Defeating Others’ Expectations

Every person who has ever been born has had people and society expecting things of them. Some of these can be good things because the person learns how society is supposed to work and learns the things they need to know to be an independent adult.

But, what happens when this person becomes an adult and is still trying to live up to expectations? I’m not talking about the worker who is doing what their boss has asked them to do or the people in a marriage who are doing their best to live life as a couple in today’s society. I’m talking about the person who gave up their dreams because of what others expected of them. The person who became a lawyer because it was the family profession or the person went into the military because others he knew had done it before him. Now, if that is someone’s dream, there’s nothing wrong with following after others.

What if the person though had their own dream–a dream of doing something no one had ever done before in her circle of family and friends? Just because it’s different, does that mean she should give up on her dream? Should she give up on the person God wants her to become just because someone in her family wants her to do something different? No, of course not. Doing something someone else wants to do just because they want it is not what God wants for us or wishes for us. He made all of us to be our own unique person and gave us the desires to become that person. It’s taken me a long time to realize that, but I have, and I’m looking forward to working towards my goal of becoming a better writer every day.

Hope everyone has a great day! 

Writing Prompt Friday

Here’s the prompt for today.

Write a list of ways to nurture your writing.

When I was thinking of what I could write down for this prompt, I thought of all the different things I had done over this past year to nurture my writing. Some of them are fairly obvious while others might not be so obvious. The first one is to actually carve out time to write. There are so many things that could prevent me from writing, but when I commit to a specific time to write, I always seem to get more words written. 

The second thing is to read, read, read. And then read some more. Read in the genre you want to write in. Read other kinds of books too so you will be saturated in language. Then when you want to write, the words will come easier. 

Being observant would be another way to nurture your writing. Every time you have to wait somewhere, have a small notepad where you can jot down notes and observations about the people around you. You never know. Your next main character could have the same description as someone you were in line with. 

And finally, take the time to have a variety of experiences. Every experience you have that is different than what you have done before is another experience you can bring to your writing. And it can make your writing more varied and interesting. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

The Ordinary Moments

In my quest to learn more about writing, I have followed several authors over the past few years and have learned a great deal. One of them has just come out with a book that has an intriguing premise. I’ve not read it yet, but probably will at some point so I’m not going to mention the title. The premise is intriguing enough though that I decided to think about what this actually meant in my life. Now, you’re waiting for me to mention what it is. Well, it talks about how we are usually waiting for the next big thing to happen to us. In the cycle of life, there are several moments that qualify like graduating from high school, graduating from college, getting a first job, getting married, having a first child, going on vacation, having the last child leave the nest, etc., etc. You get the picture. 

There are a lot of ordinary moments in life though. In my life, some of those might include: getting hugs from my kids when they get up in the morning, having them ask me to watch a baseball game with them, baking loaves of bread, going out for Friday night dinners with the family, enjoying the scenery around me when I walk in the mornings, having the chance to write words on a page with the hope they will encourage someone, and having the chance to develop relationships. 

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to look forward to the big moments. But, when the big moments become so much of a focus that you forget the ordinary ones, I believe life is somehow diminished, and it’s not how I believe we were meant to live. With the ages my kids are at now, I have come to realize there is not a lot of time left for me to enjoy the ordinary moments with them, and my resolve today is to spend more time enjoying the ordinary moments.

Hope everyone has a great day! 

Fall is in the Air

Yesterday, the calendar switched over, and it is now officially autumn. During the past few days, I had started to see some color change, but the temperatures in my little corner of the world had remained warm, as they tend to do in the southeastern United States in September. Finally, though, there has been some cooling in the air, especially in the early morning, which is when I walk.  When I walked out the door this morning, a whiff of cool breeze blew past me, and I was reminded again of the cycle of time where one season flows into another with the resultant weather changes.

This year has been such a different year for me. I’ve finally come into my own about who I am and what I’m meant to do. I’m a daughter of God, my Lord and Savior, the one who made me to love others in His name. My value is not in what others think of me, but only in what He thinks of me. I’m also meant to use my writing to encourage others, to help them know that their wounds and their brokenness are not meant to keep them from God. God loves all of us, even those of us who are wounded and broken. As it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It doesn’t say whoever believes in him who has money or whose lives are perfect. It says because he loved the world so much, he gave his only Son. That kind of love was inconceivable to me for a long time, but I know it is in my heart now, and that is the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced.

Hope everyone has a wonderful afternoon! 

Change

Change – as life moves forward in its cycle, there is always change no matter how much you might wish for things to stay the same.

In our family and in our family of faith this week, there is going to be a tremendous change. Our youth minister is leaving because he feels led by God to take a position at another church. This is someone who has had a tremendous impact on our sons’ lives over this past year. It will be hard for them, for all of us, but everyone is supporting this young man and letting him know how much he has meant to us. 

I see change as having a beneficial impact on a writer too. A writer can bring different experiences to his writing, and his writing will be richer for the experience. He can show what it’s like to live in different places; he can show the different emotions that are the result of the changes he is going through; and he can show how different people react to different changes. 

So, change can be positive as well as negative. Here’s to change making our writing richer this week.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Body Image

I have struggled with this my entire life, some years since becoming an adult being better than others. My most prominent memories of being a teenager were the criticism of not being the same size as other females in my family. But that would be a whole other post, in and of itself. What I want to focus on is what happened to me yesterday.

I had the most amazing experience. My husband had dared me to go into Nordstrom Rack to see if I could find any cute outfits. I had been avoiding it because of the negative connotation with a family member, but yesterday, I decided to take him up on his challenge.

I walked into the store and started looking at clothes. I saw clothes that were not my size, clothes I would never dream of putting on, and clothes, that even if they would fit, I wouldn’t have paid the amount of money they wanted to charge for them. As I stared at the clothes, I felt barriers breaking down in my mind. It was okay! I didn’t need to have clothes from a fancy store. The clothes I buy from Target, from JC Penney, from Kohl’s are okay for me. What is inside is much more important than my appearance! How I treat others, how I show God to others is much more important! I was filled with overwhelming pity for the girls and women in the store and with disgust for what society has done to perpetuate this image to girls and women. I was almost tempted to start asking people what the value of half-tops and leather shorts were, but I decided the possibility of getting arrested wasn’t worth it. 🙂

Instead, I went to Target and found a couple of t-shirts and a pair of blue jean cropped pants. Spent just over $30. They were cute clothes, but not indecent, and I didn’t pay a fortune. We, who are women, don’t need to buy into the image society has for us. We are valuable just because of who we are, and if you are a believer, in God’s eyes as well. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day! 

True Friendship

I struggled and struggled with what to write this morning, but then realized I had a topic right in front of me. What is friendship? Wikipedia defines it as “a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people.” It also names a number of characteristics of friendship which I would concur with. Some of these include: sympathy, honesty, empathy, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and several more. But, have you thought of some of the reasons for friendship? There are some people I call friends for different reasons. I know them from a particular place or a particular part of life. Some of them are more distant, and there are those who I would consider closer friends. 

Why am I writing about this today? Well, we found out that the wife of a friend of my father-in-law passed away this week. This couple was like a second set of parents to my husband growing up, and the news saddened us. My father-in-law and this man served together in the Air Force, and they truly had a bond like brothers. They would do anything for each other. Even when my father-in-law passed away many years ago, this man was a friend to my mother-in-law helping her with chores around her home and taking her to doctor visits. He was and is the example of a true friend. I will never forget what he did for us the day before my mother-in-law passed away. My husband had taken her to the ER because her blood sugar had spiked. We thought they would keep her, but told him she just had an infection which caused the spike. He brought her home at 10:30 at night. I went outside to help, but she was unable to walk, and there was no way the two of us could have lifted her. We called this man at 10:30 at night to ask if he could help. He came over, no questions asked, and the three of us were able to get her into the house. It was the truest example of friendship I had ever seen and will be something we will always be grateful for. I would wish that kind of friendship for all of us.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

How Writing a Novel is Like my Faith

I read this quote by E. L. Doctorow yesterday and was immediately struck by how similar it was to my faith.

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way.” 

Driving a car at night using headlights is commonplace. We have faith that the headlights will work and help us see to get to our destination. With other parts of our lives, we have a need though to see the complete picture even before we get to that point. We think about retirement when we’re in our twenties; we think about what it’s going to be like when we die; we think about publishing our novel before it’s good enough to be published. 

For me, I think this is a need we have to control things. If we can control things, we can make it so nothing bad happens to us. But, it’s not possible. And the reason it’s not possible is because we live in an imperfect place. It is not possible for any of us to be perfect no matter how much we try, no matter how much other people want us to be. So, as writers, we will get rejections. As people of faith, bad things will happen to us. It’s what you do with getting those rejections; it’s what you do with those storms that makes you the kind of person you are.  I want to keep moving forward, to keep moving as far as I can see, to have faith I will accomplish what God wants me to accomplish. And to have joy in my heart while I’m doing so. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!