Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I am fickle

I am fickle.

I change my mind ... a lot.

I started out with a site on Weebly, Writethevision.net. It's still out there even though I sent them a message to take it down. I suppose it will always be out there in cyberspace.

Then I came here to blogspot. I called this site Write the Vision as well and used it for awhile until someone told me I should go to Wordpress. So I did.

Today, I noticed this site is still up as will. Are you counting? That makes two of me so far.

I went to Wordpress.com. The address for that site is treeparker.wordpress.com. The header is Finding my way to the God of truth and grace.

It's also still out there is cyberspace. That's three.

Then, I learned if I ever want to advertise my books and editing services on my website, it needed to be self-hosted on the Wordpress.org platform.

Last year I obtained the url RealGodRealPeople.com and exported everything from my other three blogs over there. That's four.

Somehow that first blog has had over 4500 page views. Really? Maybe I should have stayed there!

No, stop it you fickle person. Stay put.

I will stay where I am. No more hopping around. I've learned something interesting, though. I can redirect various urls to my site. That's the next step. I won't be able to redirect the blogspot or wordpress.com urls but I can do that with my original Writethevision.net.  Since that is the name I will be using for my editing and ghostwriting services, it makes a lot of sense.

And I will direct the url I have that is TeresaShieldParker.com to my current site.

So that's the saga. Four of me out there in cyberspace.

That's OK, I am woman. I can change my mind.

Come visit me over at www.RealGodRealPeople.com. There's a free gift waiting when you sign up for updates.

If you are following me over there, that's awesome. If not, come join me!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

How will you be remembered?

I wrote a story today but decided to wait to post it until later. For now, I've been processing the question, how do I want to be remembered?  What difference do I want to make in the years I have left on this earth?  What difference have I made so far?

I am not going to post answers to these questions right now. All answers I have seem to be cliche and something I've always heard.  One thing I know, I want to be remembered for being the unique person I am and for loving Jesus. Maybe nothing else matters.

How will you be remembered?  If you died today, what would people say about you? Morbid thoughts, no just thoughts to ponder.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Everything to Lose: #Trust30, Day 39

“Self-censorship is not just self-betrayal and self-abandonment (which would be bad enough), but soul-betrayal and betrayal of our Muse, our inner voice, our highest self.”
Too often we censor ourselves, our actions, and our work in hope or fear of what might happen if we otherwise don’t. What words would you write today, and what actions would you take, if you had nothing to fear, nothing to lose? (Tanner Christianson)

To be rid of self-censorship and soul-betrayal (which really means deceiving and leading myself astray) means the truth has to matter to me.  I have to believe truth is the only thing that is worth writing or taking action on. I have to believe that the truth will set me free.

The Truth, in the form the God-man Jesus Christ did set me free.  When I accepted His sacrifice on the cross, it paid the penalty for everything I have ever done or ever will do that has been or will be against God. It is so amazing to me that Jesus willingly laid down his life so that I, and you, and every person who accepts what He did can live eternally with Him.  I mean if we're going to live forever somewhere why not make it the best place possible, right?

I could keep this truth to myself. Being a follower of Christ isn't as popular as it once was. We've been called intolerant, narrow-minded, conservative. There are countries where individuals are killed for following Jesus. It could happen here.  In my book, there is much more I could lose by not telling you the truth than the end of my physical life. 

I know there are those who call themselves followers of Jesus who give the whole Christian-thing a bad name.  Ignore them.  This isn't about them. This is about you. You have everything to lose.

Here's the deal, I believe not telling you the truth about Jesus is the equivalent of blowing out the only candle that exists in a completely dark room. 

My soul is the candle.  The dark room is the world.  The truth? That's the match that lights the candle. What do I have to lose? I can l lose the match.

Frustation Thrown In Dry Gulch

Take one child, add water and, Presto, instant joy!
Ever get frustrated when you want to do something and there are people impeding your progress? Of course you don’t. I’m the only one who does!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite things is walking…in the water, not be confused with on the water!  I try to get my exercising and stretches done before 11 a.m.  That is my time to turn into a pumpkin. Not really. 

At 11 a.m. a major transformation does take place in the pool.  All kinds of little people and their mommies, daddies, grand mommies, babysitters, big brothers and sisters and you name it descend.  Where the pool has been a haven of adult peace and calm, after 11 a.m. it’s anybody’s game. 

Adults can be there and try to walk the lazy river but let’s just say there are obstacles.  The "obstacles" wear floaters and blow-up plastic inner tubes. They shriek and scream with sheer joy.  They dive for rings on the bottom of the pool and underneath your legs.

The pool itself gets into the swing of things with water shooting in arches above the lazy river and spouting from the sides of the pool.  I avoid all of this most mornings.

This morning I was just finishing my workout in time when that still, small voice, the one I normally can’t wait to hear, said, “Not time to leave yet.” I saw the obstacles waiting impatiently on the side of the pool ready to jump in, fathers holding them back. When the clock struck 11 a.m., water began spurting and all of sudden grew children.

I was in the midst of doing leg stretches so I could watch the phenomena take place. Instead of  a scowl on my face, I felt a grin begin to form. 

Babies in floaters dog paddled by to keep up with their five-year-old brothers while their mommies tried hard to keep up with them all. 

One mom was teaching her daughter to swim and clapping furiously at their attempts to swim out a few feet and back to the side of the pool.

Twin boys with Styrofoam noodles under their waists happened by, a mother and a father giving instruction in the fine art of floating, though how that happens with a flotation device attached, I don't know. I'm thinking they don't have their instructors' licenses. But they were all having fun.

A grandma walked by with a firm grasp on about an 18-month-old’s life vest while a girl of about 6 swam in and around them. Grandma and toddler laughed uproarishly as the six-year-old performed another trick. 

The spitting water, which I always hate to walk under, became an unending source of excitement as eight-and 10-year-olds ran quickly through on their trek around the lazy river. 

Joy was in abundant supply. I did not see one person with a frown on their face. Oh, I take that back. I did see one.  She was about my age. She came in about 10:55 a.m. and had just started walking the lazy river when the routine metamorphosis occurred.  She was not happy.  I smiled at her when she came by.  She rolled her eyes. 

I told myself, “Except for the grace of God there go I “.  Unfortunately, I have gone there on more occasions than I care to admit.  I thank God for the nudge of His Spirit today or I would have missed the fun.

By the way, I can’t find the above quote in scripture even though I’ve heard it all my life. And in thinking about it, it probably isn’t scriptural.  It presupposes that we are “special”.  We are but not to the exclusion of anyone else. Christ died for everyone.  We just happen to be the ones who accept and appropriate this the most extreme gift of all.

Proverbs 3:6 in the Message goes along much more with what I’m trying to say here:  “Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.” Because I listened today my frustration was thankfully thrown in Dry Gulch.

Tell me about a time when your frustration was derailed by a gentle nudge of the Spirit.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Worthwhile Day

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.”

What is one thing you can do that would make today worthwhile? What’s stopping you from getting started right now?  (Author: Jessica Dang)

I started this day reading the prompt and then went to my do my water walking exercise.  I determined that I was going to see the God in the little things today.  My eyes were opened to several spiritual truths in the midst of my day. How I walk with the current in the lazy river at the pool and love doing that.  I walk fast and furious for a good 30-45 minutes.

Others that walk against the flow do two laps and go sit in the hot tub.

I realize we do that a lot with life, make it a lot harder than it needs to be. God wants us to "have and enjoy life to the the full, til it overflows."  See my post titled "What makes you happy" for more on this topic.

I also decided I was going to take care of myself better today and I did. I ate real food instead of just relying on protein shakes.  I felt better and I know I got better nutrition.

I also blogged on wordpress and on here but have decided I like blogspot a little better, at least for now.  (If I could just figure out how to ditch these infernal ads!)

I also determined that I need not follow a pre-determined scheme for writing devotionals.  What is a devotional besides a spiritual insight gained from everyday life?  I need to communicate that in my style not in some set way that various publishers say is a devotional format.

Everything I determined to incorporate into my day goes along with who I am and desire to be: A whole happy healthy woman of God encouraging other to discern truth in a powerful way.  And that's a WOW for today!

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy? What helps you enjoy life to the full, till it overflows?* What ways do you anesthesize pain in your life and pretend that all is well? In what ways do you resist God?

I don't know much but one thing I do know, it's is in the everydayness of life that aha moments happen.

Ladies walking a "lazy river" in a different community from mine.
This morning, I was doing one of my favorite things: walking the "lazy river" at the pool in our local rec center.  I go with the current, though.  Never against.  My knees (which are still recovering after a double knee replacement surgery 11 months ago) don't like resistance.

My daughter will tell you I can't walk straight on land where there is supposedly no resistance. Only God knows how I would walk against the current flow. With the flow, I'm dynamite!

This morning, I was watching several people get in the pool, come over to the lazy river and walk against the current.  What I took note of today was that they only walk one maybe two laps and then go sit in the hot tub. They do this every day.  But today, I noticed.
It was like God tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Did you see that?"  I'm not sure of the entire spiritual significance of what I saw. 

Here's what came to my mind immediately.  Sometimes we as people just make life too difficult.  We struggle and try to figure out something to help us not feel all the emotional ups and downs, some way to anesthesize not only pain, but even joy, lest it overwhelm us and make us believe we are not worthy of feeling so good.  You know all the stuff we try: alcohol, chemical addiction, prescription drugs, sex, pornography, food, chocolate, gossip, diet soda. OK, I know I could have gone all day without adding those last few.

In reality God is all about our good.  He desires our best even more than we do.  He says that He came that we might "have and enjoy life... to the full, till it overflows."*  In that same passage he tells us that the thief comes to wreak havoc in our lives.  I believe the "thief" uses our own desires to capture us and "steal, kill and destroy"* what God intended for us all along.

A lot of people today really resist submitting to anyone or anything, much less a Higher Power.  They will go to great measures to fill their life with everything else. The things they add weigh them down until they can't go another step.  It could be as easy, though. It could be as easy as going with the current, the wind of the Spirit of God.

Submitting may be disconcerting to some. But when that Higher Power loves you so much that He died for you that makes all the difference in the world.  And, He didn’t leave it at that. He rose again demonstrating He has power even over death. Even over our spiritually and emotionally dead souls.

I submit, then, that going any other direction, doesn’t make sense.  Does it?

Go with the flow.  Follow Jesus.

In what ways have you tried to resist and go against His current? How has that worked or not worked? Share your comments here or on facebook. Take a moment and become a follower of this blog. Click on the Networked blogs link on the right sidebar.

* John 10:10, Amplified Bible

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who are you?

In one sentence, who are you? (Author: Elizabeth Presson)

I am a whole, healthy, happy woman of God encouraging others to discern truth and apply it in a powerful way.

I do view life as a puzzle of sorts with many, many pieces being added each day.  There was a time when I only had pieces and none of them seemed to fit. A wonderful organization called Freedom Seminars was instrumental in helping me process through the pieces of my life and find the real me.

If not for Russ and Pat Hardesty and the awesome experience of Roots and Wings and Flight, I might still be sitting on the floor with a million-piece puzzle wondering how it all fits. 

Now, when I realize I've discovered a new piece I am eager to see how and where it fits. I'm even willing to wait to find out and just enjoy the discovery of the new piece.  Because the parts of the picture that have been completed are much more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed, hoped or imagined.

I'm living life and more abundant and most of it is in the way I look at and willingly take time to contemplate the picture of my life.

The Picture of My Life

There it is
My life in pieces
Laid out for all to see
The good, the bad
The depressing, the uplifting
There are pieces I dare not touch
They can suck me in
Take me places I don't want to go.
Then there are pieces, moments like the soft feel of a baby
Brand new. untainted. loved. cherished.
First grins. First steps. First time to say no.
For her, for him, My prayer is that the pieces fit.

Hard to see the awe-inspiring
Nature of the picture my life is becoming.
Easy to not try. not stretch. not reach. ignore growth.
Just exist.
Life is more than breathing in and breathing out.
Life is living, sharing your gifts, making good and bad decisions.
Life is pieces
of the puzzle that you embrace
even when you don't know where they fit.

Who I am was created by him
who uses earth as a place to rest his tired and weary feet.
It is as familiar to him as my living room is to me.
I am not only known by him, I am family.
He knows how the pieces fit.
When he sees me, he see the glorious nature of the completed puzzle.
Me, I only see in part, in pieces, fuzzy almost irrecognizable shapes.
They are beyond my comprehension now.
There will be a time, though,
I will know completely,
and the puzzle will make sense.
revealing the picture of my life.

Click below for more information about Freedom Seminars including Roots and Wings and Flight.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The right word

If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.    Proverbs 15:32 NLT

A freshman journalism major at Oklahoma Baptist University, I was convinced my professor, John Parrish, thought I was a horrible writer.

I was making Bs in his news writing class but every assignment came back with red ink all over it.  I knew enough about journalism to know that when things appear in print they should be close to perfection. Mine was far from it. I always had the wrong word, its instead of it's, and so on.

I was further convinced of my despicableness as a writer because a friend of mine and I would always get the same grade but she would not have a red mark anywhere.

My other love was Bible classes or as it was called at OBU, religion. So I decided to change my major. Only one problem.  I needed Mr. Parrish’s signature to do that. Frankly, he intimidated me more than a little.

In his office I didn’t speak but just shoved the request for change across his desk. 

“Why do you want to change majors?” he asked in soft, almost fatherly voice.

“I…I figure I am a horrible writer. I…I figure you must think so too.”

“Why do you think I think so?”

“You bleed all over my papers.  Julie gets the same grade and you don’t even make a mark on her paper.”

There was silence in the room. Finally, he spoke again.“Teresa, I take time to make suggestions on your paper because I know you have a gift and you will do something with it. If I didn’t think so I would not take the time to help you become the best. I doubt Julie will even be back next year.” He was right, of course. Julie did not come back after that year. 

It was perhaps the best lesson I learned in college. It has followed me throughout my life.  

Soloman was imparting this same wisdom in Proverbs 15:2.  The person who learns to listen to instruction, correction, even criticism, is the one who wants to improve.  They are the better for the time someone took to invest in them.

Correction, it's the right word. So, thanks Mr. Parrish for spilling a little editor’s red blood for me.  I am certainly the better for it. 

Number 1 Passion

What is your #1 passion in life?  Now, imagine what would happen if you incorporated that passion into your life daily.  Write down your passion and keep it close to you.  Remind yourself of it daily, just like brushing your teeth.  (Author: Eric Handler) 
When I was in junior high, my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Jean Graebner turned me on to writing.  She encouraged me, fueled the passion by giving me a job as features editor on the West Junior High Sword and Shield staff.  I remember loving to write stories before then but no one really encouraged the desire like she did.
It was because of her encouragement that I took journalism in high school and became editorial editor of the Purple and Gold.  One of my teachers there was Mrs. Kay Henry.  She only taught at Hickman for one year and was only there for me, I’m sure.  It was because of her that I attended Oklahoma Baptist University and received a journalism scholarship.
From there I spent 31 years as a journalist, editor and publisher.  In 2006, I exited the changing publishing scene to concentrate on a totally different business.  But writing continued to tug and pull at me. 
This last month, due to some encouragement from a good friend, Russ Hardesty, I took the 30-day writing challenge from the #Trust30 site.  It has once again lit the passion inside.  I hadn’t totally abandoned writing. I’d written articles for several different organizations but I hadn’t been doing the every day work of writing.
Now I can say with confidence that one of my passions is writing.
The dictionary defines passion as “any powerful or compelling emotion.”  I believe that whatever generates the Number 1 powerful and compelling emotion in your life will be something that permeates all of your life.  It will be something or Someone that you don't have remind yourself about.  It will be as natural as breathing.

Your passion should also be something others don't have to guess about.  I know for many years one of my main passions was eating. At 200 pounds heavier than I am now, anyone could look at me and tell that food was one of my passions.

Most who know me would also say that one of my passions was writing. Because, that's right you know the drill now, writers write.  And I wrote and enjoyed it so much that there were many times, such as right now, that I didn't get paid for it.

As much as I love writing, I know there is a force outside of me that compels me forward in whatever I write.  I know there is Someone greater who has given me talents and gifts I cannot ignore.

In reality, my passion since seven years of age is to know and feel the smile of God on my life.  That overwhelming desire permeates every part of my life, every moment, everything I do.

He is what I get up for in the morning.  He keeps me going through the day. He is the reason I run a business to help provide for my family.  He is the reason I stop and talk to someone.  He is the reason I want to get my health in order. He is the reason I love. He is the reason I write.

As Travis Cottrell sings, “Jesus my passion is You”.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Got Energy?

“In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light” (Gen. 1:1-3 Amplified Bible).

Jaron "waiting" for lunch.
I’m jealous of Jaron.  At almost three, he is a fireball of energy, a force to be reckoned with. Boundless energy oozes out of every pore.  His grandma, Linda, gets her workout for the month whenever he spends the night. 

Energy Is Limitless
Jaron is curious about everything, how it feels to be up on stage at church, why the big fans go around on the ceiling in the restaurant, who’s sitting on the other side of the booth, what’s underneath the table. He constantly moving.  Sit still has little meaning to him unless it means he will get something to eat, which of course fuels him for more…energy.

One definition of energy is “the capacity for vigorous activity.”1 Jaron has this down pat. I am jealous of his youth, his endless capacity and boundless curiosity, the awesome things I know his energy will accomplish in his lifetime. 

I would like the physical energy it takes for that unending motion. A few health issues slow me down in that area. Perhaps that’s why I love mornings when I can go to our local activity center and do my exercises in the water.  I can do more in the water than I can do on land. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The world belongs to the energetic.”  I have to admit that does make me a little angry.  I mean I know the world belongs to the young and vivacious.  However, I am determined to have my slice of the pie despite or maybe because of the fact that I have some limitations.

Energy Can Be Focused
Energy by its very definition seems to be limitless.  But energy that is not harnessed is no good at all.  If you’ve ever driven through Kansas on I-70, you can’t miss the huge windmill farm in the western part of the state.

Although Kansas is just getting into wind power, it has the most potential second in the U.S. only to Texas. Kansas could generate  “3,900 TW·h of electricity each year which represents nearly all the electricity generated from coal, natural gas and nuclear combined in the United States in 2008.” 2  Currently Kansas produces about 1,000 MW.

New wind fields are being built there every day. Kansas is coming into it’s own as a part of the renewable energy force in the U.S.   

The Kansas wind farms are like a grown-up Jaron.  Linda can focus Jaron's energetic capacity. For instance during the winter when a foot of snow fell overnight, a path for the dogs to get out of the house and off the deck needed to be cleared.

It was up to Linda to get the task done. Jaron was there and wanted to help. He shoveled along with her.  He had fun and didn’t even realize it was work. Maybe a wind field needs to be named after my little friend.

Energy Is Creative
When God created the world, the energy intrinsic to Him made it happen.  “In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” 3

What is this but making something out of nothing?  What does that take?  It takes energy, vigrorous activity focused in one direction.  It took the Spirit of God moving to make it happen.

When God created mankind, He breathed that same creative spirit of life into us.4   We have a God-given capacity for the energy to create something out of nothing.  To me that is a mind-blowing, astounding, more than I can think or imagine fact. 

Jesus, you know the guy that healed cripples, made blind see, raised the dead to life, said we have the capacity to do even greater things that He did.5

Greater things, really? What could be greater than that? Maybe, just maybe, it lies in doing what we are destined to do even if that means being a mother or grandmother, painting a masterpiece, being the CEO of a large corporation or shoveling snow off the deck. 

In each instance, we have the capacity for bringing life through the creative power of resurrecting dead, unproductive, stymied lives.

Take one more look at the Genesis passage.  God actually created energy when He said, “Let there be light.”3  It tells us earlier that the earth was an empty waste. Nothing was happening because there was no energy.

God said let there be luminous, radiant energy.6 And there was.  That’s a WOW in my book.

Energy Is Boundless
There is another definition of energy, though.  That is “forcefulness of expression or a writing style abounding with energy.”7  When I write, I get in a zone.  I need quiet. I need the office door closed.  I need the phone on silent. I need no one to interrupt me with problems.

I need my brain to be singularly focused on the project I’m working on. I turn off the other writing ideas because inevitably they seep in and steal the energy for the current story.

Time flies by. I can forget appointments and anything else going on in the world.  I suppose the house could burn down and I’d still be writing about how it feels to be in a house that is on fire.  This is where my energy resides.  

It is boundless in that it does not need physical strength and outlives endurance. I usually have to go to bed by 10 pm unless I am writing. Then I can stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. Or I can go to bed and wake up at 3 a.m. and go back to writing.

I know I am using some of the energy God placed within me.  A focused energy determined to make a difference in a few lives; determined to live out my destiny.

Right now, I can’t run at top speed from the time I get up until I go to bed.  I don’t have the capacity to generate electricity for half of the United States. But I do have the ability, the energy for writing.  Writing fuels me and I fuel the writing.  It is a renewable source. 

I’m sure if Jaron could understand that, he’d be pretty jealous.

What fuels you? What do you do that you lose total track of all time and are frustrated when you have to stop and take care of necessities of life, like eating and sleeping?

1 Dictionary.com, “Energy, definition 1.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/energy
2 Wikipedia, Wind Power in United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_United_States
Genesis 1:1-3, Amplified Bible.
4  Genesis 2:7, Amplified Bible.
5  John 14:12, Amplified Bible.
Dictionary.com, “Light, definition 1.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/light
Dictionary.com, “Energy, definition 7.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/energy

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A New Watch

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Matthew 24;42, 44 (NIV)

I need a new watch.  I have one I really like but the band is broken and it is the kind of cheap watch you can’t buy a band for.  I can’t find another like it. I have one that is very pretty but is too large on my wrist. This bothers me. When I want to find out the time, I have to pull it down where it has risen on my forearm and turn it around.  Too much hassle. I want a watch that I can glance at and tell the time.  A watch is supposed to do it’s job, help you know what time it is.

I sort of have a problem with Matthew 42-44. First it tells me to watch for the Lord and then it tells me I won’t have a clue about what time to expect Him.  I like having a general idea of when company is coming, especially Someone as important as the King of the Universe.  In this case, though, a watch, any watch, isn’t going to do me much good.

Why then did Jesus tell His disciples to watch and be ready for His return, as it is recorded in three of the gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21)?  I think it’s kind of like an aunt who drops by every so often when she is in town. I never really know when she’s coming but I sure don’t want my house to be a mess if she does come by.  So I have my house, or at least the front room, presentable every day.  That way if she comes, I’m ready.

I can do a similar thing to be ready for when the Lord comes back.  I can read and know His Word. I can write it on my heart by incorporating it in my everyday life.  I don’t have to stand gazing toward the Eastern sky every day.  The watch I will keep is on my own life. That way, I will be ready, expectant, excited whenever He does comes. For He will surely come.

My pastor, John Battaglia, summed it up in a sermon he preached today: “Read and know The Book.  There will be a day when we cannot find the Bible text.  It will need to be written on our hearts. You have to be ready.  You don't know when He's coming.”

Hey, maybe that means I don’t need a new watch!

What would you be?

If a year from now you weren’t in the profession you’re currently in, what would you be in your wildest dreams? (Author: Ryan Allis)
That’s easy. I would be the author of a best-selling spiritually-oriented self-help book.  Something that really made a difference in the culture, in the everyday lives of people.  I would be writing full-time.  Ideas would be flowing freely.  I would be doing the work and making a living from it. Along with that I would be speaking to groups and sharing ideas that make a difference.

My actual job where I make a living is something that is easy for me. I run a small group home for a couple mentally challenged young ladies. I really cannot forsee stopping that. But if I were a best-selling author, I could hire someone I trusted (not just anyone, but someone I know and I know loves them).  This way I could work without interruption on books and books and more books.  Because I know they are in me. I have known this for a long time.

This is a wild dream because I realize how few people attain this goal.  But, Hey, you asked and I answered.

In the meantime I will continue to do the work I know I’m supposed to do.  I will continue to write. I will continue to post. I will do the work.

 What would you be? Come on dream with me.  Send it to me in a comment here or on facebook.

By the way, life purpose coaching is a great resource to help you get further along in reaching your goals.  I coach women using a great book called 10 Conversations on Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton. Are you interested?  Let me know.  I have a few openings.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blogging 101

I'm taking a course. Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks or so I hope.  It's called, Blogging 101. I've been trying my hand at a post a day for the last month through a great site called #Trust30 that provides writing prompts based on quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It actually got me to writing again consistently, doing the work I should have been doing long ago.  I was a little apprehensive when day 30 approached.  Would I be able to continue writing a post a day if no one was giving me a prompt?

I felt that still, small voice tell me that I could do it, just write a devotional a day.  I've always wanted to write devotionals but I've been too afraid to try. Something about feeling like I wouldn't be doing it right. However, I realized right is only in the eyes of the publishers who aren't really paying that much anyway.  Since I'm publishing things on my blog, I guess I'm the publisher.

If and when I decide to send in a devotional message to be published by another, I'll have to figure out what they are saying and do it or face rejection.  So, don't tell me the devotionals are too long. I know they are.  I'll work on that.

Meantime, as I'm publishing a devotional a day, #Trust30 is still sending out writing prompts. So this was day 33, I think. Anyway, this is my third, count it, third post of the day. Why? I'm getting around to that. Last night I read in our information for the first week of class that the more important aspect of blogging is not your followers but the number of page views per day and per month.

I had seen these stats before the writing prompts and they were very dismal. So last night I set a goal of 50 page views per month. Today, just for kicks I went to look at the number. Imagine my surprise when yesterday's page views were 49, almost what my goal is for the whole month!  My page views for the month are over 1,000.

I guess that means someone is looking. Don't know if you read or not, but at least you are looking. realize if I'm posting more, it gives people more to read or at least look at.

So, give a blogger a break, why not?  Post in some fashion either by a facebook like or comment or a post on one of the groups I post in and let me know you read what I wrote and either you hated it, you liked it, it was OK, you never want to read another post, keep them coming or something.  It does help. Really it does.

Bullies, banana peels and bellylaughs

“Bullies brandish their swords, pull back on their bows with a flourish. They’re out to beat up on the harmless, or mug that nice man out walking his dog. A banana peel lands them flat on their faces slapstick figures in a moral circus.” Psalm 37:14-15, The Message

It was a great idea, so Lisa and I thought, to get a nice vase of flowers for our fourth grade teacher who was leaving at semester.  We figured out what  roses, her favorite flower, would cost.  We decided if we collected 50 cents from most of the kids in the classroom we could afford it. 

We divided up the class and talked to each member on the playground. Everyone was in, or so we thought.

Two of the popular kids said they were in but they didn’t like the fact that two very unpopular kids were in charge. 

“Look, you guys don’t know what you’re doing,” Henry said to us on the playground.  “Audrey and I will take over the collection.”

“Yeah, you are just too stupid to know how to do this right,” Audrey chimed in.

“We know what we’re doing,” Lisa said in our defense.  “We’ve planned it all so far.”

“Her favorite flower is the rose and we want to get her a vase of roses,” I explained.

“Potted plants are always nicer,” Audrey scoffed.  “You don’t even know how to dress right. How could you know what kind of flowers to get her?  Definitely, a potted plant.”

They ran off talking hurriedly to each class member.  We knew we were sunk. They were the popular kids, after all. By the end of recess those who told us they would be bringing us money the next day backed out.

We were crushed. What were we to do with the little amount we had collected so far?  We didn’t have rich parents like the others did. We couldn’t make up the difference.  Hence, we did the next best thing, we cried.

Coming in from recess, the teacher questioned us and slowly the truth of the matter came out.  We cried even more because now she knew. She dried our tears and told us she was proud of us. She asked us to go the bathroom and wash our faces.

We’re not sure what she said to the class but the next day, all of the kids who had initially agreed with our plan gave us their money, except Henry and Audrey. Some even gave us more.

We had enough to get a nice vase of roses and a corsage.  The other two brought in a single pot with a marigold in it.

There are those who want their way in all things, no matter what.  They are the bullies of the world.  If you drive a car, you see them every day when you are going just a tad under the speed limit.  They give you looks and gestures that could kill, then honk, swearve around you, cut back in front of you quickly, gun their engines and take off at least 20 miles over the speed limit.

Of course, we don’t wish evil on those who seem bent on doing the wrong thing. But don’t these verses come to mind when down the road, you see them pulled over by a highway patrolman?

At that point, it does make the frustrations of the moment before seem to fade in a long and hearty time of laughter.  I can just picture God up in heaven joining in with a big belly laugh of His own.

Complete: #Trust30, Day 33

Writing Prompt:  Find something that happened on the day and date you were born. Write about it.

Daddy and me.
My mother hummed softly,
My father sighed delightly.
In a dimly lit hospital room above a main street store
In Fayette, Missouri,
My grandmother took me in her arms and
Would not let go
For fear my mother would drop me,
Or not feed me or not change my diaper.
My grandmother made sure.
Papaw tipped his Sunday hat and kissed me
On the cheek.
He would hold me later.
When everyone else had their turn.

An Elvis-style teenager put a ring on my little finger
And called me his princess.
I snuggled in a warm Chrysalis
Of love and support.
I had arrived.

Operation Big Switch started.
Prisoners of the Korean War
Repatriated to their homes.
21 American chose to stay.
Loving women they found
They were complete there.
They were not complete here.
People died on this day.
An 89-year-old Texas Ranger who killed bad guys
And then lived a peaceful life with his wife and five children.

It was 89 degrees.
No air conditioning.
People stayed out of the heat.
Near the fans
Lest they, too, be overcome.
People were born on this day, a special woman with Spina Bifida,
A man who would become a fire chief captain.
My friend, Diane, from first grade.

The importance of this day, though,
Is me.
Mark it down.
Why does Google not know?
Untainted by the world
And things to come.
Abuse. Neglect. Choices.
That comes.

I am.
I exist.
I am whole.
I am complete.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Legacy

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and His righteousness with their children's childrenwith those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.   —Psalms 103:17-18 (NIV)
My father's college graduation in 1956.  Yes, that's me in the pinafore.
My father didn’t have the best of childhoods.  The son of a hired farm hand, he and his four brothers and sister lived in various old farmhouses, some not much better than a shed, on others’ land.  Although a good man, my grandfather had one major life problem. He was an alcoholic.
When my father was very young, there was never enough money to feed the entire family and so he and several of his brothers lived with families in the community and worked for their room and board. He was never a good student in school probably because he was inconsistent and never had time to study or those to help him learn.
When he was 14, he took a bus to California to live with a family friend who kept writing and inviting his mother to come to “Sunny California.” Cecil and his family took Dad in and gave him something he didn’t expect. They introduced him to the reality of the Holy Spirit. 
Dad had become a Christian at the age of 9 but had not really understood all the ins and outs. Face it, he really hadn’t had consistent role models.  At Cecil’s church, he actively participated in the young people’s group.  God used Cecil and the group to fan the flame that had been started years before.  This son of an alcoholic dedicated his life to the ministry.
With barely an eighth grade education, he determined he would go to college to study for the ministry. The first stop on the plan included enlisting in the Marines and then going to college on the G.I. bill.  At age 17 he headed to Korea as a tank driver and chaplain’s assistant.
He eloped with my mom toward the end of his tour of duty. After the Marines, my mom, who had a year of college to her credit and always very good in English, helped him get through Bible school.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Central Bible College in 1956.
Never a full-time pastor of a church, he was a part-time pastor, interim pastor, fill-in preacher and friend to pastors.  To take care of his family which included three children, he worked for over 30 years at the University of Missouri as a steamfitter and foreman. 
My dad started the legacy of blessing in our family.  He saw what he didn’t want, namely the life and problems his father had created.  He could have spent his life angry and blaming others. Instead, he set about to obtain what he wanted—a better life for our family in all aspects, physically, mentally, spiritually.
The first in his family to obtain a bachelor’s degree, my brother was the first in our family to obtain a master’s degree.  My nephew graduated last year with his bachelor’s and recently got married. He has worked in churches and his dream is to go into ministry.
Yesterday, on what would have been my dad’s 80th birthday, my daughter left on a month trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam to teach English to middle school and high school students. My dad, whom the kids called Poppy, was dancing a jig with Jesus. I’m sure of it.
Each of my father’s six grandchildren have committed their lives to Christ.  I don't think that would be any surprise to Dad. I think he knew years ago when he focused his life on what makes a difference that his children and his children’s children would turn out to be those of whom he could be proud.
What about you?  What blessing have you started for your family, your friends or those you run into each day?  It’s never too late to begin. What your life is today is nobody else’s fault. It’s up to you. 

What do you want? Who are you blaming for not achieving that?
I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you.   —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Messy Hair: #Trust30, Day 30

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The writing prompt today was not a writing prompt, really, but an action prompt. Problem is I don’t believe it captured the essence of this quote from Emerson at all.

The prompt was to mess up your hair, were funny mismatched clothes and think about who you are trying to impress when you dress and look normal.  My hair is normally messy.  That's just the way I roll.  

I go to the gym every day to do water exercises.  I usually take a shower and "fix" my hair. There was this beautiful gray-haired lady who had her hair looking like it just came out of the beauty parlor.  I asked her what she used on it and it was normal hair spray, which I can't stand.  Hence my "look".  I'm guessing for me, the prompt would be to put every hair in place and spray it down.  Not happening.

From what I can tell, though, not one of the men mentioned by Emerson were into looking weird or different. But all of them were different by the standards of their own society. However, it was what was within them rather than how they looked that set them apart. Actually, it was what made them great.

All of them are credited with discoveries or theories or belief systems, such as heliocentric theory, Pythagorean Theorum, Socratic Method, Galilian telescope, the laws of motion, modern physical science, Protestantism and Christianity.

Every man mentioned did not set out to discover, invent, create or become founder of anything.  All were being who they were in the course of their normal life doing what they knew to do and being curious about something, investigating it and sharing it with others.

All of them received hostile criticism, most from the church that was in charge of society at the time.  They were laughed at, made fun of, doubted, totally misunderstood.  Some were put to death. Only One rose from the dead. It was not until after these men died that they were credited with being great. Jesus, of course, was finally seen as Savior of the World and God Incarnate.

I am not a god nor do I want to be.  My postulation, though, is that in order for me to be great, I must in the ordinary course of my day be interested enough to think differently from the established authority. I must be willing to challenge those in power with what I know to be true.

What I know to be true may go against the grain of my church or government, but I must do it if I am to be achieve what God has called me to be in my time here on his earth.

Herein lies the rub.  Do I really desire to be great?  To do so means I must fully be myself.  It is in being 100% who I am that any original thought, idea or plan is discovered and written. 

If nothing else, these 30 days have taught me that it is necessary for me to be myself.  I do not need to wear two different socks or mismatched clothes. That is not who I am.  But I do need to be my ordinary, extraordinary self. The best me I can be, messy hair and all.

This I will endeavor, with God's help, to do.

What about you?