Who Are You, Anyway?!

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We’ve all been there. We’ve all asked ourselves that eternal set of questions:

“Who am I?”

“What am I doing with my life?”

“What is my purpose?”

“Why am I here?”

For me, these past seven months have been a journey of redefining myself as a result of strictly imposed restrictions on what I used to believe I was. I was, a Behavior Specialist who was going to college to become a teacher. I was, but I’m not anymore.

Two things have been a constant in my life no matter what I thought I wanted to be, or what I became because of doors that opened – if only temporarily – and then closed again.

My faith in God

My love of writing

From the earliest part of my life that I’m able to remember, I have prayed daily, and I have been a writer. I can recall my five year old self – white ruffled baby-doll pajamas with little pink flowers that were all the rage for every little girl in the very early 1970’s, fuzzy pink slippers, kneeling at the side of my bed, to say my nightly prayers;

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord, my soul to keep.

If I should die, before I wake,

I pray the Lord, my soul to take.

I said that prayer every single night without fail, for I don’t know how many years. When I grew up and became an “official born-again Christian” – as some would say – I stopped one evening to question what that prayer really meant. It was a simple request of God:

Lord, if I live through the night, let me keep my soul. If I die, take it and protect it for me

Simple. Basic. Done.

Nowadays, my nightly prayers are much more complicated that that. I regularly thank the Lord for His love, blessings and mercy. I regularly pray for forgiveness; not just for me, but for my husband, and each of my now adult children, and even their significant others, because hey… when you’re in my family, you’re really in my family, whether or not we agree on politics or God. I pray for protection, guidance, healing, and then throw in whatever current issues I have for myself, and for any family members I’m concerned about. I ask the Lord to bless everyone who has blessed me and my family in any way, and I ask Him to allow us to be a blessing to Him, to each other, and others.

Very different set of prayers from childhood.

The other constant, is that no matter whatever else I thought I was or wanted to be, I have always been a writer. Always. I remember before I could actually read or write, I would take crayon to paper, make those little scribbly writing lines that every small child thinks is real writing just like mommy & daddy make on their paper, and I would “read” my scribble stories to my stuffed animals and dolls as they sat lined up against the wall on my bed, and listened astutely to my wonderful adventures.

As I grew older, and learned to read and write, I did both with a passion that even J.K. Rowling would be proud of! I couldn’t get enough of books! I read, and read. The most exciting time in my childhood was when the Bookmobile would come to my neighborhood. Lord, have mercy, but I would absolutely be beside myself with joy over the Bookmobile! My mother and I don’t have the greatest relationship on the planet, but one thing I will say is that she instilled a love of reading in me, and has always encouraged me to write. I have no idea why, because that’s really the only encouraging area she played in my life, but I’m thankful for it, and have told her as much. But I digress…

These days, I’ve been working on writing my books, and am still going to college, but have changed my major from History to Religious Studies – the two intertwine so closely that I’m actually ahead of the game for the change – because one thing that has become evident in recent months, is that the Lord wants me to go in the church direction, and has graciously allowed me the time to write as I’ve always wanted to. Win-win situation.

During the process of writing, I have been reading about other writers and the method to this madness of becoming a successful and published author. I’ve learned quite a lot from J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Earnest Hemingway, Henry David Thoreau, Elmore Leonard, Saul Bellow, and a host of other famous authors, but the single most important thing I have discovered on my own is this:

None of what they say actually has anything to do with how I write.

Hear me out –  I am completely a fan of several of the aforementioned authors and have nothing but respect for them and for their process of making great literature. They are the writers I look up to and I aspire to attain that level of success – sooner rather than later, God willing – but they are not me and I am not them. What one says to always do, another says to never do. One will tell you to always outline and have your plot and ending ready before you ever put pen to paper, while another will tell you to sit down and just start writing – plot be damned – it’ll work itself out in the rewriting and editing phase. One will say, “treat it like a regular job where you’re on the clock from 9 to 5“, while another will tell you to, “write anywhere, anytime, as long as you WRITE!”- I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea – and you know what? They’re all right! And they’re all wrong! Why? Because that’s what works for them! But it may not work for me. It may or may not work for you!

We are all writers, but we are all different.

“So what’s the point?”

The point is – you are an individual who was made to be something special, and it’s not up to any other human being to tell you who or what to be or how to be it. Sometimes in life, the road we think we were meant to travel suddenly forks, and the way you were going, now has an enormous roadblock. You will find yourself faced with having to go an entirely different direction than you the one you thought you were supposed to go, and it can be terrifying! Pray. Ask the Lord for guidance and direction. Ask Him what He created you to be, and then ask Him to help you to become the best version of that person that you can be!

“And if I don’t believe in God?” you ask?

Well then just be the best you that you can possibly be, make the best decisions you can, and don’t do harm to anyone. In the meantime, I’ll pray that you find God, because He already knows you, whether or not you know Him.

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

NOW GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING GOOD WITH YOURSELF!

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Caution: Writer At Work!

When your “office” is in your dining room, the people you live with tend to forget you’re “at work.” For the writer, it can be all too easy to get up and leave the “office” to wander the house, check out the fridge for the one-hundredth time, and become otherwise involved in other activities instead of staying put and making progress.

My solution – which admittedly needs refinement, was to put up a curtain and lay down some rules.

#1. When the curtain is closed, the writer is at work. Pretend she is not there.

#2. No engaging the writer in conversation when the curtain is closed, unless there’s a legitimate emergency.

#3. When the curtain is closed, the writer will refrain from meandering about, thereby resulting in avoidance of work, and inhibiting the progress of the aforementioned book.

#4. The writer controls the curtain.

I’m seriously considering purchasing an accordion door and mini blinds for the opening next to my desk, and in the kitchen island area. The only drawback I can see is that I may, in fact, become a recluse.

On Writing, & That Which Is Temporary….

notesI won’t lie – the past few days have taken their toll on my writing. The election hype and the ensuing backlash have left me feeling exhausted, depressed, and utterly uninspired. I spent yesterday in tears for the most part, because of the emotional turmoil associated with family squabbles, which lead to my God & Family First  article.

That had me worried. I began to doubt every word I’d written up to that point and even questioned whether or not I should be writing at all! I quickly realized I was being a tad mellow-dramatic and duly chewed myself out for it.

See, I’m the person who’s always writing something, no matter what. If I don’t, I feel like I’m cheating somehow, when really – the only one being cheated is me, because I’m not doing what I love, which means I’m sacrificing my own happiness. That, in turn, causes more grief and sorrow, which turns into a vicious cycle, until guilt sets in. Guilt feeds into resentment, and well… Not cool.

Today, however, I went on a much needed grocery shopping excursion with my husband, Rob, who found loads of fun things to make! Now with a huge pot of organic chicken noodle soup simmering away on the stove, and a hot cup of Irish tea at my side, I find I am refreshed, and ready to take on the typewriter with renewed enthusiasm!

All things are temporary, whether good or bad, positive or negative. We must strive to keep going no matter what the situation looks like, because the world doesn’t stop turning. Life will go on whether or not we choose to participate in it, and if we don’t take an active part in our affairs, chances are, someone else will come along and determine them for us. Do you want that? Neither do i!

As mortal human beings, we only know what we see, hear, and feel. I find comfort in knowing that no matter what is going on in my life, God is always working behind the scenes. There are blessings in the works that I don’t even know about yet, but will when the time is right. When God decides the time is right.

And so, my dear friends, I leave you with this; 2nd Corinthians, 4: 16 – 18:Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Well…. As Rob says, “That book ain’t gonna write itself, ya know!” so back to work, I go!

writing

 

God & Family First 

​What people need to remember is this; We’ve reached a point in our nation, where it doesn’t even matter anymore who’s leading us. There are so many angry, frustrated people who’ve lost so much more than they’ve gained. Whether it be Trump or Clinton in the big chair, there would be riots, race wars, and fighting amongst ourselves.

 — THE MOST IMPORTANT THING — 

ABOVE ALL ELSE, KEEP YOUR FAMILIES TOGETHER! LET NOTHING COME BETWEEN YOU AND THE PEOPLE YOU’VE ALWAYS CARED FOR THE MOST!  

I pray God watches over us all, guides us all, and saves us all, in Jesus’ name, amen.

A Prayer for Our Country and Our New President.

Dear President Elect, Donald Trump –

I would like to publicly congratulate you on a very suspense-filled victory. Your words to Secretary Clinton were, in my humble opinion , very supportive and classy. Thank you for showing grace at a time when you could have easily gloated. I admit, Mr. Trump, I was hoping for Dr. Ben Carson, but you were my second choice, and I’m glad you won. 

I would like to offer a prayer for you, your family, and America , if I may…

Dear Lord,

Thank you for a great victory for President Elect – Donald Trump. I ask you to watch over him and his family through what will no doubt, be a difficult time in their lives and ours.

Though it comes to them and many of us as a victory now,  I am certain there will be many struggles and obstacles ahead. I pray that you guide and lead Mr. Trump over the next several years, to do as you will for our country.

I pray that we see great and wonderful things happen in our United States of America, and that only good comes to this land and it’s people.

I pray, Lord,  that you watch over all of us, guide all of us, and bless all of us. Please heal our country and it’s people, but more importantly still – please help us all seek you first in all we do.

In Jesus’ name, amen!

People Get Ready

By Rod Stewart 

People get ready

There’s a train a-coming
You don’t need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
Don’t need no ticket
You just thank the Lord

People get ready
For the train to Jordan
Picking up passengers
From coast to coast
Faith is the key
Open the doors and board them
There’s room for all
among the loved the most

There ain’t no room
for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all mankind just
To save his own
Have pity on those
whose chances are thinner
Cause there’s no hiding place
From the Kingdom’s Throne

So people get ready
for the train a-comin’
You don’t need no baggage
you just get on board !
All you need is faith
to hear the diesels humming
Don’t need no ticket
you just thank, you just thank the Lord

Yeah
Ooh

Yeah
Ooh

I’m getting ready
I’m getting ready
this time I’m ready
this time I’m ready

Tools of the Trade

2016-11-02-08-17-40My husband of 28 years and I, have very little in common when it comes to our interests. Movies, music, comedy, activities of all sorts, for us, are on opposite ends of the spectrum. What makes him laugh, makes me cringe. He works out regularly, and aspires to go to the CrossFit Games, I would rather sit on the couch and knit, while sipping tea or hot chocolate. We even differed greatly in terms of how best to raise the five sons we created together, but thankfully, they all survived our mutual parental ineptitude and made it to adulthood with all their parts and sensibilities intact! Good job, mom and dad. Good job resilient kids!

We do have a few things in common, however. Some very important things, in fact. Our political opinions are almost exactly the same. We also have our Christian beliefs, which is a HUGE thing when in a lifelong relationship with a person you must share a room with, believe me! We have some of the most wonderful conversations about God and faith, and nary an argument about it to be heard, with the rare exception, but brother, when we debate, we debate hard!

My husband and I also have tools in common. He has an incredible array of tools for any number of jobs. He has worked as a mechanic, and then an automotive and aircraft painter for thirty-plus years. He can fix the mechanical inner workings of almost any wheeled vehicle by getting under the hood, (or under the car, in some cases) and getting grease up to his elbows. He can make the outside of anything from a bicycle to an airplane beautiful again, by pulling and filling dents, and applying paint and a host of decoration. He is a hobbyist woodworker who has spent countless hours measuring, cutting, hammering nails, screwing screws. gluing, and creating something from seemingly nothing. The man owns a LOT of tools, some as new as purchased two days ago to fix my Buick, some – like an antique wood planer – one hundred years old and in dire need of restoration. He loves the old ones best. No matter which one he uses, the job gets done.

Me? I have tools of different types, but they are tools nevertheless. I have knitting needles and crochet hooks for creating a lovely array of warm clothing for the many children and their respective significant others. I have spinning tools that can make fine thread or bulky yarns depending on my mood. I have weaving looms that can make very fine and delicate fabric, or cloth which is utilitarian in nature. I can even create a simple tapestry if I have the inspiration and the motivation.

But my favorite tools, are my writing tools. I love to write! I write periodically throughout the day. I write in my personal journal every  night before going to sleep, no matter how tired I am. I even take a notebook with me to write on the go when the mood or an idea for one of my three novels-in-progress strikes. I’ve even been known to use the note app on my phone when I’ve been in a rush and forgot the notebook. I write. It’s as much a part of who I am as the color of my eyes, skin and hair.

My writing tools vary greatly. I have six notebooks, a binder, my 2014 Acer laptop, a 1992 Smith Corona Word Processor, and a 1956 Royal Aristocrat manual typewriter. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll purchase a newer Royal Epoch manual typewriter for it’s lighter weight, included carrying case, ease of use, non-electrical versatility, and the plain, simple fact that I would like to preserve my cherished vintage models by not beating them to death – occasional use for nostalgic sake, not withstanding, of course. No matter what I write with, the story gets told.

We – the hubster and I – also have different tools for our biblical research and edification. He prefers the New American Standard version of bible and has one his mother gave him many years ago, which bears the autograph of Hall of Fame baseball player, Reggie  Jackson, who was baptized at the church my husband and his family attended when he was a kid. He also has one that is an extensive study bible I gifted him with on an anniversary many years ago. I, myself own a lovely prophecy study bible given to me from my husband on a birthday a few years ago, and is the New King James Version, which I prefer, and Halley’s Bible Handbook, for greater understanding. No matter how old or which version, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” – Hebrews 13:8.

So what’s the point? The point is, it doesn’t matter what version of what tool you use as long as it gets the job done! Find what works for you, then go forth and DO IT! “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

May you be blessed in all things, and in all things may God have the glory, in Jesus’ name – amen 🙂