Baptist Memorial Hospital, Union City, is gearing up for the 3rd Annual Girls' Day Out! Held in two exhibit halls at the Obion County Fairgrounds, this event will focus on things women love: shopping, chocolate, and taking care of family.
Join me and other unique shops and area businesses on Saturday, November 14, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, and take advantage of a great opportunity to get a head start on Christmas shopping. I will have copies of all of my books available for you to purchase, and I would love to sign your copy with a personalized inscription!
Event coordinators have planned lots of delicious treats for you to enjoy while you shop (Think chocolate!), as well as drawings for door prizes and for a "Shopping Spree Tree" Grand Prize. Admission is FREE, so grab a couple of girlfriends and head on over!
(The Obion County Fairgrounds are located at 1711 East Church Street, in Union City, Tennessee.)
Monday morning exercise class. The studio door closed behind me as I paused to write my name on the sign-in sheet underneath Diane's.
"How are you today?" Diane chirped.
"Fine," I replied.
Diane tilted her head to one side and stared at me. "Are you sure?"
"Ummmm, yeah!" I laughed.
Diane just kept staring.
"But if you keep looking at me like that," I protested, "I'm probably going to cry!"
Yes, I truly was "fine." And, no, I really wasn't "fine" at all.
I was looking forward to the first exercise class of the week with the awesome ladies at ADBC. I'd had a good night's sleep, an early morning cup of coffee, and time in God's Word. I was warm, clothed, and healthy. It was a beautiful morning and I was looking forward to the week ahead.
I was also mentally and emotionally exhausted. Grieving the loss of a sweet friend. Worn out from a too-busy weekend. Overwhelmed by the thought of all the things I needed to get done in the week ahead - the calendar for November is black with ink. Stressed about relationships and finances and the future.
Yes, I was fine. No, I wasn't fine at all.
Three days later, the pace hasn't slackened. The demands haven't lessened. The stresses have not disappeared.
I missed class at ADBC this morning. Thursday morning yoga/pilates - my favorite. I look forward to Thursday morning class like a kid looks forward to Christmas. But I simply couldn't make it. I was wiping out. Too much to do, getting too far behind. Not enough time to think, to process...
I wasn't "fine" this morning, But really, yes, I was.
After last night's storms, the hay field around the house is a brighter shade of green. We finally have blue skies and sunshine again, and the wet grass, dancing in a chilly wind, sparkles outside my kitchen window like a thousand, thousand jewels.
French toast for breakfast. Always yummy, but, for some reason, exceptionally good this particular morning. Heavenly aroma, a crisp crunch! when you sliced into it, the gooey sweetness of the syrup. "Is it just me, or is this French toast better than usual?" I asked. "It's not just you," Ben replied between bites.
Before he left for school early this morning, Ben and I watched an antlered buck and his doe meander slowly across the field, only yards from the house. Shhhh! Quiet! Don't startle them. Keep perfectly still so they don't see us. We froze at the front door, Ben and I, and held our breaths and watched.
Checked a few things off a mile-long ToDo list. Chugging through emails, only to find another Nuclear Bomb of Encouragement, dropped out of the blue, from someone completely unexpected.
That's when I lost it. Had to step away from the computer. This Presbyterian went all Pentecostal, weeping and laughing and jigging about the kitchen because I could not sit still, because I felt so loved, so blessed, that I thought my heart was going to burst.
When I finally calmed down enough to focus on getting back to work, I thought...
No, I am not fine. I have more to do than I can handle, and I am an incompetent mess. I am stressed, and I am worried about relationships and finances and the future. No, I am not fine at all, Diane!
But my lawn is paved with emeralds. I ate manna for breakfast. A king and a queen of the forest are my gatekeepers. And God himself writes emails to me, dictated to one of His children and typed at a keyboard hundreds of miles away. He does this just to tell me how much He loves me.
There is a beauty so exquisite, so resplendent, that even a glimpse of it breaks your heart.
That beauty...He smiled on me again this morning.
No, Diane, I am not fine. Fine is too weak a word.
I had three different people ask me over the weekend how the book was coming. Was I getting some good writing done?
It's been almost two weeks since I posted here at the blog. Blogging is my candy, the "easy" writing. The blog is also a good barometer of how writing is going in general: if posts become infrequent, it's because life is crazy busy, or because something else is commanding all my time for a season, or because I've been knocked down emotionally or physically.
Yes, yes, and yes.
When I have a prolonged season of write-less-ness, I get kind of gray and droopy around the edges. I begin to wonder why I even feel compelled to write in the first place - I mean, I know writing helps me make sense of life, but does it serve any bigger purpose, anything beyond Camille-needs-to-process?
Seems when I am particularly droopy, God sends something unexpected, something like...
...like this text from one of my very favorite writers, a woman whose skill at word craft amazes and humbles me, someone who, like me, struggles amidst the business of life to carve out little niches of time to devote to her writing:
"...I was thinking about you and your work writing and how encouraging to know...I don't have to mourn time I simply don't have to spend there [writing]...That if there is something I need to write, the right time will come... That the days and years that I pour into others' needs and calling are part of what [God] is doing in and thru me... It is so encouraging to see, in your writing and other ministry/impact, that your service and sacrifice was part of the building up not only the work of those for whom you sacrificed, but the work of you, particularly, Camille."
And then she added:
"...just write. [God] knows who needs to read it, and why."
"Further up and further in!" (a quote from one of my favorite writers of all time, C. S. Lewis)
Can I just say here at the blog today...
Through them, He makes me feel like I am a favorite child, particularly loved, her Father's jewel.
Wish You Were Here: Letters From the Foot of the Cross
It is difficult to imagine that someone with an ideal family, a Ninja body, and a six-digit income can relate to my messy life in the middle of a hay field: my pants are too tight, my marriage is stressed, and my closets are a disaster.
But the truth is, life is messy...whether you look like you have your act together or not. If you are struggling in the trenches of life with muck up to your eyeballs, then you and I have something in common. Welcome!
This collection of "letters" explores the practical implications of the gospel for the nitty-gritty business of everyday life. Join me on a journey to discover strength for the day, encouragement to persevere, and flashes of joy to brighten the way.