Thank you, Jesus

My second thank you letter in my 365 Thank You Letters project.

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My dear, sweet, loving Jesus,

jesus

How very special you are to me! I can never thank you enough for always being close by, guiding me, along with our Father’s help. Thank y’all for the employment of God’s many angels, for all our many blessings and most of all, for saving me from my sins so that I can be with you and my family in heaven one day, hopefully far, far from now. No offense. I surely will be so very happy to see you again. I just want to be around on the earth for a while so I can spend more time with my two favorite girls, witness my daughter graduate high school, then college, then her marrying the right guy, my playing ‘Nonnie’ (otherwise known as grandma) to my grandbabe(s), witness my mom turning a happy and healthy 110+, and witness so many more blessings.

Thank you for showing up at all the right times when I needed you most. I know that was you. I felt you sit on the edge of my bed and soothe the pain in my soul. You lulled me to sleep that night. Thank you for getting me out of all those bad decisions and almost bad decisions, for loving me in spite of my many weaknesses and stupidity and anger and meanness. Thank you for your forgiveness and for going to our Father on my behalf.

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When I think of what all you went through for me (for all of us), I can’t help but cry, sweet Jesus. To go through so much torture, cruelty and torment, it physically hurts my heart and body. I wish it could have gone a different way. I wish you could have saved us from our sins without going through such pain and suffering. But you did do it. And you did it for us. Because you love us. Because you’re strong and brave and your love has more courage, strength and power than any physical abuse you could have ever experienced. I know you are healed and feel no physical pain now, but my heart still aches when I think of those six hours you spent on the cross and the torture leading up to that.

Please forgive me for my sins. Please wash me as white as snow. Wash those sins away and renew me in you, sweet Brother. I belong to you and to our Father and I always will. Please help me to be more like you, fill me with your love and compassion and friendship and kindness so that I, too, can spread that love and goodness like you did and still do. Help me to be courageous and strong in spirit. Help me to have confidence so that I can do whatever it is you and our Father wish for me to do. And fill me with your strongest faith, Jesus. You are my truest hero and I will never love anyone as much as I so deeply and truly love you!!! Thank God and YOU for your beautiful soul!!

Love forever and ever till the end of time (if there is such a thing),

Carol

 

Images courtesy of http://www.akiane.com/ and photobucket.com

Finding that Monday Mojo

coffee yes

Who needs some motivation for the week?  Monday is a good day for that, no? We can call it Monday Motivation or Motivation Monday or Finding your Monday Mojo. Kind o’ like our Thankful Thursday when I actually do it.

So, what are y’all working on right now? I know most of us here are creatives – artists/writers/poets/knitters/chefs/photographers, etc. What’s your big action plan for the week?

list

(In all fairness, this is not quite MY to do list. I write YA mostly, so mine is more like “3. almost kiss; 4. send someone to prison in an alternate dimension” and the rest is pretty close to right.)

I was actually going to work on my YA fantasy series and have a bit, but crazy inspiration grabbed a hold of me yesterday and I started a work of nonfiction (AGAIN!) – sort of a book of inspiration for creative types.

As an artist, do you feel you are constantly fighting resistance?  I know I am. I mean, even as I was working on the new book yesterday, I felt it was a form of resistance. As writers, we always get a new brilliant idea for a story or we have a dream and get up at 2am to jot it down and then we work on it feverishly, but those are all forms of resistance, right? It pulls us away from what we’re supposed to be focused on – our main wip (work-in-progress or work-in-potential or work-in-pain). Does that happen to you, too? I don’t want to let a wild hair of inspiration escape me, so I have to write it down but then I continue this writing frenzy on that same thing and push my main one off to the side. Again. It seems I always let something come in between me and my main work.

self

What is this fear I have? I do not understand why I cannot reach some middle ground of self-acceptance and believe that I’m good enough, that I’m enough, period. I do actually realize we each hold our own amount of brilliance – genius, even. We each are allotted a deep well of invention and talent. We need to own it. We each have our own voice, our own stories to share that no one else has or that no one can tell it the way we can. We have our own special sauce. I know this. I know how important it is for us to share our words and ideas and stories with the world. But it always happens. I get close to the end and I start overthinking. I get overwhelmed and scared and stop working on my love. Actually, I tend to overthink everything. It’s my strongest weakness. ESPECIALLY when it comes to my writing.

Well, yeah, if I’m gonna be honest, pretty much everything. I overthink it all.

How can we overcome this? How can we fight the resistance? How can be believe that we are enough? That we are good enough?

I don’t know about you, but I ask myself stuff all the time. They say if you talk to yourself, you’re crazy. Well, then ya might as well commit me, because I talk to myself, I converse with my imaginary friends (characters in my stories), I question myself, I answer myself. I laugh at myself. I must be pretty weird, huh? Actually, I can come up with some pretty amazing answers to my own questions at times.

Self-talk, I think, is a great tool, if we use it as a tool and quit worrying if we’re crazy or not. We can come up with great solutions to our problems, other people’s problems, the crisis we are in the midst of with our characters. I mean, who needs therapy when you have yourself?! And your imaginary friends?! Ok, maybe it does sound a little wacky, but who cares.

I know you do it, too. I know you read your stuff out loud as if someone is sitting there listening to you. But it’s just you. You and your wine and your words and your box of Kleenex, because what you wrote is so freakin’ amazing, it made you cry. I hear ya, man. I feel ya. I do it, too.

crying

But I have a challenge for you. If we read our own stuff and see that it’s so dang good, gosh-darn-it, then we need to actually finish the story, or at least that first book in the series of the story. And be able to reach that finish line for Book 1 or __________ (whatever you’re working on) and be able to scream from the rooftops, “I finished it!!!!”  “Yea, me!!  I did it!!!”  Can you imagine how good that feels?!

Okay, so (1) we can be accountable to each other and check in once in a while and see how we’re each doing, making sure we are actually making progress, (2) we can try to focus, like yeah, go ahead and spend an hour or two jotting enough info down about that wild hair of an idea or dream for a book or story and then get back to our main work, and (3) believe in ourselves that we are great, we got this, we are good enough and we deserve, NO, we OWE it to ourselves and the world to share our stories with those out there who will be better for having read our words!

I mean, honestly, how did your life change with certain books you’ve read?! Honestly?! Wonderful, amazing stories, right?! Your life would be so empty without some of these stories that have fueled your inspiration and imagination! We will be among those greats. All we have to do is finish and get it out there. I’m game if you are. What say you?

What’s your plan?

A New Day – A New Chance To Be AWESOME!

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Hi!  How are you?  Been a bit chaotic this month?  Yeah, me too.  December is just full of busyness, buying, wrapping, cooking, eating, cleaning, decorating, and just endless going and doing.  Well, 2016 is upon us and guess what?  Yup, you guessed it, it’s time to reinvent yourself, and/or your business, and/or your passion.  Not sure what it is about the year being NEW that inspires us to make changes and goals. What’s wrong with a brand NEW day?  Like TODAY? Each day is another brand new chance to become the person we have always longed to be.  Maybe your ideals and ideas change? Then, make changes that day. Don’t wait for a new week or month or year. Make each new day a chance to begin something or start over, because that’s what happens with each sunrise – another chance.

After much confusion and busyness and chaos and depression and indecisiveness and prayer, I finally reached a decision.  I tried to be still.  Not such a good thing for me when I am keyed up, depressed and worried. Because it makes me focus more on the depression and overthinking everything rather than the doing.  I have to keep my hands busy, ya know?  I mean, meditation is a wonderful thing and I encourage everyone to practice meditation, stillness, silence, prayer, mindfulness, but, for me, meditation and stillness has to be practiced when I am not in a state of worry, panic and overthinking. Only then can I relax my mind.

Since I was 5, my lifelong love has been writing, poetry, telling stories, writing songs – creating.  The voices from my childhood get in the way sometimes, because I allow them to.  I allow them to sabotage what I love, because I think somehow I don’t deserve happiness or success or joy.  I find ways to distract myself from writing. I feel maybe I’ll never be good enough, my stories will never be good enough.

So, this vision came into play for the video series I finally started. I thought it was a beautiful vision. Everyone needs to tell their story, share their story.  We need to hear their stories and learn from them, empathize and sympathize and connect with those stories, those storytellers.  It was a beautiful project, idea, with amazing people and engaging stories.  Not sure if it was God, timing, the universe redirecting me (although I thought the universe was calibrating destiny when the project fell into place), or if it was simply a lesson or two I needed to learn by committing to the project (because I have learned a ton about myself as a result).  For whatever reason, the video project is at a stall, which is forcing me to overthink everything, like many, if not all, creatives do.  I started to realize how much I miss writing for me, telling stories, working on my novel, writing poetry, writing songs – WRITING anything for me.  I miss my characters.  I started getting hungry – hungry for words – hungry for finishing that novel – hungry to re-engage with my characters (my imaginary friends).

Not sure if we are supposed to have more than one passion that we want to pursue but all I have time for is one at a time.  To be worked in and played with around family and work.  I know I cannot do it all, so I am choosing the one thing that’s been a part of me all my life and I am making a commitment to finish this novel, then finish book 2, then book 3, then book 4.  If I never get back to the video project, then it will stay there in the back of my mind. If a miracle occurs, then I’ll have time to write and do the video project and feel utter bliss! But until that miracle happens, I will stop sabotaging my writer self, stop feeling unworthy of goodness and happiness and I will do that thing that brings me joy and release, because each day that I write, even for 30 measly minutes, I find that place of joy and release. It’s like walking through a portal to another world of magic and wonder and weightlessness. And how can I deny myself that?!

So, I am back.  I don’t know how often I will blog, because I do work a lot of hours, spend a lot of time with family and leftover time will go to writing, but I’ll do my best to check in at least once a week or more if I have time.

What are your goals/ resolutions/ changes you would like to make for yourself?  What plan of action/ attack are you strategizing?  Get ready.  You don’t have to wait for January 1. You can being implementation today.  Good luck and God speed!  If you need cheering on, holla!  If you need an accountability partner, I’m here for you.  Just drop me a comment or email me

Doing it 365 Days in a Row!

Today’s post is in participation with The Daily Post and their challenge for today is Winning Streak  What’s the longest stretch you’ve ever pulled off of posting daily to your blog? What did you learn about blogging through that achievement, and what made you break the streak?

Winning Streak

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First of all, I know I’ve not been posting regularly lately.  Most of you know why re crazy work hours, my new video project I’m trying to work on, the holidays, etc.

For the questions above, I believe the longest stretch I pulled off posting daily to my blog is with this one for which I posted daily and sometimes more than once from Dec 2011 thru Dec 2012.  It was a photography blog then.  Of course, I still love photography.  I just seem to have less time to do those things I love and I’m looking for ways to remedy this little conundrum, trying to learn to be more creative and learn new things and step outside my comfort zone in many ways, which is terrifying, thrilling and exciting all at the same time.

I learned consistency, determination, focus, follow through, dedication and I’m sure a handful or two of other values through my blogging daily.  I broke the streak, I’m guessing, because life gets in the way at times or it could be that I just wanted to do something different.

So now my direction with my blog is changing and while I do LOVE posting quotes from inspiring writers and authors about writing, about motivation, faith, miracles and inspiration, in general, and will probably continuing doing so, my upcoming vlog is something I’m passionate about.  So on that note…

What are the questions you most would like to hear people answer?

What are the questions you’d like to be asked?  What would you prefer NOT to be asked?

What are the most meaningful questions, in your opinion?

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Winning Streak
wondering if it will ever post where it’s supposed to…

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!!

Moses, with the Power of God, Parted The Sea

Exodus 14 (paraphrased)

The Lord told Moses to have the Israelites camp out by the sea.  Pharoah will think they’re wandering around in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.  God said, “I will harden Pharoah’s heart, and he will pursue them.”  What do you think this means?  He forced Pharoah’s heart to be hardened?  Anyway, when the king of Egypt realized the people had fled, he changed his mind and wanted them back under his thumb.

Pharoah took 600 chariots along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.  All Pharoah’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops overtook the Israelites as they camped by the sea.  When the Israelites saw the Egyptians approaching, they were terrified and cried out to the Lord.

They accused Moses of tricking them and bringing them to the desert to die.  They claimed to be better off where they were, serving the Egyptians than to die in the desert.  Moses told them to not be afraid, stand firm and the Lord would fight for them.  Then God asked Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?  Tell the Israelites to move on.”

He told Moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea to divide the water so the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.  How freakin’ cool would it be to have seen that?!  God said he’d harden the hearts of the Egyptians so they’d follow in after them.  Then the angel of God, who’d been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them.  The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.  Throughout the night, the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.  So cool!!  I don’t think I knew this.

Moses did as God asked and the sea was divided, the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on the left and right.  The Egyptians pursued.  During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.  He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving.  And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites!  The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”  

Then God instructed Moses to stretch his hand over the sea so that the waters would flow over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.  So he did and at daybreak the sea went back into place.  Not one of those Egyptians survived.  When the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared him and put their trust in him and in Moses, his servant.

Who’s Up For Checklists, Calendars and Printables?

Are you a checklist sort of person?  Do you live out of a planner every day of your life?  Have a project calendar for Project A, B and C?  A different calendar for your family?

I am an avid list maker, have a planner, click in appts on my smartphone, have a family calendar on the fridge and a project calendar hanging in my office or attached to my planner since I work in the living room more often than I do the office.  Pitiful, right?

Well, if you are always on the lookout for checklists and printable calendars that are easy peasy to print and write in or type in from your computer and print, I have a free item or two to offer you for what I’m calling Take Away Tuesday.

Interested?  Check back tomorrow on Take Away Tuesday.

What types of checklists are you looking for?

Happy planning,

Carol