Time To Get To Work

>> Friday, September 30, 2011

Let me begin with a promise:  I will NOT carry on, week after week, boring you with lion posts.

I'm a Coward
Seriously, I won't. BUT...I do need to expand a little more so just bear with me. (Uh oh...now she's moved on to bears?)

When I started my blog, I had a specific purpose in mind. The whole premise behind the theme is that I would learn to deal with my fears of "coming out" in regards to being a writer. That I would write from my heart, in order to use my talent.

What I didn't know was that God was going to use the fear blog to point out how fear-filled I really am. To be gut-wrenchingly honest, I found out that actually...I'm a coward. That's the bad news.

But thank goodness there is good news too! If not, my inner-kitten would take up permanent residence and the lioness would move on down the road, never to be heard from again.

The good news?
Hope.

I'm trying to learn to be strong and courageous in a scary world. The book of Joshua is a fav of mine. Here was a guy that was given instructions from the Lord and stood quaking in his sandals. But over and over, he was told: Be strong and courageous...because you don't fight the battle alone: God goes before you. So man up, and move forward. (My paraphrasing.)

Key point...
The key point that I seem to have missed is that I don't have to do this alone. Yes, I'm to be strong and courageous. But I've made the mistake of assuming that he sits back as I fall all over myself messing up. Not true.

Back to the lion thing:  Yes, I'm the lioness. He made it very clear when I was setting up my blog that I was NOT to be the lion. I thought it had to do with the fact that I'm obviously female (although no one could EVER accuse me of being girly.)

Now I don't think that at all.

If you look at a lion pride, the hierarchy is that the male is in charge, runs the pride but what is his main job? Protecting the lioness and the cubs. She does the work (hunting, watching the youngsters, etc.) while he stands guard to keep them all safe.

He goes before her.

In the famous words of my pal John Bevere: "Are you getting this?"


It's really pretty simple:  Yes, I need to do the work. I need to put on my big-girl panties, stand up, and be strong and courageous. I need to prepare myself for battle, put on the armour He provides me, and move forward. There is also much work to do on my character flaws, temper, and how I react to things. Lots of work. Trust me. And of course, I need to move forward with my writing in order to be a good steward of the talent he has given me.

BUT I don't need to struggle alone. He goes before me. He is my protector, guide, and shield. Check out the scripture--it's all in the instruction manual.

Does it come easy? No. Do I often fail? On a regular basis. Do I have hope that he will never leave me and goes in front of me all the way? Oh yeah.

Time to rise up, take him at his word, and get to work.

Let's roll.

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"S" is for Smoothie

>> Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A few months ago, I went on yet another quest to lose weight. I've done it before. And enjoyed some short term success. Unfortunately, I also gained back. Not all of it, but I can't imagine the whole yo-yo thing a very healthy pattern. This time I came at it from a different angle.

Yes, I wanted to lose fifteen pounds, but I also realized that a lifestyle change was in order. Getting the weight off was only the beginning. I made a conscious decision to learn how to eat healthy, acquire cooking skills, and not just "quick fix" the pounds away.

(Exercise is another important component --tune in next week for the letter "T".)

I've accomplished my weight goal and lost almost twenty pounds. I won't shamelessly plug the method I used but if you want to know more, let me know.

I'm as proud of my new healthier lifestyle as I am of now-baggy clothes. Learning to cook was a feat just short of miraculous. It isn't something I've ever enjoyed and my success rates were dismal. But by tapping into the power of education and knowledge (and a little help from Google), I have succeeded.

One of the most exciting new concepts has been breakfast smoothies.

Like many people, I don't like to eat in the morning, But I do subscribe to the fact that you need something substantial to start your day besides a gallon of coffee.

Smoothie de jour is the answer.

It starts with fresh fruit. I like to use different combinations in order to come up with unusual tastes-- kind of a fun way to get my creative juices flowing.

Next, 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt. While the stuff is pretty nasty standalone, it contains all kinds of health-promoting goodies.

A squish of honey sweetens things up and enhances the fruit flavors.

And then the most important ingredient: a handful of fresh spinach.

If you are screaming, "ewwwww" at this point, hang in there with me.

By dumping all this in a personal blender and letting it whir for a while, the result is a quick, delightful breakfast, chocked full of vitamins and minerals that I cart all over the house while I'm getting ready for work.

As a bonus, breakfast smoothies help with the battle of the vegetables. I have an intense aversion to most and trying to choke down three every day is sometimes hard for me. This gets one out of the way early and you can hardly taste it. (You'll just have to trust me on this one...or try it yourself.)

                      Does it look disgusting?
                                  Oh Yeah.
                      Does it taste super-yummy?
                             Without a Doubt!

                 So try it...You Just Might Like It!


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Random Ravings Regarding (W)Riting

>> Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm finally back on the meme trail, just in time for the letter "R".

My Sunday School class is studying John Bevere’s book, Breaking Intimidation.

It's an amazing book and I’ve learned so much about my writing journey and myself. The focus is on the fact that the enemy wants to intimidate us out of using our God-given talents. We’ve all been given gifts and it is our responsibility to use them for his glory.

I’ve known for several years that being a writer is who I am: I was created to put words on a page. And I’m supposed to use that talent for him. The problem comes when I get afraid, insecure, lazy, etc.

In other words: intimidated.

The study has taught me about the ploys of the enemy and how he uses people in his quest to deter me. I must learn to recognize his tactics and by keeping my focus on God, I can overcome intimidation.

The way he generally gets to me is through my head. I often question what I'm doing, give in to my fears, and get too busy with life to write. Eventually my writing passion rears up and demands attention. Then a wrestling match ensues to see who will come out on top. It’s been running fifty-fifty.

               Talk about being your own worst enemy

My passion actually has a name: I call it “The Grrrrrr .” It comes out of nowhere—kind of like a drive by. I’ll be innocently going about my life (getting ready for work, watching TV, driving along) when…WHAM...it hits.

An idea surfaces and the muse goes on the loose.

There’s no shutting him down and he will stay in my face until I give in and spend some time with him. I try to snag a few minutes to jot down general ideas, praying they will make sense later. Often by the time I get back to it, the luster has faded. And sometimes not. But when a story comes together, it’s like puzzle pieces clicking into place.

It’s the best feeling ever.

Lately I’ve struggled with my focus, purpose, blah, blah, blah. Then “out of the clear blue sky,” I met a lady that had read some of my writing. She was very complimentary and enthusiastic. God is always on time and he knew I needed a little encouragement. I was so appreciative of her kindness as it really lifted my sagging spirits.

And I don’t believe in coincidences.

In case you haven’t figured it out, the whole theme of my blog centers around what I’ve learned from the "Breaking Intimidation" series.

Interesting that the “grrrrr” theory has been rattling around in my head for months. But to fearlessly share with the courage of a lioness is a relatively new concept.

Kind of go together, don’t they?

I love it when he does that.

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Ridin' The River...

>> Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Now that September 11th is over, I can finish this post.

It was a hard day for our country. Commemoration of the attacks was in full force this year as we remembered the tenth anniversary.  For me, it was nearly as overwhelming as what happened in 2001.

Television shows, blog posts, church services, ceremonies. The usual media feeding frenzy.

The images had been flashing across television screens for weeks, forcing us to relive the nightmare.

Of course, there were many miraculous stories too. Amazing courage, valiant rescues. And the children. Some that weren’t even born yet that had to grow up without a parent they never met.

All to remember…Something I’d rather forget.

I have a bad habit of ignoring pain so I don’t have to feel it. I’ve even been told, “denial is NOT a river in Egypt.” I’ll stuff my feelings and ignore what’s right in front of me in order to avoid getting hurt. Despite my best efforts, there was no getting around it this time.



My kitty was born on 9-11-01. His name is Liberty and his litter was all given patriotic names: Americus, Freedom, etc. etc.

What a paradox: The horror scenes on TV in the background during the birth of the kittens. Amidst the tragedy of death, new life.

And I barely gave him a pat on the head for his birthday.
Liberty: Seventeen pounds of amazing cat
My church had spent months planning a big celebration to honor veterans on September 11. In an effort to get involved, I said I would help. But when the time came, I hedged. I didn’t want to give up a whole day, I was too busy, blah, blah, blah. Deep inside I knew the real reason. Just before I issued my regrets, God had a chat with me:

“You said you would help. Are you a woman of integrity or not?”

Drat.

So I committed before I could change my mind. And even invited a family member that was a veteran. I was never more proud of him and his service to our country.

We sang patriotic songs, listened to a moving speech by the mayor, and heard inspirational words from Wade Franks, a missionary in Viet Nam and a veteran of that war. (Check out www.wadefranks.org—he’s an awesome man of God.)

When a video rolled of “I’m Proud to be an American,” it was all over.
I bawled like a baby.

Do we really understand the magnitude of what happened that day? I don't think we ever will. But burying my head in the sand so I don’t feel the pain isn’t the way to handle it.

There are constructive things I can do:
I need to thank God for our country.
I need to thank those who have served.
And pray for the loved ones of those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I need to keep a perspective on what’s really important.
And I need to keep the memory of 9-11 alive.

May we never forget.



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