Tag Archive | friendship

When Joy Takes Over

I’ve meBird in cagentioned on this blog before that I struggle with depression. I learned early on to put a good face on my inner darkness because I was told that to tell anyone I was depressed was manipulative and a lie.

Way to validate my reality, huh?

And I fought the first therapist who insisted this was my struggle. So I charted my emotions, and I was shocked at what I saw. I really was depressed.  Since then I’ve taken medications on and off over the years and have one that works well for me now. I tried the natural methods to no avail. I defeated Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease of the thyroid for which depression is a side effect). Having been educated and worked in the mental health field I’m very aware of my symptomatology and the kinds of things I need to do to stop myself from sinking further into the pit of despair.

That’s why sometimes when joy breaks through it is a remarkable thing for me to take note of, to savor and to hold on to-because it’s rare.

Some of my circumstances do limit my expression of the good in my life because not everyone in my world appreciates all the aspects of who God created me to be. Not everyone supports or cheers me on in my writing and publishing pursuits. Because of this I’ve had to develop a more extended circle of support. So my cheerleaders are not physically close but they are there when I need them.

Flying Dog

But joy. It breaks through like a dog let off his leash, gate open and free to run in wide open spaces, ears flapping and tail wagging. Unhindered by expectations. Free to be fully who he is.

The filters come off, the darkness slips away and bright light shines from inside as I let loose to live more fully who God created me to be. That’s a high energy thing though and can’t be sustained for long. It happens in places were my gifts and calling are validated and my wacky weird personality is appreciated and not condemned.

A place where I can set aside any thoughts of how overweight I am or be self-conscious about my appearance.

It’s a place where people around me appreciate and love me for being – me. Imperfections and all.

That sometimes happens at church and I’m blessed to have people there who love me like that. But there are still some barriers because there have been those who have condemned me for my high spirits and effusive personality when it’s been expressed. Not everyone likes the bubbly, silly, sassy, “high-spirited” side of Susan.  Or maybe it threatens them. Joy at fully living one’s purpose can make others jealous.

Dee Dee and Lori laughingA few weeks ago I had several moments of uninhibited joy. I was in the beautiful Rocky Mountains at a YMCA at Estes Park for the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference where I served as faculty. I enjoyed my entire time there. It was work. I taught classes which I enjoy and encouraged writers. I willingly poured out love and encouragement to others and was glad to be able to do so.

Dee Dee and I met last year and a friendship was born. The picture above is of Dee Dee and another new friend, Lori at dinner in town. I love the expression on their faces and only wish I could have caught Megan in there too as she sat next to me. A dinner filled with deep conversation, belly laughs and love.

A writer’s conference is about writing, but more than that, it is about relationships and that night at that restaurant is a treasured memory of joy. It was later that Dee Dee and I sat and talked in the lobby and our relationship grew deeper. Dee Dee hasn’t led a perfectly wonderful life and has suffered her own share of struggles too. But together we laughed and cried and out of that is born joy.

Why? Because Dee Dee accepts and loves me just as I am. Wild, silly, weird, authentic, wounded and seeking to follow God imperfectly in my own circumstances. And I love her that way too. There will be many wonderful reasons to return to Colorado – but Dee Dee would top the list. And I’m grateful that with computers and phones the distance doesn’t have to be a barrier to our friendship.

Today as I write this, it’s raining and gloomy. Even as I type, tears roll down my cheeks, not out of sadness, but gratitude for those brief moments when the sun shines through the cloud and God has given me the opportunity to live more fully as “me”and be loved and accepted for that.

Praying you find safe places for joy to break through too.

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Writer Wednesday: Cherie Burbach

cherie and genevieveCherie Burbach makes her living as a freelance author. She is also a poet, self-published author of non-fiction books and a dear friend. I hope you can benefit from some of her wisdom as she shares her writing journey.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I always felt called to writing, even as a little girl. I would write stories and illustrate them. When I was in second grade, my teacher said I should try writing poetry because I had a “poetic” way of writing. I didn’t know a thing about poetry, but as soon as I tried it, it opened up a whole new world for me.

What’s with the artwork?

I’ve always painted but in the last few years I’ve discovered mixed media and it has been such a joy to do. I love combining words and images to create something that can visually tell a story or provide inspiration. I create images I often picture in my mind when I write poetry, so it’s been nice to go back through some of my older poems and showcase them in a new way.

Some of my favorite pieces:

Turning Your Ear to Wisdom

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I like the proverbs a lot, and this thought is one of my favorites.

Pink Princess

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The poem behind this picture is a very personal one to me, and I also liked the background on here.

In You I Take Refuge

in-you-I-take-refuge

I like the colors and thoughts behind this series of prints. This passage especially brings me comfort.

 Dear Women

turning-your-ear-1

I think it’s especially important for women to support each other. I wrote this poem (“Dear Women”) for my latest poetry book (Yes, You) with this thought in mind. I took words from that poem for this print.

 What’s your pet peeve?

Oh wouldn’t you like to know! LOL

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Recently I found a spelling error in a book of poetry I published nine years ago. This error made it past me, my editor, and my readers. It wasn’t until I put the poem on a piece of mixed media that I finally noticed!

As an online writer, I have readers send me comments and corrections anytime they spot something, and I’m always appreciative! (You just can’t catch everything yourself.)

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

I like to have a lot of different income streams and as a result I’m often doing a lot of really varied projects. My biggest challenge is always balancing my time and avoiding burnout.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I follow the advice in The Four Agreements that says “don’t take anything personally.” It’s easy to say that about the negative things, but this bit of advice applies to the positives as well. So when someone gives you a compliment, you accept it but take it with a grain of salt. When you don’t base your confidence as a writer on the positives, it’s much easier to shake off the bad stuff, too. You can’t let the words of others define you, and that’s true of the positives as well as the negatives.

The other thing is, not every writing style or genre is going to resonate with every single reader, so if you get a bad review you know you probably haven’t reached the right audience. However, if a “bad” review gives you something constructive you can improve on, you need to embrace it and learn the lesson.

Writing, like any art form, is very subjective. You’re not going to please everyone all the time. It’s okay.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

I’ve been able to celebrate a lot of milestones as a writer I never thought I’d achieve. So I feel like the trip I won to New York for an essay I wrote twelve years ago was a big deal, and the surprise of having my “This I Believe” essay as the second most popular on the site was so cool, and getting featured in a book (What to Do When No One Has a Clue) along with celebrities like Arianna Huffington (founder of the Huffington Post), designers Badgley Mischka, Real Housewives of New York Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel, and Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger was a thrill.

Also, it’s very hard to maintain a freelance writing career, and I’m so grateful for the fact that I’ve been able to do that for eight years.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

1)    Have a plan in mind for your career from the beginning. This way you can determine which opportunities are those you should focus on.

2)    There are a million ways to create a writing career, so talk to as many writers as you can about how they manage their writing business. It will help you roll with the changes that arise in the publishing industry.

3)    Always think about the ideal reader for your work. Keep this reader in mind before your ego, your salary, and your expectations.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

God has pulled me out of a bad childhood, and helped me find a happy and contented life. I want to help others who have experienced similar feelings and experiences to encourage them to trust God and let Him lead the way. When someone enjoys my work, I want their first thought to be God and the gift of grace.

What is your current work in process?

I’ve got a series of nonfiction ebooks in progress, and I’m currently finishing up a creative planner I’ve designed.

Check out Cherie

At her blog:  http://cherieblogs.com/

Her Friendship blog for About.com:   http://friendship.about.com/bio/Cherie-Burbach-94347.htm

Cherie’s Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CherieBurbach