A Window to a Writer {A Blog Hop}

writing notebook

Last week I was invited by a fellow blogger to participate in a blog hop. Well, I had to Google that phrase. When I realized it was a way to expose my writing to more people and help out my fellow bloggers, I thought, “Why not?”

Now, I’m scrambling to get this done in light of other commitments I have right now. Ugh!

Thanks to Christie, who blogs at Christie Hughes at the Well for inviting me along! We met through an online group and realized we have some things in common, including learning to make sense out of the mess. You will be encouraged by her writing.

Here are my answers to a few questions about what writing looks like for me.

1. What am I writing or working on now?

For the summer, I’ve been trying to write just once a week on my blog. I would write more, but for the summer my readership seems to be down. Like me, I think many of my readers are taking care of their kids full time, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors. Hopefully, things will pick up again when school starts.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading for my writing. I’m working on a chapter on guilt for a book. Recently, I’ve read Carry On, Warrior and some of Daring Greatly. Both of these have helped me focus on the difference between shame and guilt, as well as grace.

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

I’ve learned several things in this last year of my writing path. One of them is that there are more writers out there than you could possibly imagine. I’ve read some bad writing, but mostly I’ve come across many people who are eloquent, thoughtful, encouraging, and virtually unknown. Honestly, it can be quite discouraging stumbling upon so many talented people trying to accomplish the same thing I am…getting published and noticed by as many people as possible. However, the one thing I keep in mind is that writing is really about story. And no one has my story. I have met several people, like Christie, where our stories overlap and give us common ground. But no one else can tell my story.

 3. Why do I write what I do?

About 8 years ago at a conference called She Speaks, I felt convicted that I should spend my time encouraging and teaching women. My writing is just one facet of this goal. Too many people shroud themselves in secrets and as a result stay chained in an emotional prison. I want to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a way that is sometimes painfully honest in order to help other people do the same. As Glennon Melton likes to say, life is brutiful. One part brutal and one part beautiful. My job is to find where those intersect, and convey that to all of you.

 4. How does my writing process work?

Good question. I’m still figuring that out. I have multiple notebooks I keep in different places for when and idea strikes me and a couple of different apps on my iPad to record different thoughts. Books, blogs, videos, songs…all of these contribute ideas. I find it important to engage with others, to simply live life with them and learn their stories, too.

In the summer, I’m grabbing time when I can to write, and I haven’t given nearly as much attention to detail. When my boys were in school I would write (and read/research) about three half days a week. I participated in a group call My 500 Words with Jeff Goins in the winter. I learned to just get words down on a page, no matter how incoherent, and then go back to fix them up later. I try not to edit too much as I go.

 

So, at this point in my post I am supposed to highlight a few other people that are willing to complete this activity. But you know what? This is summer and people are hard to track down. I failed. So, when and if I find someone I will add them here. Just grant me some grace in my mess!

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

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Seeing Yourself

grumpychildSometimes I notice a theme seem to emerge in my life. It can last various amounts of time. This past week, the subject that keeps coming up over and over is discipline. 

I helped with a group of younger moms on Friday mornings this past year. They have a Facebook page they maintain. One sweet lady asked for some suggestions for dealing with her three-year-old. As comments flowed on a private discussion, I realized a couple of things. First of all, it doesn’t matter how smart you are or how much experience you have with kids, parenting is hard, and tends to be a moving target. What works for one child may not work for another. The uncertain nature of the task makes it all the more frustrating.

Secondly, I was reminded of the importance of encouragement. Just telling someone to hang in there, or sharing your own experience can make a huge difference. Giving advice, while admitting you don’t necessarily have THE answer, just AN answer, is helpful, too.

This week I also read an article that made me pause. It’s called 5 Reasons Why Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis, According to a British Nanny. I read the first point, and thought, “Yikes. That’s me just a little bit.” The basic idea of the first reason is that we tend to cater too much to our children so they won’t be upset. I don’t compromise on the bigger things (at least I don’t think I do), but I do think I’ve been guilty of caving to my kids on the smaller things to avoid their backlash.

I’m not sure if I feel better or worse, but my husband has noticed me being firmer with the boys. If he can tell a difference in such a short time, then clearly I have a problem in this area.

It’s not fun looking in the mirror and seeing the blemish on your face. And it isn’t fun realizing there’s something you are doing in your parenting that may be contributing to your problems. But, taking a good analysis is the only way to fix a problem.

I read Carry on, Warrior this week by Glennon Melton. She does a great job of reminding all of us to give ourselves grace. I’m glad to know we get lots of do-overs in this life. You may be facing multiple battles a day. Keep on keeping on.

I had a good friend tell me when my boys were young to be as consistent as possible. No one could probably earn an A+ in that category, but as my boys get older, I’m seeing the fruit of the expectations I set early. Let’s pray they continue on that path!

If there is something not working in your home right now, take some time to evaluate what the problem might be. Then experiment with different ways to fix it. Each failure is just one step closer to the right answer!

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Image from freedigitalphotos.net.

The Shoulds and the Should Nots

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Do you ever get weary of trying to do everything the right way?

I’m a perfectionist in many ways, although I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be. I’m also a rule follower. If someone says something is supposed to be done a certain way, or I should avoid doing it another, then I desire to comply.

Yet, these days I feel like there is simply too much information out there and everyone has an opinion. And all of the opinions vary. As soon as I make a decision to do something one way, someone else says it’s wrong.

For example, within the last year we started making popcorn in the microwave using a plain paper bag. I had read multiple accounts about packaged microwave bags contributing to cancer, and if there is anything I’d like to avoid, it’s more cancer around here.

However, my husband just read information about how you shouldn’t microwave brown paper bags after all.  Now what am I supposed to do? Ideally, the information says to pop it in a pan on the stove. Just be sure you use the right kind of pan!

On this blog, I always simply want to give you food for thought. If I ever come across as telling you my way is best, then call me on it.

I’ve been told best ways to breastfeed, and failed. Over and over, I’ve heard how I should be a morning person and get up early because that’s the best time of day. Forget the fact my brain works in a fog until about 7:00 a.m. I’ve tried it and failed. I’ve been told not to buy certain items, shop certain places, or wear certain pieces of clothing, all for various reasons.

The whole deal can get more than exhausting for someone like me who always wants to do the “right” thing. Especially when what is “right” is incredibly hard to determine. That’s one of the reasons parenting is so hard, because there doesn’t seem to be one best way to manage children.

As I ponder this problem, I wonder how to handle the situation. Here is my advice to myself, and use it if it helps you:

1)      Make the wisest choice possible given all of the facts.

2)      If it works for you, make no apologies.

3)      If it doesn’t, be willing to adjust.

4)      When you learn new information, re-evaluate and make changes if necessary.

5)      Above all, don’t criticize others for the choices they make that are different from your own.

There are a lot of messes in this life to clean up and many ways to do so.  We can do our best to avoid the messes, but there is no guarantee we will be successful.

Blessings to you as you navigate life’s highway of the shoulds and should nots. Be prepared—it’s a bumpy road ahead.

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