Hi all, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend. We did, but don't be fooled - it can still be exhausting even if you don't hit the road! We're lucky our family is centered here where we live, but that means seeing 2 families, which makes for a full day. Then some friends were in town that wanted to see us and between that and squeezing in some Christmas shopping and errands it's been a very full weekend!
Hopefully, we'll be able to take it easy today. We need it. And belive it or not, today is the first time I got my laptop out since Wednesday. I took a break from writing and such. My time this weekend has been filled with family and friends and frankly, I needed the break. It's been a hell of a month with the dental problems, freezer problems, getting sick, and then it was Thanksgiving. I've been going, going, going and today I need to crash - or at least slow down the frentic pace. It can't continue like this through Christmas. I've got to find a way to throw a lasso around life and reign it in.
So, the "From Sidekicks to Superheros" blog series wrapped up Wednesday, and I hope you enjoyed it. I'm pondering other blog series right now, but I don't have anything firm in mind yet. I thought about doing a mini-series on managing the holidays, or maybe New Year's Resolutions. I even kicked around the idea of bouncing around some short story or flash fiction tidbits here. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet, so stay tuned!
That's all for this time. I hope that everybody had a great Thanksgiving and safe travels this weekend. See you later.
It’s been nearly a year since my “graveyard epiphany” that spurred me to search within myself and bring my authenticity into my “new life.” The journey hasn’t been easy, but I believe it’s been well worth it. I feel more confident today than I ever have in my life. I now trust that I am where the Lord wants me to be, and that I can do whatever He sets before me because He Himself will work in and through me.
God works in each and every one of us. He uses our personalities, gifts and abilities to do His work in the world. If we want to be vessels for the Holy Spirit, then it’s important to know ourselves because that’s how the Spirit will work in and through us. If you don’t know yourself, well, the Spirit can’t work in you because you don’t know what’s going on!
That’s why it’s so important to be authentic. We are each divine creations and everything that God makes is good. Don’t let Satan corrupt your goodness with lies. Don’t let him hold you back with despair, discouragement, and fear. You become your best when you fight these attacks and stand up for your faith and yourself to be the very best creation you can be!
When I went through my life transitions last year the #1 piece of advice I got for coping was to stay rooted in my faith and true to myself. Believe in Christ and don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. Of course the devil attacked through naysayers and I got admonished to “grow up” and“quit being difficult” in my attempts to work things out for a better life. I refused to suppress my independence and insisted on being myself and working things out the right way, and not the quick and easy way. Do you know what’s happened? The naysayers don’t have much to say now that it’s working out! I had to work hard – harder than I ever knew or imagined was possible, but things did improve, and it was because I refused to take a backseat to life. I wouldn’t be a sidekick. I insisted on being a superhero and I’m rising to it, a step at a time. If “growing up” means settling for mediocrity then I’ll never grow up – period.
I hope this blog series has been helpful and inspirational to you. If you have enjoyed it, I encourage you to check out my first book titled Battleground Earth – Living by Faith in a Pagan World
. It’s available for sale through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Battleground-Earth-Living-Faith-Pagan/dp/1413733468/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1
and through PublishAmerica at http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?catalogid=5696
I’ve read many books on finding yourself, but I won’t bore you with an entire chapter of suggested reading. Instead, I’ll limit my suggestions to the two most powerful books I’ve read on finding yourself:
The first is How to Succeed at Being Yourself – Finding the Confidence to Fulfill Your Destiny
, by Joyce Meyer. This is actually the book that gave me the confidence to start writing and pursuing publication after years of falling away from the craft because I allowed myself to become distracted with things that I didn’t intend to have in my life permanantly. I learned that I needed to be true to myself and my calling if I ever wanted to find happiness. This is what I call a “get up and conquer the world!” read. It motivates you to do something positive. This book is available through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/How-Succeed-Being-Yourself-Confidence/dp/0446532045/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322012510&sr=1-1
The second is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. This is a daily devotional book that has the single purpose of helping you find your authentic self. Each day has helpful entries to guide you into delving deeper within yourself to find the truth of spirit. It’s not specifically Christian and is meant to appeal to a wide audience, but it’s powerful and motivation. This book is available through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Abundance-Daybook-Comfort-Joy/dp/0446563595/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322012631&sr=1-1
Thanks for joining me in my reflections on this journey, and I hope you will embark on your own path to authenticity. It’s a journey well worth taking and revisiting from time to time as you continue to grow and learn in faith.
I think we all understand that life is a journey. We are continually striving to become better than we are, and as such there will always be bigger goals to reach for and bigger dreams to attain. Every milestone we reach, every dream we achieve, every new discovery we make, will change us. Although the core of who we are remains constant, we should continue to grow and learn with each experience. Our roles and functions many change, but who we are deep in our soul won’t. This is why it’s so important to strive for authenticity and to find your true purpose. The only way to make the journey successfully is to know who you are deep inside, and to know where you’re going.
We’ve often heard it said that Christ should be the foundation of your life, and this is true. Remember, though, what a foundation is for – we’re supposed to build on it! Each of us were created to live in this world for a reason, and our job is to build ourselves up to be the best we can be based on this solid foundation. We’re supposed to construct rising layers and to build up ourselves and our presence in the world. If Christ is the foundation, then I believe it stands to reason that being authentic and honestly knowing ourselves is the ground floor. Everything else builds up from here and depends on the support of the layers beneath it. Christ gives us our spiritual roots, and knowing ourselves helps us to serve the world in the best way possible.
I truly believe that we can’t relate to other people and perform to the best of our ability if we don’t know ourselves. How can we? How can you get along with others if you don’t know yourself? How can you do your best when you don’t know where your talents and abilities lie? How can you form solid relationships with other people if you can’t be honest with yourself? How can you succeed when you can’t accept reality? You may be rooted in Christ, but you can still get stuck in horrible ruts if you don’t take the next step to knowing yourself and to find contentment in what God made you to be.
So what is contentment? It’s accepting the reality of where you are and working to strive for better. Life certainly isn’t perfect, and sometimes it can take you to dark places. This is the ugly underside of reality in an imperfect world. Life is going to hurt from time to time, and we may be completely dissatisfied with where we are. I certainly understand. I mentioned that I went through major changes in my personal and work life in 2010 and believe me, that was a special kind of hell. For many months I literally had no peace no matter where I went because battles raged all around me. Change is tough. It was hard enough to face two major transitions, but add to that the fact that change makes people very nervous and irritable and you understand what I mean by facing battles on every front.
How did I make it through? First, I believed in the promises that the Lord knows His plans for me and they are for good (Jeremiah 29:11) and that all things work together for good for those who love Christ and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28). These promises, from the foundation of my faith, gave me the courage to stand up and take charge of my life. I claimed my life as my own and acknowledged that, although I couldn’t help the changes or control them, I certainly had a right to work them for the best. I sought advice from others I trusted, took advantage of every opportunity, and kept my eyes on the goal of coming through these transitions to building a life that was better than the one I had before. I wasn’t happy with my life, but I found contentment in knowing that the Lord was leading me through a transition that was taking me to a better life. I can honestly say that my life is better today than it was two years ago, and I’m grateful for that. It wasn’t easy – it fact, it was brutally painful in spirit– but I feel I’ve come out wiser and with knowledge and experience that will guide me through whatever comes next.
I believe this story shows that contentment doesn’t mean that things are perfect. As I said, we live in an imperfect world, and if you reserve your happiness for that magic day when it all comes together then you won’t be happy a day in your life. Contentment means accepting reality. It means resting in the Lord. It means being true to yourself. It means doing the very best you can in everything you do. And I do believe that is the secret to joy. It’s not an elated happiness or a dopamine high, but rather a sense of peace in doing the best you can with what the Lord has given you.
I think we owe it to everybody: God, ourselves and the world, to be authentic. After all, we are all part of the Body of Christ. We do His work in the world now. Isn’t that a job worth offering your absolute best for?
Not a Royal Watcher? Take heart! It's a big world out there, and if Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding doesn't captivate you, you can rest in knowing there are plenty of things coming this summer that, in my opinion, are much more interesting. For example:
1. Smallville Series Finale - The longest running sci-fi series comes to a close on May 13th, when young Clark Kent finally meets his destiny and becomes the Man of Steel. And to add more excitement, the original Lex Luthor is coming back. Check out espisodes, previews and more at http://www.cwtv.com/shows/smallville
2. X-Men - First Class. Oh come on, you know you love the muntants! Opens June 3, but you can check out the preview at http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/x-men-first-class.html?showVideo=1#belowNav
3. The Green Lantern - This was my favorite superhero as a child, and the preview I saw this past weekend blew me away! They're getting all the way into the story: Aliens, universal war, and the end of the world - hooray! Movie opens in 3D on June 17. Check it out at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/23/green-lantern-extended-trailer_n_852851.html
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - opens on July 15th. Even though I found myself saying "the board is set; the pieces are moving" at the end of Part 1, I'm interested in seeing how "it all ends." The first preview comes tonight on ABC Family and, no doubt, will be just a web search away come tomorrow morning.
5. Captain America - The First Avenger opens July 22. Watch the trailer at http://www.bing.com/movies/search/trailers?q=The+First+Avenger%3a+Captain+America&id=222f3d09-83db-4249-97c6-11c4e1ad3dcb&v=15b91e31-0187-447b-828e-66d60c1fba4a&FORM=DTPMVO
Maybe it's silly, but it seems to me that this summer, fiction will be much more interesting than reality. Then again, I'm a novelist. You should expect as much from me.
So if you aren't setting your DVR for 4AM Friday morning, don't fret. There are 6 billion people in the world. If they expect 2 billion to tune in, well, that makes the non-watchers the majority!
Have a happy week all, whether you watch the wedding or not.