Shannon Dittemore
  • Articles
  • December24th

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    Christmas2015Card

    I’m not one of those Word-of-the-Year folks. You know, the clever people who pick a word on January 1 and hold it tight the whole year through. As an author, the whole idea of it is intriguing, but on the one occasion I gave it a little effort, it felt silly. Very contrary to my wiring.

    On January 1, when some are making resolutions and others are doing the word thing and still others are simply trying to sleep off the night before, I find myself wondering.

    That’s who I am. I wonder. And I watch. And I hope.

    I hope a lot of things, really. That those in my circle facing hard times will find the next year softer on their souls. That our own efforts throughout the past year will have planted something lovely that will flower in the years to come. That I’ll be a better giver and a better friend and a better believer than I was in days past.

    And while the beginning of the year is full of these kinds of hopes, it’s the end of the year that demands I find a word. Something in my nature wants to put a label on the past 365 days. How did I do? How did I handle 2015? Which word best describes the twelve months leading up to now?

    As it happens, it was not at all hard to find that word this year. It floated to the surface of my holiday-addled mind with no effort at all. There wasn’t even a runner-up vying for the privilege.

    My 2015 word: Waiting.

    This entire year was spent waiting.

    In nearly every aspect of my life, I’ve had to wait.

    I’d love to report that I’ve been the most patient of waiters. It’d make me feel so much more grown-up to say the waiting has brought with it a sense of deep-seated joy. But the truth is, it’s been hard. I’m a selfish and spoiled girl, living in a fast-food, pampered culture and it’s amazing how little we wait in our day-to-day lives. When we are asked to wait–to truly wait–on something that matters, on something that we want desperately, we find ourselves out of practice.

    As least I do.

    And so I circle back to the girl I was on January 1 of this year. The girl who hopes. The truth is, I’m still waiting on near-everything I was waiting on a year ago. If I were to jot down my hopes for 2016, I’m absolutely certain the list would match perfectly my hopes for 2015.

    With one marked difference.

    I’m a year wiser now.

    And this Bible verse makes a lot more sense to me than it did a year ago.

    Patience_mysite

    I’m under no delusion that waiting has earned me anything at all. But as we approach the dawning of a new year, I hope that anxiously waiting will grow into patience and that, regardless of how each situation turns out, the waiting itself will have completed me in a way that instant gratification never could.

    I truly hope the end of this year, and the beginning of the next, is full of peace. In your families. In your homes. In your hearts. And if you’re looking for a sweet little Christmas read, consider giving Pearla’s First Christmas a try. It’s a short story that follows a beloved character from the Angel Eyes trilogy as she experiences the very first Christmas. It’s my gift to you, free to read and share.

    Merry Christmas, friends!

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  • September9th

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    On Fear

    Posted in: Articles

    FearAuthors write what they know. And I know about fear.

    It’s a theme that threads its way through the Angel Eyes trilogy. Brielle is terrified. She’s afraid her best friend’s death was her fault, she’s afraid of being alone, she’s afraid of the dark. But she’s not the only one dealing with fear, and as we meet one character after another, we find that all of them are afraid of something.

    Fear is universal and in an attempt to show that, I’ve given it a physical appearance. A cold, black, tar-like substance. The fear Brielle sees smeared on the faces of her friends is the very same fear that shakes her hands and wraps itself around her legs holding her frozen, immobile.

    There are all sorts of fears, aren’t there? Even healthy ones. But, here, I’m talking about the things that haunt us, the terrors that worm their way into our guts and refuse to let go. I’m talking about anxiety-inducing, life-altering, sleep-depriving fears.

    For me, they came on quite suddenly. See, I’d never really been in love before. But when I started dating my now-husband, I grew terrified that something would happen to him. And when my children were born, that same irrational fear loomed larger and larger until I just knew I’d lose them as well. It’s so easy to write now—just a couple sentences and those emotions are summed up—but I tell you, I was a wreck, and it affected everything in my life.

    And then one day, a friend shared with me about her own suffocating fears. I couldn’t identify. I really couldn’t. The fear had been with me for so long, I didn’t even know I was afraid. That sounds weird, I know, but we get used to the baggage we haul around and that’s where I found myself. So used to the fear that I couldn’t even name it. I left that day feeling very sorry for her. It was an entire week before I realized her words were putting a face to the thing I’d been dealing with.

    It was fear. And I needed help.

    The journey to find help is going to look differently for everyone, but one of the things I hope my stories stir in readers is the truth that you’re not alone. You are not alone in your fear and your anxiety. If darkness teaches us anything, it’s that it takes just a bit of light to shatter it. And, for me, light came in the form of another girl sharing her own struggle. If I can, in any way, break through the darkness with my own stories, I will be most satisfied.

    You’re not alone. Never forget that.

    In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. ~ Psalm 118:5-6

    Click here for more on my latest book, Dark Halo, and the Angel Eyes trilogy.

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