Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Snow, Snow, I Love it So!

                 I am grateful for the kind response to my previous post in comments here and on Facebook. I am glad I decided to share something personal because it helps me feel more of a connection with those who read it. Thank you! This time, I’m going to go with something a little more light-hearted. Let’s talk about snow!

                I’m going to start with a verse, because it fits so well with this story. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV) says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” It started with a small prayer I had on my heart when I first moved in to my new home in August 2019. I noticed the beautiful view I had from my bedroom window, and I imagined how beautiful the yard and view beyond would be if it was covered with snow. Those who know me pretty well, know that I love winter, snow, and all the wardrobe, cozy blankets, and hot cocoa that come with it. As that winter of 2019 to 2020 came and went, I prayed that it would snow and was a bit disappointed that all we got was a very light dusting in January. In fact, it had been years since my part of Oklahoma had received more than an inch or two at a time. December 2020 started off fairly mild, and I thought it would be another dry winter. My prediction proved to be quite wrong!

                On December 13, we got a beautiful, thick snow that covered my yard with the blanket of white that I hoped for. When it had all melted away by the 18th, I figured I wouldn’t be seeing much more until the next winter season. I was grateful for the “one time” winter wonderland and the answer to my little prayer. Yet again, I was mistaken! In mid-February, we experienced what many Oklahomans (and other states) have dubbed “snowmageddon”. After a couple days of light freezing rain and ice, we received multiple days of snowfall and sub-zero temperatures, which is not a common occurrence in this state. I was in a blissful winter heaven! Winter holds such marvelous beauty! Going back to my prayer for snow, God went, as the King James’ Version puts it, “exceedingly abundantly above” what I expected or imagined possible. This isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed that verse in action, but it certainly made a big impression on me this time. God continuously provides for the needs of His children, but He sees their wants as well. Sometimes, He blesses us with those moments that make us smile and remind us of the benefits of having a child-like faith. For those who are not huge fans of winter like myself, I’ll “try” not to pray so much next time :) In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a very small portion of my 2020/2021 winter photos. If you want to see more, check out my Instagram.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Remedy for a Broken Heart

                I have considered writing about this many times, but I usually change my mind. Part of me feels like no one will really care. Part of me feels that no one will really understand. Part of me believes that my pain should be kept to myself because I do not want it to be burden on anyone else. But maybe, there is someone out there who does care, someone who does understand, or someone who needs to hear about my heartache to help them realize they are not alone. So, that is why I have chosen to share this in such a public manner.

                Here’s the short summary of my story: In November 2018, I met a man. He swooped me off my feet with his smile and his kind words. We flirted, we had deep conversations, we hung out and played cards, and most importantly, we did devotionals and prayed together. He helped me get through my parents’ divorce. I treasured his companionship and his insights. He was everything I wanted. There is so much more, but I won’t go into all the details. Then, around February and March of last year, he started cutting me out of his life. He stopped the devotions, he stopped inviting me over for cards, he took away the key he gave me to his house, he stopped responding to most of my texts, and he would often give me the cold shoulder when we saw each other in person. The worst thing about all of this is that we were never officially in a relationship, so I guess he felt he had the right to take everything away with no explanation, no closure, nothing. It’s like he took me on this amazing trip, then abandoned me in the middle of the desert with no map and no water. It breaks my heart all over again just thinking about it.

                I’m not asking for sympathy. I know I’m not the first person to feel this pain. I’ve gone through all the stages of grief multiple times. I can’t really say that I’m angry with him for breaking my heart into a thousand pieces, I did offer it freely to someone who never made a commitment to me. Be careful who you give your heart to, it’s not something you can just take back without scars. That is one lesson I have learned through all this. But, there is a more important lesson.

                A lot happened over the last year: heartbreak, family issues, work issues, and Covid, among other worldwide events. Through it all, there has been one, and only one, constant in my life. That is Jesus Christ, my Savior. When literally all else seemed lost, He was there. When I was crying my eyes out, face down in the floor, He was there. When I felt as though I would never find hope on this earth again, He was there. This has given all new meaning to the word, Emmanuel, which we often hear around Christmas. God with us. God with me. I would not be able to get up and go without God’s presence in my life. Under the circumstances, I could never find peace and hope on my own, but He has truly granted a peace beyond understanding within me. Yes, I have my up and down days, but I will keep pressing on because I know that I am not alone.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Monday, February 1, 2021

Given a Second Chance

                I was once reading Isaiah 38 where King Hezekiah was praying and crying out to the Lord for his life. God granted his request. God had the prophet Isaiah tell Hezekiah that he would be given an additional 15 years of life, and God, in an act to show Hezekiah He meant what He said, made the sun go backwards! That story made me think of a similar situation in Les Misérables, where the priest gave Jean Valjean a second chance and Jean was shocked that anyone would help him at a moment when he thought he would be thrown back into prison. Hezekiah and Jean’s words are similar in their songs that follow these second chances. I know in these stories that the men were given a second chance after moral failures, but I think this concept could also apply to personal goals.

                We sometimes use a new year to start over. 2020 was a very difficult year for most of us. Plans canceled, dreams ruined, and goals unachieved made this last year feel rather disheartening. Now, as we enter into February, how many of us have already lost sight of our goals for the new year? Maybe circumstances outside of your control have hindered your plans once again, maybe you decided to ease into this year with caution, or perhaps you have procrastinated or failed to achieve what you hoped to over the last month. Regardless of the circumstances or the failures, you can always try again or set a new goal. Sometimes, you just need to take a different approach. I had spent years trying to sort through and organize my belongings, only to end up buried with stuff over and over again, until I discovered the KonMari method, which worked wonders for me. Also, when it comes to taking a different approach, sometimes something that works for another person will not work for you. That seems to be especially true with diets. We are all different, our bodies are different, and sometimes we may have to try and fail a few times before we find a method that works. The point is that you keep trying! If you are given an opportunity to make a positive change in your life like Hezekiah or Jean, make the most of it. As long as you are alive and breathing, God still has a purpose for your life. You can start over, you can try again, and you can keep working toward your goals. Don’t give up!

                I would like to welcome my returning followers and new readers back to my blog. I have given my blog a second chance and a new name. I had hoped to start posting early in January, but I suppose I should take a dose of my own advice and work on finding an approach that works better for me with my writing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Making a Comeback

Hello everyone, this is Elizabeth. It has been a while! First of all, I should let you know I have changed my blog name to Strength for the Journey. This blog was formerly known as Liz’s Random Ponderings. I changed the name because I felt it goes along better with where I am in life right now. I will be going back to the original roots of this blog and write about personal life lessons, words of encouragement, and devotional-style posts. I hope through this next phase in my journey that I can bring some encouragement and motivation in the midst of hard times. My first regular post is coming soon! I’m glad to finally be back!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

IWSG: Let It Go

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

Let me be honest for few minutes here. Aside from messages to friends, the only writings I have done lately have been prayers. They are usually passionate, sincere, and from the heart. I have edited and shared some of my prayers publically, but a lot of them are only between myself and God. That being said, I sometimes feel this guilt about not writing enough shareable content. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this is not something I should be feeling guilty about. There are different seasons in life, and I am not currently in a season to focus on my writing. I am finally ready to accept the fact that I am not and probably will not become a career writer. Writing will always be a part of my life, but it is not the center of my life.

Going through the KonMari process with my belongings has taught me that sometimes it is best to let something go. I guess my point is that I feel that it is time for me to stop blogging with the IWSG. I will remain in the IWSG Facebook group and I might still participate in some of the Instagram posts. I will also be taking a break from blogging for the summer, unless I come up with a story for the June WEP Challenge. It is hard to say goodbye, but it’s really only a “soft” goodbye. I would like to thank the members of this group (and other bloggers who are not in IWSG) for being supportive and kind to me, even in the times when I did not return your visits. I really enjoyed my experience with the IWSG, with the various types of writing that I tried out, and all the encouragement and advice. I still plan to utilize some of the writing methods I’ve learned through this group.

When I return, I plan to take this blog back to its roots. I started off with devotional posts and life lessons, and that is what I hope to start again. For the summer, if there are any updates on my writing, you can find them on my Facebook page. And if you want to keep up with some of my other life adventures, I check and post to my Instagram fairly regularly.

Thanks for all your support!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG: Slow and Steady

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

The question this month is: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? It’s not in a book (maybe it could become one someday), but there is a scene in my fantasy short story I occasionally dabble with. I have the scene building up to the climax, but I cannot seem to find a way I like to move from the climax to the conclusion. Ironically, it’s rather anticlimactic. I cannot tell if the excitement of the event died down too quickly, or if I drag out explanations too long before the end. If that bit would suddenly work itself out, that would be great!

In other news, I am still working through organizing my room. It has been a slow process because there were a lot of things going on during my days off last month. Hopefully, I will make some headway this month since I’m taking some extra time off. I did finish the first category in the KonMari Method, which is clothing. Around that time, I felt my creativity flowing, so I finally sat myself down at the computer to work on some writing, including a story I started for this month’s WEP. I cannot make any promises about getting it finished in time, but I do have that extra time off, so we’ll see.

Good luck to all the A to Z Challenge participants! I wish I could have participated this year, especially since it is the 10th anniversary, but I still need to work on getting my life more in order. Maybe next year!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: Slowly Making Progress

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

 Sorry about last month. I really thought I would find time to write a post during the week before I left, but I got caught up with over-packing and doing chores that needed to be done before I left. Then I copied down the monthly question and told myself I’d write a post during downtime, but, as is the case with most of my trips, downtime was used for resting.

Aside from experiencing a lot of cold and allergy symptoms since my return from New Mexico, February was a good month. I have been working through the KonMari Method with tidying up my stuff. It has been a slow-going process, but I’ve been seeing a little bit of progress as I make my surroundings more joyful and less cluttered. This process has really put a lot in perspective, and I find myself more thankful for what God has blessed me with. You may ask: What has this got to do with my writing? Quite a lot actually. All the clutter surrounding me has been one of the hindrances to my writing. As a person who likes to be organized, I felt so distracted and unable to concentrate when I tried to write. This is still a work in progress, but I have been thinking more about where I’m going with my writing. At this point, writing a novel is not my goal. I’ve enjoyed doing short stories and devotional writings, and I have a long list of ideas to utilize once my surroundings are more peaceful. It feels good to still be working toward the goal I made in January, which is to make more room for writing, and I’ve taken that quite literally!

Taos, New Mexico

Since I like this month’s optional question, I thought I’d give a quick answer. Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why? I enjoy writing from the hero’s perspective, because I like showing how good can overcome evil within a conflict. I think I also feel more comfortable writing from a perspective that I can relate to. I’ve never tried this, but I have considered writing as the villain in a story of redemption, like The Grinch or my personal favorite: Megamind (if you have not watched that animated movie, I highly recommend!).
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