Yesterday, I Got Rejected

Randy Jackson meme.jpg

Yesterday, I got rejected.

Cue Randy Jackson.

Every week, when American Idol aired from 2002-2014, you could hear Jackson’s uniquely monotone rejection voice crushing the hopes and snuffing out the dreams of many aspiring singers and artists on this very successful reality singing competition show.

But this post isn’t about him. And its definitely not about the amazingly hilarious memes that have been solely created in honor of these famous six words.

Anyway, let’s get back to my story. But in doing so, I must back up a bit.

Over the course of maintaining this blog, I’ve chronicled my journey towards becoming a published author. I’ve had to alter my language when speaking about my writing. I’ve adapted my words and have begun stating, “I am an author”!

Can you believe it? Well I hardly can sometimes despite the fact it’s true and despite the fact I have yet to be formally published.

To date, I’ve written three children’s picture books celebrating the African American experience and currently am in the process of shopping one of these books around to publishers. I guess three books under my belt is all the proof I need of being an author, right?!

Last summer, I sent a flurry of submissions to various agents and publishers in hopes of someone falling in love with one of my stories as much as I have. I’m hoping they’ll take a chance on me so I’ve been going for it.

However, I have yet to be so lucky as to have this happen and instead have received rejection after rejection.

Well, my rejection yesterday came in a sort of matter of fact way. My family was loaded up in our blue minivan headed down the highway to Nyla’s two month check up. I was in the midst of some pretty important Facebook stalking internet research to find the name of a person who I had a very encouraging conversation with the day before about my writing.

That was the moment the fateful email notification disrupted my hot pursuit of said individual. Surprisingly enough, I received an extremely polite yet very direct rejection letter from one of the publishers I sought out over the summer months.

The funny thing is I had actually forgotten about this publisher in particular because so much time had passed. In the publishing world, I’m learning that if more than three months goes by without a response, you can pretty much count your submission as a no-go. Most likely the publisher has moved on and is not interested in publishing your manuscript.

Truth be told, I’ve gotten pretty used to this. I’ve been at it since April 2014 and I know how the game goes.

But yesterday felt a little different.

In the mere seconds between seeing the notification pop up and opening the actual email, I already figured it was a rejection. This lack of hope struck me as odd but I didn’t linger there.

However, in the wee hours of the next morning as I sleepily nursed my eight week old, my mind went back to that instance of premeditated defeat. I had to tweeze it apart and find out what was really going on.

Hence the reason for this post.

I think what was at the heart of my assumed rejection before the actual rejection was the  fact that I’ve grown so used to this process. As I mentioned before, I’ve been formally writing for almost four years and am getting pretty familiar with the word “No”. The way I usually get it goes a little something like this:

“Dear Courtney,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript The Rumble Hunters, unfortunately we have decided not to pursue this to the next stage.”

…Blah, Blah, Blah…

And in those particularly exciting instances, there’s the all too familiar chirping of crickets I hear from non-responders altogether. *insert sarcasm*

I’m learning that along the road to success, rejection of some kind and in various forms is to be expected. It’s just apart of the journey. But for me, because I’ve experienced it time and time again, edit after edit, following late night writing sessions and early morning proofreads, its becoming normative.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel defeated. I don’t want to quit. If you would’ve checked in with me last spring, that might have been a different story. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I’ve found a way to get out of that funk.

What I am saying is that rejection is becoming something I expect. That may sound depressing. But its really not, just hear me out.

At some point last year when I was discouraged and feeling like, “What’s the point?”, my loving hubby and amazing sis encouraged me. They reminded me of the dozens of times J.K. Rowling was rejected before Harry Potter made the slightest splash.

JK-Rowling-2

This motivated me.

In the same fashion, the rejection via email yesterday motivated me once again.

The point of all this isn’t to celebrate my rejections. Rather, I’m celebrating the fact I still have the courage, endurance and motivation to scout out another agent or publisher, and open up The Rumble Hunters document in Word to have at it once again.

So here I go. I’m back at it today and am hoping for the best while bracing for the worst. And trust me, I’m gearing up to fully celebrate once I receive that needle in the haystack of good news when it comes through my email notifications.

And guess what, you guys will be some of the first to know!

Thanks for reading. And if you like what you see, go ahead and hit that follow button on the side. Who knows, if you don’t, you might just miss out on the chance to celebrate once my manuscript strikes gold!

Blessings,

Courtney

P.S. – Here’s the rejection letter just as a reminder of what my fuel will be for the celebration at my big publishing party.

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An Unlikely Call or Snow Day Musings

Snow day 3.7.18

Who would’ve thought it’d be snowing like this on a Wednesday afternoon in March?

Yet here we are!

In fact, there’s a lot of unexpected things I’ve been encountering as of late. Its been a while since I’ve updated the old blog but once you read this post, you’ll see why.

As of January 12th, we welcomed a new little cutie into the Dunlap fold and have been off to the races.

Nyla at birth

I jokingly tell friends who have been asking how we are doing since our daughter’s birth that this was all a set up! You see, its been nearly five years since the last infant graced our threshold and that little guy was the EASIEST baby you’d ever imagine.

Well, this new little one has surely been giving us a run for our money to say the least! But ya know what, its been a welcomed disruption as the days and weeks leading up to her entrance into this world were marked with difficulty, uncertainty and even unknown danger.

You see, she has multiple cysts on her right kidney which were discovered in utero. (Random little nugget here, but her oldest sis has the exact same condition and it was detected the same way!) So that threw us for a loop as we thought this pregnancy would be smooth sailing for the most part. So when God allowed this repeat of a condition, in a way, our hearts were already prepared, we just didn’t know it yet.

He’s so merciful like that, ain’t he?

To be honest, that wasn’t even the most concerning part of this whole birth story.

About 34 weeks into my pregnancy, at a routine ultrasound to continue monitoring the kidney condition, the doctor found that she had begun slowing down in her growth rate. The doc wasn’t necessarily worried but more so precautionary and wanted to to do another ultrasound the following week.

At subsequent appointments, another doctor found more of the same prognosis. In fact, his concern was so great that he was now talking to us about an induction in order to preserve our baby’s only functioning kidney. This troubling possibility was held in the tension of an awareness that I was not yet full term and the risk of having to care for a preterm baby with underdeveloped lungs was now on the table.

Talk about a “Woo sah moment”!!!

You know this is usually the part of my story where I start telling you guys how much I was freaking out and crying and praying and praying and crying and then freaking out some more.

BUT, God y’all!!!

Can we just take a parenthetical pause right here and have a quick two second praise?!

Let me tell you, the Lord really delivered on his promise from Isaiah 26:3:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

Am I saying I wasn’t concerned?

No.

Am I saying I wasn’t hoping for a good outcome?

Nope, not in the least!

Am I saying that I wished we weren’t at this point and really wanted to make it to my due date that was in three weeks, let alone the Milk & Cookies event we were planning with our friends as a sort of “un-baby shower, baby shower” that was only days away?

Absolutely not!

But what I am saying is despite all the mounting bad news, the worsening projections and worrisome possibilities, the overseer of my soul kept my heart still.

He was faithful to His Word!

Before I knew it, I was three weeks shy of our little love’s due date and in the path of a scheduled induction.

What else could go wrong?

Well, as it would go, induction day came and went. An unlikely uptick in impatient babies wanting to come that day caused a major back up in our hospital’s labor and delivery department. But by 6 am the next day, we were ready to go!

For the most part, the majority of my induction was pretty uneventful. I mean, minus the fact this was my third pending VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). As an aside, my oldest daughter was delivered via Cesarean but my second and third births were both successful VBACS. You could say this “return customer” was pretty comfortable with her midwife’s track record and was ready for round three!

I had labored through most of the day and spent it by watching movies, kicking it with my boo, entertaining myself on Facebook and participating in hilarious text threads with my friends. I was calm, cool and collected and things were actually ahead of schedule in terms of my labor’s length.

Yet, when it came time to push, fatigue, frustration and discouragement were beginning to set in.

The last hour before our baby’s birth was one of the most trying of all my labors. It was like a physical culmination of all the stop and go, great news and then sucky news, and worry and angst of the past month all wrapped up with an ugly bow!

I didn’t want to feel another contraction.

I didn’t want to push anymore.

I had mentally tapped out.

Thankfully, I’m married to a man who moonlights as a cheerleader or at least that’s what I’d like to think. He saw the look in my eyes and knew I was no good. His strong, calming and compassionate presence was what I needed to get me over that hump.

And so, with the Lord’s strength and of course one final push from me, Nyla Rose Dunlap made her entrance into this world!

Nyla Rose

Yet, unbeknownst to me, my hubby, and even our docs was a ginormous (is that a word?? I don’t know but let’s go with it okay) knot in Nyla’s umbilical cord!

What an unwelcome surprise!

We had had absolutely no clue. It wasn’t detected on any of the ultrasounds and it sure as heck was the furthest thing from our minds when it came time to induce. And still, this unseen threat was literally blocking the life my daughter was destined to have even before she took her first breath.

Knot in Nylas cord
This knot is CRAY right??!!

It’s funny how in the weeks leading up to Nyla’s birth, I found myself meditating on Matthew 6:25-34. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t shake it.

What I didn’t know was it was exactly what I needed. When it came time for me to implement Jesus’ mandate to not worry, there was Matthew 6 holding my frayed heart together. It was keeping me from going down the crazy rabbit trail of what else could be lurking around the corner.

This whole ordeal encounter with God’s Sovereign hand will forever be etched on my heart of pure evidence of His love for me and care for my family.

To be quite frank with you, this pregnancy was a lot. It was almost too much! Although it was planned, it turned out to be more than what we bargained for. And more than that, since having Nyla, her presence in our family has been a welcomed disruption. In my heart of hearts since delivering her, I’ve had thoughts about how her cute little face has changed up everything, never to be the same again.

For about a good month after her arrival, I wasn’t feeling what this newness was bringing.

You see, we had had a good thing going for about five years. We were settled into a groove of life — a rhythm really.

I don’t know why but if the craziness of her birth is any indication of what else is in store, I must admit that I’m going to need more than just a couple of scriptures to keep me sane. I’m going to need the WHOLE counsel of God’s Word, His Holy Spirit and lots and lots of grace to make it through!

And you know what, that’s okay! I think that’s exactly right where God wants me to be really. Isn’t that what he requires of all of us who call ourselves believers?

Unabashed childlike faith that is full of dependence on Him and His Word!!!

And if you have found yourself in a similar place of uneasiness, disrupted by life’s curve balls, what I will say to you, weary one, is He too calls you to this same place. I implore you to wholly throw yourselves upon the Savior’s love and entrust yourself to Him.

He is faithful to His Word. He can and He will uphold you!

God bless you, thanks for reading! Until next time…

In total surrender,

Courtney