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1/08/2015

Life - The Big Tests!

I was pretty sure that by the time I was 40 I would have everything figured out. I am sure that everyone 40 and over would laugh along with me...



I am coming to the conclusion that there is no magic age or situation that makes us suddenly there... that magical place where everything is easy and managable.

There are a few circumstances in every person I know that tests them.
The health problems, or kid problems, or job problems, or family problems.

Life is a revolving wheel of the little tests and the big ones.

I feel like I am just winding down from one of my big tests.

I have been fighting a systemic bacterial infection for many years. Finally diagnosed over a year ago, and despite having gone through several rounds of mean antibiotics I had to try a different method.

The daily battle of figuring out how to rid my body of this pesky bacteria has been a painful and frustrating struggle. In the midst of that I did a complete turn around with my life goals and my career.
Being bed-bound was a huge struggle for me mentally, I am a driver and always have been. I enjoy challenges and not making an income was pretty devastating to my budget and to my mind. I don't want to sit around all the time. It was not in my nature.
Feelings of depression and worthlessness were very real to me.

I really struggled to find my self-worth in knowing who I was, not having a job or being a 'contributing member of society'. That broken record was on loop in my brain daily.

Learning to be patient with myself and my health has been a slow but rewarding process. Learning to work hard at my new job. Not only writing but also to help others with their author careers is very rewarding. I had to go through the testing time to understand my real strengths.

Patience, long-suffering, and self worth don't sound like fun tests but I cannot stress enough how going through this journey has changed me for the better.

My advice to anyone in the midst of their hard test, whatever it may be, to let God into the journey. He will shed truth over your situation. Believing thoughts that are only focused on negative things will only keep you in that trial longer. In every situation there is good and bad about it.  There is amazing truths out there that can help you through any situation.

Sometimes the course of your life just needs one moment of understanding to get it moving forward again.

My bacteria battle feels like it is finally coming to the last cycle. With the understanding that my body has a lot of healing to do. I will need to keep my patience while I am finishing the fight. I know that I want to jump back into the 'well' world with gusto. But I have to remember what I have been through and where I want to go may take time.

I want to be able to look back on this time as not 'lost time' but found time. The time I spent getting to know the real me. The me that is stronger than I thought. That looked death in the eye a few times and came out with a new understanding and empathy for others that are suffering. 

For me the most profound understanding is that I like me. The quirky real person that I am. I am not sure I can ever go back to the people-pleaser I was before. Life is way too short.

I am praying that whatever tests I have in the future, and we all know they are out there, is that I will be better prepared by what I have gone through. I have a few extra tools in the toolbox. To face what comes with God at my side.

Wherever you are on your journey, Don't give up, and let God in. You will never regret it! 


~ Leah Banicki
Writer, Mom, Wife, and survivor!

9/04/2014

Books on the Brain



A writer's life is an interesting one...

Currently excited about my newest book coming out at the end of this month.
 - Daughters of the Valley -

I will have 4 books published... unbelievable!

Taking a moment to step back and consider all that is happening and realizing how thankful I am for the opportunity to have this career.

I am currently writing 2 series. The Wildflowers series is my main focus. 1850's Oregon with a passel of characters that I dearly love. Corinne, Angela, Violet & Clive are real to me and their stories continue to teach me things everyday.

The second series is set in the late 1870's with a young lady named Elsabeth Jameson... a cozy mystery series that excites me exceedingly. Funny characters and intriguing mysteries abound. I intend to finish book 4 of the Wildflowers series before I move forward with the new series but I will admit to taking moments of inspiration to write when I cannot contain a scene.

Not sure how to have more than one story in my head at the same time but I am thankful for the fun of having new ideas to share with the world.

My encouragement to all those that have a dream. Go for it. Use your spare time wisely and make it happen.

~ Leah Banicki ~






Set to release September 26th


Book 4 of Wildflowers Series

6/06/2014

Working Hands

I don't have pretty hands. I never have.

My fingers are not long and elegant. I had a really hard time learning to play guitar & I could not reach a full octave on a piano keyboard.

I accepted long ago that my hands were my hands. No big deal to just face what is as what is. I am pretty practical that way.

Something has built up inside of me over the last decade or so.  I have had many jobs using my hands.

A waitress, shoe saleswoman etc... - I used my hands to serve people.

A singer - I used my hands to express my emotions or clap to the Lord in worship.

A mother - to hold and comfort my child.

A wife  - to have and to hold my husband.

A daughter, sister, aunt, niece and friend - hugs are meant to be shared.

A housekeeper - to do what must be done. The daily grind we all do.


A helper - whether I am helping an author get published, or creating a book cover. I love that my hands know what to do.

A writer - my fingers are an extension of my thoughts. It is miraculous to me sometimes. Hours can go by and I never really was conscious of where the keys are.The story can flow. I pray while I write and hope that God blesses me with the words. Sometimes I am not sure where the inspiration came from. I like it that way.

I have always loved the verse. Deuteronomy 28:12

The Lord shall open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

The verse  gives a gal like me hope. I don't have anything about me that is perfect. But with God's blessing on my work I feel like I can contribute. 

I may be sickly, flawed, insecure and human but I can do work in God's kingdom. Little old me. With stubby hands and a big heart.

Bible Gateway - 
Deuteronomy 28:11-13

Sending a special thanks to my daughter - who painted my nails today and inspired me. Something as simple as polka dot nail polish can make a person think. 

~ Leah Banicki



Find out more about Leah Banicki's books at 


 

2/09/2014

Overcoming the Darkness




When the darkness tries to take over me, 

Flooding me with terrifying fear.

I shake and my tears are unstoppable.

Jagged thoughts and every hideous word ever said to me returns.

The thoughts are said in my own voice in my mind, 

But I know who truly speaks...

The dark whispers come from a defeated foe!

I cry out – with my tattered shreds of faith

From this place of ruin and loss 

and I...AM...HEARD

God's Holy Peace, 

Nothing missing, nothing broken, 

Is given to me freely.

I am His – He is mine. 

I am saved!


     ~ Leah Banicki

11/13/2013

Thankful - this writer's year

It’s always a big day when you get your book in the mail. Today was that way again for me. The box came… filled with something I made. 
It is more than a little exciting and overwhelming, knowing how much work and heart went into something. The journey to write this book was so much longer than I wanted it to be.



 My prayers today are filled with my own hope, that the book is good and the mistakes are few and easy to fix. (No book is ever perfect, we all do our best.) 

There is one thing I didn’t add to this last book - the real thank you list. 


While trying to write this last book my health deteriorated so badly in this last year that I nearly died. 
The thank you list for the people that held me up during that horrible and painful time weren’t listed in the pages. 
People weren’t helping to get credit. They helped because they cared. 

I remember a day last year when I was at the zoo, a woman in the midst of surviving breast cancer, doing rounds of chemotherapy, was telling me how much she had been praying for me. I was speechless, I had been on my face in prayer for this woman, knowing her two children were wanting their mother to stick around. Her survival has been so inspirational.
I was still undiagnosed, in the land of mysterious illness that had me down for the count. It took me until February of 2013 to finally find a diagnosis. 

I had a core group that really knew what was happening. Some of my organs were shutting down and no longer functioning. I was dying… I had an appointment with a specialist in 4 days. Not sure I could make it four more days. I remember talking to God and asking for him to comfort my husband and daughter, and my parents, thinking if they lost another daughter that would just be… fill in the blank… I have no words for that moment. 
There is a line in my new book Angela’s Hope that is so very personal for that night. 

 
"Only a few hours ago she had accepted that she would probably die soon. God had other plans." 
- Angela’s Hope

 
* * * * *

Sickness and financial hardships go hand in hand. I knew I had a short window to get help before I was going to lose the battle at home. I was only willing to add a emergency room visit bill to my families debt stack if I had too. I was desperate to avoid that.  Choosing between money and life is not a fun choice to make. It brings tears to my eyes now as I remember the struggle. 

With the desperate call from my mother to the specialist, she is very persuasive,  I got in before the office was officially opened the next day. I really feel like I would have died that day if we hadn’t gotten in. My body was done for. 
A plan was made, tests were run, a friend stayed with me overnight and during the day to make sure I stayed hydrated and alive. My doctor called often to make sure I was still holding on while he tried to solve the mystery. 

One stupid blood test - the right one - changed everything. 


Diagnosis is such a beautiful word. Having answers doesn’t mean a cure but it sure does help the heartache and anxiety. There were lots of unpleasant things to do and prescription drugs to take and a long, long recovery to look forward too.

I am on the rocky road of recovery, thanking God for every good day. Holding on to faith on the bad ones that still come. 
My body has been through a blender. 

 

I want to thank those that helped me. 
~ For the rides to the hospital, tests, and procedures. 
~ For the friend who stayed with me through the horrible and scary days. 
~ For my husband and daughter for basically waiting on me hand and foot. Without complaint and with great care. 
~ For the friend who helped pay for one of the tests that had to be paid up front. 
~ For the visits, flowers, and the few little gifts. (Demitri the stuffed dog still lives on my couch, he watches me as I write.)
~ So thankful to God for getting me through. I cannot say enough about the everyday conversations I had with God. He is my source. 


 

I want to send out prayers for those still suffering. Living with undiagnosed pain or a diagnoses with no relief and no cure. There is not always the support groups, ribbons and marathons for everyone who is suffering. My experience throughout all of the pain and suffering over the last seven years has taught me so much about leaning on God. Finding peace and communion with God was the only thing that kept me going.  
Praying that anyone that is hurting while reading this will go to God for the peace and love that He offers freely. 

Being able to write during the time of healing has been such a blessing. I prayed for a purpose during the storm. 
So very, very thankful for a way to pour my heart out. It had been a lifelong dream to write. 

Still asking for prayers as I heal, prayers for my family for a way to pay for all the medical bills. 

Believing that God still has a purpose for me. I am still here. I am so very thankful. 


- Leah Banicki

written 11/12/13 




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