Blog hop! Why I Write

 

red-eyed-treefrogRemember playing leap frog as a kid? Hop, crouch, hop, crouch, hop! What a fun game… inspired by frogs!

Well, I’ve joined up with other bloggers to create another type of “leap frog.” It’s called a Blog Hop and I have my friend and fellow blogger, Terry Morgan to thank for including me.

Terry writes from her experiences working with Cru for 20 years in another country. She mentors and coaches rising leaders, has raised four kids, and has journeyed in marriageTerry with her husband, Steve, for 30 years! (Oh, and so cool — she blogs in English and Spanish!) She’s a woman with a heart for encouraging others to embrace life with truth and courage. We met almost two years ago, and right away I was drawn to her authentic disposition and the way her eyes twinkle when she smiles. So grab a cup of coffee and learn from Terry at Marturitas Cafe.

For the blog part of the hop, each writer shares answers to four questions about the writing process. So here’s some insight into what, why, and how I write.

1) What am I writing or working on?

Mostly my blog posts center around everyday life – the struggles and the joys. My writing stems from the way I process life, with words and images. I love to look for the storyline in random things, for the way things are connected. Many times, my posts are tinged with spiritual thoughts. Truly, I believe, that we are all spiritual beings and that the Creator is constantly seeking out ways to connect with us and remind us of His presence.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My writing is unique because the way I experience life and love and family and loss and God are unique. Others in this genre write from their unique perspectives. In my writing, I try to stay away from teaching or preaching. I seek to share my thoughts creatively and simply, and let that be enough.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I’d say I’m a reluctant writer. I’m definitely a verbal processor, though; so writing is a natural outlet. On the surface, I began this blog as a way to practice what I teach – as a writing instructor and communication coach. But on a deeper level, I write to include others in my story as way to encourage them to explore their own stories.

4) How does my writing process work?

I journal… a lot. Most of my blog posts start with a spark of something from what I’m reading or experiencing. It could be something as innocuous as a butterfly on a flower or as raw as wrestling with God about teen suicide. Journaling allows me space to process my thoughts and record my reactions. Then, after those thoughts have marinated between the pages of my journal, oftentimes they find their way onto my blog. When I make time to journal, even if I don’t sense something pressing to process, I find thoughts I didn’t know I had. I love that kind of discovery.

And now for the hopping. Other bloggers I’d like to point you to.

Stephanie

Stephanie Reeves has wanted to be a writer nearly all of her life. That desire was first fulfilled by writing for Cru’s magazine, Worldwide Challenge, for many years. She lives with her husband, David, and 3 kids—and a dog and bird and several fish—in Orlando, Florida. Her blog Compelled focuses mostly on lessons God shows her in everyday life, but she also shares parenting tips and occasionally writes about hot topics in today’s world. She recently started a new blog, That Senior Year, chronicling her journey with her first born through his senior year of high school.

I think you’ll enjoy Stephanie’s fun and truth-filled way of sharing everyday lessons.

 

SheriSheri LeVine was a court reporter for 20 years and hit what her dear husband refers to as a midlife crisis (mental health glitch). Her time since has been seeking, wife-ing, mothering, simplifying, reading, writing, learning, volunteering, mentoring, and caring. As her 40s come to a close, she is eager to experience the elusive wisdom and confidence that she hears materializes in the 50s.

I love Sheri’s willingness to embrace the messiness of life. She’s honest and caring — two qualities you’ll immediately see in her writing. Visit her blog, It’s All About the Love.

 

So there you have it. A Blog Hop! My desire is that you would read and be inspired to pick up a pen yourself, jot some thoughts, and then just maybe, you’ll have the courage to share your story, too.

 

 

Words

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.  1 Thessalonians 3:5

I love these words.

direct:  engineer, orchestrate, steer, guide, usher, escort, aim, point out the way.

into:  interested in, steeped in, at home with, in tune with, enamored by.

God’s love: His affection, warmth, adoration, delight, tenderness, affinity, goodness, grace.

Christ’s perseverance:  His steadfastness, persistence, continuance, abiding-ness, patience, stamina, courage, grit, hardiness of spirit, stick-to-it-iveness.

………….

Why does this blessing speak to me today?  This is what I need.  Today.  One step closer to knowing God’s direction for our lives, one step closer to hearing and obeying.

I need to know the Lord engineering and escorting us along the way.

I need to know I’m steeped in, at home in, enamored by, and in tune with the Author of my story.

I need to know God’s warm affection and tender delight as I align myself with Him.

I need the stamina, the abiding presence and the hardiness of the spirit of Christ as I face the fears, questions, and answers that lay ahead of us — even today.

Waiting is not for the faint of heart, not for those who would look to the future and turn back in cowardice.  Waiting takes courage and humility.  Like the irresistible pull of a magnet, it takes stick-to-Jesus-iveness.

May I know that today… May you, too.

 

Because all of us are waiting for something.

 

Bringing him to Jesus

On Sundays I try to slow down, reflect a bit on on the week, plan for the next.  This morning, while the apartment is quiet and the ticking clock on the wall accompanies my thoughts, I thought I’d share a bit more of our journey with Benjamin’s health.

We’ve come a long way from this spot last year… a point to celebrate, really.  But, the questions are still there, and we are still waiting…

_____________________

November 12, 2011

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus, and after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven… I tell you, get up, take up your mat, and go home!”  Mark 2:3-11

I’m always amazed when I read this passage at Jesus’ response to the faith of the men on behalf of their injured friend.  I wonder if the men were disappointed at first that Jesus only said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

They were expecting healing.

I wonder if the man was healed at that point, only didn’t know it.  How did his legs grow strong enough for him to stand?  Was there a physical change?

Did the paralytic also have faith?

So, then I wonder, is this sickness Benjamin is experiencing a matter of faith?  Do we not have enough?  Have we not prayed enough?  Isn’t healing still available?

I know God isn’t a magic genie.  I know He doesn’t hold out answering our prayers for when we have jumped through enough hoops.  His ways are his own.  Mysterious.  Good.

I know that.

Benjamin’s condition just makes me sad right now… so sad.  There is a death, a mourning over the loss of good health.  The future seems cloudy and unsure.  But, I do believe that God’s ways are best.

Just because His ways aren’t mine doesn’t mean they aren’t good.

photo: www.weekendwordsmith.blogspot.com

Maybe we’re still digging through the rooftop to bring him to Jesus.  Maybe there is still work God is doing elsewhere in us that is keeping the healing at bay.  I want the same kind of faith those friends had…

… A faith that’s not content to let the crowds get between my son and Jesus.  He needs a touch from the only One who truly brings healing.

 

Father, do in me what needs to be done so we can hear you say, “My son, get up, take up your mat, and go home!”

Staying Power

Last month I sat on the side of a country road with Luke, while he worked on a painting of an old barn for an art competition he had entered.  I did it because I love him.  And, even though it was 58°, windy, and threatening rain, I did it because I want to encourage him in his passion.  So, despite the cold toes, the growing need for the bathroom, and the longing for a warm cup of Earl Grey, I stayed.

I see that for Luke to grow in his skill as an artist, he needs to learn to take his time, to observe, to appreciate the details.  If he rushes, he might miss something.  Art trains him to slow down.

I’m no artist, but I have other hobbies or disciplines that cause me to slow up.  Breathe deeply. Observe.  That’s why I like journaling the old fashioned way – in the quiet of the morning when the rest of the house is still, I take a leather bound book, pen in hand, and curl up on the couch.  I take time to reflect when I journal.  It’s a deliberate act encompassing protected time.  And the words only flow as fast as my pen scratches out the letters.

An old weathered barn stands sentinel over the walking path in our neighborhood.  The pavement snakes its way around the foundation, infringing on what was once a bustling farmyard.

I’ve often wondered what stories lay within the framework of those timbers and broken pane windows.

Have children ever climbed into the hayloft to read, or young lovers to hide?  Did Mr. Farmer seek the earthy haven of the barn in an effort to dodge a quarrel with Mrs. Farmer?  How long have the rusty plow and old wagon stood still, untouched and unproductive?  Does the barn mind that now, instead of squawking geese and chickens scratching in the dust, yippy designer dogs and sleek runners pass by and hardly notice its presence?

I like this big ole’ barn.  I like how it squares off with the modern road in front of it, unapologetically aged and grand.  I like its steep peaked roof and rust-colored hinges. In many ways it dwarfs the newly built houses around it.  It’s a symbol of another time, when vehicles and people and days moved more slowly.  It reminds me to breathe deep, observe the ordinary, respect the old ways, seasoned with wisdom and age.

Most things in this world change rather quickly.  It’s just the nature of living in the 21st century.  But today, I see the value in staying put, squaring up, and standing with confidence… in the face of necessary changes.

Luke and this barn have taught me that.