Preparing for OCW Summer Conference

Last winter as I was studying the life of David in BSF’s study called People of the Promised Land Part I. I really enjoyed seeing how David would “inquire of the Lord” and then God would give him direction. Whenever David would obey without hesitation, God would move with power on his behalf. During that time, I felt led to ask the Lord for some direction, too. I felt inspired to work on revising/expanding the workbook that I had self-published about grieving health-related losses. I first wrote that during my Master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling. Ironically, during that two year program I finally received a diagnosis for the health issues that had challenged me for more than a decade prior. So I created exercises and wrote about ways to effectively work through the tasks of grieving as I tried to adjust to a new diagnosis myself. I had written the workbook so that it could be utilized in any setting, and VR and Commission for the Blind have used this tool with clients. Mental health therapists and individuals with health issues have ordered copies over the years. During that era, I did trainings and workshops often in as part of my business Hope Beyond Words. Since I had a natural market for the workbook, I chose to self-publish. I know that in my own journey with multiple sclerosis, the power and help I have needed most has come from God’s Word and from His loving presence in my life. So I have been expanding on this topic and creating a faith-based project which I hope will strengthen and encourage more people who face losses when health shifts.

I’ve been creating one sheets recently, a tool to be used when I have opportunities to visit with editors, agents or others about my project. I am learning a lot, and am thankful for this opportunity to attend the OCW Summer Conference this year. I am praying that God would give me the stamina and health I need to attend the workshops and events during these full days at this conference in August. I remember when my doctor, a rehab specialist named Dr. Roxanne Donavan, told me that I needed to leave my job with VR because health wasn’t adequate to continue. She told me that no matter whether I work to earn money or not, I always needed to challenge my mind.  Dr. Donavan had MS also, and although she died from some a serious unrelated cause a few years later, I think of her often. She understood what I was going through because she personally lived with the same disease. Her empathy and insight meant a lot to me, and I wish she were still alive to visit with now. Maybe in a way, this project is in her honor as well. My book is dedicated to everyone who has felt alone as they’ve tried to adapt to health challenges. My neighbor came over to pick a few cherry tomatoes from my garden today, and she prayed with me for God to bring about the connections He desires through this upcoming conference. When we commit our steps to Him and cover our concerns in prayer, we can entrust the outcome to Him, too.

I’m really grateful that Jerry has been willing to let me make this investment (attending the conference and also taking a really good class for authors from Alice Crider) and that he’s supportive of my creative pursuits. Today he received some items he needs in order to build a guitar. He has the hardwoods all laid out and hopes to begin working on this project this coming weekend. When Jerry and I take time to do things that are life-giving to us, we really find these things fulfilling. We serve a God who created an entire universe, so I think He takes delight when we seek to cultivate our gifts in these ways. May He be glorified.

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