10 Loads of Laundry – Really?

I have a confession. I just folded ten loads of laundry. How did I get so far behind? I could blame sickness, I could blame balancing the new school schedule, I could blame that life is just too busy. All that is true but what is the real reason. Procrastination.

One of those funny signs of facebook went by the other day. “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

I laughed but the sad thing is that too often I live my life by that philosophy. In fact, when I was a freshman in high school, I had perfected this philosophy. I actually did my homework in the class before.  I must say I am not that bad any more but I still fall into the American mindset of – reward now, work later.

The more I evaluate this life style, the more I think it short changes me from a lot of joy in my life. By procrastinating I always have stuff hanging over my head to do. I want to change – now the challenging part – actually changing.

I know we are a long way from January but this is my new resolution. I want to seek God first and let him lay out my day. Pushing hard all day so I can feel good about what I accomplished at the end. Even if I can’t do it all, if I have done my best then I have a lot to be proud of. I will check in with updates.

What about you? What is one bad habit you could break that would change your life for the good?

Do You Hear With Both Ears?

This past week I got an ear infection and even though I am on medication my ear remains plugged on the one side, leaving it pretty useless. I assume it will return to normal in time but in the mean time it has given me a lot to think about – specifically Matthew 13:13. In this verse, Jesus talks about the Pharisees listening but not hearing.

However, they didn’t have ear infections but rather their ears were full of themselves. They had been so confident they knew what God was up to that they couldn’t hear when God was speaking to them through His Son.

So often in my own life I find myself running ahead of God and yelling over my shoulder, “I know where you are headed God. I’ll meet you there.” And I often end up on my face.

I have discovered this week with my bad ear that to really hear people I have to look at them and focus on them. Otherwise I am bound to miss a key part of the sentence. I think the same is true for God.

I don’t just want to listen to God with one ear.  I want to look at Him and focus on Him. When I do, I trust He will lead me where He wants me to go.

Do you struggle to listen to God with both ears? How do you keep from running ahead?

Save Me Super Cake Girl

My boys were playing super heroes the other day, and my daughter not wanting to be left out (but still as girly as they come) stood up and said, “I want to be a cake super hero.”

She said she would drive around and make cakes for everyone who didn’t have one. She cracks me up.

But this got me thinking about my writing. In My Book Therapy we learn that the heroine needs a superpower. No, she doesn’t have to leap tall buildings and lift cars but some strength or special skill that can help save the day in the end.

In the Hunger Games, Katniss’ super power is to hunt. It is that super power that saves her and ultimately Peeta in the arena. In Twilight, Bella’s super power is her ability to shield her mind. This saves everyone in the end, even Edward. (Man, YA books have really great superpowers)

My current work in progress, my heroine’s superpower is her ability to do genealogy research. Not glamorous as a bow or a mind shield but in the end it is what saves the day for my hero.

Think back to one of your favorite books. Does the heroine have a superpower?

What do you think would make a cool superpower for a book? Baking cakes? It could work and who knows, it may just show up somewhere in one of my books in the future.

Biggest revelation for me to date…

So what was my great discovery? Before I get to that – let’s talk reading.

When did I fall in love with reading? About eight years ago. I was nearly thirty and on bed rest with my first child and before wifi I had limited options. So, I decided to read.

Before this time, I hated reading. It was hard. I could never remember what I read and it made me so tired. Occasionally the letters would move around and I consistency struggled to stay on the right line. Just after college I picked up a novel everyone said I had to read. Just 300 or so pages. Took me a month a reading a little every night. As much as my eyes could handle.

But on bed rest I pushed though and read novel after novel. I think it took me days to finish one book but I did it. I soon discovered that I loved the story and that I’d push though the frustrations just to be able to read another good romance story. (practice makes perfect)

Now – I love to read. Eight years later I can fly through books. I read all four books in the Twilight series in a week (not so good for the house cleaning though.) I recently reread the novel that had taken me a month and finished it in a night.

So what was my discovery this weekend? By my description you may be able to tell if you know much about reading problems. I am dyslexic. I am severely dyslexic. Out of the 37 possible characteristics I had twenty-eight. (it takes 10 to classify as dyslexia)

I must say my husband and I had a good laugh about the description since it make so much sense to many of my “quirks”.

I also love the irony that God has called me to write. I mean I did well in math and science why not focus there? No he calls me to literature and I managed to graduate high school with a 3.6 with never completing one required reading book.

But God isn’t concerned with what I can’t do as much as what He can do. I choose to be open to people he has placed in my path to teach me. After all if He can take me from reading a novel over a month to reading it in a night He can do anything.

Here are the 28 characteristics I could identify with. They may give you new insight into our past interaction if you know me. :)
•    Appears bright, intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
•    Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting.
•    High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
•    Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
•    Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
•    Difficulty sustaining attention “daydreamer.”
•    Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
•    Complains of headaches while reading.
•    Confused by verbal explanations.
•    Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
•    Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
•    Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
•    Lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
•    Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
•    Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
•    Easily distracted by sounds.
•    Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.
•    Handwriting varies or is illegible.
•    Clumsy, poor at ball or team sports; prone to motion-sickness.
•    Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right
•    Has difficulty telling time, managing time, or being on time.
•    Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks
•    Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
•    Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
•    Thinks primarily with images and feeling
•    Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
•    Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.
•    Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

 

 

 

 

Christian Romance?

People often talk about perfect matches like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or salty and sweet. But what about terrible combinations – like for me today a crayon and the clothes dryer. As I WD40ed my clothes trying to salvage some of my husband’s work shirts, I thought about this.

Specifically, I thought about how often I see the doubt on people’s faces when I say I write Christian romance. Can there be such a thing as Christian romance? Since I write it, you can probably guess my position but let me take a moment to explain why.

One argument I have heard is that it is not good for one’s faith. That reading such literature will make women discontent in their marriages, long for a more romantic husband, or tempted to seek the experience in an affair.

I have a friend who recently shared her story with me. After her husband died at forty-five she had a difficult time but God provided and her second marriage is truly novel worthy. After she told me did I long for what she had? NO! I loved her story. I loved the sweet feelings it gave me about love and romance and I was reminded of God’s truths and goodness. After talking to her, I went to my husband and hugged him and said, “Stay alive, honey! I am happy living through just one romance novel.”

I like to read romance because I love a good story with compelling characters and I like watching them fight for love. I like reading Christian romance because not only do they fight for love but they are reminded of a godly truth, that probably, I need reminded of as well.

Jesus used story in his teaching and I can see why. I know he didn’t use romance but his used stories of life to teach valuable biblical truths. I have been a christian for 30 years. I have heard a lot of sermons, attended a lot of bible studies, and read a lot of non-fiction books. But some of the images and truths that impacted me most came from a fiction story where I saw the truth of God played out before my eyes in the characters every day lives.

Why do I write Christian romance? I write because story just spills out of me. I write romance because it is the story I find most compelling. I write Christian because I can’t not help but share the truths of the gospel. After all- the Bible is one big story of God’s redeeming love. And I combine them all into one because that is the call I feel God has put on my life.

So, is there such a thing as Christian romance? This lady says there is – and I like it.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever read a Christian romance novel? Why or why not?

Can You Grow Flowers in the Desert?

Did you ever dream of living in Barbie’s Dream house? I think most all of us did. I believe at one time I had quite the detailed mental picture of my perfect home.

As I grew and gained a better understanding of money, the cost of things, and my call to follow God, my list dwindled to a few basic desires. Or should I say list of “I’ll take anything but…” 1)No place Hot  2)Hate Subdivisions  3)Didn’t want a cookie-cutter house  4)No where near the city  5)And please no tiny back yard.  Sounds reasonable…Right?

Guess where I live? You guessed it. Phoenix (area) so yes, 120 in the summer is very hot, I don’t care if it is dry or not. We do live thirty minutes from the city, but if the cities between there and here merge into each other, yeah it is still too close for me. And yes, subdivision with the tiny back yard and cookie cutter house and all.

I am not trying to lament or play Eeyore here. We have been here for seven (almost eight) years. Why? Because that is where God has called us right now. But the great thing about God, even if he calls us to a difficult place he never leaves us there, forgotten.

As summer is nearly upon us I have found myself loathing the desert in a way I haven’t for a long time. I found myself humming the happy tune of “I’ve gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing I ever do” as I did dishes or folded laundry. I smelled the sweet fragrance of Lilacs in a Yankee Candle store and burst into tears.

Then yesterday as I walked around our petite back yard I took in the beautiful flowers that have been doing a number on my allergies and remembered the verse God gave me a few months back.

“The LORD with guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden. Like a spring who’s water’s never fail.” ~Isaiah 58:11

Wow! What a gentle loving God we serve. With God even here in the desert I can bloom, I can thrive. I still hold out hope to leave my desert wanderings, and I hope it doesn’t take forty years. But if it does I will hold on to the truth that even here I can bloom like a well watered garden with Christ at my side.

What about you? Has God placed you somewhere or in a situation extremely challenging? How is God watering your garden?

(photos from our Desert garden)

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