I Failed Many Times before I Succeeded– New Children’s Book Illustrator Shares Personal Journey

I’ve made some mistakes in my lifetime, but I don’t consider them failures. After all, some of the best learning comes through mess ups. I put in long hours on this little girl before noticing that I had drawn and painted her lips lopsided. How’d I do that? It’s complicated.

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My illustration had other issues, too. Through multiple layers of colored pencil, wax built up until her face wouldn’t receive additional color. Peach skin tone was desperately needed. I applied the color in tiny circles, just as I learned to do on  a “How to” video. The artist on the video made it look so easy. But my work wasn’t anything like his and my efforts to create real looking skin were as successful as trying to water color on waxed paper, an impossible feat.

Crooked lips and blotchy skin were not my first major mistakes. This was my third failed attempt to paint the little girl in an illustration with Xander, the blind pug. The other two painted drawings show her with protruding eyes that nearly pop off the page and skin with a creepy, plastic appearance.

Making mistakes helped me learn how to use Prismacolor pencils and eventually led to an illustration that communicates the value that I want in my new book.

LittleGirlXander

This is my fourth attempt with the illustration of the little girl and Xander. I think I’ll keep her. Finally! She’s everything I’d hoped that she would be.

Failure can be a great tutor when we’re willing to learn from it. I’m learning a lot as I continue on my journey with Xander the Wonder Dog, #1 Pug. It has been difficult getting to where I currently am, but the goal isn’t to do something that’s easy, it’s to complete a book that I hope will touch the hearts of children.

Currently, I’m working on an illustration of Xander visiting the same little girl while she’s hospitalized following an accident. This is exactly the sort of work that Xander does. He has a God given gift of comforting children and adults during some of their toughest days.

©Pamela Koefoed, 2018

 

 

When Walking Becomes Total Body Resistance Training

Picture in the public domain.

Picture in the public domain.

Vern and I speed walked and jogged this evening before sunset. At the end of the pavement, where our road becomes gravel, we turned for the mile walk home and within seconds a strong head wind transformed our activity into something more like total body resistance training. The more I stick to my exercise commitment, the more I admire those of you who’ve been doing this for years. This get your body movin’ movin’ movin’ thing is tough. Especially since it’s not in my DNA to enjoy a consistent routine over a length of time.

“…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”–Romans 5:4

Although the apostle Paul was writing about persecution, the Romans 5:4 principle can apply to lots of things, such as working out several days a week, eating healthy, and other mundane or difficult tasks that we faithfully do in order to be well body, soul, and spirit. For me, staying on an exercise routine takes a great deal of perseverance. Sometimes, I’m an unwilling participate who needs encouragement to get moving. For instance, tonight Vern practically dragged me away from my comfortable seat in front of the warm and cozy fire to join him on a walk. Boy! It’s amazing how fast attitudes can change. As soon as we neared the first mile, I was grateful for his cheerful enthusiasm and that he had prodded me to join him. Why did my silent grumbling change to appreciation at the mile marker? Because I had hope of completing the two-mile walk. Perseverance builds character, and character builds hope. In the original language of the Bible, hope is defined as a confident expectation. Hope is a powerful tool to keep you moving forward in your commitment to complete something that’s worthwhile. Including exercise in your week will require some perseverance. You’ll have days when you’d rather sit on the sofa with a good book than get up and follow along with an aerobics instructor for thirty minutes. Or walking for twenty minutes may seem like a real drag when the weather’s not ideal. But have hope, and stick to your commitment. Just as Vern prodded me to join him for a walk, this article is an encouragement from someone who cares about your health. Have hope. Expect good results. And get up and get going. Just like me, you’ll be glad you did. Wishing you wellness in every way, Pamela

Another Opportunity to Trust Him for What I don’t See

climbing paradise glacierHow do we know where we are in our faith in the Lord if there’s never difficulties to press through or mountains to climb? We are matured in the furnace, as well as in the high points along our individual journeys. Life with all its joys also has tribulation.

Jesus said, “You believe (trust) in God. Believe (trust) also in Me.”

During the hardest days and longest nights, trusting Him for what we can’t see and don’t know is that anchor which keeps our souls in Him and motivates us to move forward, breaking through into a brighter day. Over the past several years, like many of you, I’ve had faith testings, personal suffering, and grief. But dispersed throughout the weeks and months and years, I’ve also had many mountain top experiences. Believe you me, I’m grateful for those happy times when all seemed perfect in my world, but without the challenges my walk would have little substance.

The Lord causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose–Romans 8:28

From pain and hardship and the testing of our faith, when we love the Lord, He brings about a purpose which is beneficial in some way.

Without the valleys, there would be no mountains.

I’m encouraging you this morning to believe in God and in His Son Jesus Christ. Read the Bible, especially the Gospels, Romans 8, and I John. By doing so, your faith will be enriched. Trust the Lord for what you can’t see. That hope which comes from trusting Him, will anchor you, making you unshakable during stormy seas. Yes there are valleys in your journey, but keep moving forward because in Him you will break free into the light of day.

Many blessings to each of you~ Pamela Koefoed

When I Thought of Quitting, I Used My Secret Weapon

Like caulking that’s squeezed into cracks along window and door frames, writing filled every available space, and I found that the miracle hour when creativity made its appearance came most nights between 8 o’clock p.m. and 2 o’clock a.m.–Pamela Koefoed

Writing my memoir, JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness, was an extreme work of love, a three-and-a-half year write-a-thon. I persevered through at least five revisions with help from God and by using my secret weapon, which I’ll share with you in a moment.

What images do you have of an author involved in her work? Dismiss all illusions of grandeur. Most of us don’t have a special space, surrounded by serene beauty. Creativity doesn’t flow in our veins non-stop, as if it’s available to us night or day. Yes, there are times of free flowing words that seem to appear out of thin air, but most of our work is accomplished through great effort, through something that has been likened to giving birth.

My writing space is in the kitchen, not far from the sink, stove, and refrigerator, and it’s in the living room where my view is a mocha colored wall, and it’s my bedroom with its long array of closets and cabinets (a former owner had three daughters in this room and he gave them each a closet and an upper cabinet–how nice). In other words, I write wherever the household noise is least noticed.

During my personal write-a-thon, life went on, but in a somewhat disrupted pattern. I’m grateful for a husband and daughter who picked up some of the slack. However, my responsibilities didn’t disappear the day I decided to write a memoir. Family and home were priorities, and someone had to run the advocacy program and direct the ministry that I oversee–that someone was me.

Like caulking that’s squeezed into cracks along window and door frames, writing filled every available space, and I found that the miracle hour when creativity made its appearance came most nights between 8 o’clock p.m. and 2 o’clock a.m.

An emotional element was also involved. The decision to write my story of survival came after much contemplation of probable results. I looked at it from various angles, and it came down to vulnerability, and my willingness to share with a great many people the childhood experiences that tore me into tiny pieces, the personal account of how I persevered, and how I loved.

I reached out to God during childhood–that in itself brought great healing, comfort, and security. And during the “birth” of my memoir, I’m certain of His Present help.

Sometimes, I considered putting my manuscript in a file cabinet and leaving it there, but I had a secret weapon that kept me moving forward. The secret weapon against quitting was you.

During the most fatiguing hours, I thought of people I know who have been or who are currently in a crisis and people who wished they had been given a better life. I considered the people I’ve never met who have emotional pain deeper than the Grand Canyon, and I believed that my story might help.

The author’s reward is satisfied readers. Since JoyRide’s publication, I have been rewarded numerous times by people I know and by those I have never personally met. And I’m immensely grateful.

 

 

 

Five Steps to Help You Achieve Your Dream

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My new book, JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness was a three-and-a-half year journey. Writing is a joyous experience for me, but it isn’t something I do effortlessly. In fact, I compare writing a book to climbing a perilous mountain; both require preparation, tremendous perseverance, and fortitude.

During the “JoyRide” expedition, I was faced with brain draining and emotionally exhausting emergencies, numerous urgent distractions, and the typical self-doubt that belittles an artist’s work. Any of these could’ve sabotaged the project’s completion.

So, how do you reach a goal when it appears that there are hindrances in the way?

Here are five steps that helped me:

1. Pray. Most everyday that I worked on JoyRide, I began with prayer.

2. Evaluate why you are doing what you are doing. Is it worth the effort? In my situation, I wanted to write JoyRide to encourage those who are faced with great difficulties. Helping people became the purpose behind the thousands of hours of writing; this purpose kept me directed.

3. Write down two things: What you want to accomplish and your purpose. Everyone who does anything that’s beyond average has times of self-doubt. I call that critical voice, the nag in the attic. When the old nag starts criticizing your plans or work, tell her to shut-up. Because you wrote down your goals and purpose, you can look at them for reassurance and focus, and since your purpose is worth the effort, you can dismiss the nag.

4. Everyday, do something which will lead you toward your goal. Writers do their best writing during creative flows. On those days when creativity wasn’t happening for me, I read memoirs and studied topics within the field of writing. The point is, don’t stagnate.

5. Take one step at a time. Little steps, everyday, cover a great distance. When distractions occur, refocus as soon as possible and take another step. A book is written this way, first one word, then the next, and the next, etc. Achieving your goal is done in much the same way. You must begin before you can finish.

Wishing you much success and happiness always,

Pamela

http://www.pamelakoefoed.com

http://www.joyridebook.com