Sunday, June 5, 2016

I’m Back!

Hello…it’s me…You heard me singing that in my Adele voice, right? Ok, cool. I know. I know. It’s been a long time, so I expect this message to reach your spam box. If it actually reached your inbox, I’m super grateful.

I can’t believe I’ve been M.I.A. since January. And I’ve been literally off the grid since March. You see, I forgot to pay the annual fee for my hosting package, and well, they shut me down. Lights out. Zero dark whatever you wanna call it. So if (and that’s a pretty big “if”) you happened to miss me or my sporadic posts and ventured here to look for me, you were greeted with nothing.

I let the site stay down for a while, while I contemplated the crossroads before me. Over the years, I’ve shared about my struggle with discipline and focus; my perfection paralysis that often keeps me from starting projects, and my inability to finish when I do start. Reality is today I still struggle with focus and still hoping to be more disciplined…eventually.  So while the site was down, I had to decide to either get up and try again or just let it all go.

A week from today marks my seven year blog anniversary. Yep, it’s hard for me to believe I’ve been doing this thing for seven years. When the site was down, I took time to reflect on the past few years. I started this space with no clear direction or goal other than to share my thoughts, feelings, joys, sorrows, growing pains, triumphs, failures and lessons learned – my life – as authentically and transparently as I could. By being completely me, my hope was that some woman out there (maybe even you) would find the courage to be completely you or, at the very least, find some  faith, some encouragement and a little bit of laughter to complement your daily life.

I haven’t done a stellar job. Instead, I got bogged down with trying to curate just the right content on just the right topics, because that’s what the “experts” say do, right? *Enter Perfection Paralysis.*

Some years ago, I worked for a gospel music record label. There I met a young songstress with dreams of making her mark in the music industry. I had a few opportunities to chat with her, and some of our chats included talk about the “independent artist” route. At the time, she was a young single mom, so that route for her would have been hard work, to say the least. But sometimes the rewards of a journey down the road less traveled are greater than one could imagine.

And that was just one of the messages I got during my time of “lights out” on the blog, but it was a pretty darn good one. All these years, I’ve been trying to find my voice, my style, my purpose for this site, but I’ve been chasing others’ paths to do so. My encouragement to that young lady way back then was probably to ask God for His plan and to follow His path. It may not look like someone else’s and may even appear to go rogue from the path everyone says is “the way.” But it will be the best for you. It seems in all my blogging years I’ve failed to take my own advice. I’ve failed to write posts when ideas came to mind, because I thought they’d be too corny, too simple or too transparent, which would make me too vulnerable. Maybe, just maybe that was the haphazard, unclear, adventurous, just enough light for the step you’re on, road less traveled I was supposed to take.

If you continue to hang out with me on the journey, I can’t promise what it will look like. But I guess that makes sense since my goal for this blog site now is to go rogue, and let the Lord lead me down the road less traveled.

 

 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Be Do Finish: Reminders from my 21-Day fast

Yesterday was day 21, the final day of a 21-day Daniel fast. If you’ve never heard of the Daniel Fast, you can click here to learn more.

Before the close of 2015, I just felt sort of blah. At first I couldn’t figure out why. I’d recently started a new job, so that was a plus. My stress level was down. Things were good at home, so I really had no complaints. Yet something was still off. As I reflected over the year, I felt like I’d wandered off-track somehow. I desperately wanted to get back on.

So what better time than the start of a new year to cleanse your mind, body and spirit and prepare for a fresh start.

The last time I participated in this type of 21-day fast was 2009. I remember so clearly how good I felt. My mind was clear. My body reset. And the best part was the amount of time I spent reading and studying God’s word through my bible. I knew this time would be a little different. With a full time job I couldn’t spend hours on end reading scriptures, but I’d do my best to get as much time in as possible.

So today, now that it’s all said and done, here are a few of the messages and insights my unclogged brain was able to capture during this time of concentrated prayer and fasting.

FINISH

In his on the field interview after the University of Alabama won the College Football Playoffs (CFP), head coach Nick Saban talked about finishing. He expressed how his team had a loss earlier in the season (to Ole Miss) that could have damaged their spirit, drive and momentum. Instead it served as a wake up call and a reminder of what the team had been committed to do all season long – finish.

Obviously, the ultimate finish in their minds included a CFP win and a big shiny trophy. But there were many games that came before the big dance. And for each of them the focus, the goal was to finish.

Something inside me clicked as Coach Saban spoke. I’ll be honest. I tend not to be a finisher. I dream big. But the road to big is sometimes long and daunting. And if I allow discouragement to enter that passenger seat, I’m done!

But this year, these days, I want to change that. I want to finish what I start – slow, steady, FINISH. For example, I have at least two books I’ve started reading but haven’t finished. Some I started years ago. I love it when I finish a book, but lately I haven’t designated the time to do so. Reading is like nourishment. It’s fuel to a writer, so I must read. And I will this year. Slow. Steady. FINISH.

DO

Like I said, I sometimes get so paralyzed by the tasks at hand, and baby steps only irritate me. Instead I want to take giant leaps to reach a goal. Although it may be possible, it’s (most of the time) neither practical nor wise.

 

As I ate from a limited menu these past few weeks, I saw a slow but noticeable improvement in how I felt. Even saw a few pounds leave the scale – all because I made up my mind to DO something. Although weight loss wasn’t my goal and isn’t what fasting is about, part of the reason I chose to do it was to petition God for help in getting back to a healthier place. My mind, body and spirit needed to be reset. If I wanted the peaceful sleep and the clarity of mind that are rewards for a body that isn’t clogged with nasty preservative stuff, I had to stop being paralyzed and just DO something. Start somewhere. Maybe I’m finally accepting that slow doesn’t have to be all bad. There’s much to see and learn along the journey, isn’t there?

BE

Lastly, I recently edited a letter from the president of the Junior League of Atlanta. The letter is to be published in our print member publication, of which I am this year’s editor. While reading the letter, I was knocked over the head by these two little words – “Be YOU!” These words tattooed themselves to my brain.

Be You! Crazy…It’s what my whole blog site was supposed to be about. But I realized I was treating “be completely you” as something I was supposed to tell others how to do. When actually it was something I was supposed to DO and BE in front of others. Now that, as they say, is a horse of a different color. It’s also a game changer. I always wanted my posts to be authentic. But instead of just writing about life, I felt I had to write something specific. The something specific is what will come out of the BE. I feel like this is less a fresh revelation and more an “I’ve told you that a million times kind of story.” But that’s ok. Maybe the millionth time will be the charm.

BE. DO. FINISH

I reversed the order, because I believe it’s how the Lord wants me to carry these words in my mind and heart. Although, I’ve completed the time of fasting, the prayers won’t stop, of course. After all, I can’t be, do or finish a thing without His help.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The art of journaling

Today’s NABLOPOMO question is: Do you think social media connects people together? Why or why not?

While I do think social media connects people, I think most of the “connection” is superficial. I guess that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.

In other news… Remember the workshop I mentioned when I shared how I’ve been learning to put first things first? Well, today was the big day. This afternoon, after a grueling few weeks of nervousness, I was so excited to host a journaling workshop for a small group of teen girls at a north Georgia girl’s shelter.

It never fails. I get the jitters each time I take on something like this. My nerves consume me until the moment I walk in the room. Then all is well. It’s sort of a crazy emotional roller coaster that probably makes my husband nauseous, but he’s a great coach.

The girls, who’ll be sophomores and juniors in high school this year, were darling. They were so excited to receive brand new journals, and that blessed me beyond measure. I specifically selected journals with words of encouragement on the cover like “do what you love,” “strive for progress not perfection,” “creativity takes courage,” and “life is better when you dance.”

These events seems so small, but I sure hope they make a big difference in the lives of the women and young ladies I touch. They certainly make a big difference in my world. Hopefully, before the year ends I’ll get to host a tea party for them, too. The girls want a pajama tea party where everyone wears onesies and we all get to paint. Sort of like one of those paint by numbers events minus the wine. I think it’s a fun idea. I’ll let you know if we’re able to pull it off later this year.

Until next time…