Friday, May 29, 2015

Writing Tips

So you love writing? Me too! Below are some FUN tips that have helped on my journey to becoming a better writer.  I hope you will be inspired by them on your journey, too.

 













Be Inspiring
If you don’t get chills or shivers of excitement when you’re writing, why would anyone else? If you find yourself daydreaming or falling asleep as you’re typing or writing old school with a pencil, that is probably not a good sign, take a break and come back later.

 
Find Your Voice
This has been my greatest challenge! I don’t want to sound like anyone else, but sometimes I’m afraid to sound like me! Take a chance, be vulnerable, the best things can happen “outside the box”.


 
Be criticized
But in a healthy and beneficial way. If the only thing someone says about your work is “I love it” or “that sucked”, you may need to call in reinforcements. Sure it’s nice to fluff up your ego with some pretty compliments but you’re not going to get any better at writing if you don’t have some constructive criticism….unless you’re Francine Rivers of course ;). And if someone says “it sucks”, I think it’s time to reevaluate who you are hanging with….just saying.

 
Writers Block?
It’s time to get moving. Go explore, take pictures, breathe in the fresh air, and then get back to work! Play wordsmith and redefine the norm. You’ll be typing along in no time.


 
Read Others Work
I used to hate doing this, I actually used to get demotivated. I started to compare and get lost in the crowd. But then it started to help me, it was great to see how others used words and experiences to cultivate their message. It actually helped me find my own voice and get out of writers block.


 
Become a Note Hoarder
My favorite work has often come from little thoughts that popped up out of nowhere. I would always jot them down on receipts, old homework, journals, toilet paper….what? It can be used for more than just your hinny.


Best Work
Strive to thrive, write intentionally and put your best work out there. Build a portfolio, and over time you can turn your hobby into a career.

 
Write at all times
Enter contests, try freelancing, start a blog, get out of your element, push the envelope. Believe you’re always on the brink of genius!


 
Soar!
This is my favorite! Believe in your God given talents! Pour authentically into your craft and watch it blossom, because it will!

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Capable

I like to think I’m capable and able on my own, but I’m not. My flesh is fickle and disappointing. I try to trust in what I see or know. I want to forgo the unseen, I want to grasp what I want, NOW. Is it okay to say that I get frustrated with God? because I do. And I know he can handle my lack of understanding and knowledge. And because he can handle my incapacity, I find by surrendering my labors to Him I’m able. Able to push on and keep fighting the good fight. Somewhere between my inability and the mysteries of God I find hope. The kind of hope that aspires to live for the unseen and watch His beauty unfold. And as I push on, I become more and more grateful that He is capable of anything.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pouring Out


I have a hard time letting go and giving my all. There is a part of me that always shrinks back into waiting. I think there will be a perfect time for this or that. The time to shine will be when all my ducks are in a row. But the problem is for years, I have been waiting. Storing up efforts like pennies in a piggy bank, saving my all for a greater time or purpose. I often wonder how freeing it would be to pour out all of myself into parenting, being a wife, a friend, a writer, a dreamer. And I also wonder why I wait. It’s not that I don’t try, or care, or desire to give my all. There is a fear of what will happen when I do. Will I lose myself? Will I be able to handle new expectations? Will I be enough?

But then I think of Jesus. Pouring himself, all of himself, into his treasured children and creation. The gift he gives, the love he offers is immeasurable. He didn’t stop half-way, he gave his everything so we may know how much he loves us. As I ponder this thought, I feel so incapable, because I am. But I’m also inspired because the love Jesus offers, gives me purpose.  His love gives me no excuse to wait and every reason to pour myself into relationships, talents, and dreams.

Pouring out myself may require vulnerability, or stretch me out of my comfort zone. But in giving my all, I may find that I’m capable because Jesus will make me capable. Through my open hands and open heart, I may find that I didn’t have to be so afraid to offer my fullest potential after all. If I fail or if I’m met with resistance in my pursuits, it will be okay. The assurance of Jesus’ love for me, for you, for all of us, is simply the greatest reason to allow ourselves to pour into life, giving our best for His glory.

Colossians 3:23-24New Living Translation (NLT)
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Desperate Love



I can’t count the times that I have run from God, guilt pushing me further from the refuge of my Savior. There was a lie sewn deep into my heart that I had to be good to be loved by God. Muddling in my messes, too ashamed to approach the throne of Jesus- I became desperate. I sought out anything that could make up for the emptiness that swelled within my soul. Trying to fill up the barrenness of my heart I chased fleeting pleasures that held me utterly captive to unhealthy cycles. I was pitiful and longed to be rid of the ghastly parts of myself that craved everything that was wrong. My small-minded beliefs always kept me from going to Jesus in my current disposition. The only girl that could be good enough was blameless, pure and whole. So, I would strive to be the girl he would want me to be. But there was a problem, I always faltered and found myself hesitating and wavering. I couldn’t find the narrow path to where Jesus would meet me.

In quiet need, I peeled open the cover of the neglected bible on my bedside table, aching for some answer, some truth that I was good enough. As I flip through the thin, unused pages, my heart found a glimmer of light in an unlikely place. I meet a scorned, dirty, and forgotten prostitute with an alabaster jar- I’m mesmerized. Her deep need to be loved and accepted despite her wretched nature tugs on my heart strings.  The abandonment of others judgments and her raw vulnerability brings beauty to her plight. It makes me want to find others like me that run from God because of their shame and tell them of the truth that seemed to be written especially for us.

I am taken back in time as I ponder the story of the woman with the alabaster jar. I imagine her eyes welling up with tears as she picks up the beautifully made calcite jar with swirls of cream and brown from her bedside table. I picture her gripping it close to her heart to breath in the lovely scent one last time.  I can see her surveying the meager room in which she lived, knowing that she would be giving away her most prized possession, in just a moment’s time. But giving up the expensive perfume was not why she was about to give in to weeping. She was anxiously searching for something more than momentary passions that secured her future. Her body ached, her soul detached, she wanted so badly to feel again. She was desperate for love.

When she had overheard that Jesus was eating at one of the Pharisees houses, she had run as fast as her sandaled feet could carry her to fetch the precious jar of perfume. Her only hope was the divine scent could cover all her stains. As she walked down the dusty road towards the house where Jesus stayed, she could feel the stares of the town’s people boring into her from every angle. But for once, they didn’t matter, her pace quickened as her resolve grew greater and greater to be in the presence of something she had never known- holiness.

When she entered the threshold of the Pharisee’s house, she could see the shaken expression on his face. Through his ferocious glare she could hear his thoughts. How could this harlot of a woman dare to come through the door of my clean house?! The condemnation and look of disgust was something she had come to know very well. The emotions that she had pushed down over the years were now bursting through the numbness of her heart. She ignored the cautionary scowl and found respite when she made her way to the man she had come to see- her only hope.

All the disguised pain unraveled when she kneeled down to Jesus. Tears rolled down her cheeks into the tangled locks of her hair, onto the feet of a man she believed could save her. Without a second thought, she broke open the alabaster jar and anointed the feet of the Messiah with the expensive perfume. The Pharisee continued stewing in his judgment at the unrelenting tears and persistence of the woman he only knew as the town prostitute. It was no secret to Jesus what the Pharisee was thinking.

In the midst of the woman’s humble assertion, Jesus speaks up; making it clear that the woman with the alabaster jar was more than what met the eye.

“Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” {Luke 7:44-48 NLT}

The Pharisee and other men gathered in the house were stunned and wondered who this man was that would forgive such ugliness. But Jesus saw past what the rest chose to see and saw to the core of this woman that was searching for love.

“And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” {Luke 7:50 NLT}

At the feet of Jesus the woman with the alabaster jar was covered with a blanket of pure, white, fresh snow. She was reconciled to the Lord-new and complete. Others looked at her in awe, wondering how such a wretch deserved a second thought. As I close my bible that had been collecting dust for so long- my life is changed. This woman that lived ages upon ages ago revealed to me who God is and how much he loves us. It wasn’t the beautiful fragrance that covered a sinner’s stain- it was a bold act of faith and a merciful God that saved. It wasn’t perfect character that was reconciled to the goodness of God- it was a desperate plea, a humble submission. Marveling at this truth, my beliefs changed.

Anyone that comes with a past, bad habits, and unhealthy cycles is still a child of the King of Kings. Jesus is waiting in the narrow for his children to come, just as we are. When one walks in faith they will be set free.