Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Daring to do something great

Hey  everyone, I am slowly making the transition over to my new website

I posted a new blog there tonight and would love it if you checked it out.

Soon and very soon I will add a blog feeder to the site so if you subscribed here, you can do the same there.

Thanks, and let me know what you think of the new site!

Be blessed

Monday, July 29, 2013

How's the book coming?

I am getting that question quite often these days, and rightfully so.  I am writing the first book of my career. My first, so it won't be my last.

It's a big thing.  A REALLY BIG THING.

I am afraid my answer to this question isn't really giving people a lot of confidence in me either.

I usually look at them with glazed over eyes, a little lost and a lot overwhelmed, and always tired.  And with that look I pause and then say, "It's good.  I mean it's going OK."  And then I don't know where to go from there, because what I really want to say is this:

Aggghhhhh!!!!!!!!  I have so many emotions I don't know which one to grab onto in this moment!

It is more work than I ever anticipated.

It's incredibly hard. When I say hard, I mean it in a 'go through 9 months of painful pregnancy where you are sick almost every day, you get painful gas and gross stretch marks, you are excited for this adventure but didn't realize you would loose your ankles, your identity, your bladder and your sanity in the process.  Then you go through 36 hours of labor and 5 hours of pushing a baby out of your body that you are pretty sure isn't supposed to come through that way.' That kind of every day, all that I am is this process.  That's what I mean by hard.

It's frustrating because when you have time to write, the thoughts don't come.  Then when they do, you've written one page in four hours when you thought you would have the next chapter done.

I have never felt more insecure in my life!  Questioning and double guessing if it's enough, if what you have written should be said a different way.  Do you tell a story in a third person, first person?  Do I write the story like I tell it from stage?  Geezzzz, all those thoughts, then I have to spend the next half hour in prayer getting rid of those insecure thoughts that I intended to spend writing.  Now I am behind again!

I always feel behind.

I always feel stressed.

I always feel pressure.  Pressure that if I am sitting still, I should be writing or researching for the book.   Moments of peace aren't mine to have these days.

I feel imbalanced.  Every aspect of my life winding its way around this project and I don't like it.  It easily takes the joy out of it and I don't want that.  I want to love this, to enjoy this, to feel inspired by this.  Those moments feel too few and far between.

I feel excited that what once was a dream is going to be a reality.

I feel very blessed to have a writing partner that makes this book better, and then try not to feel inadequate in the process.

I feel like I can't give the book my whole attention, or my family , or my life, or my friends.

I feel overwhelmed by people's confidence in this project, in me.  Their encouragement, their kind words, their prayers, their help babysitting, all so I can write and not neglect the kids.

I feel worried about people's expectations.

I feel overwhelmed by own.

I feel scared about Henry's.

Then I pray again.

And it's better.  I remember that I do this because I feel called to honor God in this and support my family and extend my ministry.  I remember that I won't be defined by this moment or this project.  That this project is one step in the journey of discovering myself as a writer, a speaker, a professional, a person.  This is not all I have, this is just the beginning.

Then I when I wake up, I go through all these thoughts again.  It is a constant picking up the stress and letting it go.

So...I am not sure how to answer that question when people ask me.  I really just want to blurt out all these things and how much of a mess I feel most of the time.  But I don't.  I just say, "It's good".

I do believe it is good.  Being refined by this process is good.  Pushing at my insecurities and my stress and my life values are good.  They force me to think through my choices, my identity and who I am.  They force me to let go of expectations I didn't realize I was trying to live up to.  They allow me to see God's goodness in this process.  They give me a more aware sense of self, and this is before anyone has even read the book! I can't imagine the tough skin I am going to need when the book comes out.

So, as hard as this is, it is good.  But that one word means all these things to me right now.  Through this process, I am more open, vulnerable and humble and excited all at the same time.  In the end, I realize why so many people equate writing a book with having a baby.  It makes sense to me.  The process is so much harder than you anticipated, but the rewards of self discovery and having your heart out there in print is totally going to be worth it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Living in the tension: How do we help others?

Driving to the grocery store, I noticed a man lying on the ground at the bus stop.  Something in the way he was haphazardly lying there, told me it wasn't a natural nap position.  I have seen countless homeless men and women lying on the ground to rest.  I have seen even more college students, or bikers, resting in the grass as they wait for the bus.  Nothing about this man's position communicated that he landed that way on the ground on purpose.  His arm was akwardly behind his head and his legs didn't look natural.

Something didn't seem right.

I was driving, and only had a moment to process what I saw.  I had to keep driving, or risk getting hit by the car behind me.

It didn't feel right though, driving away.

Every other car I saw was driving away.  None of them were driving toward the man to help.

I sat at the light and processed what it meant that we live in a culture that dozens of cars would pass a man, not moving, lying on the ground in an unnatural way.  It made me sad to be apart of the culture that was either too busy, too focused or too scared to care.  (Does this remind you of a parable Christ told?)

The light turned green and I turned around to go back.

At the very same time that I drove up, two other cars had turned around and were stopping.

My faith in humanity being restored a little in that moment.

I got out of my car to check the situation and talk with one of the other women that stopped who was on the phone with 911.  We could see he was breathing, but he still looked so unnatural and very, very still.  No one had approached him or touched him.

I walked over closer to the man so that I could get a better look and he could hear me talk to him.  I was just out of arms reach, and asked in a loud voice if he was OK.  He sat up, startled, and said he was fine.  I asked if he needed help, and he just laid back down.

Something didn't feel right.

I went to stand back next to the other women, and then the sirens of the police came from every direction.  Before we knew it, three police cars pulled up and took over.

An officer came out of her car and asked the gentleman if he was alright.  He sat up again, attesting to the fact that he was fine.  She asked if he needed any help since he was at the bus station and missed the bus just moments before.  His immediate response was, "PLEASE!  Don't take me back to rehab."

The officers looked at us and told us everything would be fine.  They told us they had it covered, they thanked us for phoning in, and we could go about our day.  These women and I exchanged glances, not knowing what else to do and said our good byes.

I did my shopping and on the way home 20 minutes later, the police were still there with an ambulance getting ready to the take the man to the local hospital.

I felt sad and relieved at the same time.  Life is clearly difficult for this man, but I was so thankful he was getting  help.

I came home and starting telling this tale to Paul with Big listening intently to our conversation.  Paul was of course immediately frustrated with me that I got out of the car.  He let his frustration show in the way he exhaled his breath.  Then he said something like, "Why did you do something so dumb?"

To which Big cried, "Mama didn't do anything dumb!  That's bad to say that dad.  She helped someone!  She did what she was supposed to.   Mama did something nice!"

Paul let me finish, then turned to Big and said, "I am happy mommy helped someone.  I really am.  But mommy could have stayed in the car where she was safe and called 911.  She risked her life by getting out and approaching that man.  He could have tricked her and was there waiting for an attack.  I always want mommy to help, but I need her to be safe.  She could have helped just as much by staying safely in the car, and getting the police there."

That is where the tension is.  That is what I felt in the car as I watched so many people pass by.  Not doing anything to help.  Not stopping.

How do we live in the light of hope and love while always being aware and safeguarding against the darkness?

I completely understand where Paul is coming from.  I get it.

And even while I get it, it breaks my heart that thoughts of protecting myself while helping others is a needed reality.

Gone are the days of just simply putting the needs of someone else before your own.  It is needed  to be aware of the traps and scams and people that will take advantage of kindness.  It hurt as Paul and I tried to explain this to our son.  We deeply desire to spur him on towards loving and helping others.  We want his life to reflect a heart for all people.  And yet, in that reality, we must make sure that he is at least aware of the darkness.  Aware enough that he is smart in the way he lives and comes to the aid of friends and strangers as he grows older.

There lies a tension in seeing people in their brokenness and doing what we can to help and love them, while remaining smart about how we go about it.

I want to throw caution out the window and just dive in.  I don't want to think about myself, or believe the worst in people.  I desire to do whatever I can to help someone, just because they need it.  However, Paul is right.  We live in a world where that could have easily been a trap and I would have walked right into it.  I could have suffered great damage or been one of thousands of women who disappear at the hands of a stranger, thus leaving behind a husband and three children, wifeless and motherless.

We can't be the people who just drive by, not seeing, or being too terrified to step out in love, worried always only about ourselves.

We must be a people who live in the hardness of the tension, especially as we teach our children.  We must be a people who helps a fellow man or woman or child in their moment of need.  I believe we can do it, while we are smart about it. 

We can't let fear win.

Love has to win.  Selflessness must win.  Compassion still exists, even in the tension.

I don't have an answer.  I don't know how to teach my children about this whole idea of loving others while protecting yourself.  I wrestle with it, not knowing how to understand it or live in it.

But I know I desire to find a way.  I desire for my children to always help others, and I desire for them to be smart.

In the meantime, we live in the tension, (hopefully leaning more towards love and selflessness).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Taking care of business

I am writing a book.

I am writing a Bible Study, discussion guides and four brand new talks for a large conference in Sept.

I am writing four brand new talks and four group discussion guides for a camp I am speaking at next week.

I am working on our kids summer school schedule, planning field trips, organizing cooking classes, reading projects and math homework.

I am creating my first ever website on my own, which is is a HUGE feat for me and one I am growing more proud of, but am on a steep learning curve.

I am working with a great gal that is doing some business things for me, including researching new places where my ministry would be a good fit and doing some local booking to keep me closer to home.

I am writing and creating a new press kit to help connect with new clients.

I am gardening and weeding and harvesting and canning already.

These are the reasons I have't been blogging, even though I have so much I want to share with you.  Many of these projects will be done by August, but I am hoping to do a bit more blogging before then.

I wanted to tell you though that soon my blog won't be posted here.  It will be connected with my new website on Squarespace.  I will continue to post here for a bit, and help transition this site, but soon I will only post on the new website.  I will have a feeder there that you can sign up for to get notifications directly to your email when I post if you are that much of a fan.

I find it common decency to at least let you know that soon I will be changing things over.  The website is coming along and is almost ready.

Thank you all for your patience.  I enjoy doing life with you and will get back to posting soon.  Having free time at camp allows a bit more time for fun writing, on my blog.

Be blessed today and I will keep you posted about the switch over and new website.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hiking turns us into a circus

As we walked to the rose quartz mine this year, it reminded me so much of our experience from last year.

Somehow because of the schedule, I still ended up in a skirt and ballet slipper shoes.  I had Paul with me though and 15 other people so it was easier to pass Little around instead of carrying her on my own.

We did run into a few mutilated deer limbs though, which I am not sure I will ever get used to.  Seeing animal body parts that have been torn to shred by a larger, fiercer animal should by my first indicator that I should turn and go home.

We paused just as much  though as Big gathered so many rocks before we even got to the mine that he had to hold his pants up, otherwise the weight would pull them down.

Apparently this little hike seems to bring out our ridiculousness.

Either way, here is a fun story for you to read and enjoy from our South Dakota camping adventure.

I did laugh out loud when I read that I shouldn't do this hike again, or at least remember what happened last year.  Clearly, I didn't do that before we went hiking, me in my skirt and girl shoes.

Happy evening everyone.