Friday, August 31, 2012

Change is Inevitable

For the first time ever, I am linking up for Five Minute Friday with Lisa Jo Baker (aka Gypsy Mama).  The task seems simple - set the clock for five minutes and write until time is up.  No editing, no backtracking.  Just write and publish.  Here goes nothing...


If there is one word that causes me to freeze in fear and yet crave at the same time, it would be the word change.

I hate change.

But I want to change.

My heart's cry is that God would change me from the inside out.  That at the end of my life I wouldn't be the same impatient, stubborn, sin-filled woman that I am now.  I want a clean, pure heart.  My soul longs to be different.  To be closer to Jesus. 

They say that change is the one constant thing in this world.  And as much as that stirs a panic in my heart, I hope it's true. 

When you hear the word change, do you freeze in fear or do you embrace it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting: A Book Review

A few months ago I declared to the world that I am a writer.  I shared how myself, my best friend, and my husband embarked on a journey late last year to write our first novel.  I've written more on my personal blog and even launched a fiction blog.  I sought out other writers and writing blogs, and joined a weekly Twitter chat group.  One of those writers was Joe Bunting who blogs at The Write Practice.

Last week Joe sent me a copy of his new book, Let's Write a Short Story.  The pages of this short 152 page book provide the reader with three powerful tools:

  • the motivation to dust off the old keyboard and start writing short stories (because that's how most of the literary greats got started)
  • the know-how to write good short stories (because sometimes a formula is necessary)
  • the resources to submit short stories for publication (because stories were meant to be shared, not kept hidden)
I'll be honest with you, I've never written a short story.  This book has given me new insight on short stories, so much so that I am declaring to the world that I will write and submit at least one short story by the end of September.

If you're a writer seeking to publish the next great novel of our time, pick up a copy of Joe's book.  If you're a wanna-be writer checking this whole writing thing out, read this book.  It's worth the four bucks.

You can purchase Let's Write a Short Story for the Kindle here, for the Nook here, or on the book's website here.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Let's Write a Short Story for my honest review.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Crazy Love In Action

Ahhh, Monday.  You've been good to me today.  Thank you.  :)

Sleep eluded me last night, and my fear was that I would drag all day long.  Thankfully, however, I did not.  I felt refreshed and well rested.  It was odd.  But I am thankful.

The work day was calm and peaceful.  One of my co-workers blessed me with a bag of M&Ms, which I happily shared with all.  

My plan for this evening is to simply relax.  I rented a movie - Gone, with Amanda Seifried - and hope it is good.

What really made my Monday was waking up to an email from one of my Centerpoint friends.  This past weekend my church sponsored our 4th annual Crazy Love Family Day.  It's a 100% free event for the community that was birthed out of a desire to give families in our area an opportunity to have a one day mini vacation.  This year we were able to give away 1300+ free hot dogs, bags of popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones.  Kids jumped in inflatables, got their faces painted, rode horses, learned how to juggle and make balloon animals, and got to see an aerial acrobat show.  The adults were able to register for giveaways, and thanks to our awesome local businesses, we were able to give away over $1000 worth of free stuff!

The point of Crazy Love Family Day is to show the crazy, unbridled love of Jesus to folks who might never experience it anywhere else with no strings attached.  We don't preach at them.  We don't require them to come to church.  We don't stuff their mailboxes full of tracts or show up unannounced at their homes to witness to them.  We just show them love for four hours one Saturday a year in hopes that they will uncross their arms long enough to open up their hearts.

And it works.

Back to that email.

My friend shared in the email how one mother had been through the food line several times to get hot dogs for her kids.  On her third visit, she asked my friend if she could have a couple of hot dogs for the road.  The mother told my friend that she wasn't sure how she was going to feed her family that night, but now she did.  She told my friend that she didn't realize there were people/churches who existed and gave so selflessly.  Before leaving, the mother said she would see my friend again at church sometime.

My friend also shared a story about a father who had lost his job this summer and was unable to take his family on vacation.  He had been praying for an opportunity to do something fun with his kids before the end of summer when one of his kids came home with a flier for Crazy Love Family Day in their backpack.  He said it was an answer to his prayers!

One man simply said that the event restored his faith in God.


These stories are just a few of the many I've heard over the weekend.  Add those to all the stories over the past four years and it is easy to see why crazy love in action is so important!!  

So, how was your Monday?  If you participated in the Manic Monday Challenge, please link up your blog in the comment section!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spreading Positive Vibes

Hello Monday.  Thank you for being somewhat calm today.

The day started off well as I allowed myself to sleep in just a little bit.  I took my time getting ready and getting out the door.  I was determined to have a good day, and I did.  

Work wasn't too crazy, thank goodness.  It was busy but in a good way.  The busyness made the day go by that much faster.  

After word I helped my mom out a little bit then came home to chill out.  Now I'm watching Bachelor Pad, one of my guilty pleasures, and reflecting on the day.

Here is the one positive from my day - watching my friends catch on to the Manic Monday challenge!  When I had a spare moment or two at work today, I would check in on Facebook & Twitter.  A couple of you posted your positive moments for the day.  How encouraging to see my friends spreading the positive vibes!!  

My hope is that the trend will continue, that we will all continue to find the good in the midst of the craziness of our days.  Can you imagine the kind of world we could have if we focused on the positive rather than the negative?  The possibilities are endless!

Here's your chance to spread the positive vibes - what was one good thing about your day?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Crazy Love

This summer I have stumbled upon some amazing blogs.  The Handwritten is one of those blogs.  Michael Perkins has created an amazing blog with a unique concept - he handwrites most of his posts.  Here are just a few of my favorite posts from his blog:  Being Present, Color Outside the Lines, Wrecked, More Jesus, Changed, Always, and Scandalous Love.

Today I have the honor of guest posting at The Handwritten.  Many thanks to Michael for allowing me to visit his online home & engage with his community.

Click here to read "Crazy Love" over at The Handwritten!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kindred Spirits

Monday has come & is almost gone.  It was somewhat of a typical day in the insanity department.  But that is to be expected seeing as how it's Monday.

On the bright side, today was busy and fairly productive at work.  I learned some new things and am super proud of myself.  It seems I'm becoming a bit more confident in a few areas.

The best part of my day, by far, was actually a meeting.  What?!  I know.  You're probably as shocked as I am.

Truthfully, this meeting was one of kindred spirits.  These two wonderful ladies & I share a similar passion - outreach.  Our heart is to serve the poor, the homeless, the orphaned, the broken, the forgotten, the lonely. When we get together we dream & plan & organize various opportunities for our church.  Tonight we focused on our fall outreaches & specifically our Christmas ideas.  We are looking forward to what is to come!

These two ladies are amazing & I am blessed to know them.  Meeting with both of them was truly the highlight of my day.

How was your Monday?  Who are the kindred spirits in your life?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Inspired by Love

This summer has been exciting and challenging in many ways.  I've stepped outside my comfort zone and forced myself to try new things.  One of those new things is to make new friends, something I'm not quite good at considering I'm an introvert who is not prone to initiating friendships.  One of those new friends is Kirsten LaBlanc.  Kirsten is a wife and mother to a 3 year old little girl.  She is passionate about writing and blogs over at Eating Neon Yogurt.  Today Kirsten has opened up her blog to me.  I am both humbled and honored at such an opportunity.  Thanks, Kirsten!

A few weeks ago when Kirsten gave me the opportunity to guest post, she asked me to write something that was "inspired by love."  Click here to read my first ever guest post!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What My Dog Taught Me About God

My lovable pup, Brutus
Has your pet ever taught you something about God?  

Last night, mine did.  Brutus and I went for a short walk a little after 10pm.  Not far from the house, I spotted the teeniest, tiniest frog you can imagine.  He hopped right in front of me and then stopped.  Brutus, being the curious little pup that he is, wanted to check the frog out.  He would get as close as he could to sniff the frog, but then he would get scared and jump back.  Then curiosity would get the best of him, and he would creep closer to the frog and start sniffing.  All the while, the frog stood stone still, allowing Brutus to check him out.  This process went on for a few minutes, then we resumed our walk.

What does this have to do with God?

Well, I may be stretching things a bit, but bear with me.  I started thinking how God is like the frog and we are like Brutus.  (Yes, I just compared God to a frog & people to a dog!)

What do I mean?

Psalm 34:8 tells us to "taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him." Often times God hops right in front of us and just sits there, patiently, for us to come check Him.  He wants us to come near to Him and see that He's OK.  That He really, truly is good.  And that He's not going anywhere.  He wants us to trust Him, and as another version says, to take refuge in Him.

More times than not, we're like Brutus.  We timidly approach God, thinking He's going to scare us, or get angry with us, or just plain leave.  Sometimes we sniff in His direction and think that maybe He's alright, that maybe He really is OK.  Maybe we even begin to think He's good.  Then something happens, and just like Brutus, we jump.  We turn away from God.

But something draws us back, be it curiosity or simply remembering that God never left.

And the process continues.

I don't know about you, but I've acted like Brutus on numerous occasions in my relationship with God.  He bids me come, to know His goodness, but I've been timid.  Afraid that He might leave or not really be good like He says He is.  I've turned away from Him so many times, and returned just as many.

Thankfully, just like the frog, God stays stone still.  He never leaves.  And He continues to draw me near, encouraging me to taste and see that He is good.

What has your pet taught you about God?  Are you like Brutus, curious about God yet afraid that He might not be as good as He says He is?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Find the Good

Ok, so today isn't Monday, but I was away from the computer most of the evening & didnt have a chance to write my usual Manic Monday post. My apologies!

Needless to say, yesterday was a typical Monday.  The phone rang constantly at work and customers were streaming through the door.  I was told that since it's fair week, the office is going to be quiet.  Not so yesterday!

But, something unusual happened yesterday - I was completely rested, calm, and even a little happy. The tone in my voice surprised me as I greeted customers on the phone.  I even had a lot of patience for the difficult ones.

Monday was a great day at work.

The rest of the day & evening were just as great!  I spent the evening with my best friend.  We laughed, reminisced, had dinner, and just enjoyed our time together.  So much so that I lost track of time & didn't get home til midnight! (My husband wasn't too thrilled about that...oops....sorry babe!)

Here's the thing - Monday does not have to be the terrible day that it often is. 

My goal of finding the good in Mondays is becoming a little easier with each passing week.  My hope is that you're able to do the same - find the good.  Make the choice to be positive.  It makes all the difference.

How was your Monday?  Leave a comment & tell me one good thing about your day!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wreck Your Life

Thanks to the generosity of author Jeff Goins, I had the honor & privilege of receiving an advanced copy of Wrecked.

Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life is the new, highly anticipated release by Jeff Goins.  Jeff describes  Wrecked as "a book about brave choices, about ordinary people helping beggars and moving to foreign countries.  About listening to that still, small voice whispering, 'Life is not about you.'"

Throughout the book, Jeff tells his own story and the stories of others who have been wrecked.  One day their lives came face-to-face with the brokenness of the world.  Their eyes were opened, and they were forever ruined for the ordinary.

This book is so much more than just stories of people being wrecked. It's a challenge to each of us to open our eyes to the messiness of life.  To really see the broken, the hurting people in the world around us.  To embrace this beautifully broken world and let it wreck us.  It's also a challenge to commit to staying wrecked when the thrill of the adventure is gone.  Finally, Wrecked is a challenge to wreck others - to bring your family, friends, and even strangers along for the ride!

If you're tired of the same old thing in life and think there's more to life than this, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Wrecked.*  I promise you this: if you let it, Wrecked will convict and challenge you.  And, hopefully, it will be the beginning of a new life-long adventure!

*if you purchase a copy of Wrecked today & email your receipt to Jeff Goins, you will receive $158 worth of FREE stuff (ends August 4th)