2 Reasons I Am Writing a Book about Shame

Shame. Is it ever a good thing? Are shame and guilt the same? Do you hide stuff in your life or past because of shame?

I am working on a book currently entitled, Beyond Shame. Strange topic for my next book? Especially since my first book was about foster care and adoption. And, I blog about living a sent life. Why would I want to write about this powerful emotion that has a lot of people in bondage?

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Hitting the Space Bar Twice is Showing my Age

Many of you know that I am in the middle of formatting my manuscript before I give it to the publisher. I just did it again! I hit the space bar twice after that period. If you are under 40, you probably have no idea what the big idea is.

I got to page 16 of my Manuscript Prep Guide. Under Spacing with Punctuation it says, “Use just one space after all punctuation marks…”

I read that and wondered for a few seconds why it told me to do that. Seriously! I thought maybe it was a formatting rule. Not a general writing rule.

I did it again! I just put two spaces after a period.

Then, strangely, I saw a post on Linkedin by Eileen Burmeister posted the very same day – The rule stands: One space after a period. Period.

Here is one quote from her blog, “I have friends (mostly my age or older) who still swear by the double-space rule, and really, if their livelihoods don’t depend on it, who am I to judge? But the hard, cold truth is that it really is only one space.”

I tweeted last night that I was writing this blog. I enjoyed the replies:

  • Many said, “I do that too!”
  • “I will never stop doing that.  It just looks better.”
  • “I am not changing that!  I am such a rebel.”
  • “I double space so I can get the automated period.”
  • One took the time to tell us all that a 1988 digital typology book instructed to use only one space after a period. (I say that book was well before it’s time!)

Some even begin to argue in fun which way was better.  I never imagined that this would create so much interest or angst!  But I agree with Eileen, if their livelihoods do not depend on it, who am I to judge?

The interesting thing to me is that I was so oblivious to this rule of writing change until I began to pursue writing as my career. If you knew about this, why have you not said something to me? Come on, that is like sitting across from me at lunch and not telling me that I have a piece of lettuce stuck in my teeth!

I began to wonder what my complete ignorance of this rule says about me. I came up with a few things:

  • Things change all the time that go unnoticed. I notice and pay attention to things that are important to me. That is not all bad, but it reveals my heart. Things that are not important to me are not even on my radar screen.
  • Like it or not, I am a creature of habit. I hit the backspace button many times writing this blog. This habit will take some time to break. What other habits do I have that are so engrained that I do them without a second thought. Which habits are good, and which ones do I need to change?
  • Am able to learn new things? I can not ignore it any longer, I am getting older. Am I not only able but willing to learn, and if necessary, change? Or, will I hang on to old ways of doing things without any just cause?

Question for you? Yes, you guessed it. My question is the last one I asked myself.  What are you refusing to change in your life just because? If that one is too personal, then feel free to point out all the places that I double spaced.

Trauma upon Trauma

This post is a continuation of excerpts from my new book. A quick note about the progress of the book–My timeline is to publish the book by the first of May  I am enjoying formatting the manuscript. Did I just say enjoy? Can’t say that I am really. But it feels good to move closer to publishing.

 

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copyright www.KennethACamp.com

 

After I agreed to the placement of our first foster child, the CPS case worker knocked on our front door a couple of hours later. I opened the door and staring back at me was an 8 month old little boy in the arms of the case worker. She introduced herself.  I invited her in.

The little boy was quiet.  Did not cry.  He did not show any emotion when the case worker handed him to me.  Now I know that he was in shock.

A few weeks later after his first parent visit, this sweet little boy just stared at his parents as they walked away.  No emotion.  No crying.  Until we got home.  Then he lay on our living floor screaming, hitting his head with one of his toys.  It broke our hearts to see this 8 month old little boy reacting this way.

So, what was causing this extreme behavior?

Trauma.

In my book, I refer to little boys like this one as at risk or vulnerable children. Dr. Karen Purvis refers to them as children from hard places. If you are considering fostering or are doing so now, I highly urge you to check out Dr. Karen Purvis’ material.

Also, classes such as, Separation, Loss and Grief that we took through Arrow helped us understand at least at an elementary level about what was going on with this child.

A person of any age will struggle with processing trauma  Think about how grown people act after experiencing natural disasters. But can you imagine what it is like for a child.  If they are very young, only a few months old, it seems to affect how they process more normal situations.

Their reactions become fear based instead of normal needs based.

  • I am hungry.  Normal need based response–Someone will feed me. Fear based response–I will starve.
  • I am cold.  Normal need based response–Someone will keep me warm. Fear based response–I am alone.
  • I am afraid.  Normal need based response–Someone will comfort me. Fear based response–I will take care of myself.

For a child in foster care, the trauma begins to pile on top of trauma. Fear eventually controls the child’s behavior.

Example of trauma upon trauma for a foster child:

  • Neglect, abuse, or abandonment in family of origin.
  • Removal from family of origin.
  • Placement in the home of complete strangers.
  • Loss of personal items, routine, familiarity.
  • Months of uncertainty, sense of belonging.

The first night that our foster son was in our home, I lay in bed listening to a thunderstorm.  My heart was full of compassion wondering what was going on in his young mind. Did the storm frighten him? Was he sleeping through it? Did he wonder where he was? Did he wonder if he was safe? My intercessory prayer was that God would protect his heart and mind making him whole.

Question for you:  How can you patiently and with compassion embrace an at risk child from a hard place?

 

Author as Entrepreneur

Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson, uses the term, Author as Entrepreneur, in the video below.  He is sharing about WestBow Press, a self publishing division of Thomas Nelson.  Over the past few years, the status of self publishing has risen.

I put a lot of research into self publishing vs. traditional publishing.  Blogs, articles, and author friends of mine had a lot of different advice.  Some said to stay far away from self publishing.  Others said that self publishing is an excellent option.

For me it came down to a few things that helped me make this decision:

  1. The idea of being an author and an entrepreneur is attractive to me.  I like the idea of being in business for myself and ultimately being responsible for my success.
  2. It is also attractive to me to work with a division of Thomas Nelson.  I will be able to use their expertise and name recognition.
  3. I did not want to wait the length of time that it probably would take to go through the traditional publishing process of writing queries, hiring an agent, and finding a publishing house that would accept my manuscript.

Ultimately, the decision was mine to make.  But as I was on the phone with the WestBow representative, I felt very strange.  She even commented about how I did not seem very excited.  Believe me, I am excited!

The strange emotion lasted for most of the day.  Finally, as I was getting ready for bed, I processed with my wife what I thought was going on inside of me.  Why did I feel so strange?

I decided that making this commitment made everything seem more real.  Another thought lingered around the edges of my mind – “Do I really want to take the risk of sharing some of my life, my story, my passions?”

The answer is yes.  But, I do not take what I am doing lightly.

I appreciate everyone’s encouragement to follow my dream of writing.  Will you help me get the word out.  Like me on my FB page – Adopting a Father’s Heart – the book. You can do so by looking to your right on the sidebar.

Follow me on Twitter.  And join me on LinkedIn.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and Google+.  All of these are on the header of my home page.

Enjoy the video!

 

 

 

 

Manuscript in the Hands of my Spouse

Yikes!  My wife, Danielle, is reading the final draft of my manuscript.  I gave it to her late last week.  She began reading it over the weekend.

She read the first half a few months ago when I had completed it.  She provided some excellent content critique.  Now she will be reading my revisions to the first half and the half that she has not yet read.

It is an interesting time for me to hand over my manuscript to her.  I think that we are feeling the stress of being in a constant state of flux for the past five years.  That state of flux only intensified during the first 15 months that our foster son was with us.

When he was placed with us during the summer of 2011, I thought that he would be with us for only a couple of weeks.  Then, as that turned into months, I lived each day thinking that it would be the last day that he was living with us.

It was during this time that I began writing this book.  My first draft expressed through the verb tense my certainty of his soon departure.

Now that we know the outcome, our lives are beginning to settle into a bit of a routine.  That is a good thing for us right now.  At least for a few months it will be a good thing.

But back to how that has worn on our marriage.  Like so many couples who are focused on raising a family, we found ourselves talking to each other more and more about only the logistics of making it through each day.  At first, I thought that we would only have to do that for a short time, like a few weeks or a couple of months at the most.

However, those months turned into a year and a half.  By that time, we found it hard to even talk about logistics without getting frustrated or upset with each other.  Not good!

In the midst of this challenging time I handed over the final draft of my manuscript to my wife!  I am not sure if I am overly trusting or extremely foolish.  I choose trusting.

Seriously, I do trust my wife and her judgement.  In fact, I highly value her input.

As for our relationship – we know what we need to do.  We are committed to each other.  We have resolved to hire babysitters more often, so that we can spend time together without the interruption of a very social two-year old boy.  We have also made it a priority to spend time together in God’s Word and in prayer.

I am confident with His help, we will get our relationship back on track.  She is absolutely worth it!  And, I am looking forward to her feedback on the final draft.