Energize Me!

How has it been a month already since I last posted on here? Where did the time go? Well, I’ve been typing away, working to finish that first book in a new series. It’s a different genre for me, so it brought along a learning curve. I ran into a few snags along the way. Toss in a pandemic, and a couple of serious medical dramas in the family…but I won’t bore you with those details. We have all had some life changes this year.

So, I’m really late in doing this: updating my calendar.

For some, replacing the old year’s calendar with the new one is enough to awaken their senses and renew their hope.

For me, it takes a little more planning and lots of coffee.

First, coffee, then planning…

Nothing inspires me like reading from the Bible everyday. I read, meditate, and pray. That’s my foundation. From that point on, the rest of the day seems to fall into place. Most of the time.

Setting goals is hard for me. I’m not really a planner and my writing style is “seat-of-the-pants” — I don’t always know where the story will lead, but I love to follow the trail.

Rabbit trails are my specialty.

However, a little structure helps guide me through my days. So, I usually jot down a list of things I hope to accomplish monthly, weekly, daily, and sometimes hourly. Drawing a line through an accomplished task is one of my favorite things!

I’m still working part-time, doing the bookkeeping for a small business. So, I’m always learning in order to keep up with the latest upgrades to the program they use. Not to mention the “t” word (taxes).

And then, I’m a writer. Like many other pursuits in life, writing requires constant work and study just to keep up with the basics.

For that, I receive newsletters and blog posts from some of the best teachers. I attend a local writers group monthly and try to attend one or two conferences each year. These are valuable for continuing education and connecting with other writers.

Other writers.

Yes, they are out there. This can also be challenging. I’ve learned that they are not as rare as they once were. Interaction with them takes skill and training. They speak a different language–it’s called book-speak. It includes acronyms like POV and SOTP. You have to learn the language to survive among them. If you join a group, it may be called a crit group. They express opinions about your writing and include things like IMHO and MOO.

You’re laughing, but it’s true.

Once again, I’ve headed down a rabbit trail. There are some important points I need to make here. In the coming weeks, I’ll wrench myself free of that deadline rabbit hole and get back into the habit of communicating with my readers. I know I’ve been threatening to do that, but I really mean it this time. 🙂

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my silly post. I hope this year is treating you well so far. There is hope out there. For some, it may be a tiny thread. For others, a full blown sunrise, flooding the horizon with gorgeous colors. For me, that’s the most energizing of sights, if I can drag myself out of my warm bed in time to observe it, fully armed with a cup of hot coffee and a fresh prayer for all of you. Joy comes in the morning! May your days be blessed. May God arise with healing in His wings for all of us.

And All Creation Sings

A New Year

Today is the last day of 2020. I wonder what tonight will bring. Instead of fireworks, will we hear the sound of a collective sigh?

My message at the beginning of 2020 was Choose Joy. What a challenge it would become. But whenever I did choose joy, life became so much easier to bear. This fine year has brought many losses to me and those I care about. Too many to count. If I tried, I’d truly become depressed.

I’m a romantic with an optimistic nature. I tend to look for the good in whatever is happening. There are times when that becomes…difficult. But today, I choose joy. And I choose to count my blessings. I’ll be counting for a while…

Now I can turn the page. My phrase for 2021 is:

Photograph by Aleksey Kutsar via Pixabay

I love this.

If I have learned something well, I can then recreate it. For instance, when I find a favorite recipe, I continue to follow the directions until I have it memorized and can create it on my own, without using the recipe.

That will be my goal. To take what I have learned this past year and share it. As an artist, I love to create. I don’t draw or paint (well), but I love to create stories. The possibility of creating a sense of joy in my writing inspires me!

And I hope this simple message will inspire you, too.

Happy New Year!

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

Psalm 98:4 ESV

The Beauty That Remains

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.

Anne Frank

Looking back on this year, my heart aches for all the changes and losses. But we’re still here. I’m reminded of the time we visited Mammoth Cave. The tour guide turned out all the lights, plunging us into total darkness. Then he struck a match. That single, tiny flame lit the room.

Sometimes, the tiniest blessings can brighten our day. I was unpacking Christmas decorations, and came across one of my snow globes. When I picked it up, the music box started to play “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem.” Dozens of childhood memories flooded my mind.

Blessings abound. Schools are closed again in our area. I have my grandchildren two afternoons a week. I love spending time with them, though some of that time, they’re doing school work or otherwise occupied. The two older ones could have stayed home, but chose to come here. That blesses my heart.

These are tiny, match-flame blessings that light up my world. When I’m overwhelmed by the losses, I remember them and allow hope to renew in my heart. Like Anne Frank, I try not to think of the misery. I focus on the beauty that remains. What a beautiful lesson, when we know what her misery involved.

This week’s question:

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

Hope is Coming!

Hello, Thursday Morning!

In the beginning, I thought it would be easy to write one post per week. Just three hundred words or so. What could be hard about that? At first, it was easy.

Until the year 2020.

Week after week passed, and I had nothing to say.

Nothing.

At first, I tried to force it. I hunted for verses, poems, or photos to fill the page. I even tried to be funny.

Then I realized, I was just filling a page. Maybe, in these overwhelming times, it was better to leave it empty.

You know those front porch moments when you’ve exhausted all the words that can or should be said, so you just sit together in quiet companionship?

They say we’re all in this together. Well, yes, we are but we all handle it differently. Some are strengthened by time alone. Others need fellowship and communication just as much as they need food and water.

I’m a borderline introvert, so I’m usually content being alone. For a while, but not forever. Weeks pass, and I miss my friends. I miss gatherings and visits and dinners out. Phone calls, texts, and online meetings just aren’t quite the same.

Hope is coming.

In the darkest days, hope stirs in my heart. I choose joy. Joy is not necessarily laughter and merriment. It can be—but most often for me—it is quiet exultation blooming in my soul. It feeds hope and keeps it alive. Sometimes the best way to keep it going is to share it. Talk about it with someone.

Let’s talk.

I’ll start the conversation. It can be short, that’s okay. For these last three or four weeks of the year, I’ll end my post with a question. I hope you’ll play along, and please consider sharing so others can join in.

What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received, and why is it your favorite?