Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things that made me smile, today...

NikonSniper posted a picture of a dog, today. I immediately thought of one of my favorite quotes: Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read. ~ Groucho Marx

Missing my dog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's a cold...

Is it odd to say that it's a relief to know? It isn't allergies, so I'm guessing it's a cold. My brain is only partly here, but I know it's only going to last a few more days. It isn't unusual for me to end up with a cold when the weather bounces around like it has, this month. I'm trying not to think too much. I feel pretty crumby, which affects my attitude. I wonder what I was thinking when I started the projects I'm currently working on. It's more difficult to remember that God has been opening one door after another, particularly when right now all I want to do is curl up in bed, except then my back starts to bother me, so it's a game of trying to stay as comfortable as possible when one is in constant discomfort. LOL! It could be worse, and has been. I should be feeling like myself again by Saturday. Did you know that fresh rosemary in mashed potatoes are really yummy? Gypsy Cold Care really does help ease the symptoms of a cold. And my current favorite quote: “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” Winston Churchhill

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Silence is Golden... or not...

Like most things, there is another side of the coin. It is that other side that has been niggling at me lately.

"Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Every time I speak up, every time I make a stand, I am terrified. But I'm endeavoring to learn to "feel the fear and do it anyway." As I struggle to change from abuse victim to abuse survivor, I'm learning to recognize that there are times when silence is the only answer, and times when silence is no answer at all. Silence can be powerful, but it can also be weak. Notice that Dietrich Bonhoeffer's quote has a qualification: Silence in the face of evil...

Evil is real. You only have to be touched by it once to know beyond a shadow of a doubt. And one doesn't have to actually be touched by it to know it's real.

There are only two sides: God's and the adversary's. Every choice we make takes us closer to one or the other. I know there are those who are more than willing to judge my choices and decree which side I'm choosing. Fortunately, God knows me and knows why I've made the choices I have.

I have a lot to learn about speaking up and remaining silent. Blessedly, God is patient in His teaching. Jesus Christ is the Great Exemplar. Sometimes He spoke up, and sometimes He remained silent. Sometimes, He allowed others to speak for Him.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Carpe diem... not

Frankly, I'm surprised. I don't "get sick," not really. Once or twice a year, I have a cold. Allergies make the occasional appearance. But sore throat, nausea, headache, achiness, tiredness, feeling chilled and then too warm, no appetite... hmmm... I think I'm really actually sick. I'm so used to being accused of being lazy that it's always my first thought when I don't seem to be accomplishing much. I did do laundry, some things have to be done. I'm supposed to attend something, tomorrow night, but if I wake up feeling as crumby as I do now, I'm not going anywhere. I'd hate to share this feeling with anyone. I've isolated myself in my room for two days now. It isn't so bad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #46

~Carl Edwards is now #1 in the standings in the Sprint Cup Chase. Go Carl!! And thanks to Fox Sports for broadcasting the race so I could watch it.

~It's a good thing I was home, this weekend. I woke with a sore throat and ears. Fortunately, my lavender oil was near at hand. I used it in my ears, this morning, and the pain is completely gone. I used Throat Coat tea, and though I still have a little bit of a sore throat, it's much improved. I slept much of the day, and though it's early, I want to crawl back into bed. I would have been miserable, on so many levels, if I'd come down sick in L.A. I'm really trying to place my trust in God.

~Mashed potatoes are great comfort food and easy on the throat.

~Fresh rosemary added a lovely flavor to my mashed potatoes.

~Chris, my Christmas cactus, is still blooming.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reading Day...

The Tolkien Society has set aside 25 March for Reading Day. I'm a member of a Tolkien group in L.A., and they arrange to visit a local library close to the 25th. It was scheduled for today, this year. Yes, this is the trip I'm missing. We dress in costume and read favorite passages from Tolkien's books. I usually read the Flight to the Ford, because Frodo confronts the Ringwaiths himself. I find it very brave. A few years ago, I was asked to read the Destruction of the Ring as well. I enjoyed doing both. Again, what I miss MOST about L.A. are my friends.

What I did instead, today: I attend the local Ren Faire with my dad. He enjoys seeing the shows with no shopping, so that's what we did. I chose to go in costume. It was fun having a dad ask if his son could have his picture taken with me. Of course! It isn't unusual for people to think I work there. I don't mind. If I had the stamina, I think I'd enjoy doing exactly that. I met some friends I haven't seen in years and unfortunately could only remember one of the names. At least it was the name of the person I'd known the longest. I had an enjoyable chat with my nephew when we stopped by his home, and one of my friends on the other side of the country called for a chat. Now, I'm going to curl up with a book.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mount Doom...

...and the destruction of the Ring. It's the end of an age, an important date in Middle-earth history.

I made chocolate chip cookies to celebrate. I've worked on a project that feels very like I'm throwing in my own personal Ring, hoping it's destroyed by the time I'm finished, without destroying me. I've done some reading and catching up on a few emails. I also allowed myself to grieve first thing this morning when I woke up and thought about how I had planned to be in L.A. I would have woken in my dear friend's beautiful home and spent a joyous day with her laughing and talking. Tomorrow, I would have participated in the Tolkien Reading Day activities. I enjoy reading the Destruction of the Ring. I would have gone home with another dear friend and delighted in her company. We always do fun things when I visit, one of my favorite being visiting the beach and eating delicious food. But the best part is the company. Each of my precious friends possesses some quality or gift that enriches my life as no other. I am so blessed. Frodo wouldn't have got very far without Sam.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Silence is Agreement... or is it?

This oft-quote belief was brought up in another blog (We Are One). I started to reply, and stopped, because I had so many thoughts I was headed toward a novel.

I have heard this repeated bit of "wisdom" more times than I care to remember. Usually it is spouted at me in the context of: "If you wanted something different, then you should have spoken up and said something." And it usually comes from the person to whom I did not voice my objection when they made the statement, whatever it was. I find it interesting that said person, who I may safely guarantee is not a mindreader, seems to endow themselves with the power to understand what I'm thinking without me uttering a word. How is this possible, I wonder?

After years of living in silence, I've decided it's time to make some clarifications about silence.

Never assume what a person's silence means. Ever.

If the person is an abuse survivor, you may ask for clarification, but that doesn't mean they'll give it. They have been brutally trained that what they think, believe, and feel is worthless. And your moment of compassion cannot overcome years of training. Only years and years of work, earning their trust, will open that door. My friends will attest to that.

Being an abuse survivor means that I learned silence was safer, at least in my case. I couldn't be contradicted or misinterpreted. If I was silent, then I was less likely to be noticed. Definitely a plus. There is also the ever present realization that speaking up is pointless when you already know you're going to be ignored, or worse. Silence is safer.

Is the message coming through? For someone who lives in abuse, you learn that silence is safer. Voicing your opinion, your disagreement, your hurt, your anger will only make your life more painful, more hurtful, more brutal, more frightening.

For those lovers of the silence is agreement creed, newsflash: This is only true if agreeing with you could be hazardous to my health. For example: The abuser says, "I shouldn't have said that." I know I'm in for a set up. If I agree, then the abuser has found one more thing to use to tear a strip off me at some later date. I find it an interesting paradox that by saying nothing, I agree, and yet they aren't quite sure. They were looking for a reaction. By saying nothing, I deprived them of that.

If an abuser is trying to bait me, but I say nothing, then they have nothing with which to further their agenda for power over me. How many times was I called a shrew because I was screaming, in the mistaken hope that if I only said, "Stop it," (or some variation thereof) loud enough, then the abuse would stop? I've also lost count of the number of times an abuser gave me a choice, then did what I didn't choose or something equally unwanted that hadn't even been on the "table."

What is the point of saying anything, if you're repeatedly ignored? Ignored is better than being hit. I became silent because I knew whatever I said wouldn't be respected anyway, so why waste my breath?

That being said, I've come to the realization that "silence is agreement" is a convenient excuse, a rationalization. The person saying it is endeavoring to place responsibility for the ensuing actions on the person who said nothing. Listen to what you're saying: "Silence is agreement. You agreed by not saying anything. You have no one to blame because you didn't say anything. You accepted all consequence because you were silent." What kind of logic is that?

I think this "silence is agreement" comes from atrocities like the Holocaust. Too many people remained silent when they should have spoken up. Has anyone ever considered that if you are trained to remain silent over the little things, then it's next to impossible to speak up over the big things?

It wasn't until I owned a dog that I began to learn to speak up about the little things. I didn't do it for me. I did it for her. As I learned to speak up for her, I learned to speak up for me. I'm learning to be healthier.

A more innocuous moment of silence I think, for the vast majority of us, comes because it is difficult to tell someone we think they are wrong, especially when we are uncertain ourselves, so we choose to say nothing at all. I also ask myself if it's worth the time and energy it will require to make a stand. Other priorities take precedence sometimes.

So the next time someone flings at you "Silence is agreement," beg to differ, if you think it's worth the fight. If not, silence is a perfectly acceptable answer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Carpe diem Day 4

Laundry and vacuuming were done. A bit of reading. A lot of thinking. It rained most the day, some of it heavy, most of it not. I'm headed to bed early. I'm tired. I'm out of sorts. I checked the calender. No surprise. Shoot darn. Insides are unhappy means I ain't happy, but I can laugh about it. This is the kind of day on which NOT to imagine what the future will hold. Best to keep in the present, and be grateful "this too shall pass." A reminder that God knew both good and bad would pass.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #45 and Day 3

~PBS is broadcasting the 25th Anniversary of Les Miz, which I saw 24 years ago, in London, with most of the original cast. It was an amazing experience. I still find tears gathering in my eyes. Amazing show.

~Ren Faire fun with friends. There's value in good traditions.

~People who do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

~A good internet connection! What an incredible blessing to be connected to all my dear friends, far and wide.

~Prayer. Judy's comment, from two days ago, struck a chord with me, and I took it to heart. I talked with God while I made pancakes and rice. I'm finding that the time spent in prayer on my knees focuses on others. But my chats with God out loud focus on things concerning me. I didn't expect that. Perhaps I need to clarify. I don't pray about me very often. I figured if I didn't ask then I didn't have to hear those "wait" answers that drive me crazy. I've had lots of "wait" answers. So I stopped asking. I wasn't sure what to say, so I turned all my focus on others. I allowed myself prayers of gratitude, and occasional prayers for aid when it was needed immediately. I figured that He would either give aid or He wouldn't, but there was no time for "wait." Clever; I know. *wink* Now, I'm realizing that "wait" is an acceptable answer and doesn't mean I can't ask related questions. More importantly, sharing my concerns does not mean I'm looking for an answer. An important distinction to recognize.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ren Faire / Day 2

My local LOTR friends blessed me with their company, treating me to a trip to the Renaissance Festival. It was a wonderful day. We watched a few shows, devoured delicious food, did a spot of fun shopping, and chatted and chatted and chatted. What a delightful day.

God also seems to be nudging me into more fully engaging in prayers, as a friend shared this quote with me on FB (God Wants You to Know): ... to worship God you must go beyond words to speak with your heart. You can mouth the words of a prayer all day long and just waste your time, unless you also speak with your heart. And to speak with your heart means to embody first. If you pray for love, be loving. If you pray for wealth, be generous. If you pray for health, practice health yourself. What is your favorite prayer? How can you begin to embody it?

Yesterday, I thought I would pray about my work and found myself praying about church. With my back trouble, the only chair I'm comfortable sitting in is the one I have here at my desk (it's extra short) or a chair at a table, so I'm able to lean forward. I do sit other places, but usually not for very long. Nothing was resolved, but it helped to voice my concern.

Today, I expressed my gratitude for the glorious day, and also admitted that I'm sad about not being able to go to L.A., next week, like I've done for the past several years. I will miss my walk on the beach. I will miss participating in the Tolkien Reading Day. Mostly, I will miss being with dear friends, who lift me, strengthen me, comfort me, encourage me, love me. I'm sad, and God understands.

Friday, March 18, 2011

60 Days to God Challenge Day 1

I saw a silly Andrew Klavan video that was a mock of an infomercial, offering to turn anyone into a God-fearing conservative by praying out loud, every day, for 60 days. I laughed. And then I thought, "Why not?" I already am a God-fearing conservative, but what could it hurt to give the idea a try, and see where it leads? It certainly can't do any harm.

If you're scratching your head wondering what in the world I'm talking about, I'll clarify. I pray, every day. I believe in keeping a prayer in your heart, at all times. I try to remember to pray, on my knees, every day. Praying out loud, alone, however, is not something I do often. It always feels awkward.

Now, I'm able to look back and realize that praying out loud, alone, felt awkward simply because I felt awkward. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin about much of anything. I like to think I'm wiser, now.

Today is as good a day as any to start a new habit. So, I gave it a try, and surprised myself. I didn't pray about what I thought I would. My heart took a different direction, and I followed. This is going to be fascinating.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day...

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

An Irish Prayer

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Found these and more at Island Ireland

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I missed Beware the Ides of March...

Life happens. However, yesterday actually was blessed. After more trouble with my internet, the cable tech replaced the cable between the house and the utility pole. In other words, everything that can be replaced has been replaced. :-) More breadcrumbs are flooding my path. I know, all very cloak and dagger. How much do I share? How much do I keep to myself? At least for now? I ache all over, and yet I feel fantastic. I never imagined I would find myself here. How's that for ending on a mystery? LOL!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Carpe diem... and internet fun...

Blessedly, my internet, out for three and a half hours, is back. I'm grateful. There was an email I needed. I did laundry. I've done a bit of reading, and a lot of working on a project. Hey, I just realized that I managed to stay calm the whole time my internet was down. That is new, for me. I usually start to panic when I'm cut off from my friends, even if it's only a few minutes. LOL!

May God bless all those affected by the earthquake in Japan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #44

~Friends are wonderful, amazing people that God has brought into my life and I have chosen to accept with joy.

~Breadcrumbs that are liberally scattered by God from every direction. Blessedly, He accepts my shortcomings, and doesn't mind reminding me that He is mindful of my needs.

~God believes in me and pours out those breadcrumbs.

~Help that comes quickly, and sometimes from unexpected directions.

~A/C! It's heating up, and A/C makes my life so much more pleasant, and sleep a lot easier.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A breadcrumb... or chunk of bread...

...depending on how you look at it. I had something I wanted to work on, today. It is also my pickup work day. Surprise! No work to pickup. I spent the day on exactly what I wanted to do. I also saved a lot more shopping than I anticipated. I've learned a lot, and there's a lot more to learn. It's amazing what happens when you step back and say, with the intent to follow, "Okay, God, what next?"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Do you ever feel like God...

...isn't simply giving a gentle nudge through a door, but a big ol' shove, with both hands and maybe a foot? Yeah, it feels like, tonight. I don't even know the outcome yet, but that doesn't seem to matter. Heart racing, breathing shallow, shoulders tightening, difficulty swallowing, and a smile I cannot hide. And I'm supposed to go to sleep? RRRRiiiigggghhhhtttt.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The 7 Day Pledge... Day 7... Reading List #34

Day Seven: A Day of Rest to Embrace the Future

Faced a few things about myself, owning and changing. It feels good. I'm happy, tonight.

I couldn't resist working on The Project a little bit. Tomorrow, I'm diving back in.

Long over due book reading list catch up, with a quick review: I only post the books I enjoyed. I never talk about books I didn't like. I prefer to forget them, the sooner the better. I also don't post a book until it is finished. There are several books beside my bed that are in various stages of completeness. Sort of like us going through life. Perfect, translated from the Aramaic, means complete. I finished The Huxtables series by Mary Balog. Good to see everyone happily married off. It works in books. I used to say that I read books to escape real life, but now they tie into what I'm doing in real life, so I read because I enjoy it! Another Dr. Polaski, a family in a series by Marie Farrarella; this one is titled In His Protective Custody, a romantic suspense. Deadly Valentine includes a short story by Justine Davis, one of my must-read authors. Fantastic characters and engaging plot that kept me turning pages. Not all authors are able to carry off a short story and have it the same quality as a long book. Justine does it. I re-read Lucy Monroe's Pregnancy of Passion. I simply love her characters. So, when I've read a few books I didn't enjoy, I grab one of hers as a palate cleanser, so to speak. Then Lucy Monroe's book Moon Burning, from her Children of the Moon series, was released. Love Amazon delivering right to my door. It's my favorite of the series. She delved more into the history and details of the shape-shifting characters. Cara Colter's To Dance with a Prince was delightfully romantic and wonderfully fun. Loved it! And finally, Kelly Hunter's Her Singapore Fling re-unites the last Bennett brother with his estranged wife. It's been a long wait, but worth it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Carpe diem... The 7 Day Pledge... Day 6

Day Six: Embracing Common Sense

This is something I've been working on for quite some time now, though this provided a bit of fine tuning.

I went walking with friends, did laundry, and have been catching up on some reading. Unfortunately, my brain isn't quite back from its vacation. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day in that regard.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #43 and The 7 Day Pledge... Day 5

~Today's 7 assignment correlated perfectly with my Sunday theme of gratitude. This has been an amazing journey.

~GO CARL!! Carl Edwards won in Las Vegas, today. YAY!!

~Chris, my Christmas cactus, is blooming beautifully. And my other three plants are also still alive. Amazing.

~My internet connection is wonderfully normal.

~Books that make me smile and laugh.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The 7 Day Pledge... Day 4

Day Four: Embracing Compassion

This one expands on things I wrote yesterday. This is one I've been working on for a long time, but I'm not quite there yet in some regards. Interestingly enough, I realized that I've embraced it fully in some ways, and this applies to me in still other ways.

Another step toward my goals: I was a little more careful about my calorie intake today than I was yesterday. The Bread People were going door to door, today, and though I said no at first, I allowed myself to change my mind and buy a loaf because I wanted to encourage them in their dream. I also doubled check what the protocol would be for meeting up with my mentor.

As for breadcrumbs, I was chatting with my sister and made some observations, out loud, including re-affirming ones.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The 7 Day Pledge... Day 3

Embracing the Truth

This concept is so incredibly huge for me. I grew up drowning in lies of one kind or another. It has only been the last few years that I have finally stopped lying, especially to myself. It's harder than most people are willing to admit. There are a lot of times when lying is simply easier. You're familiar with those: How are you? Fine. When, in fact, you're feeling awful because you received bad news, someone disappointed you, you skipped breakfast, you haven't exercised in weeks, yep, the list is pretty endless, but you don't say any of that; you only say "Fine." Sometimes that's a perfectly acceptable answer, but a lot of times it isn't. On the other side, there is the truth of asking "How are you?" Do you really want to know? Or is it simply another way of saying "Hello?" I'm working on it.

It was a pleasant surprise to realize that because of the effort I have been putting into trying to recognize the truth the exercises for this section weren't as difficult as they would have been if I'd done this exercise a few years ago. The assignment is to identify the shields I use to keep the truth at bay.

a) Eating
b) Sociophobic
c) Dated guys and had friends that took me for granted.
d) Shopping
e) Television

It wasn't asked, but I like to explore why those things are shields. If I understand the why, then I have a better understanding of what I need to change in my thinking.

a) I want to be hidden. People don't look at people who are fat. It's like you're invisible. I didn't want to be noticed. If I wasn't noticed, then I didn't have to worry about being taken advantage of or teased or belittled.
b) What if I make a mistake in public and make a fool of myself? Then everyone will know how stupid I am; they'll see how unattractive I am. If I'm not in a group, then total strangers can't come up to me and tell me about this wonderful acne treatment they know about, thus leaving me with the feeling that all they noticed about me was my acne.
c) If they took me for granted, then it didn't matter that they didn't really know me because I couldn't reveal myself to anyone. I'd been molded and shaped beyond any recognition even to myself. If they took me for granted, then I didn't have to admit that they didn't know me because I didn't know what to tell them. It was their fault.
d) Shopping proves I'm not poor. Stupid logic, I know. I don't feel poor if I'm surrounded by things that I've chosen for myself that no one can take away from me because I bought them with my own money.
e) Mindless escape, simple, straightforward. I don't have to think about anything, especially the fact that I'm not sure what's the truth and what's a lie.

The next exercise is to "Decide exactly how you'll begin to lower your shields."
a) Reduce the number of calories I eat, every day.
b) After a few years of pestering, I finally met a friend one of my other friend's had been nudging me to meet.
c) I stopped dating.
d) Stay within my budget.
e) Not turn on the television some days.

Yes, I'm already doing these, but some I started only recently. I stopped dating years ago because I knew I didn't know how to maintain healthy boundaries, among other things. But taking ownership of the decision means I can't complain about it anymore. It's my choice, my decision, and I'm allowed to change my mind later, though never to return to the old habits. Television is one that comes and goes in my life. I've done zero television and constant television, for varying reasons. I feel the most in control when I keep my television watching limited only to what I really want to watch. Music is a better choice if I simply want some "noise" in the background.

The rest of the exercises were about writing letters, and I'm not ready to share those, though to be truthful, I didn't learn anything I didn't know already regarding what was written. I will share that it asks if there were an experience or series of experiences that occurred before I was 18 that I could edit out, what would it be: The abuse. I'm not sure they meant something so... huge. But they asked.

Thank God for blessings...

I was very nervous about having the cable guy come, especially as I am here alone. My past has taught me well to be incredibly paranoid. Then I reminded myself that in The 7 it is drummed in that people come into your life for a reason. Things happen for a reason. I turned it over to God. The cable guy was very polite, and I wasn't uncomfortable. He had to replace the original cable. It was nine years old, having survived nine summers. Thank you!

I had been thinking that it would be nice to have my mentor soon, so I could start moving forward. I was emailed, today. Donna Hatch is my mentor, and I couldn't be more thrilled. I almost cried. She's a very sweet person, and I love her books. Another step taken.

I'm feeling blessed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The 7 Day Pledge... Day 2

I did not read today's focus until after my Murphy's Law post.
Day 2: Embracing Faith.

Yes, God carefully prepared me for this one.

Assignment 1-2: Envision yourself as the changed person you hope to become. That wasn't easy, at first. However, the stipulation was to do it for fifteen minutes. I discovered some interesting things in this exercise that I didn't expect. Then I was to think about how someone who loves me would support me. That was easy. I've already received a lot of encouragement and support from a number of friends. Done. "Now, let that person drift out of your mind, and picture yourself in his or her place." Smack! LOL! That always seemed so hard, and suddenly it's so easy.

3) Create a "Breadcrumbs List." I have reams of paper, literally. Only today, I stored five full notebooks of Frodo and Lily's story. A half million words. Ummm... yea, I'm a writer. There are other things I'd like to do, but I need a little more income. Hmmm... I actually had a lot of work from my lone doctor's office. God bless 'em! Only last week, I had someone tell me I should be a writer, unsolicited. Today, as I talked to Mike, my Schwan's guy (ex *sniff*), he smiled and assured me I'd do it. I fluffed it because I didn't expect such support. It wasn't until after he left that I realized that I had the same animation talking about my writing as I used to have when I talked about my horse. It's all in God's hands. I think I want to make a list on pretty paper, to keep and add to as new breadcrumbs appear in my life. There is something about... wait, this comes back to me wanting to be pro-active instead of only reactive.

More envisioning the future, and I'm doing a little better following through on the exercise. Then I was to tell one more person what I would become if I could become anything in the world. Hmmm... tougher. I emailed one and told her about some dreams I hadn't really planned until today. But it was related to my central goal. If I could be anything I want? That's a little tougher. There are so many things I'd like to do. That being said, now that I've read through this post, my first thought was "be a writer." So the other things are things I'd like to do as well but not instead of, an important clarification.

6) Pray to become the person you were meant to be from all time. I've done this before. It didn't turn out well. Of course, I've also done the visualizing before, too, and it didn't turn out well either. The difference? I had a lot of lies I had to discard and clear out of my life. "If you start with a lie, it doesn't matter how many truths you pile on top of it; it's still a lie." I said that. It's in The Project, the chapter about Truth.

7) Take another step. I opened The Project and added some thoughts I'd jotted down on paper.

P.S. I know Mike doesn't read this, but there's no other way to say, "Sorry I called you a poor child, when you told me how far you had to drive. You aren't a child." I do that sometimes. I think it's to put distance between myself and someone who makes me feel uncomfortable simply because they are nice to me. I grew up with people that I should have been able to trust being nice to me in order to "get close enough" to cause the most damage, which was mostly verbal. Dear God, how do I ever stop those ugly habits?

But wait, there's more...

My Schwan's guy is being changed out! I know, it's a little thing, but it is one more thing. Bless the man, he listened to my tale of woe and empathized and encouraged. May God bless him. I'll miss him! I know there are those that think, "What? You order from Schwan's?!" Only my meat, and not very much of it, once a month. My hamburgers are irradiated, which I like. I found the meat keeps better than anything I've purchased in the store and tastes better, especially fish! Yes, I really did do the comparison. I miss being able to buy their treats and pizza and easy meals for one. Schwan's taught me portion sizes and how to cook meat, so yes, I budget a little of the grocery money for Schwan's.

Now, amid all this doom and gloom, I was blessed with a lot more work than usual from my lone doctor. Thank you, God! I don't want to be greedy, but more would be very much appreciated.

In case you're wondering about all the posts here, since I don't usually more than one a day, if that, I'm endeavoring to have a more fully encompassing picture of the journey I'm making with The 7, and saving it all for one post means I'd edit, a lot. This is my proof to myself that I'm not simply pretending to be trying to change.

Murphy's Law...

"Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment." Murphy was an optimist.

My career is essentially over. Every person I know in my field is either losing their work or have already lost it. We all have to find a completely new career path. I have one doctor left, but he will retire a few years earlier than planned because of all the new regulations. I'm grateful that I have a few years left with him, but it isn't enough to live on without dipping into savings. Thank you, God, for reminding me that it's okay to mourn this loss, and please bless me with the courage to follow the path You seem to have set before me.

It's that time of the month, two weeks late. Almost as if my body were waiting for the most vulnerable moment. Thank you, God, for blessing me with a sense of humor, and please God, simply help me make it through without being completely unreasonable.

My internet connection goes down, almost every day. Only for a minute or two, though the time grows longer each day, until I call COX and their automated system resets everything. Called COX, and they're sending someone out, tomorrow. I have to re-arrange my room, so they have access. I bought a brand new modem from the last COX tech that came out, in December. They'll have to check the connections and the wiring, but if it's the wiring in the house, it will cost me. I've been with COX for nine years, and right now, I'm thinking of switching providers. I do have to have the internet, for work and for my sanity. Thank you, God, for the wonder of the internet, and how it connects me to my friends, and please, God, provide a secure connection that I don't have to worry about for a while.

My phone battery is dying. I'm now having to recharge every few days instead of once a week, so it's going to mean a trip to the phone store soon. Hopefully, it won't cost anything to replace it, or very little. Thank you, God, for the phone that connects me to friends, and please God, I need something that costs the same or even a little bit less expensive.

And I simply can't afford to go to L.A., this month, not without a secure source of income anywhere in sight, not in good conscience. I think this makes me want to cry more than anything else. It's my opportunity to recharge and re-center myself. It's a terrible thing being fiscally responsible. I'm going to have to figure out another way to recharge that doesn't cost anything, but I plan to go in the fall. Thank you, God, for all the wonderful trips, in the past, and please God, I'll have a viable income soon so I can resume traveling the places I want to visit, including L.A., Tampa, ALEP, and... so many friends to visit!

Do I see a pattern? Oh, yes, I do. I've decided to step out in faith, and my world seems to explode. It's a familiar pattern. If Job can live through it, so can I. Please God, no boils. I think the monthly curse is quite enough. And please, God, shore up my courage. I'll settle for a clear mind in a few days. Life is what it is, and I know my shortcomings. God knows them, too, and how to work around them, so to speak. Thanks God.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The 7 Day Pledge... Day 1 Follow Up

Day One: Inviting Courage into Your Life Questions ~ I almost feel like I'm cheating. I read The 7 back in January. Because of it, I was already making changes in my life, so several of these questions have been answered over the past month.

1. Why have I taken this step toward change? My life is changing. God opened the door and pushed. He does that sometimes, when I stubbornly hang onto what I perceive as safe. I can be re-active, which is what I've been, for the most part of my life, or I can be pro-active. I want to be pro-active.

What, exactly, do I want to change, create, or conquer? I've decided to treat these as separate goals that are tied together. Change ~ My body! Create ~ Career! Conquer ~ My fear of success. Interesting. When I answered that question the first time, I wrote that I wanted to conquer my past, which is true, but I think that will be a natural outcome with pursuing the other goals.

2. What does one person who is close to me think I could do to substantially improve my existence? Actually several people, friends and acquaintances, have all encouraged me to pursue my writing.

3. What might be my first step small step, or first few small steps, toward achieving the change I want? Watching my calorie intake. I did a re-write of the inspirational historical romance that made me a PRO four years ago, readying it for submission to a publisher. Signed up for the mentor program, provided through Desert Rose, the local Romance Writers of America chapter, to help prep my manuscript and synopsis.

4. How will it cause me discomfort to take this first step or steps? Afraid of failure. I'm afraid of people who should be supportive being negative. I don't mean critical; I mean negative, ie, you can't do that; you'll never make any money doing that (which is kind of rich considering the fact that I'm not making money now); you should choose _______ something else. I really resent that people who have known me such a long time have so little respect for me or faith in me that they feel they have to question every decision as though I haven't already agonized over it. I'm afraid that the truth will hurt others. What if I'm not good enough? What if I start stuffing again because someone notices I'm losing weight? What if I'm noticed? Will I be safe? Which is a really stupid worry considering the fact that I have never been safe in my life. The closest I ever came was when I owned a dog, who was not my guard or protecter but was my early warning system so I could be on guard and protect us. But I'm supposed to express all my worries, and that's definitely one of them.

5. Am I willing to experience the pain I've described - whether self-doubt or anxiety or low mood or the criticism of others? When I read that question my first thought is NO! But since I've already started, then clearly, by my actions, the answer is YES. Now that I think about it, I admit that I'm surprised, pleasantly so.

6. Who will I tell about the step or steps I intend to take to begin changing my life? When I first started the re-write I told my dearest friends, my sister, then my Desert Rose friends, a few more friends, and now here, for anyone who wants to know. No more hiding.

7. Are you really ready to take your first step or few steps? Yes. Feels good to be able say I'm doing it rather than I'm going to do it.

The 7 Day Pledge... Day 1

The 7

With my main source of income now a thing of the past, I've decided to accept that this is a breadcrumb, a hint to a path I need to follow. I have other projects in the works right now, but I'm also feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of myself regarding them or actually I'm feeling really unsure about my future. Considering the fact that I was laid off, yesterday, and the 7 Day Pledge came out, today... I don't believe in coincidence; I do believe in God incidence. I am willing to share the journey here, so here we go.

There are seven questions to be studied and answered. I'll come back tonight and post them. I'm looking forward to The Adventure.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From The Blog at The Blaze...

Rabbi Daniel Lapin shares his article "The Bible Enshrines the Title Deeds of Western Civilization." He states clearly many things I knew but hadn't pieced together before, at least not this clearly.

David Barton shares "Preparing for the Unknown." A timely article for me since my main client has laid me off, thanks to the new medical regulations. Bitter, much? I'm trying not to be, but I am scared. I feel very blessed indeed that last year I did lay in store a variety of things. I'm going to have to dip into savings for a few things but not much. Sometimes, God puts us on a new path whether we want it or not. So, I'm endeavoring to put my trust in God... actually, I truly do trust God, with my life. The question is what will He require of me?

The Blaze