Saturday, August 17, 2013

Writing vs. Writing

I sat down this morning at my favorite coffee place, conveniently located less than 1/2 a mile from my front door. I unpacked my bag and laid everything out in front of me... not sure where God would lead. I did my assignments for the #StartExp for days 5 and 6 (since I rested yesterday), I wrote in my Grat Journal what I had missed actually writing on paper the past few days, I caught up on my Bible reading that I had fallen behind on for my read through the Bible in a year plan, and I wrote a blog post on my other blog: Faith vs. Feelings. I then looked at the rest of my stuff and thought, OK God - now what?

He led me to the writing guidelines I had printed out for the online magazine I am planning to submit an article to next month. I went to the online magazine and read a few articles, I looked at the guidelines, I read some more articles, I looked at the guidelines... and I repeated this several times. I thought I knew what I wanted to say. I was wrong.

Writing for my blog when I can just put my thoughts out there, tell my story, express my sorrow, share my process and journey - this is easy. This is what I have been doing for years.... even before blogging when I would journal with actual paper. In my blog posts I do seek to be cohesive and have a point in what I am saying, but now... NOW I am trying to write something that is to be considered for publication. This is different and I am finding myself very challenged. So what am I doing to try to figure it out... writing... yep, that's what I do to process.

I think one of the problems I'm having is that I have had SO much going on in my life in the past year or so and I feel like I have SO much I want to say. Trying to narrow it down to ONE thing... ONE point... ONE story is where my challenge lies right now. For now I am taking a break... going to spend some time just reading for enjoyment, NOT thinking about this deadline I placed in front of myself and NOT stressing about getting it done. I always did work best under pressure... maybe it won't really get nailed down until a week before my deadline. Maybe I won't finish it until the DAY I want to submit it... but for now I think I just need to relax, pray, live, and trust that God will guide me in what I am supposed to write about to submit for possible publication.

Trying not to think,


Friday, August 16, 2013

#Start ... NO - Stop...

Ever since Monday when day one of the #StartExp began I have felt like I've been on a rollercoaster and I was stuck on it... there was no getting off... I just kept going... up and down... around and around...

Today I had some things on my agenda to get done when God spoke quietly to my heart. "Stop" I thought to myself, did I just hear that correctly (no - it wasn't an audible voice, but I knew it was God speaking to my heart.) I realized I had been going and going and going... doing and doing and doing. All of a sudden in less than a week I had announced to the world (well, all those who read my blog or my Facebook/Twitter posts) that I am going to write a book... and submit an article for publication at the end of this 24 day #StartExp. I started up a whole new blog Too Broken for God? and changed my Twitter name to @TooBrokenForGod in an effort to sort of "brand" myself and get the message God's laid on my heart out there. I've been trying to keep up on the #StartAuthor and #StartBloggers pages on Facebook and my introvert self is on overload!!

So, this afternoon I turned off the music and just sat in silence for a little bit.

Sometimes the very best thing we can do is to Be. Still. I am tired tonight. I have little to no energy and just need to sleep. I didn't do today's #StartExp assignment but will do it tomorrow when I've had a chance to rest and rejuvenate. There's a time for everything - today was a day to rest and I'm OK with that!

Resting in Him,


#StartExp Day 3

I'm usually not one to get star struck... we are all just people... some have just gotten a break and are more well known. I am a follower of Jon Acuff - I've read.... well, skimmed a couple of his books, I read his blogs, follow him on Twitter. In one of his blogs last week he issued a challenge that you could sign up for. It was only available 24 hours and I signed up, not really knowing what I signed up for.... until I got the first assignment.

First step - identify a risk... my risk - admitting publicly I am going to write a book...

Then identify some actions steps. This was a little easier. I had spent the whole weekend working on my blogs, getting them copied and pasted and printed off so I could get a better handle on all the material. Another action: write/blog every day for the 24 day challenge.... again... pretty easy. Then... then... God nudged me... OK - He PUSHED me that one action would be to work on something to ACTUALLY SUBMIT for publication (an article) at the end of the 24 day challenge.

I tweeted Jon yesterday  and he actually tweeted my one of my blog posts and watching the views on that post rise was surreal. It went up about 150 in the first 15 minutes. As of this writing it is at 489. Before Jon's tweet it was at around 27. Some other posts have gotten a lot more views as well. So, while I am not "star struck" by Jon - I am thankful for his reach through social media and that he actually took the time to tweet me - I'm sure he gets thousands of tweets a day... the guy has over 177,000 followers... He is actually now following me on Twitter.... how crazy is that? (and extra bonus points for my younger big brother being jealous on that one!) ;-)

One of Jon's "mottos" which is on the cover of his book "Start" is "Punch fear in the face". I confess, I kind of begged the guy for to retweet me... I bombarded him a bit... and that was scary. I certainly didn't want to come across as some crazy lady... but it worked. The power of social media is amazing. Today's assignment was on fear... identifying your fears... I had plenty... failure being among them. The thing I realized today is that I will guarantee failure if I don't try. Not trying, not doing anything is actually failure. If I do something and it doesn't work then it isn't really a failure, it's more like I realize, "Huh... that didn't work, I'll try something else." or "Maybe I need to change my approach a little to make this work." By DOING something I won't fail... I will learn, I will grow, I will be a better me.

I got the idea for a new blog site. It's called "Not Too Broken for God" and can be found HERE along with my first post on that site.This blog started out as a marathon training blog and it morphed into something of my journey and process through healing and hurts. I realized that God doesn't want me to waste my pain - he wants me to share the hope I have found in Him. He laid it on my heart that a new blog would be the best place to do that. So I've been working on kind of "branding myself... here's the picture I came up with for my site:

I made this my background on my Twitter page and changed my Twitter handle to "Not2Broken4God" - it is my hope and prayer that those that might be out there feeling like they are too broken for God to heal will find hope in what I share through my journey.

For now... all I can say is WOW! Jon Acuff has turned my world kind of upside down. God has been leading me in some of this for a while, I just didn't know how it would pan out. Financially I can't afford seminars and writing workshops - but this free thing he's doing online is awesome and creates a community of others who have similar goals. To say I'm overwhelmed is an understatement.... I'm exhausted but it is a good exhausted knowing I am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing.

Trusting in God Who Brought me to This Place,


(the link to my new blog was updated on 8/31/13 when I re-started my new blog with my own domain... CRAZY) 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wow - This is Getting Real!

This morning on my way to work I heard this song by Sidewalk Prophets:

"Help Me Find It"

I don’t know where to go from here
It all used to seem so clear
I’m finding I can’t do this on my own

I don’t know where to go from here
As long as I know that You are near
I’m done fighting
I’m finally letting go

I will trust in You
You’ve never failed before
I will trust in You

If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it

I’m giving You fear and You give faith
I giving you doubt
You give me grace
For every step I’ve never been alone

Even when it hurts, You’ll have Your way
Even in the valley I will say
With every breath
You’ve never let me go

I will wait for You
You’ve never failed before
I will wait for You

I lift my empty hands (come fill me up again)
Have Your way my King (I give my all to You)
I lift my eyes again (Was blind but now I see)
‘Cause You are all I need


I've heard the song many times before, but it hit me differently today... especially the part about giving God our fear and faith. Some of the stuff I'm doing write (I literally just accidentally wrote write instead of right... lol).... OK - some of the stuff I'm doing RIGHT now scares me absolutely silly.

Anyway, then at work today, while on one of my breaks I was doing some online research per my assignment from Jon Acuff today for our #StartExp:

Chances are, regardless of what your risk is, someone else has already done it.  Today's task is to find 1-3 people who have accomplished what you're aiming for during these 24 days.  Research them online and see what you can learn from the trail they have already blazed.

I started researching Mandy Hale. She is a blogger turned writer - known on Twitter as "The Single Woman" - she is awesome. Simply Awesome. Just a bit of her awesomeness... in one interview I found these two amazing quotes:

Message to single women/all women... "That you are valuable. That you have worth. That your relationship status on Facebook says nothing about your status in life. That just because you’re still single doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you – it actually means there’s something really RIGHT with you. You boldly made the decision to hold out for the best and didn’t allow peer pressure and stigmas and the expectations of others to cause you to settle for less. Keep your head held high…keep doing your Single Woman rock…and fly high, with or without a co-pilot. Wish for love, hope for love, pray for love…but until love arrives…THRIVE!" 

Her words to live by: "“You don’t need a significant other to lead a significant life.”

That there is some good stuff... Really. Good. Stuff.

Then I was thinking about what I said yesterday about refining/working on something to publish at the end of this challenge. I found a perfect venue to let my voice be heard. In reading their submission guidelines it beame very clear... beyond a shadow of a doubt clear that this is the place I am to submit an article to at the end of these 24 days. 

I feel like a big kid chasing an impossible dream - but I am happy... really happy. I have definitely found my passion and I have no doubt at all that I am exactly where God wants me to be right now, doing exactly what He wants me to be doing... and it really doesn't get any better than that!!

Dreaming God-sized Dreams,


PS - I Tweeted at Mandy Hale before I wrote this and by the time I got done writing it she had Tweeted me back saying, "So honored & humbled! :) Let me know if I can do anything to help!" HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Action Plan

As part of the #StartExp I am a part of, our assignment today was this: 

"Today's task is to get a journal or a notebook.  Even if you're a smartphone note person, return to paper for this one.  I want you to write down 1-3 sentences each day in your notebook of what you're doing. "

This was fairly easy for me as I almost always have some blank journal books lying around. So, I grabbed one to take to work with me this morning. I wrote the first part easily - I had already decided my risk and a couple of action goals. Then, as this was sitting on my desk this morning I had a thought...

"Why not refine something you've written and submit it to one or more places for publication?"

Why not? I'll tell you why not...

  1. The thought of that scares me silly.
  2. What if I get rejected?
  3. What if what I have to say is something no one wants to hear?
  4. What if I fail?
Then I realized - that's what this is all about - PUNCHING FEAR IN THE FACE! I have a plethora of material to pull from - there is no reason in the next 24 (now 22) days I can't go through and work on something for submission.

I also got a little OCD today (OK - I'm always OCD, but....) I had already refined and printed my blog posts but the margins were such that I couldn't put them in a 3 ring binder so I had them in a folder. I wasn't thrilled with this so went to the library after work today. I spent 3 1/2 hours and another $17 printing editing and refining my blog posts so I could print them and 3 hole punch them and put them in binders. I stopped at the store on the way home and found 3 LIME GREEN binders.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that this made me very happy! I fit all of 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 (from January - July) in one binder and started with August of 2013 in the 2nd binder. So, I should be good to go for a while. It's pretty cool to have it all so handy to look through. 

After a long day of work and then working on my dream - I am ready for a good night sleep.

Excited to be punching fear in the face,


Monday, August 12, 2013

More on Love Languages

I was thinking about my "Love Language Quiz" results today. I talked about how my highest one is Words of Affirmation (scoring 10 out of a possible 12) in a recent post. My others were as follows:

7 Quality Time
6 Receiving Gifts
5 Physical Touch
2 Acts of Service

There were some things about this that surprised me. They say that the love language you are highest in is the one you also most often use to express love to others. While I do think this is true, for the most part I also was thinking about how much joy it brings me to give others gifts. I LOVE giving someone something that I just KNOW they are going to love... it brings my heart great joy to do this. However - I don't really care much about getting gifts. I mean, sure, if it's something I have really wanted, of course I will thoroughly enjoy it. However I am the opposite of a hoarder - I am a minimalist and don't like STUFF.

I was also a bit surprised that acts of service was so low - I love to serve and help others and find myself often in situations where I jump up to help when there is a need. I love being able to help to meet needs.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with all of this... I guess overall I am not surprised by my results and would say they probably fairly accurately depict my love languages.


"Over-blog" Much?

First let me say - to those who receive my blogs via e-mail... I am fully aware
that I am posting a lot lately. Aside from my recent revelation that writing a book is probably something I am going to pursue, I also joined Jon Acuff's "Start Experiment" (to learn more about Jon, if you are interested just Google him - not gonna take the time to explain here). He is an author - I have 2 of his books, neither of which I have completed - barely scanned is more like it... :-) But, in one of his blogs he put out a call to anyone willing to take a risk and be part of an experiment for 24 days. I joined and am part of 2 groups (one for authors and one for bloggers). I had to identify a risk - my risk is publicly admitting I am planning to try to write and publish a book. Next step was to identify 1-3 actions. Mine are simple: 1st (which I did this weekend) is copying/pasting my blog and printing it out so I have it in a more manageable form to look through and decide what might go into the book. My 2nd action is to blog every day for these 24 days.

OK, so you are asking yourself, why multiple blogs a day? Well, a lot is going on in my head and this is how I process. If you don't want to read it all I am not offended - just delete it - or read it later if you want. This is just what I need to do right now. One of Jon's saying is to "Punch Fear in the Face" and that's what I'm trying to do... putting aside my fears and just going for it!

Punching Fear in the Face,


Thoughts/Questions On Comfort

So, as Pastor Gabe preached about a couple weeks ago...

That being said - I had to check with a friend on this since my mind was a million places that day and I felt HORRIBLE - it is also true that just because you are comfortable doesn't mean you aren't in God's will. This was one of those things that made me go...


It got me thinking about one aspect of my life... my job. Now, I have a great job with a great company that gives great benefits to its employees and I have great job security... I mean everyone's gotta eat. I work with some awesome people. I have worked at  the same place for over 11 years. Next August I will get my 4th week of vacation time... I'd say it's pretty comfortable.

However, there are things that aren't comfortable - I have to deal with unpleasant people sometimes (but where is that NOT true?) I have to drive 30 minutes to get to work, which sometimes is OK, but sometimes I just want to get home! I wouldn't say this is my ideal job or dream job, but it is a good job and provides very well for me.

So - am I in God's will? The answer I have come to is that for today, YES - I am in God's will. Does God want me to stay there forever? Is it possible He has a different job for me someday down the road? Is it possible He will call me to move away from here forcing me to leave my job? Yes - all these things are possible. But, today... today I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be... sometimes it's comfortable, sometimes it's not comfortable... sometimes I have good days and sometimes I have bad days... the reality is - that will be true no matter where I live, what job I am doing, who I am working with or whatever... that is just life!

For me, the key is to be open to God's leading should He choose to lead me somewhere else. In the meantime... I am...

Resting in God's Will for Today,


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Seeking God...

Sometimes life just sucks. There's no other way to say it. In copying and pasting my blogs this weekend, I realized I've been in counseling for over 2 years now but am really only scratching the surface of some of the junk I need to work through.

I so appreciated a friend at church this morning who reaffirmed to me that there are times in our lives that we aren't in "formal" ministry while God is doing other work in our lives. He sometimes has to do this other work so He can make us who He wants us to be so that we can serve Him in other ways. In the meantime I can serve Him how I am able and not feel guilty or beat myself up for not doing more. I'm doing what He is asking and that is all I can do right now.

Through all of this, I had a bit of a crisis of faith and was having serious doubts. But God showed up in a big way. This morning three youth shared this song and it ministered to my heart deeply - through troubles, sorrows, pain - I have been learning to earnestly seek the Lord. Some days my faith is as small as a mustard seed, but God's Word says to have faith and earnestly seek him... my faith might not be big, but God is big enough!

You can listen to the song here but if you just want to read the lyrics they are as follows:

In life's troubles, sorrows, pain.

Earnestly I seek Thee
Fill my soul with peace again
Earnestly I seek Thee

None but You and You alone
Take my life make it Your own
In my offering build Your home
Earnestly I seek Thee

In life's triumphs, victories, 
Earnestly I seek Thee
In the shadow of the Almighty
Earnestly I seek Thee

None but You and You alone
Take my life make it Your own
In my offering build Your home
Earnestly I seek Thee

I sing to You because You're good
And Your love is bigger than life
I will Live to bring You praise
I will bless You always

Who am I that you would care?
Earnestly I seek Thee
All my days, my nights, You're there
Earnestly I seek Thee

None but You and You alone
Take my life make it Your own
In my offering build Your home
Earnestly I seek Thee
Earnestly Seeking,


Love Languages

Many years ago I read the book The Five Love Languages and I can't remember what my "score" was when I took it back then, but I recently took the quiz online (you can find it here) and should not have been surprised to see "Words of Affirmation" as my highest score. This is their "description" of someone who scores high in this (I scored 10 out of a possible 12)
"Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language,
unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, 
I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love
sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered
and are not easily forgotten.
You thrive on hearing kind
and encouraging words that build you up."

Can you say "NAILED IT!"? WOW.

When I think about this, it shouldn't surprise me at all... after all, I am a writer. Many years ago when a close friend was moving I wrote them a poem, printed it and framed it for them. Granted, that was words and a gift, but the words are what I really wanted to leave them with.

As I've been thinking about my passion for writing and how I want to share my journey and not let my pain be wasted, I realize that WORDS are at the very center of who I am and how God has wired me. I have always processed by writing. Before computers, I sat with pen and paper but ever since I've had a computer, I actually think better sitting at a keyboard than anywhere else. Put me anywhere, anytime, any place with a keyboard under my fingers and ideas and thoughts just start rolling. It's pretty cool how God has us all wired differently. Today, among many things I am thankful for, I am thankful for how God made me and how He is showing me He wants to use me at this time and this place in my life.

With a grateful heart,


God and Our Comfort

Last Sunday I woke up with a throbbing headache, I was an emotional wreck and I did NOT want to go to church. However, God had different ideas and practically pushed me out the door. I sat by myself in the back row because I did not want to be there. I didn't feel like worshiping. I was miserable. I just wanted to go home and curl up under the covers.

The music began, I sang... I TRIED to cling to the mustard seed of faith I had left. I cried more than I sang. Then Pastor Gabe (aka my younger big brother) began his message.  The gist of his message - Comfort is not a Biblical value. He shared from the book of Esther, primarily chapter 4. It's a great book if you have a chance to read the whole thing... there's even a movie about her. Interestingly enough, she is never mentioned in the New Testament. But there is much we can learn from her story. My mind was kind of all over the place but I jotted down a few notes:

  • We need to trust God enough to risk our comfort for His Kingdom.
  • Esther was not lucky - she was God's woman in God's time.
  • Wherever you are - you are there because God placed you there.
  • I don't have to trust the plan or know the plan, I just have to trust the Planner.
The beginning of the week last week was hard... really hard. I was an emotional wreck - pretty close to the bottom of the barrel. But as I posted in the past couple days, God did some amazing stuff in getting me through it. He even kind of blindsided me with a bombshell that rocked my world and shattered my heart a bit, but He got me through it. His strength was enough. I wasn't comfortable. I'm still not comfortable. There are a lot of things in my life that are very uncomfortable right now. But, as Gabe said...

Yesterday I was reading in Luke chapter 6. Some things JUMPED off the page at me:

  • "Blessed are you who are poor..." v. 20
  • "Blessed are you who are hungry..." v. 21
  • "Blessed are you who weep..." v. 21
  • "Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil." v.22 (Did you catch that? REVILE YOU. SPURN your name as EVIL.)
  • "Love your enemies..." v. 27
  • "do good to those who hate you..." v. 27
  • "bless those who curse you..." v. 28
  • "To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also..." v. 29
Does ANY of that sound COMFORTABLE? No way. But.. "Comfort is not a Biblical value." 

There are many things about my life that are quite comfortable. I have a good job, I am able to pay my bills, I have a roof over my head, I have food to eat, I have friends who love me and care for me. But there are things that aren't comfortable... there are places God has me where I sometimes question why I am there. This reminds me - He never told me He wanted me to be comfortable, He just wants me to follow Him, to obey Him. 

I am doing some things that are outside of my comfort zone but I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be today. He has shown me what my passion is and how He wants to take it and use it for His good and His glory. (He hasn't clued me in on exactly HOW He is going to accomplish it all, but I am following in faith...) In the meantime, in the day to day of life I may not be comfortable in every situation I am in, but I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW I am in the center of God's will for me today. I don't know the plan for my life and how it will unfold but I know I can trust the Planner and He is definitely worthy of all of my trust.

Trusting the Planner,