January 31, 2006

Catapult

Be a Catapult todayMany thanks to a good friend (you know who you are) who helped me through a bad day yesterday. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for listening to me vent my creative and personal frustrations. Thank you for pointing out the obvious, even though I refused to see it. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for being the catapult yesterday that launched me into action last night (I have an article idea fleshed out--because of you). Thank you for helping me see past myself. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!





"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."
- Fred McFeely Rogers

I'd always heard that you never know who your true friends are until you actually need a friend. I'm not sure I ever believed that until recently when I learned the cold, hard reality of it.

My thoughts today are simple. I will be plain, and straight to the point. If you see a need, RESPOND. Don't wait for someone else to jump into action. Be the catapult! YOU make the choice to react to the need. What if there are many others waiting for someone else to act before they react? Become a catapult.

previously published May 2004

January 30, 2006

Goalposts


"In life, as in football, you won't go far unless you know where the goalposts are."
- Arnold H. Glasgow




I purposefully stayed away from this topic on my blog, mostly because I've been afraid of what everyone might think of me if I spoke it. Then I got to thinking and realized that I am not going through anything that someone else hasn't already experienced. So I will share.

I thought I didn't know where my goalposts are. But I do. I just am not very sure about how to get there from here. Ever felt like that?

I can see my prize before me. I see it very clearly in my mind. Yet, I am frustrated because I feel like I don't have direction. I see the flag waving in the wind. I see the place where I'm going to be. But I don't know how to get there.

The path before me looks fuzzy and unclear. It's as though I'm looking through someone else's eyeglasses. The path is distorted. I can't see where the twists and turns are. I squint my eyes, thinking that will help me focus, but it doesn't.

I don't mean to be cryptic here. I just really need some direction. I feel like I am throwing things out, left and right, not knowing where they will land, or if they will land somewhere at all. I feel scattered. And I don't like that feeling.

January 27, 2006

Today

"In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently."
- Anthony Robbins


Last year I worked hard at releasing some of the many pounds I've gained over the last few years. I needed a change, to get healthier, to make better food choices, to live healthier. I found lots of inspiration in The Biggest Loser.

I was skeptical about this show when it originally came out. But with each episode, I gained some morself of hope, realization, understanding, inspiration, for my own journey. Watching people who were just like me, seeing their transformation, was amazing. When you see someone else struggling, climbing the same mountain you've been on a while, and you watch them work through their issues (the same ones you face, too), it gives you hope to keep moving forward.

The Biggest Loser is going into its third season. Right now they are airing a special edition, where families are going in together as a team to lose weight. When I watched the opening of the episode this week, something clicked inside me. It had nothing to do with the contestants. Nothing to do with weight-loss. The theme song they play at the beginning and end is what grabbed me:
"What have you done today to make you feel proud?"

That simple, single question within the song has gripped my heart and won't let go.

It is so easy--SO EASY!--to allow an entire day to slip by without being productive. I've been busy working a lot since the beginning of this year. Last week, though, we were all sick and I was miserable and lost a lot of time just because I didn't feel good.

Hearing that song the other night made me stop and think. And I've been asking myself that very question every day since: What have I done today to make me feel proud? Am I going to let each hour slip by without doing something that will make me feel proud of me today? What can I do? How can I make a difference?

Tell me, what have you done today to make you feel proud?

January 26, 2006

Whirlwind

This week has been a whirlwind--I can hardly believe it's Thursday! I've been pretty busy all week. Starting a new career is challenging, at best, and you really have to keep your nose to the grind if you're going to get somewhere, especially in this career.

Pardon me now, while I blow the dust off my blog...

January 24, 2006

The boy

"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees."
- Victor Hugo


"Do I have to pray out loud?" the boy asked his grandfather.

"No," the grandfather replied. "God hears you just the same if you pray inside your heart, as He does if you say your prayer aloud."

The boy chewed on this thought for a while. Then came time for family prayer. Each member took their turn, saying their prayer aloud. Last, came the boy. The family waited, expecting the air to remain silent.

You see, the boy, suffering through a traumatic situation, was broken inside. Beaten, bruised, battered. No, not physically. But then, rarely do people see the bruises on the inside, do they?

The boy was fragile, hanging on by a mere thread, grappling for some sign of hope in the middle of his awful situation. He needed God--wanted God--in his life, yet he couldn't understand why God would allow so many bad things to happen to him and his family. How could a God that was supposed to love him let this happen?

The family waited, each one silently praying in their own heart for the boy, for God to somehow help him through this trial that they all suffered through.

And then, somehow, somewhere deep inside, the boy found his words. "God, please help *Charlie. And please help me, God. Help me to be a good son..."



*Name changed

January 23, 2006

Busy week

I have lots to do this week. I'm hoping to hear from the editor at Super-Secret-Magazine today.In the event of a rejection, I'm forming another idea to send back to her. How exciting--the waiting!




(Warning: Rant forthcoming.)

Since Robert's homecoming, I have decompressed tremendously. The stress and pressure of worry and fear has been removed. And I will even admit that I stopped obsessively watching and reading news about the war in Iraq, simply because I didn't "have" to.

But there is something that sincerely disturbs me.

The entire world by now knows all about the "Brangelina" story (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie). The entertainment society is thrilled breathless about Brad and Angelina expecting their first child.

First of all, is it not disturbing to anyone else but me that Pitt blatantly had an extramarital affair with Jolie?? Secondly, and most importantly, how can the world get so consumed and excited about such a story, when there are much more important issues at hand? I know that we can't be serious all the time. But give me a break.

Pardon me while I scratch my head in wonder.

January 20, 2006

Book review: Leave It to Claire

Leave It to Claire is the best book I've read in a long time! I could not put down this book until I was finished.

Claire, a divorced, single mom of four, is a successfully published author of Christian romance novels. When the doctor breaks the news to her that she has carpel tunnel and must have surgery on both hands, Claire's world starts unravelling, one kid at a time.

Her mother moves away just before the surgery, leaving Claire to fend for herself (something she hasn't had to do in a while). Her children are distant, and her ex-husband's wife wants to become her best friend. It's all too much for Claire. Sitting at her desk, Claire grabs the closest piece of paper she can find (a Wal-Mart receipt) and creates a list--6 steps to a better life plan.

Claire is an unforgettable character. I related to her attitude and thoughts in many ways (and some in ways I didn't like). I felt as though I were Claire's closest girlfriend, as she related her story to me. I empathized, sympathized, disagreed, disliked, fought for, cheered for, shook my head at, and fell in love with Claire. Her snarky nature is funny and hard to resist. I can't wait for the next Claire book!

Tracey Bateman...YOU ROCK! Thank you for giving us this unforgettable character!

January 19, 2006

I hab a code

I feel so cruddy today. We have passed this horrible cold back and forth and it's come back to me now for the second time in 2 weeks. Only it's worse this time. So no wonderful words of wisdom or powerful prose today. No siree. This gal needs her R&R today.

January 18, 2006

Good

"I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become. Become the change you want to see - those are words I live by."
- Oprah Winfrey

Create your own destinyMy thoughts used to be filled with negative energy. I looked at every situation with an antagonistic approach. If it looked as though something good was going to happen to me, I'd think to myself, 'This is too good to be true,' or 'This would be great...but it will never happen.'

And it wouldn't.

Then I thought, 'See? I knew it would never happen for me!'

I lived like this for years. I couldn't see that I sabotaged myself with my negative thinking.

2005 changed me--in so many ways. I realize I keep saying that, but's it's so true. And this is just one of the many ways that I was changed. I realized that my thoughts created what was to become! When I finally came to this realization, it wasn't easy to stop this bad habit. I had to make a conscious effort to think positively about each situation.

Thinking positive is simply living by faith! I never made that correlation until last year. Living with negative thought processes, I lived contrary to the word of God. Even though I had great faith, I didn't truly live by it because I allowed the negative thoughts to control me.

Here are some scriptures, if you'd like to study this more:

  • Live by faith: Romans 1:17: "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."
  • Faith brings peace: Romans 5:1: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"
  • Confidence and joy: Romans 5:2: "Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory."
  • Live by faith: 2 Corinthians 5:7: "For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance."

What's even more amazing, and strengthens me when I feel my own faith waivering, is the faith of men and women of old:

  • By faith, Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)

  • By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

  • By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

  • By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8)

  • By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (Hebrews 11:9)

  • By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, (Hebrews 11:17)

  • By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. (Hebrews 11:20)

  • By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. (Hebrews 11:21)

  • By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. (Hebrews 11:22)

  • By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. (Hebrews 11:23)

  • By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; (Hebrews 11:24)

  • By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27)

  • By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. (Hebrews 11:29)

  • By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. (Hebrews 11:30)

  • By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. (Hebrews 11:31)


Live by faith today. Dwell on what is good. Today you have stand at a cross-road. The sign is blank. Fill it with faith. Pave your path with positive thoughts. Believe that which is good--for yourself and others.

January 16, 2006

Landon Snow and the Auctor's Riddle

The first few pages of this book took me back to my childhood. The public library that we used to frequent seemed huge and almost overwhelming to me, as a chid. It was filled with heads of wild game. The eyes of the huge moose head that hung at one end of the library seemed to watch every step I took.

Landon Snow is an inquisitive boy, full of life and loves adventure. Such fun it was to follow him in his magical adventure! Randy K. Mortenson delivers a wild and exciting venture into faith. You can be sure your children's minds are safe in this book.

Inspired

I had one of my infamous "aha!" moments during church last night. A friend, who serves on the mission field on the island of Tonga, has been home for a couple of weeks and was giving a presentation about her experiences. It was awesome just to hear her speaking, because her burden for the people on the island is so evident. And then it hit me.

Crystal always talked about going on the mission field. We've been friends for many years, and I can remember her talking about it from day one. I think a lot of people didn't believe she ever would (although I'm not really sure why). But when God places a call on your life, nobody can stop it or dispute it.

So as I listened to Crystal speak of revival, and her burden for young people, I was amazed at her strength. As a single woman, she deals with loneliness on many fronts. I am sure it is challenging to live in a foreign land when you have a mate with you. But being alone--well, I can only imagine. Yet, she perserveres, depending on God for strength and support.

The second thing that hit me is that she knew what her calling was, and the desire of her heart, and she never lost sight of that. It took years for her dream to come to fruition, but she never lost sight of it. And now, because of her obedience to God, she is living her dream--and the will of God.

In that moment, as I sat in church seeing this tranformed Crystal talk, I felt empowered. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. If I trust and believe in Him, nothing shall be impossible, because with Him, all things are possible.

January 14, 2006

Muscles

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks."
- Phillips Brooks


2005 was an extremely stressful year for me, to say the least. There were moments when I felt defeated. There were days I cried so much that my body felt completely drained and void of energy. I made it through long, sleepless nights with sick kids. And through other sleepless nights when I stayed up worrying and praying for Robert's safety.

I can't tell you how many times I felt weak. I felt so weak. I remember one particular Sunday morning when I broke down in the lady's restroom at church. A friend hugged me and held me while I poured my tears on her shoulders. When I told her I was weary and tired, she said foreign words to my ears, "You are so strong, Hope."

"No, I'm not," Snot dripped from my nose onto her pretty blouse.

"Yes, you are. You just don't know how strong you are. God knew you could handle this...that's why He's allowing you to go through this experience and not one of us."

She was so right. I couldn't see it then because I felt weak. But every one of those moments, those bone-crushing, heart-breaking, spirit-fracturing moments caused me to flex my muscles. It hurt. Oh, but did it ever hurt! But those moments forced me to flex my muscles. I was building strength and didn't even realize it.

Sometimes all we can pray is God help me through this trial. That's a powerful pray! Without saying it in so many words, you're actually asking God to help you build your muscles--not take the problem away. You're asking for help through, not around.

Building muscles is not easy. Exercise must be done over a period of time to create strong muscles. Just as this is so physically, it is in every other aspect of your life (spiritually, emotionally, etc.). If you don't use (exercise) your muscles, they become weak and flabby. Your "leg" gives out and you suddenly notice that you can't stand up without grabbing a chair for support.

Remember when you face a challenge that you have an opportunity to use your muscles. It will hurt. But you are creating a greater strength within yourself--strength you never had before. One day those muscles will bulge, and you'll flex them and feel no pain.

January 13, 2006

Praise Day

"Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people!
His love has taken over our lives; God's faithful
ways are eternal. Hallelujah!"

- Psalms 117:1-2 (The Message)


I just made an executive decision! Friday will be Praise Day here from now on. I receive a daily scripture via email, and when this one landed, it made me smile.

When was the last time you stopped and praised God like this? I must admit that there have been times when days, even months (gasp, choke) passed without a word of praise falling off my lips. It's so human to get wrapped up in the problems, instead of the praise, isn't it?!

I recently saw a sentence on the marquee of a nearby church and it has resonated in my mind ever since. It said:
Don't tell God how big your problems are: tell your problems how big your God is!


But we usually get wrapped up fussing at God, don't we? Soon after reading that sign, I faced a situation that troubled me. My first reaction, of course, was, 'Why, God?' But that thought came to a screeching halt when I remembered the church sign.

You know what I did? I stopped right were I was, stopped what I was doing and spoke aloud to my problem. Actually, I sang:
"My God is more than enough,
He can supply all my needs,
He is my El Shadi,
He always looks after me
Jehova Jirra,
He is my God!"


I sang myself right out of that problem.

And now, with every day that passes, even when the smallest of problems arise, I remind myself to boast of my God, and not the other way around. I am learning to flex my praise muscles!

Get your praise on--leave your praise in the comments!

January 12, 2006

Suckered

I attended my very first ever PTO meeting Tuesday night. The first graders put on a special little presentation around the "100" theme. It was the 100th day of school, and they talked about how things were 100 years ago. All the kids dressed like 100-year-old people. It was cute to see the little boogers walking around with canes, glasses on the tips of their noses, and powder sprinkled in their hair. That was the highlight of the meeting, of course. I never have enjoyed "clubs" per se. The whole, "Let's come to order" and "Is there any new business" thing never has appealed to me. I guess I'm a bad moma for saying so, but there you have it. ;)

January 10, 2006

Prayer

I found this and thought I'd share:
Printable Prayer Planner

January 09, 2006

Procrastination

"Every calling is great when greatly pursued."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


As a writer, persistence is of utmost importance to me. It's way too easy to get wrapped up in procrastination. And let me tell you folks, procrastination is ugly, ugly, UGLY! Because when I postpone or delay things needlessly, I get lazy.

Procrastination makes my writing stale and stinky. Actually, procrastination causes me to not form any words at all; so it would be safe to say procrastination prevents me from writing, period.

I know what I've been called to do. But as the quote above states, my calling is only great when greatly pursued. If I'm filled with laziness and refuse to get up and move daily, how great is my calling then? It's not...because it's just sitting there, waiting to be used.

I said all that to say...2006 is going to be the year of NO PROCRASTINATING. There's no time to waste. No time to allow fear to control me.

And speaking of fear, I heard/read something the other day that has resonated within me ever since: Fear is the opposite of love. So let us keep this in mind the next time we begin to feel fear. Let's love ourselves out of the hole of fear, back into the arms of reality.

Here's to a most fabulous, productive, loving week for the both of us!

January 07, 2006

Promising future

My first week of the year was excellent--how about yours?

While I didn't work hardly as much as I'd planned, I spent lots of good, quality time with my family. You can't beat that with a stick.

Emily returned to school on Wednesday. Elijah walked around like a lost little puppy dog. He didn't know what to do with himself. Between you and me, I am enjoying the quiet time (no fussing between kids about him being in her room and why he shouldn't be and what he's doing and why can't I get him out?)

Robert decided to return to work on Monday morning. He said he's getting bored just sitting around the house. I can understand. My husband is not one to sit and do nothing. I had my doubts when he originally told me he wanted to go back to work on February 1st. I didn't think he'd sit around here that long doing "nothing." *wink* That's one thing you can say about Robert--he's a hard worker. He won't let his family go without. Nobody can accuse him of being lazy.

Since Rob decided it's back to the grind Monday, I am determined to get back on a work schedule myself. I have lots to do and I am resolute in building a solid foundation for my freelancing. My first week was a good one, but if I work hard each week--each day--I will get this ball rolling much quicker. So this weekend I'm going to set some goals for next week, flesh out an idea or two, and get ready to start marketing on Monday.

January 05, 2006

Trusting in Him

Robert and I are doing something we've never done before, at least not this way. (I'm not trying to be secretive, but I won't share the details just yet. Once we're past the process I'll give more info.) This process is scary, yet exciting. It's nerve-wracking, yet causes us to be hopeful and look to the future.

It's so much simpler to trust God in the good times, isn't it?! When it comes right down to it though, you have to have a relationship with God.

God isn't a last resort. He is our pillar of strength, through all of life's circumstances--good and bad. If we can't rely on Him and praise Him through the good times, can we, or should we, really expect Him to hold us up during the bad? Yet He does.

We must trust in God. Regardless.

I feel like my faith muscles have been exercised tremendously over the last year-and-a-half. They're not bulging yet, but I've got some pretty strong muscles. I feel like I have been tested and tried at every point. And while I felt weak and helpless then, I know I have come through the fire stronger than ever.

So now I test my faith in God. I have hope. I believe what He promised. And I know that no matter the end result, God's hand is on my life. And that is my greatest desire. To know Him. To follow Him. To trust Him. No matter what.

"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see."
- Hebrews 11:1

January 04, 2006

Hope

"Hope is wanting something so eagerly that--in spite of all the evidence that you're not going to get it--you go right on wanting it."
- Norman Vincent Peale


What a beautiful quote! How often and easily do we lose all hope? Watch a child who wants a snazzy new toy. She hopes beyond all hope for it. She talks incessantly about it. She will drive her parents crazy hoping for it.

Where does that hope go? How do we, as adults, lose that hope?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Aha! Faith is the heart and soul, the very essence of hope. When our faith begins to dwindle, we lose hope!

Faith is the assurance, of the things we hope for. It's the invisible deed to the things we hope for. Faith is the proof of the things we can't see. Faith gives us conviction, or strong belief, of the reality of those things we hope for, but cannot see. Faith causes our senses to become aware of those things that we don't see, and believe them, as though they were.

Without faith, we can't hope.

With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27)

January 03, 2006

First Acceptance of the year

I just received my first letter of acceptance for 2006. I'm gonna frame this baby. *wink*

It couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time, either. I needed this today. I had planned on a BANG start yesterday, but that didn't happen. I woke up feeling horrible with sinus/allergy crud and ended up sleeping the last part of the day after taking meds.

Anyway, back to the acceptance. I am taking this as a good sign. I have told Robert a hudnred times that I truly believe in my heart that 2006 is the year for us. What a way to start it off!!

Go ME!

January 01, 2006

January 1, 2006

"So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late."
- Lido Anthony Iacocca


Wow! I sit in awe of how quickly 2005 passed. In some ways it felt like this year would never come to an end. And now that it has, I wonder where the time went. Isn't life funny that way?!

I look forward to this year. I have a good feeling deep, down inside. I don't know how to explain this feeling, except to say that I feel like 2006 is going to be a really great year for me, and for my family. I believe with all my heart that things are going to go up from here.

To be brutally honest, Robert and I have struggled through financial woes for about 7 years now. For the first time in a long time I feel positive, hopeful, peaceful about our future.

I laid a foundation for myself in 2005 without even realizing it. Today, January 1st, I reflect on 2005 with a smile. I learned so much, grew tremendously, and came into my own. I rediscovered myself and found an inner strength I never knew I possessed.

This is the first year I can look back and candidly say that I have no regrets. What a wonderful feeling this is! 2006 can only get better!