I must admit, I’m a little at a loss for words. You see, I usually just write about everyday moments as they occur, right when I’m experiencing them, right when I think about them. That’s why my chapters are small, bits and pieces of reflections. That’s how we live, in the moment, and that’s how I like to write. And that’s what those other two and a half books that I wrote over the last four years were about.
I was so consumed with helping my son learn to listen with his cochlear implant, that I stopped writing this book and started something else. One of the books that I started writing was, Do You Hear what I Hear? - a book about learning how to listen with your heart rather than your ears. But my original traditional publisher said that as far as the audience goes, Do You Hear what I Hear? was too far-reaching, that it appealed to parents with special needs children, but that it didn’t appeal to the masses. I totally disagree. I still think that even though the book is centered around Jacob’s profound hearing loss, I still think that it is full of everyday moments that anyone can relate to, and even more importantly, that they can learn from the struggle and the profound victory our family experienced. The whole theme of that book was, and is, that one does not need ears to hear God; He speaks to the heart. And so I published Do You Hear what I Hear? through the company God had me form: Share & Co.
All I know is that Ernest Hemmingway, who woke at the crack of dawn every day to write, said, “Writers write.” And that’s what I’ll continue to do. You know those T-shirts that say “Whatever,” on them? That’s where I’m at right now, and I don’t mean that in a smart-alek way at all, I just mean that adopting the motto, “Whatever God has for me is fine with me,” is a much better way to live than having concrete expectations of my own.
Prior to forming Share & Co., I sent Do You Hear what I Hear? out to ten other publishers, and I tried to find an agent to help me (who didn’t want a bunch of money upfront, because we know that anyone who wants a bunch of money up front for a manuscript that isn’t even generating income yet, is a crook or at least a cousin to a crook), and I received 10 nicely written rejection letters. With my first book: God & Coffee, I sent out 40 packages and about the time I had 39 rejection letters in my file, I got a phone call from a publisher who was interested. With Do You Hear what I Hear? I sent out portfolios ten times - fully colored and bound portfolios. I made three because they cost me about $15.00 dollars to produce, and I waited for one to come back, and then, I’d mail it back out to another publisher. So, the process took a while. After I had done it 10 times, I stopped. It took about three ½ months, and I was frankly kind of tired. I had also gone back to school (as you know from the title of this book), was working full time and driving my son to the Atlanta Speech School five days a week. And let’s not forget, I’m still a wife and a mother of two. My daughter, Faith, is three years older than Jacob, and she’s been playing soccer, cheerleading, doing homework, and having slumber parties, and life is busy as you well know yourself from your own busy everyday lives. Little did I know that the publisher for whom I prayed for 18 years would end of being “me” as God had me form Share & Co.
But back to this story:
As I slowly, but surely, approached graduation many options had gone through my mind about what I would do next. I had wanted to be a lawyer when I was a kid because I thought that lawyers were the most educated people I could think of (other than doctors, and the math and science required to become a doctor, I knew - would probably kill me) and as you know from before, I wanted to be highly educated so that I wouldn’t ever be on Welfare again like when I was a kid. But as I grew up, I found a love and a passion for writing. I used to write in a three ring binder full of beautifully blank lined paper. I used to write poems and stories at the end or beginning of every day. I even took my blue ball-point pen and wrote “Youth in Thought,” on the outside of my binder. And that was the first book that I ever wrote. It stayed under my bed for most of my childhood, growing larger each day. But since I grew up on Welfare, surrounded by alcoholism, living with a very evil stepfather, I would have to say that my very first book, written at the ages from 9-14 years-old, was a mishmash of anger, hopes, fears, and determination. I’d have to say that it wasn’t very inspiring, and that first book, I know, as my publisher would say, “Wouldn’t appeal to the masses.” It’s funny, now that I think about it – maybe it would. Maybe my best seller is sitting in that three-ring binder in a box in my attic right now…. I think I’ll dig it out.
I say all that to say that as I grew up, and especially as I worked my way through college, I decided that becoming a college English Professor would be a perfect fit for me – or at least a better fit for me. But with my surprise pregnancy with Jacob, I stopped going to college. And when I started back, I had about 5 classes that I needed to finish. Five classes turned into 8, and it actually took me a year to finish. I had two classes left to take the summer that Jacob turned four-years-old, and I had to finish that summer while my husband (who is an 8th grade math teacher) and my children were out of school for summer break. Once school, for my husband and children, started back up in the fall, there would be no time for me to try to cram in my last two classes (that weren’t offered as late night sessions). Jacob would be attending the Atlanta Speech School for one more year, and I had to finish before his rigorous speech school schedule started back up – after all, I still had a full time job to keep and there wasn’t enough flexibility in the day to juggle my schedule around a late afternoon college class and the need to pick up my son from school at 3:30. It would be either pick up Jacob from school and bring him home since he went to school 2 miles from where I worked, or go to my afternoon college class and leave him at school all night (which we know wasn’t an option). You see, we lived in Gwinnett County where Brian taught and Faith went to a regular elementary school -which was an hour and sometimes an hour and ½ to 2 hours from where I worked and Jacob went to school. I had to finish before Jacob went back!
And I say all that because by the time I had reached this point in my life, I didn’t want to be an English professor anymore. I mean, after going through everything with Jacob, and helping him learn to hear and speak, working my way through college and getting shingles and gaining 20 pounds from it all, I wondered what Shakespeare had to do with any of it! For me, having a son who was profoundly deaf made everything that I once thought was most important and enjoyed seem irrelevant – it lost a lot of the pizzazz it once had. In fact any “normal” activity compared to serious hardship seemed irrelevant to me. And somehow, I lost my ability to see the importance of everyday things. I should rephrase that: I saw the importance of everyday things, but I lost my ability to enjoy them, because they were overshadowed with hardship and the physical demands and the emotional toll that Jacob’s needs took on me. It almost cost me my ability to write about everyday life in a positive light. I was a mishmash of anger, hopes, fears, and determination. The same feelings that I had between the ages of 9-14 years old were back – except it was over something different than my childhood, it was over my child – and it was much more intense! Shakespeare seemed like rubbish (fellow literature lovers must forgive my bout of uninhibited contrite remarks). I was angry and tired, and the only thing that seemed important, from an educational standpoint, was to become something that mattered, that could really help people, like a speech pathologist. So, I laid down all the law –slash- masters literature endeavors. I kept working to finish my undergrad degree, and I applied to a Masters programs in speech pathology. I assumed that Do You Hear what I Hear? would be published by a traditional publisher at the right time, and I assumed I would start graduate school, all in one breath.
Neither happened and frankly, I was crushed. I had taken a vacation day from work to drive to the University of Georgia to take the graduate school exam (GRE). The math section nearly killed me; I literally came home from that exam, fell into bed and pulled the covers up over my head! But, there’s more…
Warrior Moms, have you ever had a day, a week, a month, or an entire decade where you feel like pulling the coves over your head and hiding?
Warrior Moms Unite! It’s going to be all right.
BUT THERE’S MORE
What beautiful words to
Hear someone say,
But there’s more…
As you don’t have
Have a penny
To your name
When your plate is empty
But your hunger goes on
But there’s more
Sounds as good as a song
When your hope has run out
When your strength diminishes
But there are more
When you are exhausted
At the crack of dawn
But there’s more…
Time to sleep is beautiful to hear
As you yawn..
When the gas in the car runs out
But there’s more…
In a container in the trunk sounds so good
You could almost shout
When the candle burns down to just a wick
When the dark is just too thick
But there’s more candles
Or light with the flip of a switch –
It’s a beautiful thing
To hear there’s more….
Time to win in this life game
But just remember as this list gets long…
But there’s more..
Is just a phrase and needs keep on
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard
Is Jesus’ love
Spoken through God’s word
Because there’s more grace
And mercy beyond measure
Found amid the wispy pages
Bound in leather
And as you turn the pages and
Seek His face
You can hear Him whisper
But there’s……………more grace
It’s a beautiful thing
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.