Wednesday, October 15, 2014

God-Sized Dreams - The Cost of Comparing Our Dreams

When You’re Afraid Your God-sized Dream is too Much Like Hers

Do you ever wonder, “Why should I bother trying to realize my God-sized Dream?”
After all…
Elaine has an established platform.
Jennifer has money to spend on her dream.
Catie has connections that swing doors wide open.
And, Susie? Well, she can afford to hire a babysitter…so she can dedicate more time to move her dream forward.

Oh my…this pit of comparison, it’s deep. And it can be really hard to climb up on out of it. (<====Tweet This)

I knowI’ve been there.
I’ve gotten stuck down there in the muck and the mire of lies. I’ve taken my eyes off my dream and placed them squarely on the dream progress of others. And you know what happens then?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 10

The Case for Writing Prompts

10 Top Things My Allume Roommates Should Know About Me 

Scenes from last year's Allume Conference

Here I am with the beautiful Holley Gerth.
She's real, loving, and the ultimate encourager!

Some of the God-Sized Dream Girls at Allume
That's my hair on the left!!

Circles of Faith CoFounder and Managing Editor Kimberly Amici 
with the beautiful generous Ann Voskamp.

I'm going to the Allume Conference - writers/bloggers/communicators conference soon. And I'm really excited. This will be my third year attending. I love it! It's a place to learn, connect, exchange information, friendship, and fellowship. 

I'm also working on Writing for 31 Days and when I saw Allume was doing a LinkUp that invited us to either share our About page or 10 Top Things My Roommates Should Know About Me, well I considered this a good writing challenge for today. I am finding that if nothing else, this 31 Days of Writing journey is indeed teaching me things about writing. 

So my personal writing lesson from today:

Writing Prompts Can Help You Write

So here are some things my Allume roommates should know about me:

  1. I am a party girl. And by that, in this case, I mean I love being with other girls in a room, having a sleepover party. I love those sleepy whispers exchanged from our beds into the stillness of the night. (This might come from the fact that every night until my oldest sister left (me!) for college, we would go into one another's room and chat until we sleepwalked back into our own rooms.)
  2. Don't worry, my party girl ways won't keep you up at night. Though I love to chat, I know Allume can tire a girl out. All that talking and visiting and writing and listening. And besides, I love my sleep.
  3. I love getting to know you. While I love people and enjoy meeting new friends...I definitely like to engage a little more deeply. So if you have time, I'd really like to know more about you. What's your sweet spot? What's your passion? What do you struggle with? Let's talk!
  4. I'm a praying gal. Do you have a prayer request? A prayer need? Something that's heavy on your heart? I would love to pray with you. I have been praying in a group for my kids as part of the ministry of Moms In Prayer International for over 20 years. And now I guest post on their blog, which I love!
  5. I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and I love to speak too! What do you like to do? How do you most like to communicate? Let's inspire one another. Let's talk through some of our goals. I'm sure there are things we can learn from each other.
  6. I am an official MOPs Mentor Mom. The first time I went to Allume two years ago in Harrisburg, PA, I had a funny feeling that I couldn't place. And then it dawned on me...I was about 20 years older than the average Allume attendee. I didn't like that at first. However, I can now say I have fully embraced where I am in life. I am over 50, married for 30 years November 10, have four grown children, a son-in-love, and a precious grandbaby who is heading toward one year old!! And I have learned a lot from life!
  7.  I am the Executive Editor and CoFounder of - Where Faith, Life, and Community Intersect - But since for the most part, I am rooming with the other CoFounder Kimberly Amici, well you already know that! We are a team of 19 women who are passionate about sharing stories that Inspire, Empower, and Connect. We would love you to join our community...and we welcome you to share your story too!
  8. I am also a part of the God-sized Dreams Community - Where Dreams Set Sail - What a blessing! This was a book launch group for Holley Gerth's You're Made for a God-Sized Dream. It's turned into a community of support and encouragement amongst women who are somewhere on the journey of pursuing their God-sized dreams. Join us there...because YOU are made for a God-sized dream!
  9. I have many stories yet to write. Some big stories, some just moments in time. How about you? I have a big story about how God met me in some deep and heavy places. How He showed up when I needed Him most. How His love shone through the challenges of losing twins when I was five months pregnant, parenting my tweenage stepdaughter when I was having babies...and was so ill-equipped, and my husband's very serious accident that left him with severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Bits of the story have been shared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries and Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware. Some day, I would love to share the whole story in a book and through speaking. I'd like to do both with my husband, who is a living breathing miracle! 
  10. I love your story! You have one...and it matters to me, to God, to others. Stories are so powerful. They provide an opportunity to grow, learn, deepen our faith. When we exchange them, I believe they inform, reform, and transform. I've seen this time and time again. So please share your story with me! I'd love to hear it. I know we will both be impacted by the telling and the hearing!
Roomies and non-Roomies alike, I'm looking forward to getting to know you better at Allume. 

P.S. I know this post is full of a crazy amount of links...but just wanted to make it convenient in case you wanted to check out the things/people/places I mention.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 9

What’s Stopping You from Reaching Your Writing Dreams?

So when it comes to writing for 31 days, you could say I’m a big failure. Because I haven’t managed to write every day.* No, not at all.

However, I am learning some things along the journey of “not writing.”

  1. Writing Has To Be Non-Negotiable – Writing is on my very long list of To-Dos. However, I treat it as though it’s entirely flexible and movable. And so while it’s on the list, I easily move it lower on the list as I allow the tyranny of the urgent to take precedence
  2. There Is No Such Thing as “Finding Time” – When is the last time you “found time,” discovering it like an unexpected jewel in your day? For me, this is a rare moment. I have pressing due dates at all times. So when I have a 1/2 hour, my tendency is to think about what’s due next. What do I have to do? I put off the writing I want to do till after that. This cycle continues day after day with no writing completed.
  3. Writing Requires Me to “Make Time” – Of course, I can’t actually make time. However, I can make sure there is time marked off intentionally in my schedule to write. I can make sure I don’t keep moving my writing slot lower and lower on my To-Do list.
  4. Writing Requires Quieting and Slowing Down – I have not yet found a way in my busy day to write while I am doing something else with someone else. No! Writing necessitates thought, time, focus, and being willing to step out of the fun, the busy (which I confess energizes me), the party (not really parties, though I do love a good party, rather I have to step away from the group activities).
  5. Writing Requires a Schedule – In some ways my little list here is inverted. Because really, this lack of schedule may be the crux of the matter. While I have a sort of big picture list, I have been working on laying out a detailed schedule within the confines of work hours for more years than I care to tell you. I know this would be good for me. But I resist. It’s as though I say to myself, “No one is going to tell me what exactly to do with my daynot even me!” Talk about counterproductive.

So what’s a writer to do? I guess I have to start with what looks like the end on my list. I have to stop balking at a more structured life (This is why I’m a freelancer and not a nine-to-fiver, so it is a challenge!). I have to anticipate and the accomplishments that come through discipline alone.

Wish me luck! 

What are the stumbling blocks to your writing? If you want to write, what’s stopping you?

* Just letting you knowEvery workday is in fact dedicated to writing, editing, and coaching projects. This is my career and of course I complete all my assignments. The writing I’m not getting to is the writing I like to do on my blog – reflective, personal, recounting blessings, and learning from life.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 4

Why Write?

The moon is out...and I'm writing!

Well, I don't mind telling you, I'm officially wiped out. I've been writing at close to 12 midnight for the fourth night in a row now. And I'm tired! I need my sleep! 

By the same token, I need writing. Really! I miss it when I don't write. It's such a powerful way of processing. Holding onto thoughts. Reflecting. And through this experience, even for just a few days, I can see I've made writing a low priority. I have gotten out of the habit of writing...and we all know habits take time to break and build. 

So hopefully, by the end of this little period of time, I'll have established a habit of writing every day. And it will be okay that on some days, there's just a train of thought, and on other days, there is a nugget I'll want to hold up to the light, examine a little closer. On some days, my writing will be maybe even abysmal, but on other days, there might be a smidgeon of profundity. 

I'm thinking about why I write too on this 31 day journey. And there are a few reasons:

  1. As I mention above, writing is an effective tool for processing and reflecting. 
  2. Writing helps me remember things I might forget. 
  3. Writing is a way of recording Ah-Ha moments. 
  4. Writing often helps me to see myself more clearly, a bit like looking into a mirror through words. I often discover something in myself worth noting...and often that process starts with me "noting" something about you.
  5. Writing helps me understand something I'm grappling with - death, grief, life, parenting, faith. 
  6. Writing is a way to share my passion, journey, challenges, triumphs, hopes that every once in a while I've stumbled across something that might spark your passion, inspire or challenge you. 
  7. Writing draws me closer to God because I'm often writing about something He is teaching me and "talking" to me about. 

Hey...If you're reading...Would you mind sharing why you write? 

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 3

30 Years of Marriage – A Work in Progress

My husband Chris and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary this year. And we were together five years before we married. So we’ve shared a  lot of life together. And oh so much of it has been wonderful! We’ve raised four kids together, traveled all across the country, been blessed with shared faith, supported one another through thick and thin. And of course we’ve also had our share of trials. And, yes, mostly our struggles have refined our relationship and ultimately strengthened our bond.  

But there are things besides love that can grow over time in a long marriage.

The truth is, after we’ve been married a while, we can develop negative expectations of the other, unforgiveness, judgments. They stack up after a time and start bearing bitter fruit – snarkey comments, resentment, even disdain at times. In a “good” marriage, one that’s stable for the most part, strong in commitment, and bound by love, these fruits can be ignored and dismissed. Because the good fruit is more plentiful than the bad.   

But it’s still not okay. Because I really believe God has better than that in mind for our marriages.

Doesn’t God always have the best in mind?

No matter how long we’re married, a good marriage doesn’t just happen. A long-term marriage takes work and intention. We have to take inventory of areas of unforgiveness on a regular basis. What secret grudge am I holding?  What insidious negative thoughts am I nurturing? There is always room for reflection and forgiveness.

Today I was reminded of something I heard through The Marriage Course. Sometimes we live in the expectation that our spouses are against us. And we get in the habit of acting like this is truth. In fact, aren't we really for each other in marriage? I mean if we love each other, we are FOR each other. We want the best for the other.

So after 30+ years, we're good...but I know we could be better. So I'll never give up working toward a more loving, kind, nurturing relationship.

Here's a little marriage food for thought...

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Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 2

Is Even This About Me?

I don’t really want to write todaybut since I’ve made the commitment, I’m doing it.

Yesterday was a very very sad and shocking day.

My best friend’s husband died. He had cancer, but I just thought he would be here a lot longer. Things seemed to be going okayand then very quickly he went downhill and now he’s passed on to a place we can’t even fathom. And I know it is a very good place. A place of peace, light, and the glory of God everywhere. Much more beautiful than we can imagine. I believe he has moved on and is at rest, but I know we will miss him. And I can’t imagine how much my friend will miss her beloved husband.

There are always lessons in the midst of well, everything.

As my friend and I said today, discussing how I would be leaving for a wedding after the memorial service, life goes on. It seems somehow it should stop, but it doesn’t. It goes on…

And so my lesson…
I got a message on Sunday morning from my sister just encouraging me to pick up some groceries and bring them over to my friend’s home. Of course, I had this in mind. But there was so much resistance.

Here’s how my thinking went…
Well I’d like to stop by, but this is such a personal time. I don’t want to intrude.

What could I bring? Eggs, juice, breadsome staples. What if she has no room in the fridge and it’s just a bother.

What if it’s just not the right time? I don’t want to put her in a position to have to send us offI don’t want to impose.

Maybe we should bring over sandwiches. But I know she’s not really eating. Bringing over food could be something my friend doesn’t want to deal with right now.

Thankfully, I have a husband much like my sister who doesn’t over-think. He just goes ahead and takes the risk of getting it wrong – the wrong food, the wrong timing, the wrong choice. He doesn’t care. Or at least he cares more about doing the thing, than getting it right.

So I’m thinking this through today, because I pushed myself out of the discomfort of possibly making a mistakeand we did visit and bring a few things. There really isn’t any good timing when someone is passing from this life to the next. We stepped into the middle of a sacred hard painful time. And it was the right thing, because my friend needed usand I believe even her husband who was dying, he knew we were there and that we loved him and that we loved his wife and would do what we could to ease her pain.

But I still wanted to know, what was behind my hesitancy. And I’ve come up with a few things.

1. Perfectionism – I am so intent on getting “it” right that I could miss doing the right thing altogether.
2. Vain Imaginings – I’m making up stories, filling in the blanks of unknowns with mere guesses.
3. Self-Consciousness – I’m tempted to play it safe, rather than feel silly or uncomfortable.

I’m sure I could come up with moreThe bottom line is my thinking is ABOUT ME! And so regardless of my list or all the thinking behind my hesitation, my takeaway is in this case and I’m sure in very many others, I have to deny MYSELF. Because when our mind and heart is set on serving another, well we just have to get over ourselves.

I’ll leave you with this thought…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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