Sorry — Not Sorry

Standard

I wish I could say that I am sorry for not keeping up on my weekly blog posts, but I’m not sorry. Things are crazy, and sometimes we just need to step back and do our self care!


Even before the pandemic, I recognized the signs of burnout and stepped back to do some much-needed self-care.


During the pandemic many of my creative friends are finding it hard to be creative and that’s okay. On days when I struggle, I do a workshop! There are some great ones online right now.


The SCBWI has a great series right now that you can register to join live or find them in the archives later. I prefer the archived ones because it allows me the freedom to do them when my schedule permits. So far my favourite was the one with Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler! 


On the book front, I am loving my new developmental editor. He actually writes middle grade fantasy and reads it. So he is helping me take my good book and making it great. My mentorship year taught me how to write a good book, and I learned so much from my mentors, but it is making a world of difference working with someone that loves fantasy and loves the premise and characters like I do!

I also make sure to spend lots of times with these two little monkeys! They think they’re great editors, but they’re better at telling me when I need a break.


I hope you are finding time to do your self care and that you are giving yourself grace for the days you aren’t feeling like being creative. 

Can’t see me, mom!

MIA and update

Standard

I haven’t written a blog post since December for several (good) reasons. The first reason you will be excited to hear is that I was focusing on finishing my edits to my middle grade fantasy and my picture books and then focusing on re-editing as I heard from beta readers.

The second reason the jury is still out on whether it is a good thing, (I am joking!) my husband was nominated for a bishopric position within the Anglican Church of Canada. In January he was elected. This means a move and huge changes in both our personal and professional lives. This is very exciting and a chance for us both to explore and grow in different ministries!

One advantage of being a writer who works from home most days is that showings, packing, or quarantine don’t affect my ability to write. Over, the past 4 months my mind and time was and will continue to dedicate my time to polishing my books and packing to prepare for the move so I may not blog as often as I was or should be.

Speaking of quarantine, did everyone remember to stock up on books to read? Sadly, I packed my to-be-read pile, but since I live with a bookworm, so he had no objections to buying me a few more! With the schools shutting down, this was the perfect time to send my fantasy out to young beta readers. I think I am more worried to hear from the kids than I was to hear from the adult beta readers. No, that’s an understatement, I am terrified to hear from the kids.

Guest blog: JUBILEE

Standard

In the devotional Everyday BlessingsInspirational Thoughts from the Published Works of Max Lucado, Max writes that while we may not yet realize what we can learn from the struggles in our lives, we will come to know that there is purpose in our pain. Last March, a seemingly innocuous bump on the head that I sustained as I got into my van brought me down the road of post-concussion syndrome. I struggled for months, attempting to work as a Worship Coordinator and play music with my band and look after normal everyday tasks including doing bookwork for the construction company my husband and I run. But my family, my employer, and my health team realized that I couldn’t continue in that manner. I wasn’t getting better and I really wasn’t able to fulfill the expectations of employment. So, in October of 2019, I left work for a one-year leave of absence.

I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. Grief and depression set in. In therapy we worked through how I felt that I wasn’t contributing in any meaningful way. My therapist also pointed out that at this point my creative expression had shifted from music to art. I was spending time almost daily in the art studio and rediscovering joy in the materials that I used when I studied Art in college.

I have come to call this my year of Jubilee. Much as the Israelites would leave their lands fallow in the time of Jubilee, I am leaving off my regular activities and letting a time of rest blossom into something new. I still don’t know what purpose God sees in the pain that I experience daily, but I am more confident that this time will be fruitful.

Nicole Ensing is a wife and mother, a musician and an artist, living in Guelph, Ontario.

Music www.nicoleensingband.com

Art www.instagram.com/nicole_ensing/

New Year New Goals

Standard

We’re officially 5 days into January 2020 and I’m breaking my social media hiatus to share my goals and an update on my writing.

New Year’s eve was amazing. I kissed 2019 goodbye by writing 12 picture books and welcomed 2020 by writing and editing a picture book I’m going to query!

Although, I’m not one to set resolutions, I do set goals and personal challenges.

This year my writing goals are:

query my middle grade fantasy, query two of my picture books, write book 2 for my middle grade fantasy.

My ministry goals depend on where we are living, but I would love to offer more retreats, and classes.

For my personal goals, I will continue my healing journey by being gentler with myself when I have set backs. I know that Cptsd takes time to heal from. My little snuggle buddies are a blessing, they rescued and I give thanks for them every day.

Everyone keeps asking me what my reading goals are this year, so this year I’m trying something different. My goal is to read books that breathe life into me!

Special request blog from 8 year old Theo

Standard

This month Theo is turning 8,
to mark this he is asking people to support him in supporting the Indigenous Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

Theo thinks this is important to show other young people that there is hope and that they are loved.

If you are able please consider supporting this vital work.
Thank you. -There are a couple of ways to give
1. Gift #25 in the PWRDF World of Gifts.
https://pwrdf.org/world-of-gifts/

2. Or through The PWRDF Give Today page, in the comments box you can name that your donation is for the Indigenous youth suicide prevention program.
https://pwrdf.org/give-today/

The Suicide Prevention Program responds to the tragedy of suicide, especially as it affects Indigenous youth.

Suicide rates in First Nations communities are twice the Canadian average.

First Nations youth have a suicide rate five to seven times higher than that of the national average.

Suicide rates among Inuit youth are 11 times the Canadian average.

Health professionals are referring to this situation as a “pandemic.” More than 10 people commit suicide each day in Canada.

Youth suicide has tripled in Canada over the last 40 years. Indigenous youth are particularly at risk.

Canada is one of the few G8 countries not to have a national suicide prevention strategy.
https://www.anglican.ca/im/spp/the-problem/

Scott McLeod Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
#suicideprevention #hope #love
#youareenough #Canada

Guest blog: Jane Jennings

Standard

Hi, I’m Jane and I love to write poetry!

I have just published a book of my poems that are a combination of memoir, adventure and faith.

I hope you enjoy this poem, which looks to a more spiritual way of seeing the world. To put it into context, my husband and I set out to sail from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico, a distance of about 850 nautical miles, in our sailboat, Sereno, when many of our systems failed. However, we found that the universe did hold us up, as we were given the ability and energy to make temporary fixes until we reached our landfall and we arrived safely in Mayeguez, Puerto Rico.

Moving On

Quietly gazing at this beautiful world

Glimpses of the Creator

Wake us,

Take us,

Challenge us to experience

More than we can ask or imagine.

Can we hold loosely our hard earned security?

The house, car, boat, perhaps a cabin too

Our comforts,

Our sorrows,

Our planned tomorrows

For a life uncertain, unknown.

Are we brave enough to find the faith

To trust the universe will hold us

Enfold us

Shelter us

Awake us to live

Present, part of God’s creation.

I hope you enjoyed this poem from my book ‘A life in Poetry’. It is available from Amazon books in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe.

Thanks for reading,

Jane Jennings.

Guest Blog: William age 15

Standard

I asked William to share some of his reflections on having a father who is a military chaplain. William is 15 and in French Immersion.

This is his reflection:

The largest part of living the military family life, are postings. I always longed to live in a small town where everyone knew each other’s names, and you could find someone by going to the local post office or restaurant. I envied those who were grounded in a hometown.  My Mom told me what I wanted was only achievable by going back to the year 1950, but it was a dream, nonetheless. Reflecting on it now, however, I always feel a sort of sorrow for those who remain in one place. At this point of my 15 years, I get squirrelly when I stay in one place for a long time, I often itch for something different. I think this same feeling applies to where one lives. Sure, you know all the names and locations, but don’t you ever wish you knew more names and locations? These two feelings conflict, as you can imagine, envy and sorrow for those who are settled. It’s a delicate balance for those living the military life, and no one knows which feeling has the correct conviction. To be frank, I think all of us living in military families are lucky; this feeling is strictly internal.

The second-largest aspect of military family life are Deployments. For those who don’t know, a deployment is when they send whoever it is in your family who is part of the armed forces, into a military operation, usually a war-zone. Deployments give you a special feeling – that feeling being one of loss. Calling the feeling “loss” seems a little uncalled for, seeing as nothing is lost in the process of deployment, but the idea of not having them, creates a hole in one’s life that can only be labelled as loss. In 2012, my father was deployed to the Mediterranean sea and then the Persian Gulf, and his stay was extended twice. He left in early January and was slated to come back in June. He eventually returned in September, four months later than expected. Having half of your parental unit missing creates a unique and difficult experience for all those affiliated. My Mom found it extremely difficult to have him gone. She couldn’t stand not having him present, his help, voice, and love there in the moment. Of course, over time, she learned how to cope, how to be more independent, and the same evolution applied to my brother and I. Without his presence and personality, my younger brother and I didn’t know how to act, but this only lasted for a short while. We quickly adapted to his lack of appearance, and we fast learned how to be more independent. Deployment is a tricky subject in that sense, I don’t know whether to consider my evolution during his absence a blessing or a curse. For the pain it causes, deployment is a terrible thing, but I’ve never experienced something horrible as a result.

In conclusion, leading the life of a member of a military family is spontaneous, forever changing, and quite stressful, but I don’t know how else I’d learn coping strategies for all this, and I’m somewhat grateful for the emotional experience it’s given me.