Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap

Due to a slight, little mishap that caused a shovel to go through my fiber cable from my ISP, I had no Internet last week. As a result, keeping up with my blog was cumbersome, to say the least. I am glad, however, that I’ve been able to catch up with my posts. In case you missed them, here is a listing.

Advertisements

Writing in Arrears

Writing in Arrears

My goal for this year is to write every day. However, writing (capturing notes, recording feelings, etc.) and actually being in a position to post them to my blog do not always coincide. Although WordPress has a wonderful mobile app, there are times when the timelines and pressures of the day do not allow for timely posts.

So tonight I took a moment and compiled my thoughts and scribbles and general feelings from the last several days, and I made sure I published them to my blog. One post for each day, albeit a little belated. Enjoy.


Preface – 2018 Writing Resolution

FeaturedPreface – 2018 Writing Resolution

Write every day.

That’s it. In a nutshell, my resolution is to post to my blog every day.

Yes, I know I’ve said this before. And like many other resolutions that have preceded this one, momentum seems to last a matter of mere weeks. But there is one vantage point I have going into 2018 that better positions me to tackle this challenge: I am currently unemployed.

I am no longer bound by the daily grind of work emails and conference calls. Therefore, I have nothing but time and no excuses for failing on this resolution. I will be honest and admit there may be days when I ‘cheat’ by posting only a picture or share an interesting item with only a scant investment of actual writing on my part, but when we get to December 31, 2018, I want to look at my WordPress statistics and see at least 365 posts. Yes, that means there may be more than one per day (as this preface post is), but I promise to not inundate my blog with meaningless noise. These pages have always been an open book of who I am, my personal experiences, and the journey I’ve taken since my first post back in 2004.

I hope you will join me on this new adventure. I can only imagine the posts that will come once Lee and I transition to full-time mission work. I am excited about this new chapter in our lives, and I pray this excitement jumps off the page in the entries to come.

Happy New Year and enjoy!

#2018WriteNow

Excerpts

It was great getting back into the saddle yesterday with regards to my blog. As a result of doing so, both Lee and I did some reviewing of some of our older posts. What we found were some ‘aha’ nuggets that reveal God has been working on us all along.

From Lee’s blog post from January 2011:

When I was a little girl living in a small Alabama town, I dreamed of someday leaving that existence to become a missionary doctor. I wanted to go to Africa to heal and save people. It was such a grand yet simple childhood dream, but it’s all I ever wanted and it’s all I ever talked about. It was my destiny and I knew this because God told me this was His plan for me. I had the grades and I had the faith. Why would I have ever thought this would not be my future?

If my post from January 2015:

I believe God has a plan for us all, but I struggle greatly in trying to understand God’s plan for these people; people who love Him and praise His name yet have their days filled with wanting, emptiness, and pain. Although it’s God’s privilege to conceal His plan from us (Proverbs 25:2), I think maybe His plan for them is actually quite simple: to help us grow in our faith.

Everything we do, every interaction we have, all that we learn, experience, and feel; God uses all of it to build and mold us into the vessels He needs us to be in order to implement His plan. The bad stuff is as important as the good stuff. The hard part is aligning our will with His. Once we learn to do that, His blessings come in abundance.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Retreat and Surrender

As part of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), I am taking part in a daily blog post challenge through the BlogHer website. Today’s prompt:

When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?


Where do I even begin?

I guess, since this is November, I have to start with Thanksgiving. Not the holiday, but rather the ever-present need to be thankful for all God has given me.

I am thankful for not being afflicted with a clinically diagnosed mental health issue (although I have members in my family who have). I am thankful for not be saddled with a medical condition that requires a daily regiment of medications (although I have members in my family who have). I am eternally grateful for the health and well being of my two teenage children (although I have members in my family who can’t say the same).

Yes, life sucks sometimes. It’s cruel and unfair and it can be consistently inconsistent. Yet for every crappy day, my experience has taught me it can always be worse. I know that sounds quaint or trite, and yes, I know I’m perhaps oversimplifying the big picture; but there is truth in the anecdotal, albeit cliché saying, “this, too, shall pass.”

There is no one right answer for handling adversity or managing those ‘mental health’ days. The prescription for getting through the storm is as unique as our fingerprints. Still, as a person of faith, I believe there is one common denominator.

I used to surrender my crap to really, really loud music. Pop in the Van Halen, turn the volume up to eleven, and just let Eddie’s shredding on his guitar take me far away from where it is I was. When that didn’t work, I’d hand my problems over to alcohol. My happy place was inevitably found at the bottom of a bottle of booze. But ear drum and liver damage aside, what I was truly wrecking was my soul.

booze

Over the last decade, I’ve learned that everything in my life begins and ends with God. To put it in a mathematical analogy, He provides the parenthesis of my minutes, hours, days, years, and life.

(me), where ( = God and ) = God

Not only is this perspective highly effective when it comes to pressing through the tough times, it is absolutely liberating as well. Being able to surrender my problems to the Lord has helped me elevate above the worldly problems that arise and overcome them while minimizing the mental and emotional impact on my life. Please don’t get me wrong, just because I believe in God and have a relationship with Christ does not mean my life is easy and nothing bad ever happens. That’s not what I am saying. Rather, when the *bleep* hits the fan, dealing with it all becomes a less stressful situation because of my faith in Him.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

– John 16:33 NIV

For me, it all begins and ends with prayer. Effective, focused, and intentional prayer is how I get through the ‘mental health’ days. Sometimes God is immediate with His blessings and opens my eyes to the solution I am seeking. Sometimes He’s not, and the blessing is in the growth that results from the pressing through the tough time. Either way, I’ve found that when I make my time with God a PTA meeting (Praise, Thank, then Ask), there is no problem too great for Him to resolve.

PTA

When tough times arise, I now turn down the volume of the world and inebriate myself with the Holy Spirit. It’s not always easy, but that’s the thing with faith; it’s not supposed to be.


nablopomo

Friendly Friday – Mary Graham

I don’t know Mary Graham. I had not heard of Mary Graham until this morning when my wife shared via Facebook on of Mary’s blog posts.

The title of the post is My Husband Is Not My Soul Mate. I was instantly intrigued given my previous experience with love and the idea of soul mates. Once I read Mary’s post, I was blown away. She was able to perfectly capture the thoughts in my head that I’ve never been able to put into words.

As a result, I am now a fan of Mrs. Graham, and I would like to share her work with you. I am excited to dive into her posts, and I hope you find her work as excellent as I do.

Please check out her sight Trusty Chucks and follow her on Twitter (@themarygraham).

 

Mary Graham

The Hiatus

I haven’t written since May 10. That’s 17 days with no post to my blog.

When I started the year, my goal was to post something – anything – once a day. I enjoy working on my ‘traditional’ blog posts; 500 – 1000 word entries that read as editorials and run the gamut of topics, from sports to parenting to faith to politics, etc. As much as I enjoy these posts, they are time intensive. In addition to the writing, there’s the editing and re-writing that’s required. For presentation purposes, I usually add an image to the post (which can be time consuming when I can’t find an image that’s just right). And then, of course, there’s the sharing of the post across various social media.

When I’m not in the mood to invest and hour or so into a post, I’ve gotten away with posting just a picture (see my Serenity Saturday posts) or sharing a funny video from YouTube. Yes, it’s basically cheating, but in the grand scheme of blogging, it’s sharing content and helps keep traffic flowing to my page. So when I think about the past seventeen days and the fact I haven’t done squat, I cringe.

Did I lose readers? Did I plummet on some non-existent ranking of relevant bloggers (from 16,548 to 18,231)? Did anyone care?

I care.

As much as the break was nice, I missed the writing process. I missed the sharing process. I missed being an active part of this virtual community. And it’s not so much a personal, ego thing as it is a matter of active learning. In writing, I often force myself to deal with challenges of word choice or argument structure. I learn from the little bit of research I am sometimes forced to complete. I also learn a lot from the feedback I receive. Having been away for travel, I am eager to jump back in the saddle and share some of my new experiences through my blog. I’m eager to get writing again, even if it’s just a little at a time.