Sometimes I have to remind myself, with all the problems going on in the world, that I accomplished something extraordinary this year. I published my book, The Promise, on January 4, 2020. That’s nine months exactly as of this day.
I tried taking advantage of all the hours the pandemic opened up for me as we became homebound for months. I dove into learning what the best marketing strategies worked for me. It was expensive, all-consuming, overwhelming, and definitely not worth the work or pay off for me in the end.
As I was sharing this with a friend, she reminded me to think back of why I published it in the first place. I had no grand ideas of what it would become. I just wanted to have my story put into a book so that I could give a copy to each of my kids. My friend said to me; you have by far exceeded any expectations you ever had for your book. Look what it’s become.
In this time, I have also gotten to know many other authors. One of the things I hear so many of them say is that the real rewards are not from the money you get for your book. It comes from the feedback of our readers that tells us that all our hard work made a difference in someone else life.
I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my book and sharing all your wonderful reviews and thoughts. I am humbled by your giving hearts!
A few weeks ago our Sunday Lancaster Newspaper had a great article called ”Sumner Lockdown Reads.”
Jeff Forster, a former reporter for LNP wrote about the importance of reading saying, ”Read something that will make you laugh, make you cry or both. Read something that will rock you out of your comfort zone. Keep reading and learning, and you’ll be young at any age.”
Nazli Hardy, associate professor of computer science at Millersvilke University said, ”I love authentic stories about people who rise to the occasion during difficult circumstances, and find out who they really are. They empower the reader to do the same.”
I felt as if Hardy, put into words what my story ”The Promise, ” is all about.
Joshua Hunter, the founder of Project Impact Lancaster and director of the Boys & Girls Club Southwest Lancaster Clubhouse, ends with a quote from De Seuss, ”The more you read, the more things you will learn. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
What better thing to do while we stay home and stay safe than to find a way to go to new places through the joy of reading.
Since my book, ”The Promise” was published in January many who have read it might wonder how I could love my dad as much I still do. Those who knew him may not even want to know the mistakes he made by reading my book. But then you are missing the point that he is no different than anyone of us. He overcame the demons of his life. He apologized for the hurtful things he’d done knowing that it would never take away the shame that he’d take with him to the grave. Jesus once said, ”he who is without sin can throw the first rock.” I’d be the first to drop my rock on the ground. Can any of us say there is not something in life we wish we could take back? It was my dad who encouraged me to write my story from the moment I first came to live with him at 16 years old. He believed in what life had to teach us and that if we could help others by sharing our own mistakes than we give each other the opportunity to grow and learn through their own. I miss my dad everyday. I miss his hugs, his sparkling smile, our conversations. But his words of wisdom lives on in me. I am the lucky one to have had the relationship we shared and I thank God that I was blessed to have a Dad as special as he was to me. Happy Fathers Day, to my Dad!❤️
Here on Connie’s World, it is my pleasure to welcome Monica Lee, the author of Church Sweet Home and three other books. Today, she writes about home, a topic we both address in our respective memoirs.
When one thinks of a journey or an adventure, exotic destinations come to mind. Who bothers to embark on a long trip only to end up at home?
But in this odd world filled with government orders, infection rates and death counts, home is the blessed end of many treks out in the world. Whatever we’re doing—seeing a doctor, going to work, even simply buying fresh produce at the supermarket—we all just want to get home. Home is the ultimate destination, a sanctuary from all the world’s evils.
Even the word home evokes warm, fuzzy feelings. No wonder home, sweet home is a saying. We’re always looking for home, making a home, just being ourselves at home, reminiscing about home or trying to go back home. Home represented love, comfort and security long before lethal viruses floated through bandana face masks sending us to the hospital to die horrible, lonely deaths.
So while a travelogue is a great distraction in this strange time (I recently enjoyed Bill Bryson’s jaunt through Australia in In a Sunburned Country), a story where home plays a starring role may be the best salve to soothe the soul.
My latest memoir, Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the Soul, opens with my husband and I marveling at the snow falling outside our camper. Yes, we were camping in northern Illinois in late October. We weren’t foolhardy outdoorsmen; we lived in our RV at the time, trying to figure out how to carve out a living space in a century-old church.
We called the 355-square-foot fifth-wheel camper home because we’d sold our four-bedroom house earlier in the year to travel through the West Coast. It was an epic trip, but our home was like a turtle shell, one we carried on our back. During the renovation of the church into a residence, we lived in the camper, a tiny rental house, back to the camper and finally the church. The building inspector required a functioning bathroom and kitchen and a real bedroom before issuing a residential permit for the church, but of course, almost everyone agrees a home is so much more than plumbing, kitchen appliances and a bed.
In my story, home is a literal space.
In Connie Rife’s story, home is less a specific place than an emotional one. In The Promise: A Memoir, Connie is looking for the security and love only loved ones can provide. She begins her journey with her sometimes irritating yet nonetheless related little sister, progresses to a house in which she becomes more a mother to her benefactor’s children than the real mother, and then to an apartment she shares with her sometimes recovering alcoholic father. All of these places have functioning bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but none of them are really home because the people she shares the spaces with are wrapped up in their own responsibilities and problems.
So a true home requires certain physical luxuries and also emotional security. In order to be a true sanctuary, a home must be an oasis, a shelter in the storm.
Your turn! How would you define home? What is essential? Anything missed? Share below!
Have you read books in which home is the ultimate destination? Will you be reading Church Sweet Home? Do you have questions for Monica Lee?
My latest book is available on Amazon & AmazonKindle: Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the SoulSubscribe to my author blog at http://mindfulmonica.wordpress.com/ for the latest
A reader of my story The Promise asked me what kind of work I did that gave me the ability to forgive my parents. It was a lifetime process that began when I got down on my knees and asked for the grace of forgiveness. I thought that my faith was strong enough that God would take all the pain of my past away. Little did I know at the time that when we pray for something, God isn’t going to fix it for us. He gives us lots of opportunities to practice and learn from it.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I must share with you that it was through the bond of motherhood that my relationship with Mom began to heal. She became a significant part of my life during that time when I had our four children. She loved being with them as much as they loved having her around, and I appreciated her help, too.
Today I choose to remember all the good things about my Mom. One of my fondest memories I have was sitting beside Mom as a child watching her zip together an outfit on the sewing machine. She would ask me to thread the needle for her when it needed it, and she taught me how to sew, too. She also taught me how to bake bread, crochet, as well as many other crafts. I remember how she held my hand as we walked to school for my first day of kindergarten. How her face lite up the moment I walked into the hospital after her knee surgery. The serving of apple crisp she brought into the hospital after each baby was born. The way she laid her head on my shoulder as she sat beside me knowing this was the last time she’d receive communion before passing away.
As mothers, we each do the best we can with what we know how to do. We all have grandiose ideas of the kind of mother we want to be, and then God gives us lots of opportunities to practice how to be that way. We learn from mistakes, but only after we forgive ourselves for making them. I am grateful for the blessings that motherhood has given me. For my mother, my children, my husband, and all we learned together along the way.
I haven’t wanted to promote my book too much while we were all living through the uncertainty of the coronavirus. It seems that the uncertainty is going to go on for quite a while yet. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to bring some kind of normalness back into my life.
I’m sitting down again first thing in the morning getting back to my commitment of writing at least two hours a day. I’ve had so many requests to write the next sequel of my story. Im playing around with titles such as Living The Promise and the last sequel being called, Beyond The Promise. We will see what comes of it and as always I will pray for guidance.
It would be very helpful if I knew what you the reader are looking for. What are your questions?
Are you curious to know how we’ve stayed in love all these years?
Are you curious to know how my past affected my future?
Are you curious how I taught myself to write?
Are curious why I left the church?
Everyone has a question that comes from someplace deep inside. Maybe my story trigured something in you and you want to know how someone else works there way through it. Let me because it will help me to gain a focus on which way to take this next part.
A heartwarming story of resilience though faith and love.The Promise is an inspirational story of faith, hope, and love. Connie really gets into the voice of a 14 year old and although I was fortunate enough not to experience the awful situation she was in, I could remember my self doubts of adolescences. I volunteer as a court appointed advocate for children taken out of their homes. I have been working with a boy who has been in care since he was 12. He is now 18 and has been moved from one facility to another. The pain, sadness and rejection he feels is heartbreaking. Connie expresses this so well. Thank you, Connie, for having the courage to tell your story and making us aware of what these kids experience.
Thank you for your wonderful response. It is a confirmation for me that my story is touching those who need to hear it.