The book I am working on right now is a compilation of “Lessons From The Wilderness”—the experience of living with a chronic disease. When I was diagnosed I slid off the exam table and declared my position. I was not in any hurry to find healing. I wanted to learn everything I could possibly learn from this disease and apply it in my life. My idea was that I wanted all the character development and spiritual maturity I could possibly wring from the experience. I did not want to miss a thing, I did not want to have to repeat a lesson; nor did I want to live with it one day longer than necessary!
Within the first year four different people whom I respected came to me and had exactly the same conversation. First they asked how I was doing, how was I being treated medically, etc. Before ending the conversation each one said, “My sense is that you are carrying this disease for others. Be sure to write your experiences because this is important and for people other than yourself.”
What do you do with that! I didn’t feel I had any message. I didn’t figure people wanted to hear me say, “MS sucks!” Or, maybe people need to hear/see me openly admit that, but at the same time not surrender or quit. Just because my body cannot support my vision for my life or the career path I had chosen does not mean that life is over or that I have no value or purpose. I have to look around, determine the parameters of my playground, and assess my resources for solving the issues of my life. Life is not ruined, it is just different now than what I had planned and strove to make it. Some people may say you have to re-invent yourself.
Periodically over 15 years of living with MS, I would “understand,” and write up that particular understanding, or lesson. Dec. of 2010 I felt the urge to begin putting it into book form—which is quite a process! I am into a “rewrite” as of Jan. 2011. I am seriously considering publishing this one as an ebook only.
I firmly believe that a kind and loving God does not allow more than we can bear. So, if I find myself in this situation I must have the resources to deal with it! My job is to find the resources and turn this thing around, to use these experiences like a vaulter uses his pole. The result being that I will end up further along in character development and spiritual maturity than if I had not had this experience! Yup, it’s a rough way to get there . . . but rough as compared to what? Seems like everyone has something to contend with!
In the children’s genre, the next Sassy Pants will be Sassy Pants Makes Amends. It follows Sassy Pants, a story in which our not-so-sweet main character destroys just about every relationship she has, and reaps the consequences: no one wants to be around her or be her friend. Old Clyde becomes her mentor/counselor and teaches her how to fix the relationships she broke—much to the relief and delight of everyone in the barnyard and out of it!
In Sassy Pants Makes Amends, she models how to make a clean apology and ask forgiveness. One of the gals in writers group leads a recovery group. Every year since hearing me read Sassy Pants Makes Amends she has had me come read one chapter in particular to her group—the chapter in which Sassy Pants makes her first attempt at amends! These two titles as a set within the series.
The Sassy Pants series is written for children grades 3-6, but children of all ages (from 3 to 93) enjoy and benefit from it.