Talking About Writing and A Praise Report

Today’s post is a little different.  I have witnessed in the blogging community lately a fun little blog hop, and I halfway wondered if I would be asked, while at the same time not really giving it a lot of thought because I was on a blogging break.  But before I get into that I want to share a song I heard again the other day that resonated with my heart as I declared this is really all I want.

The the other week a dear friend that I met through #FMFparty asked me if I would be willing to take part in the blog hop I mentioned above.  I have not known Marie long, but I have fallen in love with her writing and her honesty.  I have also found a lot of common ground between us.  I was pleasantly surprised when she invited me to take part.  Check out her blog and her answers to these questions.

The Blog Hop

The purpose behind this blog hop is to talk about my writing and to introduce some friends that bless me.  However I am breaking the rules just a bit.  You see we are to ask 3 people to join in on the hop and have them to answer the questions below, but everyone I asked or wanted to ask had either already participated or for personal reasons was not able to do so at this time.  So since I did want to share with you from the blogs I read I am going to simply link you back to their blog posts below.

What Am I Writing or Working On?

Well since I have just returned from a blogging break I have to admit that I am not actively working on anything right now.  I am adjusting to being back to work full-time and have not found much time to write.

However there are two projects that I am supposed to be working on, that simply have lain neglected.  The most recent project was that I was supposed to be writing a devotional for people who suffered from depression and other mental health issues.  I’ve barely started it though because I failed to make it as much of a priority as I should have, and because I got tripped up on how writing for that is so different from writing on this blog.  Also this year I have been in the process of really finding my writing voice, so that would help me to do that before trying to finish the devotional first….as I am finding now that even things I wrote a couple of months ago I no longer write the same.

The other project I am working on is the novel that I started in NaNoWriMo 2012.  I worked on it like crazy until January 2013 when I began to get more intentional about blogging and then haven’t found the time to finish although I want to.

My story is a fictional one, where the characters are learning about themselves.  I started this story with no ideas, no plans, and it kind of formed itself.  It starts out when my main character is forced to escape life as she knows it and embarks on an adventure to learn herself and meets various characters along the way.  But I found as I continued to write that really all of my characters are on a similar journey of learning who they are and what they have to offer.  The story now sits at 65000 words and I wrote myself into a mess and am going back from the beginning and fixing major discrepancies before trying to finish the story.

A small glimpse at my story…

She walks through the dark house, slips through the door, and sees him lying in the moonlight, under the powder blue blanket.  Looking so innocent in sleep.  Her hands long to touch his hair and she wants to whisper her love to him, but she can’t.  She is taking a chance as it is that she would wake him, just watching him here.
Tears flood her eyes, her arms slack at her sides, her chin trembling she can’t believe that she is doing this, that she may never see him again.  She hates that she has to leave him behind, at 4 years old, he will never understand.  
She clenches her jaw, and glances at the clock again.  She can’t take it anymore, she has to leave.  She wipes the tears away, feeling the heaviness settle in her chest and gives one more longing glance and tip toes back out the door, pulling it closed behind her.
Being careful not to bump the furniture, she goes to the front door.  Looking quickly around behind her, taking a deep breath she walks out the door, hopefully never to return.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I think my writing is as unique as I am, and I am still finding my writing voice.  That said though at this point the thing that stands out to me about my writing is that I tend to write, much like I think…which means that I focus more on the harder and deeper things of life.  I have not yet managed to find a balance in my voice for writing about the fun things also.

I am a Christian and I am a blogger, but I don’t always feel like I fit in under the Christian blogger niche, because I don’t always encourage in a light-hearted way as many of them do.  I’m not always looking to make someone feel better about where they find themselves.  While I am an encourager and I believe that has its place, often instead I find that I am looking at why we behave the way we do, or what is it that God is calling us to change in our lives.  Sometimes those things are not easy to discuss and well they do not always win readers.  At the same time I can’t simply ignore that part of who I am to write what others may enjoy reading more.

Why do I write what I write?

When I started blogging it was as a way to share my then new faith in Jesus.  I did not grow up in a Christian home and therefore I did not know a lot about being a Christian.  It became my desire to share with others…although my initial attempts were pretty bad.  I continue to write to share my faith even today because it just feels like the right thing to do.  I want people to know what Jesus is doing in my life and what He can do for them.  While my personal life is not important (in my mind) to my writing, lately I have tried to be more authentic and honest about the seasons that I find myself in.  This is really scary, because I am seeing the power of story, yet I have a hard time writing vulnerable and waiting to see how it is received.  Although the more I share, the more I find that you my loyal readers are receptive and encouraging.

As for the why I write (link), well writing is just my most natural form of expressing myself.  I feel like I get more to the heart of who I am and what I am feeling when I write.

How does my writing process work?

I am not sure that I have an official writing process.  Mostly I write without planning a lot.  I usually write about some verse or piece of scripture that I feel the Lord has shown me something and I want to share with others.  Or like when I blogged through the Book of Matthew, I wrote the things that stood out to me and my understanding of them.  I am also trying to work more into my writing about my past struggles with depression and trying to educate the church a little on the stigma that still exists around that.

I have enjoyed when I can be more intentional and use a calendar to plan out when I would post, and on what topic.  But honestly that is about as far as I have ever gotten on planning out a post in advance, unless you have the thoughts I think as I lay down at night or wake in the morning about something that I should write.  Everything is inspiration and can inspire ideas for a post.

My Friends

As I said earlier I am breaking the rules a bit with this because I really want you to meet some amazing people who I love and well I didn’t want to force someone to be a part, but I did want to share them with you.  These precious women I all met through this amazing community of bloggers that gather for #fmfparty.

Jenn

Jenn is a friend whose writing blesses and I just love reading her words.  She is such an encouragement and I just love seeing her on Social Media.  Please go visit and enjoy her fresh words.

Jen

Jen is an amazing person and I have enjoyed getting to know her online and chatting with her in emails.  She is totally going to do amazing things for the Kingdom of God and I just love her perspectives on things.  Still a young’un in many ways yet she has already done more with her life than many other people have done at a much older age.  Honestly it’s amazing to see how God doesn’t need age or qualifications that the world would use.  I can’t wait to one day meet her in real life.  Please take a few minutes and check her out at Growing in Faith, and read about her responses to the questions on writing.

Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn is another one who I have not known overly long, but I love her writing and I know that she has a way of changing things around her.  I love her heart and her willingness to be open and vulnerable and share her story.  Please visit Kaitlyn at It Just Takes One.

 

Praise Report

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you have heard me talk about my struggles with depression, or at least about my thoughts on the church and depression.  I have shared also about how I have done better in recent years.  What I don’t think I have shared yet (although I may have just forgotten) is that I have stopped taking my medications with my doctor’s permission, to see if I have improved to the point that they are not necessary.  Today marks two months of being medication free!!!  During this time in my life as I have shared before I have faced many changes and challenges, and nothing ever stays the same long.  But God, has helped me to grow and change, and even in the midst of everything, and starting a new job I have been perfectly able to enjoy life without the depression coming back.  God is so very good!!!!!!!!  He has also helped me to control my thought life so that I am not thinking myself into a mess.

 

Finding Spiritual Whitespace ~Review

findingspiritualwhitespace_book-194x300

Do you find yourself often worn out from your busy life?  Are you struggling just to keep up, and often feeling like you are failing at that? There is hope for regaining the peace that your life needs.  Bonnie Gray has written an achingly beautiful book that will guide you as you make space for spiritual whitespace. “Spiritual whitespace makes room in our hearts for a more intimate relationship with God, rest, and soul rejuvenation.”   I couldn’t wait to begin this book, because I knew that I needed to work on rest.

BookArt5_livingjourney

Yet I had no idea how very much I would REALLY need to read this book.  Bonnie’s writing is raw in its vulnerability, and somehow her very honest words touch something deep inside her readers.  They challenge us to unlock ourselves from our self-imposed prisons, ones that we never meant to create, but somehow do not know how to get beyond.  I have only recently heard of Bonnie Gray, and so I knew nothing really about her before getting this book.  Yet reading this was like finding a sister of the soul.  Our stories are very different and yet her story spoke to hidden places in me, in ways that I could never have anticipated.  She reaches to you right in the midst of your messy life, and offers reassurance and practical steps to move from where you are to true soul rest.

This book is not written as a list of things to do.  Instead Bonnie shares her story in such a way that you are drawn in, and may even feel as she did.  Her story involves PTSD and childhood trauma, and really pulls at the heartstrings.  While I have loved and hated reading this book, I want to warn future readers that if you have any areas in your life that you have not yet dealt with, be prepared that you will find healing for that while reading this.  I loved the book, but I did not always love or even like having to take a look into why some of it affected me the way that it did.  I thought that I had dealt with some of this in the past…yet as I read, I found that there were some places that I had kept closed off and had not allowed to heal properly.

At the end of every chapter are areas to allow you to go deeper with you own search for spiritual whitespace.  The first section invites you to share with Jesus, and with others if you choose.  The second section “A whitespace prompt” gives you a chance to try this for yourself.  The third section prompts you to confide in Jesus.  However the real meaning of the story is about rest.  Some of the prompts were not easy for me, and there was some that I actually couldn’t seem to do this time as I read it, I trust that in time God will help.  But Bonnie’s heart is not that you would find yourself frustrated by this, but that you would allow yourself grace and simply sit and marinate with Jesus and find what works for you.

BookArt8_beloved-300x300

I have read of many lives that have been changed by reading this book, and I know that I will need to read it more than once.  I’ll be honest, I am a few chapters from being finished, but that is because I have needed to stop and savor parts of it, and to allow myself to journal through it and process the feelings that came up.  I am already seeing some changes in my own life as a result of this book.  I am learning how to release the expectations of what rest and spiritual whitespace “should” look like and simply make room for Jesus to meet me “As Is”.

This book has a beautiful cover that invites rest, but it is also a tad deceitful in the fact that it hides within its pages words that will pierce you to the core. Inviting you to open the parts of yourself that you didn’t even know that you had closed off, or the parts that you thought could never be changed and shows you the freedom that is possible.  Be aware that as you begin this journey to spiritual whitespace that you may find yourself busier than before, or you may find that you become undone as you process the message in its pages.  It will be well worth the journey!!

signature

 

Perspective Makes A Difference

photo credit: jspad via photopin cc

photo credit: jspad via photopin cc

I have enjoyed my blogging break, and I was able to step away from the computer and enjoy life more.  There is a lot to be said for spending less time in front of a screen, especially when you begin to spend all that time working crazily and it ceases to be fun.  That said, this refining process that I find myself in lately has me redefining my online life.  I am not sure what this will look like yet, other than posting will be slightly sporadic as I figure it out.

As I am working now I find that I am seeing things a lot differently than I have in the past.  One thing I am seeing is how in this world we have a serious lack of good character (I will write on this more in another post).  I am also seeing that we have gotten so used to technology that we are willing to sit in the break rooms, playing on our phones and totally ignoring the people around us.

I guess in some ways it is a good thing that I do not now have a cell phone, although to be honest I have begun to look at which one I might like.  At the same time I look at the fact that I know I need to be more responsible now with my money, so that I can save for when God takes me out of the country.  So I stare at the budget I have made and I question if it will ever be enough.  But then, I remind myself that God will provide for His plans therefore I do not need to stress about whether I can save enough.  I still need to try to set money back and be  responsible so I look at my wants and my needs, then I begin to think of those around the world who live on so much less than I do, and I ponder is it really something that is necessary.

Could I live on less, so that I will have more to give?  I am betting that it is possible.  The bigger question is do I really want it enough to do it?

I would like to encourage you today to step away from your phone and your computer and enjoy the people around you today.  These smiles and hugs, troubles and trials will never be exactly the same as they are right now.  Enjoy the journey!

signature

Bloom

Bloom2

Bloom1

 

So there is this flash mob of writing that happens every week for #FMFParty, we meet on twitter and share the joys and the sorrows of life.  Then Lisa Jo gives us a prompt and we all write for five minutes on that prompt.  There is to be no editing, and no stressing over whether we get it all write.  We simply write for the joy of writing and then we visit others and cheer one another on in community.

The Prompt: Bloom

GO!

My thoughts on this immediately go to bloom where you are planted.

But then there is more, so much more.  Because once you have found the ability to bloom, it is not over.  It has begun anew.  Once you bloom, while that is a beautiful thing it does not mean that you are finished.  (Tweet) So what, you bloom and then you wither and die.  No instead you bloom, and then you realize that you are still very human and very flawed.  So do you give up?

No!  Instead you begin to let yourself be pruned back so that those things that may steal from your bloom are handled and all the weeds are removed.  That way when it is over the bloom shines.  Then who gets the glory, is it the flower that has done nothing?  No, the master gardener, He gets all the glory, and honestly isn’t that the best.  See we do nothing, yet He shapes us, refines us, we bloom, and He shines right through. (Tweet)

So Amazing!

Stop!

signature

Five Minute Friday