As I write the title for this edition of the book update, “Roadblocks and Speed Bumps,” I find myself thinking about some bad luck I’ve come upon lately, and how I hope that by writing about it I’m reversing a jinx. What I’m talking about is the superstition that catastrophe comes in threes. You see, I’ve encountered a roadblock and a speed bump so far on my journey toward publishing The Big Acorn Race, but I’m hoping that doesn’t mean that a third obstacle — perhaps in the form of a speed trap, giant wall, washed out bridge, or cow crossing — is waiting ahead of me. Maybe if I think about it hard enough I will find that I’ve already encountered more than two impediments in recent months and the curse will be lifted!
(1) Two Sundays ago I was supposed to wrap up all of the props for the story portion of The Big Acorn Race. Before I got started, I went over to the grocery store to get a few things for Thanksgiving and pick up some coffee. I returned to my car to find that my tire had been slashed! Just the day before I had given out a free wallpaper that said “Give thanks for every little thing,” and my first thought after seeing my tire was “Is this what I get for spreading some joy?” I’m not very proud that I had that thought. But I am pleased that my second thought was “It is because I know there is goodness in this world that I’m not going to let this one negative experience color my world black.” I called my husband and he came right over to help me. And then I was reminded to be thankful that I have such a thoughtful and reliable husband, a cup of coffee to keep me warm while I waited, and a car that works pretty well otherwise. When you have gratitude for the good things in your life, no one can steal your joy.
(2) This past weekend, I was plowing ahead, editing the photos for the book with the help of my dear friend, Ranee, who is a top-notch graphic designer. She helped make Hodge, Podge, and Eric look their absolute best by working on their tails in Photoshop until they were fabulous! On Sunday morning (must be my bad-luck time), the fan in my computer gave up the ghost and I had to very quickly transfer about a quarter of my files to an external hard-drive before the computer died completely. I spent the rest of the day trying to find a good deal on a computer, purchasing said computer, and installing everything I’d need to get back in the game. It was a bit hectic and I had to spend money I don’t really have, but in the end I have a better computer now and it felt really good to say, “I’m not going to let a little setback stop me! I will finish this book.” I felt unstoppable.
In case you haven’t gathered, I’m more than a little bit superstitious. There’s a part of me though that knows it’s just all in my head. I believe that if you think that bad news must come in threes, then you better come up with a third thing so that all the bad news is over and done with. In this case, there really isn’t a bona-fide third thing… but just for the sake of breaking the spell, I can think of one last obstacle.
(3) An old injury has resurfaced, sending me back into physical therapy every week for the next few months. This just takes a lot of time away from work I could be doing on the book. And if I imagine myself walking down the road toward getting this book published, I can envision myself with a bit of a limp. But like I said before, I’m unstoppable, so even if I have to drag myself across the finish line, I will publish this book!
Can you hear the bells chiming? I think the spell has been lifted!
Whenever anything bad happens in life, it’s so important to be able to take something positive away from the experience. I believe this is what gives us strength. So after acknowledging that some bad stuff has happened in recent months, I find myself asking, “What have I learned from all this?”
I have learned that difficulty is inevitable. You can be sure that the more you want something, the more obstacles will be laid in your path toward achieving it. It’s like the universe has to test your resilience and ask, “How badly do you really want this?” And your response to the universe has to be perseverance. In any pursuit, especially those that require your wholehearted commitment and passion, you will encounter opposition; you will have to find a way over, around, or through the barricades, and keep the hope that your goal is on the other side.
You will question yourself, perhaps numerous times, and wonder if it really is worth all the hassle. You will want to quit. If you listen to your heart, you will know if you are ready for the challenge. If your heart is in it, it won’t let you give up, no matter what.
Great achievements in your life require great resolution in the face of difficulty. But for everything you encounter, it’s important to remember that it’s these same challenges that make the road worthwhile. If it were easy, the achievement wouldn’t be nearly as sweet. And the trials certainly make the people who believe in you all the more precious.
So to all of you who have been cheering me on every step of the way, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve entered the final stretch. And I don’t think I would be able to say that if it weren’t for your encouragement. Thank you, thank you, to every last one of you for all your support.