starin3

Rejection. When it happens, it’s crumby. Really crumby. And if that’s not bad enough, it’s big brother Failure shows up, and the two evils whip the confidence out of you. Stripping you of hope and stomping on your dream. The very thought of trying again hurts.

My first attempt at writing was…well eye-opening. My novel was an eighty thousand word historical romance. I polished it the best I knew and sent it off to the professionals. A few months later I received a response in form of a letter. Rejected. The eighty thousand words I gave them was returned with two—Melodramatic and Telling. Ouch. All the time I poured in, late nights and early mornings. Finger cramps and eye strain. *slight exaggeration on the finger cramps, but you get my point.

For one, I had no clue what telling was. Weren’t you supposed to tell, in forms of storytelling? (This right here proved I was not ready for the big dogs)

Through family encouragement, I picked myself off the proverbial threshing floor. I researched. I applied myself to learning through successful authors and editors. Do I have it all down? Not. Even. Close. But I am better than when I started.

And the best part is, it’s not about publication. That’s not my dream. Yeah, it would be nice. Really nice. But it’s bigger than that. I want to prove to God I can finish strong. To say “Looky God, I didn’t quit! I may have tripped, but You gave me the grace to get back and spit in failure’s face!” That’s the purpose. To prove myself faithful. To be obedient to a calling much bigger than Rachel McDaniel.

So in line with that, here’s the first step of obedience my husband and I faced—

Staring into the Sun (final edition)

 

***

 

June 28, 2002

 

The gravel crunched underneath Rachel’s sandal. Standing at the edge of the driveway she gazed out. The horizon was hazy, limiting visibility. Her sentiments exactly. Could she see beyond her little world? She puffed her cheeks with air and exhaled slowly. It’s been the same house her entire existence. Same town. Same…well everything. Could she do this? Lord, what’s out there?

“Skies are prettier in Oklahoma.” His voice floated over her shoulder. She turned to find Scott, leaning against his Chevy S10 hands stuffed in his pockets. How long had he been there? “It’s flat. Hills don’t get in the way of the view.”

She smiled. “Did you like living there?” The closest she’d ever been to the panhandle state, was in the high school auditorium in fifth grade. If the state was anything like the musical named after it, then she’d be in trouble. All she remembered was that annoying title song and someone named Jed dying. Or was it Jud?

“I was a kid when we went and it was only for two years. It’ll be different when we go, though.” He held out his arms. “Come here.”

“Is it time?”

“Almost.” He pulled her into arms for a good bear hug. “I know this is different for you. I’ve moved several times. I’m used to it.”

She rested her head on his chest, breathing the scented threads of his Abercrombie T-shirt. Curve cologne, never gets old.

“One thousand miles. We can do this.” His pressed a kiss on her forehead. “One thing is for sure.”

Rachel pulled away to look up into his face. “What? What one thing?” Did she forget something? She’d never before packed up her whole life. If she came out only missing a toothbrush, then she’d done well.

“No driving by yourself for at least a couple months.” Amusement filled his eyes. “I have never known someone with a worse sense of direction than you.” He didn’t even try to conceal his laughter.

Rachel attempted to look offended, but couldn’t. What could she say? Guilty. She gets turned around in Wal*Mart. “Deal. But that means you’re stuck as my chauffeur, Mister.” She wagged her finger at him.

“Then shall we get started?”

It hit.

“I don’t want to get stuck in Columbus at rush hour.” He pulled open the passenger door and peered at the stash of her belongings. “Are you going to be comfortable sitting like that? It’s a fifteen hour drive.”

What, it’s only her make-up bag, purse, snacks and a roll of paper towels. Oh and a set of flip-flops, employed as easy slip-ons for the numerous bathroom trips ahead. Essentials. Traveling light, I think. “Boy, you are going to have to acclimate with living with a woman.”

“I don’t mind.” He wiggled his eyebrows and Rachel swatted his arm. Men.

With seatbelts fastened and Third Day on the stereo, they pulled out of the drive. Excitement swept over her the like breeze through her window.

It wasn’t two miles down the road, when her stomach growled. Rachel frowned. Half a bagel never cuts it. Never.

“Look in the glove box, Rach.” He motioned with his head.

She pushed the latch and the door fell open, exposing the L&B bag. Doughnuts. Yep, he’s a keeper. “Thanks, babe.” The chocolate-iced sprinkle doesn’t stand a chance.

“You ready for this?” Scott flicked the turn signal on.

Route Seven. The first main road of their journey. Her stomach was doing funny things. Was is nerves? Excitement? Too much complex sugar? “I’m ready.” Ready as much as she could be.

“We’re on our way, Sweetheart.” The sides of his mouth turned up as he pulled the steering wheel to the right. “At last we won’t be staring into the sun.”

Wait. What? “How come?”

Scott chuckled. “You’re strengthening my case here.”

“About what?”

“Directions. Rach, the sun rises in the east. We’re going west to Oklahoma. The sun will be behind us.”

No, no, no. This wasn’t how they were supposed to start. This was all wrong. Or…was it. Maybe she was mistaken. The sun should be the driving force behind them. Rather, the Son. Watching over them. Pouring into them. Staring into them. It was time to believe in the strength that always had her back. Cheering her on. Catching her if she fell. What’s behind her gave her the faith to take on what’s ahead of her. Shine on, God. Shine on.

***

 

Thank you friend, for reading! You have made my first week of posting comfortable 🙂

Now to announce the giveaway winner- Meghan Gorecki! Contact me Meghan and I will get your email for the ebook series. I will be doing more giveaways in the future. It’s a way for me to bless you. That’s fun for me.

Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

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