My Sally Stuart Christian Writers’ Market Guide (www.stuartmarket.com) arrived in the mail this week. Time to cozy up by the fireplace and study the writing market. (All aspiring writers will find Sally’s 500 plus pages of information essential for getting published in the Christian market.)
As a beginning writer, I decided to hone the craft beginning with magazine articles. Perusing Sally’s invaluable guide, I discovered the perfect magazine, Accent on Living, for my stories about my life with a disability.
With my confidence shaking in its boots, I submitted two articles – one on snorkeling in Hawaii and the other on our safari in Africa. Both stories received an immediate rejection via e-mail. Crushed, I was ready to quit, but God wasn’t.
About the same time I had a trip planned to Bloomington, Illinois to spend a few weeks with my aging Mom. Still dreaming of getting published, I poured over the magazine like I used to pour over the back-to-school Sears catalog. It was then I noticed the address and phone number inside the cover – Bloomington, Illinois.
A day into visiting mom in the local nursing home, I found time and courage and called the magazine editor, “Hello, I’m Judy Squier,” I hemmed and hawed, “I sent you two magazine articles…”
As Editor Garee proceeded to repeat WHY she couldn’t use them, I interrupted, not sure why I said what I said, “I’m here in Bloomington visiting my mom at Heritage Nursing Home in case you want to reach me.”
“Heritage Nursing Home,” she said, “my mom is there right now. I’d really like to come over and meet you!”
My insides screamed, “WHAT!” as I calmly answered, “What time do you want to meet?”
Editor Betty Garee and Rookie Writer Squier met that day. Betty included both of my articles in her next issue (Summer, 2001) with my Africa picture as her cover photo. And she proceeded to accept all of my future submissions in her newly named magazine, SpeciaLiving.
And the maraschino cherry to top it all off, just last month Betty invited me to continue her magazine’s inspirational column that Joni Eareckson Tada can no longer do. Check out my first entry, God is My Pogo Stick, on page 40-41 in the Winter Issue at www.specialiving.com
There’s a lesson here for all of us as we face new challenges in 2011: It’s not about locked doors; it’s about the Keeper of the keys. You remind me and I’ll remind you: Don’t quit before the happy ending. Let’s keep trusting the Lord. He’s the Keeper of the keys.
(To learn more information about Giraffe Manor in Kenya, check out their website: www.mahlatini.com/kenya/accommodation/giraffe-manor/)
For years, actually decades, I searched for it – the poem that my Dad often used at the end of a New Year’s sermon. I shouted Alleluia when I finally found it. Reading it brought joy to my now-old-soul:
A New Leaf
He came to my desk with a quivering lip –
The lesson was done –
“Dear teacher, I want a new leaf,” he said,
“I have spoiled this one.”
In place of the leaf so stained and blotted,
I gave him a new one all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled –
“Do better now, my child.”
I went to the throne with a quivering soul –
The old year was done –
“Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?
I have spoiled this one.”
He took the old leaf stained and blotted,
And gave me a new one all unspotted,
And into my sad heart smiled –
“Do better now, my child.”
I love it still, but decades wiser recognize that our Heavenly Father’s gift of a new leaf is not just yearly, but daily. And as He hands it to us, hopefully we take the nail-scarred hand of His only begotten Son so that we can journey on together. Jesus and me, Jesus and you – dialoguing, collaborating, laughing, loving, sharing a hankie, forgiving. That’s what I want to do more of in the new year. How about you?
JUDY SQUIER has authored His Majesty in Brokenness, Living in the Names of God and the Living in the Names Bible Study. Husband David and she have three adult daughters, three sons-in-law and seven grandchildren. Never did Mr. and Mrs. Squier dream that their long-awaited golden wedding anniversary would coincide with David’s memorial service. Judy resides in southern Oregon, alone, yet not alone. Thanks to the Good Shepherd!