Plugging away...

I'm still working on getting my book wrapped up. I spent all day Sunday and Monday reading and making my final revisions. The editing process has been a great learning experience. An editor does so much more than just check your sentence structure and help you say things more concisely where possible. My editor's questions have helped me to see where I needed to add more detail (as well as where I had given more information than necessary). There have been times when he's asked a certain question and I have wondered; Why does that even matter? But then after I go an extra step in finding the answer, I often see tremendous value in his questions and those questions have led to more clarity for the reader. Sometimes finding the answers to his questions add clarity even for me. Then there are other times when he's asked me to explain something in more detail and after I supply all of the intricate details I have left out, he doesn't suggest a single change. In those cases, he says that having more detail made it clear to him that it was fine as it was written. But sometimes in those situations I have wanted to jokingly say, "You're kidding me." LOL.

My editor lives in Pennsylvania, but he is from Nashville. We have done the entire edit electronically. I did get to meet him in person one time when he came to Nashville for the weekend over a month ago. We met at Starbucks and talked for an hour and a half. I know in that meeting he understood my passion for this book and its mission. We have worked well together and as he has gotten to know me better he has gotten to where he will occasionally even tease me in the side margins. Like, for instance, in one chapter I mention that I'm wordy and tend to say things three different ways. In the margin, he typed, "Really?"

I think I have made all of my final revisions at this point. I'm waiting for one person to read the changes I have made to one specific chapter and verify that I have gotten all the details 100% correct. And I'm waiting for official permission to reprint lyrics from the Steven Curtis Chapman song "Remember Your Chains." I hope to send the finished manuscript back to my editor by this weekend. I should be ready to submit everything to the online publisher next week if I get the publishing permission back. That's the only thing that could hang me up a few more days. I should have thought to request permission for those lyrics a long time ago. But, hey, I have never written a book before. I'll know better next time.

Last night I helped for the second week in a row with The Gathering at my church. It is for the 18 to 25-year-olds. We prepare dinner for them. They have worship and small group discussions (Bible Study). Then we break out dessert. Months ago I jokingly told a friend (Jim Wideman, an associate pastor at WOC) that I needed a ministry opportunity where I mainly just cooked for people. A few weeks ago he emailed me and asked if I was still interested in that ministry because he had just the spot for me; The Gathering. I responded "Let's talk about it." And that very week I was officially recruited by him and Jenna.

Feeding a large group of young adults is a big job. I will admit that I'm exhausted by the time I get home (around 10:00). Last night my back and my feet were aching by the time I left the church. But the whole time I was there, I felt overwhelmed with thankfulness for being in such a thriving community of faith where I have the opportunity to be engaged in serving and encouraging others; especially young people.

I am at home in the kitchen. This is the perfect "spot" for me. And I love, love, love working with Jenna. She is such an inspiration. Last night she was asking me about John's CLL and I was explaining it to her. She asked if she could pray for us right then. There were three of us in the kitchen and we held hands as she said the sweetest prayer for John and me both. The whole time I was there, from 4:30 till almost 10:00, I could not stop thinking about how happy and how thankful I am to be at WOC. I love how connected and involved I feel. When I first started going there, I wondered if I could ever feel that connected in such a large church. I never imagined knowing as many people as I have come to know. I have been there for six years now and I just cannot imagine being anywhere else. WOC has become my church FAMILY. I know everyone does not feel that way about their church. I know of so many people who search and search, but can't find the right place where they feel like they fit. I know I am so very blessed. God has been SO good to me. I look forward to many more Monday nights with this wonderful group of kids and adults.

This post is kind of a mish mash of my thoughts, but I can't conclude it without mentioning that John will be having a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow (Wednesday) around 12:30. I think I'm more anxious than he is. He tolerates pain well, but I know he is not looking forward to it. I hope and pray it will be tolerable and not horribly painful for him. If it were me, I wouldn't be brave. I'd say, "Knock me out! I don't want to feel a thing!" Thursday morning he has some CT scans. And Monday we see the doctor about starting the chemo. Please pray that he tolerates all of this well and achieves a complete response to the treatment. I want him to feel good again and have the longest remission in medical history. (Is that too much to ask?)

I talked to Lillian tonight and she sounded really good. They have been giving her strong anti-nausea medication and so far she has not been sick. She knows that is still coming after the chemo builds up in her system. There is a cumulative effect. John was told that as well; that he will probably feel worse after he's had several rounds of treatment. But she is just enjoying and appreciating the fact that she feels good right now. These Howertons are just genetically tough and have such positive attitudes. I'm glad my sister-in-law is such a fighter.

I'm very thankful for my friends. One of the things I love about having a blog is that I can tell you all the time how much I love and appreciate you. Thank you so much for your prayers -- and for just being there.


Janelle said…
Shari, I enjoyed reading your blog this evening..I have been thinking about your hubby throughout the day and praying for him..You and him will be on my mind and in my prayers all day tomorrow..and of course with your appointment this following Monday regarding his next series of treatment. Call me if you need me to come to the hospital, I'm there.

I am hearing buzz about your book around the White House area. People are becoming curious and anxious for the read, and are anticipating what the content and basis is going to be. Even though you have spoke of it often enough in the various mediums, there is a "certain group" :) who is curious as to "what really is up."

I am becoming very excited about the release of your book, as I believe for many who do not possess the skills and abilities to put onto paper what you so eloquintley poured out from your heart, you will be expressing many facets of different ones hearts and minds as many are struggling with the "where do I go from here" delimma.

I feel a positive wave still yet to come that will enlighten and offer solutions through the word of God as you have written about in your book. When you read through the scriptures, God blessed those that were trail blazers and willing to take risks for Him, through Him, and with Him.
God's will is prevailing. Keep on pluggin'...he's going to do the were willing..that's all He wanted...

In Christ, Always,
Shari said…
Thank you, Janelle.

Reading this first thing this morning is very encouraging. Your words about just being willing brought back something another friend said to me back in April. John's buddy of the last 30+ years was visiting us for the weekend and I was sharing with him about my background and the book I was writing. I told him my desire for the book and my concerns for not wanting to hurt people. I was stressing out a bit that weekend and expressing my hope that the book would be used by God to accomplish something positive in the lives of others. He told me that my job was simply to be willing and available for God to use me in sharing my testimony.

He said, "Shari, God is not asking you to make the book effective. That's His job. All He is asking of you is to be willing and available for His purposes. Whether God intends this book to be read by a hundred thousand people or ten specific people, only God knows and He alone will determine the outcome. Just do your part and leave everything else to Him."

He was saying essentially the same thing Danny has said to me so many times; "Rest in God's sovereignty." And that is something I am progressively learning how to do.

I'm going to contact the owner of Nanny's Bookshelf and ask if she would like to carry the book so that people in White House will be able to purchase the book locally. I can personally supply her with as many books as she wants to put on her shelves.
Betty Kirschner said…
Shari, I always love reading your blog. You are the first person I know who has written a book and I have learned so much about the process.(not as much as you for sure) What an accomplishment! Clarity is so important. I have always found the amount of time spent on clarity has been worthwhile for all involved

I will be thinking and praying for you and John today, as I mentioned before I hope he does as well as my Dad did. Shari, if I lived close I would be there anytime to help in any way I could.

I was thinking recently as a teacher my goal was that my students always learned,but over the years as my students have become responsible,productive and amazing adults I have been honored to learn from them. Shari, you are definitely one I have learned from.LOL
Shari said…
Betty, I think that's about the nicest compliment I could possibly receive from my former kindergarten teacher. I am so thankful that we are friends all these many years since I was in your first class. I would venture to say that not many people are friends with their kindergarten teachers forty-five years later! I know that if you lived closer you would be available any time I needed you. I am overwhelmed by how many of my friends have told me they will drop everything any time I need someone. All I have to do is say the word. I've heard it said that if you have two or three close, true friends, you are blessed. I have dozens of really close friends that I would not hesitate to call, knowing they would drop everything to be with me. It's humbling and it's an amazingly wonderful, reassuring feeling to know I am surrounded by so much love. Even though you are miles away, I feel that same love and friendship from you.