Camp Nano Washed Out

Well, technically, Camp didn’t wash out.  I did.  It’s not for a lack of trying, mind you.  I’ve had much on my plate with work, with running after Hallie and helping her (post-surgery), running after the animals, mowing and working in the yard, cooking, cleaning, washing, going to and fro physical therapy and the list goes on.

I did manage to scribble roughly 5,000 words, not quite reaching the goal I’d set for myself of 10,000.  BUT!  I am still squeezing in time to write, even if it’s for a measly 15-30 minutes a day.  Hey, something is better than nothing, right?  Right.

I sort of messed myself up a bit to be honest.  I started back on my work of non-fiction that I started in October of last year and it’s like I had to force myself and found it to be more of a chore than fun.  I cannot write like that.  It has to be fun.  Don’t misunderstand.  Sometimes you have to glue your butt to the chair or couch or bed or porch swing or wherever it is you want to write and actually put in the time to write.  Something.  Anything.  Just to get yourself started.

Write the voices that are talking (screaming) in your head

But to sit there in angst with 100 other thoughts running through your head of what you need or want to be doing rather than having the want to sit there and write.  Well…  I cannot write like that.  It has to be fun.  After you sit there and force yourself to write, if the imagination and words are not flowing by the end of the first 30 minutes, it’s not worth it.  So I pulled away and thought to myself, “Self, while I realize finishing this book is important, you have all these voices in your head screaming at you to work on their story.  How can you focus on something completely opposite when you have your fantastical characters screaming at you to write their story?  Writing is writing.  As long as you are writing, you’re getting the job done.  But you need to listen to those voices in your head.  Listen to them.  Write their story.”

Then, I had a dream, woke up at 0:dark:30 after the dream, couldn’t go back to sleep, got up out of bed and wrote.  It was an epiphany.  I have started books 1 and 2 in a series and this dream was the story before book 1.  A new twist!  Sort of like The Hobbit movie coming out after all the Lord of the Rings movies.  It’s the back story before the story.  So, I have to say, I was a bit psyched to get up oh so early to write out everything I could remember from the dream.  And it’s funny.  The more time I spent writing it, the more details sprang up and I started remembering more of the dream, the colors, the sounds in the background, the smells, the rooms and changing environments, the action, the drama, what the characters where saying and how they were saying them.  Writing is such a wonderful trip!!  Hearing, seeing, feeling and smelling the story in your mind and writing it out is like biting into a juicy sweet peach, breathing in that heavenly fresh summery fragrance, and having the nectar drip and run down your chin and arm while savoring every last delicious bite.

If you write at all, then be proud

If you did not reach your goal for Camp Nano, don’t beat yourself up about it.  If it got you started writing and you continue every day to write, then be proud.  The real goal here is to write, to create, to spill your soul or imagination or dreams onto paper or laptop or whatever the tool is of your choosing.  But to write.  That is the goal.  So do that.  And be pleased with yourself.  Someone said once, ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.’  And that is a very true statement.  The journey is the fun part, the adventure and, sometimes, the distraction from real every day life.  It’s my means of escape, though I don’t escape for long, as I love my life and the people in it.  Still, a little mini-mental-vacation is always welcome.  To imagine worlds and stories in your mind — those are some of the best vacation adventures.

So, maybe I didn’t wash out.  I started.  I wrote.  I’m writing daily.  And I will finish it eventually.  And so will you.

And if you did reach your goal for Camp, I applaud you!!  And if you didn’t reach your goal, and, still, you wrote, I applaud you, as well!  Wooooo-hooooo!!!  *clap*clap*clap*clap*wolf whistle*  Whoop!  Whoop!!

Focus on the Positive

“Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8 NIV

__________

Here, the Lord is suggesting we focus on the good, the better side to things.  We are not to dwell on the negative, to judge others harshly as if we are perfect because we are not.  None of us are.  We need to see the good in others, the positive aspects to life, the truth, what’s right, notice beauty all around us, those who work hard to get where they are, as long as they get there respectably and not trample others on the way to where they’re going.  So even God is telling us to focus on the positive.

Do you think it means something else?  Something different?  Please add to the conversation in the comments below.  We want to hear from YOU.  ;)

Understandable Despair and Silver Linings

Exodus 6

The Lord told Moses that Pharoah would let them go because of His mighty hand and Pharoah will force them out of his country.  He further told Moses he remembered his covenant and will free the Israelites from being slaves to the Egyptians and will bring them to the land he swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and he will give them the land as their possession.

Moses reported to the Israelites what God said but they didn’t listen because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.  The Lord told Moses to tell Pharoah, king of Egypt, to let the Israelites go out of his country but Moses said, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh?”

Exodus 6:13 thru 6:27 is the family record of Moses and Aaron.

__________

If you were an Israelite, forced into hard and cruel labor, beaten and made to work constantly not only building but gathering your own straw for bricks, forced to fill your same quota of bricks as before when you were actually supplied with straw, how would you feel about God?  Would you trust him?  What you believe he would deliver you from this torture and give you freedom and land?  I know I wouldn’t.  He could have come sooner, right?  He could have watched out for these people and not allow them to be tortured at all.

Why would he leave them alone for so long?  I don’t begin to understand nor will I ever understand why he allows people to be tortured.  I’ve heard he has a plan.  For each one of us, he has a plan.  Do you ever question his plan?  I do.  Sometimes I wonder if he actually has a plan for my life.  It’s during those times of suffering.

But then I adjust my focus and see all that I have.  I look at Mama, this beautiful, amazing woman who is capable of anything, the fact that she’s just next door and we grow closer every day.  I look at Hallie, the daughter I wished for since I was 2, the fact that she’s this amazing young person with all the qualities I prayed for during all those years of not having her and we grow closer every day, which is what love is supposed to be.

You spend time with people you love and get to know them on deeper levels and in different ways and you love them in spite of their flaws, failures and weaknesses.  You love them and they love you in spite of all your flaws, failures and weaknesses and your love strengthens and grows and you get closer every day.  And then, from that amazing love, I see all the other wonderful things in my life.

Even though we may struggle at times, we have so much more to be thankful for.

Perhaps it feels like a struggle, but really it’s a blessing in disguise.  This might and might not make sense.  A struggle being a blessing in disguise?!  I’ve actually had several of those.  Where something bad happens and at the time you feel it’s horrid and maybe even for a while after as you mourn that thing.

But then the smoke clears and you begin to see things with cleaner, fresher eyes and see all the blessings that came because of that bad thing.  You find the silver lining and sometimes there are many silver linings from that one bad thing.  I know some of you know what I mean.  So then maybe God does have a plan after all.  It’s sometimes through a bit of suffering and because of suffering we can eventually see and appreciate beauty.

Are You Thankful or Are You Angry?

Colors and Light

Wow, I was so stinkin’ angry at God.  I yelled at him.  I cried.  I cursed.  I ignored him, because I felt he was ignoring me.  I told him, “You turned your back on me, so I’m doing the same to you.”  Then, I cried some more.

I prayed.  I asked for help.  I asked for more faith.  I asked for God to take away my fear, my doubt, my stress and worry.  All I could see was my loss, what I didn’t have.  I was more focused on what I needed and I was so desperate in that need that I could not see all that I did have, everything I should have been thanking God for.  But when you are in the midst of depression, despair, anger, bitterness, worry and fear, you can’t see the good stuff.  All you can see is darkness.  You can’t find much, if any light.  I’m so thankful for that sparklette of light I had that was holding me from going any deeper.

I kept praying constantly, after I gave in to ignoring God.  I kept praying for more faith than fear.  I knew I needed more faith than anything.  It took days.  It took weeks.  Sure, I’d go through anger again, crying, depression, doubt, but I kept praying and asking for more faith over fear.  A month went by.  More.  Then, something cool happened.

This peace come over me.  This peace made me feel like everything was going to be ok.  I felt like I handed over my anger and fear and doubt to God, finally.  I told him to take it from me, and to replace it with faith.  I knew more than anything I needed faith and patience.  Patience is a lesson I’ve never quite grabbed onto.  In fact, I downright suck at it.  This day came upon me and I woke up glad.  I started to think, “I have so much to be thankful for.  I am healthy.  My family is healthy.   I have the most awesome daughter in the entire world.  I have the most wonderful mother.  I have a home.  I have a car that runs.  Hallie goes to a great school.”  I kept on thinking of so many things I could be thankful for.

Then, I started to think what my loved ones must be going through.  I’ve been so focused on me and my selfish thoughts, poor me, my poor life …  What about them?

I’m sure Mama misses Daddy more than anyone and anything.  They were soul mates.  They had such a great love for each other.  Her heart must ache more during the holidays.  Daddy’s been watching over us from Heaven for 11 years now.  And Hallie?  I know how scared she must be with her knee surgery coming up after Christmas.  She’s so fearful, anxious and nervous.  I’ve been so selfish!  And my best friend, Jennefer, with her oldest off at college, and so many other friends who have needs and trials and I’ve been over here thinking “poor me.”  A friend told me once, “It ain’t all about you.”  One of the best things I ever heard.

I just wanted to take this time, here at Thanksgiving, to ask you – Are you thankful or are you angry?  There really isn’t enough room in your heart for both.  You just make up your mind to be one or the other, depending on where you choose to place focus.  You can sit around and have a pity party like I did, or you can write down every little thing and person and place that you are thankful for and then — well … you can be thankful.  I can nearly bet that you have more things to be thankful for in your life than things to be angry about.  And thankfulness is such a much better feeling to hold in your heart than anger and depression.

I want to take this time to say thank you, God and thank you, Jesus, for all you have given to us — more good things than we will ever deserve.  Please forgive us for our selfishness, for our anger, bitterness, depression and doubt.  All we have to do is let it go and give it to you, pray constantly, try to have faith, and wait on you, because it’s all in your time, not ours.  Thank you for all your many blessings.  Though we may not always see it, our cups runneth over.  I love you soooo much!

Can One Fall Off The Earth?

No, I suppose one cannot fall off the Earth, although my friends out there have probably been assuming I did.  I have not forgotten you guys nor have I forgotten the blog.  I have been self employed since May, working simultaneously for three jobs and between 30 to 45 hours a week, give or take.  Not much time for anything fun, except work, although we did take a lovely vacation to Gatlinburg and Chattanooga, Tennessee, for which I’ll be updating you with photos very soon.  Trying to make time to spend with family, albeit not nearly enough.  Not getting any time to spend with friends, except maybe a couple of hours a month.  Just wanted to update you and let you know that I’m working on a plan to increase income while decreasing work hours.  I’ll let you know how that one goes.  ;)

I will try to make some time to return emails to my buddies who have emailed me, and will try to make the time this upcoming weekend to do an actual blog post about our goings on as of late.  So sorry I have not been current and posting as I know I should.  It is still important to me and I will try to get better at updating regularly.

I know.  Excuses…  Excuses…

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Oh, and while you wait, and since you have been so patient with me, I will reward you with one of my latest photos.  These are Fennec Foxes.  These are some of the cutest furry creatures I have ever seen!  If any of you have ever read the Skippyjon Jones books, he might come to mind when you look at these sweet babies!!  I’m in my 40s and still read those funny books!!!  Of course, I got them when Hallie was little and we read them together (while, of course, using our Spanish Baby Hero voices) and they were so gut-busting hilarious, any time I need some laughter, I go read one out loud, and yes, using my Spanish Baby Hero voice.

I hope and trust that all of you are doing fantastically well.  Love ya!!  *smooch*  ;)

-Carol