February 28, 2004

Blah!

  So much has happened this week that today is just a big "BLAH!" day. I'm relaxing and having fun doing something I have been wanting to learn to do for me.
  I love drawing, and have been putting off doing this. So today I've played around with PSP8 and Animation Shop. I am having so much fun!!! Now I know where my free time will be going!
  Since today is my "fun" day, here are some blinkies I just found that made me think of a friend. :) You know who you are!!! ;)

Note to special friend: Do you get the "Gimmee a hug" one? LOL

February 27, 2004

Friends
  Once in a while, a special person enters your life. That person holds your hand, listens with an open mind, mends the wounds in your heart, and lifts you up when you stumble and fall.

Thank you, Caryn! I love ya, sis!
Something fun for you...

Angela has a fun "Caption it Friday" on her blog each week. She posts a picture, and you get to submit a caption for it. Thought I'd post a link just for fun today. :) Go submit your entry!
I'm taking the challenge...

  The Special K challenge, that is. Let's just see if I lose up to 6 pounds in two weeks. (I think I can hang on that long!! LOL)
Knowing Me

  How well do you know yourself? Think you know yourself pretty well? Try this. List 100 things about yourself. Many bloggers are doing this little exercise these days. My Support Buddy assigned me to do this task yesterday.
  I knew going in that it would be a little hard, but I didn't realize it would be so difficult. I suppose that goes to show that if you don't stay in tuned with your own self, then you won't even know you!

  Just a few more days until the launching of my new e-zine, Cup of Hope. I'm wrapping up the finishing touches on it now and can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of it.

February 26, 2004

Moods

  Do you let your mood affect how your day will go? That is such an easy thing to do. This week I've had a dark cloud hanging over my head. Sadly, I let that affect other areas of my life--namely, my writing.
  I have used every excuse in the book to get out of doing my work this week. I'm snapping myself out of this silly daze now. Today is going to be a wonderful and productive day! No more mully-grubs, Hope! Time to tend to business!!

(Okay, so maybe this post sounds very self-directed. I suppose it is. Sometimes you just need to have a little chat with yourself to get back on track.)

February 25, 2004

I'll be there

  I'm one of those people who think I can do everything by myself. I don't like to ask for help. I'd rather just keep my mouth shut and do it myself.
  What if the whole world operated this way? What if nobody ever asked for help? I think we'd probably walk around on this planet like a bunch of zombies, each doing their own thing and noone caring for each other.
  Sometimes you just have to give up the control. We're not super heros, who know all, sees all, and can do all. We're all human. We make mistakes. We suffer disappointment. We revel in victory. And at some point, we all need help.
  This is a tough subject for me because I don't surrender control easily. Nor do I like to ask for help. My pride is my downfall. Proverbs 20:23 says, "Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors." (MSG)
  I suppose the reason why I'm thinking about this subject this morning is because I'm learning myself that it's okay to ask for help. I don't have to know it all. And in asking for help, maybe, just maybe, I can return a helping hand to another!

February 24, 2004

This and That

  Have you ever had one of those days where you have a black cloud hanging over your head all day, but didn't really know why? Yesterday was like that for me. I wasn't upset or anything. I just felt "bleh" all day.
  It was cloudy all day yesterday, and now it's raining. I think it rained all night. I love rainy days! Rain makes me feel warm and cozy.
  I'm thinking a lot about attitude and perception again this morning. It's so easy to jump to conclusions, assume the worst, or be judgemental. But how often do I take the time to ask questions to learn the truth? I think that's a good policy that everyone could practice.
  I won't be updating the Cup of Hope blog this week. I have a lot of work to do finishing up the first issue of the e-zine. So I've made that top priority this week. I will do my best, however, to blog here daily as I normally do.
  That's it for today. Wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday! For those of you in the work-world, it's almost "hump day!" To all you SAHM, do something special for YOU today--you deserve it!!

February 23, 2004

Here I am!

  Were you wondering where I was this weekend? I took a little break from blogging. Everyone needs a little break every now and then. :)
  On the agenda this week:

With the launching of Cup of Hope only one week away, I have much to do this week. Final reading and editing, website coding, revisions, etc. etc. I'm excited about my new venture and hope that it will be uplifting to those who read it. If you'd like to sign up to receive Cup of Hope e-zine in your mailbox, CLICK HERE.
  I wish you all a wonderful Monday. Follow your dreams, for you never know where they may lead you!

February 20, 2004


  We got two new "toys" this week. The first arrived on Wednesday--a DSL modem. I can't believe how much faster the connection is. Technology is amazing. Emily is hogging the computer now because she can play Barbie online. We tried before, but the connection was so "burpy" that it wasn't any fun. Which leads me to "my" next new thing this week.
  Robert got me a laptop!!! I've been wanting one for years, but could never justify it. But we found one online very cheap, practically brand new, with all the "trimmings" so we got it. I'm thinking now it's a good thing since Em's being a "piggy" on the computer. :)
  Have lots to do today, and am in one of those moods where I don't want to do it. That tells me that the things I don't want to do are very important, so I must push my hard to work diligently today. This is a new discovery about myself. For some reason I never noticed that before. Every time I reach a point that I know there is something important that "has" to be done, I tend to procrastinate until the very last minute. Gotta stop that now!!
  If you haven't visited my new blog yet, Treasures of My Heart, I invite you to do that today. I entered the Photo Friday challenge today. Go check it out!
  For those of you who sign off for the weekend, I wish you well and hope you have an enjoyable weekend. See you next week! To my friend (who know who you are), if you read this entry, I wish you and your family a safe and fun trip this weekend, and I'll see you when you get back home. To my family, I love you!
  Have a great weekend!!

February 19, 2004

Starting Over

  It's hard to do, but once you begin, it gets easier with effort and time. Have you buried a passion? If so, why did you lay it aside? Have you felt restless, like there's something more you could/should be doing? Rediscover your passions and put them to use!

February 18, 2004

Changes

  Just when I get used to my early morning starts (at 2-3 a.m.), Elijah goes and changes on me! :) He's now sleeping until 5 a.m. and sometimes as late as 7! Now I'm sure you're thinking, 'Quit complaining and enjoy the sleep!' I am. But I miss my early start. Now when I get up, everyone else does too. I'm thinking about setting the alarm clock for 3:30. Crazy? Nope. Just dedicated to my passion, and wanting to thrive in it.
  The snow is melting away. Actually, it's nearly gone. It was fun at first, but when the electricity stayed off for a day, I wasn't so pleased with it. :) Isn't that the way it goes with many things in our lives? We have an idea about something/someone that we think is beautiful, wonderful, and fun. Then when it arrives, we become disgruntled about all the bad, or negative aspects of it. Instead of focusing on all the positive sides, suddenly all we seem to be able to see are the things that we don't like about it.
  First Timothy 6:6 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." When you feel inwardly sufficient that you need nothing or no one else to bring a sense of fulfillment to you, that is true contentment. Feeling and knowing that what you have, be it little or much, is adequate, brings the greatest sense of happiness within yourself.
  Think about something that you built hopes, dreams, desires upon. When you finally obtained it, was it all that you'd hoped for? If not, then why? The next time you set your sights on something, attain it with great hope, then treasure it for all the goodness of it. You will come to find in doing so all the little things in everyday life will grow sweeter in your eyes.

February 17, 2004

Follow Your Dreams

  Last night Robert talked to me about swimming. He said that he'd love to take swimming lessons. He's always wanted to be able to do the dive rescue searches.

"What would you say if I told you I want to look into training to be a rescue diver?" he asked me.

"Go for it!" I replied without a moment's hesitation.

"Really?!"

Robert's surprise at my reply caused saddness in my heart. For so long I have not only stifled my own dreams, but now I see that I've been stifling his as well.

"Absolutely!" I told him. "Life is too short not to follow your dreams."

Such a simple concept, and yet it has taken me years to learn and grasp it. For the last few years I've always felt like I had lost my sense of identity. I didn't know who I was. I'd suffocated the real me and tried replacing it with many things; all of which died quickly.

Yet, I never realized that I was not only doing this to myself, but to my husband as well. Our actions, whether intentional or not, always affect more than just ourselves.

  What are your dreams? Do you know? Or have you smothered out the real you inside? Life is a journey that can suddenly end. Live to your fullest each day. Trust in God and allow Him to help you discover the true person deep inside. Follow after your dreams. Nothing is impossible with God!

February 16, 2004

Blissfully Powered Up!

  After the longest 25 hours of my life, we finally have electricity again! YAY! A snowstorm hit us Saturday night and Sunday and knocked power out all over. Emily didn't know what to do without her radio and t.v. Sometimes you really don't know how much you rely on something until it's abruptly stripped away from you!

  Since I couldn't get on the computer to write, I had to use pen and paper (GASP!). :) But I survived. Now I have quite a bit of notes to enter into the word processor. That's good, too!

  Hopefully tomorrow will start off normal, and I can return to my normal blogging. For today, though, I just wanted to post an update so that you wouldn't think I'd fallen off the face of the earth!

February 15, 2004

Huh?

  Here's a "funny" I encountered this week.

  A neighborhood bar that had been closed down was recently turned into a church. The flashing sign outside prominently reads, "Revival Thursday night. BYOB"

  Yes, this is a TRUE funny. What was your first thought? :)

February 14, 2004

Home Stretch

  Only one more day unti Robert returns home! Emily and I are counting the hours. The last couple of days have been very rough for her. She's a "Daddy's Girl" in a MAJOR way! We'll all be glad when he's home.

  This morning I am doing some research for my future columns at Sacred Intimacy. I love digging into scripture. It is a well of information that never runs dry. There is always something new and profound to discover each time I read and study.

  I am looking forward to church tomorrow. It's been two weeks since we've been. The children have both been sick, one after the other.

  For all you lovebirds--Happy Valentine's Day! My sweetheart can't be with me today, but he is definitely on my mind! If you're with the one you love, give them a big hug and kiss and let them know just how much you adore them!!

February 13, 2004

Smile

  Smile when you're happy - share your joy with others.
  Smile when you're sad - just maybe your spirits will rise.
  Smile when things are upside down - it will help you to remember all the good things in your life.
  Smile when your heart is breaking - if you didn't have a heart, it couldn't be broken.
  Smile when things don't go the way you think they should - be calm and confident in knowing God is in control.

February 12, 2004

The Price of a Breakthrough

  Yesterday was one of those days! Among other things (baby crying for hours, other child sick), I had a couple of breakthroughs.

  Although I won't go into great detail, my breakthrough had something to do with my writing abilities. There was a certain area deep within me that has stopped me for years. I never realized that, though, until yesterday! Imagine the emotions that went through me. I cried nearly all day. The tears I shed were cleansing tears; tears that confirmed I am on the right track.

  Now that my self-discovery has pointed out something very specific and important, I now know where to go from here. I know what has held me back up to this point. Now that I know, it's up to me to oriented myself and move forward with my goals and aspirations.

  I feel lucky to have had such a revealing moment yesterday. I pray for kindness, to bestow a hand of friendship. Lord, grant me a loving and compassionate heart, that I can reach down and pull up the hurting and brokenhearted. May Your words be mine. Keep me in the center of Your palm, for I know therein, I'll never go astray. Forgive me for straying and the times of turning my face from You. I know that You are my rock and safe place. You are my dearest Friend.

February 11, 2004

Does "NO" still mean no?

  Just the other day, a friend and I discussed how as women we find it difficult to say, "No!" I guess you could say we still have some work to do on our "Superwoman Syndrome."

  Yesterday I had the opportunity to practice saying the "n" word. But the lady wouldn't listen to me! Since when does "no" mean maybe? Here's the conversation that took place.



ME: "Hello?"

DISH LADY: "Hi! This is So-And-So from Dish Network. We're contacting our Valued Customers and doing telephone surveys to see what types of movies your family enjoys." (I should have known better than to think they only wanted to "survey" me.)

ME: "We like various types of movies, mostly comedy though."

DL: "Great! That's tuh-rific! And you like those because they bring laughter into your lives and make you smile, right?!" (NAW!! We like comedies because they make us cry!)

ME: "Uh-huh."

DL: "Tuh-rific! That's so great! Because in today's time we all need a smile on our face. That's tuh-rific."

--We don't have a cordless phone anymore, so we've been using a regular phone, which sits on my desk, not in the living room next to the recliner. So picture this: I'm standing in front of my desk, holding the baby in my right arm, a bottle with my left hand, and cradling the phone between my left shoulder and ear. My left jaw bone is beginning to feel like it's going to crack at any given moment. At this point, the "nice" lady totally takes over the conversation. She starts talking so fast that her words bump into each other.--

DL: "So today, because we know you love comedy movies so much, and because you're a Valued Customer, we want to offer you a special package. That's right. We are only offering these specially priced packages to our most Valued Customers. We will supply you with unlimited comedies, which we know you will love. And you'll receive only the movie channels which play comedies. That's right! Non-stop comedies for you and your family."

No, she didn't stop there. I just needed to interject this thought. :) So now I'm thinking to myself, 'Okay, Hope. Stop thinking about your cracking jaw; plastic surgery can fix that. This lady is fixing to give you a FREE movie package deal! So quit whining, and make NICE-NICE with the lady!' RIGHT!

DL (continued):Because you're a Valued Customer, we would like to "give" you this special package of Showtime Unlimited. That's right! This great package deal will include ten channels of non-stop comedy movie action! Doesn't that sound tuh-rific?!"

Uh-oh. I smelled something stinky. (Not a poopy diaper, either!)

ME: "Sure!

DL: "Tuh-rific! And as our Valued Customer you can receive this wonderful movie package deal for THE LOW PRICE OF $11.99 a month!...Not only that..."

ME: "Excuse me. No thank you. We don't really need that. Thanks anyway."

DL: (After a five-second pause) "Well, Mrs. Wilbanks, this is a special offer for today only, going only to our Valued Customers. You won't find this special deal ANYWHERE ELSE!

ME: CLICK. BUZZ......................



Give me a break! That deal was so special that I could go online and add the package to our bill for the same amount. What is wrong with these people? I wasn't trying to be mean or ugly, but the last time I checked, NO meant NO! :)

February 09, 2004

Awakening the Artist in Me

  Im on a journey. My travels began a week ago. This is not an ordinary "physical" journey, but rather, a journey of self-discovery.

  You see, my inner creative child had been stifled for years. And yet, I didn't even know it. I'm learning to unleash the creativity within me.

  Creativeness is something we all possess. Why? Because the Creator made us! Think about it! When we use the creativity that is within us, its our way of saying, "Thank You," to the One who gave us this to begin with.

  Ive read several writers' blogs within the last couple of weeks who are feeling "blocked". They feel "stuck" and don't know what to do about it. Discouragement sets in. Stop the cycle NOW!

  Allow yourself to be free in your mind. As women, we tend to do for everyone else except ourselves. It's time to give something back to YOU! You deserve it.

February 08, 2004

Read It Forward

  Here are my five favorite blog reads from last week. Check them out! (All links open in new windows.)

February 06, 2004

Have you ever noticed...?

  When you don't do housework one day it snowballs?

  Cleaning house takes ten times longer than it does for it to get messy?

  Messy houses seem to get that way on their own--nobody did it?

  It takes five minutes for a child's room to look like Hurricane Andy hit it, but three days for that same child to get it back in order?

  One dirty cup in a sink turns into a leaning mass of dirty dishes?

  Stay at home moms live at "work", but rarely receive recognition for a job well-done?

  A single tear falling from your child's eye over a boo-boo breaks your heart and makes you feel helpless?

  A child never seems to have anything to say to you until you're involved in an important telephone call?

  Before children you are selfish--after children you are selfless?

  With the birth of a child memory flies out the window?

  Your children get on your nerves, but you wouldn't trade them for a million bucks?

  When you were a child it seemed you'd stay that way forever?

  Now that you have children of your own, you wish they'd stay babies forever?

  Before children bubble baths, hair curlers, and fun nights out were the norm?

  After children you throw yourself a party if you get to brush your teeth every day?


  For all you moms who feel neglected, wore-out, or frustrated...

You're Doing A Great Job!

Keep up the good work!

February 05, 2004

Is it bedtime yet?

  This has been a day full of rush and run. In the midst of it all, it has poured rain all day.

  Eli's doing better. He's still somewhat congested. Took him to the doctor today and he said Eli sounds better. Thank God for that! He has to do some breathing treatments and finish up his meds, but I think by next week he'll be lots better.

  I miss Robert terribly!! He called for the first time last night since he's been gone. I thought about him all day today. I bet they've been wet and miserable! :(

  I am anxiously waiting for bedtime--for the kids that is!! I haven't been able to write anything today. I'm very anxious to work on my WIP again. I also have an assignment due tomorrow that I will work on tonight. I also have some reading that I'd like to do tonight.

February 04, 2004

Surprises are Wonderful!


  I received a visit from the UPS man yesterday. Inside the cardboard box was a terrific surprise! Angela sent me three books, including The Artist's Way, which I have been wanting ever since she told me about it.

  I started reading last night. So far I have everything up to Chapter One. I am so anxious to delve into that beginning chapter! If the contents of the book are as good as the introduction, I'm in for a treat!

  I did my Morning Pages at 4 a.m. this morning. It was harder than I expected! Writing three pages longhand (when you're used to typing on the computer) is quite a bit! The first page was the hardest I think. But by the time I reached the end of page three, I was thinking that I probably could have gone on for two more pages. My hand had a terrible cramp, of course. :)

  After reflecting yesterday, and then receiving these books, I have been doing a lot of thinking. This is what I have determined:

  I have begun to find some direction in my life. I am walking on a path to success. I have finally found the path to follow and am walking on it in faith, believing that I can do anything through Christ, who strengthens me along the way.

  Failure is not an option. I want to leave my children a heritage of success and achievement, not loss and disappointment.

  Procrastination is simply the voice of FEAR. Fear is caused by WORRY. Worry and Fear are FALSE.

  Perception is everything. To be judgemental is wrong. I'm not inside that person's head. I don't know their thoughts, feelings, or intentions.

  Ask questions. Be open. Be honest, but kind.

  The only way to achieve a breakthrough is to work hard at it. You can't get something for nothing. If I want success, then I must be the one to follow through. It won't be handed to me on a silver platter. Success is hard work.

  I can't measure my level of success against someone else's. We are all successful people at different levels. I am unique, so my success will not be equal to another's. Therefore, I must strive each day to reach the mark that I consider successful.

  Goals are important. They provide us a roadmap to success. Without goals, you can't possibly know how to get where you want to be.

  Remember where you came from. Don't look back in regret, though. Only look back in reflection. Go to your written goals and see what you've accomplished so far. It's a lot!

  Whiners never win! So just stop complaining about not having the resources you think you need, and use the resources you do have!

  Find support in your friends and family. Get rid of the nay-sayers. You don't need negativity. Keep the positive people close to your side for reinforcement.

  There will be times that you don't have support. This is the tough part, because in these times you must learn to encourage yourself!

  Last, but certainly not least....ACTION CONQUERS FEAR! For those of you who know and talk to me regularly, you're probably getting sick of me saying that. SORRY! But I won't stop saying it. I say this simple phrase to myself EVERY DAY. Think about it. Fear will paralize you if you let it. So cancel out whatever fear you have, and GET MOVING!! In most instances, the moments of fear will either create a breakthrough or a brick wall. It's YOUR choice on what to do with the fear. Will you use it to to your advantage for a productive insight? Or will you allow it to stop you dead in your tracks?

February 03, 2004

Forward Motion


  Today was the first time I actually cried over watching a television show. Maybe it's just because I'm missing Robert. Nevertheless, today's show was wonderful.

  Now I'm reflecting. Partly because of today's Project Success email from Angela, in which she urges me to reflect on my accomplishments from January. Secondly because of today's episode of Starting Over, in which another House Guest graduated.

  Reflection is essential to moving forward. At least that's what I believe. If you can't see where you have been and how far you've come thus far, how will you know that you're moving in forward motion?

  Accomplishments, whether great or small, all count towards our goals. The things that seem minute are ultimately usually the "boosters" that propel us to success. Without these tiny, inconspicuous moments of aquisition, we could not take the grander steps that lead us to planting our flag on that Mt. Everest peak of prosperity.

January's Successes (external):
(Both great and small)
  • Launched my new website with the help of AGK
  • Created a newsletter, Cup of Hope, which launches in March
  • Published the Special Introductory Issue of Cup of Hope E-zine
  • Wrote lots of articles for my Cup of Hope blog.
  • Began a new WIP, which is moving along at a nice pace!
  • Wrote and submitted an essay to the annual Erma Bombeck contest.
  • Made it into the Collective Wisdom of Momwriters. (This was a much-needed WONDERFUL surprise for me yesterday!)
  • Wrote a synopsis for an inspirational novel idea.
  • Decluttered and revamped my office, and in the process became aware that (A) change is GOOD!; and (B) a clean workspace makes for a free, "uncluttered" mind.


  I think that's the most of what I accomplished. If I think of anything more I'll add it. Now to the second part of my successes for January...


January's Successes (internal):
  • Acknowledged that I have a huge procrastination problem (and am re-establishing good habits)
  • Gained a more positive attitude.
  • Learned that I need to set goals for myself (creates a path on which to walk).
  • Discovered that writing is my passion.
  • Came to the understanding that growth (both internally AND externally) is a process that takes time. It doesn't happen overnight.
  • Ascertained that writing truly makes me feel alive.
  • Perception is everything.



  WOW! Looking at my list now, I see just how much I have accomplished!! I didn't realize there was so much that I did in one month! :)

February 01, 2004

Winding down

  This has been a long day. Eli is still sick. I'm going to try to get him to the doctor tomorrow. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

  I'm waiting impatiently for Survivor to come on. I can't wait for this special edition. It's going to be good! Can't wait to cheer Rupert on again. :)

  At least 56 people were killed in Iraq today in another suicide bombing. When will this end? Robert left today for two weeks of urban training. We're thinking that he will probably be activated soon. I'm at peace with it, yet I can't help but fear for his life if he has to go to Iraq. I'll just have to keep trusting God!

  I hope you have had a terrific Sunday! I'll be back tomorrow for more blogging. And I'm sure I'll have an opinion on tonight's first Survivor episode. Any of you other bloggers a Survivor fan? Email me and we'll start a "Survivor Fan blog carivan". :)
Waking up & Yesterday's Chat

  I just finished my first cup of coffee for the morning. While sipping my morning brew, I usually catch up on emails and allow myself to wake up before writing.

  I keep a seperate folder in my mailbox for quotes, inspirationals, and devotionals. This morning I decided to clear out some mail clutter, and stumbled upon something that just provided a confirmation to a chat I had yesterday with my Support Buddy, Angela.

  We had a serious discussion about fear and things that hold us back. My eyes were opened to some things that I was repressing. I knew deep down that these were "motivating fears" in my life, but had never "acknowledged" them as such.

  We also discussed reasons why I have not submitted any of my work for publication to paying venues. So this morning I open my "special" folder, am surfing through old messages, and find this: "When you value yourself, you will value your time."

  Hello! That has been my problem. I did not value myself or my time, therefore, have not placed any value on my writing. I told Angela yesterday that I honestly have never felt that my writing was good enough to send to anyone to even try to be published. That's why I've kept it a "secret" for so long. I'm not ashamed or embarassed of it, I just never valued it.

  So my ultimate goal this week is to change my mindset. I will change the way I perceive myself and my writing. I will find a deeper appreciation for what God has placed in my life. I will learn to cultivate it, water it, and fertilize it. In the end I desire to look around and see a bounty of harvest in the garden of my life. I know that it can only happen when I embrace my talents, and treasure and esteem this passion.