Saturday, July 30, 2016

A New Morning Ritual...

My communion bench.

The past 8 out of 10 mornings have gone exactly like this...

I'm sitting under my patio umbrella dripping water through the yard chair and forcing Layla to move from her shady spot under the chair to somewhere not quite so drippy. For a supposedly water-loving dog breed, she hates being wet. 

Other than looking at my grandson, this is my new HAPPY PLACE. Especially in the early morning. I have learned that poolside in Texas must be enjoyed before 11am. By Noon it is too hot to be outside, even in the water. Had no idea it could ever be too hot to swim, but in hot weather states it happens. 

I wake up in the mornings and hit the ON switch for my coffee and sit outside until I hear it beep that the lovely brown delight is ready for me. Then my coffee and I slip into the water and I sigh in pleasure. Every. Single. Time. Cannot help it. 

There is a little ledge or bench at the deep end where I perch while looking at the trees in the tiny forest behind my home. And I sip my coffee. Waiting to wake up. I say hello to God and choose not to think about all the millions of things that worry and bother me. 

After a bit I sit my coffee cup on the edge of the pool and I do my laps back and forth from one end to the other in this small pool until my heart is pounding, then I try to do a few more. I also try to see how long I can tread water, building up my time and endurance each day. Treading water with just my arms and then with just my legs...ouch! 

Now come the best moments; I lean back and float, staring at the clear blue sky. But my sky is seldom empty. There are two sets of flight pattern above me. The near by airport provides an almost constant path of planes traveling from Dallas to everywhere. 

Closer still are the dragonflies. I love floating on my back and watching them watch me. They hover closer and closer, full of curiosity I suppose. Dragonflies live over a year so it could be the same ones visiting me every day, I don't know. I love them. A second one will come and they will fight over me, "No, she's mine!" Who knows, maybe they are making love and not war, which is always preferable. 

Out here on the water it feels like my communion time. It seems holy and sacred early in the morning like this. I keep getting back in the water and do not want to get out and join the grown-up world out there. My fingers are wrinkled and still I float and swim back and forth. In the water I am light, flexible and beautiful. I can fly, tumble, splash and dive deep. 

It is time to go inside and fry up some bacon and eggs for my Love. 

But still I float.

Maybe brunch instead of breakfast today. 

I also write in my journal before going in and you just read a page.





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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Authentic About Fear of Being Authentic





Want authenticity? Here is mine. I am thinking that I may be done with blogging. It is just too scary out there. The internet has become a mean and frightening place. I have struggled to write since getting my book published. 

Every time I jot down a fun or challenging or uplifting post idea, the second guessing begins. Who could be offended by this? Who might take my words wrong accidentally? Who might take my words and twist them on purpose? No one is safe. If people are being mean and rude to the Chewbacca Mom of all people, then who in the world is safe??

Famous? Well known, popular? I used to think it would be great. Now it is a negative and dangerous place to desire. As I type these words, I am thinking that you may be thinking I am big headed to even worry about such a possibility. 

See?

I still enjoy the writing process. I love switching this word for that word. I can get lost in exploring an entirely new way to say something. I have ideas. I will always fill journals, but have even begun wondering how to destroy that authenticity before I die. 

I have thoughts, worries and fears that cannot be shared. And when I know that, it makes it difficult for me to write anything. Why add more drivel to the mess already floating around out there? 

Every word I wrote in my book is true. It is not drivel. God showed me wonderful truths about Himself and about myself. But I have learned that you can conquer one or two important obstacles in your life and still be a mess. You can still be afraid. You can still be very aware that you are not an expert about anything. I told my husband the other day that I think I need to read my own book again. 

I have loved the Internet. I have been seriously addicted to Facebook and Instagram. Seriously. But they no longer feel safe for my heart. You never know when some unknown person is going to be "called out" online for a few words they have posted. Jobs, lives, marriages and health have been damaged for a few stupid word choices. 

I'm not leaving FB or Instagram or Twitter or..... Don't even know how to do that. I don't. 

So I'm in a pickle. Right? 

I am thinking/writing out loud here. Probably not a good idea. But when I feel stuck this is how I get unstuck. Writing out loud. 

You do not need an answer for me. I am not asking for help. But I am just being authentic about being afraid to be authentic. 
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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Don't Should On Me



WALKING BUTTERFLY available on amazon.com


Over the last few years I've had a handful of people ask me for a copy of an article or blog I wrote titled "Don't Should On me". I had another request today and could not find that particular blog post. So I am posting the entire chapter from my book WALKING BUTTERFLY with the same title. Enjoy and feel free to share if you care to. 


Excerpt from WALKING BUTTERFLY 
Chapter 9 - Don't Should On Me

I was raised in the church, my family attended services twice on Sundays, every Wednesday night and any other time that stuff was happening. Our church was like a wonderful extended family and I loved the way it became a warm and comfortable social circle for me.

The center of that circle was the shared desire to serve God in all areas of our lives. We were taught to read our Bibles everyday, attend church as much as possible and spend time in prayer everyday. As a teen I can remember starting one Bible-reading system after another, marking my calendar with my self-assigned Bible passage to read that day. I would open my highlighted pink Bible and some days it seemed alive as the words on the page fit exactly what I needed that day. But I also had many days when the words meant nothing to me and made no sense or were just so boring I had to literally force myself to finish so I could mark the section off on my calendar. This manner of “serving God” came with me into my adult life.

Though this training was well-intentioned, it planted the idea that I needed to earn my way into God’s heart. If I missed a day of reading or praying I felt guilty and was constantly feeling that I did not, and could not measure up as a real Christian. An illustration that was often used, compared our relationship with God to a lover’s relationship and asked us why we can’t wait to spend time with or read letters from our lover, yet we put off spending time with God. The inference was that if we really, truly loved God it would be easy and natural to read our Bibles and spend time in prayer everyday. That thought brings heaviness to me even now as I write this.

Haven’t we all heard Christians around us talking about how they don’t read the Bible enough? How often do we hear Christians complain about not spending enough time in prayer? But what would we call an earthly relationship if the partner kept track of all your days of not spending time with him and held it against you? If you walked around with guilt and fear due to your lack of reading his letters or calling him on the phone often enough? Wouldn’t we call that an abusive relationship?

Playing golf on Sunday, going fishing or staying home to watch the game on TV were all evidence of falling away from God or “backsliding”. Can’t you just picture God up there checking the Sunday morning roll sheet? I am intentionally not mentioning the specific denomination because I believe this mindset of earning God’s love is seen in a general way in almost all types of organized religion.

For the last few years God has been showing me a brand new way of looking at him and the relationship between the two of us. For me the “Good News” is not just about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. The Good News is that when He said “It is finished” it was FINISHED! Any kind of striving or working to dutifully “serve” Him because I owe it to Him is not a love relationship. Striving and working fall under the “should” category and God does not “should” on me.

To make myself read the Bible everyday to gain points with Him is silly because He has already awarded me all the points available. It is finished! I don’t need to grovel or do penance for my mess-ups, I am forgiven. All I do is get up, brush myself off and bask in how much He already loves me. This new picture of God is more fun and freeing in everything I do. He loves creativity and adventure and exploration and variety. Can you imagine how a God like that must get pretty bored in some of our church services? Do you ever get bored there? Be honest now.

The God-relationship I enjoy now includes us doing chores together, driving together and watching movies in one another’s company. He even did a Val Kilmer impression for me once! Really! What would you do if you heard that and you knew it was God? Yah that’s what I did, I laughed out loud and couldn’t wait to tell the others what I had heard!

This is not the same god who “shoulds” on people! Whenever I hear myself saying the “should” word to others or to myself, it becomes high-lighted like the spell-check on my laptop. I stop and re-examine what I am saying or thinking. Am I agreeing to be on that committee because I want to or because I should? God may not be impressed with or even affected by my service to Him that is done dutifully because “someone” had to do it. I have been surprised at how the world did not come to a sudden halt when I “failed” to do what I “should”. What freedom that brings!

I believe the church leaders of the past had good intentions. They insisted we do our Christian disciplines because that’s how they were trained and how they lived. But that is also why so many Christians in the past looked and sounded burnt out and angry when they preached. That is not the life I live. Mine is joyful, surprised and full of pleasure and delight most of the time. The God I love is full of goodness and kindness! I could tell many stories about both giving and receiving “shoulds” after being in vocational ministry for over 25 years. But I will end with this: Should happens, but not to me if I can help it!

You and I now live in a culture that glorifies the “problem” of being too busy. Social media articles, status updates and real life friends who gather together, seem to spend a great deal of time complaining about their overly busy lives. In reality they are bragging about being too busy, as if it is a good problem. As if it is evidence of the good life and success.

The truth is that an over-packed life is not a healthy life. A crammed-full calendar could actually be symptomatic of allowing others to “should” on you. It might be time to list your activities and get ruthless about eliminating the items that do not give you joy or fulfillment. Ask yourself why you agreed to lead the Bible Study or Kids’ Church once a month. Yes, “they” needed the help, but it is important for you to ration your energy and passion in the best way possible for you and your family.

In any normal church or organization there are a few people who do everything and a lot of people who do very little. It is time to spread the opportunities out for others to pick up. There is someone in your group who needs and wants to be contributing more. This is the chance to leave an opening for them to step into. If you have volunteer jobs that have lost the fun, it is time to let them go. Do not allow someone else’s “should” get all over you. Step away from the “should”.

Father, I thank you for the gifts you’ve given me. I want to use them to the best of my ability and bring glory to You in their use. I do not want to be filling holes that You did not design me to fill. Forgive me for falling into the temptation to glorify myself by taking jobs that were not meant for me in the first place. Please help trim down my TO DO list and cross out the items that You did not choose for me. I will trust You in this difficult task. Let me see what You see for me. Thank you Father.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

I Have A Listed Life #21dayjij

My Writing Prompt for today is LISTS. This subject is easy for me because my life is and has always been listed. My poor Hubs is now accustomed to various lists scattered around our home. 

When I was a busy working lady, some serious panic would happen if I lost sight of my DAY TIMER. My life in all of its various categories was stuffed inside that leather binder, often in list form. HOME - CHURCH - OFFICE - SCHOOL - PERSONAL. This is why I cannot get too excited about one of my friend's obsession with planners. It looks and sounds like the same thing I used to carry around years ago. Sorry Dawn. :) 



Then I began to notice at staff meetings that my co-workers were slowly replacing their Day Timers with Blackberrys and eventually I did too. I still miss that sweet thing!! Lists were my Blackberry's main ingredient. Loved my Blackberry!



Party at MY house! Yay!

Now the lists around my house are about interesting books to check out at the library, how to move a book from print to digital and what has to happen between now and this Saturday's party at my house. 

Oh and shopping lists!? I must have one or I feel totally lost and frustrated. Even though I basically buy all the same stuff from week to week with very little variation. When I was a young mom I even typed and printed up a general shopping list to check off each week. And yes, my list was set up according to the store layout. Of course!


MUST offer my book in digital form soon! Ack!

Listing gives my mind a rest. It lets me know that I do not have to depend upon my memory. And oh the glory of checking stuff off the list! We all love that, don't we? Please admit with me that you have added stuff you've already done to a list so that you could check it off. Just me? Oh well.



This is the book list in my wallet. Oops,
I seem to have shared cute pics of Grandson in there too!
Linking up with 21 Day Journaling In July.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

My Furry Friend #21dayjij

Minutes after Adorable Grandson leaves.

My writing prompt for today is about our furry friends and my closest furry friend is definitely my dog Layla. She is difficult to capture in photographs as all black dogs are, but these 3 pics show her current life pattern.




Layla is kept on the move when Adorable Grandson is here twice a week for 8 hours. I used to worry about her hurting the munchkin but now it's the other way around. Adorable Grandson is not intentionally mean but he wants to hug her and thinks it is hilarious to try to hold her stubby little tail. She is not crazy about either activity but she stands there and tries to lick his face until she can slink away to her open crate in another room.


Five minutes after grandson left today. Pooped!
Adorable Grandson just left and Grandma has no more energy for a better post than this today. Think I'm going to join Layla on the floor for a bit. 

21 days of Journaling In July
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Play Doh Under My Fingernails #21dayjij

Cars on the window-sill is serious work.
I have a confession to make. I have blue play doh under my fingernails, and it is happening much more often as a grandma than it ever did as a mommy. 

You will typically find me on the floor two days out of every week. My grandson is almost 2 and we have a blast together every week. I got to watch him learn to walk, run and now, well, now both Layla and I have a hard time keeping up with him. 

In practical terms, our twice weekly play-date is helping his mom and dad go to their jobs and get their school work done. They say thank you over and over again...but come on! I delight in every moment with him, even his cranky ones when I am putting on a silly show meant ONLY for him. 

The perks of grandparenting are huge. I can get on the floor and line up the wooden zoo animals for hours on end, with no thought of laundry waiting for me. Play doh time will not be interrupted by thoughts about dinner or loading the dishwasher. 

A mommy does not have that sweet deal. 

I know that I will have uninterrupted time to clean my house and make dinners every other day of the week. But my baby days are all about him. When I was a mom of little ones, I do not remember savoring every minute as I do now. I was good at enjoying my years with them, my journals are full of baby stories. But a mom of littles is also in the middle of the craziest season of life and every joy is surrounded by more questions and doubts and busy schedules that fight for space in the heart and head. 

A grandma has room for just the love. Just the marvel of watching little fingers learn how to roll the play doh into a ball or a snake. Cracking up at the comical sound he makes when pretending to eat the fake pancake he created. "Smack smack smack". And watching extra closely because scraping the yucky clay off teeth has already happened and I do not want to send him home with blue teeth again. 

These are days of tangible love. I giggle and laugh out loud a lot on Grandson days. I stare at that little perfectly shaped head...is there anything sweeter than the back of a little boy's head?...and my heart feels full and content. This kid has my heart in a way I have never known before. 

LOVE IS IN THE AIR prompt for 21 Days of Journaling in July with Enthusiastic Dawn.  Pin It                     Like this? Don't forget to SHARE...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Probably Should Delete

I keep starting to write and then stopping. Hitting the DELETE button again and again.
Backspace backspace backspace.
"That sentence sounds lame."
"That is insincere."
"That does not sound like you."

I have not really WRITTEN since publishing my little book in February. I think I'm stuck.
I am struggling and feel like admitting the struggle will negate the positive words in my book.
I wrote about being in charge of our mind. Not letting negative thoughts be the boss.
How taking thoughts captive is like keeping kitties in a box.
My "kitties" have taken over my house. They are very bossy.

I want to write.
I need to write.
I used to love to write.
I want to go back to when I had a book project.
To when I had a Work In Progress. No progress happening here.

Stuff is happening. Life changes are coming.
But blogging has lost it's allure.
It doesn't call to me like it used to.
This post makes no sense.
I really should hit DELETE.

Writerly advice is welcome.
Prayers are welcome.
A kick in the butt is welcome.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

A Surprise Post by A Friend




I am still tearing up about this brand new post that a friend published on her blog today! We met online, then we spent a few bits of time together in person and now she is a forever friend! Her blog is four years old and it is delightful. You must click on over there and after you read her post about our friendship, you will not be disappointed if you stay to wander around for a little while! You will be uplifted, entertained and blessed!

OK now it's time for you to hop on over to Thoughts, Laughs and Fun -Delana
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hi God










So it seems that God has gone quiet again. I ask Him questions and get no answer. 

Unless you count that annoying one about filling my mind and eyes with too much social media and thus shutting Him out. 

Yeah, that one.
I am not planning a big social media fast or promising myself to stay off the computer or phone for X number of days. But I am recognizing a habit I have fallen into and it may resort to those measures eventually. I love Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I also have Pinterest and Tumbler accounts that I try to keep up in a reasonable way. The News Feeds call me to them many times a day, all day long. I click a LIKE here and a HEART there, a SHARE here and a RETWEET there. On and on it goes. 

I blame it on the book and the need to advertise consistently. BUT I was online long before my book was published so...

God speaks to us in a million different ways, I know that. In my book I mention that we do not need to be in a church building to hear God. That hearing God does not even require a set appointment called a "Quiet time". I made a point of pointing out that more than half of my conversations with God did not happen in one of those settings. 

BUT the other half of my life-changing moments with God DID take place in times of prayer, worship or appointed "Quiet Time". So...




While I have been so determined not be THAT rule-following "church lady" kind of believer, I have forgotten the beauty of set aside time for HIM alone. I wanted to distance myself from a rigid and "religious" ritual that can easily become an empty form with no substance. 

I've been lumping devotional time in with the discarded pieces of my old cocoon. But I miss God. And I am pretty sure He misses me. I will not say that the sweet butterfly that watched me swim the other day was sent by God to remind me of Him. I WILL say that the photos make me tear up at the beauty of creation and THAT makes me think of Him. 

I am thankful that my God never gives up on me. Even when He is quiet, even when I am quiet, He is there. 

He is here. 

Hi God. 



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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Would Have Been A Win-Win If He'd Kept His Mouth Shut


Not much natural light in my house. 
My husband has some profound marriage advice based on this recent conversation this week. My only regret about this house we've been in for a   year and a half is the lack of natural light. I miss my California sunshine all day long. So I make up for it in small ways...like the lit up wreath in my entry hall. 

A few days ago this chat happened:


  • Me: Honey, I was tickled this morning to see that you turned on my wreath lights today because I know you don't care about it.  Thanks!
  • Him: (Chuckles..) I didn't, you left it on all night.
  • Me: I did? Oh no, I am usually so careful about that!
  • Him: Shoot, I shouldn't have said anything and I would've gotten credit for it!
  • Me: Yep, your BIG points for the day.
  • Him: Why didn't I keep my mouth shut?
  • Me: Yeah, I wish you would have, because then I could still be enjoying that you did it for me. Shoot.
  • Him: Well, we both lose I guess.
  • Me: Sigh, could have been a win-win.
Yes, after 38 years of marriage we are still trying to gain and not lose points. What is that about? 

And his profound wisdom about marriage? "Less communication is best." 


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016



OK, this will be interesting, to me anyway; I am posting this from my phone. We'll see how it goes.
Stretched out all comfy on my son & DIL's couch while they watch a movie I don't care about.
Battery is low, better hurry!
The quote above is from my book and it took a looong time to believe it as a truth. He LIKES me..He really likes me...even without a makeover!
Yay!!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Writer's Regret

"Best way I could think of to show Walking Butterfly to your Mom."

My Dad sent me this photograph the other day. 

This writing journey of mine began so long ago that I honestly cannot find the starting point. I grew up with books and often had my nose in a Nancy Drew Mystery and I have a very vivid memory of reading Gone With The Wind in almost one sitting.

Books and libraries were always important to me, and then in school more than one English teacher encouraged me to keep writing. Math was an indecipherable language for me, but I could always gather high grades in English. The High School English teacher who announced that we were required to write every single day heard groans from most of the class, but received a huge smile from this student. 

I do not remember ever seeing my mom sit down with a book when I was little, but she did love books and the art of writing...and libraries. Maybe she read late at night like I do. The house I remember most clearly had a TV room with one entire wall lined with book shelves that I am pretty sure she and my dad built. In her last home where my dad still lives, there is a very similar room stuffed with books. My mom taught me to love books.

I believe that my mother wanted to be a writer. We talked about the craft of writing and traded books back and forth for years once I was grown up and away from home. I was reminded of this after she passed away in 2011 and I inherited a cardboard box of old and new books she had collected. In among the novels and how-to books were many about writers and the art of writing. 

She would love my book. But she never got to see it. And it breaks my heart. 

I published my book, WALKING BUTTERFLY, this last February and not a week goes by that I don't fantasize about how she'd react to it. I want to put it in her hands and see the look in her eyes. I want to hear that she'd sent copies of it to all of her friends. 

I know that she was proud of my writing as I spent years writing articles, devotionals and newsletters. She didn't say much about them, but while staying in her home after her death I came across a file full of everything I'd ever written publicly, and copies of emails where she'd forwarded my writing to my aunts and other family members. 

Mother's Day is coming soon and along with it comes the anniversary of her passing on May 19th. I love that my Dad took my book to her gravesite and let me know about it. We both know that she is not really there. We also know that she is seeing my book and that Heaven is probably tired of hearing about it. 

But still. 

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

On Trusting Your Wings


The house is silent except for the "Plink plink" of Hubs in the next room flipping through the Netfix choices. I'm in the mood to write so I am in our room staring at my Mac screen wondering.....Oh, did you notice the mouse in the picture? 

I was gifted this beloved Mac in 2008 by my husband. I am still surprised at such an extravagant purchase from him. I love this laptop and Hubs. Never using a mouse on it until this week, I am sadly realizing that it is slowly becoming undependable. The handy dandy touchpad decided not to offer me a right click or left click anymore. No highlighting, copying/pasting dragging, so not helpful! 

So very sad.

This MacBook has been, still is one of my most treasured items. I wrote a book on this laptop. I've also written letters to churches about our ministry school, communicated with prospective students on the other side of the world, guided them through the visa process and then created Bible reading schedules, kept track of attendance and prayer requests, and created videos for our promotion booths on this piece of metal and what-not. It is still stuffed with photos of our former students with bright shiny faces even though the school closed over 5 years ago.  

My beloved Mac is also full of warm and love-filled letters between me and our students. Little glimpses into lives that were searching for true meaning in life. I could not answer that question for them and I seldom had to. But I did listen to them. Asking more questions than I answered. But it seemed to help.

Earlier today while the sun was shining warmly in my backyard, I sat and looked at the grove of trees behind our house and I thought about those days in our ministry school. I asked myself what parts I missed. I was surprised to suddenly picture myself on the couch in our school office, sitting across from a student as she cried into her hands. I did not even picture a certain student, because it happened more than once over the years. 

I was usually terrified...of what I was about to hear...what could I possibly say to help the tears stop...how could I make it better? Sometimes our students had lived much more experienced lives than I had. They had walked through tougher situations and hardship. What could I offer? 

My heart would be pounding as they mumbled the ache that overwhelmed them. I know that I appeared calm and wise and ready to help. But I was inwardly begging God to give me the right words and actions for the tender heart in front of me. 

There was strategic thought behind moving a couch, even though it was ugly, into our office. Hugging is awkward and uncomfortable when you are in chairs. I've had my knees go numb while consoling another on a chair. An arm around trembling shoulders was most often the first need. A hug and silent prayer were my first action on most occasions.

I stumbled through these gentle moments with a broken hearted student who needed answers. I had no clue what I was doing. I am not a counselor or psychologist. I often hated the sound of my own voice as I wondered aloud what God was wanting to show us about Himself in the situation. I sounded wimpy and not at all full of deep wisdom or confident guidance. 

But the letters on my Mac now are from students years later who say that it made a difference. They write that those were important moments in their lives. That I helped. 

Not every crying or angry meeting in our office ended well. Sometimes I really was no help at all. I was less than what they needed. The interesting surprise is that my Mac holds letters from those students too. They often remember it differently. Warm words come from them now, full of sweet memories of our school and how it impacted their lives in a positive way. All I did was listen.

Sometimes sitting still long enough to listen can be a gift. I believe that God placed me on that couch next to that student so that I could encircle them with arms of flesh that represented His arms. I did not know that at the time. In the middle of the pain, drama and confusion, I was desperately asking God what to say and do for the student in my arms or sitting across the room with folded arms. I tore myself up about not being enough for our students. And I did let some down, I know I did. But even my failure to be what they needed has left them with fond memories of one who listened for a bit. 

Looking back I know this now. 

You can be doing the right thing and not know it. You can feel like a bumbling idiot and still be Jesus for someone. You do not have to be able to quote the perfect chapter and verse from the Bible to be God for the broken-hearted person in front of you today. 

Isn't that refreshing news? 

You are enough. Because HE is in you. You already have everything you need to be HIS ambassador today. Because HE is in you. 

It will not always look like a win. You will not always hug that person good-bye with full confidence that you said the right words to heal their pain. It will not feel like a win every time. But sometimes it will be exactly what the hurting heart needed in that moment. 

And sometimes you will get a letter years later that tells you that. 

Trust your wings.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Am I A One Book Writer?

BUY HERE
Hi Friends, after working on a book on and off for two years it still feels unreal to have finished it, published it and now hold it in my hands. It also feels a tiny bit anti-climactic. I did not have a book launch or any real celebration here other than the beautiful response from all of you, my online friends and encouragers. All the joyful, happy and fun hopping up and down emojis were the best ever! Thank you so much for being happy for me and celebrating with me! 

Now I am asking God if there is another book for me to write. Does He have more for me to say to you? Or am I a one-book-writer? I do not know. But I do know that I love this process and would be thrilled to do it again. 

I am also getting ready to learn how to offer you WALKING BUTTERFLY in digital form. My online writing group says that it is not hard to do and that with a bit of research I can do it myself. So in the coming days and weeks I will be once again immersing myself in the teaching files and videos about moving a paperback to a Kindle book. Wish me luck! Woo-hoo!

Regarding the idea of a second book, I have a question for you. If you read WALKING BUTTERFLY, would there be a certain chapter or subject that you would like to see me expand upon? Did I leave more questions than answers on any particular subject that I touched on? 

Maybe your answers to this question could be my launch into the next book. Thanks for helping...again!! 
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Friday, March 25, 2016

It's Friday But the Green Is Coming





It is the Friday before Easter, Good Friday. I sat on a stone step in my backyard a few minutes ago and stared at the fresh green buds pushing their way to the sunshine here in Texas. And the thought that came was simply this…

It’s Friday but green is coming. Green for new life. Green for fresh beginnings.

My thoughts then went to you. I wondered what I could say to help you see the green that is coming even when today is so dark. Good Friday is the day that Christ died. It must have been DARK for so many that day. It might be dark for you today.

The crowd of believers who watched their leader give up His last breath…What was going through their minds and hearts? I would imagine that the group was a mixed bag of emotions and responses to the horror before their eyes.

Do you think that many stood there and felt robbed of all hope for a bright future? There were probably some who even felt betrayed by the one they had followed and believed in. It is easy to imagine that there were many confused hearts that day. I am guessing that there must have been at least a few who remembered what Christ had said about returning in three days. About rising again. Did they talk about that as they cried?

WE know how the story will unfold. But they did not have a clue. Good Friday was a dark and terrible day for the ones who had dared to believe.

They did not know that the green was coming. They did not know that the one they followed was going to refuse to stay dead. All they saw was terror, fear and disillusionment. They saw pain and helplessness.

My thoughts are with those of you who are in your Good Friday. It feels dark. It seems hopeless and out of your control. Everywhere you look, you see a mess. You can barely see the tunnel, much less the light at the end of it.

Believe me when I say that there is a light there…just beyond where you can see. There is green coming. There is new life and restoration coming your way. Christ has not left you alone. You are not alone in the mess. He is coming back for you.

It is Friday, but the green is coming. Hang on, He will not let you down, my friend. The Spring buds are a picture of the new life that He is arranging for you. It will get better. Even if all you see today is darkness…The light is coming. The darkness will not last forever. I promise. But even better, He promises. 




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Monday, March 14, 2016

A New Chapter For Me



I am wondering how many NEW CHAPTERS we each have in life. I am 61 years old and getting ready to enter another new identity. I most definitely did NOT see this one coming! 

My previous chapters? 25 years in full-time ministry in many different shapes and sizes. The last 4 years I have described myself on numerous job sites and online magazines as a freelance writer and professional blogger who worked from home. Over-lapping with the freelance writer identity I was also working on a book that was still a mystery whether it would become a reality or not. And then last month the book of my dreams was published and I got to experience the surreal and delicious sense of accomplishment involved in being an author

And now in the coming Fall I will be a preschool teacher! 

From an early age I remember being warned not to see our job as our identity. That it was dangerous and limiting. As young marrieds we reminded ourselves that we were more than our job and that our jobs and ministry must not become our identity. Not to hold our favorite tasks too tightly because nothing is permanent. 

But you guys, that is kind of impossible. It just is, at least for me. When you are involved in an ongoing ministry you give yourself completely to it or you're not doing it right. How could you do it half-heartedly if you care for and love the people you are working with and for? 

We thought that the ministry life would be our identity until the day we got too old or better yet, that we'd die while still on the job. At the beginning of our ministry career our parents had asked us if we had a retirement plan in mind. We naively stated with the arrogance of youth that there is no such thing as "retiring from ministry". Oh Lord! More than a little bit of embarrassment and regret happening now! We gave it our all and did not plan for a future beyond ministry. 

And then as a writer and an author, your job becomes an obsession...and it needs to. It becomes who you are, how you think of yourself. Because it is not easy and it does not happen accidentally. A freelance writer must be constantly on the hunt for the next job and keep submitting the words everywhere you can possibly send them. An author cannot stop working on the book or it will be nothing more than a collection of files that no one will ever see or enjoy. 

But an income is still a requirement and that is the main reason that in August of this year I will be describing myself as a preschool teacher. There is another reason that I am excited about this new chapter and the second motive for taking the job; the potential for new friends and a reason to get out of my house a few days a week. 

I have some history working with little ones. I taught preschool full-time for two years before my first son was born. I was also taking night classes toward a degree in Early Child Development which I did not complete. After my son was born I continued to work as a preschool substitute teacher in three schools for a couple of years. I was a children's church director and teacher in two churches for about, yikes...10 years. 

I am so happy about this opportunity! It feels hand designed for me. The preschool is part of a church that is on the other side of the little forest behind our house. So close! No awful Texas driving for me! It is only two days a week and the pay is nice enough to make a difference for us. And the women involved are so nice and funny and very welcoming! 

As I've been researching info for the job, I am falling back in love with early child development, the teaching theories, methods, songs and books! So fun! By the time I start this new job my grandson, who I watch twice a week, will be two years old and he will get to be my guinea pig for songs, stories, art projects and trying out new "transitional motivators". Haha!

So as I said at the beginning, this is my new chapter and be prepared for me to jump into it with both feet and becoming totally immersed in kid stuff. You will be hearing fun kid stories and maybe even some spiritual insights, who knows? 

Now my new identity will include author, freelancer, preschool teacher and I guess always a minister in one way or another. Because all believers are ministers, in lots of different forms and shapes and sizes. God loves variety, right?

So this blog post has really been more of a newsletter than a real post I suppose. I just felt the need to give you an update of sorts. The sales on my book were great in February, but very low in March and that makes me sad. If you have any ideas for advertising it for free somewhere, let me know or feel free to promote it yourself. I will appreciate it so much! 

Buy it here!


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Friday, March 4, 2016

Can A Book Have a Sound Track? WALKING BUTTERFLY Does!

WALKING BUTTERFLY now available on amazon.com! 

My home is full of peace this evening. Just Layla and me on the couch with beautiful music swirling around us. Several weeks ago I popped my favorite worship CD into the player and it dawned on me that the songs on this album are the actual soundtrack to my life during many of the sweet God encounters that are described in my new book, WALKING BUTTERFLY.  


TOUCHING ETERNITY - Buy it HERE


 Touching Eternity by Bob Book is full of the music that accompanied and often created some of my deepest moments of knowing that God was present and that He loved me massively! Bob and his wife are close friends of ours and we were on staff together at the same ministry for many years. In fact I'm pretty sure I have a memory of hearing him work on this album in their spare room before it was released! I recall loving the "...then He pushed me" line. 

Bob and his band would fill our sanctuary with so much freedom and joy as they looked to The Father for every note and word. As I am hearing the familiar words filling my home, I can picture myself standing with my friends, with arms uplifted and tears streaming. I would close my eyes and find myself in front of God's throne, in awe of His beauty. The songs paint the picture so, so clearly. 

Even now as the words wash over me, I keep wanting to quote the lyrics for you. But each song that comes on is better than the last and I could not choose which to quote for you. You will need to go check this album out for yourself. The link will also show many other albums by Bob Book, I love them all. 

Bob says this about Walking Butterfly,

"I loved this book!  Reading it was like lying on a very warm tropical beach as the gentle surf rolled over and refreshed me.  I felt wave after wave of God’s love as I followed Susie’s accounts of her personal journey with the One who is love.

Susie’s down to earth wisdom, gentle encouragement and practical perspective on the mystery of God’s love, will draw you into a deeper experience and revelation of God’s nature, and your own true identity.  I highly recommend this book!"  

Bob Book
Singer, songwriter, worshiper
bobbookmusic.com

 I am receiving so many lovely notes about how my book is impacting people. It overwhelms and humbles me, but does not completely surprise me. The moments recorded in the book still impact me too. The idea that the mighty God of the universe would care enough to speak to one of His children is simply amazing, isn't it? 

But He loves us. He desires to be close to us and involved in our lives. The stories in my book are spread out over many years, He did not talk to me every day. But I know He wants to and will if I stop and listen often enough. 

Powerful worship music will help us to listen and position ourselves so that we can hear Him. That is why I wanted to let you all know about the sound track that accompanied my stories.

While I wrote my book, I needed a beautiful instrumental background and that was also provided by a real life friend! Byron Easterling's gorgeous instrumental Simplicity, helped me to "get in the zone" as I asked God to take me back to the important moments in my walk with Him. 

I have certainly been blessed with great friends who love God wholeheartedly. Hubs and I consider ourselves lucky to have been able to hang out with them for so long. We are now living over a thousand miles away from them and I miss sitting on their couches very much. But not everyone can put their best friends CD's on and pretend they are near by! :) So there's that!

Always Worshiping,


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