Whacha Got to Say?!

Writing is good for your health. It makes your heart feel better!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Got Writers Block?

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones...
Proverbs 17:22

Got Writer’s Block?

Every writer I know has experienced a time when the words seemed to flow as a mighty rushing river; ideas jumping off the page as though they were fly fish landing in your net. Similarly, if we are honest all writers, no matter how skilled, have experienced some kind of obstruction to their normal flow of expressions, phrases and verses. This term is commonly known as Writer’s Block-sounds hideous doesn’t it? Who would ever want to be blocked in or out of anything? As humans we don’t want hindrances, only support. We won’t tolerate anything if it won’t aid us in our ultimate goal. Well, what if the deterrents, difficulties and disturbances could be used to assist your writing instead of sabotaging it? I can hear the cries is dissent but really, it’s all in how you look at things.

So, what do you do when you’re stuck? How can your daughter interrupting you with the most urgent news that she learned how to butter toast or your wife’s pressing need to tell you how necessary it is that the gutters be cleaned or your own need to trail off onto social network sites ever going to help you get back to writing? This Gal’s certainly one slice short of a loaf is probably what you’re thinking. That is unless you consider that each of those situations has a story behind it. More importantly, writing about things that you’re passionate about, whether positive or negative can-if used properly, help get those literary juices flowing.

Hate interruptions?

Write about it.

Love salty snacks?

Write about it.

Need a break from your relentless schedule so you can re-enter general population?

Write about it!

Then do yourself a favor and go out for a stroll while eating a nice bag of pretzels if that's your thing. You’re sure to be safe from interruptions even if only for a moment. When you're done, you'll be ready to get back to writing with a renewed mind, body and spirit. Remember, it's all about perception.



Monday, March 5, 2012

Promise Keeper

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"Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said ...You are God and your words are true, and you have promised this goodness to your servant..." 2 Samuel 7:18, 28

There are many promises in the Bible; promises that belong to believers and can be an active part of our lives if we choose. If we choose? If we choose. That means we as believers can choose not to have God promises in our lives. As for me and my house, we live for the promises of God and have never been disappointed.

Proverbs 1:33 "But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm..."
I love this scripture because it's pretty straightforward and to the point. That's what I like about my relationship with Christ-it's pretty straightforward and to the point. There's no hidden agenda. He promises that if I would slow down, and take time to listen to what He has to say to me (since He knows my end from my beginning), that He would fulfill His promises for my life. Let's take a closer look at what one of those promises are.

My personal definition of peace is a place of consistent serenity and tranquility. Some might wonder how anyone could have peace in a world filled with as much turmoil as ours is. As we speak there is all manner of pain happening all over the world. How can we have peace in these days? I admit, initially this was not an easy concept for me to grasp. Struggling, I had a conversation with the Lord some time ago. I was feeling helpless. Watching the news can do this even the strongest of us. As I watched my television one particular evening, my physical resolve to make the world a better place was zapped in a New York Minute. There were so many things going on. A feeling of hopelessness tried to crowd my mind. I asked God what an insignificant person such as myself could do when there was so much wrong in the world. I heard the words Live for Me in my spirit. Simple enough. And it was with that small bit of information that I set out to learn how to live for Christ. I've come to find that trusting in God to be who He is, allows me the freedom to live in peace. This trust gives me the power I need to be effective in my area of purpose. Knowing that God has made promises to us, that He sealed them with the blood of Jesus and ignites them through the power of the Holy Ghost, knowing that these promises are real and tailored to our life's journey, and knowing that they are for our benefit is excactly the kind of life-changing information that can set our true life, a life of goodness in motion.

I don't know about you but I have seen firsthand the promises of God at work in my life and have no desire to live any other way. My family and I have tapped into a place where our prayers are answered sometimes even before we can utter them. God has begun to show His goodness to us in ways we could never imagine. Do you want to effect change in your home, on your job, in your business, church, community? Then do as David did, and as I do-sit before the Lord. Listen to Him, read your bible so you'll know the character of your Creator. When you do, you'll surely be able to say as David did "You are God, and your words are true".




Saturday, March 3, 2012

Calling All Writers: Tip #1

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown"
1 Corinthians 9:24-25

My husband-and biggest supporter, has requested that I generate tips and helpful tidbits of information for writers and future writers alike. I felt I was inadequate to render such information since I am a writer/editor who is still in the midst of creating her first novel. However after much, much deliberation, I have concluded that I’ve made enough mistakes and celebrated enough triumphs to offer kind suggestions to anyone who will listen.

Writing Tip #1

Begin With the End in Mind. This phrase is not mine, nor is it specific to writers alone. Author Stephen Covey wrote this mantra in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. When I first started my book I didn’t actually know that I was starting it. That might sound strange but it’s true. I was probably high on some emotion or another and felt writing would be a great way to express what I was feeling. Either that or I had a dream and started writing about it. Either way, I had no idea that what I was doing then would morph into a desire to write a book. To be fair to myself, the only reason I got fired up (if you will) about writing a novel was because I had read one too many books in my favorite genre that were less than satisfying. I heard a quote by famous author Toni Morrison which says “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it”. That quote was life altering for me. Similar to Ms. Morrison, writing is not something I dreamed about doing. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show. No, writing was something that made me feel. Deeply. Differently than a dream because I see it in my minds-eye, but I also have the power to fine tune, shape and share my story.

How do we begin with the end in mind? Well, what are you writing about? Knowing your characters, their personal biography, family history, communities, aspirations, etc. is not the same as knowing what you are writing about. Another way to ask this question is: What is the Theme of your book? Is it unconditional love? Perhaps vengeance, forgiveness, finding joy in unexpected places, igniting your life’s purpose? Whatever your theme is, the sooner you become aware or choose it, the better. Having this weapon in your literary arsenal will assist you invaluably as you navigate through the murky waters of authorship (no pun intended [smile]).

Beginning with the end in mind is a valuable lesson I learned in the process of writing and am daily developing this nugget of wisdom into every aspect of my life. I hope that by sharing this tiny bit of information with you that I can help save you precious time, effort, and drafts!

Until next time…



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Live Your Life

Good day reader! It's been several weeks since I posted and I certainly have missed you. I know you missed me too. My absence was not intentional. November was a productive, and challenging month filled with surprises. As I anticipated the Thanksgiving holiday I prepared and planned as normal; I'd make the candied yams, macaroni and cheese, my mom would make the collard greens, hush puppies and the ham, my sister Kim would fry the turkey...you get the picture.

No one was prepared for the news.

My mother recieved the call one week before Thanksgiving; her mother had passed due to heart failure. So it was. The Friday after Thanksgiving she and her sister arranged a wake for my grandmother, Della Mae Gatlin, and the following day my mother eulogized her mother.

It's not easy for me to see death as an extension of life. Not in the flesh anyway. However, in the spirit, I can see quite easily how death is as much a part of life as breathing is to our daily routine. We all, no matter how hard we try, will leave the life we live on earth. There is no magic potion, diet or anything that will stop the aging process. Sure, we can make changes to live longer, but regardless how long we live, we all must pass away into our next life. As morbid as this sounds, this is probably the best news a believer could hear. Why? I'm glad you asked.

We believe in Jesus the Christ, and that he was not only a prophet, but the healer, deliverer and savior of the world. We know and believe Jesus is The Son of God. We believe that the purpose of his life and subsequent death was to teach us how to live and ultimately die to ourselves. I love reading about Jesus' life because it was exciting. His life wasn't long, but he lived every moment to the fullest. He went to weddings (John 2:1-2), he had friends that were a little unconventional: Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector-he was extremely popular with the community...not! (Luke 5:27). Bartholemew (whom Jesus called Nathaniel) was a skeptic, Simeon (whom Jesus called Cephas, or Peter) was slightly aggressive with serious anger management issues (Matt 26:72), James and John, the sons of Zebedee were both high-minded and presumptous (Luke 9:54). Jesus himself was noted as being hungry after his resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:36-43)!

I call these traits to mind in order to point out the fact that Jesus is as much alive and divine now as he was then. He lived so diligently and intentionally in front of his disciples that their lives were changed from servants to friends (John 15:15). Just as Christ lived and illuminated the dead lives of those around him to the hope of life incorruptable, so he does in our lives when we surrender to him. The challenge today is for us to live. So I speak into the atmosphere: live your life!

Got trouble with violence? No problem. Jesus can fix that, ask Peter.

You say you have issues with doubt? Faggettaboutit! Ask Didymous (Thomas) what Jesus can do for you. Unbelievable story. Trust me. It's a page-turner.

Is intelligence standing in the way of your spiritual growth? King Solomon and the apostle Paul can help you understand the power of one encounter with the Holy One. You'll see how all knowledge is vanity and dung respectively (Eccl 1:14-17, Phil 3:8).

How can I live? you ask. You don't know what I've been through, you say. You're right. I don't. Jesus does. He knows more about you than you know about yourself. He's waiting on you to gather up all your heavy baggage of complaints, excuses and bad habits and lay them at his feet so you can get busy living (Matt 11:28-30). Since it is appointed that we all leave here one day, shouldn't we focus on living while we still can? Before I close out this blog I'll ask these questions: Are you satisfied with your life right now? Do you know for certain that you're living a purposed life? The answer to these question will determine the steps you need to take next. Think about it.

We'll talk more about this soon. In the meantime pray, and always remember to...




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trust...Who do you?

When I was a teenager I there was a woman in our church that was always there. It seemed as though she was a constant in the church-as dependable as one of the load-bearing walls that kept the high ceilings and steeple from caving in on us. To me, she seemed to have it all together. One Sunday afternoon, I gathered the nerve to ask her a question that had been nagging at me for a while. "How long does it take to trust God completely?" I asked, timidly. As she looked over at me, a little girl decades her junior, it was as though she had been waiting all her life to answer my simple question. As genuinely as she could she leaned over and said "I'll let you know when I find out," after which she smiled and went on her way. It was then that I realized that my question was bigger than I had first imagined.

Not many years after that I joined the military and had to make some major choices and figure things out for myself in a short amount of time. If it hadn't been for my mother raising me to have good character and teaching me how to pray, the immorality I was living in and surrounded by would have been my demise instead of my stepping stone. What I learned then was that I was always on the mind of God (Jeremiah 1:5). This meant that I could depend on Him to be there for me no matter where I was, or what I had gotten myself into.

Fast forward over a decade and I had only taken several small steps forward in my journey to the land of Trusting in God. I did figure out that God understands this is a process and has set up scenarios for me-as any good father would, to help me grow and learn to trust Him. I've learned that trust is something that is innate and learned, simultaneously. For example, even as a child I knew I could trust my mother intrinsically, but I had to learn how to trust her fully as I grew and matured in different areas and levels of my life.

"For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of rightousness: for he is a babe. But stong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" Hebrews 5:13-14

What does this have to do with trust, you ask? I'll tell you. Many adults trust God on the same level I trusted my mother when I was a toddler. I knew she would feed me, clothe me, make sure I was clean and address all of my basic needs. I knew she was taller than me, older than me, knew more and could do more than I could. There were times when she was gentle and would rock me in her arms. Then there were times she was firm and had to command my obedience or at minimum my obeisance, as the Queen of her Kingdom (a.k.a. our home).

It was not until many years later that I would learn how deeply I could trust her. How she was not simply my Queen/Mother, she was also my friend and confidant. I no longer questioned whether I would be fed, clothed, or bathed; I knew that was a given. However, through consistent relationship, I learned that there was no part of me that I had to hide from her, there was no place I had been, or thing I had done that would change her love for me.

"And if you who are evil know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give The Spirit of Holiness to those who ask Him?" Luke 11:13

If God, through a human being, could show me love in its purest human form, how much more would He, the Creator/Giver of my first love, love me? And if I could for a moment take my mind off of the sounds, pains, disappointments, rejections, deadlines, chores, commitments and all other busyness surrounding my every waking moment and ponder that thought...if I could forget my intellect and experiences, my short-comings and frailties and think about the loveliest thing I've ever imagined, and that Christ is lovelier than that...then I would have a glimpse of what trust, Godly surrender and dependence means.

I invite you on this journey with me. Abandon yourself right now. That's right, put all your stuff and anyone else's stuff you're holding on to aside. Lay it down. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Now, think about what love is. If you've never experienced love or don't think you have, pull on your deep rooted desires. Not your wants-a new house, car, or job; those are things you can function properly without. The things you need and can't live without, those are desires. You know exactly what I'm talking about because you know that love is not a feeling. I repeat: Love is not feeling. Feelings of contentment and confidence are simply the result of true love; the comfort and security that have been birthed into and belong to those who are truly loved. And let me tell you what I've discovered: God alone can love this way, and God through His son Jesus the Christ can teach us how to accept this kind of love.

When we understand-even in our finite minds, how much we are loved, we won't be able to do anything but rest completely in it. That, my friend, is trust.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Choose

"...choose this day whom you will serve...”
Joshua 24:15

Today I had a choice to make. Actually I had several but one in particular sticks out. Because I'm a thinker I thought about which choice would be better. Should I say and do exactly what I would usually say and do? I asked myself. My natural inclination was to rely on habit. I could react first, and ask forgiveness later. Hmmmm, that sounds like a good idea. I hesitated. Then thought some more.

I literally saw myself making one choice, and the reaction I would get from it, then making the total opposite choice and seeing that reaction in my mind as well. I was amazed by the power human beings have to choose. For a moment I had forgotten about the choice I needed to make, and instead focused on the freedom I had to choose. It was liberating to say the least. I understood deeply that my life only belongs to feelings or emotions if I choose to give myself over to them. And if that is true, then my life only belongs to reason and compassion if I choose to give myself over to them.

Now, I know you're waiting to read that I made the perfect choice and everything worked out well. That's what Hollywood is for. This blog is real. Even though I use general happenings in my life and leave certain details out, it's real nonetheless. No, maybe I didn't make the best decision, but I did make a better one. I chose to be as mature as possible, given my personal shortcomings and human characteristics. In spite of my issues, I chose to satisfy my desire to be understood with my greater desire to understand. To take my confusion, hurt, disappointment and give it to God first, so He could help me internalize it, make sense of it and see exactly what He was doing in the midst of my situation. Did it make the job of choosing go away? No. But because I used my power to reason, and have compassion, I saw myself becoming who God made me instead of who I have always been.

I choose. Do you?



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dream A Little Dream

Hey! It's been a while since we've talked but that doesn't mean you weren't on my mind. As a matter of fact, I was thinking about you today so I decided to share what was on my mind with you.

Speaking of sharing my mind, it has been filled with so many things to blog about. The topic that's been waiting in line the longest is that of dreams. Several weeks ago (around about the last time I blogged) I had an amazing dream. I dreamt that I was in a church and it seemed as though I was singing in a choir with one of my friends from Tennessee named Karen. My husband was there, and Pastor Angela (another close friend of our family who lives in TN) was there as well. The one thing that wasn't there was order. There was so much chaos everywhere. People were walking, talking, children were playing and coming up to us trying to distract us from singing and disrupting the service. After a while I couldn't take any more.

I walked out of the choir stand and went to gather up all the children and sat them down. As I walked through the church I saw people sitting in their seats with food and empty wrappers in the pews and on the floor. I saw people turned away from the pulpit talking to each other. It was as though we weren't even in church. I remember feeling sad about that. Then I went to the front of the church and tried to get the choir to sing. The altos acted as though they didn't know their note. Karen was singing the soprano note all by herself and the Tenor section literally sat down and refused to sing at all.

I was perplexed. I looked at Karen, who, in the midst of all the distractions, quietly walked over and pointed to the tenor section and as I looked at them again I saw stones piled on top of one another. The people were stones on the inside. Once I saw that I walked over to them and tried to pull them up but they were too heavy. When I realized I couldn't pull them up with my strength, I felt a strong urge to take the microphone and speak to them.

Then I woke up.

What's amazing about that dream is that God was able to speak to me in many ways through it. My question to you today is, when was the last time you dreamed? I'm not talking about pepperoni pizza/acid indigestion dreams about gun-toting dinosaurs and chocolate rivers (you know the kind of stuff you dream about when you eat weird food right before bed). No. I'm talking about dreams of your future, or of someone else's; dreams of what God has for your life, of your expected end (Jeremiah 29:11)? If you can't remember the last dream you had, maybe it's time for you to talk to God about that so you can get busy seeing in your dreams. Good night...