on the occasion of my 100th post

The 100th post is a lot of pressure.

I feel like there should be cake. Picaken to be exact.

(This one was a blueberry pie encased in lemon cake. The Queen of Desserts.)

Or maybe there should be a present under your seat . . . go ahead. Look. 🙂

How about a picture of my cat? Who could apparently be making me crazy??? (DO NOT click that link if you love your cat. Don’t. Don’t do it. But if you must, bookmark it and get right back here.) Inside joke for those who chose to read: So now the new question is Crazy Cat Lady: which came first the crazy or the cat? Also, like any of us needed one more thing to worry about. Or to add fuel to the cat-haters’ fire.

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Apparently, she’s into reading now.

But seriously, thank you for reading and for coming back to this piece of cyberspace again and again. There’s a lot to read on the world wide web and so little time to read it. So thanks! I appreciate every read, every like, every comment (well, except spam and the few hater comments I’ve received), every share.

I started this blog three and a half years ago. (Don’t do the math. I am definitely an inconsistent blogger). “Addiction, recovery and faith” is where this piece of writing began. You can read about that here.

Every now and then though, I find that I need to write something different. Because that’s heavy stuff.

Besides you all seem to like it when I write other things . . . ironically, my most-read post of all time is about skipping school to go to the Super Bowl parade . .  . you know everybody loves a rebel.

Anyway, I’ll get back to the heavy stuff, but I do like variety. And joy. Joy is good. I hope that readers who come looking for encouragement in their battle with addiction — whether it’s their’s personally or a loved one’s — see that it’s possible to have joy again. Because in the middle of it, everything seems so hopeless.

So tonight, if you are willing to play along, and in honor of Throwback Thursday (how convenient is that?), please choose one of the posts below to visit.

Thank you!

most read posts about addiction

there’s something I have to tell you

most read post about recovery

a note from Dave

most read post about faith

when I fear I have lost my flavor

most read post of all time

12 great things you learn when you skip school to go to a Super Bowl Parade

* * * * *

Thanks for reading!

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17 things I say to my kids that I really should say to myself

If anyone anywhere very desperately needed to take her own advice, it would be me.

Things I say to my kids hourly, daily, and every so often:

1.  You need to be drinking water ALL the time!

2.  Get off the internet and do something productive.

3.  Eat some protein.

4.  What you really need to do is get ready the night before.

5.  Put that back where you got it.

6.  Be diligent.

7. Make good choices.

8.  Stop saying negative things about yourself, you’re going to end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy.

9.  You can do this.

10.  You don’t have to be the best. Just do your best and let it be what it is.

I talk a good game. Don’t you wish you were one of my kids?

* * * * *

It’s amazing how when you ask God to open up your eyes to where you’re missing the mark, He shows you.

Sometimes the answer comes like a punch in the gut. Sometimes, it’s an echo. Your own words coming back to you.

You can do this, I hear myself say . . .

11.  Focus.

12.  Do your best with what you have.

13.  God gave you a gift — use it.

14.  Quit comparing.

15.  Don’t be so afraid of rejection.

16.  Keep at it and don’t quit.

* * * * *

There are seasons . . .

. . . you stick to it and see change. You master the piece through practice. You labor over tedious assignments to get an A. You dribble incessantly in every spare minute and make the team.

And then there are seasons . . .

When you do all the things. Practically killing yourself to get there. And the promotion doesn’t happen. The part goes to someone else. The ref makes bad calls and you are defeated.

There are people — I used to be one of them — who thrive in that spot.  Don’t tell me I can’t because it will only make me work harder.

But as I dispense these true true phrases to my kids, I realize a thing about myself. Because I’ve seen it not happen like it should too many times. Cynical. I am cynical.

Because there are places where men’s voices are heard over women’s. Where tall dancers are cast and short ones aren’t. Where popularity wins over goodness. Where bankruptcy gets a pass and paying off debt takes decades. Where good suffers and evil is rewarded.

Yes, bad happens. Yes, the bad guys sometimes win. Yes, it isn’t fair.

But it doesn’t mean you’re a loser, or that you don’t have talent, or that you’re not worth listening to. Not in any way. And maybe that’s the most important thing I really should say to myself:

17. Tell yourself the truth. Over and over. Whenever lies begin to fill your head, tell them the Truth.

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1500 size Live the Season

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P.S. That’s my mom pep talk. I”ll leave the rest to this guy . . .

 

Michael Jordan

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Also, if you click on it, you can watch the commercial.

beginning again and again

This is the third of three posts on books that have inspired me in this season of my life. Grab your coffee, read the post, and then go check out one of Kathleen Norris’s books. (There are two authors named Kathleen Norris — this one is an essayist and poet.) 

* * * * *

Writers on writing and the writer’s all life seem to eventually get around to the mundane aspects of keeping house.

I think because it’s the housekeeping that gets most in the way of writing . . .

but I bet Kathleen Norris came up with these great lines when she was doing the chores:

“In dishwashing, I approach the moral realm;
there are days when it seems a miracle to be able to make dirty things clean.”

“Both housework and poetry require that I pull disparate things together,
sort through the odd pieces of my life,
and try to make a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Deep words for a Monday morning. And it’s about to get deeper . . .

Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life

person of faith

Sometimes, you read a book at exactly the right time and it makes a pierce-the-soul sort of impression on you. Whatever is in the writing of the story, somehow you feel like it’s yours, too.

That’s how I feel about writers like Madeleine L’Engle and Kathleen Norris.  They blend the writer’s life with family, housework, grief, faith, prayer and work.

Kathleen Norris is a Presbyterian who spent some time reviving from a particularly dry, discouraging season in a monastery. She describes the liturgy, prayers, and quiet in ways that express the healing combination of prayer and scripture reading and living in community.

Acedia & Me is where I started this Live the Season series for Write 31 Days. In this book, she dives further into the reasons for the seasons of discouragement and what met her there and pulled her out.

She talks about walking away from the Church and from her faith in God for a season, only to hear Him inviting her back through the kindness and love of a small-town, hymn-singing Protestant church and a bunch of monks:

However true and even beautiful this turning of times and seasons may be,

I tend to resist it as a necessary aspect of the spiritual life. Monastic writers

have always emphasized that maintaining a life of prayer means being willing

to start over, after one has acted in a sinful or destructive way. Both pride and

acedia will assert themselves, and it may appear that we are so far gone we may

as well give up and not embarrass ourselves further by pretending to be

anything but failures. It seems foolish to believe that the door is still open, that

there is always another chance. I may accept this intellectually, but I have come to

appreciate its depths only through experience. Just when I seem to have my life

in balance and imagine I can remain in this happy state forever, I lose sight of

the value of contemplation and prayer, and try to live without it. Soon enough,

once again, I am picking myself up out of the ashes.

–Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life

This is so true and yet I wish it wasn’t. Strange that it’s so difficult to pray when things are going well. And then the crash comes and we realize what we are missing and we pray until things are in balance again and then we try life on our own again. It’s a cycle, like the seasons.

Also . . . don’t you wish you could go live at a monastery for a few months? Or at least every Monday . . .

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As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.  Psalm 103:13-14

don’t give up your day job

I just realized there are probably a zillion posts and articles on the internet with that title. Normally, I would check to see and tell you just how many. But it doesn’t really matter because you are reading this one for some reason, and I don’t want to waste your time with facts . . .

This is the second in my series (a book for all seasons) within a series (Live the Season) which is not in any way a blog “inception” because that’s not really what that word means. Unless by “inception” you do not mean “dream within a dream” but rather “the beginning.” (And now I need to go back and watch that movie again to see if the person/people who gave it that title were actually far more brilliant than the ingenious plot . . .)

Anyway . . .

This post is about a book that has been especially inspiring for this season of my life.

Actually, maybe it IS after all an “inception” because it sparked my desire to read all sorts of autobiographies/memoirs about writing by people who write. Which I will write about later . . .

The book is Quitter by Jon Acuff and you can read all about it on Amazon.

But what it did for me was to remind me that:

A. I am my own patron of the arts.

I have no Medici family to fund my dreams. Many great artists of the Renaissance had to paint portraits of spoiled duchesses in order to have the means to paint the images in their souls. None of that analogy is in Quitter and I am no Botticelli . . . it’s just the thought that has worked for me when I begin to dream of doing nothing with my days but writing whatever and whenever I feel like it.

B. No one has time and yet everyone has time.

You have the perfect amount of time each day for the things that matter most. The key is spending time on those things. Few would boldly declare, “Today, watching television for two hours was one of the most important things I need to get done.” Yet that’s where we sometimes spend entire evenings.

The operative word in the phrase “enough time” is not time. It’s enough. And the truth you should accept is that you will probably never have “enough time to pursue your dream. But every day somebody somewhere is making magic with the less-than-enough time he has. So can you, if you stop focusing on the amount of time you have and start focusing on the amount of tasks that really matter. — Jon Acuff, Quitter

And so, instead of wallowing in the fact that I had to use all my creativity on writing for others for pay, I just went ahead and started writing the books in my heart.

Which led to blogging, because writing books was taking too long and the internet was where I went a decade ago to find help when I needed it most. I figured there were people out there like me looking for help, too. I  tested out how much I could say about addiction and recovery and life without shrinking back in fear and to put our story together in words and see if it was a story worth telling to more than a roomful of people who knew us.

I also blogged to re-find my voice — because when you are a copywriter, you write in the voices of others, for them, for their purposes and goals.

C. Embrace your day job and learn through it.

Not just copywriting, but mothering and being a wife. All the work I am called to do lends itself to the art of writing if I listen and let it.

The goal of this book is to get you to do what you love, with the life you already have. — Jon Acuff, Quitter

There’s much more, but it’s Saturday and I have a messy room to clean, a grocery list to make and a family to pay attention to. I’ve written more than enough for today. See? Learning.

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