Wednesday, January 11, 2012

selfishness and a book.

don't waste your talents. don't waste your dreams. don't waste your heart.
don't believe anyone who tells you can't...because you can.

(i am currently reminding myself of these same truths everyday)


i can't get the italics to go away. so its fancy writing today.

i was selfish & although i hate to admit i am currently selfish.

i was pretty selfish when i had cancer. people emailed and i never wrote back. people sent facebook messages and i never wrote back. not one thank you note was ever written. i was pretty much...libby ryder focused with a side of ava ryder. even justin did not get much of my time or energy. well, he got my time. i had a lot of time on my hands. but he certainly did not get much of my energy.

disclaimer: i had cancer and i realize that is a big deal but...there is a lot more going on in the world and in the lives of loved one's than my own story.

i justified myself a lot. pretty much for anything i did or did not do.

but now it's time. it's 2012 and in a little over a month we celebrate one year cancer free. oh, the joy. the gifts we experience in my healing. but what i really want to be about and what my hearts desire is to love other people well. to not be so "me" focused but others focused. being intentional. sending cards. little gifts. texts. picking up the phone. being available. many of you did that for us last year. thank you for walking in the valley with us. you did not have to. no one asked you or made you. most of you were strangers. not anymore though. you walked through cancer with us so now you are apart of the story. a part of our story.


i am going to write a book this year.

i have been praying about it and talking about it for several months. however, i will get all inspired and then i get stuck. paralyzed in the lies.

who would read this? can i even write a book? am i good enough? talented enough? what if i fail? do i have the time?

well...what if i fail? (what does that even mean? what constitutes failure when i am writing a book about my own story. because no one reads that failure? i am sure my mom would at least read it)
i am beginning to realize it is less about failing and more about being vulnerable. putting myself out there to publishers and editors. to the world. i realize that i do that every time i press publish on this blog...but a book feels so permanent. like my one chance to say anything i would ever want to say. talk about strange pressure i am putting myself. i am missing the whole point. i know this. i am creating something from nothing.

write. just write. it is not that hard. (that is what i tell myself about ten times a day).

i was talking with a friend recently who said...go away. be alone. turn on some music and write. really allow yourself to go there. enter back into those first days after the diagnoses. first chemo. telling family. ava. hair loss. weight gain. fear of dying. loneliness. anger. distance from my husband. drinking. isolation. pain.

let's just get it out there...i am scared to write it down because for some reason it makes me think i am going to get cancer again. if i talk about it and really go back to those days and months of cancer and everything having to do with it. i am scared. i am scared to enter into that and then boom...back to current day of being a wife and a mom. i have so much more respect for authors now. it is not easy. but it is my heart. i love to write. i love sharing our story. i love trying to provide some sort of hope and peace and encouragement in the midst of death and fear and darkness.

i can talk about the lord. i can talk a out joy. i can talk about not wasting your cancer and not
wasting your life. that is natural. that is my heart.

but what about the other stuff? the ugly stuff. the scary stuff. the shameful stuff. the whole...i could have died or what if i am not around to watch ava grow up kind of stuff. that is where i am stuck. those are the places in my heart i do not want to enter. i do not want to go there. that's too deep and too scary.

i keep coming back to this...what if i can go there? what if i am not alone in this? the truth is i am not alone. the same God that carried me through cancer will carry me through writing our story. the dark parts that i have not never shared on this blog or with family or with friends or even with justin.

the dark layers that are easier to ignore and pretend don't exist and certainly never did. but you see those places. the dark ones are just as much a part of our story as everything else i have shared in this space since it started back in july of 2010. i believe our journey of cancer is one of hope and joy in the midst of pain and death. but it is easier to talk about joy. it is harder to admit areas of failure, shame, doubt, and anger.

as i was walking through cancer i was numb in many ways. i only realize this now as i look back and see how deep the pain and hurt was...but i wanted to fight. i wanted to be strong. i wanted to find joy because there was joy. but when you are walking in trauma you do not even realize it is trauma because it is your life. i knew it was a valley. i knew a dark cloud hung around while i had cancer. but we wanted light. life. joy. peace. hope. we refused to waste what the Lord had for our little family in cancer. we hope we did not waste it. i do believe we did not waste our cancer. do not waste yours.

i want to get to that place. the place i am scared to go. i want to be real. i want to be honest. i want to cry. i want to yell. i do not want to sugar coat any of it. but the hope i have and the joy in our story is that our God is big enough for all of that. that in the midst of cancer there can be joy. there can be life. there can be hope. that is our story. that is His story in us. how thankful i am for that.

i pray i leave this place. this paralyzed place where i am right now. but my heart won't stop aching when i think about writing and about our story being shared further than this little blog.

so as i enter into this process of writing book and being others focused...i pray i do not grow weary and stop. i believe the Lord can work through anything and what He did in us and through us in cancer is worth writing down. even if my mom is the only person to read. it would be worth it.

if my life and my heart is about not wasting any of it. not one second. than what i am doing here. just write a book. because it is my heart and my passion and my dream. not mention it is one of my 2012 goals. 

i re-read this email a lot. it is from a successful photographer. wife. author, and women who loves and loves hard.

"oh, libby, your story is just beautiful.  really and my mama always taught me if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it.  so i guess this means i believe you'll write your book.  really.  and if you think about it in the worst possible way (i.e. no one reads it), you at least have your story documented for ava.  how precious and amazing will that book be for her when she's a mom?! augh...i love it! i wish you all the best!"

let's do this. don't waste your life...your talents....your dreams. follow them and follow them hard. my husband taught me that. he is disciplined and consistent and real and honest and loves the Lord more than anyone i know. he told me have something to i am writing a book.


  1. Dear Author Libby,

    You are, you know. An author already. A good author. Lots of people have been blessed, entertained, encouraged, led to tears, and even surprised by your words, not just your Mom. (But I WILL be the first to read it!)

    And you watched me struggle for 2 years writing a book and so you know it can be done. Even by a novice like me. (Or, were you so self-focused that you never noticed? I doubt it.) And after it is completed you will say, "What was the big deal?" :)

    Do not look at the task in its entirety, just the first step. Finish that and then look at the next step. If you come to a step that is overwhelming or drudgery, set it aside til later. I put off my Acknowledgements page for months. First TIP-Keep a running list of people you will want to acknowledge, cause that will make your job so much easier later...I did not do this and really regretted it later.)

    Then let the pros deal with editing, line-editing, layout, photography, art, marketing, etc. You do not have to worry about everything. Just be faithful in your part and others will fill in the rest. And we will pray the God's work will be done, in His time, and in His way. And yes, it is worth it, even if Ava and I are your only readers!

    I love you, Libby.


  2. i'd read your book.

    but you have to write in italics the whole time.

  3. Wow! A book! How incredible! God has blessed you with such an incredible testimony and a very touching story! I am so glad you are going to write a book so that more people will be touched by the great things God has done in your life!

  4. Libby that is so so great!
    I am reading the book 1,000 Gifts right now and am thinking about you a lot.
    I love this quote:
    "Where is grace bestowed when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches and nameless places in us soundlessly die, break off without reason, erode away. Were hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt?"

    I can't wait to read your book Libby because you fully lived and experienced the joy of the Lord through cancer and that is something of great worth that deserves to be shared.

  5. Your husband said it well! You have something to say so write a book! And that is indeed true. It won't be easy but all it takes is committing a little time each day and before you know it, you have a book. I believe in you Libby! I would love to read your story. And so many who are struggling with cancer would read it and find it encouraging. Tell your story!

  6. Libby. I beyond excited for your book. I think it is so brave. Can't wait!

  7. lib. i love it. i will read it and will share it with a million others. please, please, please write this book. your story is His story and therefore it's already a success. His story is never a failure. it will be beautiful and gift to many. can't wait!

  8. I'll read your book. Your story is an amazing story of life with Christ...and cancer. I came upon your story about a year ago, but I went back and read every word of every post you'd ever written. Not once did I think you were selfish. I remember thinking over and over, "how amazing is she, that throughout all of this, she really lays it all down and relies on God.."It's an amazing and touching testimony, and I feel certain that your book will bring lots of good things to many people, people looking for inspiration fighting the fight you fought, or maybe, just plain old inspiration to make it through the day and put it all in perspective.

    You are already a wonderful author, and I can't wait to read the finished product!

    God Bless you and your beautiful family.

  9. Wow that is awesome! Ill definitely buy your book and tell all my friends to do the same. Praying for clarity, peace, and enthusiasm as you start this process!

  10. Libby - thought i don't know you well, I have read all your entries, and from day one, I knew that your story, your voice, your heart, your passion...were all pointing to a book (and I'm a book snob - I love reading more than almost anything except God, my family, and dark chocolate). Maya Angelou has a great quote - "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"...I know you think you can't do this, but I bet you also thought you couldn't bear cancer, move to a new city, make a pile of new friends, and learn to's all about one stitch at a time. I'll be first in line to buy one - and give them to all the people I have come to love who are in various stages of cancer or recovery and the people who love them. Your story of suffering from cancer is shared by millions, yes...but your voice is not - it is unique, honest, and beautiful. Go for it. Love, The Lunsfords

  11. You know the Floyds are behind you! There's no H on my name for the acknowledgement page! Ha!
    Praying that you'll be able to tell your story as beautifully as you lived it.

  12. I know that your book will be wonderful and I will gladly purchase a copy when it is published and tell all of my friends about it. :]

  13. Go for it! I would definitely read it!!!

  14. Girl, you do have something to say. The lord has blessed you with life and the courage to write. You are strong and can do it!! I believe in you. Lots of encouragement from everyone. You can count that all of your blog followers will surely buy and read :) Love you. The lord is faithful and he will pull you through all of it. Love, Nina.
    P.s. That picture of precious. She is a doll.

  15. Libby,

    Remember when you started this blog and you had no idea where it would lead that was scary then but look how many followers and lives you have been a part of. I can't imagine where a book would lead.

    The bad stuff is hard to write but life is hard and others need to know that they are not alone in there feelings the good, bad, and ugly. So many people only tell the good stuff but it's the real stuff that changes peoples lives.

    Best of luck in your decision and your writting don't pressure yourself--enjoy the process.



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