Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Worthy Vessel

Ps.54:6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
***
Worthy Vessel

Into the whispering winds I stand
reaching out to take His hand.
From the galloping gust I hear
words that bring me ever near.

Fingers laced I now find strength
to carry on no matter the length
of pain, loss, hurt and shame;
turn the cheek, no ones to blame.

In his arms I place the sorrow
allowing me to face tomorrow.
Looking back with no regret,
the past is gone I won’t forget.

Guide me Lord into this day,
free me from the breath of sway.
I bow to you, I praise your glory
Release from me this inner fury.

A glorious day has dawned on me
with His hand I’m now set free.
To ride the wing of winds soft draft.
I am his child, He is my craft.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quotation Saturday

“We live in the altered space of man. We thrive in the altered space of God”
-Joni Zipp
***


GOODNESS

Maybe just believing in goodness generates a tiny bit of the stuff, so that by being so foolish as to believe in our better natures, if just for a day, we actually contribute to the sum total of generosity in the universe.
-Julie Powell
Julie & Julia

All good activities which encourage people to learn how to live with one another pleasantly and to develop a sense of humor improve living.
-Leonard Carmichael

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
- Henry Van Dyke


ACCEPT THE UNCHANGEABLE

“Everything that has happened in your life to this minute is unchangeable. It’s history. The greatest waste of energy is in looking back at missed opportunities, lamenting past events, grudge collecting, getting even, harboring ill will, and any vengeful thinking. Success is the only acceptable form of revenge. By forgiving your trespassers, you become free to concentrate on going forward with your life and succeeding in spite of your detractors. You will live a rewarding and fulfilling life.”
-Dennis Waitley

GOALS

One of the key qualities that any CEO (or successful person) needs--a willingness to stretch yourself and go after goals that others think are too visionary, too hard, or too ambitious to accomplish.
-Richard A. McGinn

Goals too clearly defined can become blinders.
-Mary Catherine Bateson

Everything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story.
-Tapani Bagge
 

When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge.
-Albert Einstein

Friday, October 29, 2010

Memory Lane Part II

Pss. 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
***
That post was longer than anticipated yesterday and I thought it warranted a continuation.

As writers, what we are doing in our stories, whether our fictional work or our non-fictional work, we are bringing our past into a character, a scene, an emotion, or maybe a dream.

When I read novel, as a writer, I know in some part there are pieces of the author strewn all about the pages like confetti on New Years. Take To Kill a Mockingbird for example, you can not write something like that without knowing the intricate depths of a situation.

Even authors  like Stephen King has laid pieces of himself in the pages of his stories. He has said about while writing The Shining, he felt like a mad man, drinking boozing it up, life getting out of control, and the Jack Torrance that we (most of us) have all come to know, was born. In his later works after King sobered up, his story Duma Key took on a new color as a new phase took over Mr. Kings life.

I find in my writings, I like to dip into the spiritual pool. My early childhood was shaped by spirits, whether good spirits or the dark nasty ones that you really don’t want to talk about. You’d rather lock them in a closet in the back of the basement somewhere and pretend that they don’t exist.

As a writer, all the doors of your past are open wide, even the little nasty stuff that you buried comes spilling out onto the page. Things you hadn’t remembered for years comes to the surface, you grab your net and scoop up the memory like a fisherman on a good day. You’ve dipped, you now have caught, you own it and you place it on the page.

My childhood was shaped by experience also. Images of the men, the smoke-filled bars, pool balls clanking, men cheering or arguing, the tapping of glasses, the smell, the awful stale aroma of beer that lay in the taps basin. The music, the jukebox that was probably my savior at nine years old.

Ask my brothers if they were sitting in bars at nine years old. Ask them if men felt them up in places that drunken old men thought was playful but to a child felt dirty. Ask the boys, ask one of them, or my sister for that matter, did they sneak drinks of vodka and orange when they were mere babies? Eight or nine year old's belong home not in a bar sipping drinks, sneaking from the glass that was okay for mother to drink from. But then again, home wasn’t much different from the bars.

Yeah that was me, spoiled rotten and given everything. A drinking, toking, smoking child is what shaped my past. Do I long for what was? Never! I bury it in my stories. I was saved by the grace of the Lord. When I write, I write from heartfelt true-blue experience. My inspiration comes from the only thing that has ever grabbed onto me and stuck and that is God!

And that is a piece of MY story.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Memory Lane

Make today great. We may be products of our past but we are also architects of our future. ~Pastor Tim Clowers
***

Are you the kind of person that likes to stroll down memory lane, remembering the old high school, the old friends, the past that eluded your future you thought would manifest?

I’ve never been one who held onto the past like a warm cup of tea. You know, cradle it in my hand, coddle the thoughts as if they were precious and needed to be gently stirred whenever the feeling arises?

No, I’m a writer. I’ve stirred all my emotions with a pen. Laid them onto paper to be read by some unsuspecting reader of the future who happens to like pain and misery. They’ll drink the tea of my past, swallow it and either regurgitate it for the simple fact that the truth can not be stomached, or swallow the warm drink and find that it has become poison in their system.

I was asked if I missed my past life. Which one? The one prior to me being born? Yes, because it was heaven. The one prior to me coming to Nebraska? In my honesty, I have to admit, no. I miss a few family members but that’s about all that I miss.

I went back home a few years ago to Baltimore. Thinking foolishly again that I might have been missed to some extent. I was there because of my mothers medical problem, she had had a stroke and mis-communication from everyone had her on her deathbed, when in reality she had a stroke and wanted me there to be with her, just in case.

Did everyone come out of the woodwork to see me? No, just my sister, who I saw at the hospital a few times and my  niece who found her way to my hotel to visit with me. She was living at  her dad’s home with her husband and five siblings. Going through a ton of her own stuff, I made my way to see her and her brothers and sisters.

Memory lane was a hard stroll. I visited my bro and his wife and she berated me for the way my mother treated me like a precious gem and my brother got the treatment of a bullfrog. This is not quite how I remember it, but I took it all and brought all the agony of the visit back to Texas where I went on a healing binge.

Unfolding in my memoirs is the story of a young girl, who was taken to bars to sit with a bunch of men as mother and dad drank, the brothers were all off on their own escapades. I’ll go down the lane and talk of the many nights we sat at neighbors houses because of parental arguing and small daughters clinging to the mother by her housecoat as she fled.

I’ll also revel in the many joyous Christmas’ that the children were given. Were our parents perfect? No! Did the children have everything they ever needed, yes. But we needed love and that was the instrumental element that was missing in all of the kids life. Did I get more love than the others? Maybe because I was the baby, and clung to my mother like a wet noodle to a ceiling.

Each of us has a different tale to tell. My past is where I want it, in the past, not part of my future. It molded me and shaped me, but as I let it go, I release my pain, I am healed as I walk down memory lane, the one I create, to become my future.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blog-o-sphere

Job 17:12 They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.
***
Blog Catalog

What happened to the friendly, easy to maneuver place where links were at the click of a mouse. Blogs were found easily and you could SHOUT OUT to a blog you liked and visited with an effortless flow. It was bright, congenial, new friends were made, blogs of importance were easily noted, and I visited often, to see what was new in the blogosphere.

Well one day I clicked and could have sworn I hit the wrong button. I thought I hit some kind of stock photography site, with all the pics and chosen links.  The also have an, ‘expose yourself’ option where you can, here’s the catch, PAY to have your blog front and center. Isn’t that sweet? You can pay to have your blog front and center! Before the upgrade, the expose your blog annoyingly appeared in your shout box whether you liked it or not. I couldn’t tell you where it is now.

A nice little box at the bottom, of all the PLUS members, showing just who paid to upgrade, and next to that is a list of links of POPULAR  BLOG CAT, I can’t read the rest because I have a big black stripe down the entire right side of the page, on both firefox AND my Internet Explorer.

So while I’m enjoying discovering new things about Blog Catalog, and see this catalog of blogs advancing into the future, I’m not tech savvy to where I can understand why half of my screen is obliterated from being seen.

On the list of topics, I see Arts, Entertainment and such, along with WRITING, and when clicked, my blog is fifth from the top! Woohoo! Now I’m LOVING blog catalog because many of my followers have found me through them, and commented and went on to join the Free Writing Course (f2k) that Writer's Village University has in session right now as I write this.

Am I giving Blog Catalog a bad review? By no means at all. They have taken the needs of the blog writers, given them a display case, and allowed them to shine and stand on their own merit. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. I just want the black strip down the right side of my page gone so I can leave friends a comment, shout out to them, let them know I’m reading and enjoying their work.

I told one of my students the other day, after we at the F2K have been upgraded to a new site, “It’s all about clicking in this cyber world.” And I’m finding with Blog Catalog, the more I click, the more I learn. I might not be a tech savvy woman, but I certainly am a click happy one.

Happy Writing...and Happy Blogging!






What happened to the friendly, easy to maneuver place where links were at the click of a mouse. Blogs were found easily and you could SHOUT OUT to a blog you liked and visited with an effortless flow. It was bright, congenial, new friends were made, blogs of importance were easily noted, and I visited often, to see what was new in the blogosphere.

Well one day I clicked and could have sworn I hit the wrong button. I thought I hit some kind of stock photography site, with all the pics and chosen links.  The also have an, ‘expose yourself’ option where you can, here’s the catch, PAY to have your blog front and center. Isn’t that sweet? You can pay to have your blog front and center! Before the upgrade, the expose your blog annoyingly appeared in your shout box whether you liked it or not. I couldn’t tell you where it is now.

A nice little box at the bottom, of all the PLUS members, showing just who paid to upgrade, and next to that is a list of links of POPULAR  BLOG CAT, I can’t read the rest because I have a big black stripe down the entire right side of the page, on both firefox AND my Internet Explorer.

So while I’m enjoying discovering new things about Blog Catalog, and see this catalog of blogs advancing into the future, I’m not tech savvy to where I can understand why half of my screen is obliterated from being seen.

On the list of topics, I see Arts, Entertainment and such, along with WRITING, and when clicked, my blog is fifth from the top! Woohoo! Now I’m LOVING blog catalog because many of my followers have found me through them, and commented and went on to join the Free Writing Course (f2k) that Writers Village University has in session right now as I write this.

Am I giving Blog Catalog a bad review? By no means at all. They have taken the needs of the blog writers, given them a display case, and allowed them to shine and stand on their own merit. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. I just want the black strip down the right side of my page gone so I can leave friends a comment, shout out to them, let them know I’m reading and enjoying their work.

I told one of my students the other day, after we at the F2K have been upgraded to a new site, “It’s all about clicking in this cyber world.” And I’m finding with Blog Catalog, the more I click, the more I learn. I might not be a tech savvy woman, but I certainly am a click happy one.

Happy Writing...and Happy Blogging!


Job 17:12 They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.
***
What happened to the friendly, easy to maneuver place where links were at the click of a mouse. Blogs were found easily and you could SHOUT OUT to a blog you liked and visited with an effortless flow. It was bright, congenial, new friends were made, blogs of importance were easily noted, and I visited often, to see what was new in the blogosphere.

Well one day I clicked and could have sworn I hit the wrong button. I thought I hit some kind of stock photography site, with all the pics and chosen links.  The also have an, ‘expose yourself’ option where you can, here’s the catch, PAY to have your blog front and center. Isn’t that sweet? You can pay to have your blog front and center! Before the upgrade, the expose your blog annoyingly appeared in your shout box whether you liked it or not. I couldn’t tell you where it is now.

A nice little box at the bottom, of all the PLUS members, showing just who paid to upgrade, and next to that is a list of links of POPULAR  BLOG CAT, I can’t read the rest because I have a big black stripe down the entire right side of the page, on both firefox AND my Internet Explorer.

So while I’m enjoying discovering new things about Blog Catalog, and see this catalog of blogs advancing into the future, I’m not tech savvy to where I can understand why half of my screen is obliterated from being seen.

On the list of topics, I see Arts, Entertainment and such, along with WRITING, and when clicked, my blog is fifth from the top! Woohoo! Now I’m LOVING blog catalog because many of my followers have found me through them, and commented and went on to join the Free Writing Course (f2k) that Writers Village University has in session right now as I write this.

Am I giving Blog Catalog a bad review? By no means at all. They have taken the needs of the blog writers, given them a display case, and allowed them to shine and stand on their own merit. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. I just want the black strip down the right side of my page gone so I can leave friends a comment, shout out to them, let them know I’m reading and enjoying their work.

I told one of my students the other day, after we at the F2K have been upgraded to a new site, “It’s all about clicking in this cyber world.” And I’m finding with Blog Catalog, the more I click, the more I learn. I might not be a tech savvy woman, but I certainly am a click happy one.

Happy Writing...and Happy Blogging!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Negative Capability

Gen. 45: 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
***
Negative Capability
***
Into a raging sea I ride,
all my will I freely hide
take me now upon the wave.
toss me out for all I gave.

Life is crying out in pain
my mind is rolling with the rain
I hear the voices calling within
A dormant battle I never win.

Hold my hand while I cry
don’t let me be the one to die.
Free me from this angry soul
Set me high where I can stroll.

There He is, not far away
calling me into a new day.
My hand in His, our hearts are one
the battle is free, I feel I’ve won.

Lift me higher into the place
where I can see His adoring face.
I will accept the Master’s plan
trust in Him and not in man.
***


author’s note:
On December 21, 1817, the poet John Keats  wrote a letter to his brother in which he expressed and named a quality of human existence that is tricky to articulate. Keat’s formulation has been adopted by philosophers, poets, and others ever since.
Roughly, the idea is our ability to simultaneously acknowledge the unpredictable nature of events and conduct ourselves with confidence and happiness. He called this familiar yet complex concept negative capability

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quotation Saturday

OVERCOMING FAILURE

"It doesn't matter how much milk you spill as long as you don't lose the cow."
-Harvey Mackay

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it."
-William Durant

"I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy."
-Anthony Robbins

"Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again."
-Henry Ford

SKILLS

"The better you get at your key skills, the more you accomplish in a shorter period of time."
-Brian Tracy

"Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom."
-Jim Rohn

"If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things."
-Vincent Van Gogh


MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Happiness and a meaningful life come from making differences. But this is the most important rule to follow: Always make the differences you can make, not the differences you would prefer to make but can't. As you keep making differences, your skill will automatically and effortlessly increase. Anything human beings repeat they get more skillful at. Including misery!
-Lyndon Duke


You count. You make a difference. You can add to the sum of beauty and joy and love and understanding in the world (for yourself, your family, your friends, your community, however you define it), or you can subtract from those already scarce enough commodities. What you do matters.
-Vincent Barnett

VISION

"Teaching people skills without giving them a vision for a better future a vision based on common values is only training."
-Nido Qubein

"With vision, every person, organization and country can flourish.  The Bible says, ‘Without vision we perish.’"
-Mark Victor Hansen

"Yesterday's passions may not serve tomorrow's goals."
-Frederic Hudson

We're writers, we all see things in a new light.~ Joni Zipp

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's in a grade?

Mic. 7: 4 The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
***
Well the other day report cards came out. Believe it or not this is the third one since August 16th.  I was reminded of how, in my day, (didn’t you always hate hearing those words, in my day? Now I’m one of them.) a report card came three times a year? December, March and our final one in June.

Now I don’t get grades on my writing, but if I got a report card, it would scare me I imagine, as it scares kids when they don’t know what will be on that report card. Writers want to hear good things about themselves and again, I think kids do too.

I home schooled my son all his life so this report card thing was new to me. A government run school system grading my child and taking matters in their hands as to what is best for him, that scares the beejeebies out of me. I don’t trust very easily, and with each report card, I see why.

My neighbor kid told me he passed last year with straight C’s. I said, "well that’s not good." He went on to tell me he already knew everything so school was stupid anyway.
A ‘C’ to me was a 70 average.

My son this week, received an Ace Award for his excellence in Art. He loves art, excels at the class and was honored to receive such acclamations from his teacher. Kids love praise, there’s a no brainer. At the parent/teacher meeting he got all excellent reviews on how mannerly, responsible, respectable and how he’s an all around great kid.

Grades...they numb the child. Never having been in school in his life, the past three months have been challenging to him to say the least and I see him growing with each obstacle. I am not the kind of parent who needs to have an over achiever in my family so I look good. I am happy because my child is happy. Parents will agree, they want nothing more for their child than to be happy.

The grading system in my brain: 95-100 ‘A+’, 90- 94 ‘A’, 85-89 ‘B+, 80-84 ‘B’, 75-79  ‘C+’, 70-74 ‘C’. So when my son’s report card came in the mail, and I see a straight line of eighties, I’m happy! Only to find that the schools grading system has the letters listed as C’s and C+'s. ???? I don’t understand. Now I'm discouraged!

I remember years ago, they said they were going to do away with the Alpha system because it put pressure on the kid. It made them feel incompetent in places that they knew they did their best. Isn’t doing their BEST, what it’s all about? To me it is and it is acceptable. I EXPECT NOTHING MORE!!!

While parents and school systems push their children into athletics and over-achieving, I am happy my child, taken from a home based school system being thrust into an extremely difficult society of, sex driven over achievers, he is doing his best and I am a proud mother.

You want more from my child? When you get blood out of a turnip!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Second opinion?

1 Kings18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
***
When I write a novel, is my work enough to go ahead and submit? I think when you finish a novel, as many many writer’s will do, they’ll get a second opinion. Stephen King and Dean Koontz both have trusted friends that they turn to when their manuscript is completed.

Sure they’ve re-read the work, edited it, revised a little, but then their gut instinct tells them to let someone with a different opinion read this. It is precious to a writer, their manuscript, and we are not just going to trust our opinion or a family members opinion, on something so precious; we’re going to go with that gut instinct and seek out a second opinion.

So why are writer’s so willing to let their precious art of words, fall into a strangers hand after meticulously finishing a novel? Because we know, we can not bear the burden alone. We know that through a second opinion we’ll get a clearer view of what needs to be changed or fixed.

How come when a medical emergency arises, we take a doctors word as gospel truth? Why are we so willing to put our trust in a man, we barely know, never checked his credentials, his success rate or his ability to perform a major surgery?

I’ve been given ten fingers, so if the doc messes up on surgery on one of them, I have nine more, no big loss. Same goes for my toes. But when we’re talking spinal surgery? I want to know my doctor is up for the chore of performing. Same with my eyes, my liver, my heart. These are tender parts of our anatomy that warrant a second opinion from another doctor.

I know many insurance plans welcome a second opinion from another doctor. If the person was diagnosed, received the wrong info, isn’t really in need of a surgery, then that would save the company a lot of money in the long run. But when you can’t afford medical insurance, you take what you can get.

Take for example my beaus eye surgery. We didn’t have the luxury of choosing a well-known respected doctor, we had to take Lion Lady’s direction, and go to a doctor in Omaha, where the Lions fund the clinic. We get bad news that the left eye is unsalvageable, we get good news that there is a fifty percent chance that the right eye is good enough to have eye surgery, but with further testing. We get the testing, and we need even further testing to make sure the eye can be saved.

Everyone can be heard rejoicing at this news, but really nothing is definite, until we get further testing! Lion lady already called and asked when the surgery was scheduled? Scheduled? Jumping the gun lion lady, WE NEED MORE TEST!

Beau's doctor in Dallas had numerous awards and medical degrees all displayed on her wall. From Boston College to different places across the globe, her training as well as her ability, was visually present for all her patients to see, and for reassurance.

A second opinion can save a lot of heartache of botched surgeries, misdiagnosis, and it can save a writer a lot of uncertainty.
“A bird can not take flight with just one wing.” Joni

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family...your worst enemy?

Eph 3: 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
[15] Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
***


Family....your worst enemy

I know that statement is harsh but in my experience, it is the truth. Sure your family is great, all smiles when you’re close to them, a 'normal' family with open arms, opinions, prodding and assistance. But move hundreds of miles away and see just how much your family really cares.

I think from my writing you can glean I was a messed up kid. I have four brothers and a sister and our intricate weaving of closeness ran about as layered as an Igloo’s ice block.  We were close while we could do something for one another. We were there for one another when we had to be, but there was something missing in my childhood that eludes me to this day; genuine heartfelt LOVE!

As you read in my two previous posts, there were decisions trying to be made for me, there was a lot of discouragement and there was hope dashed whenever it could be dashed, by circumstances and family that is.

I got an email the other day from a long lost family member. We had been close at one time in our lives, but ever since I left home and gave up on that whole ‘family’ business and started looking out for me, I talk to no one but my mother (daily), and my sister and niece on occasion.

Not that I haven’t tried to reach out. I called, but the calls got far and few in between until they ended completely. My family is the type, they don’t call you, unless you call them. How’s that for love? One year, my ex had given my brother three hundred dollars to mail to my son. It never made it here. Bro said he felt bad and would send it from his own pocket but, that too never made it here.

So why should I have gotten excited by an email that said, “How are you?” Because people, I hold out hope that someone from that clan really does love me. I was wrong. I wrote back in excitement, shared my joys, sorrows and triumphs and my son attending school. And the response? An ice block. “My family is great, my life is great, everything is great,” reported the email. Not one ounce of, “Sorry to hear you’re going through all of that,” nothing. A compassion-less heart, frigid.

What does any of this have to do with writing? Let me tell you. I was encouraged by the Grace of God. I went on with the Lord’s blessing. I continued through all hardships and struggles to stand firm in my belief. The writing community is my family now. They love, appreciate and encourage me, every step of the way. Just like a family should!

I now know what genuine heartfelt love is! Even if the people reside all over the world, I know to them, I am somebody. To them, I am family.

The writing community is a FAMILY. We don’t just ‘write’, we LOVE!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Encouragement?

Tim 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Encouragement is not an ugly word! Discouragement is.

When I was growing up, I never had anyone in my life that encouraged me to ever become a single thing. I learned from my surroundings to drink, do drugs and waste my life in the process, but along came grace and found me in the clutches of the evil one and took hold of me, shaking me into a new being, one where I could believe in myself.

God found me at an early age, lying in the pool of discouragement. No one in this world came along side of me and said, “You can do it!” I found God at an early age, and asked Him if I could do it, and He said, “Yes you can!”

So from about fourteen years old, I learned that God was going to be my only source of inspiration and that He would encourage me when I was weak and just needed to hear those three words, “Yes you can!”

Encouragement can be misconstrued also. Have you ever seen a kid on the football field, doing lousy, shoulders down, eyes to the ground and when you ask him, “What’s the matter.” He says, “I don’t like football.”

“You don’t like football? Then why are you playing it?"

“My dad wanted me to. He encouraged me to play, even though he knew I didn’t like this game.”

“And you always do what you’re told or encouraged to do?”

“Well, yeah. Don’t wanna let him down, is all.”

How many of us, as children, or have watched our friends as kids, have played that game of pleasing the parent and not ourselves? I bet its a lot of you, if you can be honest with yourself.

I’ve had so many writers come into f2k and Writers Village University and say to me point blank, “I’ve always wanted to be a writer!”

And I always say, “So why haven’t you ever taken any action before your seventieth birthday?”

“Well, mom and dad wanted me to be a lawyer,doctor...____________”
You fill in the blank.

Encouragement is a good thing, as long as we know that we’re not putting *our* wants before the person receiving the encouragement. Sometimes people become so selfish with what they want, they don’t realize that their encouragement could hurt or hinder the growth of the individual.

My advice to you, friends. Follow your heart and what it is telling YOU. It’s nice to hear insight from others, but don’t allow it to shape your decision. You are your own person, capable of making up your own mind. Talk to God, ask him if you can and should be a writer. I bet I know what he’s going to say, “YES YOU CAN!”

Please note: If you’ve never had an inkling or ever wanted to be a writer, God might let you know to stay where you are. ;) Also note: If you are not happy doing what you are currently doing, ask yourself, “Am I doing this for me? Or someone else because THEY wanted me to do this?”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Everything changes when you change. ~Jim Rohn


Woulda, coulda, shoulda, have to!

Ever run these through your brain.

Have you ever had a decision to be made, only to find that someone else took it upon themselves to make it for you? Can I ask, how did you feel and where did that leave you emotionally?

Me? I run on emotions. I get my fuel from the drinking pool of the Word, but my physical emotional state runs neck and neck with the ‘do this’ pool. I’ve been talking a lot about pools lately. I must miss Texas!

I personally like to make my own decisions. Whether it is to clean, mow, write, mope. These are the decisions I like to make for myself and when someone pipes in, “You have to do (clean)this,” or “You should (write) do that,” or worse, “Joni is going to (get a life) do this...” it always makes me want to run in the opposite direction and do something completely off the wall, you know, just to stir things up in the ‘pool’ of life?

I don’t like someone to tell me or anyone else (gossip) what *I* am going to do, when *I* haven’t even made a concrete decision in what I was going to do in the first place. I don’t like buckling to pressure. I don’t think anyone does. It makes a person feel incompetent in making his/her own decisions.

I remember telling people, I’m going off to become a writer, within a years time, they were like, “Did you write that novel yet? Make any money? You should get a real job! You would be better off. Think of what you could have.”

Yup, it’s the woulda, coulda, shoulda factor.

Pressure shatters me like a delicate vase on the ledge of a windowsill of an opened window. Any minute, I could come crashing down and break into a million pieces. If you’re going to tell me WHAT to do, why not put a vise on my head and turn until my brains pop out?

Yes, I have written a novel, I have a poetry book(s) in the works, my revisions are slow, finding a publisher is next. But will you share the truth of what I just said or will you spin your own take on it?

“Joni has found a publisher!” they say.

“Joni is a writer, and is going to be published. She said so herself.”  they retort.

Love that optimism people. Encourage me to keep it up! Say things like, “I hope you make the right decision.” Help by adding, “I know this decision must be hard and I know you’ll do the right thing.” But please, oh please don’t tell people I am definitely going to do this or that, unless I’ve told you that this is what I’m definitely going to do.

Encourage a writer to write, but don’t discourage them by saying, “You’re not published yet? I thought you were going to do that years ago?” Years ago I said I was going off to become a writer, and yes, that is exactly what I’m doing! WRITING!


"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. "~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ HOPE

Job 14:7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
***
Hope

(c) Joni Zipp

I hold hope in the palm of my hand
it slides right out like fine quicksand.
I hold hope in the budding flower
wait for the bloom with every hour.

I hold hope with every sunrise
it disappears into the nights eyes.
I hold hope in the pit of my heart
melting like wax it falls apart.

I hold hope with all of my dreams
but the little flower has died it seems.
I hold hope of every new day
soon the wind will whisk it away.

I have faith that hope will stand tall
wash away doubts, not letting it fall.
In my being reside faith and hope
With my Father I know I’ll cope.

Doubt and fear have all run away
I rise this glorious new found day.
I seek the Lord to Him I run
FAITH and HOPE shall not be undone!

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni  Zipp

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quotation Saturday

PASSION

"Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it." -William James

"The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions." -Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

ENTHUSIASM

Your attitude is the key. Keep up your enthusiasm and optimism through the tough times.
-Kay Yow

Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence.
-Henry Chester

CLARITY

"If you are clear about what you want, the world responds with clarity."
-Loretta Staples

"No man can always be right. So the struggle is to do one's best, to keep the brain and conscience clear, never to be swayed by unworthy motives or inconsequential reasons, but to strive to unearth the basic factors involved, then do one's duty."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Know thyself."
-Plato

LIFE

It is life itself that must be our practice. It is not enough to hear spiritual truth or even to have our own spiritual insights. Every aspect of what happens to us must become part of a learning experience.
-Diane Mariechild

The more science learns what life is, the more reluctant scientists are to define it.
-Leila M. Coyne

EMOTIONS:

The writer who cares more about words than about story – characters, action, setting, atmosphere – is unlikely to create a vivid and continuous dream; he gets in his own way too much; in his poetic drunkenness, he can't tell the cart – and its cargo – from the horse.
-John Gardner
 
It's better to write about things you feel than about things you know about.
-L P. Hartley
 
If you would write emotionally, be first unemotional. If you would move your readers to tears, do not let them see you cry.
-James J. Kilpatrick

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good News! To see again...

Matt.19: 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
***

Well folks, good news came in the way of a telephone call yesterday.

As many of you know, if you’ve read my blog, that my beau is blind. We’ve been trying to get help, we’ve been praying, and maybe our prayers have finally been answered. He needs a cornea transplant and cataract surgery and we’ve found out that one eye, his right eye, has possibilities.

Our first trip to Omaha was wind swept and the long drive was tiring and back-aching. It’s a four hour trip both ways; that’s four to Omaha and four hours back home. The first trip we met with 35 mph gusting to 45mph winds which, you might think me a big sissy, but driving on a narrow two lane interstate, with wind pushing and shoving the truck to and fro, is not a fun task.

In front of me trucks were swerving left and right trying to stay in their lane, to my left cars flying by me at no less than 80 mph, and to my right, a rippled edge to keep drivers awake? Well at 80 mph hour that ripple helps you in losing control of your vehicle. On that day, I never reached 65mph. It was sixty all the way. To top it off, it was a ninety degree day and we have no A.C. in the vehicle, so it was also a dripping wet travel experience.

This trip was more pleasant. No winds, cool temps, still back aching, but a nice trip nonetheless. We were in the office maybe twenty minutes then it was back home.

The wait. We had to wait for the dr.’s office to let us know, if after looking behind the cataract via an ultra sound, if the eye was well enough to go through surgery so beau can see again.

The call. It came and she (the assistant, never a doctor) said beau needed more test but the dr. thought that the eye looked well enough back there to perform surgery. Good news!!! A resounding WOOHOO!!

Another trip. Well actually it will be many many more trips back to Omaha, but our next trip is scheduled for November 13. The doc is going to do even more tests, hopefully put him on the cornea donor’s list, probably get him to see a dermatologist and a sinus expert (preferably in Kearney) closer to home.

The wait. More waiting as we’ll have to wait for someone to die, to donate a cornea and be a perfect match. To think that God already has someone picked out to die so my beau can see again is scary. His last doctor was scrupulous in picking out a cornea and did all the aids testing, and other transferring tests that needed to be done so that the surgery was successful. He got an eighteen year old suicide victims cornea last time. It had a life expectancy of twenty years and lasted only seven in my beaus body. I pray for that boy and the family who donated his cornea. And I pray now for the next person and their family.

We wait in anticipation of seeing again. If only for a year, two years or seven, he will see once again if things go well! That is certainly GOOD NEWS to share with you all!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hakuna Matata

Is. 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
***
Hakuna matata is a beautiful phrase from the Swahili language. In short that means “no worries for the rest of life”!
 
Isn’t that a nice concept? No worries for the rest of your life. Can you imagine?
 
On the threshold of tomorrow, we all have worries and concerns. I like to give all my worries to God because I feel He is better equipped to handle my baggage than I am capable of doing.
 
Writers have worries also, and with each word, sentence, paragraph, we wonder (not worry) if the next page will be as smoothly as the first. Will we or won’t we even be able to finish the book, short story? Will the words surface like bubbles under water, rise to the occasion; Be lifted by a force so that when it reaches the surface we grab it, only for it to pop?
 
Oh dear, I’ve opened a can of worms. But not to worry. Life is too short to sit in the worry pool. We would never accomplish anything in this place and time if we sat with worry by our side because where there is worry, doubt being its best friend, is right there alongside you too! I can list a whole slew of synonyms that ride along with worry and believe me, if you befriend worry, that list of synonyms clings to it like a spitball to a wall. Anguish, distress, misery, and my favorite worry friend, torture!
 
Do you see what I’m getting at here? If you allow one ounce of worry into your way of thinking, the other negative influences think they have a place in there too and they make sure they squeeze into the scene, never allowing for a positive and uplifting energy to form.The negative makes sure that the positive oozes out of the way, leaving you with what, one positive and ten negatives?
 
I’m no scientist here, but I’m 99.9% sure that ten negatives outweigh that one positive that is lingering there. So what I’m leading up to is an all encompassing peace to blanket your soul and carry you away from the worry scene.
 
Thoughts like ‘I WILL write!’, “I WILL accomplish my goal!”, “I WILL __________!” Place any positive on that line and you will do all you can do, be all you can be and achieve the outcome that you desire.
 
As I head off to Omaha in the morning, am I worried of the outcome? NO! Because I’ve placed worry and all his synonym friends in a pail for the Lord to carry across the sand for me, after all, it is His footprints I see, not my own!
 
Luke 12: 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
 
Matt 6: 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Dear Lord ...

Pss. 63:7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

Dear Lord....

Dear lord I pray to thee
with all my heart and soul set free
shower me with all your love
rain on me from high above.

Heavenly Father I know not
what your will is in my life
you cater to my every whim
by lifting pain and strife.

You hold my hand when I fear
I walk with bated breath
you stand near caressing my soul
at the hour of my death.

I can not pretend to know your plan
when doubt and fear collide
My will is not yours, this I know
From in the shadows I hide.

I walk without a tremble
at first I seem to fall
but there you are by my side
to help me through it all.

I hold out hope, that my wants
are equal to your own.
The message getting blurry
through all that I am shown.

Clarify your wants through me
shine in me your light;
So we can find great solace
in the passing of the night.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Quotation Saturday

RESOLVE

"People do not lack strength; they lack will." 
-Victor Hugo

"He who is firm in will molds the world to himself." 
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." 
-Abraham Lincoln

"Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind." -Leonardo da Vinci


HUMOR

"Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die." -Abraham Lincoln

"Wit penetrates; humor envelopes. Wit is a function of verbal intelligence; humor is imagination operating on good nature." 
-Peggy Noonan


"Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment." 
-Grenville Kleiser


DREAMS

Sometimes my dreams are so deep that I dream that I'm dreaming.
-Ray Charles

Never surrender your dream to noisy negatives.
-Author unknown

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. 
-Edgar Allan Poe

FAITH
 
And so faith is closing your eyes and following the breath of your soul down to the bottom of life, where existence and nonexistence have merged into irrelevance. All that matters is the little part you play in the vast drama. 
-Real Live Preacher
 
Desire, ask, believe, receive. 
-Stella Terrill Mann
 
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. 
- Confucius

Friday, October 08, 2010

Writing...the journey that leads...

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” - E. L. Doctorow

Just where does your writing journey begin and where does it end? Just where does all this lead? We sit at our desktop's typing out our words, spilling them onto paper, night after night, taking our character(s) on what seems an endless leg of walking only to find, it has to end somewhere right?

We writer’s are on the same journey as our characters. We flow like the stream, happenstance, like our plot, is built up to the point of high voltage, then we drop the bomb of conclusion and fall victim to an end.

Do any of you find that when you end your story, you find yourself sad because you had come alive via your characters and now they have come to a conclusion, and you wonder, where to next? We know we’re going to let it sit, for at least seven days before we pick it back up and go through scrutinizing and editing the piece, right?

If we’re lucky we might have a sequel to squelch the need to write or a story that preys on our mind until we have to get it out. Ever had a journey like that? If I didn’t have writing to get things off of my mind, or fictional worlds in which to climb, my life would be unbearably exhausting and insanity would ensue.

That’s what our writing needs to do. Build a world of insanity where we can plot, structure, form and mend all of our inner problems onto the paper of falseness. I say falseness because we’re not going to give our character a reality as close to our own now are we? 

The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy said that it was honoring the 74-year-old author "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat." ~The New York Times, 10/7/10

Through our writing we are allowed to give, shape and color our worlds. We are our character's god. We hold the pen of creation in our hand.  Did you read the above about the Nobel in Literature? ...structures of power and his trenchant images! Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. Images that brings your writing alive. Structure that shapes and forms into something believable. An entire world within your grasp.

Oh feel the power! Feel the pen! Release the artist within!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Lil Green Patch

Pss. 90: 6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
 
Ex. 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
***
Lil Green Patch
***
Where flowers in a field did prance
the moonglow perches ready to dance,
coyotes now howl, the elk they call
on the crux of the rising fall.

Spilling over are leaves on the lawn
silently I await the dawn.
Darkness lingers as frost gives rise
I wipe the stardust from the skies.

Little hearts all take a bow;
shooting stars kiss me somehow.
They reach across the open plain
sprinkle down like falling rain.

Drizzled in an earthly show
something grander is here, I know.
Within my mind I speak to them
give a little of all that I am.

An earthly angel they see in flight
to bear to them a heavenly light.
The heavens open in a fury
to Him I tend to give all glory.

Awakened now from this dream
everything is, as it would seem.
From the pages I dispatch,
the joy I found in a lil green patch.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Quotation Saturday

HOPE

"There never was night that had no morn.” 
-- Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." 
-- Martin Luther

"Great hopes make great men." 
-- Thomas Fuller

Hope, like the gleaming taper's light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
--OliverGoldsmith (1730 - 1774)


GOALS

"An unwritten want is a wish, a dream, a never-happen. The day you put your goal in writing is the day it becomes a commitment that will change your life. Are you ready?" -Tom Hopkins

"Goal-setting illuminates the road to success just as runway lights illuminate the landing field for an incoming aircraft." -Nido Qubein

"The establishment of a clear central purpose or goal in life is the starting point of all success." -Brian Tracy

We find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve. --
Maxwell Maltz

REFLECTION

"When death, the great reconciler, has come, it is never our tenderness that we repent of, but our severity."
--T.S. Eliot

"We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed! What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired?"
- -Marcus Annaeus Seneca

"Look at your past. Your past has determined where you are at this moment. What you do today will determine where you are tomorrow. Are you moving forward or standing still?"
--Tom Hopkins

"We should learn, by reflection on the misfortunes of others, that there is nothing singular in those which befall ourselves."
--Thomas Fitzosborne

It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible. Do not then be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause.
--Henry Ward Beecher
 

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
--Confucius
 

Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.
--Albert Einstein

Friday, October 01, 2010

Odds in our favor

Matt. 19: 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
***
Well, when beau received the diagnosis of 50% odds on the success of seeing again, I thought hmm...50 is better than 49, right?

Lets take a look at some supposed facts on 50% taken from statistical analysis:

*Odds of double-dip recession: Yes-25 percent. No, 50 percent ...

When yield spreads are factored in, the odds of a double-dip recession fall to 25 percent, according to a new study. When they're not included, the probability jumps up to 50 percent. --San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank

*Relationships improve your odds of survival by 50 percent ...

In the journal PLoS Medicine, BYU professors Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy Smith report that social connections -- friends, family, neighbors or colleagues -- improve our odds of survival by 50 percent.

*Fifty Percent of American Marriages End in Divorce-Fiction!

Truth or fiction.com sums it up: The bottom line is that marriage is still what it's always been: a commitment between two people who choose to remain faithful to each other. And they don't need to feel doomed because of scary statistics — least of all ones that are urban myths.

authors note: Is fifty per cent a scary statistic?

*Odds Are the San Francisco Giants Will Get What They Need Without Trades

They don't need to trade starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (who still has a 75 percent chance of being a productive big-league winner) to get outfielder Corey Hart (who'd come with 50-50 odds that his offensive numbers would diminish in the move.

*Study gives 50-50 odds Lake Mead will dry up by 2021 -

The report unveiled Tuesday by the University of California-San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography places Lake Mead's chances of running dry by 2021 at 50 percent, better than your odds of winning at any casino.
According to Scripps researchers, there is also a 50 percent chance that reservoir levels will fall low enough to shut down power generation at Hoover Dam by 2017, and a 10 percent chance the lake could be dry by 2014.

So what’s in all this percentage talk?

A percent is a ratio of a number to 100.

The probability of an outcome for a particular event is a number telling us how likely a particular outcome is to occur. This number is the ratio of the number of ways the outcome may occur to the number of total possible outcomes for the event.

With this in mind, there is a fifty percent probability that my beau will see again. Like a coin toss, you can win or lose. But are we not of the optimistic nature? I say that God is 100% of probable existence. If I said he was only fifty percent, that to me, is not very good odds of eternal life.

In my mind, with God, all things are possible and the probability of odds are nil with Him. If I think in odds, they are not in beaus favor with all the surrounding influences that go into making this surgery a success (eczema, sinus infections, allergies, asthma, meticulous searching of the perfect cornea, a well equipped doctor/surgeon). I won’t put my faith and trust in a doctor!

WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!! Now the odds are in OUR favor! :)

Psalms 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Pss. 71:14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.

Silent Protocol

Silent Protocol
Angel Always...godspeed

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award