Welcoming 2019 with Words

2019

In 2015 I joined the My One Word movement. This movement is an opportunity to choose one word that best determines how you would like your life to grow in the coming year. It’s much more realistic to focus on one word for the year than set New Year’s resolutions, only to break them by the end of week two. I admit I still set goals, but those goals circle around my one word. I write out bible verses that address the chosen word(s), and read them frequently.

In the past I’ve chose the words Grace, Love, Listen, Risk, Silence, and Kindness. Being the rebel that I am, this is the second year I’ve chosen two words because I couldn’t decide between them and both are equally important to me and areas in which I desire to grow. Those two words?

  • Mindful.
  • Enough.

Mindful–Being mindful of each moment, each breath, my thoughts, words, and actions. Being mindful of the relationships I choose to nurture and grow, ending those that are toxic. Being mindful of how I spend my time so it’s not frittered away. Being mindful of making each moment count. Being mindful of what I eat, why I eat, when I eat. Being mindful of the words that come out of my mouth, that they may only build others up. And being mindful to love others rather than judge.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Enough–In November and December I participated in an online bible study with Proverbs 31 on the book Breathe by Pricilla Shirer. It taught me about the importance of Sabbath, how busyness can hold us hostage if we’re not careful and that it’s critical to take time to cease from all activities, to take time to simply stop and breathe. When we’re rushing through the day to cross off our to-do lists and rushing to the next thing, and the next and the next, we’re missing out on enjoying the life we’ve been given. Peace, tranquility, and serenity cannot be found when we’re in a flurry of constant activity. We have to know when enough is enough. It’s important for me to remember that as I am, I am enough, that there is no need to compare myself to others or allow others’ successes to make me feel less than. What I have, I have enough. I have all I need. More only clutters my life so that I don’t see all that I already have. What I do, I do enough, so long as all that I do is done in love. I can say ‘no’ without eloquent explanations and let that be enough. There is no need to continually continue for the sake of staying busy.

God can give you all you need. He will give you more than enough. You will have everything you need for yourselves. And you will have enough left over to give when there is a need.     2 Corinthians 9:8

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.          Proverbs 30:8-9

                 Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.                       – Mother Teresa

Whether you make resolutions, set goals, or participate in the My One Word movement, I wish you great success. Happy 2019!

mindfulness

 

 

 

Foundations

Every chance I get, I tell people of the foundation of faith, family, and love on which my parents built their lives. That, in turn, set such a wonderful example for their children and from there, their grandchildren.

I went to stay with them for a couple of weeks a while back as my dad was preparing to begin his journey of treatment for stomach cancer. That treatment consisted of rigorous and brutal chemotherapy, a total gastrectomy (stomach removal), followed by more chemotherapy.

The evening before surgery as I was going to bed, I walked past their room and this is what I saw. Each knelt by the side of their bed, heads bowed in prayer. Prayer has always been an important part of their lives, but this picture, this moment, caused me to pause and catch my breath. And it’s forever etched in my memory.

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Today my dad is cancer free. Their prayer life is every bit as important now as it ever has been. The difference their example has made to their family as well as friends, is without borders.

My question for all of us is what are we doing to make a positive difference in the lives of others–family, friends, and others looking on that we’re unaware of.

My challenge for all of us is this: If you can’t think of anything, why not start now? It’s not too late. It’s never too late.

A person's most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear r

Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Writing fiction has always been my passion. Mysteries, cozy mysteries, suspense, contemporary fiction, it doesn’t matter. I love getting lost in the land of make believe, creating characters, settings, and stories, living vicariously through them. And when I read a story, it’s all about being transported into the world of which I’m reading, feeling like I know the characters. It’s that connection that’s critical. And it’s that connection that makes the end of a good book come too soon.

That being said, I’m dipping my toe into some non-fiction writing and working on a book titled Finding Peace Through Gratitude. Its pages are about the storms I’ve weathered in my life, coming out a better person on the other side, all credit given to the two “G” words – God and Gratitude. It’s an interactive book with a challenge for the reader at the end of each chapter. The projected publication date is January 1, 2018.

Hop on over to my non-fiction website if you’re so inclined. It’s a place I’m developing to be calm and peaceful, somewhere to escape the busyness and chaos of the world. A multi-vitamin of sorts. Posts will continue here, on my fiction website, on Wednesdays, and I’ll be posting about nature and gratitude on my non-fiction site on Fridays.

See you there in the quietness.Tranquility!

 

 

 

 

Running is Cheaper Than Therapy

Running

I’ve posted in the past that running is my therapy. And a whole lot cheaper! Running in the early morning is when my mind churns out ideas for my novels or short stories, or brings to light an answer to something I’ve been praying for. However, that being said, this typically only happens when I’m running outside in nature, not on a treadmill or on the track at the gym where I feel like a hamster on a wheel. This was my lesson this morning:

When I think I’m certain of what God is telling me, it’s important for me not to be so certain I’ve heard the message that I miss what He’s really telling me. In other words, when I think I’ve heard the message, listen further and don’t walk out of the room while He’s still talking.

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The last several weeks I’ve been promising myself that I am going to work on staying tuned in to His presence throughout my day. That usually lasts until I walk through the door at work when busyness, deadlines, the phone ringing, and constant chatter around me transports me far away from Him. Without realizing it, I allow the noise of the world around me to drown out the One who brings me peace in the midst of chaos.

Which brings up the importance of mindfulness even in the small things. While I was running this morning I mentally mapped out the route I would take, a different path from the one I typically enjoy. When I got to the crossroads that would take me on my preplanned route, I was so busy thinking about the day ahead of me, my mind miles ahead from where I was physically at that moment, that I automatically and mindlessly turned onto the same path that is routine. I was certain the message was to pay attention. And while that is a good thing to work on, it was just the surface of what went so much deeper.

That happens all too often in life every day. What has become habit in our lives is what we tend to do naturally, and if we aren’t mindful of the present moment, our thoughts and behaviors fall into the habit rut. The only way to create a new, more positive habit is to be mindful of what we’re doing and thinking in the present moment. And the only way to make mindfulness a natural activity is to mindfully practice mindfulness.

Had I not kept my mind and ears open, I would have walked out of the room at the “pay attention” part of the conversation, figuratively speaking, which was a very small brush stroke in the whole picture. I would have been blessed by the sun but would have missed out on the beauty of the entire landscape.

Another thought that came to me during my run? An entire scene for one of the books in my mystery series. I would say it was a pretty productive day before I even left my house for the office.

Rather than morning coming too soon, I’m already looking forward to my morning therapy session to see what gems He will bless me with. 🙂

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My Writing Process

I met the talented Rachel Carrera during the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge and was invited by her to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour.  I’ve been reading the answers to the given questions by other bloggers who have participated and I have to say it’s been enlightening to not only read about other writers, but to see how their process works.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always open to learning something that may work better or enhance what I’m already doing.  I will be  the first to admit that I simply write because I love to write and never gave the rest of “the business” much thought until the past year and a half.  For me it’s a learn-as-I-go process.  And how I love to learn! 🙂

Be sure to check out Rachel’s blog. She is a brilliant ray of sunshine and has a contagious love of life. Thank you Rachel! 🙂

Here are the answers to my questions, followed by the links to three + other bloggers I have tagged so you can check out their answers on May 26th.

1.  What am I working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on the final revision of my novel, The Inheritance.  Through the years I’ve written a few first drafts that lay cozily tucked within a filing cabinet drawer, but this is the first I’ve chosen to carry through to publication.  Let me tell you, it’s given me a whole new respect for published authors as I realize all there is to do after the fun of getting the story down on paper–or to the computer.  The things I thought I was good at–like grammar–I’ve learned there is so much I didn’t have down like I thought I did.  However, now that I’m able to see the finish line, I’m getting renewed energy and enthusiasm to take my latest first draft, The Last Resort, through to the finish line as well.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure it differs from all others in my genre, or it would be in a genre of its own. But if I were to mention one area that I have noticed, it’s that despite it being women’s fiction and it has it’s share of relational content, it covers real life issues without the “drama mama stuff” that is exhausting in real life. I like to portray real life issues but also show hope–showing light in the darkness. I also try to avoid profanity and unnecessary crassness because I truly believe God blessed me with my ability to write and my love of writing.  That being the case, He is the One I want to please more than anyone with my writing. I choose to tell a story by honoring God rather than promoting what goes against Him.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I love to read the kind of fiction I write – fiction that shares the joy of living a spiritual life without being preachy.  Although I love to read a lot of other genres as well.  And I have stories that come into my head that I can’t wait to share with others.

4.  How does my writing process work?

I don’t really have a tried and true process yet. I guess I could say it’s a work in progress to find what works best.  I work full-time in a job that pays the bills, I’m a mom to two grown boys whose lives I’m so fortunate to still be a large part of, grandma to one toddler and step-grandma to 5 , and wife to an amazing husband who I love to spend time with. Whew! So with all that, I try to write daily, but am not always successful with that goal.  With The Inheritance and The Last Resort I wrote the first draft in 30 days by participating in NaNoWriMo.  The revision process has been the biggest learning process and is what I’m trying to achieve with the least amount of pain. But the pain has also been my biggest motivator and teacher. 🙂  

Jacque @ http://godisms.wordpress.com

Marie @ http://writingwingsforyou.com

Angela @ http://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com

Amanda @ http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

 

What Will People Think?

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That concern has consumed too much mental energy through the years, as well as dictated my words and behaviors on all too many occasions.

It has led to lying and racing to cover up anything that would not be acceptable, sometimes stopping at nothing, magnifying the situation tenfold, in order to control what others would think.  Simply put, manipulate the outcome.

I can trace that fear all the way back to those tumultuous teenage years, wishing I wouldn’t have said or did what I did and wishing I would have said or did what I didn’t.  Sometimes I would obsess over all the “what if’s” for days.

What if people will think I’m stupid?

What if  s/he thinks less of me because of what I said–or did?  I gotta fix that! And the cover-up would begin…

And that would lead to worse behaviors in order to try erase what was, or withdrawing until the shame, humiliation and fear would fade into a more distant memory.

That fear of what people will think continued to monopolize mental energy through the years of being wife, mother friend, divorcee…you get the picture.

If my husband would be unhappy, surely it had to be because of something I did or said. And what would people think?

Or if my kids did or said something that appeared less than acceptable, I would feel shame because surely people would think it had to be my parenting.  Heaven forbid, what would people think?photo (5)

With age comes wisdom.  Yes, some good does come with age.

As my spiritual foundation has gotten stronger and I’ve made it a priority to spend time in prayer and meditation, really getting to know God through His Word, what people will think no longer holds me captive.  The chains have been broken.

Worrying about what people would think of me, made “me” just a little too important.

Once I took the spotlight off of “me”, and deflected it to God, my life became much less stressful as I became more confident.  Less self-focused and more God and others-focused.

What people will think of me is no longer my motivator for what I do or say. Not everyone is going to like me.

And. That. Is. Okay.

And if when I still occasionally experience that fear of what people will think,  I reflect without making it about how I feel,  but rather if I said/did something to make someone else feel less than lifted up.

Let go of what no longer serves you.

Nothing? Then let it go.

If not, make amends so I can let it go. To God. All of it.

And all of me.

All is Grace.