Tag Archives: writing

A Writing Exercise.

During the month of November, I’ll be participating in National Blog Post Month, where I’ll publish a post every single day. Sometimes, like today, I’ll use prompts. This one I wrote in about five minutes.

Today’s prompt: Do you write in cursive?

I journal. Sometimes, I journal a lot, pages and pages at a time. Sometimes, there are weeks between the times I’m truly able to sit down and pour myself out. I don’t usually write about things that happened that day, or grocery lists for the next trip to the store, or my thoughts on the latest movie that came out. It’s not a 16-year-old’s diary, right? Sometimes, the pages are full of prayers, pleas to the Lord for one thing or another, one friend or family member who needs a touch from Him. Other times, I’m processing something that’s happened, something I’ve read, or something I heard on a podcast or in a sermon. But one thing has been consistent in my journals for years.

My handwriting.

I can look back at journals from college (now ten years ago) and immediately recognize my handwriting as if I’d just written on those pages yesterday. Typically, my heart-outpouring scrawl is a mostly cursive, quickly slurred jumble of letters that is readable, but may require some deciphering. I frequently leave out a letter in the blend of loops that is a longer word. I also slur words together, as if I’m dictating someone who’s had to much too drink. I also have a couple of letters I rarely write in proper cursive style (s’s, for example, and uppercase G’s). I’ll stop a word right in the middle to write an “s” in “print” instead of writing it in cursive.

I think the way this handwriting evolved was when I got to college, and needed to write a lot very quickly. When I took notes in high school, my writing varied depending on my mood – sometimes a lovely cursive, sometimes all caps (something I’d seen my mom do on grocery lists and such), and sometimes a neat and tidy print. But those things mostly happened when I had extra time, and wasn’t in a rush. My slippery cursive-print blend evolved from my necessity to get information (or feelings) onto the paper before the ideas fell out of my head again. I still love writing, or even just doodling my name, particularly with a fancy pen. And, by the way, fancy pen for me doesn’t constitute something like a fountain pen. It really just means one that doesn’t blot, might be a lovely color of blue, and won’t smear onto the side of my hand.

Because I’m left-handed. I know you’ve seen someone with lead or ink smeared on the outside pad of their left hand before… right? I used to hate coloring with markers because I couldn’t keep my hand from getting covered in ink. My OCD goes way back to my early childhood days, trying not to be messy. And I still don’t like it.

I wrote a song.

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

A few months ago, I went to a worship leading conference with Paul Baloche. (Hey, Paul! You’re great! No, we didn’t meet. But yeah, I love you. Totally.) Anyway, I ended up in his songwriting workshop. Before I go on, let me make myself clear: I have never fashioned myself a songwriter. I was a music major in college, complete with composition classes and arranging classes and task-oriented composing all through theory classes and the like. But no assignment or little ditty I wrote was ever very good. I have never assumed that if I sat down to write an actual song, something would actually come out.

That being said, this songwriting workshop inspired me to give it a go. I actually had a moment of inspiration (weakness?) where I thought up a couplet in my head. Isn’t that how the greats do it? “I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes…” Anyway, so this couplet just popped into my head, and I made a voice reminder on my iPhone with it. You know, so I wouldn’t forget.

Well, that turned into me digging in the Psalms, texting back and forth with my worship pastor (ever the encouraging friend) and making my husband tell me if it sounded like crap. Which turned out to be him saying that it didn’t sound like crap! It was about a week-long process of simultaneously being unable to stop thinking about and wanting it to be finished but not knowing how to get there.

Paul Baloche’s suggestions were all things like “Keep writing even if it’s not good.” and “You’ll write a hundred bad songs for every good one.” and “Use your journal for inspiration.” which was how I had come up with that couplet: journaling. I used to have time for journaling a lot, but since having kids, and then staying home with them, I somehow have less time than I used to (cue all the moms cry-laughing, agreeing with the lack of time). But when I do sit down to do it, it tends to be heavier, albeit shorter. But just a moment of me writing my prayers landed me in a songwriting mood, culminating in an actual completed song. I guess there’s no reason I should’ve been so hard on myself about it, since I did really enjoy the process. I’m a little nervous that like Paul said, now that I’ve got one song that didn’t totally suck, the next hundred will be bad ones. But if my heart is in the right place, and I’m writing something because I’m worshiping Jesus, it’ll be pleasing to Him anyway.

Currently

It’s that time again… the beginning of yet another month. How is it possible that March is here already? I can’t believe how unseasonably warm it’s been here in NC, and the fact that my allergies are already acting up. But at least I’ve been wearing my Chacos and enjoying some much-needed sunshine! (Well, except for right this second, as it’s beginning to cloud over and look like that rain they’ve forecasted for the evening.)

Anyway, it’s another Currently link-up with Anne in Residence, and this month we’re joined by Carrie at A Stylish Fit as our co-host! Thanks, ladies! Here’s what I’m currently up to…

Watching || This Is Us. I was late to the party, and am still not caught up to the most recent episode, but I’m REALLY enjoying it. It’s fun to see Mandy Moore back around, and I’m loving the dynamics of the triplets as “grown ups”. I still won’t say this is the best show I’ve ever seen, but I truly do enjoy it.


Eating || VERY healthy. As I mentioned last week, I’m doing a fitness challenge and training for a half marathon. This means food as fuel as not as an indulgence, so I’m overhauling my diet to accommodate. For instance, our group is doing “meatless Monday” and so I didn’t have meat at all on Monday! Good thing Hubby is also on board. 

Saying || prayers over my half-marathon training, and my knee. Last night I did something stupid, and got my knee bashed from the side. Naturally, I immediately freaked out thinking I’d torn my meniscus or something crazy, iced it, and took ibuprofen and rested for the rest of the night. This morning, I woke up feeling MUCH better, with a bruise in the place of impact, but there is some residual tightness and soreness I’m trying to rest and ice and anti-inflame again today.

Wearing || work-out attire pretty much all day, every day. I’ve never really been one who likes to do this, but it does help me get the workouts in, motivation-wise. AND there’s no point in showering early, drying my hair, putting on mascara, and dressing nicely when I know I’m going on a run in two hours. It’s going to be easier for me to try to knock out the workouts as early in the day as possible so that I can feel like I “got ready” afterwards. I feel a little more like myself when I’m not dressed like a bum all day.

Posting || a little more very soon, hopefully. My Big Jesus (the site I had been writing for weekly) is relaunching as Everyday Exiles soon, and then I’ll be back to writing a lot more and posting about it. I’ve also been featured on Perfection Pending, and will have another post up on her site this week!

Well, what’s going on with you currently? Leave a comment, or link up with us and share!

Being Uncomfortable 


Today, I had a meeting about a ministry I’m a part of. It was a room full of Christians, some my friends and some strangers. Some of us were writers, some artists, some more practically-minded. We were meeting to discuss the future of the ministry, to brainstorm, to dream a little. 

One thing that came up and stuck with me was discussing things that were current. Less about church history (not to be discounted, by the way!) and more being a Christian in today’s world. Less about the easy stuff and more about being uncomfortable

The world we live in isn’t comfortable. It shouldn’t take you much effort to see that. Even if you are in a comfortable home situation, a comfortable job, or a comfortable relationship, you don’t have to look very far (or scroll very far back through your Facebook feed) to see, read, or hear things that are uncomfortable. As a Christian, what can you do about it? You can’t give to every single charity, and you can’t  volunteer for every single event or drive or whatever. There are thousands of ways to “help” and frankly I get quite overwhelmed by it. 

What does it look like to be a good Christian? What does it look like to reflect Jesus in my culture? Or at the very least in my circle of influence? I don’t know all the right answers. I don’t have a solution to the question of “when and where and how much do I do”. But I do know that most change (and yes, change is what we need) begins with doing something uncomfortable

What this looks like for you, I cannot say. But what I’m afraid (Yep, I went there. Afraid is what I meant.) it means for me is that I’m about to get uncomfortable in my writing. And that makes me really nervous. 

Before I scare you off, let me explain. 

Uncomfortable for me might be writing about things I don’t know as much about. It might mean doing a little more research, or changing my style for a piece. It might mean writing about a topic I don’t usually like, or something I’ve never written about before. It might mean baring my soul to you about an uncomfortable topic, and opening myself up to criticism (please be kind). It might mean writing something that challenges you and me to think out of the box, or to try something new. Those things are uncomfortable for most of us. It may just get crazy in my little corner of the Internet. 

But you know what? Jesus was radical. He did things that weren’t allowed. He said things that were unconventional and rocked the boats of the Pharisees and the priests. He also spread the love of God and paved the way for salvation for all who would listen and believe. It might’ve been uncomfortable, but that’s where I want to be. I want to be there with him, spreading the Gospel in radical and unconventional ways, rocking boats and making a change. Now, the work I have to do is get used to being uncomfortable. 

When they go low, we go high.

Michelle Obama rocked us with these words in her speech at the DNC, and they should still be true now that the election is over.

I’ve seen more hate today on my newsfeed than anything else. People firing at one another, or just firing aimlessly – ammunition for arguments, for hurt feelings, for America to take a giant step backward. I’m not writing today to make any political statements. I told you yesterday that I voted for Hillary, and I would do it again today. But there is something more important right now than who voted for who, or why they did. What’s more important is that we do not let things divide us even further. An election is divisive by nature, but we need to unite under a cause we should all be able to get behind.

Let’s unite to spread love, to be welcoming and hospitable, to be helpful and kind. There is no excuse to spew hatred. I cried myself to sleep last night, and woke crying again this morning. But I refuse to be brought to the level of pointing fingers, blaming anyone and everyone who disagrees with you. Our country is only as scary, ugly, and bigoted as we allow it to be. The way to combat the hate, bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, or any other forms of intolerance is to BE THE LOVE. Be the tolerance, be the acceptance, be the encouragement, be the grace for each and every person you come in contact with. Get to know and love people who are different from you. Support them. Love them. Even if it’s tough for you – it’s good exercise.

So as you go about your day tomorrow, the rest of the week, through the end of the year, and prepare for Mr. Trump to be sworn in this coming January, decide how to go high, even if those around you are going low. Those words won’t ever lose their relevancy. Choose the high road, the tolerant road, the road of love.

This post is a part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece each day in November. Often, I’m exercising my writing muscle and writing something that’s out of the box for me. Thank you for bearing with me and following along.

Overcome

I wrote this some months ago, thinking of submitting it here or there. It never seemed fully cohesive, but I’ve come to a stand-still on how to improve it. So here it is, unfinished, but meaningful to me. It’s time I let it go.

I was overcome.

In an instant, I was overcome with thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams, and overwhelmed by the flood of emotions.

I saw my little ones for what they would become… Independent. Whole. Grown. I saw them that moment not needing me anymore. Not wanting to hold my hand, or worse, preferring to hold someone else’s instead.

The tears came then, even as I strapped my baby into his car seat. His brother was dancing around the room, chanting the name of the cousin we were off to see. That dancing boy wasn’t as clumsy, and he spoke more clearly. What had happened to my barely toddling, nonsense-jabbering baby? He is still there, the same chubby smile beneath the same blue eyes. But so many things are different. The mixed emotions of pride in his growth and sadness in his disappearing babyhood flooded me at the same time. Excitement mingled with nostalgia is the feeling that replaced the months of tiredness mingled with nausea.

I know that when I have a baby, he won’t stay that way. I’m not surprised by the growth and the change. It’s actually the fun part, discovering alongside them, helping them learn and talk and walk and become a little more self-sufficient each day. But there’s a sadness, too, and sometimes, some days, I’m overcome by it. I need to shed a few tears for the baby they’ve left behind, because all I’ll have is memories of that little round face, bald head, or chubby hand. But I will have gained a runner, a cook, a hugger, and a singer. I’ll have a new friend, a hilarious joker, a brave and athletic boy, a smart and sensitive girl. I am glad for the shift. I am glad for the change. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss the past.

This post is part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a  piece each day in November.

Currently

Happy Monday, and happy Halloween! I’ve never been more happy to not be in the classroom as I am right now. Monday + Halloween is the worst elementary school combo I can think of.

Since it’s already November,  I’m linking up with Anne in Residence and A Short Blonde for their first Wednesday link up as well. I haven’t done a little update in a few weeks, so here’s a little bit about what I’m currently doing!

Celebrating || my bestie’s new baby girl! She arrived last week, and I was excited to be able to spend most of my time in the hospital during her labor. It’s such an interesting and beautiful process, and it was really neat to be a part of it from the outside, versus being the mother in labor. Here’s a picture of sweet Adele being snuggled by my J.

Hoping || for a few good pictures for a Christmas card! My friend Mary Catherine was sweet enough to come take pictures of our family last night, and when I get done writing this post, I plan to go through them, and try to arrange a few for our Christmas card. There’s a sneak peek below…

Wearing || blanket scarves and ponchos and big sweaters. This is sort of new for me, but I found a couple of things at Target and one at TJ Maxx that I fell in love with, and they’re going to be my favorite accent pieces this fall. A couple of them are tribal patterns, which I love! They don’t work super well with coats, mostly because they’re bulky, so it’s likely that I’ll drop them when it gets really cold – maybe around Christmas time. This photo is a peek from our shoot with MC yesterday, and I’m wearing one of those pieces I love!

Enjoying || a quick date with Hubby yesterday afternoon! My mom has been in town for the past few days, and during naptime, she let us go to our local beer growler store and enjoy a couple of flights. It’s been a while since we were able to just sneak out like that. Our dates usually take a lot of planning.

Eating || So. Much. Pho. It’s such a good fall treat, and fairly healthy. If you don’t know anything about it, it’s basically chicken noodle soup, Vietnamese style. You can also get different kinds of meat, but it’s delicious broth, rice noodles, onions, bean sprouts, and toppings like cilantro, Thai basil, lime juice, and/or hot sauce. The weather cools off, and there’s nothing I like better to eat. The kids like it as well, so that’s an added bonus! But all this pho does remind me that it’s almost RAMEN TIME!

Googling || blog post topic ideas. I know that seems a little trite, but I’m going to join some writer friends in publishing a blog post every day for the month of November. It’s a spin-off of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which works for me, since I’m not writing a novel (and don’t really plan to). But I love writing, so NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a perfect excuse to write and write and write some more. When I began this blog, I wrote something almost every day for the first several months. But as I got busier and wrote about a lot of things that I’d been saving up for, ya know, the first 28 years of my life, I ran out of QUITE as much material. That being said, kids are constant fodder for writing, and the world is constantly changing. I plan to keep it up!

Well, this catches you up a little bit on my life. What’s going on with you currently?