Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, July 20, 2006

There Must Be Opposition in All Things

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I've sensed some negative vibes in the publishing community lately, with the Deseret Book/Seagull controversy and the Rob Wells' bashing (even though he doesn't include me in his teasing banter I still felt sorry for him.) So today I thought I'd share with you an informal poll I took from my author friends of what kind of moments in their lives brought them joy—the tender mercies that get them through. Maybe these moments can provide some balance to the LDS writing universe through positive reinforcement. (Thank you to everyone who shared. I wish I could have included them all!)

A Selection of Joyful Moments from my Author Friends (names are not included for privacy reasons)
• The moment my husband first kissed me.
• The moment I knew that my husband loved me back.
• The moment I got engaged.
• My wedding day.
• After eighteen hours of hard labor, looking into the eyes of my newborn baby and at that moment knowing he was worth any pain because I loved him so much.
• Just laughing and talking around the dinner table with my family.
• The day I was sealed to my family.
• The day we knew we were out of debt.
• I was teaching a family that I loved on my mission and the day they decided to get baptized was a moment I'll never forget.
• Just climbing in between clean sheets at the end of the day and realizing what a blessing I have to have air conditioning and a soft bed to sleep in, sometimes just blows me away. Especially when you consider what is going on in the world today and how many people don't have a roof over their head.
• The moment I got my acceptance that my first book was about to be published.
• The day I got my first royalty check.
• When I shredded a pair of nylons while talking to my roommate realizing my now husband could be "the one." YES, my roommate still remembers, and still laughs at me.
• Receiving a fan letter that told me about a teenage daughter who hated to read until she got my book, read it faster than lightning, and went on to *continue* reading more books–I liked that moment because it was humbling to think I'd influenced someone and helped a kid clue in to the amazing world of reading
• When my almost-16 yr old daughter came home from EFY to report she'd finished the Book of Mormon and told us she'd had a feeling, and she knew it was true for herself. And the following Fast Sunday when she bore her testimony, and the Spirit bore witness to me as she spoke, that this testimony was now truly her own.
• When I helped co-write a roadshow. I was sitting in the audience during the performance, and hearing the audience laugh at the jokes I'd written. (They were well-performed--yay--and no one there knew I'd written those particular lines) That was a *swell* feeling I've never quite had since. Odd that that moment stands out.
• The best was an 8th grade graduation for our oldest girl. We were sitting in bleachers in the hot sun looking down on a football field with our other five kids between us and when they called our daughter's name. For a split second my husband and I looked over at each other to share the experience. That has remained the tenderest moment of my marriage.
• A few years ago I got to sign at BYU Education Week and they hung a sign with my name from the ceiling. Then I glanced over and saw that Brenton Yorgason's sign was right next to mine. He and I shared a table for that signing. He had a long line and the only people I talked to were the ones waiting for him, but he made a point to introduce me to every single person he signed for.
• The first time I "got" what it meant to teach by the Spirit and taught a gospel doctrine class straight from the scriptures without notes or an outline.
• My first LDS Booksellers Convention - loads of fun.
• Any romantic getaway with my husband because I fall in love with him all over again.
• The day I went through the temple to get my endowments. I was so ready to be there and loved every minute of it. I left feeling like I could fly.
• The day my son asked his sister to share her drink and she said no and he said, "But I would share with you . . ." and we all knew it was true. He wasn't making that up to whine or get his way; he was stating a fact that he would share anything he had with his siblings, because his heart is just that good.
• Any day I'm in Disneyland
• Every time I hit the end of a manuscript
• Finally, a Sunday when I was about 7 months pregnant with #3, exhausted and roller coaster emotional. My two-year-old had just wet herself on purpose to tick me off in one of those power struggle things. Other Sunday morning joys were going on, and I finally collapsed on the stairs in tears. Out of the blue my son (then almost 4) took his breakfast dishes to the dishwasher without being told--for the first time in his life. It made me feel like maybe I wasn't such a schmuck as a mother afterall. Then we go to church, where the opening hymn was "Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth," and I just knew someone was mocking me. In one of the talks, a sister kept repeating a phrase her inactive brother had used over and over again, "How can there be a God if . . ." Suddenly my little guy looks up from his coloring and says, "Mom, WE know there's a God."
• I grew up on a farm, dreaming big dreams while I herded cows and worked in the hayfields. Ever since I'd learned to read, I'd wanted to be a writer. I figured that I needed college to achieve that goal, but there was no money for such things. But I applied anyway, for admission and for a job to support myself. The day the letter came saying I had both was the pivotal point in my life. I stood there by the mailbox, holding the letter and thinking that the whole world had just opened up to me. There it was, laid out before me, and from then on it would be up to me and the choices I made to get to where I wanted to go. I sold my first story several years later while my husband and I were living in New York City while he got his Ph.D. at New York University. I looked at the check, thought about where I was (I'd always wanted to live in New York City), and thought, Dang! Dreams do come true

Someone once said to me that God gives us happy moments to store away in our memories to get us through the hard times. And I am very grateful for that. Have you had any moments in your life that brought you joy? What were they?


At 7/20/2006 5:27 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

I had one of those joyful moments just last week. My teenager had gone on a pioneer trek and they invited the families of the the youth to come and meet the handcart companies as they arrived in the "valley". Watching my daughter along with all the youth and their leaders as they came down that hill, dressed in pioneer clothes and pulling handcarts, dirty and dusty and cheerful and triumphant after two days on the trail--well, it was just an awesome experience.

At 7/20/2006 5:41 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

I had a moment once where I was having the worst day imaginable--everything had gone wrong. It was almost dinner, and I was behind on running errands. I told my oldest son I would be back and went out to do them. When I came home, he was taking chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, had my five other children sitting at the table, ready to eat the simple meal he had prepared. He grinned and said, "I could tell you were having a rough day, Mom, so I made dinner for you." I'll admit it, I cried, that he was sensitive enough at 14 years old to see that I needed help and pitched in and helped. And he's a good cook, too!

At 7/21/2006 5:49 PM, Blogger Lisa M. said...

The first time my son opened his eyes and looked at me, I knew I was really alive for the first time.

Though I have had other children, and lived at the time what I thought was a truly full life, there was something new and exquisite about this fresh new outlook.

He struggled for so long, just to be able to open his eyes. At four months, when he managed the heafty feat, I stood there spell bound, I knew, at that very moment, I really just began to live.

This was a great post. Thank you for the reminder.

At 7/22/2006 4:32 PM, Blogger Vanessa said...

I was also raised on a farm and the day I arrived at BYU was a day like you described. I was so excited to try something new, to learn new things, meet new people, live in a place without manure everywhere. It was exciting and I knew it was the start of something life-changing.

Probably not as exciting was this week when my 2-year-old son learned to say "poo poo head" with perfect pronounciation.


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