Learning life lessons while writing – part II or People who need people

30 04 2010

During my 14-year professional career, I have been both a writer and an editor. God has blessed me with the ability to do both things pretty well. The editing skill can be almost annoying at times. I am constantly catching typos in articles, on TV, on billboards, everywhere I look. It’s almost a curse. Especially considering how bad people’s spelling and grammar skills have gotten. You’d think English was a second language for most people LOL

I think the fact I have both skills is serving me well as I write my book. Not all writers can edit, and not all editors can write. They are really two different skill sets. A good writer can come up with the idea for the story/article, gather information and then put together the story/article. An editor has to look at the piece of writing more critically. As I am writing my book, I am constantly stopping and evaluating what I am writing. Is this gramattically correct? Are there stronger words I could use? Is there a better way to say this? Does this make sense? Could this text go in a different spot? It takes me a little longer to write than other writers because I am doing that. I hear about writers who write “X” number of words every day and wish I could do that. But I’m too much of a perfectionist when it comes to my words to do that. Or maybe I’m just not as good as those other writers LOL

But no matter how good of a writer or editor I am, I know that I can’t do this by myself. I need other people to read my work and give me suggestions. I need to bounce ideas off people or talk through a scene with someone (Thanks Erin!) I need people to look at my work and give me constructive advice. Do the characters feel real? Does the story make sense? Is there a hole in the story? Sometimes I wish I could do like some writers and just go off to a secluded cabin somewhere for a few months and turn out a complete novel. Of course, in the movies, they always end up being stalked by some crazed killer or visited by a ghost or something so maybe I don’t want to do that. Actually, I don’t think I could do just take off and seclude myself for a long time. I may have some hermetic tendencies, but I need people too much. I need the people who I love and care about in my life to inspire, encourage, support and love me.

This is true of all of us in our daily lives. We all need people. Remember the Barbara Streisand song. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Some us try to be strong and do things on our own. Or maybe you’ve been hurt by people you trusted in the past and so you have a hard time leaning on people now. Or maybe you’re just shy or embarrassed to tell someone else something you’ve done or something that has happened in your life. Well guess what? That person you are too afraid or embarrassed or proud to talk to has something in  their life that they want to tell someone about, too. But they might be too afraid to tell anyone. We all have things in our lives that embarrass us. We all have been hurt by loved ones or people we trusted. But we can’t let that stop us from finding someone we can trust and rely on. God made us to need each other. It is OK to be cautious about who you trust, because God doesn’t want you to get hurt either. So take time to build a strong relationship built on friendship and trust. Then you can feel safe opening up and sharing your hurts and your fears. There are many things inside my head or things I have done that I have never felt safe telling anyone before Erin. We have built a relationship where we feel safe telling each other our deepest darkest secrets that no one else knows. We can do this because we feel safe and know the other person isn’t going to tell someone else or think less of us. But that kind of relationship doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time and effort, but it is possible, and very necessary.

We all have the potential to be strong individuals, but no one is strong enough to carry all of life’s worries and cares alone. God wants us to tell Him about our problems. In I Peter 5:7 it says, “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” But He also wants us to find friends and help each other. In I Thessalonians 5:11, it says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” And II Corinthians 1:4 says, “[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Don’t try to make it through life alone. No man or woman is an island unto themselves. If we all work together in God’s love, what a world it could be.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10


Learning life lessons while writing – part 1

29 04 2010

Yesterday, I thought I was almost done with the next chapter in my novel. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I had the scene all set up in my head and knew where I wanted it to go. I had the characters in place and the action was all ready to go, along with some good points of background and character development. I was sure everything was just right. But then, as I saw where the chapter went and where things had to go from there, I realized there was a much better and more natural way to do things. So, while the story was still going in the same general direction and the same background and character development is there, I had to turn the car around and take a different path to get there. Added a character, took some background descriptive text and revealed it during a conversation instead, and in the end, I had a much better chapter than what I had started out with.

Sometimes life is like that, too. Actually, most of the time. We may think we have everything all planned out and know where things are going. We may dot our I’s and cross all our T’s and think everything is under control. And the next thing you know, bam, life happens. A lost job. An illness. A death in the family. The stock market crashes. And all you can do is try to pick up the pieces and chart a new course.

Of course, if we are honest, we all know things are never “under control” in our lives. There are too many variables and too many outside influences for any one to truly be in control of their lives. Only God, who knows all and sees all, can truly be in control. To go back to the writing metaphor, only God knows all the characters, all the backstory, and where the story is headed. Only when we are willing to give up control are we able to begin to truly find peace. If you want your story to have a “happy ending,” let God take control and give your life to Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (New International Version)

We were meant for more

27 04 2010

Last time, I wrote about my novel and how important it was to follow your dreams and find what God wants you to do. This time, I will share with you what helps motivate and inspire me to do that.

Every now and then, I need a little reminder that it’s OK to take a chance. By nature, I’m a pretty cautious person. I’m much more likely to look than I am to leap. I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m a first-born child or just a part of my personality from birth. Whatever the reason, it can be very hard for me to go out on that cliff and jump. There’s a big part of me that wants to be able to just take a running start and feel the wind roaring around me as I extend my arms and legs and freefall toward the earth. I see other people doing it and I think, “I can do that.” But more often that not, when it comes time to make that leap, I am inching forward at a snail’s pace. Checking the wind, gauging the distance, making sure my parachute is secure, over and over and over.

I am constantly praying and searching for reassurances from God that what I am doing is what he wants me to do. Unfortunately, he doesn’t call us or send us a text message and tell us what we are supposed to do. There’s no billboard posted along life’s highway telling you that you are doing the right thing and there aren’t any road signs saying “Success … 13 miles this way.” Instead, God speaks in the quiet, in His still, small voice. Knowing that you are on the right path is more a feeling – a peace; a calm assurance. He will open doors to help you down the path He intends and shut doors down roads you are better off not following. He will send people into your life to help you down the right roads, if you just watch for them. A passing comment, a short note, a phone call. Any of those things can be used by God to help assure you that you are on the right path.

Music is one big way God speaks to me. I love all kinds of music – rock, hip hop, classical, dance, r&b, easy listening. Check out my iPod sometime and among the 10,000 songs on there you’ll find everything from Beethoven to Aerosmith, from Usher to Chicago, from Michael W. Smith to the Beatles. Some of the artists that most inspire me and speak to me are Jeremy Camp, Todd Agnew, Third Day and Switchfoot. 

Switchfoot especially inspires me to make change and to live life to the fullest. On their 2003 CD “The Beautiful Letdown,” making a difference and living a life of purpose are two overarching themes. This is one of my favorite CDs of all time. The song lyrics just speak to me, almost as if they were messages just for me. “Meant to Live” says “We were meant to live for so much more/Have we lost ourselves.” On “Dare You to Move,” Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman sings “Welcome to the fallout/Welcome to resistance/The tension is here/The tension is here/Between who you are and who you could be/Between how it is and how it should be/I dare you to move/I dare you to move/Dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.” And on “This is Your Life,” Foreman sings “This is your life/Are you who you want to be/This is your life/Is it everything you dreamed that it would be/When the world was younger, and you had everything to lose.”  The song “Gone” says, “She said he said live like no tomorrow/Every day we borrow/Brings us one step closer to the edge (infinity)/Where’s your treasure, where’s your hope/Forget the world and lose your soul/She pretends like she pretends like she’s immortal”

These are four of my favorite songs off the CD because they speak to me about taking advantage of every day and being who you want to be and who God wants you to be. They remind me not to put off for another day making a change or taking a chance or stepping out in faith. We can’t change what happened in the past. As Switchfoot sings in “This Is Your Life,” “Yesterday is a kid in the corner/Yesterday is dead and over.” But we can grab hold of each and every day and make the most out of it. That may mean different things on different days. You can’t save the world every day or write a blog post that will change the world every day. But God has a plan for each of us, on as small of a scale as a daily basis and on as grand of a scale as a lifetime. Our lifetimes are made up of those individual days, individual moments even. Those individual moments and days all add up to make our lives, yet our lives are also more than just the sum of those individual days. If you are open to what He wants you to do, you can make a difference in someone’s life every day. It may be your children or your spouse or your best friend or someone across the planet that you may not even be aware that you are touching their life.

So ask God what He wants you to do today to make a difference in someone’s life. You may be pleasantly surprised at the answer.

If you write it, they will read.

23 04 2010

Writing is such a labor of love. I love to write, so usually I don’t really consider it labor. I could sit and write all day long. OK so some days I DON’T do much more than write, it’s true. My fiance Erin pointed out the other day that I am easily content, that I would be perfectly happy to sit all day with my laptop on my lap and my fingers flying across the keys. While that’s not always 100% true, there is a lot of truth in it. I am just born to write.

I am having so much fun writing my novel and sharing it with my family and friends. I am probably crazy (and all of you who know me well are nodding right now, thinking “Yep, He’s crazy.”) but I believe that when this novel is finished, it will end up on bookshelves somewhere. I don’t know how, yet, but I know that it will happen.

When I look at one of the many bookshelves in our home, I can see my own book there, next to the likes of Stephen King, Ted Dekker and Michael Crichton. When I go to a bookstore, I envision my book on the shelves. I can picture the cover, the jacket description of my book, my photo. Eww OK. Maybe no photo. I have thought about what kind of photo I want and I think I’m going to go with the serious but approachable look. No smile, but not darnright scary either. Know what I mean? LOL OK maybe you think that’s a little too much detail to be picturing for a book that is still in the very early stages of being birthed. But I think it’s nevery too early to start with the power of positive thinking. Having a clearly defined, visualized goal before you can go a long way toward helping you achieve that goal.

For pretty much my whole life, I have wanted to write a novel, to be able to say that I am a writer, and now that is becoming reality. It’s already been a long and winding road to this point and I can’t even imagine what twists and turns lie ahead as I continue to follow this path.

I know there are thousands of other unpublished authors out there with the same dream. It’s kind of like in basketball. Millions of boys grow up with dreams of being the next Michael Jordan or LeBron James. However, only 3 percent of all NCAA Division I college basketball players end up in the NBA. And that’s not even taking into account all the players from smaller colleges. Or high school players who don’t even make it to college ball. So for every Kevin Durant, there are thousands of kids who have no hope of playing in the NBA. Yet every night, from September through June, you can turn on your TV and watch 20-35 year old men running up and down the court firing up 3-pointers and performing aerial feats. My point? While it may be a longshot, it is possible. Now, if I were sitting here saying I would play in the NBA and I knew it to be true, then I would hope someone would get me some help, or at least slap me upside the head. But I’m not. I’m saying that I am going to get a novel published. God hasn’t given me the ability to run fast, jump high or shoot 3-pointers like LBJ. But He has given me the ability to write, and to write well.

Now before you write me off as egotistical or delusional, there’s an important fact to remember. Right now, no one may know the name Tim Busbey. Well if you are reading this, then maybe YOU know. But, my fan base is certainly not as legion as a Stephen King, or even Ted Dekker. But think about it. Forty years ago, no one knew who Stephen King was. Fifteen years ago, Ted Dekker was just a struggling writer who had left his job in corporate America to pursue a newfound passion. And now, their readers number in the thousands, or millions. I don’t know that I’ll ever be as “big” as either of those two authors and that’s OK. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if that were the case. But I just want to be able to make a living writing novels, comic books, maybe TV shows and movies some day, while Erin and I run our little bookstore/coffee shop/art gallery that we want to have. And that will happen.

Sometimes, at 37, I feel old. I feel like if I haven’t “made” it yet, I never will. That is such crazy thinking, from the Devil himself. He wants us to doubt ourselves and be less than God wants us to be. God has big plans for each of us, many times bigger than we can imagine or believe. We feel unworthy or incapable or afraid. But if we step out in faith and are following the path we believe God has in store for us, you will reach your goal. The challenge is finding the exact path God has in store for you.

I’ve known I would be a writer since I was in the 4th grade. As a kid, I made up stories based on my favorite characters at that time – G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformers. Long before George Lucas had approved the Expanded Universe Star Wars novels, I had written my own tales of what happened to Luke, Han and Leia after “The Return of the Jedi.” In junior high, I really fell in love with journalism and decided to follow that as a career. And for the next 20 years or so, that’s what was the path I pursued. After graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in journalism, I worked in the newspaper industry for 11 years. Then, 3 years ago, doors opened for me to get into advertising, copywriting and marketing. I was able to get some valuable experience with a couple of companies in Cleveland. Now, I am doing that kind of work from home with the love of my life, Erin, and have finally started writing my novel that has been percolating in my head for a long time. So, it looks like for now, what God has in store for me is to work from home writing for Websites and what ever other writing work He brings my way, while also finishing my novel. Then once it’s done, the fun will just be starting. I already know what my next novel is going to be, unless some other stroke of inspiration more strongly strikes before I get to that point. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I am just believing that when I am done writing this novel, someone will like it enough to publish it, and then people will read it.

Thanks for joining me on my journey. If you don’t already, you can join me on Facebook or Twitter. Please feel free to write. Say hi. Ask a question. Whatever.

Until next time.



8 years ago today, an angel got her wings

20 04 2010

Eight years ago today was probably the worst day of my life. In the very early hours of April 20, 2002, my mom, Karen Rae Busbey, succumbed to the pancreatic cancer that had ravaged her body for months. She died with her family by her side, remembering her as the amazing, strong woman that she had been for the first 48 years of her life, not the frail, weary shell the cancer had made her in the final weeks of her life. I still can’t stand to picture her that way, because that was not her.

My mom was one of those strong silent types, but not in the traditional way. At 5’4″ and 120 pounds, she may have been a diminutive woman physically. But mentally and spiritually, she was a giant.

My mom was never a CEO or a doctor or a lawyer. But she was one of the smartest women I’ve ever met. She graduated high school in three years. Just weeks after graduation, she married my dad at the age of 17. For the next 31 years, she dedicated herself to being the best wife and mother that she could be. She worked as a waitress, house  cleaner, grocery store clerk and other such jobs when needed. Even though she could have been so much more, even though she could have had a career and been a success in the world’s eyes, she felt called by God to be a success as a mother and as a wife. And while I can’t answer if she succeeded at the latter, she definitely succeeded in the former.

 I was so lucky to have her as my mom for 29 years. My mom was one of the most Godly women I have ever known. She lived a consistent, Godly life for us to see every day. The fruit of the spirit were so evident in her life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfullness, self control. You could see each one of those in my mother. I learned so much from my mother. She taught me to always have faith in God. She taught me the value of hard work. She taught me the need for sacrifice. She taught me that patience truly is a virtue. Well she tried to teach me that one, anyhow. I’m still working on really learning that one. She taught me to store up my treasures in Heaven not in earthly things. So many people in this world are always looking for a way to get ahead, to get more things. Hustling, bustling, scamming, stealing. Doing whatever it takes to get a buck to buy a bigger car, a nicer house, the newest high-tech toy. Not my mom. She was content. Wow. How many of us are truly content? She was satisfied with what God gave her. It was a running joke in our family that if she got money or a gift card for a holiday or her birthday, it would be months before she spent it. Personally, those gift cards I get every year at Christmas are burning a hole in my pocket within a few days. But she wasn’t concerned with buying more stuff for herself.

My mom loved music. I remember as a kid, our house was always alive with the sound of music. Whether we were playing or cleaning the house or just hanging out, music was always there. And as anyone who knows me can attest, that love of music has been carried on in myself, and my brothers. I surround myself with music now. My CD collection numbers in the thousands and my iPod has over 10,000 songs on it. I also love to sing, as did my mother. Although she wasn’t one to sing loudly, she had an angelic voice that I can still hear.

It’s been eight years, but I still miss her like it was just yesterday. Sometimes, something will happen and I start to pick up the phone to tell her. And then I remember. Or I’ll have a dream with her in it and for just  a second when I wake up, it’s as if she’s still just a phone call away. I guess I can say it’s a little easier to deal with now than it was 8 years ago today. But not much. My brothers, my dad and I sang “Amazing Grace” at my mom’s funeral. I still can’t hear that song without breaking down in tears. In fact, I can barely see to type right now because I’m crying. I miss my mom so much. I still don’t understand why God had to take her when He did. But I trust that He had a reason. I likely won’t ever know that reason, but it’s not for me to know. He knows and I just have to accept that in faith. Sometimes that’s easier than others. Other times I still want to yell at God and ask Him what was He thinking taking this Godly woman from us when there are so many evil people living long lives. I just want to scream “Why?” at God. And I think that’s OK. At least I hope it is. I know God wants us to tell Him everything we’re thinking and to be honest with Him. Since He knows what we’re thinking anyway, might as well be honest.

In the weeks before Mom died, I started writing a song expressing some of these feelings, and also sharing God’s answers to my feelings. I read the lyrics to it at Mom’s funeral. I’ve never song the song in public. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever heard it but me. I sing it to myself in my head all the time. I’m going to share the words here again since pretty much just my family heard it at the funeral. And I’m sure that’s kind of a blur for everyone. I know it is for me.

Please pray for me and my family today if you read this. I know we all would appreciate it.

I love you Mom. I hope somehow you are watching down on us and know we still love you so much and miss you. And someday we’ll come home, too.

In God’s Hands

Into every life a little rain must fall.
But I’m drowning in this flood.
I don’t understand, God, how You could let this be.
How can this be Your will.

Why did she have to go?
Please God, let me know.

She heard Your voice, God. She tried to do Your will.
Your words were her way.
She loved like You did, giving of herself
Each and every day

Why did she have to go?
Please God, let me know.

Then I heard my mother saying,

Don’t cry for me
Cause I’m not alone
Don’t cry for me
Cause I’m going home
Even though I’m gone, I want you to know
I’m always in God’s hands.

But what about me, God. How can I go on?
I need my mother here.
To help me, to guide me down all life’s bumpy roads.
When the way’s not clear.

Why did she have to go?
Please God, let me know.

Then God answered, My child, I understand.
I truly know your pain.
I sent My son to die, hanging on a cross
So you could live again.

That’s why He had to go.
I wanted you to know.

Then I heard my mother saying,

Don’t cry for me
Cause I’m not alone
Don’t cry for me
Cause I’m going home
Even though I’m gone, I want you to know
You’re always in God’s hands.

Now I say to your Mom, your job is complete.
You’ve run the good race.
God has decided it’s time to go home.
You’ll see that glorious place.

Thank you mom for showing me the way.
I know I’ll see you again some day.

Then my mother heard me saying.

Don’t cry for me.
Cause I’m not alone
Don’t cry for me.
SOme day I’ll come home.
Even though you’re gone, I want you to know
I’m always in God’s hands.
I’m always in God’s hands.

Taking a walk on the wild side – Kingwood style

16 04 2010

Yesterday, the weather was so beautiful that we decided to take the kids to the Kingwood Center (www.kingwoodcenter.org) in Mansfield. The sun was shining and the kids were excited to see the flora and fauna that populate the beautiful plot of land nestled in the midst of Mansfield’s urban decay. It’s a sight for sore eyes.
So the five of us (plus Addie pushing her Hello Kitty doll in her baby stroller) set out to see what the center had to offer on a beautiful spring day. Since it’s still so early in the season, the center did not have all the fountains flowing or flowers planted yet. But there was still plenty of beautiful scenery to take in through our eyes or the lens of the camera.
There were several varieties of daffodils in bloom. Their yellow and white blooms lined side by side created a sea of beauty. There were a few other types of flowers and plants that were blooming but most of them are waiting for warmer weather to stick around a little longer. The high is supposed to be 72 today and then 50 tomorrow. That kind of weather is not very conducive to plant health. But we weren’t complaining on Thursday when the temperatures were in the 70s and we were enjoying the scenery.
After we had made our way through most of the park, we were back by the duck pond when we heard what sounded like a peacock call. We had not seen the vibrant-colored birds yet on our walk so we headed down the path that goes along the “back side” of the pond for lack of a better term. There, nestled between some small trees and a building were one male peacock and two female peacocks. We stood and watched for awhile but none of them were doing too much.
So we continued down the path. After we sat for awhile and saw the few plants that were down that way, we turned around and headed back toward the car. As we passed the peacocks, we were happy to see that the male peacock had his colorful plumage on full display. He was posing, trying to impress the female walking around in front of him. This went on for several minutes as the female continued to search for food on the ground, ignoring the male’s best efforts. At times, he got more aggressive and began to quickly shake his feathers. Eventually, the female tired of all his preening and walked away. He got the message as he woefully watched her walking away. Slowly, he lowered his feathers and went back to his normal activities.
I was so glad that the kids (and Erin and I) got to see this. There are not enough opportunities these days for kids to take part in nature and see God’s creation in action. I’m also very glad our kids appreciate these opportunities and enjoyed and learned from it. It was a very cool experience. And one we wouldn’t have had if Erin and I weren’t both working from home now. So thank you God for letting us have these experiences with our kids. A trip to Kingwood – $5 starting Saturday. Dinner at Cici’s afterwards – $25. Enjoying nature with your kids – priceless.

Only you can prevent song abuse – Find out how

14 04 2010

Cue Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All”

Enter, stage left.

Hi. I’m Tim Busbey. You may know me from my Facebook page. Or maybe you’ve read my tweets. Or maybe you have no idea who I am. Either way, welcome to my blog.

I’m here to talk to you about a great problem facing our country today. It poses a dire threat to our way of life. What is this problem, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s a crisis of epic proportions. Using hit songs in sappy, overdramatic commercials or to sell some awful product – forever tainting perfectly good songs and making it impossible to listen to said song without thinking of the aforementioned commercial.

Everyday, hundreds of innocent pop songs are abused by advertising agencies or causes. Don’t let this happen to your favorite songs. Only you can make a difference. If we don’t stand up now, one day, there will be no more songs to listen to that have not been tainted by Park Avenue.

You may be asking yourself, “What can I do? I’m only one person.” All it takes is one person, joining with another person, and then another, and then another. And then, you’ll have four people. And four people really can’t do much either I guess. But please don’t let that stop you from joining our cause – The Society for the Prevention of Advertising Song Abuse – SPASA. For as little as the cost of one cappucino from Starbuck everyday, you can make a difference.

Please call 1-800-IMSPASA. That’s 1-800-IMSPASA. Find out how your $150 a month can make a difference in my life, and the life of everyone who loves their music and doesn’t want to see it abused any longer. For your $150 a month, we’ll send you a picture of the song that you saved.

Right now, there are thousands of songs that need your help. Your donation shows you care. Please call now.

Exit Tim Busbey, with tongue firmly in cheek.

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