Thankful Contentment

In October 2007, I started writing with the intention of getting published because I was about to be laid off from my job. I had one big, overwhelming dream, and that was to be home with my kids. I wanted to be the stay-at-home mom, make a beautiful cozy home full of happiness and warmth, and homeschool my kids while doing fun projects with them like painting pictures and planting flowers.

TJ and I always agreed that the kids come first, and that our family was top priority. But it just so happens to be that I can make more money than TJ can, so I work while he homeschools and cooks and does the laundry. I’m really proud of him. He doesn’t really know how awesome he is.

Facing the upcoming layoff, I had to admit what I really, really wanted was to be home, but what if I can’t? What if I have to continue working, then what is it I want to do?

What do I want to be when I grow up? I was in my early 30’s, but I really hadn’t found what I wanted yet.

I thought over my childhood love of reading and creating stories (whether in my head or on paper) and wondered why I ever went into software testing rather than what I had always really loved doing. And I’d been good at it! My teachers always loved my stories in high school and in college. I got A+’s, so why can’t I just pick up where I left off?

I plunged into writing my first novel. And it sucked. But by then, I was addicted to writing. And I really believed that someday I could finally get to the point where writing could replace my boring, stiff, soul-stealing job. I kept at it and ended up writing two more novels plus loads of short stories.

I started the query process and got a few nibbles. At the same time, I was a part of a few non-profit anthology projects with some author friends of mine, and I realized how much I enjoyed the whole process, not just the writing. Designing covers, editing, marketing, formatting the interior design.

So in 2011, my husband and I started our own publishing company Robot Playground Inc and released my first book TEARS, which was not that big of a success. OK, it bombed because I made some mistakes in targeting my audience. I didn’t fully understand the market or where I fit in it, but I learned a lot from the experience and still am.

I floundered a bit due to my failure, but that too was a learning experience. Six years have passed, but my writing is just now becoming what I want it to be.

Six years later, my dreams haven’t quite come true the way I wanted them to. I still have a day job (a new one since I was laid off). We lost our house, due to that same lay off. I gained a lot of weight due to lack of sleep and all the caffeine and sugar I consumed to keep myself awake. And I burned my candle at both ends until I wasn’t even sure I was human anymore.

But I’m still writing, and if I never make money at this, creating stories and sharing them with all of you is the best hobby I’ve ever had. I sell enough books to pay my PA but not to cover all my other expenses (swag, book covers, promotional events, etc), let alone quitting my day job and being home with my family.

Yet I’m not quitting. I love what I’m doing, and I’ve learned to make the most of my family time. I can’t be that perfect mom I dreamed of or be part of school time, but I do my best to give what I can, perform what is expected of me at my day job, and still write in the evenings and weekends.

Thankfully I have an awesome husband who believes in me. He reads and edits all my writing, takes care of me and the family to make it all possible, and won’t ever let me quit, but even better, he’s now joined me in my crazy adventure.

One of my favorite Bible quotes is in Ecclesiastes. It’s something about how a man alone, struggling to survive, is a sad state of affairs, but a three-stranded rope is much stronger than one strand alone. In my home, my husband is one strand, I’m another, and God is the third.

We don’t live to ourselves or die to ourselves. We are not complete until we share ourselves with others. My husband shores up my weaknesses and balances me out. He sees what I missed and brings depth to our stories.

The future will be better because we are together, because we have each other. I haven’t yet seen my dreams come true, but I know that they will happen.

We’ve been together 14 years, two sets of 7, and I’ve heard it said that 7 is a significant number to indicate completion. Our first 7 years, we got married, had 3 kids, and established the groundwork of our family. The one thing we’ve always had together is friendship and laughter.

The second set of 7 years, we learned how to work together. We started our business. I started writing. We finally figured out how to make our budget work, even with one income. We began the adventure of homeschooling and worked out the kinks. We discovered health issues (loads of food allergies plus my problems with Celiac disease) and figured out how to overcome these problems. This was the framework we’ve built on top of the strong foundation of friendship and love we have together.

The next 7 years will be our years of success, where the work in building our foundation and the structural frame becomes our own castle.

But even if I never get there, I am content with where I am. I have my husband and three girls, food on the table, a roof over my head, and enough money to pay for dance classes and music lessons, which is a luxury for us. Our cars are paid off (we bought them with cash at an auction 5 years ago), and our small apartment, though cramped, is warm and safe. We have awesome friends and people like you who enjoy our writing.

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