Video: My NMAI Project

The story of my journey as a participant in the NMAI Artist Leadership Program 2012-2013. Video produced by my talented mama, Lynda Kay Sawyer of RockHaven Productions:  

My Writing Life Today - National Museum of the American, Choctaw Spirit, Book Fun Magazine, First Monday Insider, Camp NaNoWriMo…

When my dad passed, I cleared everything off my agenda I possibly could, including this blog. After over seven months and nearly completing my NMAI Program, I’m slowly taking things back on again. I’m starting back up here with a quick overview of my writing life as it looks today.  

Sarah Elisabeth


Book Fun Magazine Column: Choctaw Spirit

I haven’t mentioned I have a monthly column in Book Fun Magazine, have I? You can find direct links to my past articles in this blog post: Choctaw Spirit in Book Fun Magazine

Join 30,000 plus other subscribers and get the free digital publication every month: Book Fun Magazine

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Artist Leadership Program

You can see more photos and articles about our D.C. adventure on

I just completed my Workshop portion of the program. I’m thrilled with how it went overall. The 20 participants I had were amazing, and I look forward to working with them more as we complete the final phase of the program: publishing an anthology of Choctaw Trail of Tears stories. More on that soon.

First Monday Insider

Just past its one year anniversary, I love our micro business, First Monday Insider. I produce two newsletters a month for it, and my mama keeps the Facebook page brimming with great shopper photos and stories. And of course, a blog. If you ever shop First Monday in Canton, Texas, sign up for coupons here: First Monday Insider Coupons

Camp NaNoWriMo

Who says camp is only for the summer and kids? Writers need a retreat too, a time to focus on the bliss of writing. The best part: no bug spray, no packing, no sleeping on the ground is required.

You also don’t get campfire cooking and roasted marshmallows, but you can’t have everything.

In my “spare” time, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, the April edition. Hey, I need to be churning out my next manuscript anyway, so why not have a little fun? You can keep up with my progress over at my LIGHT series blog,


That’s mostly what my writing life looks like currently. God keeps opening new doors, and that feeling of excitement at what may be next is coming over me. At the same time, the shock of my dad’s passing is wearing off and reality is setting in. I will never hug my daddy again this side of Heaven. I don’t know how to deal with that yet. I can only rest in the hope of Jesus Christ.

Writing helps.

What’s going on in your life right now? Share in the comments

NMAI Artist Leadership Program, and My Life

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." There are not many ways to describe this season in life. One of the worst summers of my life, and it ended with my dad’s passing. Then I got a phone call.

In May, 2012, I had applied for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Artist Leadership Program. Amid the disasters of the summer, I still checked the mailbox every day in August, catching myself going out there on Sundays too. Waiting, waiting for a letter that would either accept me or a say a polite try again.

When I couldn’t stand the suspense anymore, I emailed the director, Keevin Lewis, on August 25. He emailed back with the news he’d been trying to contact my referral, Assistant Chief Gary Batton (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) with a few questions.

I went through the roof, but tried to keep a lid on my excitement. My application was receiving serious consideration, but not granted yet. A few emails later and I had a call time set up for Keevin to reach Gary.

That was Saturday, August 25.

Sunday, August 26

We weren’t expecting it. It shocked. It hurt. It left me empty.

I wrote a poem. We made funeral arrangements. I got another email.

The phone call had gone well, and could Keevin call me today?

No, not today. Tomorrow.

He called. I’d been chosen for the Artist Leadership Program. I cried, extreme happiness and extreme sadness fighting for dominance in my heart. The battle still rages today.

A few of my recent Facebook statuses:

…Life hurts. God heals. In the in between time, we take it day by day and live in His grace and love…

…I'd rather feel pain than feel nothing. Pain lets you know you're still alive. A time of worship can bring everything out, including pain. Not something we want, but something we need…

…Blowing kisses to the sky…

On the happy end, we’re preparing for a two week research trip in Washington, D.C. as part of the Artist program. I’ll conduct research on our Choctaw ancestry at half a dozen facilities, present lunchtime talks to the NMAI staff, and perform two storytelling concerts at the ImagiNations Center at NMAI. How thankful I am to be doing it all with my mama!

An all-expense paid trip to D.C., plus. Yeah, I’m started to feel some excitement. It’s sinking in. Just in time, too. We leave in a few weeks.

Part Two of the program means putting on an Advanced Writing Workshop for the Choctaw Nation in March. Not a bad credit in my writing portfolio.

Split Focus

A day hasn’t passed that I don’t see scenes from August 26. The event shoved me off the cliff for a shattering landing. God put out deep padding to catch us.

This is the best of times, this is the worst of times. But it's all God's time.

Have you lived through the best and the worst at the same time? I’d like to hear your story.