June 1, 2016

Late Bloomers

By Sharron Cosby

Christmas cacti bloom at Christmas. Well, maybe.

I inherited a Christmas cactus two years ago. My track record with live plants isn’t exactly stellar, so my expectations of an abundance of brilliant blooms was low.   

I was right. The holiday came and went. Nothing. But the plant remained alive and green; I was thankful it survived me.

Another Christmas passed. No blooms. No surprise. Then, in February, I went into my home office and, to my astonishment, the Christmas cactus was blooming. Gently touching the blossoms I cooed to her, “You’re a late bloomer. It’s okay, so am I.”

My dream of a writing career didn’t get off the ground until 2009. At age fifty-six. Life and its various distractions derailed my long-held aspirations, and the idea of writing a book or a devotional or anything else seemed farfetched, unachievable.

A friend invited me to a Word Weavers critique group and, on a whim, I accepted the invitation. This band of wordsmiths had a hand in changing my life. They rearranged words and sentences, suggested different opening lines and all sorts of word polishes. With their encouragement, I hit the SEND button.

The first piece I submitted was accepted by Chicken Soup for the SoulThe War Cry magazine printed one of my articles. There have been other submissions and publications since those first two. I wrote a 90-day devotional book for families with an addict in their midst. Each one adds to my publication bouquet and encourages me to continue pursuing my dream.

Are you a late bloomer? Do you think you’re too old to write, draw, take pictures, or any host of pursuits or hobbies? Does fear of failure nail your feet to the floor? Do naysayers tell you it’s a midlife crisis that will pass?

There are steps us late bloomers can take to end well—and satisfied— most likely pursuing passions tamped down by jobs and careers that provided for our families but not for our souls.

·       Ask God for direction and blessing on the new endeavors. 
         Link up with likeminded folks: critique group, art class, dance class, sewing class, etc. If you live in an area without face-to-face meetings, there are online groups that will help develop your skills. Opportunities abound, search for them.
        Volunteer to write for free. I wrote several articles about our church for a local newspaper. The church received exposure, and I got writing credits for my portfolio.
       Attend writer’s conferences. Take notes. Meet editors and agents. Make new friends. Network. Submit proposals and query letters to the editors and agents who asked for them. Attend another conference and another.

Late bloomers have much to offer the world. Who cares if we have silver hair or no hair?

We learn. We try. We succeed.

An Alabama transplant to Florida, Sharron Cosby stays true to her southern roots with a “Hey, y’all and Roll Tide Roll.” Encouraging mothers who feel hopeless is an honor Sharron doesn’t take lightly. Her writings and presentations are often recovery related as she shares her family’s journey with her addict son, although she’s quick to add, she can talk about something besides recovery. Her 90-day devotional, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90 tells their story in devotional format. Sharron has been married to her forever boyfriend for forty-one years. They have three children and six grandchildren. Dan and Sharron recently purchased a “cave on wheels” and plan to explore the country one campfire at a time.

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