Good Intentions; Bad Planning

Back at the end of May I had quit my day job of janitorial cleaning to focus all of my attention on my writing; actual writing, revising, fretting, more writing, reading, and getting things ready to be sent off.

Well, I started off with good intentions, as we all do at the start of something new.  The prospect of finally being allowed to put all my energy into my writing was exhilarating.  Finally, time to just write.  No worrying about my job.  No more trying to remember codes.  No more driving in the dark.  Just the sheer bliss of doing something I’ve longed to do since I was a child.

But things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, do they?  I was very focused in the beginning; diligently writing for 3 to 4 hours a day, taking time to revise pieces I had already finished, reading articles on the writing craft, and how to publish; etc.(sigh).  I had even joined a writers’ group.  But as time went on, something began to take my focus off of my writing.  It was a television show here, just one or two chapters more in the book I was currently engrossed in, and, the biggest time suck, Social Media.

Ah yes, I allowed myself to get sucked in, again.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Baird & Warner Real Estate.  Yes, I have this problem, this addiction, to view homes for sale.  Why, you may ask?  Since I was small I’ve always been fascinated by how the insides of other people’s houses looked.  Yes, weird.  No, I won’t stop.  I’ll even go as far as to admit that when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, I still like to peek inside homes as we drive by just to see how they look on the inside.  No, I haven’t seen anything weird.

Now I have to confess my biggest weakness.  I am a horrible planner.  Not only do I have poor organizational skills, I can’t plan to save my life.  All good intentions to be at my desk writing away, but getting easily, so easily, distracted by the little nuances of life.  I wanted to remain vigil at my laptop until the end of the year and return to work then.  But alas I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain.  And I have been kicking myself.  I wanted to blame others for this.  But who else can I blame but myself?

So I vow to forge ahead, with whatever time I can carve out of a ‘busy’ schedule to write.  No excuses because I have none.  I need to plan, yes plan, when and where to send off my short stories.  And I don’t even have to make a trip to the post office either.  Most literary magazines allow you to send through their submissions manager, or email, and snail mail as last resort.  As I hang my head in shame for not having done what I had so eagerly hoped to do, I asked forgiveness from my husband, my family, and those who have supported my efforts, fragile as they are, so that I can regain my vision and continue on.

Life is short and I need to realize this dream before it slips through these fingers of mine.  I need to have this dream realized!  I don’t want to be on my deathbed, regretting I didn’t accomplish all that I believe God created me to do.  No one wants regrets.  So here I go…again.  Until next time.

 

Confession

Confession.  The word alone conjures up images of a darkened booth with a priest sitting on the other side of a window-type screen; filled with hushed tones and shame.

Why are we so afraid to go bold with confessing our sins when we already know that by doing so will allow that particular burden to be lifted off of our shoulders?

Do we believe for an instant that we are capable of hiding our sins from an all-knowing and an all-seeing Creator?

There’s quite a bit of shame involved, I understand.  I’ve been there.  We strive to do our very best to please God but often those attempts fall flat and we fail miserably.

But guess what?  He still loves us regardless of our numerous shortcomings.  That is what a loving God does!  How awesome is that!  So go boldly before the throne.

1 John 1:9 explains it clearly, “If we confess our sins, He  is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now that is some great news, my friends!

 

 

 

 

When God is Silent

All my life I’ve been clinging to the hope of God and His existence.  Deep down I am fully aware that there is something greater than myself; than all of us; alive and in control of this infinite universe.  Death has had its fair grip on me for decades; what will it be like, how much pain, and will I still exist afterwards?  I believe in a God that is omnipotent and unending.  As a child I’d play church(not too many kids out there playing church, I imagine).  We had this half-shell knick knack with Jesus on the cross attached to it and I’d put water in the shell and pretend it was holy water, dabbing it onto my forehead just like I saw my parents and others do in the Catholic church we attended.

Having Aspergers, I just felt closer to the existence of some higher power; something or someone I could look up to and have a sense of peace over.  I’ve read somewhere women with Aspergers have a unique pull to the divine.  I have a thirst for Truth, to know wrong from right, to understand others and what they are going through.  I want to grasp why some people are good and others are seen as evil.  What turns a person from light to darkness?  What snaps inside?

Peace within is a blessing.  But when we seek answers from an almighty Being, we expect answers, and fast.  We don’t want to wait.  From experience there were, and still are, frustrating circumstances in my life that needle the flesh.  Why does this person act this way?  Why don’t I feel closer to the ones I love?  Why do I keep getting rejected in places that preach about love and acceptance?  My ear is attuned to his anticipated reply.  But I cannot sense any forthcoming. Then the fear and doubts set in.  Is God truly out there?  Does he even care about me and my concerns?  Now I’m drawing into myself again.  I’m screaming within, Help me, God!  Why aren’t you listening?  Do you even love me?

As a believer, fear of God no longer loving you is like a baseball bat to the face.  It’s like trying to breathe underwater.  Crying helps, a bit.  But after the tears, the cursing(yes, the cursing), the pleading, I can take a deep breath and refocus.  Peace surrounds me once again.  God isn’t intimidated by your little outbursts.  He knows you intimately since he created you.  His love for you is eternal.  When God is silent, I believe he is testing us and our faith.  Do we trust in him or not?  He swoops in to rescue us and our dwindling faith.

He is good and merciful to his children, and knows us all by name.  God has not abandoned you but continually longs to have a place in our hearts and thoughts.  Talk to him today.  He is waiting.

The Solitude of Morning

I find the solitude of the early morning hours a welcome relief from the trials of life.  It feeds my soul, to sit at my laptop in the kitchen, coffee in hand, and check either e-mail or Facebook.  No one else is up yet.  The house is relatively quiet except for a mouse we seem to have running loose.  I can hear him hiding out in a corner chomping away at a piece of Kibble stolen from my dog’s food dish, or one found on the floor.  My dog is a very messy eater.

I can sit, basking in the solitude, and reflect on the day before, or plan out the new day while my thoughts are fresh and my head clear of any distractions.  Weekends it’s normally grocery shopping and church service, while during the week it’s about going to work and doing the chores around the house.

Lately I have been keeping myself busy with short story revisions.  I have joined a few critiquing groups on the web, which I am enjoying.  Still need to take the next step and start submitting work.  I have difficulty in choosing what magazines to send them off to.  Some publications accept works all year round, while others have certain time frames, some accept work from beginners, while others prefer established writers.  While I may not be a beginner, I have not earned a cent off my writing…yet.

But there are mornings I wake up, and my heart is sad.  I am sensitive to the pain of others.  I know that there’s not a lot that I can do to change that, but the news stories still haunt me days, weeks, later.  Especially at this time of year.  I see an overabundance of greed, eyes focused on gaining material possessions, and why?  All things eventually break and get discarded.  People need more peace in their lives.  Though technology has made life easier, people seem to be more miserable than ever.  Why is that?

I am truly blessed to have a loving and supportive family.  When life throws a fast ball my way, I can dodge it with the assistance of family.  And family is important.  They should be your support system.  And if they are not, I have compassion on you.   We all need someone to be a cheerleader for us.  Rooting us on.  Telling us, “Go on.  You can do it!”  Would the world be a better, happier place if we all had that one special person?  Yes, indeed it would.

Goodbye 2013

This will be my last post for the year.  My intention was always to post something new at least once a week.  Unfortunately I’ve failed at that.  But no use beating myself up over it.  I can’t change the past but I can do something about it in the future.  A new year is almost upon us.  For some of us this is a blessing and a relief.  For others, it is a painful reminder of what surrounds us.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of ‘what-if’s’.  Will I still have my job next year?  Will my spouse leave me?  Will my illness get worse?  So much stress and worry.  But since we cannot see into the future what lays ahead, we have to take it one day at a time.  Baby steps.  We can’t change the horrible economy.  We can try to do a better job at loving and caring about our spouses.  We can get help.  We can go to counseling.  Life is so unpredictable.  We can’t see around the corner and peek at what is coming at us.

But this post is not meant to be negative.  I want you to read ‘hope’ within these words.  Hope for a new season in your life.  Hope that things will get better, or hope that things will remain just as they are, if you are pleased and thankful for what you already have.  I believe that we live with too much fear.  I for one am included in that.  I am a worrier.  I bite my nails still.  I overeat to calm my frayed nerves.  I get sick to my stomach sometimes, and have terrible headaches.  And for what?  Because I’m stressing out about something that will most likely never occur.  I recommend meditation or prayer.  A higher power.  I believe in God.  I believe that He has all things under control and no matter how hard I struggle to have things my way, I believe that He is ultimately the one with absolute control.  I think that we need to keep our eyes focused on something bigger than ourselves.  I’m not saying that you have to believe in what I believe.  I’m a firm believer in not forcing any religion down anyone else’s throat.  But I do think that we can find comfort in knowing that there is someone or something in control, who’s got everything in capable hands.  Leading us.  Guiding us.  Teaching us.

So as we look to 2014, let us release all of this strain, and worry, and focus on the good.  We usually cannot do much about the things that pop up unexpectedly in our lives, like the loss of employment, but we can take a deep breath and move on to something else.  We can release the ‘bad energy’ and move on to something better, something brighter.  Don’t settle for second-best.  Don’t settle for complacency.  You are so very important.  See yourself as valuable.  As a contributing member of society.  Life goes on even when the pain comes.  Talk to someone, if you need to.  Don’t go through all of this turmoil alone.  We all need people, even in this social media age.  Please never look at your life as being worthless, as you being worthless.  You are NOT worthless.  You are made for a reason.  No one is here by accident.  This is what I believe.  Don’t take your own life.  I read somewhere once that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  In life, this too shall pass.  Troubles don’t last for a lifetime.  I know what I’m talking about.  I tried, years ago, to take my own life.  But you know what, even though I was buried in anguish at the time, life did get better. 

Please, please, please look for the bright spot.  There is always one if you dare to seek it out.  Love yourself.  Let others love you, too.  Don’t wall yourself up.  Get out there in live!  Life is short.  It is unpredictable, but it is beautiful.  Please don’t squander another day. 

Going Back to My Christian Roots

The Word of God endures forever. It cannot be destroyed. Those in Third-World nations hunger for it. Fellow believers long for a copy of the Bible for themselves. They sit on wooden benches in hot, stuffy shacks, worshipping the Lord while we in this country are sitting in air-conditioned masterpieces of architecture, and still we are not happy. We feel that going to worship once a week is a chore; boring and without merit.

The Bibles we have are normally for display, not for reading, much like our grandparent’s plastic-covered living rooms were. As believers, we need to open up that book, filled with life-giving, cleansing water for the thirsting soul. The Word is our hope. It reveals the precious Lamb of God who died to take away the sins of the world, so that we may be reconciled to the Father.

It doesn’t matter to God how many chapters you read in one sitting, as long as you take the time and refresh yourself in it daily. A verse or two, a chapter; just read it and take its words to heart. It can calm you down, and it can energize you, depending on what you are looking for.

Many people scoff at the Word, thinking it’s nothing more than fables and pretty stories written by uneducated men making foolish rules, and oppressive to women. But they couldn’t be further from the truth. God is holy. And the world does not understand Him any better than the religious leaders of Jesus’ time didn’t understand who He was.

God’s love for you is truly unconditional. He will be there with you in your struggles and your questioning “why’s” God doesn’t delight in people’s suffering or addictions, or in your tears. No. He wants nothing more than to comfort you.

For you to obey His word means to be kept safe from serious harm. Is that to say that nothing bad will ever happen to you? No. Life will still have its ups and downs, and heartache, pain, and temptations. But the Lord will provide you with the strength to make it through. All you have to do is ask. In His Word, a great light is there ready to break through the darkness of this world.

Understand that it is the ‘religious leaders’ of our day that try to overburden you with foolish rules and guilt trips. God will not do that. Christian faith is not about bondage, but about breaking free from condemnation. It is freedom; freedom from fear, addictions, and from a hardened heart. If you haven’t already, choose this day to take a chance on God. Let Him reveal Himself to you. Let Him bask you in the glory of His light and in His love. You’ll be glad that you did. Accept this offer of freedom and peace today.

Will the Violence Ever End?

Senseless. Crazy. Sad. Why is there so much violence taking place in this country lately? Where is the compassion for your fellow man? Are we becoming so heartless that we are no longer capable of apathy? Where did it stem from and where is this all heading to?

As a professing Christian, it is quite difficult for me to understand why people need to hate so deeply. In my eyes, all people are of great worth, regardless what other people may think. God does not make junk and He put everyone on this earth for a reason. This is what I believe. Maybe we may not understand or see perfectly what that reason is, but He knows, and that is good enough for me.

I believe that it all starts with the family. Parents – love, and treat your children with respect. Children, as well, respect and honor your Mother and your Father. I understand that not all parents are good parents. This is sad. So, how does a child grow up with compassion in their heart if their own parents treat them poorly, or abusively? Okay, unfortunately I don’t have a cure-all for the world’s ills, only suggestions.

Get some counseling. Don’t keep the anger and the abuse continuing from generation to generation. It needs to end now. We need people to understand that they are loved, and we need to show others this love. No matter how difficult the person. Patience. Compassion. Understanding. Communication. Yes, communication is so important, especially in this computer-age. Face to face connection. Not just an e-mail. But something more personal. More compassionate.

I just believe that it all begins with the family. Be interested in your children’s education. Take interest in what they like. Let them explore the world, safely. Don’t mock them for who they are. Don’t try to make them little carbon-copies of who you are.

Even spend time with them. Don’t buy them off. It doesn’t take a lot to make a child feel appreciated. Tossing a ball around, or playing make-believe tea party; doesn’t cost anything at all. Think about it this way, the best things in life are free: just like the giant box that an expensive toy or an appliance comes in. What does the child want to play with more, usually? The free, empty box, of course! At least my children did.

Okay, I would love to solve our society’s ills. I’d like to pray it away. Love it away, one smile, one person at a time. Talk to people. Don’t just walk on by, like most people normally do. Just say ‘good morning’ or ‘hi’ to people you randomly meet out on the road when you’re running or biking, etc. Even a simple smile or wave is good. It frustrates me when I’m running and trying to be polite, and the person just kind of looks at you like you’re crazy. The smile won’t crack your face, I promise.

Care about others. Take an interest in what other people are doing. Get involved in just causes. It will make your life much more worthwhile. It will fill your life with meaning and with purpose and with hope. Let me know what you believe would make things better in this country. What are your opinions on society’s downhill slide into apathy?