Welcome Aboard

Welcome to my first blog.
I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me, as I blog my thoughts and adventures on the way to being a published writer. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

28 October, 2011

Baggage

I decided to clean out my file cabinet. Years of receipts, credit card, and bank statements. Carbon copies of checks from 4 years ago, and old prescription receipts. It was time to get rid of it all. It filled an entire garbage bag (kitchen size not lawn size). It was heavy. Extremely heavy. And because the bag contains my personal information I couldn't just throw it out. It was also too much for my home shredder. I have to take it to a place that will shred it for me-for a fee.
I have to carry this bag around until I have a chance to take it to the shredder. It didn't take long for me to realize this was a metaphor for baggage we carry in our lives.
Each of us for one reason or another chooses to carry around this huge bag labeled "the past". We take it with us from relationship to relationship, job to job, state to state. We don't need to carry it but we do. We can't just toss it aside-it has personally identifiable information.
What we can do is take it to Jesus. He wants our baggage. He takes all that stuff from our past and shreds it till nothing recognizable is left.
Before that can happen we have to go through our lives and pull out all the junk from the past (He's good at pointing those out too). Then we have to agree to give it to the Master-Jesus and not try to take it back and carry it around.
Another step we often do us accumulate new baggage. We're free from our old lives but due to unresolved guilt or hurt from our past we start accumulating more baggage. Stop it!
Christ made you new. Don't collect more baggage to carry around. Live in the freedom Jesus has granted you. No more baggage.

16 October, 2011

Writer’s Retreat

There’s a little place in the country of Ireland know as Anam Cara. They host writing and painting retreats throughout the spring and summer. I have long lingered on their website on days where I feel the choking confines of my existence (yeah, I’ve been writing dark stuff today). Sorry—focus.

I feel it is time for a writer’s retreat. I don’t mean one of those where you check yourself into a hotel in town and flip through the channels, or watch people in the pool splash around, or get drunk in their lounge chairs. I mean one of those where no one is around. Solitude. The only sensory source is nature itself.

I noticed something the other day when I went to the library to write. The only space that was left to sit was in the quiet study room. Talk about the absence of everything. No sound, nothing sensory to look at. And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I lost track of time in that quiet, padded asylum. And I loved it.

Images that have been in my head for weeks include a rocky coast, crashing waves, a giant man-eating squid, rolling hills, and me, with my spiral notebook and favorite gel pens—writing a novel long hand. No concern about food, or shelter. A quick walk into town satisfies my need to eat when the nibbling on feta cheese and olives, and baguettes isn’t enough. Then as the moon hovers overhead, and I need a flashlight to find my way back, I slide in between the crisp white sheets of my antique bed at a B&B with few visitors because it’s off-season.

That kind of writer’s retreat. You know that push you feel inside when you know you need to do something. And then that stupid nagging voice pipes up. “Wait, we can’t take off and do that. We have practical matters to address here. Plus we have no money.” Guess what voice—shut up!

I went to a conference this weekend called Women of Faith. I spoke of attending in my prior blog. The theme was called Imagine. It’s from Ephesians 3:20. Check it out at www.biblegateway.com

These women spoke of trusting God and believing he could do above and beyond what you could IMAGINE.
I’m trusting God to provide what I need for this retreat. Complete trust, because that “push” inside me is not from me. It’s the Holy Spirit. Best not to ignore Him. He only means my good.
That means shutting up the nagging voice, reinforcing my heart with scripture and preparing for the blessing.

14 October, 2011

Count Your Blessings

Remember that song by Johnson Oatman Jr. “Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God hath (has) done.” I have to admit life has been rough these past few weeks. Rougher than it has been in a very long time. Do you go through times like that? Where it seems like nothing goes right, everything goes wrong? Now add to that keeping up with your writing. Pulling yourself out of the chaos of your life and into your character’s world for a half hour or hour or two. Not just to get words on the page, but the right words. Words the character wants to express to the reader. Are you screaming now?

I have been surprised by the fact that through these rough weeks I have been able to write. Now, I’m not writing as much as I would be during other times, but I am writing. I wonder if because my stress is so high right now, I am more able to pluck myself out of this world and disappear into my character’s world? I think so.

I spoke to a dear friend on the phone for about half an hour Wednesday about the stress I’m under. We agreed to pray for each other. She’s artistic like me so she gets me.

Yesterday a teacher I work with bought me dinner. She did it because she knew I was under a lot of stress and wanted to brighten my day. I’ve never had anyone do that for me before and it deeply touched me. I ate and we talked about what was going on in my life, her life and our love of our savior Jesus. Her act blessed me.

Today I am heading out to the Women of Faith conference, thanks to another dear friend of mine—someone who feels like my twin. Another blessing. This is a two-day conference so I am looking forward to bonding time with my friend, de-stressing, soaking in God’s goodness and recharging my batteries.

Because of the acts of three people I am ending my week feeling lighter than air. Is there someone around you that you see struggling under the weight of stress? Be a small blessing in their life. Buy them a cup of coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts (or get them a $5 gift card so they can). Put an encouraging note in their mailbox, or desk at work. Stop by their workplace and see how they are. If you can afford to—take them out to dinner, or lunch. Trust me it makes a huge difference. It did for me.

03 October, 2011

Writing in my wait time

On the way to work this morning, I felt my car dip. A few miles later and that all too familiar "thump, thump" sound started. Yep I had a flat tire. So while I'm waiting on said tire to be fixed, I thought I'd work on my blog.
I read a really good devotional from "Girlfriend's in God" this morning about the call of God and trusting Him enough to obey that call.
Gave me much to reflect on.
What am I doing with that seed God planted in me when He brought about my creation? Is it evident in my life? Daily?
I'm going to jump the train right here, but I'll be back.
Grad school is alot of work. I have books to read, creative writing to do and critical essays-Aka non-fiction writing.
Sometimes I resent the intrusion on what little time I have to write. Yes, the program is suppose to make me a better writer (if I let it). And yes I have seen a change in my writing.
Do I want to stop my Mfa program? Absolutely not! It's changing me as a writer and a person.
What I want is more time to delve into my writing, using what I've been learning in the program.
Now I'm taking this train car and hooking it up to the previous one.
To do anything other than write is not using the true essence of who I am. With all these extra demands on me at work, it's time for me to turn to God and wave the surrender flag. Cause I'm not in control, He is. He knows the best way for me to maximize the time that I have. He knows the changes I'm going to have to make in my life in order for my dream (full time writer) to come true. He knows the path I should be on now to be successful later. I just need to trust Him, open up and ask Him.