love having all of these wild kids. I love my job and my life and all of the responsibilities in my life. But the days pass too quickly and I'm left scrambling, wondering where the time went and how my To Do list got away from me. Again.

I'll figure it out. This is a season. One that I'm embracing and loving and figuring out. But I will get through it. And I will be a better person, we will be a better family, my work will be better because of it.

The good news is that my brain is back!!!! And I mean that. I've been reflecting on how it happens for me. I tell people I can't write while I'm pregnant. I can barely function. And yet there is always this constant niggling doubt that whispers I'm just being lazy. If I would only try harder. If I could only get silence and enough coffee and a magic focusing pill I could write just like always.

I can't help it. I am honestly, and without meaning to brag, a very productive person. I might always be late with projects, but that's usually because I take on too much at once, not because I don't want to work. I have an inability to see time accurately.

Something that drives my husband crazy.

He asks how long my errands will take. I honestly predict an easy hour.

I stumble back to the house six hours later, amazed that nothing went as I planned and realizing I didn't consider drive time or customer lines or reality.

My husband is not surprised. He usually says, "Don't worry about it. I know how things go with you."

Unfortunately, I can't expect the rest of the world to be so forgiving. (Although many of you are and I love you for it.)

 Anyway, back to my point. So the whole time I was pregnant I just worried that I wasn't doing enough. Or that maybe I was broken somehow. That maybe this was my new normal and I would never be able to write again. What ifs bombarded my head like rubber bullets(painful but not fatal) and fear built up inside me like a tidal wave(complete in its sweeping destruction).

And then I had the baby and something happened. Slowly at first, but gaining speed the further from delivery I survived. I could think again. Remember again. My personality started to come back and I started sleeping- really sleeping. Even if it was for only a few hours at a time- again.

Then one day the switch was flipped. I went from brainless to creative all at once. I went from confused and addled to sharp and driven. I went from whiny, depressed and scared to a girl with a plan and the motivation to execute it.

It happened last week. I'm not kidding. I struggled to write two sentences in a row for almost the entirety of 2016 and then in the span of three days I furiously wrote 18,000 words.

The doubt faded. The frustration quelled. And in their absence I found myself again and smiled.

My writer's block wasn't permanent, it was only pregnancy. Whew!

I can't even accurately explain the relief I felt. Up until that point I had been wondering if I was going to have to retire from writing just to keep up with laundry. But now my fingers can fly over the keyboard and my thoughts make sense.Actual sense!

I've found my first love again. (At least in the professional realm.) And I can't wait to begin again. But more importantly finish again. I can't wait to complete this season of Love and Decay and tie up the loose ends on a secret project I've been working on. I can't wait to get to the Happily Ever After of my latest contemporary romance. And actually finish a blog I start.

I can't wait to write The End on so many projects and it finally, finally feels possible.

So many of you are waiting for Love and Decay: Revolution and I know you're tired of hearing how it's coming soon. Especially now that soon means nothing to you and you pretty much want to throat punch me.

First and foremost, Thank You for waiting this long. Thank you for understanding my struggles. Thank you for forgiving me for being only human. And thank you for supporting me despite your frustration.

My gratitude for your graciousness is real and soul deep.

I will be finishing the series soon. I promise you. I'm working on it now. Even though it's hard to hear or say, I was right not to publish it while I was pregnant. Looking back at what I had written, I'm breathing a big sigh of relief I held back.

It needs work.

And help.

And possibly a divine intervention.

But the bones are there and I'm hopeful that it won't take long to edit and then work through with a professional editor and then publish.

The last four episodes will be released this winter/early spring and finally Revolution, Season One will wrap up.

In the meantime, I'm going to be marketing my next adult contemporary romance. And since I haven't published a book in this genre since September 2015, I'm going to be pushing it a lot. That doesn't mean I won't be working on Love and Decay. It just means both releases in both genres are extremely important to me.

I just want you to rest assured that even if you see a lot of The Opposite of You, it doesn't mean I'm neglecting Love and Decay. I can't stress enough that both releases are super important to me. And I am working as hard as I can to give you both books.

That's exciting right? So many goodies to look forward to in the next couple months!!!!

And just in case you missed it, here is the cover, blurb and pre-order for The Opposite of You!!!!



I’ve sworn off men.

All men.

Famous last words, right? You’re expecting some epic tale of reluctant love and my dramatic change of heart? Well, you’re not going to get it.

I’m stubborn. And headstrong. And I’ve just survived the worst three years of my life. After escaping an abusive fiancĂ© to live in hostels and cheap hotels while I worked my way across Europe, I’ve come to two conclusions.

The first? Now that I’m back home, I’m going to squander my expensive culinary degree on a food truck that caters to the late night drunk crowd.

The second? I’m going to prove to the bastard across the plaza that my street food is better than his fussy five course monstrosities.

Killian Quinn might be Food and Wine’s Chef to Watch Out For. He might have a Michelin Star. He might have every food critic in the city wrapped around his too-large fingers. But he’s also pretentious and unbearably arrogant and the very opposite of me.

So he can keep his unsolicited advice and his late night visits and his cocky smiles. I want none of it. Or him.


I want the opposite.

Pick up your pre-order HERE!!!! 


Rachel

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