Friday, July 29, 2016

Flashback Friday: Fasten Seatbelts, Please

**This post is a part of the new Flashback Friday series. Participants use the last Friday of each month to repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino at A Life Examined. This post from November 15, 2010 really struck a chord for me with how my life has been the past few months.**
Fasten Seatbelts, Please
 “Be still and know that I am God.” Those words from Psalm 46:10 have always made an impact in my life, and most of the time I never realized it. I can’t remember when I first learned that verse, but it has come back to me at many of the toughest points of my life. Over the past few years, the impact of those words and their meaning has impressed itself upon me. It usually happens when I start getting worked up and worried. I over-think everything going on in my life and start asking all those “why,” “how,” and “what if” questions. I finally drive myself to a state of total confusion and frustration, and that’s when God reminds me of His Word. He said, “Be still.” Calm down, breathe, let go of those anxious thoughts. And here’s the best part: “Know that I am God.” No matter what I’m going through, whatever is troubling me, God is there. He knows everything that is going on, and He is in control. Knowing that really does bring me back to a sense of peace and comfort. Here’s another way I look at it: I have no idea how to fly a plane. I could sit in the cockpit and mess with all the buttons and knobs, but I doubt I’d get anywhere without a real pilot in control. Life can be the same way sometimes. It’s better to sit back and enjoy the ride instead of trying to rush to the front of the plane and fly it myself at the first sign of turbulence. I just got to trust that my pilot (God) knows what He’s doing and I could really crash and burn if I try to take matters into my own hands.

            There are times when we become overwhelmed or fed up with the circumstances we’re in and frustration and worry begin to overthrow our emotional state. If we remain in this state of imbalance, where anger or depression rules, we can end up making rash decisions, saying things we don’t mean, or worse, becoming apathetic toward God. I’ve been there, and believe me, it is much better to capture these thoughts before they lead you down the road of depression and self-pity. So, with God’s help, I remind myself of the words He gave us to comfort us and bring us peace in the midst of trials. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about dealing with trials because the authors of those words had trials, fears, and worries just like us. Here are some other verses that have been particularly meaningful to me in times of trouble:

*"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
*"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
*“Cast all your cares (anxiety) on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
*“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6)
*“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Pets

            I don't know about you, but June seemed like it just disappeared and July isn't looking much better since we are already about half-way through the month. Wal-Mart put out it's back-to-school displays on July 2nd or 3rd, and I'm not currently going to school or teaching at a school and that sight still makes me feel squeamish! I'm still trying to work on that whole time/balance thing with work, church, writing, blogging, etc. and I have been absent from online communities a lot lately. I think I forgot how quick and busy summers can get! And the internet around the lake community I live in can get really slow at times, but thankfully it seems to be working ok at the moment. So maybe these pictures will upload quickly. Without further ado, here are some older pictures of my cats and some gone but not forgotten pets.

Kitty was fairly content as a solo cat
 But, she seemed happy to gain a new friend in Sawyer

Even though Sawyer was quite the mischief-maker!
This was Zoe playing with her favorite ball
I miss her so much!
These were Zazzles (black) and Link (orange), they were indoor/outdoor brothers who made a great addition to the clowder (group of cats) for a short time
And finally, here's Sophie as a kitten right after hearing the vacuum for the first time :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG: Encouraging Feedback

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writers 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. This month, the IWSG is starting something new by posing a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. I must say that I really like this new feature, because it is nice to have a prompt. The question for this month's posting is: What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

            My two best friends tell me they enjoy my devotional writings and they continue to encourage me to keep writing them. I hope she doesn’t mind that I’m sharing this, but I love this comment from one of my friends on a blog post from 2010. “Hahaha! I love it! I was following along, all whimsical-like, then that 'Focus.' just stopped me in my tracks. Wonderful words, beautiful message.” I also have a teenage “fan.” She is a fellow writer and was one of the handful of people who got to read the short story I wrote for the IWSG anthology contest. She has since approached me multiple times to say how much she liked it and ask how my current writing is going. It is both an encouragement and an accountability for my writing and I appreciate her enthusiasm. You know, it is hard to feel insecure about my writing this month after thinking about this question. A kind word of encouragement really does go a long way! It makes me think of a song Bing Crosby sings in White Christmas, which states, “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll go to sleep counting your blessings.” Just think of positive reviews and feedback as the blessings :)

            On a side note, I want to thank those who wished me a Happy Birthday on my Monday post! The last few days of Independence Day and birthday celebrations have been great and I hope to make some belated return visits soon, as things are getting back to normal.
Free stock image from

Monday, July 4, 2016

Question of the Month and Happy 4th of July!

            The Question of the Month is a bloghop that occurs the first Monday of each month and it is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. Michael posed a great question this month that I really enjoyed answering. It was fun to reminisce on my reading memories. Here it is:

“What was the first book (or book series) you really fell in love with?”

            As I thought back over my many years of reading good books, I would have to say the first book I really enjoyed was also one of the first chapter books I read and it ultimately helped me to learn to really love reading. It was actually the fifteenth book in The Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin titled Little Miss Stoneybrook ... and Dawn. I was probably around nine or ten years old and saw it at a used book store. My parents said I could pick out one book. Most of the books looked old, boring, and worn out to me since I still judged books by their covers at that time. But that book stood out because it was a little newer and it had a pink border and spine, which was my favorite color back then. Before reading it, I had never read a book from a series, so the fact that it was the fifteenth book made no difference to me. After I read it, I experienced that longing for more of the story. I have since experienced that longing many times in books I’ve read, but that time was special because it was my first encounter with the desire to read more! I begged my mom to sign me up for the Scholastic Babysitter’s Club monthly book club when I first found out about it at school and received and read the first twelve books in the series. I liked the stories because each of the main characters were unique with diverse backgrounds and they were near my age. They may have also planted the seed of an interest in working with children, which lead to my major in elementary and early childhood education in college. I remember I would curl up in the floor next to my nightlight to read the series after my parents shut the lights out for bedtime and read multiple chapters before finally climbing back into bed. It was the beginning stages of my night owl bookworm habits that still continue to this day :)

            In other news, Happy Independence Day to my American friends! My town did their fireworks Sunday night, and keeping to my night owl tendencies, I am finishing this post up and hoping the internet will be agreeable at this fairly late hour. I will probably be spending some time with friends and family today with Independence Day celebrations and tomorrow for my birthday, so I’m not sure if I will manage to squeeze any blog visits in before my IWSG post on Wednesday, but I will try to catch up later this week!
Happy Independence Day!
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