Books, Grey Hair, and A Trip to the Tropics

My great idea started on in 2012. Let other moms know what God is doing in my life and maybe they will find some encouragement! As I poured my 43-year-old #momlife thoughts out, I did get a good response to my raw confessions and  unfiltered stream of consciousness.  I did hope, however, that I wouldn’t scare younger moms with my childbearing testimony. How many women with four kids between 9 and 17 decide to have two more kids (and I don’t mean adopt them!) At 43, I was on the other side of this maternal adventure–attempting to kickstart my ability to conceive and birth babies with a body that had retired years before was no small feat. But God knew what He wanted and He got it! Two boys. I had them at 40 and 42. Now I am 51. While I don’t cringe at my feeble attempt to mentor peer moms on my “Unedited Mom Journal” or whatever I named it, I do laugh that God used these early posts to sow in an idea for a book. This book’s original title was Ages and Stages. Just yesterday, one of my adult kids (one of the first four) asked me when I was going to finally sit down and write this book for parents. Um…I did. Ages and Stages IS Cultivating the Souls of Parents.

Five years after my Blogger debut came the worst season of my life. 2017.  I named the 14 month season from August 2017 to October 2018 my “Season of Grieving”. My dad unexpectantly died the day after August 12, 2017 (type August 12 and Charlottesville in your search engine and read about the chaotic, hate-filled day here in Central Virginia.) Two weeks later,  my twenty-year stint as a home educator officially ended. Those two baby boys were going to a private school. While I knew this was a divinely ordained shift in my life and daily schedule, I had to grieve the change.  No more playdough math lessons. No more midday reading time snuggles. Halfway into this Season of Grieving, my best buddy moved across the country.  That crappy year ended with two of my kids moving away from home.  I had known that sudden life changes could affect a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health but I HAD NO IDEA. Melatonin became my crutch. For at least five months, every time I laid my head on my pillow, pictures from my life played like an accelerating slideshow in my mind, further piercing my grieving heart. I managed to work out a few times a week to regain some vibrancy. Then I noticed that my dark brown hair was being invaded by gnarly greys around my ears and forehead. My small consolation was that when I wore my baseball cap to the grocery store, I would get carded. I tried not to comfort eat. Tried and failed.  I  rationalized that at least I was burning off my extra intake. I wrote a little, slept even less, and prayed a bunch.

Then one day, the sun came out again. I had another life shift. November 2018. Grieving was done.  Just like that. I felt better. My soul was empty and cleansed of turmoil.  Jesus restored peace and vision and it was time to dive into my new normal with enthusiasm. Although I had never allowed “mother” or “home educator” to become my identity, I had certainly put aside childhood dreams. At a Writer’s Workshop, I realized that my dabbling, Blogger days were over. Now was the time. My book, Culture Changers, took shape during a writing exercise on the Saturday of the workshop. Dr. Jennifer Miskov, the author of Ignite Azusa, Walking on Water, and co-author of Defining Moments, challenged the class to put aside any previous writing ideas. (For me, that was Ages and Stages.) We had to sit quietly and let God download something in His heart that He was calling us to begin. The truth is, the idea for a book tying the topic of generational cycles of sin to current social issues and spiritual warfare had come to mind during a coffee date a few months before. But the thought of writing such a book–the research, the permission requests, the thought of using the word “demon” in the same book as words like “chauvinism”, “racism”, and emotional healing made my mind swirl. But God wanted me to write a book that summarized over twenty years of reading, ministry, and research. So on February 1, 2019, I began writing Culture Changers: Understand the Roots of Brokenness and Help Heal Your Family and Community.

Culture Changers: Understand the Roots of Brokenness and Help Heal Your Family and Community

Fast forward to hell, I mean 2020. My word going into this year was “Joy”. I was looking forward to releasing Cultivating the Souls of Parents in the spring and finishing Culture Changers. In February, I sensed a real push to get my parenting book done and just self-publish. Little did I know that I would begin a version of homeschooling weeks later when the pandemic hit. A month later, black men once again were shown dying at the hands (or under the knee) of law enforcement. The world was chaotic, angry, and afraid. That June, I started writing down various thoughts about justice, the Bible, the Church and those who are not believers. Seven white friends had contacted me to ask my thoughts on the peaceful protests, violent riots, and racism. I met with each of them, reminding them that I cannot speak for the black community. I only speak for Tina. One day, my son and I ended up having a discussion and the idea to co-write a quick read about God’s perspective of handling injustice came about. Book #3. We knew it needed to be finished and released asap. So a few weeks ago, in September, my #authorlife joy was made full when my two next books were released. 

Although I have many other manuscripts to finish, I am taking a year off from writing. Maybe another dream will come true: two weeks on an island in the Tropics with nothing to do but sleep, drink Pina Coladas, and read a bunch of books that someone else has written!

(Culture Changers publication date is Jan 5, 2021 and will be shipped to stores then, but the e-versions are currently available, Nook, Kobo, Kindle, and paperbacks can be purchased on this website or pre-ordered through Amazon and Walmart.)

2 Replies to “Books, Grey Hair, and A Trip to the Tropics”

  1. Your story is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing a piece of your journey with us and CONGRATULATIONS on your books! God is amazing. It’s awesome how he can turn a season that seems so horrific into a story of victory.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Isn’t it wonderful how our tragedies become launching pads for triumph when we realize that Jesus is next to us through every turn? I learned A Lot and it is nice to share my lessons with others.

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