August 14, 2018- I started this blog with the intent of being transparent on this journey. Being a woman has it's challenges. Being a wife has it's challenges. Be a mom has it's challenges. Being a Christian has it's challenges. Being a writer has it's challenges. Let's just be honest, simply being a human being has challenges. My hope was to be honest during those challenges and encourage some people along the way.
I don't really like throwing thoughts out there (onto a blog) because it offers it's own set of challenges. There are times when people say, "I read your blog." And I immediately think, "Oh boy, which one? What kind of mood was in it that day? Was I excited? Was I cranky? Did I feel enlightened or was I simply ranting? It's all good in the end because we all have these moments whether we want to own them or not.
Today, I am going back to the book which started it all "Goodbye, Christian Whore". In the book, I talk about starting out as a bowl of vanilla ice cream. In the book, the bowl of vanilla ice cream represents my faith. Simple. The bowl with all the toppings represents all the things I picked up along the way that clouded my vision of how simple faith could and should be.
Today I want to take the bowl to a new level. Today, the bowl represents our lives. I came into the world a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream. Little by little toppings get added to my bowl. Someone tells me I am good at something and here comes some sprinkles. Someone tells me I'm not so good at something else, maybe some chocolate syrup puts me in a sticky situation. Topping after topping gets dumped until eventually I'm not quite sure what's me and what's the opinion of others.
Man , I hate self-doubt.
What's a person to do? If you are like me and you find yourself on a journey to find that simple bowl of vanilla there is hope. It's not a simple journey. Sometimes you have to pick each sprinkle off one by one. It can be time-consuming. Sometimes you'll have to scrap the chocolate syrup off. Wait, did I lose a little of the ice cream when I did. It can be painful.
But the beauty is that God helps us through the entire process when we allow Him to.
God, some days I feel like a mess. I feel a bit overwhelmed from everything that has been thrown at me and on me. Whether it is what's going on in the world in general or stuff that is thrown directly at me to attack my character or self-worth. Today, I need you to remind me of who YOU created. Remind me of the five year old me who didn't have a single care in the world. What did I like most? What didn't I like? Where have I compromised who I am to please others? Where have a compromised who I am to satisfy my own goals? Help me today to take steps towards the person you created me to be. Help me to set aside filters, images, and ideas of what I believe the world expects me to be and pick up who you have created me to be. Amen.
Today I read a Howard Thurman quote. It wasn't the one above but it was equally as good,
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman
As I was searching google for the quote to share, (you know in some pretty image) I came across the above quote about "the sound of the genuine in you". Man, I needed to read that today. I just got done talking and texting multiple people today that I trust and respect saying (in the short version) I'm just not feeling it.
I feel like I'm not quite sure what I want in life, I feel like I'm not quite sure who I am. I can look back in my journals and see that this is a common slump for me. I have good times and I have blah times. I have moments where I very much feel confidant and sure of what I'm doing and then I have moments like today where I feel like I'm an imposter in my own life. How is that possible? I am me.
I'm not sharing this with a "here's your five steps to get out of this slump". I'm not sharing it with a fix or a cure. I'm simply sharing it because deep down inside I know that I'm probably not the only one. I'm not the only one who has ups and downs. I'm not the only one who has a talent that people acknowledge but I myself often doubt. (Seriously, I had someone message me this morning asking when Annabelle's Boots 2 is coming out. It was supposed to be this summer but...)
I'm probably not the only one who feels like I'm totally messing up being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a Christian. I mean the list can go on.
So I go back to the blog title to say...
When You Have to be Somebody...Choose to be You
What does that mean? All too often I get caught up in what I THINK is expected of me when I say I am_______________(insert whatever I am in that moment here.) Mom? Wife? Writer? Author? Christian? The list goes on and on. I'm sure you probably fall into the same at times. Today, I choose to be me. I have my ups and downs, I have my moments of doubt. But I really want to be better at choosing to be me. My hope is that this transparency inspires you to look at who you are and give you confidence to choose to be you.
I posted on Facebook today for anyone to comment and throw me a topic to write about. And so it begins...
When I first read "Excuses, Excuses: Which One is Yours?" it was in Florida during a life group at a church we attended with Peter and his wife, Sorines. People had excuses in all shapes and sizes and they joined the life group to go through the book and apply ways to overcome those excuses that were holding them back from reaching their goals.
My excuse I wrote down for that class sadly remains the same, "There are areas that I am afraid to step out in faith, the biggest of those being writing, not because I think that I'll fall but because I believe that God will do something so incredibly amazing. That is my 'super lame excuse'.
You might read that and think, "That's a weird excuse." I got tears in my eyes just writing it again because it is that real and that terrifying to me. The ironic thing is that after I shared that excuse I was pushed into working with other authors through ghostwriting and developmental editing. I loved it. The authors enjoyed working with me, everything was going well until my self-doubt got the best of me and I shied away from writing once again.
Here I am today, back into helping other authors achieve their dreams. Things are going well and that self-doubt is once again clawing at the back of my mind. So what's going to keep me from retreating to my corner and shying away? God!
God didn't create me to shy away, He created me with a boldness to create and inspire others. My boldness and creativity often make me feel like the oddball out so I tend to back down. But...with this challenge today to write about excuses (thank you, Peter) it has ignited a new flame.
In the words of Johnny Cash, "No, I won't back down!"
God, you want to do something super incredibly awesome with my life? You want to write a story upon me that has others saying, "What in the world? How in the world?"?
Go for it! No more excuses!
My prayer today is that whomever takes the time to read this blog would take a moment to evaluate the excuses in their own life. Not just the simple excuses but the deep 'going to take some time to sort through' excuses. The ones that are hindering them from embracing all that you created them to be.
You read about my excuses, now it's time to be real, what's yours?
Often times as a Christian I feel myself struggling, feeling ‘less than’ because I’m not a pastor or missionary- something “big” in the faith. I find myself belittling the very gifts that God has given me. I tell myself that I’m failing because I just haven’t quite figured out “my calling”. While Jesus clearly states in the Bible that there are only two ‘callings’ 1) Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and soul and 2) Love your neighbor.
So, when I’m painting with my sons? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling. When I’m doing laundry? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling. When I’m arguing plots and grammar and story at writing club? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling. When I’m patiently helping customers instead of losing my cool? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling.
My “calling” is to embrace who God made- me. To accept that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My quirks are not mistakes, they are the unique threads that sew together the fabric of who I am.
I read a devotional on YouVersion tonight “Called to Create” (yes, all the days cause I needed it) that broke down something inside me. I’m not sure what tomorrow looks like after this moment but I know that I cannot be the only one feeling this way.
And I want you to know, you that’s constantly feeling like there’s something more, something you must be missing- God is the only thing that we are missing. To embrace him fully is our calling. To embrace the passions and desires that he has engrained inside of us will bless his heart and minister to the hearts of those around us.
Do what you love for the glory of God and see what he does with your offering.
Wow, November was the last time that I blogged. It's amazing how easy it is to get into a funk and neglect things. Maybe I should reclassify myself from blogger to slogger (Slacker that poses as a blogger). I get overwhelmed sometimes by these bloggers that seem to have it all together. They are posting all the time about everything. I think it'd be easy to sign up for a reality TV show. At least them I don't have to worry about editing, posting, content, or anything of the such. I'd just spout stuff off as it comes to me and the cameras would always be rolling. Ha, awkward!
Well, this post is to simply let you know that I am alive. I survived my pity party of having to return to the 'normal' workforce and I am determined to complete a middle grade level novel this year for my son.
Last month, I started a part time job. It has the usual challenges that exist at most jobs- complaining, grumbling, and “that’s” not my job” comments.
When I started the job I wasn’t really in a “yeah I’m so excited to get this job” mindset. My husband and I decided to start saving for a house so the job was simply a means to an end. I’d much rather focus on writing. But, book sales are inconsistent so having a specific-ish amount of money going into savings each money seemed like a wiser plan.
One of the hardest things to remember when dealing with customers is that they too are people. They have crappy days, they have family issues, they have life outside of their shopping experience. And the same goes for my co-workers.
Which is why I’m so thankful I stumbled upon this YouVersion devotional that reminded me the simple truth, “It’s better to give than receive.” Work is not a place for me to be filled, it’s a place for me to pour out, to serve others.
Last night, I was able to train a new cashier. He asked me what I thought the best way to handle an angry shopper would be. In short, I told him to treat them like a person and how he would like to be treated.
In my experience, people don’t act ugly towards others because that is their goal in life. They act ugly toward others because they are hurting, broken, or struggling. Sometimes all they need is to be reminded that they are not the only ones living life. When we serve others despite their attitude or gratitude it may not instantly change their mood, but it will plant a seed. When we take time to plant rather than destroy we allow the world to become a more beautiful place.
Do I always want to go to work? No. Do I always want to serve others with a smile on my face? No. Is it in my job description to clean dirt off the floor? Not that I know of. Is it in my job description to restock a shelf? No.
But when I do these things without complaining it puts me in a better mood. It also puts those around me in a better mood and it changes the atmosphere around me.
Let’s take time to be the change we want to see. If you are tired of all the negativity in your life, make adjustments to be positive. Serve others.
I’ll kick off the transparency and maybe some people will get brave. Yesterday, I had this nudge that I needed to stop what I was doing and help somebody out. I regret to say that I didn’t. I disregarded it as just a silly thought when deep down I know the voice of my Creator.
Today, I contacted that person to apologize. Not because I wanted a reaction or reassurance but because I knew that I had disobeyed God’s prompting and I needed to be honest with myself and my friend.
I don’t know if God had something specific in mind. But I do believe that it doesn’t matter. If God wants to see a result He honestly doesn’t need me to accomplish it. My reaction to His prompting has nothing to do with what He wants to see done. It has everything to do with where my heart is at. There are so many stories in the Bible that talk about always being ready. One that comes to mind is the virgins waiting for the bridegroom. I’ve always heard these talked about in reference to Christ’s return but what if they are actually stories for us to recognize the hour and time are not determined. He could come to us at any time of day and say, “Hey, are you ready to represent me or have you put all your energy into your own efforts and now find yourself lacking?”
This afternoon, I'll be meeting with the writing club at Shaw Elementary. It consists of eight to ten children in grades second to fourth. I first met them two weeks ago. We talked about my experiences as a writer/author and what advice I could offer them.Then I walked around as they worked on ideas and outlines for their stories.
Meeting with other writers, no matter their age, is always a fun experience. Often times, I can see myself, at various stages of my writing experience, through what they say. What do I see...
There are so many others but these are probably some of the biggest that I've combated especially over this past year.
What does it take to tell a story?
Whether it's a short story, a picture book, a novel, a biography, an article, etc. The most important thing for me as a writer to remember is that if I don't believe the story is worth telling, the reader will never believe it's worth reading.
I've been writing for the majority of my life. Whether it be diaries, journals, picture books, scripts, poems, chapter books, short stories, parodies, song lyrics, instruction guides...there's a lot of avenues to write in. However, I have not been involved with other writers very much.
I joined a children's writing course when I was seventeen or eighteen but I never completed the course. I didn't value the insight that they provided. I saw the tasks as 'hindering my creativity'. I couldn't be prompted on what to write, I was an artist (thought my teenage self). So, I discarded that useful information and never completed the course. Man, did I have a few things to learn!
Then I went to a writer's workshop and learned how to self-publish. That was a great experience. I was finally able to get my stories into the hands of readers. I was able to easily pick up on the mechanics of the process (formatting and publishing) but the marketing and promoting eluded me. So I had to turn my attention elsewhere (pretty much get a 'normal' job to pay the bills).
I also received an opportunity to work as a ghostwriter with a small ghostwriting company. I was nervous because I didn't (and still don't) have any professional schooling, awards, or anything like that for writing. I worked on a few projects and had a really good time. It pushed my limits as a writer. I found myself writing on different topics and writing in different styles to accommodate the voice of the 'author'. But because the unknown freaks me out a bit, I backed off and settled into a corporate job with a steady income rather than pursuing commission work with ghostwriting.
This past year, I joined a writer's critique group that started at my local library. After a few meetings I wasn't sure if I would make it. I felt like these writers were way out of my league. They were all educated in writing industry lingo that months later I'm still attempting to figure out. Most of them know all the ways that manuscripts can be submitted and rejected. They know all these English terms. It boggles my mind.
But despite all the ups and downs, the lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, lack of substantial income, one thing remains- I love to write.
If you are a writer and, like me, you can't seem to get away from it, I encourage you TO WRITE! And keep these things in mind along your journey:
Yep, it happened to me too. I watched "Stranger Things" back in July and got hooked. My husband asked me if I wanted to check it out with him. I don't like scary or creepy stuff. I avoid it. But man, do I get hooked by a good story. I watched the first two episodes and waved my white flag. Yes, it was good, I liked the story, but the music and dark scenes weren't working for me. It was a little too creepy for me to watch right before bed each night.
I'm a storyteller, so one image (visual or spoken) can go a thousand different directions in my mind. That being said, when you end an episode with something dark lurking in the shadows making creepy noises not only do I begin to piece together a visual but I start playing out scenarios where all the other characters interact with that creepy noise in the shadows. I immediately start playing through my mind which characters are expendable and which characters cannot be killed off- no way no how.
My husband watched the next two episodes and gave me some updates of what had happened. So, curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to watch another episode. Game over, the story grabbed me and I had to know what happened next.
But, I'm not going to write a Stranger Things review. Sorry to disappoint. Instead I am going to write about the strangest thing, the thing that baffled my mind more than anything. As I told friends that I was a little bit hesitant to start but eventually gave in to watch the show they said they had felt the same. The thing that surprised me most was that many of them said, "But it's so far out there that it's not really scary."
So far out there? *SPOILER ALERT* There is another dimension where creatures exists, things that we do not understand. That dimensions can be felt in our dimension and sometimes crosses over to affect our dimension. This seems far out there?
If these were friends that had no belief in God then maybe I could understand. But Christians saying this concept was so far out there?
Hello? Have you read any portion of the Bible? Spiritual realm? Demons and Angels? Possession? Any of this "out there" stuff ringing a bell? These are all things that are intertwined in our belief as Christians. And yet, more and more I hear Christians not believing in the "unbelievable". When I say unbelievable, I'm not talking about mythical creatures in the Upside Down. I'm talking about angels, demons, healing, miracles, heaven, hell, etc.
Does anyone else see this as the strangest of things?
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
Better with age...
Choose a Topic