Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Daniel and I get up anytime between 5:45 AM and 7:00 AM, depending on when we go to bed and how motivated we feel when we get up. We do actually end up getting up between 5:45 and 6:15 more often than not, which allows us to work out for half an hour and spend some time in devotions before getting ready for work. While it can be difficult, it has also been freeing to rise so early, and comforting to let the peace of God take hold of our days before they even start. We use a bikeshare program, which allows us to take bikes for half an hour at a time and drop it off at other bike docks – we normally do yoga and calisthenics in the morning and then a bike ride in the evening.

This morning, however, we decided to get up at 5:45, without allowing ourselves to sleep in at all, and take a bike ride to the Jefferson Memorial and do our devotions there watching the sunrise above the Potomac. It’s about a half hour bike ride, so longer than our normal workout, but we thought it’d be a nice change of pace and get in our full workout in the morning rather than saving half of it for that night. And we actually did it, despite getting to bed at 1:00 AM (school is killer, FYI).

We rose without an issue other than keeping our eyes open, got on our bikes and headed out. I know I don’t talk about it that much but, despite my wish to move to Florida and/or Colorado at some point, living here is rather incredible. There is no way to describe what it is like to watch the Washington Monument appear and then reappear in front of you as you bike up and down hills on the trail. And then, as you go down one particular hill, and round the corner, you see the capital on the right side and the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial a little ahead to the right. Combine that with the Potomac at your side and a slowly lighting sky, and you feel rather like you are in a movie.

Until a bug or dirt or something flies into your eye and you spend the next half mile trying to rub it out without tipping over on your bike.

When we stopped for some water, Daniel used his flashlight but still couldn’t locate what was bothering me and no amount of water appeared to flush it out, so I continued to ride, blinking somewhat continuously until the wind dried out my eye enough that it temporarily didn’t bother me.

Once we reached the Jefferson Memorial, the bike dock was full, so we ended up going 10 minutes past that fully into DC to find another one, refreshed the time, and headed back to the Memorial itself, where we sat in front of it, right next to the Tidal Basin and watched the sun finish coming up as Daniel read out loud from Luke. Well, Daniel watched it – I closed my eyes and listened to him read. Which would have been so much more peaceful and picturesque if I hadn’t been closing my eyes just to try to work that piece of dirt out of it (ironically, he was reading from the passage that talks about taking care of the plank in your own eye before the speck in your brother’s eye). The bike dock was still full once we finished, so we biked back and paid the extra fee for the extra time we had them.

All in all, what sounded like it was going to be a peaceful and, if I may use the word again, picturesque, plan turned into life. Dirt, full bike docks, extra time, and ultimately late to work. But you know what? It is a good life. I love seeing the symbols of the free world around me as I exercise, and being able to do random things like devotions in front of one of them in the morning before work. And annoying little things like full bike docks and dirt in the eye shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying them and realizing how much God can bless you through the little things.

In case anyone is wondering, my eye stopped hurting about 4 hours later, and the eye doctor said it was fine – just irritated.

Picture below from previous bike ride:

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It has been  long couple months of travel. From May 25 to date, I have traveled to Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, New York, Minnesota, and Cleveland and have another trip to Orlando scheduled in 12 days. Needless to say, I am beginning to feel a little exhausted. Today, especially, having worked 23 hours in the last two days, I am feeling just plain weary as I try to work through 12 pages of meeting minutes, reports, documentation that has fallen behind due to my trips, and prepare for the next trip. Energy seeps out of me at every additional outing, however small. But, life goes on and I would rather try to enjoy it than live for a time when I can just sleep and not move for a week. Thank God for the staycation earlier this year, though. 🙂

I have not touched my writing since sending that simpering, weak romance out for people to review – and no one has said anything about it yet. Thankfully I’ve been too busy to dwell on that too much and when I do think about it, I rather easily convince myself that they are simply too busy to read it yet. I’ll give it another couple weeks and then send out follow-ups asking for feedback, dreading the response. But it is time to get back to it. I am sure some of my weariness is due to not having put a pen to paper and letting out some of my emotions in my stories. And my mind wanders back more and more to Picture of the Past. I am ready to be done with it – eager to be done with it – and more than that, almost looking forward to the rest of the process of tearing it apart to make it better.

There are so many stereotypes and lessons learned and suggestions and best practices for writers that, when one does enough research and reading on it, it is enough to make even a hardcore writer give up with hands in the air. I try to follow them – sometimes. I have yet to be able to complete a profile on a character – because I feel like I am still getting to know them myself while I write it. And, as you all know, I keep starting, stopping, and re-starting an alternate blog dedicated to writing, since that is what all the experts say to do to “make your social media footprint”. Have a blog dedicated to one subject. Keep your readers coming back. Keep a schedule. Make it something that benefits them. And on and on. Ugh. No wonder I can’t keep it up. It drains me just thinking about it. So, after talking it over with my friends, I have decided to give it up. I am going to throw caution and best practices to the wind and do what I want to do. I am going to just keep this blog, because this is the one I like. I like the server, I like the audience, I like being able to write about whatever I please in any format I please without worrying about making it beneficial for the reader.

So, instead of continuing my blog in blogger (Ha! Continuing – I don’t think I’ve touched it in months), I am going to break down some more of my shell – and post this link in my social media profiles for people to find if they so desire. Someday I may even advertise it. Maybe. But above all, I am going to enjoy myself. Because that is why I write in the first place. I love writing. And I write for myself and my God, not for my readers. Why should I keep a blog for my readers?

Although that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I feel when my posts get “likes”. So don’t stop. 😛

forget-all-the-rules-forget-about-being-published-write-for-yourself-and-celebrate-writing-quote-1

Read Full Post »

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.” Acts 13:22

I am reading in both 1 Samuel and Acts these days, specifically about David, whom God called a man after His own heart. I don’t know about you, but every single time I read one of those verses where God says David is a man after His own heart, I feel my own heart reaching out in yearning. It is instantly the cry of my own soul, Please, God, make me a woman after your own heart. Say that about me too.

What a wonderful thing that would be, wouldn’t it? To know God looks at you and says, “Now there is a woman after my own heart” or “There is a man after my own heart.” And you know the most miraculous thing about it? David wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t the first Jesus or anything – he made so many mistakes. Yet, his heart longed for God, followed God, was pure enough that God could still look at him, and say, Yes. He is a man after My own heart.

I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to want to be perfect. To want and aim to follow the path of righteousness. To learn and follow His commandments. To strive to be a woman after His own heart. Yes, God wants us to strive for perfection but He doesn’t demand it before loving us. He doesn’t look at us and say, no, you cannot possibly be someone after my own heart until you achieve it. He sees our attempts, our prayers, and yearnings, our striving. And it is good.

Praise God for His goodness, his perfection. His patience. And make me a woman after Your own heart.

“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which he Lord commanded thee.” 1 Samuel 13:13-14

Read Full Post »

I feel like I write these type of posts a lot, so if you still read them, either I am not alone in the world of figuring oneself out or you are really bored.

All of you who have been around awhile or read previous posts know that I am the type to constantly push myself. I always have a goal I am reaching for and always trying to arrange my life around those goals, working towards it. I think I’ve talked a few times before about discouragement and trying to figure out precisely what I want and all that. Well, one thing I don’t think I’ve really mentioned is my constant struggle for joy. Not to say I have been unhappy – I am quite happy- but you know that settled feeling in your soul that just says you are at peace, even if you are striving toward something? I haven’t had that except once in a great while in a very long time, and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I have, relatively speaking, a perfect life. It hasn’t always been this way, as anyone who knows my past can attest to – and some people see my life now and tell me that I deserve it after all I’ve been through – I know better than that. I deserve nothing and am therefore grateful that for some reason God has seen fit to give me such a good life right now. I am also under no misconceptions that it will last forever. Why, then, do I have such difficulty settling and enjoying this current life instead of constantly looking and striving forward as though I’m waiting for something more before I can really enjoy the life I’ve been given?

I worked between 10 and 14 hours every day Sunday – Tuesday this week on an exercise down in Florida. Consequently, I was able to take most of Wednesday to relax on the beach before working another 12 hour day on Thursday. I found myself looking out over the ocean in a contemplative mood on the very subject I mentioned above. So, I decided to go for a walk and talk it out with God. This time, however, I decided not to just concentrate on the writing aspect or the job aspect or whatever other aspect – I decided it was time to go through my life in detail with God to ferret out the reason for my inability to be joyful instead of impatient in my current status of life.

As tempting as it is, I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of the conversation – it was very minutia oriented, which, after all, turned out to be what I needed. God and I discussed what I thought I wanted out of life vs. what God wants out of my life, and then we talked through my writing life and whether I had the right point of view on it, my current job, why I wanted to go into Counterintelligence, and if I actually wanted to go into it, or if I just wanted the glory of saying I was a CI analyst, and where I was right now in life vs. where I thought I wanted to be.

Below are what I feel the conclusions of the conversation were:

  1. God may have a different plan for my life than I think He does and my being stuck on a certain career path could inhibit what He wants to do in my life. Though it is good to have goals in life, the issue comes in when you insist on those goals remaining the same.
  2. My thinking I cannot have a writing career unless I concentrate on it full-time is a product of fear and procrastination and assumes God cannot give me the capacity for more than one task at a time.
  3. It is possible – not for sure, but possible – that God gave me the desire to go into CI precisely to get me where I am today. I love my job, my company, my coworkers, and my job location – why am I so eager to move on? What happens if I concentrate on doing the best I can with where God currently has me instead of not giving it my all because I think it won’t get me where I think I want to go? God can use me in this current capacity and if I assume this isn’t where I need to be, I may miss what else He has planned for me.

Ultimately, and it can be difficult to put into words, but ultimately: Instead of striving forward constantly, I am making a goal to be happy where I am. I still have goals, but realize that God may have different goals for me. I am going to enjoy my current life and not feel guilty every time I am spending time with my husband instead of writing or feeling guilty for not working on writing an article because I don’t feel like it or not working on something CI related because I don’t want to. I am going to strive to be the best in my current capacity (which is, after all, a Senior Analyst, which is a huge part of what I wanted out of my career) and assume that, as He always does, God will clearly open a door when it is time for me to move on to something else He has planned for me. I am going to continue writing on a regular basis, but not feel guilty when I don’t have time for it because I am taking joy in the life God has currently granted me. I am going to assume that God will allow me to be published in His perfect timing, not mine.

Implementing the pattern of thought that it is not a sin for me to not constantly be doing something educational or working toward one of my goals has already done an incredible part in putting my heart at peace. Despite being sick, I enjoyed a very relaxing weekend at home with my husband, and read two books, without any guilty thoughts on needing to write or needing to practice Russian. I healed significantly faster than usual from my cold and did not wake up today with the thought that I didn’t want to go to work.

I want to be clear that I still think it is good and healthy to have goals you strive toward. The secret I am learning, with God’s help, is being at peace and joyful where you are while you work toward them, and being flexible enough to realize that God may direct those goals elsewhere and, for God, there is no time limit. He’ll bring you there when He knows you are ready.

We so often concentrate on the trials aspect of Philippians 4 and being content. For some of us, it is in times of plenty that we get lost.

Philippians 4:6-7, 12-13

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. . .  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Read Full Post »

Cruises and books

 

So, I am not going to use the excuse “busy” for not having written in awhile. Frankly, I simply kept forgetting and then, when I did remember, other things took priority. Which is how it should be, right? Life takes priority over internet?

We went on our (almost) annual cruise end of March and this time we took my parents with us. My parents have not been on a vacation together since their honeymoon, 32 years ago. They certainly have never been on a cruise. It was so much fun to watch their faces as we brought them around the ship and showed them all the different things they could do, see, and, especially, eat. It took my mom awhile to really realize she could order anything she wanted on the menu without paying for it. And after that, she drove the wait staff crazy. I was a little embarrassed, not going to lie, but totally worth it for her to have a dream vacation. My dad couldn’t leave the stateroom that much, due to his disability, but still said he had the best time of his life. My younger sister and her husband were with us as well, which was fun. All in all, however, it resulted in not much down time, cruise ship or not.  So I did not get nearly as much on my book done as I wished.

I have, however, gone on two work trips since, and worked steadily on editing PoP during those airplane rides. I would have gotten much further had I not decided to re-write most of the first part, which resulted in my currently only being on page 40 of about 120. The important thing, however, is that I am steadily working on it. I promised one of my friends, I would send her the edited portion on the 30th to review – I was supposed to send her the entire edited boo, but that is not going to happen. However, the promise did its job, which was to get me going on editing and now whenever I am at work, I find myself just contemplating how much I could be working on my book instead . . .

Speaking of work, I actually do have projects to get done, so will leave this update at that.

Read Full Post »

I have been avoiding writing a New Year’s post. Why, you ask? I think a majority of you can already guess the why. I have been thinking back to last year’s goals and how I didn’t meet a single one of them and wondering why I try to make goals at all and feeling like a complete and utter failure. No, I didn’t finish my book, lose any weight, or make money writing. What exactly did I do with the last year?

Well, I traveled – a lot! – for work. I . . . didn’t GAIN weight, even if I didn’t lose it – and that is a first for me in several years. I wrote half of a different book, even if I didn’t finish the one I was working on yet. I wrote a lot more regularly, and it isn’t nearly as forced as it was at the start of last year. I have mentioned my love of writing to at least 5 people, which is 5 more than I have told in probably 10 years. And I realized that I don’t really care if I make money writing. I just want to write what I want to write. And I got several articles (granted, very non-fiction) published for my work. Does company/government publications count? I have decided they do. At least to an extent. It is far more than I have done in a long time.

So, after much deliberation, I have decided that although I met none of my goals last year, I TOOK STEPS toward meeting them, which, again, is more than I can say for previous years. So, I am going to chance it yet again:

  1. Lose 20 pounds (yes, I am making my goal less than last time. Trying to be more realistic here, people – stop judging me.)
  2. Finish the first draft of at least ONE of my books (no, I am not going to say which one, because I am going to write whatever I want to write, and I am cutting out the editing part because I already know how long that is going to take)
  3. Submit something for publication at least once every two months (yes, I am being easy on myself. And Writer’s Digest contests count.)
  4. Have a rudimentary knowledge of Russian by the end of the year (I did when I graduated and completely let it slip – so there is no reason I can’t have a basic knowledge of the language again in a year, right?)

I feel like I am letting myself off easy this year. But as most people know, there is always a secret hope that you will accomplish more than you set out to do. So I figure if I set my goals lower than I actually want, maybe I will actually reach them?

And my 15 minute break at work is up, so that is it for now! Breathe deeply with relief, everyone – you just barely missed an irrational outburst of the meaning behind goals, how I have changed over the past year(s), and who knows what else?

 

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »