Book Update.

The past six weeks have been pretty trying. There have been numerous nights with poor sleep. Moments where it was hard to concentrate and hard to really wrap my mind around what was happening.
Roughly six weeks ago I found out that the publishing company I used to publish my book was shutting its doors and closing down their business. There have been numerous emails sent out explaining their decision, but it all seems to be a bunch of adults sounding like the 7th graders I teach in a “he said, she said” fight. Regardless of the why, the reality is this: I currently have a book, but I do not have a publisher.
At the moment I do not have the ability to order any more books. Without knowing this was going to happen, I had ordered a decent sized shipment of books right before Christmas. I still have about a dozen in my apartment, but other than that, there is no way for me to get any new books published at this point in time.
The question at hand is one that has left me; worried, frustrated, disgusted, hurt, angered, upset, confused, to name a few emotions, “What are you going to do to get the book back in publication?”
The honest answer is one that is very difficult to admit, I don’t know. I have been wrestling with the different options for weeks. Last week, I felt as though I finally made a decision and felt peace about it. Relieved to have come to a conclusion I sent out an email to some close friends to update them on the decision. Within 24 hours of sending out my email, I received an email with a new, and very enticing offer as an alternative solution to the one I had decided on. I didn’t sleep well that night as I tossed and turned pondering which one to go with. I woke up the next morning only to find another email, from a different publisher, offering yet another option.  Since then, a fourth option has surfaced.
Each option has aspects that are exciting, but each has a few drawbacks. One day I will feel confident about one publisher. The next day, my answer will side with someone else. Two of the major factors I am wrestling with are; time and money. How fast can we get a book through the publishing process? How much is it going to cost me? The answers range anywhere from 1-5 months and $200-$1,000. I feel really comfortable and confident with the $1,000 option, but it is also really hard for me to grasp the idea of putting another chunk of money into the book, when I have already put a lot into it. I prefer the lower cost, but don’t want to receive a low quality product. I view the book as a part of me. It took about two years to complete, and took countless hours to produce. So much time, effort, and energy went into it already, that I don’t want to wimp out now.
One of the strongest emotions I have felt in the past six weeks is discouragement. In the late months of 2013 I spent many hours revamping the website. I spent countless hours designing the shirt. I made contacts who were committed to helping me further promote the book and reach a new audience. As we ushered in the new year, I truly felt as though the book was on the verge of exploding. I was filled with excitement about the shirts (even though they haven’t done as well as I had hoped), I was excited about speaking engagements that seemed as possibilities. I set the goal of selling 125 copies in 2014, when three years ago (when I first started writing) I said I would be shocked if I ever sold 100. Yet, the first year brought so many great things, I felt that 125 in 2014 was a reasonably attainable goal. Things were lining up just right for this to be a great year…then everything came to a crashing halt. 
I have been discouraged. I am discouraged. I am striving to be patient, but that’s not always my strongest character trait. I am trying to discern who to trust, and trying to figure out how to trust, when I feel as though I have been betrayed and burned.
Right now I feel as though I am in the middle of a mini storm. I know it will blow over. I know it will not be here forever. But right now, the dark clouds, the howling wind, and the penetrating rain, have brought in some discouragement and frustration.

Memorable Runs. Part One.

For the past four weeks each Saturday I put up a post about a running partner that has inspired, encouraged, and motivated me throughout many runs. For the next four weeks I want to change the theme and write about specific runs that are memorable to me. Some for good reasons, while others involved more difficult circumstances…

It was the summer between my seventh and eighth grade year. Still growing in my discipline, attitude, and work ethic, my dad took me out to a nearby park called “Stratham Hill.” My dad loved running hills, and he loved inviting me to join him. On this particular day we did a series of eight grueling climbs. We started with a long, gradual climb, which probably took us a solid 5-6 minutes to reach the peak. Once we were at the peak, we found a trail that led to a shorter, but much steeper hill. 

Our pattern was: one long gradual hill. Three shorter but steeper hills. Another gradual hill. Two shorter hills. Finally, one final gradual hill. In all, it was three times up the gradual hill, and five times up the steep hill. 

Being competitive, we found a way to have some fun with the hills. When we approached the steep hill, I would go all the way to the bottom and my dad would go about halfway down. After I had been sprinting up the hill for about fifteen seconds, he would start to climb the hill himself. It was my goal to beat him to the top of the hill. I never did. But, the competition and the way in which he pushed me, made me stronger. Initially, it made me stronger but more than anything in created an incredible work ethic. Many times throughout high school and college I would drive back to Stratham Hill to repeat this workout. 

Following our hills, we went to a nearby university and watched an afternoon soccer game. Sitting on the sideline my dad said, “You can play at this level. But you have to be dedicated and put in the work like we just did.” 

This was a run that will remain with me for years to come. A run that gives you freedom to chase your dreams. A run that grows you, not just physically but mentally and emotionally. A run that inspires you to be your best and to work your hardest. 

Running Partners. Part Four.

It was the ideal partnership. I was training for a marathon and was looking to better my speed. He was training for shorter distances but was looking to increase endurance. When we ran, I forced him to go further than he was accustomed. To return the favor, he pushed me to run faster than I was used to. Our desired running goals helped us to simultaneously make each other better runners. 

Many times the only convenient time to run was prior to school – when it was still dark, cold, and painfully early. Yet, our accountability to one another proved a valuable asset. On more than one occasion when I heard my alarm going off at 5.00am, I wanted to hit the snooze button and keep sleeping. But I knew I would not only be skipping out on my run, I would be skipping out on my partner. Virtually everyone else would never know I skipped a run, but he would, and therefore I crawled out of bed. 

Yet, the running partnership went so much deeper than posting better times on our respective races. We established a great ‘runner’s vault.’ As we were running questions were asked and hearts were opened. I would tell him what I was truly thinking, or feeling about a particular situation. No hiding. No filter. We would talk about deeper aspects of life that come as a result of the freedom you feel on the running trail. 
At the end of that chapter of our lives, we headed in different directions. I was thankful for a partner and thankful for the opportunity to share many runs together. What I wasn’t expecting was how he thanked me. He said, “It meant so much that you trusted me with a running vault. The fact that you trusted me made me feel valued and important. It made me feel appreciated and significant.” 
At the end of each run, we were making each other better runners, but also making each other better people.