What I Learned in September….

I am linking up with Emily Freeman’s monthly link-up today. You can check out all the posts over at Emily’s Place.

Things I learned this month….

(1) I am a writer! After participating in the online discussion on the book “On Being a Writer” by Charity Singleton Craig and Ann Kroeker, I can honestly say that I am a writer. I have learned that writing is indeed so much a part of who I am. There are limitations, but those limitations often push my writing to be better.

(2) In the words of my blog friend Katie Reid, we write to remember. As I remembered the suicide of my college friend Chewy and the anniversary of September 11, 2001 on my blog, I realized how true those words are. It is so important for us to remember those who are dear to us, those historic events in the world, and so much more.

In addition, remembering can be bittersweet too. I watched the finale of CSI the other day. When I was at seminary, a group of friends and I would spend every Thursday night watching CSI together. It was hard not to think of them and all we had been through as I watched the finale. I miss those crazy people!

(3) When Life is Wearing On You, God places people–friends—in our lives to journey with us because God does not want life to wear on us. God places those people into our lives to listen to us, to be there for us, to be that shoulder to cry on for us and to a hold a piece of each other’s stories..not to take our stories away from us but to bear the burden with us.

(4) It is so important to spend time with family! I decided to drive home for Labor Day weekend as my Grandma had suffered a stroke several weeks before. It was so good to spend time with my Grandma, Grandpa, my sister, my aunts and uncle, my dad, my step-mom and my sister. We spent a lot of time picking produce from Grandma’s garden which she gladly shared with all of us. I treasure the time I spend with my family especially as my grandparents age.

(5) SO MANY GOOD BOOKS! I finished “Searching for Sunday” by Rachel Held Evans and “Wild in the Hollow” by Amber C. Haines. I just started “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker. “Accidental Saints” by Nadia Bolz-Weber and “It’s Simply Tuesday” by Emily Freeman are just a few of the books on my to read pile.

(6) Voxer, Periscope, and Twitter…all the social media! I absolutely LOVE Voxer. And I am starting to love Periscope too. It is so cool to be able to see the faces and hear the voices of my blog friends spread all over the world. I have even begun broadcasting my own Scopes on Periscope. I know that so many feel like the world wide web can be such a negative place, but what I have learned is that there are some amazing communities there as well. I love my blogging community so much. You each bless me so immensely!

(7) “She is far more precious than rubies!” A friend commented that to me on a blog post and then I got a Tweet sharing a picture with those words. It is so easy for us to think we are not enough, to think we are not worthy but the truth is that we are ENOUGH! I have put on the new name tag of “more precious than rubies” and I invite you to join me in putting it on because you, my dear friends, are more precious than rubies too!

(8) I learned all the many things that I forgot about the beauty of Fall. I love watching the seasons change. I love all things Pumpkin. I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte a few weeks ago. I love the cooler air and watching the beauty of God’s creation changing all around me.

(9) Sometimes we just have to be silly and laugh! Thanks to Agape, Joe Davis and Rachel Kurtz for this awesome photo op idea. Little did you know that I needed a good laugh that day. And this photo op made me smile and still makes me smile!

(10) God’s grace is sufficient! It is a grace that God doesn’t wrap in a pretty bow, but rather simply sets it on the table for us to receive. So often we forget the gift of God’s grace though. And because I am continuing to receive and learn from God’s grace, I will be joining in the Write 31 Days challenge and will be sharing 31 Stories of God’s grace. Click Here to learn more about my Write 31 days challenge.

(11) And most of all, I learned that it is pretty great turning another year older. I am so incredibly loved and you all let me know that on the anniversary of my birth. So many Tweets, well wishes on my FaceBook wall and birthday presents. I felt so spoiled! And I got to top it off with some of my favorite gals in the world at our favorite wine bar. Tiger cake, good wine, some of my bestest friends, and celebrating another year of life! I am so very thankful for my 37 years on this year…and trust that year 37 will be a fantastic year too.

A Work in Progress

Joining in with the online discussion on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today we are working through Chapter 7: Promote.

I am just going to start off by stating a pretty obvious fact for me….This chapter is one of the hardest for me. I am not one to toot my own horn. I am one who does a way better job of encouraging others. So when it comes to my own writing, I have a way harder time promoting myself.

In fact, in high school and college, I was active in their theater programs. But I was more content to be behind the scenes rather than on stage. I was more willing to let my co-stars names shine in big bright neon lights. In college, I had the opportunity to play Anne Frank’s mother in the Diary of Anne Frank. But I wouldn’t have gotten that part if I hadn’t tried out for the play prior to that: “The Miracle Worker” (The story of Helen Keller). I was the tutor for the young artists who were in the play. After acting in The Diary of Anne Frank, I spent the rest of the years behind scenes; being the prop mistress.

That is only one example of how I am way better at encouraging others and not promoting myself.

The more I have become a writer, I have learned the importance of promoting my own work. When I first started blogging, I barely shared any of my posts. That negative voice inside my head kept replaying: “Why would anyone read your words?” But as I have grown into my role as a writer, I have taken small steps to promote my work. Every time I post, my post is shared on Facebook. I have also begun sharing my blog posts on Twitter.

And within the last week, I have begun using Periscope. I am praying about it and waiting for answers to best use that format to share and promote my words. I am reminded of the words in this chapter when Ann shares these words from her publisher: ” I would simply ask, he said, Couldn’t you see speaking as another avenue to share that same message? Your words–Your message—spoken?” (AHA!!)

I don’t think I will ever be totally comfortable promoting my own work. But I am learning and growing and trying my best to promote my words/my story.

For now, let’s just say I am a work in progress!

Over Coffee (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Visit.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

There is something so incredibly holy about pulling up a chair, sipping coffee or even wine with a dear friend. And as we visit, we hear each others stories and our souls become intertwined as we realize we have more in common than apart.

I have been blessed throughout my life to have friendships like this that when we visit together, my heart becomes full. We pray for each other. We laugh so hard our sides ache. We cry on each other’s shoulders through those difficult times. These are the women that I hold dear and jump at every opportunity to visit over coffee or wine with them.

I visit every Thursday evening over Twitter with the #fmfparty. I visit over coffee and conversation with my best friends. Sometimes these visits become few and far between because our schedules become full. Other times, these visits are just what my heart and soul need. I am always thankful for these visits and cannot wait for the next one to come.

My friends, pull up a chair, sit down, and I’ll pour you a beverage of your choosing and then we can sit and visit!