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Christopher, Part 1

I wrote this a couple months ago.  Christopher’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been sort of reminiscing a bit.  I plan on including much of our journey in a book someday but since that day isn’t here yet…

Part 1

It would be wrong to say the whole thing started the day Christopher was born.  It started much earlier than that.  There was the spotting and fears of losing him.  Those fears likely wouldn’t have been so strong if it hadn’t been for the spotting and actually being told we’d lost Emily nearly 2.5 years earlier.  Fortunately, she showed how stubborn she would become as early as a week after conception and managed to stick around.  Unfortunately, we think we did lose her fraternal twin.

So fears of losing him were running around in our heads as I retreated to my room to do as little as I possibly could while maintaining sanity and some kind of feeding schedule for three girls – Maggie was 5, Abbie 3 and Emily 20 months.

Then came the morning sickness.  Except it was at night.  Every night.  Even New Year’s Eve when Debbie and Jamie were over.  Couldn’t eat Mexican Chicken until months after Christopher was born.  And the exhaustion.  I’d been exhausted with Maggie but not sick.  This time I was both.

I have to admit that I am ashamed to admit that there were many days when I measured success based on the number of children who were alive at bedtime and if they’d eaten.  Three meals of Fruit Loops?  That worked for me.  Diaper changed within two hours of stinking it up?  Better than not changing it.  All Disney channel, all day?  Saved my sanity.

[For the record, there were no days of all Fruit Loop meals and dirty diapers were changed as soon as they were noticed for fear that continual smells would make Mom puke more.  Disney Channel?  Well, rotated with Noggin, Nick Jr., PBS and a wide variety of movies… but essentially, yeah.]

After that was the great ice storm of 07.  We had no power for three days and ended up at Matt’s brother’s house in Branson [where they had a light dusting of ice] for two days until the power came back on.  The betta fish died.  Apparently, an inside temp of 45* and a tropical fish don’t go well together.

Then came Emily’s bout with some virus whose name I can’t remember but whose smell continues to haunt me.  Rotavirus.  That’s it.  Horrible, horrible diapers.  Diapers so bad that I threw up while trying to clean up the high chair after one particular incident.  Said high chair was left on the deck for an extended period of time after that.

There was the ultrasound were we asked the tech 18 times if she was really, really sure that there was a thing and I was really having a boy because that just didn’t happen for us.  Every time, she assured us that yes, this really was a boy.

Summer brought seated classes [as opposed to online ones].  Had to have all three girls out the door by 715 four mornings a week.  Felicia, bless her heart, fed them.  Thank God.  Classes were good.  Students were good.  The rest of the day was spent on virtual bed rest.   To be fair, Dr. McCall [who is FAB-U-LOUS!] didn’t mandate it or even recommend it but that still, small voice told me bed rest was best for me at that point.

I’ve learned to listen to that voice.  It’s the voice that me the results every time I took a pregnancy test with Emily.  Whether positive or negative, I knew.  Way deep down in places I didn’t want to go, I knew.  If that little voice was saying ‘this one will be positive, she’s still there’, I didn’t want to listen, to let myself hope – just in case it was wrong.  The voice that said ‘this one will be negative, but remember, doctors don’t have all the answers.  God knit you in your mother’s womb just as He’s knitting this baby’.  The voice that told me in January, before a mid-May due date, that the baby was going to be at least two weeks early.  The voice that told me, twenty-one days before her due date, to pack my bags – today was the day.  [Matt saw me taking the camera and make-up, etc to the van and asked, joking, if I was leaving him.  I responded with a flippant ‘there’s already a suitcase in the car’.  Three hours later we were on our way to the hospital with what my doctor later called ‘the most obvious rupture of membranes’ she’d ever seen.]

That was the voice that reminded me each baby had been earlier and earlier and there was no way I was going to make it to the August 24 due date.  In fact, I wasn’t going to make it out of July.

So I spent most of June and July resting.  This was a good thing.  I wish I could have bottled up the rest I was getting.

Did I mention the borderline Gestational Diabetes?

At 34.5 weeks pregnant, something happened that, looking back, is amusing in that smirky sort of way.

Maggie, age 5, was admitted to the hospital.  Now, it’s not as bad as it sounds but hear me out.

I got to sleep in some on Saturday morning.  Didn’t get up until nearly ten.  Man, that was nice, especially given what was coming.  By midnight, I was sitting in the ER with a little, shirtless, girl praying that they’d see us soon.

I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember giving her multiple breathing treatments over the course of several hours and she still struggled to breathe.  The triage nurse on the phone finally sent us to the ER.  It was after 11:30 when I pulled off the freeway headed to Cox South, when I heard it.


Maggie threw up, less than 3 blocks from the hospital, all over Daddy’s favorite shirt.  Wearing Daddy’s shirt always makes her feel better, but now she had nothing to wear.  Me and my big belly carried her into the ER, filled out paperwork, convinced someone to give me a blanket to cover the upper half of my daughter’s body; she was wearing shorts, but there were some pretty creepy looking guys in there watching us.

We went into the little triage room and her O2 levels are in the upper/mid-80s.  The nurse said she’d let the charge[?] nurse know and get her back and on oxygen as soon as possible.  It was over an hour [and three more throwups] later before we get back.  Very nice nurse man got a wheelchair for Maggie so I didn’t have to carry her.  More breathing treatments, Xrays [I dozed while they took her back there – I couldn’t go because of the baby], another breathing treatment.  O2 barely stayed in the mid-90s while on oxygen.  Borderline pneumonia.  Admitting to the hospital to keep an eye on her.

I slept by pulling the very uncomfortable plastic chair up to the bed, adjusting the bed to the right height and leaning my head on it.  It was nearly 6am by the time they got us to a room on the peds unit.  It wasn’t my first hospital stay with a child, but the first one was with a 6 day old who needed help nursing and I was still post partum – and a different hospital with different docs.  This was different.

By the time we were discharged at 8 that night, I’d dozed off and on for a total of about two hours.  We went through the drive through at the 24h Walgreens.  Maggie was asleep long before we get there.  We got home, Matt carried her to bed, I struggled through a shower and collapsed about 9pm – only to get up and get all the girls to Felicia’s by 730 the next morning.

I was… uncomfortable at the hospital, afraid of what they’d think of me for sleeping in my daughter’s bed while she colored and watched movies.  I slept for less than 15 minutes at a time – but I fell asleep while the respiratory tech left the first time and asleep again when she came back – even though I’d been awake for most of the middle.  I was afraid of what they’d think of me.

Then Christopher was born.  Little did I know the roller coaster ride we were about to go on.

Not a Crisis of Confidence, Per Se… Just a Numbers Thing

Chip MacGregor point out on his blog yesterday that only about 15 agents represent 95% of the Christian books out there.

Fifteen.  Fif.  Teen.

Of those 15, a number (including Mr. MacGregor) only take on clients who have been previously published or are strongly recommended by their current clients or have something else going for them (it appears that the agency Karen Kingsbury works with, for instance, represented Sarah Palin and Going Rouge.  Governor Palin was not previously published, but… she’s Sarah Palin…).

So that leaves me with… ten?  Maybe?  Who are even willing to possibly even consider looking at my work.  You hear stories about ‘I got hundreds of rejections before finally having someone take a second look!’  Well, there’s not hundreds of agents out there to reject me :p.  It feels like putting all of my eggs in very few baskets, but when there aren’t that many baskets out there…


The reality is that those 10 agents are probably only going to take on 5-6 new clients a year.  That means 50-60 authors all together are going to find representation without some kind of ‘in’ that I don’t have.  Each agent can realistically expect to get several hundred queries a month.  Rachelle Gardner gets 4-500 queries a month but can only say yes to a couple of them.  In a good month.  When the industry isn’t basically shut down for the holidays and such.

I know ‘if God be for it, who can be against it’ and if this is what God wants for me the numbers, the odds, don’t matter, but simply looking at the numbers makes it seem nearly impossible.   I know Unbreak Her Heart is good.  I know it is.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to catch the right agent on the right day when he or she isn’t already mad at second cousin Mandy for boycotting the family reunion and automatically have a sort of iffy feeling about my Mandie for reasons that have nothing to do with me, the book or my ability to write a compelling story…

But I’m still going to do it.  I have a list of about 9 agents that I’m interested in.  That means I may have one or two more to find.  I’m planning on sending out a query or two next week but don’t want to send them all out at once.  I hope to set up meetings with Les Stobbe and Mary Sue Seymour at the Heart of America Christian Writers’ Network Conference this November.  I plan to query Steve Laube and a couple others in early fall.  Am I likely to get rejected?  Yes.  Am I going to do it anyway?  You betcha.

Happy Birthday, America!

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

John Adams to Abigail, July 3, 1776

John may have had the date wrong, but the sentiment remains the same (the vote on the Declaration took place on July 2 but the text was sent to the printer on the 4th).  The text is found in the last post.  So…

Hope every on of you out there is having a great 4th!  Went to church this morning and held a sweet baby girl for a while [okay – she’s like 9mos old now but still a sweetie] in the nursery.  Olive Garden with Kelley.  The Davises, sis, and Kelley came over and hung out until time to go to see fireworks at Twin Oaks Country Club – the parking lot across the street has a great view!  Davises, some of their family and my neighbor’s parents came with us.  After that, neighbor’s dad and I showed the kids the planets in the night sky [okay, after Terry showed me!] and then did a bit of star gazing around the glare of the fireworks coming from all directions.  Maybe we’ll get a chance to look again later this week!

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett     Lyman Hall     George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper     Joseph Hewes     John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge     Thomas Heyward, Jr.     Thomas Lynch, Jr.     Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock    

Samuel Chase     William Paca     Thomas Stone     Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe     Richard Henry Lee     Thomas Jefferson     Benjamin Harrison     Thomas Nelson, Jr.     Francis Lightfoot Lee     Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris     Benjamin Rush     Benjamin Franklin     John Morton     George Clymer     James Smith     George Taylor     James Wilson     George Ross
Caesar Rodney     George Read     Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd     Philip Livingston     Francis Lewis     Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton     John Witherspoon     Francis Hopkinson     John Hart     Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:

Josiah Bartlett     William Whipple    

Samuel Adams     John Adams      Robert Treat Paine     Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins     William Ellery    

Roger Sherman     Samuel Huntington     William Williams     Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

I Love It, I Love It Not…

I caved in and downloaded Liquid Story Binder.

So far I can’t decide how much I like it.  I haven’t played with it too much but when I went back and tried to outline and timeline and dossier [like how dossier is a verb there?] everything from Unbreak Her Heart, it just frustrated me.  It could be that it will work much better when starting from scratch or when I’m not feeling the ‘I ONLY HAVE THIRTY DAYS’ pressure.

That said, I did start brainstorming a new book on it the other day. It’s something I’ve sort of toyed around with and have a very rough outline for in my head.  I started dossiers with exceptional names like ‘Male Lead’ and ‘Female Lead’.  I even found random pictures of people on the internet that sort of fit the images in my head so I could have them for reference points.  This is my tentative NaNoWriMo project so it’s not like I’m actually going to be WRITING it just yet…

I think I need to play with it while when I’m actually writing and see how it goes.  I did manage to get my muse to call in from her extended vacation at a secure, undisclosed location [that I’m pretty sure is somewhere in the Bahamas – I’m seeing somewhere like Mike’s place on NCIS but on an island with a boat that stops by twice a month with mail and provisions].  She ditched the prologue and informed me of the new chapter one for Unbreak Her Heart [or maybe Sarah called her and told her to do it?], but I think that’s the extent of her current involvement with anything WIP related so actually starting anything new is currently out of the question – maybe I can bring her back to work on Jasmine’s story some… she likes Jasmine.  And the prince.  And that’s all the spoilers you’re getting for that…

Anyway – the jury is still out on Liquid Story Binder.  May love it, may not.  We’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, the power went out earlier today and I finished my friend Erin’s book, Between the Lines, and am currently hounding her for a sequel.

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