The journey through life is never a straight line. We start at birth and then over the course of many years, our life takes twists and turns we could never have imagined or predicted. Along the way, we experience rapturous highs, agonizing lows and sometimes we just hit the wall and stay in a state of bewilderment for a while.
When I was little, my family owned a business that sold beer. Whenever I accompanied my mother to work, she would give me a pencil and paper and sit me in a chair in front of a row of alphabetized beer boxes where I copied the names of every brand of beer my parents sold. I learned the alphabet and how to read this way. Yes, you read that correctly.
I started with Ballantyne and ended with Yuengling, and between those two end boxes were 26 letters, many repeated. I was the only kid in my first grade class to know and correctly spell the names of 14 brands of beer. A person just had to know right then that I was destined for something.
I had a great desire to go to college. My mother always thought that I should be a writer. Instead, I disappointed her and became a teacher.
When my first child was born, I gave up my teaching career and became a stay-at-home mom. House cleaning and diaper changing did nothing to stimulate my mind, so I turned to books, particularly biographies that allowed me to live vicariously through other people’s lives. As such, one of the best trips I ever took was with General George Patton and his Third Army when they fought their way from Sicily to Germany in WW II. No dusty room provided such excitement.
After my second child’s birth, I had the opportunity to attend a court case. A lightning bolt ripped through the courtroom ceiling and sparked a desire within me to become an attorney. My ever-supportive husband encouraged me to interview lawyers as a way of determining whether the field of law was right for me. It was so right that I interviewed at the Villanova University School of Law where the dean asked me to apply because I was “the kind of person they were looking for.” Rarely have I felt that kind of delirious joy.
Arriving home from Villanova, my five- and two-year old children wrapped their arms tightly around my legs, looked into my eyes and begged me not to stay away so long the next time I left the house. Call my dream dead-on-arrival. All I could think of was that my sweet little children did not ask to be born and they deserved my full attention. I went to my bedroom, closed the door and sobbed.
Instead of an attorney, I became the best mother I was capable of being. Sometimes I excelled, other times I didn’t. But I gave motherhood my very best effort.
I was both blessed and cursed with a mind that required near-constant intellectual stimulation, and as much as I loved helping my children grow and learn and did my best to keep the house reasonably disease-free, I was often bored. Until we bought a computer.
After my husband and children left for work and school each morning, I worked hard to master the beast from hell. Ugh, make that Dell. Numerous times a day I hit Word Perfect roadblocks and, not wanting to wait until my family arrived home to help, I pestered, no, asked, yes, pestered my brilliant friend, chemist Debbie Kapp, and my husband’s secretary, MaryAnn, for instruction. God bless Debbie’s patient soul. MaryAnn had no choice; I was the boss’s wife.
Armed with word processing, I wrote humorous short stories. Mostly to amuse myself. Did I mention that I was bored? Thinking the tales clever, after numerous rewrites, I emailed them to select friends, some of whom wrote back telling me they enjoyed the stories and that I should write more. Their encouragement was all I needed to take an everyday occurrence, find the humor in it and use all those letters that I learned from the beer boxes.
My friend Caroline Lyon saw a hint of promise in my writing and after doing a Google search for writers conferences, selected one and made my husband take me to it.
Gifted writer Debra Traverso has been a faithful encourager, the kind of friend who makes you work hard because they believe you’ve got what it takes.
Keiki Hendrix, writer and web-designer extraordinaire, encouraged me to set up a website and SOAR WITH EAGLES was born.
Website readers’ comments encouraged me to continue writing, especially during those times when I thought my writing was terrible and I felt like quitting.
My wonderfully devoted husband and children were forced into reading rough drafts. Their thumbs-down on an article was met with grueling cross-examinations by a would-be attorney turned mom turned crazy-woman writer.
My critique partner, talented suspense writer Pamela Snowden, gave sage advice that improved my writing.
Multi-talented author Carrie Fancett Pagels took me under her wing and became an incredible mentor who expected me to put BIC (butt in chair) and produce quality writing. She asked, I said no, and then she ignored me and appointed me president of the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Richmond Chapter. Sometimes I need a good KITB (kick in the butt). How did Carrie know?
In addition to her beautiful writing, historical fiction author Laura Frantz deserves an award for patience. No matter how many times I emailed her multiple questions about her novels, she never once failed to write back with answers and encouragement.
Last week, my co-author LaTan Murphy and I signed our first book contract for a non-fiction anthology. GOD’S PROVISION IN TOUGH TIMES should be released in 2013. I’m bruised from pinching myself and if LaTan doesn’t stop her joyful crying, she’ll be dehydrated.
The truth is this: there would be no short stories, no website, no book and no contract without every single person who took the time to encourage me throughout my entire life. If you’re reading this, this includes you. I don’t know how to adequately express my gratitude to each of you except to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Mom, look! God provided your heart’s desire: I’m finally a writer.
Never underestimate the power of encouragement.
Please visit my friends’ websites:
Debra Traverso: http://dlkoontz.com
LaTan Murphy: http://latanmurphy.com
Laura Frantz: http://laurafrantz.net
Cynthia’s photograph is by Mary Denman: http://marydenman.blogspot.com
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Thanks to everyone who entered the SOAR WITH EAGLES book giveaway contest! The prize is an autographed copy of Marcia Moston’s Call of the Coward – The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife.
The winner is Deb Park! Congratulations, Deb!
Deb, please go to SOAR WITH EAGLES’ homepage at: http://cynthiahowerter.com and in the upper right corner in small letters, click on “Contact Me.” Please state your mailing address so I can get an autographed copy of Marcia Moston’s book to you. Marcia and I hope that you have many pleasurable hours of reading!
Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012
I’d like to relax and read and travel this summer. Instead, I’ll be spending a lot of time with several people who live in the 1700′s and others who live in our current year.
In May, I attended a writers conference where I took classes, enjoyed the companionship of writer friends, and spoke with people in the Christian book publishing community. I didn’t go to the conference to pitch a book. No, this year I went to learn and enjoy and relax.
In spite of my effort to not speak about the book I’m writing, editors I met asked what I was writing. Reluctantly, I told them about “the book,” stressing that it’s not completed. Lack of completion didn’t concern them; they want to see the manuscript. Uh, the manuscript that is currently part on paper and part in my head.
In order to put the entire book on paper, I must spend the summer writing daily. Which means that there will be less time for me to write SOAR WITH EAGLES articles. It even feels sad to say this because I simply love to write for you.
Although I’ll be writing fewer summer articles, I’m hoping to periodically post book reviews for published authors who have become my friends. After all, summer is a great time for laying back and reading books that grab us and transport us to places and times we’d never be able to visit otherwise. Um, unless you’re writing one of those books.
What are your plans? Will you have time to relax and read? Traveling anywhere? Expecting company? Projects calling your name?
Wherever you go, whatever you do, enjoy your summer days. The Lord makes each one especially for you.
I’m missing you already.
“Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits.” Psalm 68:19a.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012
Congratulations to Caroline, the winner of our SOAR WITH EAGLES Book Giveaway!
Please contact me so I can send you a copy of Laura Frantz’s THE FRONTIERSMAN’S DAUGHTER!
Thank you everyone for entering the contest! I’m so grateful for your support, and I wish you the best of God’s blessings.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
The Laura Frantz/Mike Dellosso Book Giveaway is going to end tomorrow, May 1st, at 11:00 a.m. Have you entered?
The winner will have a choice of either Laura Frantz’s THE FRONTIERSMAN’S DAUGHTER or Mike Dellosso’s DARKNESS FOLLOWS. Both books are outstanding. You can read my reviews of them in the SOAR WITH EAGLES April 24th article, “Laura Frantz/Mike Dellosso Book Giveaway.”
I am so honored and humbled that both Laura Frantz and Mike Dellosso stopped by SOAR WITH EAGLES several days ago and left comments that you can read. (Click on “comments” below the title of the April 24th article).
Not only that, when Laura Frantz saw that I am hoping she’ll write a sequel to THE FRONTIERSMAN’S DAUGHTER, she got in touch with me and told me some of the highlights of the sequel! But, don’t worry, dear readers, I won’t spoil the sequel for you! Thank you, Laura Frantz, from the bottom of my heart.
Now, on to the Book Giveaway details. For your chance to win a free copy of one of these two wonderful books, all you have to do is:
1) be a SOAR WITH EAGLES subscriber (if you aren’t already a subscriber, see the instructions for subscribing below),
2) leave a comment in the Comment Section (below the title) of this article stating the name of your favorite SOAR WITH EAGLES article and why you liked it, and
3) tell me which book you’d like to receive should you win the contest.
How easy is that!
The Book Giveaway Contest ends at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1st. The winner will be announced by first name shortly after that on this website. At that time, the winner will need to provide me with their address so I can ship a copy of the book they select to them.
To subscribe to SOAR WITH EAGLES, click on the Subscribe button on the upper right column and enter your name and email address. (Your email address will be kept private and will never be given out). Then a window will pop open and you’ll be asked to type the CAPTCHA letters (the weird wavy ones) into the provided space.
Once you enter this information, you will quickly receive an email from Feedburner Subscriptions asking you to confirm your free subscription. To confirm, simply click on the link in the middle of the email message.
After that, every time I post an article on SOAR WITH EAGLES, you’ll receive it via your email.
Now all you have to do is wait until tomorrow. I know, waiting’s the tough part. Best of luck in the contest to you!
Thank you, everyone, for following SOAR WITH EAGLES! This Book Giveaway is my way of thanking my wonderful readers for encouraging me to continue writing. May you be as blessed by reading the articles as I am by writing them. And, as always, TO GOD BE THE GLORY.
Cynthia Howerter © 2012