Blog Break

For the past three years, I have spent this day, Halloween, getting ready for the power event for writers in November, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. While I’ll be cheering on my fellow writers this month, I will not be participating myself as I don’t have a full novel in me. However, I would like to see if I could do some different types of writing such as short stories or poems or even work on editing the novel I finished last year. This will require me to take a break from this blog since it is obvious I cannot do both at the same time. 🙂 I will be back with new posts on December 2.

Hope everyone has a great day! 

Endurance

There are two parts to this word. Per Wikipedia here is the definition.

“Endurance is the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue. Endurance may also refer to an ability to keep going through a tough situation involving hardship, stress, etc.”

I am referring more to the second part of the definition than the first though the first will come into play. There are people who come into this world with raw talent. They advance through school quickly and do especially well with the talents God has blessed them with. But, sometimes raw talent is not enough. If things have always come easily for them, there would seem to be no reason to have to work at their talent, to keep going when things aren’t going so well.

This is where endurance comes in. With me, endurance comes into play with all facets of my life, my writing as well as my faith. I read this quote by author James Baldwin earlier. 

“Beyond talent lies all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all endurance.”

I find this to be very true. If I’m not willing to keep going when the times are bad, I will not be ready for the good times. My main goal for my writing is to touch lives. Whether that means I get published in some form or fashion or just touch lives through this blog, I need to be willing to keep going even when it seems like I’m not touching anyone. 

I find this to be even more true with my faith. There are so many verses in the Bible about endurance that are an encouragement to me. Here is one example from I Chronicles 16:34.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Another one is 2 Timothy 4:7.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

This particular verse represents the first part of the definition of endurance to me. Not only will we be blessed by God if we can emotionally endure, we are blessed with good health if we physically endure our exercise. So, here’s to enduring even when we don’t want to.

Hope everyone has a great day! 

Lowest Common Denominator

Yesterday evening, my son was asking why the lines and actions in a certain television show had been written a certain way. He said it would have been much better if things had happened in a different way. I was impressed with his analysis because what he had suggested would have certainly made the show better. I told him so and said he would probably be a good writer on said television show.

It got me to thinking though. Why, in the world, have we accepted the lowest common denominator for our television shows and our books, for that matter? I know all of us who write have seen sales figures for certain books that we would never consider reading ourselves or that we would never consider writing. Conventional wisdom says that the reasons these books are written or that these television shows are made is that they are popular.

I think we, the general public, have more power than we think we do. Or at least the power to make it stop bothering us. 🙂 For television shows, we can stop paying for cable. My husband called the cable company the other day to see what date we could cancel our cable service. He found out the date and was also asked why he would be canceling. One of the reasons he gave was because of what I’ve discussed here. We both got a kick out of what happened the next day because apparently, his number was given to their sales department. He’s going to ignore all the calls, and we’re going to proceed with our plans. 

For writing, it’s more tricky. Of course, we should not spend money on books that are not worth reading. But, should we write to the lowest common denominator? In my opinion, no, we shouldn’t. We need to write the story we were meant to write. I know it is frustrating to see low sales figures or even to be rejected. But, if I were to write something just for the sole intent of getting published, I believe I would always be disappointed in myself and know that I could have done better. 

Hope everyone has a great day! 

The Two Parts of Me

I saw this quote by author Julia Alvarez in my writing inspiration book, and it touched me enough that I want to expound upon it some more. First, here’s the quote.

“Bless you, my daughter. I know how much your writing matters. The sweetness of both those statements, so rarely put together! Daughter and writer. Part of la familia and also my own person, that full and impossible combination! Isn’t that what we all want–to put it all together and become that bigger version of our selves and still be loved by those who have only partially known us?”

I think anyone can look at a statement like this and have it resonate with them. It certainly does with me. For a long time, I wanted to be accepted by my family for who I was, not for who they wanted me to be. But, what about the people who are just too different from their families for their families to accept them. People get locked into certain kinds of behavior or certain characteristics they expect to see from their children. This might be from what career path the child goes down, to behavior they expect from their sons or daughters, to the kind of person their child marries, to the way the child raises their children, and to the beliefs the child ascribes to. Most of the time, the backgrounds are similar enough that there’s not much of a problem.

But, sometimes parents cannot accept who their child has become because the differences are too great. The child might put up shields for a long time in order not to have arguments when they are in contact with their parents, or they just might pretend to be someone they’re not. There’s a point though where it becomes too painful to be in two parts, and you have to show the person you are in its entirety. If the family can’t accept it, then the relationship becomes superficial, or there’s no relationship at all. While that might end up being necessary, it’s still very sad. I think it is more important though not to be in two parts.

Hope everyone has a great day! 

Why is No One Reading Anymore?

I saw some disturbing statistics earlier about reading and thought I would expound a little bit in my blog post this morning. The statistics spoke of how 1/3 of high school graduates and just over 2/5 of college graduates never read another book after graduating. There were others though that disturbed me the most. One was that almost 3/4 of US adults had not been in a bookstore in the last five years and 4/5 had not bought or read a book in the past year. The first set of figures is in line with what I’ve heard from other sources, but the second set of figures is kind of more than what I expected. Don’t know how close they are to being true, but how sad if they are true. There is so much wonderful material being published nowadays for people of all ages. I would hate for some of it to sit out there and remain unread because no one sees it to buy and take home and read. 

But, my question was, ‘Why is no one reading anymore?’ I think a big part of that is the expansion of media. Not only do we have television shows to watch, but there is a plethora of things to read and do on the Internet which means the time available for reading books would be reduced. Now, I would be hypocritical to say ‘get rid of all things on the Internet’ since that is the way I’m reaching you for this blog post. What it comes down to though is a matter of choice. People are choosing to consume television and other forms of electronic media to the detriment of books. Whether electronic books thwart these statistics remains to be seen.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Statistics quoted from www.patheos.com (blog post, August 12, 2013).

Writing Prompt Monday

Thought I’d go a little bit different for a Monday. Here’s the prompt.

Write about your name–where you got it, how you feel about it. 

I’m not sure where my name came from, but I have plenty to tell you about how I feel about it.  As you can see in the about section of this blog, my first name is Alisa. This name has a variety of spellings and a variety of pronunciations. It used to drive me crazy as a child and especially as a teenager when I would have to spell my name every single time for a teacher to write in her roll book. And more often than not, I would have the same teacher calling out Alyssa or Alisha or even Allison the next day from what they had written down. I didn’t understand how they weren’t able to pronounce it. And as a teenager, having that quandry didn’t do an awful lot for my self-confidence. I think that was one of the reasons I chose traditional names with traditional spellings for both of my own children. 

My feelings about my name continued into adulthood. I sometimes turned it into a game, trying to guess which people would not be able to figure out how to pronounce my name or who would misspell it when they were sending me a letter. I found that people who actually wanted to take the time to get to know me would have the highest percentage of spelling and pronouncing my name correctly. That was pretty cool. There were some people though that just didn’t get it. 

As the years passed, I began to appreciate the uniqueness of my name and found ways to help people learn how to spell  and even pronounce it correctly. My most recent innovation is to tell people–“Think about it this way. My name is like Lisa with an A in front it, and that is how you spell it.” Most of them have been able to figure it out, and my mental poll still works. If a person is really interested in getting to know me, they have a higher percentage of both spelling and saying my name the right way.

Hope everyone has a great day! 

Unexpected Blessings

Yes, I know. Nowadays, we don’t expect to have blessings. We actually expect life to be hard with prices continually rising with no corresponding increase in income. Even Christians aren’t immune to these kind of feelings, especially with all of the stock put in some people who claim to be Christians and claim that God is waiting to bless each and all of us materially. That is not what God wants for us. God wants us to be content with what we have as stated in Philippians 4:11-13.  The Apostle Paul is speaking here. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.”

But, just because God wants us to be content doesn’t mean He doesn’t want to bless His children. I have had two small unexpected blessings in the last two days. Yesterday afternoon, I got a message that someone from my church needed me to contact them. Now, my first thought was, I’m ashamed to say, ‘I bet the check for the kids’ trip this weekend was lost.’ I called a little while later, and it wasn’t that at all. The person wanted to donate balloons for the balloon release I’m having this weekend for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I was so touched. There are several women in our church who have lost babies, and I wanted to organize a time of remembrance. I had been prepared to cover the cost myself, but I won’t need to now. Praise God! 

The other unexpected blessing happened this morning. I was checking our power company account to see if the bill for this month had come out yet. It had, and I looked at the screen in astonishment. It was $50 lower than last month. I started cheering and dancing because a $50 decrease in a bill is always something to celebrate. My 16 year old son came in and wanted to know why I was acting so crazy. I told him, and he said, “I guess you get a pass this time. That is something to celebrate.” I thanked him, and he went back out. After he left, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, God is waiting to bless us, and sometimes through our worry, we just can’t see it.’ I vowed to myself then and there I would be more conscious about noticing the unexpected blessings in my life.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Belief is Deeper than Feelings

This thought came to me earlier while I was reading my devotion, and I realized it also had relevance to the writing part of me. I had been caught off guard at the Bible study I went to last night when someone talked about another member of our church whose faith had come to the forefront during a bout with an illness. I had noticed that she was smiling and always positive, and I thought to myself that maybe I didn’t have as much faith because I was feeling sad about a couple of different things. I woke up this morning still feeling sad and went to read my devotion. As I was writing in my journal, a thought came to me, and I wrote it down. It was, “Belief is deeper than feelings, and just because you feel sad about something doesn’t mean you believe any less.” I use my journal to write down my prayers to God since I communicate with Him better that way. I’ve been able to ask a lot of deep and honest questions over the last few months about my faith which has helped me tremendously. 

Now, how does this relate to writing? I have found that, with writing, you have to believe in yourself and the reasons you are writing. The feelings you get when your writing is rejected or when you don’t feel like writing on a particular day for any number of reasons need to be pushed aside to keep on writing. Believing in what you are doing can give you the strength to go on when it doesn’t seem like you should because of what you are feeling. 

So with my faith and with my writing, I need to remember that feelings are temporary while beliefs are at the core of who I am.

Hope everyone has a great day!