What to write about?

I sometimes think about this little bloggy and how neglected it has been during particular seasons.  I come back to it after months with a new passion for writing, a new passion for obtaining more readers, getting more comments.  I look at the blogs I follow on a regular basis (specifically those whose blog has become their full time JOB) and read their advice on getting those readers and comments:

Have a specific focus for your blog–don’t cram it all into one blog.

Pick your focal audience and write for them.

Don’t do food, renovating, spirituality and family all in one blog.

I see those same blogs having a blog for their “thing”–be it organizing, home renovation, cooking–and a new additional blog for their family life. I look at the consistency and frequency with which they write.  I wonder how they do it.

Then I remember that for many of them, this is their full-time job.  Or at least a part-time job.  They are running ads, have sponsors and are trying to create a life for themselves by being a stay at home mom, dad, family or at least part time stay at home ____.

So here I am coming back to my blog after a season of distance wondering how to change things.  What’s the one thing I’m passionate about enough to blog about on a consistent basis?  Is it the renovation of our home?  Or the meals we cook on a daily basis?  What about my spiritual journey and what God is teaching me?  My professional interests?  Perhaps it’s to help family from far away stay in touch with what our day-to-day life looks like?  But when I look back over the life of pliable, I see that it’s peppered with all these things.  There is not one consistent theme.  I have so many interests, I cannot fathom only focusing on one of them and to me, that seems to be a little messy.  My life for sure cannot be put into pretty little boxes, tied up with bows and presented on this forum without a little mess.

I recall in grade-school participating in a 4-H project.  I made it to the regional competition.  My presentation?  Gift Wrapping.  That’s right.  It was a combo of public speaking and also creating a poster board expressing the outline of our project.  I was a master at Gift Wrapping.  Fast-forward to the present and many days I sit behind a screen and wonder how I can magically put the thoughts that are rolling around in my head in some coherent blog post.  Will it make sense?  Will anyone read it?  Will anyone care enough to comment?

Then I’m taken back to the moment a few months ago.  That A-Ha moment in my morning quiet time where I was really pondering some big life questions and I remembered how much I love writing and how little I get to do it (or rather, create space in my schedule for writing).  And what is it that I love again about writing?  The entire writing process.  Not for the comments of friends reading (although feedback is good).  Not for the conversation I wish to be sparked that isn’t (again, that would also be great).  I miss writing for the opportunity to practice that “gift-wrapping” process.  I have been wrestling constantly with the culture of busy-ness we’ve created and live into on a daily basis.  Perhaps I’m not commenting on other friends blogs for the same reason they aren’t commenting on mine–we can’t slow down long enough to FULLY read a post, much less give feedback.

So, here’s a post where I didn’t really answer the question I posed, just experienced some of the writing process that for me, gets my mind moving.  What to write about?  Whatever seems to be striking me that day.  Will I have a theme?  Will I write about certain things on certain days?  Perhaps.  But that day is not today.  I will write when I feel the urgency to write.  I will try to be more frequent, but not guilt myself if I’m not.  I will aim for more engaging and interesting topics, but sometimes life is not engaging or interesting.

My topic?  Write to write, Faith.  That’s all.

Best,

Just one of those days…

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to take a deep exhale and hope it lasts for days?  It’s not that you’re unhappy, that things are going poorly at work, or in your relationships or even personally in your spirit.

It’s just that there’s a lot of things going on. You need that release.

Work is busy.  Someone is ill.  Accidents happen.  Plans change.  People move.  You’re responsible.  Goals aren’t met.

I was quite the fan of Audio Adrenaline in my teenage years and there was this one song on their live album that I would hit repeat and listen to for hours in moments like this.  Let’s just say thank God for the refresh button on You Tube, for it’s been my repeat button today.

My prayer is that you can join me in this journey to Rest Easy.

(PS–Be sure to click on the “more info” for the lyrics).

Finally Addressing the Update

Well, friends, for you faithful readers out there, if you are reading this you have discovered a new home for my blog. A few reasons prompted this change, including being mesmerized by the lovely photo you see now gracing my page (no–I didn’t take it, it was apart of the template).

This summer has brought a lot of change into my life–a new job in June, moving into a new space with a roommate at the end of June, some injuries, travels and overall some fairly major adjustments to almost every area of life. In looking back at all these things, I became rather frustrated a few weeks ago when after a look in the mirror, I realized my life was nothing close to the description of my blog: Pliable: adjective: 1. susceptible to being led or directed; 2.capable of being shaped or bent or drawn out; 3.able to adjust readily to different conditions; “an adaptable person”; “a flexible personality”; 4.capable of being bent or flexed or twisted without breaking;

I kept asking myself every time I would look at my blog (which hadn’t been updated in months) “why in the WORLD did you title your blog that? You have been the furthest thing from an “adaptable person, able to adjust readily to differnt conditions.”

But then I remembered that I wasn’t broken. I might be a little bruised, beat up, but I wasn’t falling apart (I actually exclaimed this one night in tears to the beau after a second accident ensued on my feet in a month–“I feel like I’m falling apart!!!” through the tears of course).

So the past few weeks I’ve been able to clean off my lenses and see life in a much clearer way; realizing I am not falling apart and my “pliable” name was simply a reminder that is what I am striving for and this is a way to document that process. My “fresh coat of paint” for life includes a little update to the blog with a few more features and updates about some other “fresh coats” that are going on in my world.

Thanks to those of you who have showed me some extra doses of love and patience this summer. And thanks for being along for the ride in this journey. I’m reminded that the ride won’t always be smooth, but I’m thankful to have some great people by my side and that is what makes it so sweet.

Views on Aging

This was sent to me in an email today–never can tell 100% is this is verifyably George Carlin’s views on aging, but it was too good not to pass along.

George Carlin’s Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

‘How old are you?’ I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13,20but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life You become 21.. Even the words sound like a ceremony YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60..

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

HOW TO STAY YOUNG
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them.’

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge .

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them , at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Are you proud?

Are you proud?

Think back to the last time you were working on a new project. It might have already happened this week at the office, it could have happened last weekend when you decided to repaint that room that had been screaming for a fresh coat, or maybe it was that new recipe you were dying to try. Chances are at some point along the way, there might have been a bit of a mix-up, a mistake if you will. The color wasn’t quite the shade you had hoped for, you put too much garlic in the recipe, the project didn’t quite turn out the way you had imagined.

Did you spend your money to get new paint? Maybe, but after it dries, it’ll probably look better.

Did you throw out the entire recipe and order a pizza? Maybe, but we’ve all had bad breath at one time or another–and garlic’s supposed to be good for you, right?

Did you put your resignation in to your boss due to this error? Hopefully not.

When you take these examples and parallel them to our spiritual walk, there’s some great insight to be had. Sure, striving to be our best is our goal, but how many times does that striving turn into poor self-talk? We beat ourselves up becuase we miss out on that chance to invest in that friendship, volunteer for that new opportunity, chose to keep our head down or in the clouds rather than smile at the cashier or person walking on the sidewalk.

May we not only remember that Christ looks beyond the wrong color of paint and the garlic –He sees the heart. He created us and is delighted in his creation–He is SO PROUD of you! He knows us intimately and although that balance of being complacent with our short-comings and striving to be better is often a thin line, Christ often is calling us to sit with Him and allow Him to fill us. When that happens, the paint looks fine, the entree is just right and no amount of “mess-ups” at the office get you down. As the Psalmist writes:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139)

Dark Moments?

I had this reminder a few weeks ago when leading a small group of women on our campus. The following quote from an anonymous student on another campus was included in our materials and it was quite appropriate for me at the time. I could read it daily and it would be appropriate.

“In the occasional dark moment, I remind myself I’m made in God’s image and He is holding my heart and hand while I grow into acceptance. This gentle reminder never fails to shake me out of my funk. And, each time I have success in recognizing my true self, in reasserting my worth, I feel healthier and more comfortable in my own skin.”

One Month and One Day…

Yes, that’s right…it’s been one month and one day since my last post. I figured I’d change things up a bit as well as post. Tons of changes in life anyway–why not change up the ‘ole blog. 🙂

I’m not naive to think that my readership has been sitting at their computers, just waiting for the newest post, but there have been quite a few big things going on in life that maybe you’re interested in.

March took Lewie and I to Virginia for a few days while I was on spring break. It was a much needed break. Lewie survived meeting the family (I think I was more nervous than he was) and we had lots of fun hanging out at my favorite spots in Virginia. The highlight of the week (for me) was our double date with Kristi and Joe, my best friends from HS who are 7 months pregnant!

Easter had me singing at Xroads–again, you never know how much you miss something until it’s out of your life and then comes back. Easter dinner at the Stevenson’s with the “family” and Lew was quite a fun, relaxing day (with yummy food, of course).

Work has been crazy–selecting student leaders for next year–quite the task. Just now finishing up the evaluation piece of that process. Fun stuff.

And the big kicker: my future. I am reminded daily by the amazing people that I have in my life that I am not in control–a much bigger and more powerful person is. It is still challenging to look at the situation even half-way objectively as the days get fewer and fewer and fewer…

I am optimistic than in three months (less would be GREAT) that I will be posting about the amazing things God has brought into my life job wise, housing wise, etc.

Food for Thought…

Romans 12

Place Your Life Before God

1So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

3I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. 5The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, 6let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else;
7if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; 8if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

9Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. 10Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, 12cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. 13Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. 15Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. 16Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. 18If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. 19Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

20Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. 21Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Calm My Anxious Heart

After a great, relaxing weekend, I was perusing my own personal library last night for just the right book to pick up as I closed out my minds thoughts on the weekend and prepared for the week ahead. Last week was a great week, but some things that were out of my control just made me a bit more anxious about life right now and the life that will transpire for the me in the next few months.

I picked up this great read by Linda Dillow that I read a few years back when approaching a similar transition and it’s words were so comforting. I hope that you will be able to glean some of this wisdom if you are going through a similar time in life at the moment.

From “Calm My Anxious Heart”

Prescription for Contentment:
-Never allow yourself to complain about anything–not even the weather.
-Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
-Never compare your lot with another’s.
-Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
-Never dwell on tomorrow–remember that [tomorrow] is God’s, not ours.

Philippians 4:11-13
11
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.