December 31, 2010

No More Resolutions, Just One Word

I've always hated New Year's Resolutions--mainly because I rarely ever follow through with them. So when I heard of this website myoneword on a Seekerville blog post, I knew I had stumbled upon something that I could wrap my brain around.

Here's what My One Word says about itself:

Every New Year we hope this will finally be the year that things will change. We make promises about the new person we're going to become, pledging to get a grip on our finances, get in shape, become a better parent, spouse, even a nicer human being! But there’s one problem: our resolutions seldom work. The busy pace of life gets the better of us, and suddenly, the year is over with little to no personal growth having occurred in our lives.
“My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond the past and look ahead. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all of your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single thing. One word focuses on your character and creates a vision for your future. So, we invite you to join us and pick one word in 2011.

Brilliant! One word to be the lens through which I view myself, my goals, my life. How simple. Is it too simple? I don't know, but I aim to give it a try.

The word that I've been chewing on and praying about is:

Passionate

Definition: having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling
Synonyms: excitable, emotional, impulsive, zealous. ardent,impassioned, excited, fervent, warm, enthusiastic, earnest,glowing, burning, fiery; animated

I feel like I have been living in a bubble for the past few years. A bubble that has been impenetrable and inescapable. I have gone through the motions of life, numb and unresponsive. And I don't want to live that way anymore.

I've become lax in all areas of my life, not really caring about excellence in anything, and I want to change that.  In everything I do, I want to passionately do my best, working as if for the Lord.

I want to be passionate about life. I want to be passionate for the little things. Passionate for God and His Word, delving deep and feeling His presence with me daily. Passionate for my family, spending time with them and keeping a clean home for their comfort. Passionate for my work, even though it is not my favorite thing, and be a good and conscientious worker. Passionate for my health, taking care of it by eating right and moving more. Passionate for writing, doing it for pleasure and not to prove something. Passionate for people, choosing to initiate relationships, developing close, spiritual ties.

My verse for 2011:
Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Colossians 3:17 (The Message)

Cheers to a New Year full of passion and love!


December 24, 2010

Dancing In The Rain

I went to my great-uncle's funeral yesterday and it was a sweet celebration of a life lived in love. Love for family, love for friends, and love for his Savior, Jesus Christ. While I came home thankful for the victory of this life, I was struck by my lack of passion for Christ.

I've grown up knowing and loving Jesus all my life, but there are ebbs and flows to faith and I have ridden them high and low. I've lived a blessed life--almost idyllic really, and never faced any kind of testing until about 5 years ago. And I haven't been the same since.

Battling church issues, the start of a new ministry,  losing much of what I had always relied upon in the material world--all in obedience to God's call on our life--caused me to question God. I've wondered at His leading. I've wondered why. I figured that it's okay since Job did it. He questioned, but in the end God spoke and plainly stated that He is Lord. He gives and takes. He is God. Period.

I have come to rest in the knowledge of God's sovereignty, because I firmly believe that He is a God of Love and He will never let me go through anything that He won't see me through. Though the deepest part of me knows that, I still struggle over lacking that deep passion for Him like I used to have. And I miss it so.

I have a daily quiet time, but it is like a dry creek bed, cracked and desperate for water. I write in a prayer journal, but it reads like a daily planner rather than the reflections of His Word's power working in my life. I sit in silence, waiting to hear for the One and Only, but I wait until distracted by my daily list of things to do, or the laptop sitting nearby.

Reflecting on my great-uncle's life has put things in perspective and I believe it is now time for action on my part. It is time to fall prostrate at the feet of my Lord and beg for His presence. It is time to lift up praises to my Savior. It is time to surrender. Completely. Unrestrained.

It's time and I am ready. And maybe, just maybe, my humbug life will transform into a life of freedom. I won't wait out the storm, I will dance in the rain. And there will come a time when the clouds will break and the sun will shine through, bringing a rainbow of hope and healing. Until then, I dance, reveling in the 'reign' of God washing over me.

Merry Christmas and may God bless us, one and all.

Winner of Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Using a random generator, the winner of Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul is:

Ariel

Congratulations! I know you will enjoy it!


December 20, 2010

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball Review & Giveaway

A hint of magic stirs the embers of romance into flame with this sweet love story by Donita K. Paul. When "Bah-Humbug" Cora searches for a book in the mysterious book store on Sage Street, she stumbles upon her handsome and serious-workaholic boss, Simon. Both purchase books which contain tickets to a Christmas Ball.

Through a series of strange events and 'coincidences', Cora is thrown together with Simon's family, including his sweet Down-syndrome sister, Sandy. Between the bookstore proprietors and Sandy playing matchmaker, Cora and Simon have no chance but be drawn together.

It's only when Cora's sister shows up that things turn sour. She wrecks havoc on Cora's life and brings mistrust into everyone's lives. Can their faith get them through the turmoil of the season with Cora's sister involved? Will Christmas magic do it's thing and bring to opposite personalities together?

If you like a sweet romance, then this one is for you. It reminds me of those Hallmark movies where a little magic brings love and happy endings for a special couple. Perfect for the holiday season. You will come away with a sigh and a little smile on your face.

To read the first chapter, follow this LINK to a PDF file of the first chapter.

I am giving a copy of this book away, so leave a comment along with your spam-free email address (sherrinda (at) gmail (dot) com). You will not be entered if your email is not given. Drawing will be held Friday, December 24. Merry Christmas!



*Waterbrook Multnomah provided a copy of this book for my honest review.

December 13, 2010

Regifting At Your Own Risk

I went to a party last night where you regifted something you have been given, or you brought something nice from your home to give to someone else. What was interesting was someone opened up a present that I had bought for a different party last week! Someone regifted a gift that I bought. It made me feel...weird.

At first I was kinda sad that someone didn't like what I had bought for the party, but then I realized something. Not everyone has the same taste as me. And not everyone needs--or wants--the same things as I do. It is just a matter of taste and/or a matter of need.

It got me to thinking about books and how subjective reviews can be. I have read scathing reviews about books that I absolutely loved. And I have also read glowing reviews of books that I thought were duds. So often it is a matter of personal taste. What we like and what we don't like.

This gives me hope that someday when I get ready to put my stuff out there, there will be somebody who will like what I write--eventually. Some won't like it, of course, but at some point, someone might like my story and possibly give me a chance. Who knows? It's a nice thought though.

Do you regift? Does it bother you to think that someone has regifted something you have given them?

December 06, 2010

December Time Stealer

We all love Christmas, but many of us don't care for the busyness of December. There are parties to attend, parties to plan, presents to shop for, presents to wrap. There are basketball games (if you have tall sons like me), concessions to sell at, and tournaments to drive to. There are cookies to bake, candy to make, stockings to stuff, and houses to decorate. It's a busy time.

So when to you find time to write? If you work outside the home like me, you either get up a little early or stay up a little late. But with life so busy, my energy lags and I want to do neither. I think sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to not be quite as productive as we would really like.

It's okay to only write 500 or 250 words instead of our 1000 a day plan. It's okay to edit only a few pages instead of a chapter a day. Give yourselves some slack. It's only for a season, and January will come before you know it and present you with time to rest and recharge. Your fingers will fly across the keyboard with all the renewed energy!

Enjoy the season of God's love and gift of His Son.

December 03, 2010

Road Trip

I'm going on my first road trip with my daughter today. We are going to Houston to see friends and I am excited.  Not only do I get to spend some fun time with my daughter, I get to see a special friend of mine. This friend is one who can make me laugh like no other, and I'm hoping to get a start on six-pack abs with all the abdominal exercise I'm sure to get giggling and belly laughing.

I got an email from my friend and she is so excited I'm coming that she booked us pedicures! Ah, sweet indulgence. She wanted to know what kind of snacks I like and told me to bring comfy jammies for late night talks. I get to go to church with her and see friends I haven't seen in so long. It will be a piece of heaven, I'm sure. 

There's something special about reconnecting. Remembering the nuances of another's personality. Recollecting memories shared. Rekindling the friendship. I was thinking about this as I opened up my first manuscript that I had set aside this summer. I haven't finished revising it--embarrassing to admit--and grew tired of it. But after pulling it out, I felt the old love returning. That whisper of familiarity called me close and breathed in a longing to see this story to completion, edits and all. 

I am hoping to begin edits soon and get it ready to enter into the land of rejection. It's part of the journey and I'm getting ready for that next bend in the journey. 

What have you been rekindling lately? 

December 02, 2010

Operation: Encourage Casey Herringshaw

It is Pay It Forward time! I have a dear online friend and fellow Alley Cat who has encouraged, supported, and taught me so much. I'd like to honor her and give a shout out to Casey Herringshaw.

Casey is an encourager and on her blog Operation: Encourage An Author she ministers to authors by highlighting their work and praying over them. What a ministry!

Her personal blog, Writing For Christ is about her journey in writing and life and gives voice to the wonderful person she is. Of course, she is a contributor at The Writer's Alley and has much to offer regarding the craft of writing. She is wise beyond her years.

If you've been touched in anyway by Casey, encouraged by her, learned from her, or just think she's the cutest thing ever, please leave a comment and let her know.

Casey, I love you and think you are God's beautiful handmaiden, sent to do His work with grace and beauty. Thank you for sharing your gift of encouragement to so many and being a tool for God's kingdom.

Sherrinda
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