Thankful for the Busyness

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! No, that title is not a typo. Or maybe it is. Is it still a typo if it’s done on purpose? 🙂

The other day I was complaining (to myself–no one else was here), that I had so much to do, I couldn’t do it all, not in one day. And the days ahead looked every bit as busy. Would I ever catch up? So, I complained to myself, loudly. Whined. Woe is me.

When I finally got quiet, I heard this still, small voice inside: “Be thankful you’re busy.”

Some of this “busyness” pays. Some of it doesn’t pay $$, but it’s necessary to maintain a clean house and a happy husband. Happy family. Some of the busyness involves committees and groups, things that don’t pay money, but add value in so many other ways, like: friendship, fellowship, training and growth.

And then there’s the writing gig. If you’re a writer, reading this, I know you feel my pain. I’m torn when the inspiration hits and I’m on the job with too much work to accomplish to take even a moment to jot something down, or leave myself a voice message. Or write run-on sentences. Or breathe.In our overly-busy oft-interrupted daily lives, we sometimes yearn for quiet moments of leisure. A mini-vacation from the routine, away from phones and noise and the pursuit of $$.

That’s where my heart was the other day when I was…whining. And that still, small voice reminded me to be thankful. Grateful.

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; a strong feeling of appreciation.

It’s an attitude. Something I need to cultivate and remember in the trenches, when I’m sweating a deadline, whether it’s taxes due or my latest manuscript. Some people don’t have jobs or ways and means of supporting themselves. They long for the chance to be published. They’d love to serve on committees and lead groups.

So, here I am with a humble attitude, realizing that I’m flawed, but grateful. Thankful. Loving the busyness of my life. Happy in the moment. This moment, right now. Making it count.

In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Click to Tweet: In our overly-busy oft-interrupted daily lives, we sometimes yearn for quiet moments of leisure. Thankful for the busyness via @batowens #grateful #thankful

Resolution With Purpose Bears Repeating

I never do this, but after an especially brutal couple of weeks, I found myself thumbing through former posts, looking for inspiration. I couldn’t believe what I found. In fact, it was so significant (to me) I gave a sharp intake of breath.

It’s not that my first post of 2018 was so brilliant, but it spoke to my heart, especially at the end. Here it is:

Note to self: This is the first Thursday of 2018. Make it count.

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. In a way, it’s difficult to believe the season is already behind us. Did your holidays rush past like a whirlwind, or drag by, like a tired sloth?

I hope the former is true, because that means you enjoyed lots of activity. Now, on to the business at hand.

I often resolve to do what’s right, but that resolve tends to dissolve a couple of months into the year. So, this year, I need to pay more attention to the small things. Toward the end of 2017, I became overwhelmed by all the to-do’s on my list. Too late, I realized I’d said “yes” too many times. My to-do list became a ball and chain.

I was so overwhelmed and discouraged, I even shelved my latest work-in-progress. Sound familiar? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Thankfully, all the kinks worked out. As soon as I set that WIP aside, the inspiration returned, and I was able to get back to it and finish before the end of the year–with hours to spare. 🙂

How do I avoid the traffic jam at the end of the year? It comes back to the paying attention. I need to be careful and prayerful about the things I say “yes” to. I need to think them through. I don’t want to be too hesitant, and miss out on things, but which ones are those? How do I determine what will end up on my list?

So my New Year’s resolution is to be determined. That sounds funny, as though I’m not sure what my resolution is, and I’m putting off the choice of one–TBD. That’s not the case at all. I aim to be more determined in my efforts this year. I want to accomplish the things I set out to do, whether that is taking care of my health, stretching myself intellectually, or spending more time with my loved ones. I’d love to do a bit of travel this year. Study the Bible, and share the love of Jesus more. Research a new book, and make lots of new friends.

These are the things that count in life. I hope you’ll do a bit of soul-searching, examine your heart and life and come up with something similar. Set your mind on it, and don’t give up. Keep yourself accountable. Leave me a comment, if you like. Share your resolution, or your word for 2018. Share your blessings.

Make life count.

Back in 2019 – The reason for my sharp intake of breath? A few days ago, I attended my cousin’s funeral after he died very suddenly of a heart attack at barely 61 years old. A few days before he died, I’d received a Christmas card from him. He’d included his favorite phrase: Make Every Moment Count (MEMC).

Rick was a leader in life. He literally started at the bottom and ended at the top. He was a friend to everyone he met, a mentor to many, who loved his family with abandon and made a difference in the world. He will be missed. But, he made every moment count.

When I wrote this blog post last year, I wasn’t thinking about Rick and his favorite line. I hadn’t heard it in a while. So, when I came across it at this particular time in my life, it seemed almost prophetic. Now, I pass it on to you…again. It’s a message that bears repeating. Make every moment count. Make life count.

In loving memory of Ricky “Rick” Odis Loyd 1957 – 2018.

A Challenging New Year

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Did you miss me last week? The holidays stole my schedule. I hope you missed me, but if you didn’t, it’s okay. I know how busy life can be and there are plenty of others to fill any spaces.

I’m up early, knowing I have nowhere to go today. Nothing on my calendar. I feel as though I have a wealth of hours ahead of me. Hours in which I can accomplish everything on my calendar.

But, the clock keeps ticking as I while away those hours, wasting all that wealth. Before I know it, the time has dwindled to mere minutes, and my accomplishments? Nil. Nada. Zip.

This wouldn’t be a problem if I was all caught up on my work and my writing. Alas, I am not. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

Here we are, at the beginning of a brand new year. We have 362 days left. Fifty-one-and-a-half weeks! That’s 8,688 hours. A wealth of hours!

Yes, I know, we are not promised tomorrow or even later today. But I’m taking this on faith. Hope is new every morning. I’m standing in a doorway of endless possibilities, looking at a brand new year.

Will I waste it? I hope not. I certainly don’t intend to do so.

I’ve joined with a few writer friends to “nano-write” my way through January.

Trying to catch up.

Trying to reclaim lost hours.

A deadline looms. I have a book to finish. A book that my readers are waiting for. I don’t want to let them down. Not only does it need to be finished, but finished well.

So, here we go. I’m starting the year with a plan. My house may suffer. My television will feel neglected. My husband may, too. But my manuscript will not.

My prayer this year is that I will make the most of the time I am given, whether it’s a little, or a lot. I pray for the strength and determination to stay on task and be productive. I hope to be a blessing and an inspiration. I hope to teach and encourage, but also to learn and be encouraged.

These things accumulate like gifts beneath a Christmas tree. Treasures stowed in a chest of faith.

Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. [Matthew 6:20-21 The Message]

May the days of your new year be fruitful and productive; blessed beyond measure.

Legacy #3

A review of Rebecca’s Legacy:

“Betty Owens has done an excellent job wrapping up the Legacy series with her latest character Amy Julianna Emerson.

When her father sends her to the country to spend time with her aunt, Amy thinks her life is over. But as the days pass, Amy finds herself enjoying farm life. But soon trouble finds her and Amy will have to decide whether to forge ahead in her new wisdom or revert to her old ways.

Like so many of us, Amy has to learn things the hard way. With the help of Aunt Rebecca and Matt Wordsworth, she finds the best thing in life isn’t always getting one’s own way but having your loved ones safe and near.

I enjoyed spending time with Amy as she learned the truths in life. I highly recommend Rebecca’s Legacy to anyone who loves suspense, mystery, and romance.

Hello Thursday Morning Christmas Wish

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m enjoying my favorite Christmas coffee—right here at home—Sunergos Hearth Blend (a winter blend, think brown sugar, hazelnut & pomegranate). Yum!

This is a very busy week in most of our households. It is especially busy here. Mom’s birthday is the 21st—she’ll be 85. The 21st is also our 44th anniversary. Yes, not only did we get married close to Christmas, but on Mom’s birthday. How cool is that?

Not so great when the holidays come around and you have to hustle—really hustle to fit everything in. The anniversary? Sometimes gets forgotten, or pushed aside until another day or even another month. Not a big deal when you’ve been married a while. But it’s never forgotten or neglected completely because it’s very important to us.

Christmas is right around the corner. If you’ve been watching very many Christmas movies (or reading Christmas stories), you may be in for a let-down. Though some of those films are based on true stories, most of us don’t have the magical Christmases portrayed in those tales. Don’t let it discourage you. If you think about it, you’ll find those magical moments scattered throughout your life.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you’ll be thankful, whether you have much or little, and that you’ll truly enjoy the season for all the right reasons. I pray for those who are suffering losses that you will know God’s comfort and the comfort of those around you. And remember, Christmas is a season that comes and goes. In a few days, a new year begins. Let the Word of God renew your strength—

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.—Isaiah 40:31 NIV

If you especially enjoyed one of this season’s stories, share it with us! Leave me a comment with the title of the movie, where you saw it, and why you loved it. Here’s mine: Christmas Secret (2014) Hallmark. I know it’s an older one, but still my favorite!


Hello Thursday Morning News Corner

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m doing something a little different this week, ’cause it’s the holidays!

Stating the obvious, we are just a couple weeks from Christmas. Are you ready? Have you bought all your gifts yet? I’m well on my way. Just need a few more of those “perfect things” to finish it off.

A few days ago, I sent out the holiday edition of my newsletter and offered up a couple of gift cards in a random drawing. Since the holidays are right around the corner, I decided to choose my winners early and announce them here.

I was surprised and pleased by the number of entries. Even more amazing was the fact that not one name was repeated. How cool is that? I logged into my random name picker and took a few spins. I love doing that! I’ve already notified the winners by email.

Katherine L won a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Paula S won a $5 Starbucks Card!

Thanks, all of you who took the time to enter. I’d love for everyone to win, but my funds are limited. 🙂  Not to worry, I’ll come up with another fun giveaway for the next mailing, so be sure and try again.

My email subscribers receive newsletters once a quarter, and also to announce a release or other big news. I often include a drawing for free prizes on the newsletter. If you’d like to become a subscriber, click the fancy black entry box on the right side of this blog. It’s so easy! All I ask for is your email address. You do have to confirm the subscription and then it will come to you each quarter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Are you aware that I am also a co-founder of the Inspired Prompt blog? It’s a teaching blog of sorts. A wonderful group of writers, both published and unpublished, discuss ways to improve your writing, among other things. We love to inspire our readers and also give them a place to publicize their upcoming releases. Here’s a link to that blog: Inspired Prompt

If you’re a writer, check out the Guest post guidelines to see what’s offered. Our guest posts and 3 Questions interviews fill up fast! You can reach us via the contact tab.

More big news

At our local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Christmas gathering, I arrived as Vice President/Secretary and left as President. It’s funny to me, because I completely missed the meeting the day I was elected VP/Secretary. At least I was present on this day (though I’m not in this picture). But my big news also means that Ralene Burke (second from left, back row), the woman who started it all here in our hometown, is stepping down.

Thank you, Ralene, for all you’ve done!

As we approach the holiday, I pray God’s blessing over each one of you, my readers. May you find His peace among the hurried, harried moments that lead up to the celebration of the birth of Christ. From my home to yours—Merry Christmas!