Friday, January 27, 2017

Flashback Friday: A Mysterious Case of Spots

            **It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for Flashback Friday. Participants repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It was hosted by Michael G D'Agostino, but he has opted out. You can still find a list of previous and current participants on his blog. I skipped FF last month because of the holidays, but I still enjoy sharing my old posts. I almost feel as though I was a better writer five years ago than I am today. This post is from June 30, 2011. I think I need to take my own words to heart and slow down, cherish the small things, and get reacquainted with the pleasures of writing.**

A Mysterious Case of Spots
            You know, God really does work in mysterious ways sometimes, or at least amusing ways. The other day, I was in a rush all day long. I rushed to get ready for work, I rushed to work, I rushed at work, I rushed at lunch, I rushed home after work, and I rushed to get ready for a church camp meeting. As I was driving to the church camp, I glanced down at my knee to adjust my skirt and I saw these 3 big brown spots that weren’t there that morning. Being the worrywart that I am, all these crazy thoughts came rushing through my head: “What are those? Are they blood clots, have I been standing too much? Are they moles from being in the sun too long? Did I get blood blisters from running into something? What did I run into? That leg has been feeling kind of funny today, when was the last time I looked at it?” I said a prayer and hoped to God that it wasn’t anything serious. Well, those spots preoccupied my mind as the camp kids played games and sang songs, but I finally calmed down a little when the preacher started his sermon. As soon as I got home, I had to investigate those spots so I could determine my fate. I looked up and down my leg and found 2 more spots on the bottom of my foot. Then, I sat on my bed and pulled my knee close: “Hmm, those spots are raised, they must be moles…” I rubbed one and it started coming off, then it hit me…It was chocolate! In my rush between work and the camp service I had grabbed a half-melted energy bar and was eating it as I was changing. The melted chocolate had flaked off and got squished onto my skin. I am glad I didn’t ask anyone else for prayer that night, but I guess I did need prayer for my mental state.

            As funny and embarrassing to admit as that is, it really did make a few good points. First of all, I was reminded that I shouldn’t worry so much. Sadly, that is not the first time (and probably not the last) that I invented some horrendous scenarios in my head only to find that there was a perfectly reasonable explanation to my object of worry. When I was a teenager, I used to worry all the time if someone in my family was gone and got home late. I’ve imagined car accidents, fires, thieves, bridges collapsing, etc. and usually I would find out they just made an extra stop or there was a lot of traffic. I was reminded of Luke 12:25-26, which says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” In other words, worrying isn’t going to get me anywhere, so I might as well leave everything in God’s hands.

            Another thing those spots reminded me of is the need to slow down. The only reason I got them in the first place is because I was rushing around all day. I can still get things done without working myself up into a frenzy. Sometimes we just need to take a break, enjoy the scenery, and just savor the moment. I know I usually end up ignoring the most important things when I get too busy. I’m always trying to get everything done on my never-ending to-do list, and I can’t seem to give up even just 15 minutes for what really matters. I don’t leave enough time for prayer and Bible study, a phone call to my best friends, a chat with my mom, or even playing with my cats and dogs (they’re family too). Those are the things that my time should revolve around instead of meaningless repetitive tasks. I think of the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Jesus told Martha in verse 41-42: “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Mary chose to stop and listen to Jesus instead of trying to take care of all the busywork, and I guess I should take a time out once in while, too.

            Finally, I was reminded that sometimes something that looks bad is actually something good. I thought some chocolate was a disease. Circumstances can be the same way, they may seem bad as you’re going through them, but they can end up being blessings in disguise. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). So, the next time you’re feeling over-stressed, way too rushed, or worried beyond control: slow down, take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Dear Lord, please heal my chocolate!”

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: Just Keep Writing

            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. 

            Over the past few weeks, my motivation levels have flip flopped as much as the weather here in Oklahoma. I took a week of staycation in the middle of December which did not involve as much staying home as I’d hoped. I enjoyed some time with friends and family, though, so it was still a worthwhile time. When I was home, I had so many cleaning and organizing tasks to catch up on that I did not have much time to write. I guess taking time off is not necessarily the solution to my writing-time problem because my time gets booked up fast. I started the New Year feeling slightly motivated because I was off for the weekend and I felt refreshed and ready to start a daily writing session…then I went to work on Monday and all motivation was gone. I finally felt reenergized around 12:30 that night, which was terrible because I had work in the morning, so I had to stifle my creativity in order to wind myself down to go to sleep. Are there any other night owls out there who are forced to get up early for a day job? Add introversion and having to unwind after dealing with people all day and that is why I don’t have much energy to spare.
            Tuesday night, after another life-sucking day at work, I decided to find some New Year motivational articles to read and remind myself of the goals I would like to accomplish this year with my writing. Inspired by the articles in this month’s IWSG newsletter, I think my main goal for this year is to start a daily writing habit. Even if it is just a little bit of journaling, I need to write every single day. I know this will be a tough undertaking at first, but it will be rewarding once it becomes a regular part of my daily routine. I hope each of you find success in your goals for this year! Happy 2017!

Time to fill this notebook with stories!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Question of the Month: Growing Up

The Question of the Month is a bloghop that was started by Michael G D'Agostino and it occurs the first Monday of each month. Here is the question for January:
What was your “growing up” moment?
            For me, “growing up” was more of a series of moments rather than one particular time. It’s those moments when I reach a milestone and realize things may never be the same again. Driving alone for the first time, my first job at Subway, the first time I made a purchase over $100 with my own income, giving a speech at high school graduation, going to college and living in the dorms, going to Bible studies and church on my own, my first apartment and paying utility bills, graduating college and getting my teaching certificate, and those are just the moments that occurred around 10 or more years ago.
            Then there are the moments like seeing teenagers at the mall and calling them “kids”, coming across multiple phrases that younger people use that I don’t recognize, realizing (as I’m writing this) that this year will be my 10-year college reunion, but I veer off course because these are moments that make me feel old, not grown up.
            Honestly, I feel as though I still have a lot of “growing up” to do. There are many things I have not yet experienced, like getting married, having a baby, and buying a house, but I no longer believe those things make us adults. I know wives, parents, and homeowners who still feel as though they have no idea what they are doing. I think God uses all of our experiences in life to teach us and we never stop learning. Since learning is a part of growing and maturing, I feel as though there will always be room for more of these “growing up” moments.
Do you have a "growing up" moment? Do you ever have those moments of feeling "old"?
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