Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Thirty-One Days Challenge

This is a BIG bite for me...but I'm taking it!

I'm joining in the Writing Challenge sponsored by The Nester that starts tomorrow.  We have been challenged to write each day for the month of the October on one subject.  This is not as easy as it sounds.

I have chosen to take you along a journey of transformation by renewing the mind, based on Romans 12:2a:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...
Oh will this month be telling!  Deciding to lay it all out there...and dig deep into God's refiner's fire.

Please join me.  Feel free to grab my button and share with others!
Thirty-One Days of Renewing the Mind

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tears of a Nation

I photographed this still on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001...portraits of the nearly 3,000 souls who perished that day laying on the skirt I was wearing at work when I heard the report before 9 am from a friend/talk show host on the west coast.

Now we know there were many more victims.  Michael Tuohey was one of multitudes.  Tuohey had checked in Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari to the commuter flight from Portland, Maine to Boston.  He was so haunted by Atta's face, he continued to think he saw him at the Maine Mall or in a passing car when he took out the trash.  Post-traumatic stress disorder took over his life.  The woman who checked him in at the American Airlines counter in Boston, died of suicide.

And there are countless secondary victims from the toxicity experienced by all those who responded as part of the rescue, recovery, and clean up after the attacks.  Many have died; the incidents of cancer among those workers is staggering.

It is easier to look away and distract ourselves to numb or forget.  I, on the other hand, watch whatever I can to relive that day...to feel the horror and pain brought on so much evil that tore so many lives apart...

I feel obligated, actually...who am I to feel numb or oblivious..as if it is any other day...?

I feel compelled to bring honor to the memory of what will never be again...that is, life before September 11...

And yet I cannot help but feel another loss...mourning for the unity and patriotism we had as a nation on September 12.

The life we have left is a gift...do what matters most NOW.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dare to Be Grateful this September!

I have written in the past, actually rather often, about the power of gratitude.  Not because I think my readers don't know that...but because I need the reminder!

In 2011, I discovered Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, and it continues to impact my life.  I wrote last time about the need for one to renew their mind.  A daily gratitude list is a wonderful tool.  I keep a journal and am up to 500.

This month I am doing Ann's Joy Dare for September.  Mind if I share?

Day 1 - 3 Gifts Summer
  • My gardens
  • Summer color
  • Summer storms
Day 2 - 3 Gifts Cut
  • A slice of cake
  • Fabric cut by my mother when she made me clothes
  • A discount

Day 3 - 3 Gifts Yellow
  • Sunflowers off my deck
  • My highlighter
  • Goldfinches at my feeder

Day 4 - 1 Gift Cool, 1 Gift Warm, 1 Gift Sun-soaked
  • Ceramic tile on my bare feet
  • My Corgi's tongue
  • My cat on the porch

Day 5 - 3 Gifts Autumn
  • Goldenrod
  • Smell of new crayons
  • Low humidity

Day 6 - 3 Gifts Growing
  • My dahlias have EXPLODED!
  • The sun growing lower in the sky
  • Days growing closer to my West Virginia vacation!
What gifts can you find today???  If you'd like to join the September Joy Dare, you can find it here

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Does September Bring?

You've heard the rhyme, "April showers bring May flowers..."  For me, September is one of my favorite months to turn to on the calendar each year.  Fall (yes the meteorological calendar shows Fall starting September 1) for me brings a sense of renewal and kind of a time to get down to business!

I wrote in my last post about Resistance...and if you look at the number of posts I have had this year...enough said.

I love how September came this year escorted by a long weekend.  I've taken advantage of it to spend some quiet time and review some of the causes of my resistance...the clogs in my creative arteries.

I've come to realize that creativity is not going to happen naturally, if I'm not focusing on the essentials of life:  joy, gratitude, discipline, relationships.  My creativity does not come because I want it to; it is a natural by-product of joy, gratitude, disciplines, and relationships I experience every day.

I am taking the "Renewing of Your Mind" challenge...(sorry no buckets of ice water)...which I hope evolves into a lifelong habit.  It comes from the verse in Romans 12:2...
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
or as Phillips puts it:
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
So, Barb Raveling suggests in making any kind of commitment or habit:

  1. Make a plan (okay...)
  2. Renew your mind at the same time every day. (Goal: 6 a.m. daily)
  3. Get your ducks in a row. (Have my Bible, journal, et al. out before bed, ready to go.)
  4. Remember that you have an enemy. (Duly noted.)
  5. Get an accountability partner.  (Well, I've gone public on here now so it's not hidden.)

Let's face it...not much in this culture encourages joy and gratitude.  I want everything I say or do or create be an overflow of the joy and gratitude God brings to me from renewing my mind as I let Him transform me.

More later...I may be sharing even deeper secrets in the days to come.