Day One: Thankfulness

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Day 1 in Costa Rica

This morning a fat cloud sits on the mountain at eye level as we sit on the porch in the cool of the morning, Colleen drinking coffee and I sipping the precious Diet Coke I managed to liberate from the plane on my flight last On the flight, I watched Genius, the true story of author Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and his literary editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth). Though the movie was panned by many critics, I thought it did a great job of portraying the exquisite (and sometimes aggravating beyond words) creative dance between authors and their editors.  Granted, most dances (one would hope) aren’t quite so invasive on family life … but then again, genius has its share of big ugly gorillas.

On the drive home, Colleen and I got to talking about her new (second) book, Naked and Unashamed: The Blessing of the Female Body (Franciscan Media). I was her editor for her first book, Who Do He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels. It is a powerful testimony of the life-changing power of Christ, and of her journey through grief after losing her son Bryce to SIDS and starting (with her husband Greg) the maternity home here.

I was laid off shortly after persuading her to write the second book, and so Colleen and I have been partners in loss. Listening to her describe her experience with the editorial process on the second book, I could feel myself getting angry — a fists clenched, shoulders tight, pit-of-the-stomach smoldering. Finally, I had to choose to let it go. I could not change it … and I knew that somehow God would work this out, too.

It’s been almost eight months since I was laid off at FM and six since rejoining Ave Maria on a part-time, contract basis. Despite the loss of income, I also have to admit that this change has also had its perks. In my old job, for example I could not have taken a month to spend with a friend in this idyllic setting, rocking gently on the front porch and listening to exotic birds as the fog clears from the mountain.

Looking over the valley, I can almost see the top. And I am thankful.

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Losing a Job without Losing Your Mind

hot waterIf you’re a follower of my other blog, “Ask a Catholic Editor,” you know that two days ago I lost my job as editorial director at Servant Books, an imprint of Franciscan Media.

Yes, it sucks as much as it sounds like it does. Let’s get that out of the way first, so no one accuses me of not living in reality. No one likes to be blindsided like that, and it is a real hardship suddenly to have my family’s much-depended-upon income cut in half. (Thank God my husband’s job is still going strong.) BUT . . .

When people have reached out to me, they are surprised to find that for the most part, I’m really okay. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve had three different jobs in the last six years, or simply because I’ve always considered my job as a calling. Maybe both. In any case, I really do believe that God is going to show me the next step when it’s time to . . . step. Meanwhile, one of my FB friends, Martha Fernandez-Sardina, sent me an email I wanted to share with anyone who might be going something similarly dreadful, because it was for me a much-needed encouragement and source of perspective. Her note read:

“RECOMMENDATION…”

  1. Thank God!
    • For the time spent
    • For friendships made
    • For the goals achieved
    • For the lessons learned
    • For what he has in store.
  2. Take a break.
    • Physically
    • Emotionally
    • Mentally
    • Professionally.
    • Heal.
  3. Assess.
    • Strengths and weaknesses
    • Wants
    • Needs
    • Opportunities
    • Challenges
  4. Laugh. Love. Live!
    • Replenish “happy chemicals” endorphins
    • Spend time with friends
    • Laugh hourly
    • #GetLove
    • #GiveLove.
  5. Don’t forget.
    • This too shall pass.
    • #RememberYouAreLoved

Still need a bit more encouragement? Check out my friend Sharon Wilson’s blog post series on surviving “the layoff.