Muse Letter


Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Peter are in heaven. Join me in eavesdropping on their conversation that, as written, probably couldn’t happen, but change a few details, and it happens daily.

Peter Hey, Mary. Do you hear what they’re saying about you down there?
Mary What are they saying?
Peter They’ve decided you were a prostitute.
Mary What! Why? How — Where did you hear that?
Peter Oh, everyone is saying it.
Jesus I don’t remember anything like that about you.
Peter You never remember anything like that about any of your redeemed.
Mary But I wasn’t! I mean, there were the demons. Was I ever glad to be rid of them! (To Jesus) Thank you, again, for that.
Jesus That’s what I do. I live to make people free. Including freedom from what others think of you.
Mary Yeah, well… How did they come up with that?
Peter Well… Some guy was reading in Luke 7 about the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet.
Jesus I remember that. She showed me the best praise she knew. She didn’t care about what they thought.
Mary That was great. I love the way you shut down that Pharisee. But Luke didn’t even record her name. How did they put me in that story?
Peter Well, then he read in John where Mary anointed his feet.
Jesus Oh, I love Mary. She didn’t realize what she was doing. She was just trying to thank me for restoring Lazarus.
Mary She’s amazing. I love her, too. But what’s that got to do with me?
Peter Um.. She’s called Mary.
Mary But that wasn’t me! I’m Magdalene – from Magdala. That was Mary from Bethany, Lazarus’ sister – at least the second one was. Jesus, why did you even give them the scriptures if they’re just going to… I mean, how do you mess that up? They were three years apart and on different ends of the country!
Jesus Oh, they do much worse than that with My Word. You should hear some of the things they say about me – about what I did and didn’t do. What I meant and what I would do in their situation. But others… they study my Word and do their best to understand. They don’t care a lot what others say about them because they know what I say about them. They’re the ones I wrote it for.

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How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend: Part 4, Prayer

This is part four of a six-part series about supporting your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click for part 1, part 2, and part 3.

This is the hardest post in this series for me to write – not because I know nothing about it – rather the opposite, I know how vital it is and want desperately to convey that importance to you. Yet, I know most of my readers will fall into two camps: those who know, superficially, what I am saying, but struggle to put it into practice, and those who outright will disregard this post. There are a few who know the importance of this next step and practice it daily, but they are too few.

Today’s topic is prayer.

I’m not talking about “Good food, good drink, good God let’s eat” or “Now I lay me down to sleep…” prayers. I want you to really talk with God.

Now, before I go any further, I’m going to address those who don’t believe in God. And I say this in my kindest, most loving, least snarky voice possible. I would love for you to keep reading. But if you are going to be offended, please just stop here and come back next week. If you are going to try to get a debate going in the comments about the existence of God, just stop right there. We aren’t going to take your bait. Your comment will go unanswered. (That is direction for those who are tempted to argue. Trust me, it won’t get anywhere but ugly.) I would encourage you to pray to the God you don’t know and ask Him, if He’s really there, to show Himself to you. Then, when He does, don’t disregard it as coincidence. And, if you have honest questions, I will be thrilled to answer them.

To the rest of you, those who believe in God and know the power of prayer: this post is for you.
But what do you pray for, beyond “Bless my Starving-Artist-Friend”?
Well, first, it’s time to change our wording so we are speaking life. All throughout scripture, when God changed someone’s path, He changed their name. So let’s have a name change. Your friend is no longer a Starving-Artist-Friend, but is now a Budding-Artist-Friend.

Now that we have that settled, let’s talk about prayer. Your Budding-Artist-Friend needs prayer, and lots of it. Here are a few things you can specifically pray for:

  • His relationship with God – Budding-Artist-Friend can only produce Life-inspiring art if they are tapped into the source of all creation: The Creator Himself.
  • Creativity – Maybe a bit redundant with the above (and repetitious, too), but pray that your Budding-Artist-Friend will have the Creator’s Spirit to produce art to His glory.
  • Wisdom – Your Budding-Artist-Friend has dozens of choices to make every day regarding his art and its promotion. And as he grows as an artist, seeing his dream fulfilled, temptations will come: temptations to reach a larger audience by watering down the message, temptations to put his creations above his Creator, temptations to put his art above more important things (people) in his life, and much more. Pray that your Budding-Artist-Friend has the wisdom to stand against these temptations.
  • Perseverance – This is one of the hardest obstacles your Budding-Artist-Friend has to face. And, chances are, he has to face it daily. The ideas don’t want to flow and it would be much easier to crush some candies than to try to solve that one specific problem he knows is in the piece and messing up the whole thing but he just can’t figure out what needs to be different. So pray for focus and perseverance.
  • ??? – Every Budding-Artist-Friend has other things they need prayer for: maybe it’s a personal problem with finances or relationships. Or a dear one is sick. Maybe there’s a specific situation he needs to deal with. Your Budding-Artist-Friend would be greatly blessed if you occasionally asked him, “How can I specifically pray for you this week?” That one question will bless him more than any of the other things you’ve done. So do it regularly (but, as Paul says, don’t forget the former.)

So, go bless a Budding-Artist-Friend.

How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend, Part 3: Reviews

This post is third in a series on how you can support your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click here for Part One and Part Two.

Now it’s time to really show your Starving-Artist-Friend what you think of him. He’s made is first book (album/portfolio/….) and is trying to sell it. What do you do?

You’re the first in line, of course. Yes, you do need to shell out some of your hard-earned cash. Here is where you show what you think of his work. Do you buy one and put it on your shelf? Or do you buy several and give them as gifts throughout the year? Do you read the book then put it up? Or do you take the time to write a review?

And in that last point you can have a great impact. Your Starving-Artist-Friend’s baby is out there struggling for attention in the sea of so many other babies. And you can help point people his way.

This post is specifically about reviewing books, because that’s what this Starving-Artist knows. If your Starving-Artist-Friend produces a different type of art, check with him for industry-specific recommendations.

So, you bought the book. You read the book. In one sitting. Because you couldn’t put it down. You tell your Starving-Artist-Friend how wonderful his book is. End of story. Right? Wrong.

Now you need to hop over to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble), find the book and write a review – but it can’t be just any review – it has to be a good one. Stop! Don’t run away! I’m not talking about your 8th grade book report. This piece will have life and vitality and will encourage others to invest in your Starving-Artist-Friend’s work, also. Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  • Give a brief synopsis. And I mean brief. Don’t spoil the plot twist. Just introduce the main character(s) and tell what problem they need to solve. This section will probably be 3-5 sentences.
  • Tell something you like about the book. Does it draw you in? Is there a character you particularly relate to? Does one of the characters remind you of someone you know and love (or hate)? Is the author’s writing style friendly/confident/sassy? But, again, don’t give away the plot.
  • Tell something you don’t like about the book. Yes, do it. It won’t turn people away. It will lend an air of authenticity to your review. And you want to write a review people will trust. So don’t be afraid to share a minor flaw.
  • Who would enjoy this book? Children? Dragon-lovers? Business people? Fans of that popular British show with the time machine disguised as a police box?
  • DO NOT tell how you used to wipe the author’s nose or that you love to go out with him Friday nights. As far as the review is concerned, you do not know the author. Stating that you do is one of the best ways to have your review removed and that won’t help your Starving-Artist-Friend at all.
  • And while you’re at Amazon, read the other reviews. Do you see those that have the disclaimer that they received a review copy? Your Starving-Artist-Friend sent them a free copy of the book so they could write the review. They are another breed of Starving-Artist. They love to hang out on Amazon and write reviews. All they get in return is free stuff to review and a pat on the back (or a like). So let them know you are thankful for taking the time to review your Starving-Artist-Friend’s book by liking their review. It takes half a second and it helps everyone involved.

One more word about Amazon: Amazon’s magic number is somewhere around 50. Yes, that’s right five-zero. Your Starving-Artist-Friend needs 50 reviews of his book in order for it to start working its way into the search hits. Fifty. He’s not going to reach that goal without you. So, when he starts asking on Facebook for people to review his book, do it. And comment that you did (remember, your comment will help boost his post). Then encourage all your other friends to do the same. Don’t just share the post; tag them in it. Then, when you see them in person, ask them if they did and explain to them how important it is that your Starving-Artist-Friend gets reviews.

Your homework: Put what you’ve learned today into practice. Now through April 26, 2016 I have reduced the electronic version of Our Stories: Tales of the Bible’s Extras to only $2.25! That’s 1/2 of the regular price. So, hurry over there, buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. And then… review it.

Our Stories: Tales of the Bible’s Extras is available from Amazon (in print or for Kindle) or from Barnes and Noble for Nook.

Thank you from your Starving-Artist-Friend.

How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend, Part 2: Live Events

This is the second of a series on helping your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click here for part one.

So, you’ve joined all your Starving-Artist-Friend’s social media outlets and are enjoying getting to know your friend’s artist brain. You’re finding lots of wonderful things to comment on and repost. And you’re ready to take the next step. What is that? Your friend will probably tell you.

Your phone bings, indicating someone you are following is twittering. It’s your Starving-Artist-Friend excited that she’s been invited to share at the poetry slam (concert/author night/art display…) downtown. You check your schedule and see you have nothing going on that day so you pencil it in, lightly write the event in bold letters across the calendar, then put sticky notes all over your house so you don’t forget. You wouldn’t miss this time for the world.

A couple weeks before the evening, you create an event on Facebook (or share the one your Starving-Artist-Friend created) and invite all your friends, telling them how great her work is and how amazing the night is going to be.
You know, of course, that fewer than half the people who say they are going to go to an event actually do, so you personally touch base with some other friends and make plans to make a night of it.

You all show up and are amazed at how your Starving-Artist-Friend transforms from a quiet wallflower into a confident beast when sharing her heart. The manager of the establishment is amazed at the crowd your Starving-Artist-Friend drew and the level of her artistry and asks her to come back. You are moved to tears, thinking you thought about missing this evening and are so glad you didn’t.

You walk away wondering how else you can help your Starving-Artist-Friend. Alas, you have to wait until next time to find out. So, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss it. (Edit: Click here to read Part 3 and find out.)

An Undeserved Promise

This story will appear in a more-polished form in Our Stories, Too: More Tales from the Bible’s “Extras”. But I wanted to share it with you all now. Have a blessed Resurrection Day.


I sat at the edge of the crowd in the temple courtyard, listening to the teacher. The elders were trying to corner him but he resisted them at every turn. He started into one of the stories he was famous for – the ones we all knew meant something, but could never quite figure out what he was saying. This one was obviously against the temple elders, and even I could tell he was calling them unfaithful and wicked. I laughed to see them murmuring among themselves.

Jacob knelt beside me and I grimaced. I was supposed to be working. He caught me again. I don’t know what it is about this teacher. I can never concentrate when he’s around. I did have three more purses than I had when I started, but, still, with this crowd, and as long as I had been out, I should have had several more. But he didn’t ask.

He picked up a pebble from the ground and tossed it in the air. “There’s a caravan coming from Egypt. They seem quite burdened down with all their supplies. Meet me at the Tower of David at the fifth hour. We’ll help lighten their load.” He stood and turned to go, but looked back over his shoulder. “And don’t get distracted by fancy words. You have work to do.”

I nodded and watched him slip into the crowds, then turned my attention back toward the teacher. A huddle of the Pharisees’ disciples moved toward him. They pushed one man forward. He nodded at the teacher. “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God in truth; and you don’t care about other people’s opinions. So, tell us what you think: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
How did they come up with all that and who did they expect to fool? Even I, who lived a life of lies, was ready to knock them all down.

But the teacher didn’t flinch. And he didn’t really answer them. He asked them to look at a coin and tell whose image was on it. Caesar’s, of course. He tossed it back to them. “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And give to God what belongs to God.”

He continued teaching, often being questioned by one religious group or another, but always seeing through their deceptions and never getting caught.

A passerby bumped me. My hand instinctively covered my purse. In doing so, I snapped out of the trance the teacher held me under. I glanced at the sun and swore under my breath. I should have been at the tower an hour ago.
I sprinted out of the temple and pushed against all the pilgrims trudging into the city. As I approached the meeting place, I could see Jacob pacing, watching for me. I skidded to a stop beside him.
He saw me, grabbed the collar of my robe and shoved me against the wall. “Where have you been? They’re almost here.”

I brushed his hands way and shrugged. “But they aren’t. We have time.”

“Have you studied them? Do you know your target? Do we have a plan?”

I shook my head. “Plan: brothers fighting. We already have that going. My target: I’ll just pick someone. I’ve done this enough.” I started toward the gate.

He grabbed me by the shoulder, spun me around, and shoved me against the wall again. This time I smacked my head so hard I saw stars. “You can’t do that. You’ll slip up. They’ll catch you. And with a target this size, they’ll crucify you. Is that what you want?”

I laughed and pushed him aside. “So it is angry brothers. Good plan.”

“I’m not joking. I’m calling this one off. It’s not worth it.”

I glanced toward the gate. Half the Egyptian company was already through. I set my foot behind Jacob’s and pushed him. He landed on his back. I ran toward the gate, taking in the scene before me. I spotted three purses I knew I could cut. I fingered my knife, getting it into position. My first target made eye contact with me. No good. Two more steps and I was alongside my second target. In one motion, I sliced his purse and side-stepped a dog in my path. As I tucked the purse in my belt, a hand grasped my arm. I tried to twist free, but one of the Egyptians had me. He pulled me close to him and held a knife to my throat. Without thinking, I drove my knife into his side and fled.

I heard shouts and footsteps behind me, but I ducked in and out of shops. I rounded a corner and ran into a stack of grain sacks. I gathered my wits and slipped behind them just as my pursuers turned the corner. I heard them pass me and turn the next corner.

I counted to thirty. No one came back so I slipped out. My first mistake was not leaving my purses I had gathered tucked somewhere safe. My second mistake was to go back to the gate – but I had to know what happened to the man I stabbed.

I didn’t see him, but guards were ushering the Egyptians toward the city, probably to meet the captain. As I turned to slip away, Jacob shouted, “There he is.”

I spun around. Two guards held him against a wall. I ran, but a group of bystanders wrestled me to the ground. I tried to feign innocence and ignorance but the guard found the purse in my belt – and the others I had tucked into my shirt at the temple. I couldn’t explain why I would need so many purses, especially one filled with Egyptian coins.

I guess Jacob didn’t fare much better because we were put side by side in stocks in the in the inner prison.

My wife came, bringing me food to last several days. She fell on my neck, sobbing. I didn’t know what to say to her. I apologized, but I knew my words won’t comfort her heart nor feed the children. I should have stayed in the forge, but I was so miserable, and Jacob promised me so much. In the end, she left the basket at my side and walked away without looking back.

Jacob spent all night cursing me for me for rushing into the situation and I blamed him for double-crossing me. It didn’t matter when, a couple of days later, they took us to be whipped – forty less one lashes each.

They made me watch as they beat Jacob. He collapsed at twenty and six. I made it to thirty and two. When I woke, I was back in the stocks with Jacob beside me. Thankfully, he was too weak to say anything.

He had plenty to say the next day when they led us out for our final punishment: Jacob and me and one other man. I just glared at the soldier who dropped the wooden beam in front of me. He laid his whip across my back. I took the hint and picked up my burden.

The crowds we hailed a week ago for the income we would gain from them, now mocked and spit on us. A few of our tormenters even threw stones and rotten food.

We started the slow march out of the city. Jacob staggered along behind me, cursing me with every step.

The man in front of me stumbled. I lowered my burden to wait for him, but was greeted with another lash across my back. I maneuvered around him and saw a soldier grab an onlooker to carry the fallen man’s cross. He stepped in line behind me. At least I didn’t need to listen to Jacob anymore.

They drove us up the hill like a line of cattle. My wounds ripped open from the strain of the weight of the beam on my back. I could feel the blood running down my legs. Each step took every ounce of will to move. My mind told me to just stop. And I should have – there was only worse pain at the end of the journey. But the lashes I received when I slowed kept me moving.

When we reached our destination, the guard beside me struck me on the chest with the handle of his whip and nodded toward the side of the road. I let my burden drop. I wanted to fall on the ground, too, but the thought of being any closer to that thing than I had to be made me ill. I stood by the side of the road, eyes to the ground.

I heard a scuffle down the line and looked up to see what the commotion was. Several women knelt around the man beside me. They were crying and trying to wash his wounds. But their activity didn’t match what I heard. I glanced further. Jacob’s spot was empty. Several paces away a group of soldiers wrestled someone to the ground. They lifted him to his feet. I wasn’t surprised to see Jacob.

Two soldiers grabbed his feet and two his arms. They carried him back to his place, slammed him on the beam and hammered his hands in place. He screamed and fought with every blow. It took four soldiers to hold him in place. As they moved to his feet, the world around me started spinning then went black.

I feel them moving me and I wake. Fear grips me. I’m naked. My clothing lies in a pile at my head. I try to struggle but the soldier pins my right arm down with his knee. Others hold my legs and my other arm. I feel the cold point of the nail on my hand. I determine not to cry out, but as the hammer hits the nail a yelp escapes. I’m prepared for the next and hold my breath. They may kill me, but I will not give them the satisfaction of a reaction. I almost break when they drive the nail into my feet.

The centurion reads my conviction, “Murder and theft,” and attaches the verdict above my head.

They read the sentence of the man beside me, “King of the Jews.” The High Priest argues with the centurion about the wording, but they push him aside. I look at him for the first time. It looks like the Romans gave him everything they could. I don’t think even his own mother would recognize him. Serves him right – causing trouble with the Romans – proclaiming himself king for us. Who needs a war just to put a different tyrant on the throne?

The time has come. As a boy, I would come watch as they executed criminals. I loved to stand on the side and mock them as they were lifted into place. Once I started working with Jacob, though, I avoided these roads as much as I could. I knew one day….

They lift me and drop me into place. My head jars, my teeth sink into my tongue, and a curse escapes. My struggle for life begins.

I push up on my feet to gasp for air, but the pain is too much so I slump again. The seat is just low enough that the nail pulls at my arms and I can’t breathe fully, but not low enough for me to just give up. I push up again for another gasp of breath and settle into the rhythm of hanging onto life.

The crowds focus their attention on the man beside me, throwing dirt at him. For some reason the Jewish leaders have all taken an interest in him and have gathered for the show; rather surprising since Passover begins this evening.

One of them calls out, “You saved others. Come, now. Save yourself so we might believe.”

The crowds join in, shouting “You said you could destroy the temple and build it again in three days. Well, come, then, step down from there.”

Jacob joins them and I even threw a few insults at the man myself. I know I’ve done wrong, but at least I never hurt anyone – well except that one accident earlier this week. But it was an accident. I didn’t mean it. He, on the other hand – he’s trying to start a war. Besides, cursing him somehow makes me feel better.

Then I hear him speak. Softly. I can hear the pain in his voice, but no anger. None. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

I hear that voice. I know that voice, even through the pain. I look closer and I can see the man he once was – when I was listening to him just a few days ago.

What would have happened if, that day, I had followed him?

Jacob calls to him, “If you’re the Christ, save yourself. And us.”

The Christ. Of course. That’s who He is. How did I not see?

I look at Him again. He is fighting for breath just like me – but not like me. He isn’t angry. He isn’t afraid. He doesn’t fight back, even when they mock Him.

I hear Jacob again and I can’t hold back. “What are you doing? We’re getting what we deserve, but this Man has done nothing wrong.” I turn to the Man. “Please, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

He looks me in the eye. For a time, the pain is gone. I can’t hear the crowds. I see only the Man. “I promise you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Then it all comes back. Nothing has changed. I still am on the cross. I still struggle for every breath.

But everything has changed. I no longer am afraid or angry. Tears stream down my cheeks. But, somehow, they are tears of relief.

The sun darkens as if it’s midnight. I hear the screams and panic from the crowd. The soldiers light torches.

Then the Teacher calls out again. “Father, why have you forsaken me?” The soldiers rush to give him wine, but he refuses.

I expect a host of angels to come and rescue Him. But nothing happens. We fight for life. And we wait in darkness and silence.

He cries out again, “It is finished.” In the torchlight, I see Him slump forward. An earthquake rattles every bone in my body, tearing my flesh against the nails.

Then the sun appears and all is quiet.

The solder nearest the Teacher declares, “This man was the Son of God.”

I must agree.

And I wait. Fighting. They come and break my legs so I will be dead before nightfall and the start of Passover. I hardly feel the pain anymore, but I can no longer push myself up to get a breath. The end is here. My fight is done.

I am ready.

Scripture References:
Matt 21:23-22(all)
Mark 11:27; 12:13-34
Luke 20:1-40

Matt 27:38—
Luke 23:39—

Did you enjoy this? Our Stories: Tales from the Bible’s “Extras” is available now.

(c) Deborah Gatchel 2016. If you like it, please share it. Don’t copy it.

How to Help Your Starving Artist Friend, Part 1: Be a Social Media Friend

You know one. A starving artist. Maybe this Starving-Artist-Friend creates visual art. Or maybe your Starving-Artist-Friend is an artist of another kind: a musician, a photographer, a videographer, or even a wordsmith. And maybe this Starving-Artist-Friend has a good job and isn’t, physically, starving, but has a longing to share beautiful art with the world and has been unsuccessful in multiple attempts to reach the world. And this friend is waning away inside from an unfulfilled hope. Or, maybe he’s* just a little disappointed.

You have the friend. You’d love to help, but you don’t know how. Enter this blog series. In the next six posts, I will share with you simple ways you can help your Starving-Artist-Friend. Most of them take no money and very little time. But if every friend of a starving artist helped share his work, it would increase their circle of influence exponentially.

It’s just like Amway. Only better. Okay, it’s not like Amway, but it is better because it will help and encourage people you love.

So, today, we talk about social media.

Social media is a lifeline for self-published artists who want to leave a mark. No more hunting for a publisher or producer to find us, then waiting for the publicist to help us achieve our dream. Now, we can blast the whole world with notices of our amazing new release and everyone will come flocking to our doors, beating them down, crying for more.

Except that doesn’t happen.

Because the blast gets lost amongst pictures of cute puppies and babies and no one notices.

Don’t despair. It doesn’t have to be like that. Here’s how you can help.

Tweet, Follow, Tumble, Bumble, and Pin along with your Starving-Artist-Friends. Whatever social media outlet they are part of, join them. And when they make a post, comment on it and share it with others in your network. Each network has its own algorithm but usually, just liking (or Retweeting, or +1, or….) won’t do anything for the post’s ratings. You must take 15 more seconds to interact with it.

On Facebook, the magic number is five. When your Starving-Artist-Friend makes a post, it shows up in the feed of those he interacts with most. If five of those friends comment on that post, it starts working its way outward, showing up in the feed of more of her friends, with the circle getting larger the more people comment on the post.

Google has its own formula that includes the number of bookmarks a page has and the number of comments a post gets within the first few hours of posting.

Yes, I know it will take time that you could be watching that cute kitten video or responding to that inflammatory political post. Trust me, neither of those will make a difference in two years. But helping your Starving-Artist-Friend will be an investment for a lifetime.

So, let’s practice. Do two of the following:

  • Like my author page on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter (@DGatchel_Author)
  • Subscribe to my blog (the buttons below)
  • Subscribe to my email

Now, find this post at one of the above sites and comment on it.

Awww. Isn’t that sweet. You just helped your Starving-Artist-Friend and I appreciate it so much!

For Part 2 of this series, click here.

*Trying to write gender neutral is a pain! So I don’t do it. This post, I will use the male pronoun. Next post, I’ll use the female pronoun. Don’t get confused and think I’m just talking about male or female Starving-Artist-Friends. I just want the post to be readable for you. Blessings!

Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results

You’ll find this phrase on any company prospectus, usually to warn investors that the good trend may not last. But the opposite is also true: past failures do not a failure make.

I saw this play out firsthand with my oldest daughter. She is involved in speech and debate, to the point that, in the spring, she is at a tournament almost every other weekend. Over the past four years she has blossomed from a shy little girl into a beautiful, articulate young lady.

This year, one of her chosen events is expository speaking, which is your standard, memorized speech with the addition of visual aids.

The first tournament, she placed 12th out of 25 students. Not a bad ranking, but not anywhere near where she wanted to be. She took the suggestions from the ballots, rewrote her speech, revised her props and at the second tournament she landed at the very bottom – a rank she hasn’t seen since she started four years ago.

But I didn’t see a single tear about it. Her teammates gave her some tips and she, again, looked at the trends from the ballots and rewrote her speech. As a result, the next tournament she came in 9th out of 33 – just one place shy of breaking into finals, but earning her half the points she needs to qualify for nationals.

She knew she couldn’t ride on her mediocre performance from the first tournament. And she didn’t wallow about the setback at the second. She stepped up. She owned the problem. She sought advice. And took steps to solve it.

She stepped up. She owned the problem. She sought advice. And took steps to solve it.
Tweet: She stepped up. She owned the problem. She sought advice. And took steps to solve it. #OurStories

And do you know what she was doing the following week? She was pouring over the ballots, revising her speech, and practicing so she can do even better at the next tournament. Because this girl has a goal. And a plan. And she doesn’t have time to let her past disappointments define where she is going nor coast along with “well-enough”.