Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘devotions’

Having left off last time saying I was getting up at 4:45 AM and “happy” about it, I was thinking it was about time for an update, and a question from one of my friends accentuated the fact.

And the verdict is currently: I am still getting up at 4:45. And I am still at peace. Oh, there are moments – like last night, when I buried my head on Daniel’s shoulder and determinedly cried out that I didn’t want to get up at 4:45 because I wanted to stay up and watch another movie while (sort of) working on my book. Daniel just held me and reminded me that once we got up I would be happy for it and reminded me of my weight loss goals and – more especially – of the cruise we would be taking in a week, and I took a deep breath and reminded myself of my determination to look at it as a challenge, not an obstacle – and cleaned up and went to bed. And he was right; I woke up and, though it was hard, reminded myself that it takes actual work to get what I want – and after I actually did Calisthenics and was on my way to Starbucks to do devotions, I was happy I had forced my way through, as always.

So the long and short of it, it is going well. And I think, if only because of my purposeful integration of God-time into my schedule and my willingness to sacrifice my night-owledness, I might actually do it this year. I might actually meet my fitness goals. And, by default of a good schedule, might also meet some of my writing goals.

Speaking of which, I got a Scribbler box, which is – according to them – the only subscription box for Writers available. It was sooo much fun to unpack! But they had included what they called a writer’s challenge. And the challenge was to write down your writing goals for 2018 and then put it away somewhere to look at in December. And I wrote down the following goals:

  • Get something (anything!) published in Writer’s Digest (really, anything would count, but I figure with their numerous writing contests, they are the most likely candidate.
  • Finish Ethrill (I decided another 50,000 words ought to do it [I think], and did the calculations and realized if I wrote 220 words a day I could get to that by the end of the year no problem. I realized this last Monday. Want to know how many words I’ve written? None. I WILL catch up. I WILL!
  • Finish editing and submit God’s Masterpiece for publication (realizing it won’t be accepted, but at least can say I’ve submitted a book in my life)
  • I feel like there was a fourth bullet, but those are the only three I can remember offhand, so I must not care much about the fourth one.

My new calendar has a writing tracker calendar so I plan to use that to track Ethrill words – and catch up when I do thing like last week and avoid it because I’m afraid I won’t be able to think of what to write.

My husband came up with a great idea to help with this – he suggested I write a short story placed in Ethrill but having nothing to do with my current story to get to know my world better. I Love that idea. I always have the goal of writing a short story a week (because of that one quote that I will post at the bottom), but have only actually accomplished that – um – never. But maybe I’ll try again but this time make the short stories in Ethrill to acquaint myself with my own world. We’ll see.

Good luck all you writers as you try to meet your own goals!

111759-ray-bradbury-quote-write-a-short-story-every-week-it-s-not_kindlephoto-97025305

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Apparently my previous post was a little too sobering for anyone to read/like/comment on – which is fine – I am still glad I pushed away my fear of confrontation enough to bring it up. It’s what so many introverts/writers struggle with, isn’t it? That fear someone is going to attack you for your beliefs, standards, work, you-name-it.

Anyway, that actually isn’t what I’m writing about today. The day before yesterday I had an epiphany. Well, okay, maybe not an epiphany, but God talked to me about some stuff that has [hopefully] helped with  . . . well, me.  As anyone who has been reading my posts know, I started a new schedule in January (as I do basically every year of my life) to ensure I had time to work out and write and still have a little bit of an evening – it involved getting up at 5:00 AM. I have been having an awful time with it.

My body has been refusing to adjust to this new time frame. I can barely make myself go to bed early as I internally argue that I am a night owl, and it is ridiculous to go to bed at 9 or 9:30, and that is like when the peak of my energy often happens. Which results in little sleep as I very crankily rise at 5:00, and rush through calisthenics/stretches, getting dressed, doing my hair, putting on makeup, finishing assembling my stuff, and rush out the door to beat HOV hours, grabbing lunch and breakfast on the way and feeling generally very disorganized and extremely upset that I have to do this. I usually calm down around 6:15 as I sit down in Starbucks to do my devotions, have a fairly good day, and become cranky again around late afternoon as I realize I have to do it all again the next day.

I felt like I was SERIOUSLY living for weekends, and told myself over and over again I could get sleep then and that that is when I could live, and around Saturday evening, inevitably becoming depressed that the rush and lack of sleep would start again in less than 48 hours. And then thinking ahead to when the next vacation/day off might be that I could be on a “normal” schedule for a day or so.

It hit a peak on Wednesday. Having gotten started on calisthenics about 5 minutes too late, I didn’t have time to even do makeup, and as I walked out, I looked at Daniel and said, “I can’t keep doing this.” I knew I had to figure out something that wouldn’t make me dread every day of every week.

As I sat down to devotions about 25 minutes later, I had a hard time concentrating, the frustrations still welling up inside me overwhelmingly and the obvious suddenly occurred to me – this was NOT temporary. Not if I planned to remain in this job, keep early hours, and wanted to work out and write. I would be doing this for the foreseeable future, and my heart sank like a rock. I just couldn’t. I rather distractedly finished devotions and went to work halfheartedly.

Now, my work has a wellness program – you get points that translate to money if you do things that they consider good for you. One of those things is watching weekly short videos on how to improve your health and your life in general. I began this week’s video as I scanned my e-mails and thought about how I didn’t want to work – and that is when God decided to use a secular means to hit me with a 2×4. This video has nothing to do with Christian life or ethics, but as I listened to their “pep talk” on being healthier, they asked, “What are your excuses in life? It can be anything that might convince you not to work out or eat healthy.” And that is when it occurred to me. My excuse was that I am a night owl. Therefore I shouldn’t be forced to get up early. I should be able to stay up late all I want. As I reluctantly conceded this internally, they continued, something along the lines of (significantly summarized):

Change is not fun. It is not easy. It takes sacrifice and courage to keep going. If it was easy everyone would do it. What type of attitude/emotional reaction do you have to your challenges? Negative reactions will elicit [insert multiple bad physical reactions]. But when you look at something as a challenge instead of an obstacle, you have a different reaction – your hormones rise to the challenge and seek to overtake it. So instead of letting excuses and negative emotions get in your way, look at it as a challenge and rise to meet that challenge.

It was a lot longer than that, obviously, but that was the essence of it. And as they talked, I recalled the verses I am currently memorizing in Philippians 4. Whatsoever things are [honest, true, just, lovely, of good report] . . . think on these things. And I realized that the same thing they were trying to teach – that you should look at challenges in life as a positive instead of as obstacles to get frustrated with – was essentially what God teaches us to do as well. In the same chapter we are instructed to be content in any state of life. So at that moment, I decided to change my thought pattern. I would view my weight loss, writing, and working goals as challenges to achieve –  challenges I would have to work hard for, sacrifice for, and in general act like one of those heroes and heroines I love so much from books who always (somehow in a few paragraphs or pages!) overcome physical difficulties through sacrifice and striving.

I recalculated and realized I would only need to rise 15 minutes earlier (yes, 4:45 AM) to still accomplish all I wanted to, get  home in a timely manner, and not be rushed. So, VERY long story shortened-a-tiny-bit, I have implemented that, along with a more joyful attitude, since Thursday morning (yay! Two days!) and what an incredible difference it has made already. While it is has been difficult to go to sleep early because my body is so used to later hours, I haven’t been chafing inside at the need to do so, and, it is probably partially God’s strength, but getting up at that insanely early hour really hasn’t been bad. I’ve even been cheerful. And I have the appropriate amount of time I need to accomplish everything I need. And when I start to feel that familiar dread, I remind myself that it is a challenge I am trying to overcome, not an obstacle.

Now, I totally realize it has been all of 2 days and next week I could be right back where I was before – but I pray I am not. I pray I take this to heart, because I am pretty sure God is firm on having a good attitude, no matter the situation, and especially when you are trying to be wise with your time and health. Being happy or unhappy is a choice. My choice. And I choose joy.

Joy

 

 

Read Full Post »

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:

Read Full Post »