Week 9 is done! When you have a week off from work, it’s pretty easy to fit in 17 miles of walking. The only difficult day was Sunday, knowing I had to be ready to leave for church by 8:30 a.m. I knew if I was on the treadmill by 6:30, I would be done by 8:10. That would give me 20 minutes to shower, dress, eat my oatmeal, grab my stuff, and get out the door. I made it. Right after I started my truck, the 8:30 radio program started. For the first time in several weeks, I actually arrived at the church parking lot early. I had time to talk to the sound and visual techs, drop off CDs in the office, talk briefly to a couple of people in the hallway, and still make it to class on time. It was great! I go back to work on Wednesday, so I’ll be back to trying to figure out how to squeeze the walking in amongst everything else I need to do.
I suspect life will get even more interesting over the next few months, not just because the walking distance will continue to increase, but also because of two decisions I made last week.
I spent all of last week on a personal writing retreat in Austin. I completed the first draft of the combined Titus & Jude Bible study guide. I hope to finalize it quickly and publish it on both Lulu.com and Faithwriters.com by the end of February. I also wrote six devotionals, one of which I submitted to The Upper Room Devotional Magazine. I will submit the other five over the next few weeks. The first major decision I made was about writing a book. I decided what to write and have started writing. I hope to attend a writing school in September, which includes a writing contest. At least one manuscript will be selected to be presented to the acquisitions committee of a traditional book pblisher. There’s no guarantee of a contract, but just getting a manuscript to the committee is a difficult step for a new author. The manuscript submission deadline will be sometime in August, based on this year’s timeline. So, I have a few months to get the book done. It’s doable, but I can’t procrastinate. I am confident that God will work out the details to get my work published, if that’s what he wants for my writing. I trust him to get my writing before the eyes of the one person (or the many people) who needs to read it.
The second major decision is one I had been seriously thinking about since I attended an IT auditing course in early November. I am going to start studying for the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam that will be given in June. It’s only offered twice a year. If I start now, I will have more days in which to carve out a few minutes of study time. I have been frequently working through my lunch hour the past few weeks. I plan to change that practice and use that time to study. That is a tactic I used when I was working on my Ph.D. and it was a big help in getting my course assignments and my dissertation done. It also worked well when I was studying for the Microsoft Certified Sytems Engineer (MCSE) exams. There’s no reason to think I can’t do that again. It’s a matter of priorities, something I have often had to ask God to help me with. I think I will always need his help in that area!
Well, today is New Year’s Eve. I could certainly say that a year ago my future was uncertain, as I awaited breast cancer surgery, but my earthly future has always been uncertain. I have never known what will happen one second into my future, but God knows and always has known. He is my strength and my refuge. As one of my email signature blocks says, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow! God has brought me through this past year and he will bring me through whatever lies ahead.
Despite the lumpectomy and radiation therapy, 2007 was a good year. My work life has gone well, even with with a major lay-off and the soon-to-be-completed sale of the company. As for my writing, people are reading. Several websites have posted some of my works and everything I have submitted to Faithreaders.com for free reprinting has been selected for reprinting by two to 26 content publishers (either online or print). I will probably never know who most of those publishers are, but one of my devotionals was printed in a ministry newsletter in Georgia, and several of my prayers and devotionals have been published in an electronic magazine, The Christian Connection Ezine. In addition, I signed a contract with The Upper Room Devotional Magazine for the printing of one of my devotionals next summer.
I do not know what is in store for me in 2008. I will continue to work on the plans I have made and pray that God will change my plans however he chooses.
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
May you all have a wonderful, blessed, and Christ-centered 2008!