Sunday, March 22, 2009

Touching Base

I have missed blogging, dear sisters! But I sensed the Lord might be pulling me away so that I could focus better on some other projects at hand (of course I haven't started prepping for the talk I'll be giving next month, but let's talk about something else...!). I've been spending some time in books on Liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer. We go to a non-denominational church (which I used to think was pretty cool --- that is, the fact that our church is non-denominational, but now I'm having second thoughts about that, but anyway...). I'm so drawn to liturgy, and I've no idea why, really. So I'm reading to get to the heart of this thing. I actually stumbled on the Book of Common Prayer and am sad that I'm only now coming to a knowledge of it! Also, I've been devoting myself heavily to the book and to getting more chapters done. Last week I sent close to 10 queries out to 10 different Christian publishers. I worked on more chapters, because many of the publishing companies were requiring more chapters completed as a part of the whole book proposal. There are endless publishers, so it seems, and there is endless waiting...up to 12 weeks or more before you hear a single word. Some (surprisingly more than I thought) are asking for much more than a proposal; some publishers are asking, for example, for suggested marketing plans on how to effectively reach my intended target audience by selling at least 10,000 copies of the book within in a two year time frame! They want to know why people will want to buy this book; they want to know how I will be perceived as the author and they want to know (well known? famous?) folks who might want to endorse the book. Some book proposals are less like book proposals and more like college majors. Ashunoah said, "If you give them all that, then what on earth do you need THEM for?" I said, "I know! I'm not a marketing strategist, I'm a writer!" To which he said, "And on top of that, you could give them all the marketing strategies, possible endorsers, consumer contact points and competitive consumer benefits there are, and they could STILL turn you down!"

Totally true.

Even when I feel like I must have surely lost my mind to work on this book, I continue to pursue its completion, anyway. And I'm still continuing to send out the proposal. Since I'm looking at a pretty good wait with regard to hearing from the publishers, I continue to knock out chapters. I do solicit your prayers, dear sisters, as I've had some really doubtful and discouraging moments of late. And not just where the book is concerned. I've been entertaining head covering doubts far more than I should be, and more than I have in quite a while. "Does it really make a difference?" I think to myself. I'm pretty sure we've all entertained such doubts as we trodded along in our covering journey. Someone I am writing about in the head covering book (forgive me, the name escapes me; these women's stories and experiences feel so interconnected, it's hard to remember where one leaves off and the next begins) said she sometimes feels as though people are just waiting for her to stop covering. Like if they wait long enough, she'll eventually fold. I feel that way, too, sometimes. Shoot...I sometimes feel it about myself! I ask myself, is this just some sort of weird phase? Lord knows I've had enough of those in my 20 year journey following Christ! It seems I'm always going through some radical phase. Just ask my husband!

This morning, though, I felt a little less doubtful. And then we went to church. Our next door neighbor ended up visiting our church (she's a member of another church in our neighborhood, but we'd invited her before and she came today). She sneaked up on us and said, "Surprise!" It was a delight to see her. The winter can be such an isolating time; we are all indoors all winter long and then when we see our neighbors again, it's like it's been years! In the fall our boys were still 'babies', but when the spring comes and they show up outside in the back yard, they've grown like bean stalks! Our oldest is all arms and legs, and though I see him every day, I wonder how he got to be so tall! But I digress...

So our neighbor (such a dear thing) comes up to me and says, "Girl, you got to get over to the Good Will. I was over there yesterday and they got all those (typically Muslim) outfits with the long tunic over the pants, and they have the headcovering too...cuz you know they cover their heads, too. But yes, girl, the whole outfit with the headcoverings for SEVEN dollars! You better get yourself ova there!" (Once you meet Toni you will never forget her. She is boisterous and loud, but we love her so).

So I'm standing there, and I'm listening to her, right? I'm thinking, who told her I cover my head?? Because I certainly didn't! And I've hardly seen Toni all winter long --- I might catch a quick glimse of her as I'm getting into our car and she is getting into hers....that's been about the extent of it since Christmas. Okay, so either the neighbors are talking about me walking around with my head covered, or hubby told them. At any rate, Toni seemed so supportive, like she would have bought the outfits for me right then if she knew my size! So, that goes to show, you never know who is watching you. I'm sure on the side of the church where we sit (the kids section; ours is a pretty big church so you can go weeks without seeing someone who is there every Sunday) members and friends have noticed the head covering. After I talked to Toni (and she told me she had a Good Will coupon for me for 20% off), a friend of hubby's told me that he liked my head covering. Imagine! I was pretty close to hijab today, so I was sort of surprised that he said that. I guess if you must cover, ours is not a bad town to live in. I see Muslim women quite often and from what I can tell, they don't get odd stares. They seem pretty comfortable. But that's just my impression. I could totally be wrong. I can see, though, how others might feel differently living in different areas of the country. Also, I live in a well-integrated area, and there are a lot of African-Americans like me. Black women wear scarves and hats on their heads quite often, especially if they are having a bad hair day, or didn't feel like fussing much with it.

Lots more to say, but the boys need fed. There's another thing that's happened with us lately. More on that later.

Be encouraged, dear ones.

Grace,
Muhala

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fifteen Years and a Blogging Break


Ashunoah and I had a lovely evening last night celebrating 15 years of marriage (and also my 40th birthday)...what joy! The boys hung out with some of our friends from church, and they had lots of fun; I don't think they were quite ready for us to return for them!

We have been taking a photo of ourselves on our anniversary each year, but unfortunately we didn't think to do this from year one. We've only been doing it since year 6 or 8 or something like that. Anyway, it's nice to see how we grow and change. After all these years now, I can't imagine being with anyone else!

Blogging Break

I will be taking a blogging break for a while. Of course, I love blogging and connecting with you, my dear sisters. But I need to focus: I'm feeling God is calling me to more spiritual reading and study; indeed, these are the ways I grow and develop. I can always feel when I'm beginning to get hungry for connecting with the Lord more deeply through spiritual reading and study, and I am about at that point! Moreover, I am giving a talk to a group of college students next month, and I need to be diligent and begin to prepare for that. Lastly, I need to free up some time to get more focused on the head covering book. The more women who email me, the more excited I become, and the more I see how necessary and timely this book really is. Please know I'm only an email away. If you are still interested in sharing a bit of your headcovering story for the book, please email me! During the next few weeks, I'll be sending the proposal out to more and more Christian publishers. Pray with me, please, that God will lead this thing in the direction that pleases Him most. I want to see Him glorified and women encouraged...that is my heart's intent. I'll be sure to keep you all posted. I can't thank you all enough for your incredible support and words of encouragement. I value you more than you know! I'll be back in just a few weeks.

Take good care of one another till I come back!

Grace,
Muhala