Monday, December 28, 2015

Need Encouragement?

Check out my post at the Alley today! What I learn from my son's diligence in swimming...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On Submission.

Lately, it's hard to get in the swing of things (like regular blogging since my writer's break last month), especially after hitting a few anniversaries... my sixth writing conference, my third anniversary signing with my awesome agent, my third anniversary sending out an agented book proposal--one of three--my second anniversary being inspired to write my most promising novel, and my tenth Christmas season seeking publication

...and nada.

I know that I have made it hard on myself. I just write different kind of stories. Stories that have appeal, but are not a perfect fit in the market...yet.

Yet=Hope, right?

 But what I also know, is that I am thankful for the books that have come and gone...going. Each book I learn more from, and I am a better writer for it. So, while I can sit here and beat my fist on my laptop, deep down I know, it is just not my time yet.

And that is a good thing.

One day.

Hopefully, soon.

I'll be writing, "Signed Contract", in my post title.

But for now. I am "On submission". May 2016 look Merry and Bright on the Publishing front!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Regular Blogging coming soon (aka New Year's Resolution).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Who Is America?

How can we be the light if we believe it's okay to extinguish life?

in the womb,
in our own right,
in the streets of a war-torn country,
in our own streets,
in another's faith,
in another's country,
NIMBY, anyone?
In the arms of an innocent woman with a covered head and living the only life she's ever known

I am SICK to my stomach after hearing politicians talk about their methods of wiping out an entire people...based upon the sickness of some. It's too reminiscent to my history book.

We haven't learned much, have we?

I am appalled that these politicians aren't considering the fact that it's not about the killing but about the THINKING. That we can kick a fire ant hill, and a dozen others show up the next day (my husband's analogy). Killing doesn't stop the just sends the idea to another area. Killing isn't cutting it.

It's just killing us.

I can't believe the lies, the ignorance, the shame.

Who is America in Christ's parable of the good Samaritan? Who do we want to be?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Seeds of Disbelief, Roots of Love

I have lies in my head. I have the naysayers declaring that the virgin birth is false...that the translation was actually more of a biased implication than a truth. I have the lie blaring in my heart that there is ancient folklore with similar legends to the Christ story. That if there is one culture with a virgin birth or a God turned to man, then that means the whole story of Christ is just a copycat. That the human need for a perfect father (and perfect mother) is the instigator for such a fabricated story as Christ's birth, life, and resurrection.

These are the seeds of disbelief that threaten my heart this Christmas season.

I don't know if my faith would withstand the knowledge I know now, if I didn't have the past years of pouring Christ-centered knowledge into my heart. I see beyond the individual lines of text and I see the overall themes from Genesis to Revelation. I understand the ancient use of covenants, and how perfectly aligned this practice is with the redemption story of Christ's coming. I find the beauty in such perfect historical timing of Christ's first coming, and how He spoke words so deeply wise to the human condition, the human heart, the human creation that even if all the details are skewered and theologies are in error, no man on Earth could have gotten it so beautifully perfect.

But then, His words and His witnesses cannot be denied. He is the Christ. The perfect one sent down
from a Father who chose to relieve his creation of burden and flaw, and redeem them with the final sacrifice to fulfill that final covenant which we broke.
Christ is our Covenant Representative.
He is the one who took the rightful punishment so that we may survive and live. Redemption is ALL OVER the Holy Scriptures...It never waivers, it never disappoints. God can't help but find Mercy, because He loves us.

Enough to dwell among us. Enough to be a walking example of that love. No matter what the naysayers declare, there is nothing more powerful than Love.

From the Love of a God, to the Love of a Young Woman, to the Love of a People, to the Love of a Savior...Immanuel dwelt among us that we might Love. And Live.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Purposeful Conversation

Yesterday was a day of conversations. Not just chit chat, but heart-guided truth and purpose that only
comes from surrounding myself with genuine people.

Two of the three people prayed over me.
One encouraged me to step out in a fresh dream-direction.

And I sit here today, still processing it all, wondering how to make these next steps count, how to prepare my heart for the goodness of God's handiwork.

I don't have anything profound to say, any complaint or a-ha moment, but I do have the meat of my quiet time, and I will post it here to ponder and grow...and continue on the path He's prepared for me.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Spoonful of Sugar?? Mama Drama Monday

My kids just pigged out on Gingerbread house materials. 

Yeah, it's that time of year. 

Talk about Mama Drama in the every day fight of "No, you may not have one more cookie!" 

How timely for my sister to guest post about added sugar this morning on a mom blog. I would love to share her post with you as it has GREAT points and GOOD solutions to help in this epidemic of sugar overdose in our kiddos...Click here 

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I Don't Cry Anymore

When I first started in this valley of a spiritually-mismatched marriage, I was an emotional wreck. I cried out to God, I cried out loud, I cried and cried and cried. I don't think I'd ever wept so much in my entire life as I had those first few months of this valley.


There are specific places I remember crying. And specific times. And many daily occurrences. I promise, I am not asking for a pity I said...this was a while ago.

But, I think about it often, and I wonder what has changed, and why I don't cry anymore. Because, over the past year and a half, we've cycled in and out of our same lows.

Funny how we never really learn how to climb up and out. I mean...we have done a ton of climbing. And we've had an upward movement out of the valley (well, not necessarily away from the reason, but toward a peace in living with it) for a steady amount of time.
Although, it seems, there is always a broken pass in the near future and we tumble down and down and hit the valley floor again. Over and over. While I drag my feet in the same old treacherous trenches, my heart still aches, my soul still groans, and I feel the weight of hopelessness time and again.

Yet, my cheeks remain dry.

 I fear that my aching heart is growing callous to the I daresay that my vision of God's hand in all of this is blinded? Sometimes I go there. I do. I confess. Sometimes I just don't see Him anymore because the valley is dark.

The other day, my son came to me with a problem. It was something that I would normally feel unsettled about. I guess "normally" being two years ago. But our normal has changed. And I didn't fear or tremble at his problem.

That scared me.

That made me wonder if I've grown numb and apathetic to the hard stuff because of so much hard stuff. But there's part of me that wants to believe...maybe I've just grown up.
And mostly I want to think, God's grown bigger in my life and I've surrendered much to Him. So much so that I really do have His peace in me.

And I don't cry anymore.

A big problem met with peace might appear as apathetic, but even amidst the trials we are called to rest...we are called to Peace. It just dawned on me as I write this and flip through my Bible--how this past month I've been going through Psalm 23 and the psalm might just illustrate where I am at.

Which is crazy. Like I said, I don't know if I see Him.
But maybe He just showed up as I type...pulling together a big A-Ha as to what I might have lived through and lived out in the Psalm 23 challenge.
Wow, in this moment, I am reminded that He really is my Shepherd, no matter how blind I may be.
**I added the pictures AFTER I wrote this...just had to showcase what I've learned.:)**

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Gift to Behold

My little girl.

She is such a JOY. Everything we do, big or small, she squeals and declares, "I am so excited!" She overflows with joy and excitement. From the first piece of chocolate in the advent calendar, to a ridiculous mound of snow (that wouldn't stick) with rocks and a stub nose (all we had were baby carrots) who she proudly calls 'Olaf', my little girl has grown such a contagious energy around here that Christmas magic seems to be all about! My daughter's heart is so full of wonder and love and joy, witnessing it has been a great gift.

And really, isn't that what Christmas is about? Christ came for our hearts. To change us from the inside out...not to worry so much about the "stuff" but to accept, delight, and rest in the "spirit".

This Christmas season, I am realizing that life's too short to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the over-planning, the micro-managing of Christmas traditions. I am just going to enjoy the season...the anticipation of Christ's birthday, but also this special time of year through the eyes of my children.
Before, I may have been known to be a humbug...getting caught in the trap of who "owns" the season...the religious vs. secular bickering of what we should be celebrating and who we should be focusing on.
But whose got time for that when there are soooo many more important things to fight for, and so much love to pour out on this broken, hungry world?
The more I learn, the more I see how much deeper Christ's gift goes. It really is about the heart. He's bigger than a season, a tradition, and a world filled with division.
He's the giver of PEACE, LOVE, HOPE, and JOY.
And my little girl's heart overflows with these many, many times. What a gift to behold!

Merry Christmas!