Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

better connection

In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on my New Year’s resolutions. Drafting them up, they look something like this:

1.       Disconnect to Reconnect

In Colorado, I saw a neat little flyer. It stood out to me. It said, “There is no wi-fi in nature. But we’re sure you’ll find a better connection.”

As I’ve been praying about the New Year, I feel that I should to take a break from blogging and Facebooking. I’ve heard it takes about six weeks to build a new habit or to break an old one. So I’ll be going offline at the beginning of the year, for roughly 40 days, to disconnect from some things in order to connect (or reconnect) with others … and hopefully regain perspective of the most important things.

I’ll be available through email because I can’t go offline completely; my writing/editing work is all online. Just letting go of those “extras” for a while.

2.       Cultivate Real Communication

With Facebook and other social media, it is easy to maintain surface relationships, to see “what’s going on” but actually have no idea what is really happening in someone’s life or heart. Marjorie Holmes, in I’ve Got to Talk to Somebody, God, writes:

“Today there is so little genuine communication. The very push and pressure of living among so many people has driven us deeper inside ourselves. There, despite all the talk that swirls around us, we are locked in a lonely prison. It is a … place for our own protection, yet a place of anxieties and fears, where the loneliness can be intolerable, unless we find God there.”

I think it is a place, also, from which we need to reach out to others, not connecting on the surface, but listening, learning, and being there for each other through real communication.

That’s a resolution I have this year. Not sure exactly how to go about it, which is one of the reasons I’m disconnecting for a while, in hopes of reconnecting with a different perspective. Hopefully a more meaningful one.

3.       Find Direction in Writing

Another reason I don’t plan to post on my blogs for the next while is to figure out what it is I want to say … or more importantly, what God wants me to say. When I feel rushed or pressured to write, what comes out is often not the best of what there is to say or write, because the best of things take time.

I know this is going against advice from writing classes and connecting through social media. They say that to create a presence, you need to post regularly, at least once a week, and try to do it on the same day every week. I don’t know if I’ve ever kept up with that, and I don’t know if I ever will.

But right now, I know that I shouldn’t be even trying. Because if there is no heart and soul behind it, even the best and most tried-and-true technique will fall flat. I need to work a little more on the heart and soul right now.

4.       Make Progress in Long-term Goals

This probably starts with figuring out what some of those goals are. Mark Batterson, in his best-selling book The Circle Maker, discusses the importance of having life goals on a variety of themes – family, influence, experiential, physical. He writes:

“Setting a goal creates structural tension in your brain, which will seek to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, who you are and who you want to become. If you don’t set goals, your mind will become stagnant. Goal setting is good stewardship of your right-brain imagination. It’s also great for your prayer life.”

I plan to make progress in figuring out some of those goals and mapping a way, perhaps through prayer, to reach them.

5.       Keep a Proper Balance in Life (especially in busy times)

I make time for the things I have to do. When I have classes, I wake up before six on the days I have to be on time for class. I stay up late the night before an assignment is due studying or writing in order to get a good grade in class.

But it’s so easy to neglect the things I don’t have to do, even though I know it’s a bad idea in the long run. Things like exercise, or prayer, or reading the Bible, or studying about writing, or spending time with my kids. Each one of those things gets relegated to back burner during busy times. Before I realize it, a season has gone by without exercise, or I can’t remember the last time I sat on the floor with the kids and played a board game.

I know this is a subjective and vague resolution, partly because I don’t yet have a plan, and partly because even if I did have a plan, I wouldn’t want to post it. Because … well, you know what they say about those “greatest plans of mice and men.” And also because things change; needs change according to the cycles of life and schedules of life.

6.       Create Space

I planned to have only five New Year’s resolutions, but I added this one last minute, after finishing a book titled Gift from the Sea.

Sometimes the best we can do is figure out where we’re going and what we’re meant to do here and now. Next month or next year might bring a whole different slew of responsibilities or requirements.

But I want to get it right. I don’t want to feel like I’m missing something important or leaving something behind, or going too fast that I end up forgetting the most important things. I want to create space in my life (and our lives are just so busy these days). In Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes:

“It is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant—and therefore beautiful. … My life … lacks this quality of significance and therefore of beauty, because there is so little empty space. The space is scribbled on; the time has been filled. There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself.”

I saw myself in those words. So little empty space. I don’t want that. I don’t want to miss the significance in moments and people because I am going too fast to stop and notice them. My final resolution is to create those spaces on a regular basis. I’m not sure exactly how just yet.

Maybe by going slower. Or stopping completely at times. Minimizing the “extras” in my life. Or just being conscious of the need to have that space. I just placed a shell on my writing desk, my own “gift from the sea” to help me remember the need for space.

This is going to be my last post for a while. But I look forward to connecting with you again soon, and would love to hear from you … your resolutions and your hopes for the New Year. Your prayers and wishes.

Happy New Year!

Read Full Post »

This, my original blog, hasn’t received a lot of attention lately (from me) due to my focus on my newest writing project, A Purposed Life. For some reason, though, I’m thinking it’s about time to start writing in here again. As is often the case, even as I write, I’m still not sure what the focus will be … but I know it will come.

I started a new semester of classes today, 13 units. It’s my fifth semester at college; the four previous semesters I’ve taken between seven and ten units, and I’ve survived … more or less. I’m leaning towards blogging about classes and college, classmates and credits, etc. over the next little while, since it will take up a fair bit of my life for at least another year.

The thing is, up until now I was hesitant to write about being “back in school.” As a writer and editor, I wondered, What would people think if they saw I don’t even have a degree yet? How’s that supposed to help my credibility? It’s not that I’ve misled clients about my educational background. If anyone asked (and few did), I just told them the truth.

I was homeschooled and graduated from high school at 14 with a 4.0 GPA. From the time I was 12 I knew I my life was meant to be lived in service to God and others, so once I finished high school, I went straight into full-time service. I felt the “call to India” at 15, moved there at 16, lived and worked there for the next 12 years, and started a family over that same period of time.

We moved back to California three years ago, and after about six months, I started getting the feeling that maybe I should continue that education I forfeited in exchange for experience. It’s a decision I will never regret, because the things God has blessed me with on the road I’ve taken are unmatchable. I might not have gone the usual route of: school, college, work, marriage, family. In my case, the order was mixed around a bit, but that’s okay.

Now I’m 30 (turning 31 in five days), a wife and work-from-home mother of three, an aspiring author, and a full-time student. And life has never been better. Because when you know God is leading you, even when things are hazy or hectic, misty or muffled for a time … the skies always clear and you figure out He’s known the way all along.

So over the next little while, I’ll be writing a bit about my college experiences and insights (and fumbles and blunders), and maybe posting some of my writing assignments (I’ve got over 15 of them this semester). You’re welcome to come along on the journey.

Any parenting posts I write will still be on my parenting blog, http://positiveparentingblog.wordpress.com/ and of course, posts and quotes on writing can be found on my writing blog: http://awordfitlywritten.wordpress.com/

Read Full Post »

A leaf covered in frostI came to a realization about myself – not the most impressive one. I have a lot of “unfinished business,” well, at least with personal things. When it’s “work” given to me by someone else, with deadlines, I generally accomplish those in a timely fashion.

Cross-stitches I started years ago remain unfinished in my drawer.

Blog posts I have begun – over 150 at the moment – are incomplete and unposted.

And then there are the books. I have a neat excel file of the working titles I have given to my “books.” There are more than 50 now. One column gives the number of words written for each book. I have over 100,000 words – but no more than 15,000 in any one of them.

Photo albums. Lots of them, with packets of photographs sitting on top of them, rather than placed inside.

If I died any time soon, for any reason, I would have left a lot of things undone. I’d have to get someone auction off all my ideas. J

I wondered though, why do I operate this way?

One reason could be that ideas are always popping into my head. I’ll wake up from a vivid dream and before the morning is over, will have a book outline from it. Poetry starts forming in my mind as I’m sitting on a bus, or reading, or working.

And blog posts? Any time the randomness of my thoughts come together into a cohesive pattern, a moral interwoven – through an experience of the day, an memory from the past, or a realization of some sort – I start to write it up.

That’s the problem. I start.

Then I get a phone call, or reach my destination, or get a request from one of my kids, or realize I need to get back to work, start dinner, or wake the kids.

Is it procrastination?

Busyness?

Lack of organization?

Too many pies up there in the sky?

All of the above?

What’s the solution to getting a few things from “pending” in my brain somewhere to “complete,” where they can actually make a difference and benefit someone?

In his book, The Weathering Grace of God, Ken Gire writes of the importance of “stillness.”

“Poets know the importance of … stillness. They know that if they are still enough, long enough, the art they are working on will speak to them, tell them what it wants to be and what it needs from them to become it. All artists know this, whether they work with paint or clay, words or musical notes.

“Michelangelo knew how to be still before the stone and listen to the David within it. Strauss knew how to be still before the Danube and listen to the waltz that was eddying about in its waters. Monet knew how to be still before the pond and listen to the lilies sunning on its surface. …

“Our culture knows little of this kind of listening.”

The best ideas, and the completion of them, require not only time to do them, but also stillness. Listening – to know what it is that needs to be done with them.

We are encouraged by the Psalms to, “Be still and know that I am God.” The finishing work – whether of a small project or of life itself – requires stillness in mind and soul.

It is easy to start something. It is good to start something. Well begun is half done, as they say.

But to finish something – to see it through to the end – is not always easy.

It takes time.

Patience.

Faith.

And those aren’t always easy to come by.

We don’t always find them by looking within, or by looking around.

But when we look up, and in peace and quiet of mind, listen to the still, small voice that whispers to all mankind, we will know the path to take to complete what we have begun … and what He has begun in our lives.

We are all, in a way, God’s unfinished business.

He has started a lot of things that are well begun, even perfect in their own right.

But we are not complete.

The work continues: the molding, the shaping, the cutting, the polishing.

Along with the promise: “He makes all things beautiful in His time.”

(And look at that, another blog post complete.)

Read Full Post »

It’s not that I have nothing to write about. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have so much that I want to write about that it’s almost overwhelming. Words flow and the ideas come at the oddest of times, usually when I don’t have a pen and paper at my side. My husband helped with that problem. On my last birthday, he got me a phone.

It was a pretty cool phone; I could write with it! I could create MS Word documents, power points, even excel programs. And when I couldn’t write, I could record audio for a time that I could type it up. I was set.

The problem? Not long after my birthday, and before I had the time to figure much out about my phone and get in the groove of using it, my life became a lot busier. Imagine having a couple of friends who would help with your kids whenever you needed a breather, and then from one day to the next figuring out how to operate without even a spouse for a couple of months. Thank God that phase didn’t last long, but needless to say, my blog remained untouched for that period of time, and my Facebook seldom perused.

Life has its cycles and there always seems to be something or another that requires a good amount of time and focus. It’s not always the same thing and it’s often a challenge for me to find the right balance between my responsibilities before the next cycle or stage comes along that requires a different focus or balance altogether.

I’m an incurable multi-tasker. Therefore, one main challenge for me is to let go of something that I no longer have time for and avoid spending every waking moment of the day involved in everything that’s part of not only my current cycle but past ones too. I just try to fit it all in—not always the best thing.

Example? It’s a typical school morning with my sons. I spend it at the school table teaching them. I help the older one with his reading; once he’s working on his own, I do some flash cards and educational power points with the younger one. Once he runs off to play, I open my laptop and continue working on an editing job or writing project, of which there are always at least half a dozen to choose from. It’s good to stay busy and not waste time, but when it gets to where Allen has the mindset that, “Mommies don’t play” and when Jessica sings “wheels on the bus” with her brother, it comes to what the mommies do on the bus and she sings, “the Mommies on the bus go edit, edit, edit, all through the town”, well, I guess there can be too much of a good thing.

Back to writing. Over the past month or so, the storylines started. It began with a dream I remembered one morning and by the end of the day it had developed into the outline for a children’s novel. At the moment, I have the rough outline of nine stories or books… with 5,000 words or less written in each one. Not a lot of “story” just yet, probably because I haven’t focused on just one at a time.

It’s great to multi-task but I’m realizing that at other times it’s important to focus on just one thing. In all things, “a just balance is the Lord’s delight”. [Pro. 11:1] I actually hope to write on the topic of balance, especially for parents with many responsibilities in this age when being a parent is so much more than just “being a parent”. Maybe I’ll write a book about it! Okay, make that ten. 🙂

But first, I had another idea, which you’ll see in upcoming blog posts… Stay tuned.

Read Full Post »

Tolle Lege

Take up and read!

Praying for the millennials

A Guide to Praying for the Next Generation

Jewel Rose Reviews

Mother & daughter read & review.

Author Zoo

A place writers can go to find everything from a to z about the writing life

The Road

Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice

Darian G. Burns

Coming Alive to an Authentic Life

Tapestry Journal

A Writer, Author, Spinner of Words, An Artist of color and Light, a lover of this crazy rollercoaster we call life

%d bloggers like this: