I’m not okay… But I will be…

Here we are, barely a week into the new year, and I’m not okay. Don’t get me wrong, my writing is finally flowing again, homeschooling is great, we’re doing really well in most regards… but my heart aches for my country. How did we get here? The truth is, it’s not the fault of one person—not even close. This sort of hatred takes time to cultivate, to really seep into the bones of a nation and its people. It seems 2020 was just the kind of year we needed to see that all bubble to the surface.

For a long time now, I have avoided or politely declined to comment on my political beliefs because, frankly, that’s not why people follow me on my public pages. I strive to write books that offer hope and love and soul-soothing kindness to my readers. And while I completely understand wanting to distance yourself from following people whose beliefs drastically depart from your own, I also think it is important to hear those beliefs because they come from the minds of living, breathing, God-created individuals.

I’m sticking with my gut here and not discussing politics with anyone who doesn’t want to hear it, but I also can’t stomach watching what is happening in my country anymore without saying something. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that people are prone to dramatics, often self-centered, and thoughtless (I add myself to this list most days), but I have also seen acts of pure, undiluted, real love. The year also taught me that there really is a swamp—and it runs deep in BOTH of the main political parties here in America. We’ve seen some genuinely astounding actions from both Democrats and Republicans at every level of government, and I, for one, am so sick of it.

I believe in my heart that most people are charitable, loving, and—though prone to sin—also carry a deep desire for repentance. I have, like many others, seen the absolute worst in my country this past year. No matter your stance on the virus, our government, and the multitude of other things we have chosen to allow to divide us, I want you to know that I care about you. I might disagree with you (I might even shake my head at you or roll my eyes,) but I still love you and respect your right to live and breathe and take up space in this same world.

We have let politicians, celebrities, CEOs, tech-moguls, and so many others tell us how we should feel, what we should think, how we should act, what is acceptable and what is not—enough. We’ve all been given a brain, and I, for one, desperately want to use it free of the influence of people whose self-interest is always at the front of theirs. This has been proven by the hypocrisy perpetrated before our very eyes. Their pedestals are far too high, in my opinion.

Not all, but most don’t care about you. They care about their image… but the grocery store clerk, the random person in the same aisle as you at the store, the bank teller, the driver beside you at a red light, and so many others… they care a lot less about their image and more about getting through the day just like you. I try to remember that. Yeah… I fail a lot (like yelling at the driver who totally cut me off in the Dunkin’ Donuts line.) But one of my goals this year is to recognize my own self-righteous behaviors and address them more often, let the little things go, and to remind myself daily that I am meant to serve something higher.

My prayer for America is this—that we can take a step back, remember that so many people look to America as a beacon of hope, life, love, and liberty, then begin to repair the bridges broken by the far-left and far-right, the corrupted masses whose only goal is to create chaos for self-gain. They broke the bridges, but we—the living, breathing lifeblood of this country—can fix them. We don’t need the government for that. We don’t need celebrities to tell us how to do that. It’ll take work. A lot of work and MASSIVE amounts of compromise (that’s still a thing, I’m told.) I mean, I’ve been called some nasty things for my beliefs, and that’s hard to forget… but I’m willing to if it means we can change this mess into something better.

I am the daughter of a God who suffers no fools, and I would be a fool if I didn’t admit I know this won’t happen overnight. It might never happen, but my family members didn’t fight and/or die for America for me to turn my back on it. I won’t. When I think about it, I’ve seen more love than destruction this year, and I know THAT’S the real America, not the one the media blasts 24-7 for the rest of the world to see. I know the real America is people coming together to create a better country for all. I’ve seen it in my community, and I know it can happen anywhere. When you support people, give them the love and grace, and respect they deserve, they tend to do the right thing. Those who don’t, well, God bless them, and I pray they learn to serve others as they serve themselves.

This message got a little preachy, so I’ll close here. I know why you follow me, and I pray that I can keep offering you the little sliver of peace or the moment of distraction you need to boost your spirits and your hearts so you can keep fighting the good fight. For my followers who are not Americans (or Christians), I thank you for your support all the same. I respect you and want you to know that I am always here to lend an ear—truly. I try to respond to every email within the day (forgive me, some end up in the spam folder, and take a minute). It doesn’t have to be about my books or even about writing—if you need an ear, I’m here. You have all been so good to me, and I pray I sufficiently return your grace.

At the end of the day, I am here to serve you by the grace of God, the only Leader who holds my heart.

All my love,

MJ

“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and purse it.” Psalm 34:14

Book Review: Road Trip with a Nerd

It was the book I didn’t know I needed to read. It’s short and sweet, but it filled my heart with that warm and fuzzy feeling I needed. It even sparked my interest in my own YA Romance series again.

Road Trip with a Nerd by Stephanie Street. It’s exactly what it promises to be… it’s a road trip… with a nerd… only he’s not so nerdy and she’s in for a big surprise. I adored the characters even if they were a little clueless sometimes (FYI, I actually adore clueless characters because… why wouldn’t you love them?)

After writing epic fantasy and diving into some deep worldbuilding, I needed a break. This book gave me that. So, if you’re stressed and just want a little sweetness (seriously, even the drama is sweet in its own way) then this is the book for you… and it’s only $0.99 on Amazon!

Here’s the blurb from Amazon…

Mallory
Fifteen hundred miles from home my whole world fell apart. I’d been betrayed and all I wanted was to go home and confront two people who were supposed to love me. The only problem? I was stuck with no way back for over two weeks. That was just too long to wait.

And then he walked in.

Grant
What was she doing there? Why hadn’t she gone home with everyone else? And most importantly, why was she crying? Mallory Knight, the girl of my every fantasy.

And she needed my help.

By the time it was all over, I knew I’d be the one begging to be saved.

Grant wasn’t at all what Mallory expected. Thirty-six hours in the passenger’s seat of his rusty old truck and she knew she’d never be the same again.

Road Trip with a Nerd is a 33,000-word novella by Stephanie Street. You’ll love this heartwarming, swoon-worthy tale of two people who unexpectedly find exactly what they didn’t know they were looking for.