Tag Archive | Writing

100 Days of Something….

There many kinds of challenges all over the internet.

Recently a friend told me abut a 100 day challenge for writing poetry.

Her encouragement/challenge to me was to do 100 days of …. something. Anything.

Well they don’t call them “Challenge”s for no reason.

With every valid reason; like a very full calendar,

And every excuse that I can come up with; like I just don’t have enough brain cells,

There is one thing I can say for sure.

That is; No matter how much you think you have to say, and/or share,

There is much more to it than just saying you will do it.

I am learning the art of the scheduled post.

You know, the one that is out there before you are?

Well, on that day any way.

You still have need of being there well before the date.

Mass amounts of ideas and writing that seem to float away as soon as I sit to write.

It’s the age old problem right? Experienced by writers far better than myself. 

But here I am, as one of my favorite bloggers says, “Punching the d__ keys.”

And for my current and future followers, I’ll keep on punching.

My challenge to you ; Will keep keep punching too?

We can do it together; you and I. 

Will you receive this challenge?

Can we help each other to keep the challenge alive!

Are You Hearing Voices?

I’ve gotten out of the habit of hearing His voice.

I have some questions here;

First of all – Who is “He”?

Nehemiah 9:6 from the Holy Bible says this; “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

If that’s the case, and I believe it is, then that is a voice I really want to hear!

Why do I want to hear His voice?

Beginning to hearing His voice, for me anyway, began with an intense longing inside of me to find out what more there could possibly be to my life.

You know, the life that goes through the same cycles of disbelief, low self esteem, caring so much what others think, at my own expense.

Expensive, because the voices I was hearing were telling me just how worthless I was. I had a longing to hear just one good thing about myself that I could hang my hat on. Something I could believe and hold on to.

That longing wanted to know who I was; all the while knowing that I could believe a lie, just as easily as I could believe the truth.

To avoid the lie, I had to find the right voice. There are cacophonies of voices out there just trying to be heard. Which one is the right one?

I believe it’s the maker of heaven and earth!

How do you hear His voice in the first place?

In order to sort through that longing, there has to be quiet.

Now MY quiet, will likely be different than yours.

When I want to get to this place of hearing, I require three things.

  1. Absolute quiet.
  2. My Bible.  
  3. A pad of paper and a writing utensil.

The absolute quiet is to get my mind off of everything that distracts. Even lovely music can be distracting. (I’m finding that now even while writing this)

I need my Bible. It has a great concordance (an alphabetical list of the words present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned.) in the back, so I can look up scripture by words or topics. I can search out any topic that is on my heart.

Then I can meditate on this word.

This meditation is not the same as emptying the space between my ears. Instead, it fills up all the empty space inside, by telling me the truth; about me, about God, about my life; past, present and future.

The pad of paper? My brain is notorious for running me off in a different direction while I’m trying to concentrate on being quiet. Anything that pops into my head and interrupts gets written down.

It’s safe on that paper, I won’t forget. I’ll pick it up later.

It’s calming, when you know you won’t forget every little nuance at it passes by your brain.

How do you continue to hear His voice?

I hear his voice by being quiet enough to let the words I’ve read roll around in my heart and mind.

I let them roll until they make sense. Until they become real to me.

I really dislike the way the word meditation is used in some forums. I’m speaking of the meditation on God’s word, and what it means to me. Not meditation that is emptying my mind. That is a whole different thing.

Instead, I prefer a meditation that asks; What do these words say? What do they mean to me? How can I put them into practice?

Once you have hear His voice, you will recognize it when you hear it again. John 10:27 says clearly; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Wow. He knows me – I want to know His voice!

How do you get back to it again after being away?

The dangerous part is in the drifting away. You release the habit for a day, and then a week, and then a month. No big, drastic changes.

You still hear His voice. But here’s the catch; after a month, the voice gets quieter, and you realize (maybe) that you have been going on memory, and that you haven’t “heard” anything new for quite some time.

Memory, like muscles, can get flat after periods of not being used.

Notice, the first thing I said was that it is a habit. It is most definitely a habit.

The first step to take is to get back to your DAILY reading. It need not be chapter upon chapter. Just a few paragraphs maybe.

We used to have a pastor who told us to “Read till you burn.” That sounds funny coming from a pastor, whose job is to insure that you don’t burn 🙂

But what he was trying to tell us, was that we needed to read the word until something came alive in our heart; until our heart caught that spark.

When that happens – You’re hearing God’s voice. He is speaking to you.

I’ve read the same thing several times over my lifetime, and then one time I will read it, and it is like the words jumped right off the page.

They bring something to life in me. They spark a realization in me about _________________! Whatever it is I’m reading about.

When I begin to roll those verses around in my heart and mind, they become a part of me. My soul and my spirit; my insides; are renewed. I can see an action that needs to be taken, or a mind set that needs to be tweeked.

James 1:22-25 (ICB) says this; Do what God’s teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. A person who hears God’s teaching and does nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. He sees his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. But the truly happy person is the one who carefully studies God’s perfect law that makes people free. He continues to study it. He listens to God’s teaching and does not forget what he heard. Then he obeys what God’s teaching says. When he does this, it makes him happy.

This quiet time, this hearing His voice; it gives me peace, and it carries with me throughout my days.

It makes it so that even the harshest of circumstances can be faced with some sort of calm, peace and joy.

The Down Side of Quiet

If you have been visiting here for long, you may know that one of my favorite topics is Quietude. Quiet. A little time for gathering the thoughts.

Even though this article is about noise, silence was mentioned as well. I thought this author had some interesting perspectives, pro and con.

I enjoyed the pros, of course.

I hope you enjoy reading it too.

Noise Cancelling: The Good and The Bad

Noise cancelling has it’s benefits and draw backs. We have to make sure we tune out the right things so we can best hear God’s voice.

Noise Cancelling
I travel a good bit these days, and spend a decent amount of time on airplanes.  Over the years, people have become more and more comfortable listening to anything and everything to block out the noise of the airplane, announcements being made, or crying babies.  Companies (BOSE, Beats, etc) have become better at creating headphones that can block out all noise around you so you only hear what you decide to listen to. And this doesn’t just apply to airplanes. People use these to focus at work or simply walk around outside.

People spend a lot of money on these headphones to accomplish one simple goal: block out distractions and noise. We want to have control over what we listen to or don’t listen to.

The Downside to Noise Cancelling

Airplanes:  If you can’t hear anything that means you cant hear any important announcements (safety, or emergency notifications).

Jogging/Running:  If you are completely blocked out from noise, a car could honk its horn at you, or someone could try and warn you about something around you, and you may not hear the warning signals.

The Lesson

Sometimes we decide that we know better than God does about what we should be listening to.  God gives us warning signs or direction through many different mediums throughout our lives.  If we don’t allow God to speak to us through a specific channel we are only hurting ourselves.  Using an extreme example, if you decide to block yourself off from anyone who isn’t a Christian in an effort to protect yourself and not be tempted, you are not abiding by God’s greatest commandment to “Go out and made disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)  While we have protected ourselves from the “noise” around us, we have limited God’s ability to work through us.

Related Post: God is Calling Us All to Listen

I would encourage you to ask God to speak to you. Start to listen to His voice everywhere you go.  God can speak through anyone or anything.  Don’t block Him out.

The Positive About Noise Cancelling

With that said, there are times that silence is important and being able to cancel out distractions can be helpful.

Basketball Players:  If you’ve ever watched a Duke basketball home game, the fans do everything in their power to distract the other team and make them mess up or miss a shot.  Players on the floor have to find a way to block it out and perform to help their team.

Football Huddles:  Or think about a football team in a huddle.  The purpose of the huddle is to block out noise and allow everyone to understand the next play’s plan.

Airplanes:  Sticking with this analogy from before, think about the pilots of the airplane.  They can’t be distracted by the passengers.  Their job with all the noise going on around them is to get everyone to the destination safely.  They actually wear headphones to talk with each other and block out the actual noise around them.

The Lesson:

Christianity is similar in that there are times you need to clearly hear God’s voice and not be distracted by the enemy who is doing everything in his power to knock you off track.  I grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) so I understood at a young age how the smallest of distractions could affect me.  I had to learn how to block them out.

When I want to hear from God, I need silence or an environment where God is welcome (worship, church, etc).  God doesn’t need complete silence to be able to speak to you, but sometimes you need complete silence to listen.

In those times, cancelling out your surrounding is a good idea.  After getting alone away from distractions, though, we should come back to full awareness of our surroundings so we can see and hear God move. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s needed to be able to hear from God. We block out the distractions but lean in to listen to Him however, whenever, and wherever He chooses to speak to us.

So noise cancelling can be both good and bad. In the end, don’t block out God or limit His ability to use you or speak to you by attempting to block out others.

Written by Charles Hamrick

I am very simply a follower of Christ.  While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest.  I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis.  I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.

Snippets; When Will You …

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It’s so much easier to read about, study, and talk about writing than it is to actually sit down to write.

Snippets; When Will You Ever … really write?

I know I’m supposed to write. And write. And write. I know it in my bones. And yet; I don’t write nearly as much as I should.

It’s so much easier arranging and rearranging my office, my stacks and my document files, to write, than actually to write the ding dang documents.

The thoughts, or at least the concepts, are flying through my head at great speed. I sit to type, or write it on the page, and just as quickly it flies away.

I take notes; Snippets on napkins, snippets on my phone, snippets on postie notes. Snippets in my pockets, and even snippets written sometimes on my palms.

To no avail. They are just snippets. Except like at this moment, telling myself, and you all the reasons why I can’t get it done.

Now as I’m typing this, I am wondering if my issue is because of the depth I would like to reach in my writings.

Living it was difficult, analyzing, and processing was almost more difficult.

Truthfully, I may not be really sure just how to get that deep again.

Is re-visiting the pain necessary? After all, it is gone.

Do I have to feel it all over again? Maybe trying to remember it again in so much detail is what is slowing me down.

What do I have to share that can best help you, the reader, in the way that you need helped?

Clarity is on the way. I know it. Perhaps you can help me by letting me know how I can share with you in a meaningful way.

Long, short, I believe I didn’t just walk through my life, and learn what I learned for my own benefit, but for yours as well.

And just so you know, in the mean time, I’m saving all of those snippets!

Take a Chance

I’ve been reading lately about how to make this blog a better place to visit.

My first thought, long ago, was to tell my personal story, then use it to help some to crawl out of the pit that they, or someone else, dug for them.

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I have for many years, off and on, written random and not so random things in journals. I’ve kept them all, even shared bits and pieces of them, in an attempt to help others.

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From there I went on to showing people the value of some quiet in their life, and hopefully, helping them to create some for their own.

Next came the photographs that I so love to take.

Some have been made into my little films, calendars, puzzles and coffee table books.

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Now I’m even thinking of, gulp, my religious and political leanings.

I must say, I hate confrontation of any kind.  (Confrontation there would most likely be!)

The prolonged temper tantrum I see all around makes me angry, and quite frankly, sick to my stomach. This is not to mention that it intimidates me a lot.

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What do I do?

What would You do?

What would you like to see here?

What would make you want to come back?

I’ve been a blogger off and on since 2008.  I’m still not happy with where I am, but I am also not compelled to quit.

All the years of processing cannot be for nothing. Can I ask? Where have your processes taken you? Would you care to share in the comments?

There. It’s out there. My fears. My questions.

Do I pick just one topic, hope for the best, and stay comfy and safe?

Can comfy and safe really change the world?

 

 

 

Red Sky at Morning

Have you heard the saying “Red sky at morning is a sailors warning?”

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Beautiful, right? But what it does, at  least for me, is to make me check the weather forecast. Today, unfortunately, it means we’ll have ice. Lots of ice. Making travel quite treacherous, and cancelling a lot of well laid plans.

So what’s next? We check our resources, and make sure that we have what it takes to be inside our homes for the next little while. Food, toiletries, books, movies. All set.

But what of those who do not have the resources we have? What we prepare for, for our comfort, they must prepare for, for survival. No doubt, the shelters are preparing as well, in mass.

Fortunately, the town that we live near, has well planned out spaces for just such circumstances. Not only paid staff, but volunteers that give of their time and talents and hearts to make sure that these folks are safe throughout these times.

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What do you do when stormy times are approaching? 

Now to switch it up just a bit – What about “Reg flags” in the morning?

When you wake up in the morning on “The wrong side of the bed”, when you are getting out of bed and just want to crawl back in? When you still feel tired, or when your mind will not focus. When the noises your body make sounds like bubble wrap?

What are the resources you use to get your day into order? Can you do it?

For me, coffee is always the first place I go. That first cup of coffee is like starter fluid. But even with starter fluid, the day can be rough. So what’s next? I have a couple of ideas that help, when I do them!

Both have to do with “Quietude”. A cup of coffee and a peaceful place to sit. (I do have a chair for that.) No words. Quiet music, but no words. If there are words, my brain latches on to them, and away I go. Not quiet.

Now, this quiet time might be ten minutes, or it could be an hour. That all depends. When I’m ready for words, I’ll take out my Bible, and read a chapter, or two. More than that, and too many thoughts start going around in my mind. Not quiet. But out of that chapter or two, I’ll have a sense of something to focus on for the day. Many times that will get written down in my journal.

Daily devotionals, journaling, morning pages; seem to have a calming effect, and are often very helpful.

Let’s face it though, sometimes that “Red sky” or those “Red flags” are pesky and want to stick around. And you know what I’ve found? That is OK. Sometimes we just have to lay low, and care for ourselves in a different way.

For example, yesterday, I did all the things. The starter fluid. The “Quietude”, the Bible reading, the journaling. I ended up having to just do my list of work around the house, and not turn on any (Well not much) media at all. A little book reading and a really good nap in the afternoon. A much needed disconnect.

Today seems much better. What about your “Red skies” or “Red flags”? Share with us – what resources can you volunteer?

When You Were Seven Revisited

Well, as you can see, I’ve been exploring my past through blog posts from long ago.

Why? Because it occurred to me that over time, I had begun to forget some of the look and feel of some of the dark places I’ve been, and the steps I took to find my way home. My heart is to help others to reclaim their lives, and progress to the places that God their Creator created them for.  Breaking this idea down;

  • You were created for greatness
  • Dark circumstances have blocked your progress
  • Reclaim what was stolen
  • Advance to the purposes you were created for

Hopefully, prayerfully, these Friday looks into the past will help create questions in you, and a longing to find the answers you need, finally.

I’m here cheer you on!

When You Were Seven 

(Original post date June 12, 2012)

This past Sunday our Community Hour Class began its summer session; “Proverbs; Making the Wise Wiser”.

During the introduction, we were each asked to answer a couple of questions around our table.

These questions were meant as kind of an ice breaker, and a lead right in to the topic we are studying.

Well they were ice breakers to be sure, but to me one of these questions was so much more.  It sent me on another journey, into the background that makes me who I am.

All of the time I have spent on introspection, I would like to think that it is all finished.

As we have spoken of in a previous post, it will not be finished as long as we are here on this earth.

However, our Merciful Father in Heaven will allow no more than we can handle at any one time.

Each journey into our background and back out again, carries with it another piece of healing, filling in the puzzle that is us.

English: Puzzle Svenska: Pussel

Have you ever been putting a puzzle together and many pieces go together quickly?

Have you noted that in the very same puzzle, some can take a long time to place?

Each of these remaining pieces needs to be inspected.

They perhaps need to be held in your hand, and placed and replaced until the proper

place is found.

If you do not enjoy the process, you probably will never finish the puzzle.

The question we were asked, seemed very innocuous at the time it was asked, but the more I reflected on it, the more I could sense that this would not be over, just because the class was.

This piece would have to be investigated closely.

Here are the questions;

* How many lived in your home when you were seven?

* Who was the warmest person in your life at that time?

Harmless questions right?

Well as the others spoke their answers, I sought my own answer to the question “Who was the warmest person in your life at that time?”

What I soon realized, was that I could not remember even one “warm” person in my life.

Were people supposed to be warm?

The only thing that came to my mind was that during my very young life, we used to travel every Sunday to my Grampas house in the country.

While there, I would climb the apple trees in his orchard and visit the hay mow in the barn.

Life was peaceful if only for a short time.

After dinner, I can recall clearly, sitting on my Grampas lap in his big comfy chair, eating popcorn out of an enamel roasting pan and watching Lawrence Welk.

I believe that was the safest, coziest, warmest spot I ever knew.

When the show was over, it was time to load up and go home.

My heart longed for our return the following week.

Those visits came to an abrupt end, when there was a misunderstanding between my Father and my Grandpa that got me a beating that today would have landed me in the hospital and my Father in jail.

Father never apologized and Grandpa would not let him return until he did.

I never got over the fact that it was my fault that we could not visit any more.

My warm person/spot was gone.

Grampa came to town to live with us several years later, after my Grandma died, and my Mother and Father divorced, but our relationship was never the same.

I knew it was my fault.

I didn’t find out until much later why it had changed so drastically, and that was that I had grown up, and he didn’t feel that hugging or snuggling with a girl my age was proper.

So NOT my fault.

But the damage was already done.

So.  After class, I was compelled to come and go through the family photos left here by my Mom.

There I found snapshots of brief moments of family life.  Brief shots.  Brief smiles.

I also, sadly, noticed that in nearly all of the photos of that time period, the smile never went to the eyes.

That sounds strange maybe, but it was there.  I saw it.

Here are two photos I found of myself.  In one of them, my favorite one, I was four.  See the light in the eyes?  They twinkled.

I think this may have been before I found out I was defective.

See the second photo?  Age seven.  Sad smile.  No twinkle.

I’m still processing what I see.

I’m still examining every piece.

With God’s help, and His alone, I will be able to fully place the truth, and go on to another piece.

Ladies and Gentlemen; here is the truth;

YOU ARE NOT DEFECTIVE!

AND NEITHER WAS I!

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV1984)

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

 

Do not be afraid of the process.

Join me in placing the pieces where they rightly fit.

Let us hold God’s hands together,

And believe the truth.

John 8:32 (KJV)

32 And ye shall know the truth, and (He) the truth shall make you free.

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