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Archive for March, 2015

This quote makes me smile. And the picture. Well, really, the quote and the picture together make me smile with happiness.

take-time-to-do-what-makes-you-happy-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

And it makes me feel much less guilty for spending a majority of my time last night on my counted cross-stitching project, while watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones and completely ignoring the wreck of a house and dinner dishes around me. Sometimes I have to remember, and my husband does a good job reminding me, that life is more than work and keeping the house clean. It includes taking time to do things like cross-stitching – and writing – and staring randomly out the window while daydreaming. Also, I look at the picture that girl is painting and think – that is what I want to do! Except, I want to paint that picture using words.

And that is my random thought for today.

“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Is it just me or does anyone else find themselves, during quiet times, thinking back over their lives, dwelling on the various times they made mistakes, said something stupid, did something stupid, or, worse, got in trouble for something? This is a particular weakness of mine. I will be minding my own business, and randomly, my brain calls back to my memory some painful or embarrassing time/moment that makes me squirm with discomfort – That time a senior student told me I needed to place more of a priority on a project I was working on for her. That time I was 7 years old and didn’t stop my friend from lying to her mother about whether or not we had eaten breakfast – and – even worse – went along with the lie. That time I asked my now-husband-then-friend to the school’s Sadie Hawkin’s dance after saying that I didn’t think girls should ask guys to dances because they would feel compelled to say yes, and, as he told me later, sure enough, he just didn’t know how to say no. And the most horrible memory of all – that time I didn’t pay the rent on time because I was out of a job and the landlord (a friend’s father) got angry with me and “uninvited me” to their party for July 4th. I was the only girl in our group of friends who didn’t get to go.

Yes, every single misstep or mistake I made in my life is branded in my memory, and no matter how young I was or how well-intentioned I was, I still shudder and get a churning stomach when I think of them. Apparently there are people who can forget their mistakes. And/Or, ask God to forgive them, and move on. I am not one of those. Whether or not I think God has forgiven me, I have a terrible time forgiving myself. I have to be careful not to wander in the past too long, because I get very downhearted and ashamed of all the stumbles, small or large, I have made in my life.

Those quotes about how failure is a precursor to success? My brain agrees, and even understands. The rest of me, however, just crumples up into a tiny ball at failure.

I have been feeling more and more convicted lately that it is time to move on. That I have to stop living in the past and look forward to the future, to learning and moving on. That I actually have to take God serious when He says He forgives me, and when Isaiah 43:18-19 says “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” When I delve into past missteps, I tend to find myself living as though whatever I was thinking about was a recent mistake, that I can’t do anything right and might as well not even try, and as long as I just stick to myself and never talk, maybe I will never say or do anything stupid again.

Another verse I find very encouraging, yet hard to put into practice, is Philippians 3:13b – 14: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So, as I find it more and more impressed in myself to let go of the past, during the frequent times I find my mind recalled to a past mistake, whether or not related to something I am currently working on, I have begun to pray that God would take it from me, that He would help me forgive myself and move on, that I stop dwelling on the past.

I think it will improve quality of life – and I don’t believe God ever intended us to let the past keep us from pressing on and moving up – that is why He offers forgiveness. Living in the past is a dangerous habit. I can attest from experience, dwelling on the past beyond learning from your mistakes can prevent you from doing your best in other portions of your life – fear of failure is a powerful force that can weigh you down instead of causing you to put your all in something. And worst of all, it can cause depression where there is no need for it – because if you have learned from a mistake and moved on, you should be rejoicing that you have another building block on your road to success. How’s that for preaching to myself? 😛

Anyway, those are just my random thoughts on living in the past, while I face yet another issue in my life that God is graciously working with me on.

you-past-mistakes-are-meant-to-guide-you-not-define-you

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So, I was looking at comics about introverts – because – let’s face it, there are some hysterical ones out there. Plus it comforts me to know that there are people who understand how I feel, like, ALL the time. But I ran into one that I found particularly hysterical today, though a large part of me feels I probably shouldn’t find it so funny. Nonetheless, I had to share it.

 

How to Kill an Introvert

How to Kill an Introvert

 

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So, this “Winning Writers” site keeps emailing me about their humor poetry contest. And emphasizing the fact that it is free to enter, with $1,000 first prize. At first I dismissed it. I don’t really do humor well – in person or in writing. The only person who truly finds me amusing is my husband – and I have reason to believe he is biased. I am more of a heartfelt, serious, kill people off and make readers cry kind of writer. But as they continued to send me emails emphasizing the fact that this contest was free, I thought about it more and more – what harm could it do to try writing a humorous poem? So I began to run ideas through my head, to no avail. So I googled humorous poems – and thought everything I read was stupid. So I looked at past poetry winners in the humor category, and thought those were even stupider – and realized, I should stick with what I know. At least for now. Or until I develop a sense of humor that coordinates with what editors apparently think is humorous. Besides, I have this odd, old-fashioned notion that poetry should rhyme. But apparently that is no longer a thing. So, this drawn out post is simply to let those people who are interested know that Winning Writers is hosting a humorous poetry contest, and I think it is a good excuse for you to stretch yourself and submit that poem you have always secretly thought was brilliant. And no, I am not getting paid in any form to give you the link. I am just being a good, fellow writer, who is always on the lookout for opportunities and minor steps to take toward being published and assumes there are others who do the same thing. Link below. 🙂

https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/wergle-flomp-humor-poetry-contest-free

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Like a lot of Americans, I suspect, I have difficulties making the most of my time. It is just so easy to plop on the couch after work, think to myself, I’ve worked hard today earning a paycheck, I deserve to sit here and watch a movie or Dick Van Dyke, or otherwise do nothing productive unless I have to. This attitude is suicide for my writing career/plans, since evening is really the only time I have to write, unless I want to get up super early, which is next to impossible for a night owl like me. But evening is also the only time for me to clean and decorate my house, cook food for both dinner and the next day, and spend time with friends (few as they are) and my husband. Not to mention working out, reading, cross-stitching, or the other myriad of things I either enjoy doing or want to enjoy doing. I am sorry, but 4 hours just is not enough time to fit everything in! (That assumes, inaccurately, that I go to bed at a reasonable time) So usually, instead, I get home, think of everything I either want to or should do, become overwhelmed, make dinner, and spend the rest of the evening on the couch doing none of it because I can’t decide on a priority. By the way, if any of you readers balance a home life (without kids) and a career and a passion for writing, feel free to share how you manage your time.

So, anyway, I realized recently, that with all of the travel I am going to be taking, I will have a lot of down time at airports and on flights and even time alone in the hotel room at night. Once I thought about it, I realized it was almost like God shouting at me – “Hey, look what I am doing for you! I am removing distractions, allowing you to get paid, and work on your writing at the same time!” Ooohhh. What more can a writer/introvert ask for than an hour to 3 hours on an airplane with headphones and writing supplies, and then complete solitude in a hotel room that night? Discipline, apparently. Until the realization of just how blessed I am to have this opportunity really hit me, I spent the time alone mostly watching TV – again.

But I am determined to make the most of my time for once. I just got back from a trip to Boston, and between the airplane and the hotel room, I wrote about 800 words in my book (terribly ill-written, but written nonetheless), almost caught up on my Writer’s Digest magazines, caught up on my email/facebook messages, and even had a little time for reading. I turned the tv on a couple times, and forced myself to turn it off soon after.  I didn’t do as well on the return flight, mostly because I had a middle seat and didn’t like the idea of my seatmates watching me try to type or write a sappy story. So I read instead. But still! I call that improvement! And I am going to continue to work to discipline myself and make the most of the time God has given me.

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Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

This verse – 2 Corinthians 12:7 has always stuck with me. I have often wondered, along with all the Bible scholars, what “thorn” Paul struggled with, agreeing that is likely was something physical. It is a difficult verse for me, because I have this thought that if you ask God to take something from you, He loves you, so why wouldn’t he? Why did Paul have to struggle with something? I know, I know – because when you are weak, then you are strong. But, it is still difficult for me, and I think it is because I relate to it. Well, to an extent – I feel almost silly posting about this, because it is so mild compared to the health struggles of so many other people – other people have diabetes, cancer, or other horrible diseases – it could be so much worse! But for me, it is my teeth. I have always had terrible teeth.

And satan certainly knows my weakness because as soon as I start feeling a new pain, or am (for the third time) told I have 12 more cavities, after having brushed and flossed faithfully for the 6 months since I was last at the dentist, or whatever it may  be, my faith falters. Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but it is true – I cry out in both anger and fear to God, asking why I have yet another issue with my teeth.

For whatever reason, that is my biggest weak spot in my faith. So, you knew this was coming, I might need a root canal. The dentist won’t know for sure for a couple weeks, but it is quite possible since I have extreme sensitivity and pain in one of my teeth – one that already has a giant filling on it that is almost touching the nerve anyway. And, sure enough, my husband had to hold and comfort me as I became an emotional mess once I heard the possibility of a root canal. I instantly began wondering where God was when I needed him, and why I had to go through all this, and what the point was of taking care of my teeth if it didn’t work anyway, and how I was so close to being done with my invisalign trays and why did it happen now! And, as happens every time, this verse flashes through my head and I have this little fear/thought that this is my thorn in my side – my reminder that God is God, and I am human. That just because God is giving me a perfect life right now doesn’t mean it will always be perfect – there will always be struggles. It continues to be a faith test for me.

Yet, God is so kind – even now, there is the possibility that it is just a stronger than usual reaction to my new invisalign trays – he won’t know for a couple weeks whether i actually need a root canal – and I continue to pray that I don’t – because, really, who wants a root canal? But at the same time, considering the instant distress and anger I went through when my tooth became unbearably painful, I hardly think I deserve such mercy from God. But I am thankful for it anyway. And, again, compared to what other people go through, it is such a minor thing – all things in perspective, right? I think that God occasionally puts my mouth through intense pain just to remind me. And all too often, I think only of the first part of the verse – that Paul had a thorn in his side that God chose not to remove, and I forget the second part. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

So my goal is to remember that part of the verse – no matter what happens with my teeth. And keep things in perspective. As my husband reminded me, I still have all my teeth (assuming crowns count) thanks to amazing modern technology -a hundred years ago, I would have been in dentures by now!

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I know I haven’t written in here in forever – well, forever compared to how much I was posting the previous several months. And I finally admitted to myself why. I am afraid. Of you! Yes, all you readers! I am more of an introvert than I thought, it seems – even talking on blogs that people might read scares me! I went to a church function last month specifically for women, and became so afraid of talking to people, that I sat by myself in the back and then hid in the bathroom waiting for my husband to pick me up while the other women milled around socializing and eating cupcakes. How sad is that? That is what comes of not making a new friend for the last seven years! But all that is besides the point I am about to make.

So, I got all excited when I started getting followers on my blog – I was like, how cool is that? People want to read what I have to say! 10 followers, 20, 30 . . . 40 . . . 45 . . . as the amount of followers grew, so did my fear. What if they didn’t like what I was writing? What if they judged what I said? Worst of all, what if they posted a negative comment that compelled me into . . . *whispers* arguing.  I am probably the least confrontational person you will ever meet. I do almost anything to avoid an argument. And, also, a lot of them joined when I was writing about NaNo – that means they probably only want to hear about writing stuff! So, maybe I should restrict my posts to writing? But that took away my inspiration to write in my blog at all – because – A Walk in the Forest is – about ME – about MY walk through the woods – as I meander this path they call life – and all the random obstacles in my way – both the beauty and the pitfalls of walking in a forest. I should be able to write about anything I want here – right? That is the beauty of a blog no one in my family knows about, and only a very few select friends!

Whenever I become so scared that I hide inside myself and refuse to do anything that might upset other people – even on my own blog – I start becoming lost inside myself again – and I do have opinions – contrary to common belief – strong opinions about things – and I shouldn’t be scared to write about them, right?

So here is the deal. I am going to outline exactly who I am and what I believe and then go back to posting whatever the heck I want on my blog, and this way at least you were forewarned. 🙂 You can post arguments on my blog if you want, but I probably will delete them because I hate arguing with people with a vengeance, and my blog is supposed to be a haven for me to come to so I can relax and vent in a safe environment.

  • I am an introvert who loves writing, read, cross-stitching, Jane Austen, all girly things, and my family.
  • I am a born again Christian, who believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and the only way to heaven is through Him.
  • I believe homosexuality is both a choice and a sin, just as adultery, fornication, stealing, and lying are. That being said, I have lesbian friends I love who know my beliefs in this area. I don’t judge people – I just don’t believe that what they are doing is right, just as I don’t believe people who live together before marriage are doing right.
  • I am an ultra-conservative Republican, who believes firmly in the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, parental rights, and small government. I do not believe in the right to kill your baby just because you weren’t ready to have one. I do not support President Obama, and every time I read about another executive action he pulls to get his way over that of the people, it makes me so mad I can’t see straight.
  • I am a passionate, but quiet person, and I have both career and writing goals. I want to be successful in my career so I can pay off my debts, invest, become independently wealthy, and settle down to writing sappy romances, which has always been my first love (besides God).
  • I have an inordinate fear of making any type of mistake (yes, that includes typos), of people not liking me or judging me, and of failure, and anytime one of those fears come true, my heart begins pounding like I am about to have a heart attack, I go into panic mode, and don’t come out of it until it is either resolved or my husband calms me down.
  • I feel insignificant next to almost anyone else and tend to assume everyone else is right and I am wrong in everything except my political and religious beliefs. Those I believe with deep tenacity and fervor.
  • I am a VERY boring person to hang out with, until I get comfortable with you, and then “it’s getting [her] to shut-up that’s the trick!”. (yes, I did just quote Shrek)
  • I am old fashioned at heart, and wistfully watch movies where the women get to walk around in beautiful, frilly dresses, hoops, bustles, those gorgeous hats, parasols . . . sigh . . . where have those days gone? Someday I will get enough courage up to join a reenactment or renaissance of some type so I have an excuse to wear an outfit like that. Or maybe someday I will wear one just because and never meet people’s eyes so that I don’t know they are judging me.
  • I love cooking and baking and making things look pretty and trying new recipes and having people over so that I can plate them really nicely. I hate hanging out with crowds of people, but love having parties as long as I can stay in the kitchen and make everything pretty.
  • Very random fact: I hate the taste and texture of onions in everything except bloomin’ onions and onion rings and hate the taste of all fresh fish, but love frozen fish sticks. How weird is that? I do adore seafood – specifically, crab, lobster, and shrimp – shrimp cocktail is my weakness.

There, I warned you I was going to tell you exactly who I am. All of that being said, you should know that I also believe in freedom of choice – that is, everyone has the right to choose what they believe – God gave us free will for a reason. I am not the type to shove my beliefs down someone’s throat – I simply believe. I may firmly believe that Christianity is the one and true way to heaven, and in Biblical values, but I also believe you have the right to decide if you believe that too. I am happy to talk to people who ask about my beliefs (in a non-argumentative way), and strive to ensure that my life emulates a Christ-like life so that people do ask – but whether or not you choose to believe is between you and God.

So, you are welcome to unfollow me if you like, but I am tired of being hidden inside my fears and scared to be who I am. I am not going to hide any longer. Well – at least I am going to try – it is hard to change a characteristic I have lived with my entire life.

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