Tag Archives: Influence

Trapped…

Are you?

Have you ever felt trapped in your marriage, in another relationship, in your job, in your town, whatever? Well, I’ve spent times in my life trapped. Trapped in a job, like a wild bird in a cage desperate to fly free. I thought there wasn’t anywhere to turn.

One day someone asked me: what happens if you find a cookie on your desk, day after day – and then one day a note replaces the cookie?

The idea fascinated me.

I explored the emotions of being trapped and the options yet at the same time considered other fall-outs of ‘escaping’ the office.

A story was born. My character, Liz becomes the trapped employee. One thing leads to another. The story solves a mystery or two; unlocks dreams or passions previously dismissed as financially impractical or immature; and necessitates dealing with a tangle of relationships – both building new ones and healing old hurts.

Writing this story I explore another place. I bring all the senses into play of being somewhere else and find Liz’s special place. You will too. Join Liz on her journey and discover what the Dream Glasses reveal.

If you are interested in knowing when the Dream Glasses is released, go to the
“Sign Me Up” menu option and fill out the form.
I will notify you when the book is available.

Eternal Justice

Disclaimer: I’m sure this topic may elicit some strong feelings from some of you. Please feel free to share your thoughts, but don’t expect any heated debates.

For more than a year, I’ve been reading or studying the issue of women in the church. All the reading and thinking, has left me feeling as if my sense of justice has been violated.

During this study time, I’ve come to recognize the power, or should I say, abuse of power by a few. The Judeo/Christian culture is primarily a patriarchal culture. I accept this as the world I live in. However, when I see how one uses their position of power and/or trust to contrive a message to fit their life view instead of accepting the original text may have been written to challenge or question that very life view, it strikes me as an abuse of power and trust. My sense of justice, or the sense that one should do the right thing because it is the right thing, feels very violated.

While sharing these thoughts with a close friend, she helped me put some perspective on this. She could understand my feelings; but told me when she feels something is unjust, she tries to step back and look at it from the scales of eternal justice. She said those who abused their power and trust, would one day be held accountable. Wow! Those words created a strong visual, and immediately brought to mind James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers,
because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

The good news is the sense of justice being violated was replaced with peace; with the promise and assurance the eternal scales will validate the truth.

Current day teachings associated with this topic should address the failings of those who translated the original manuscripts, or of those who led the early church into placing such emphasis on scriptures designed for a particular location or a particular set of circumstances. Will that happen?

That still leaves the question of, how ‘women in the church’ is to be lived out today?

For those of you who know me, this is a reversal of my former thoughts on the subject. I want to be clear, I believe God intended for women and men to be spiritually active in the church and among others. This change in my thoughts is not a matter of feminism or equal rights. For a woman, or a man to be involved in spiritual leadership, they have to possess the spiritual gifts of the position they are filling. Those gifts are not bestowed because of gender. People (men and women) receive these gifts from a loving God when they are in relationship with Him.

How words land on a page…

Writing, writing, writing is what writers do. Or is it? Though that sounds natural to folks who don’t know writers, most writers know how many times it is just not that simple.

One of my pastimes for the days when words don’t flow is to review writing prompts. During a light-hearted don’t want to the world to take me too seriously mood I came across the following prompt:

One Day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find another cookie. This continues for months until one Day a different object is left—and this time there’s a note.

Something about this prompt spoke to me. Words sprang into my mind fast than my fingers could put them on the page. That day a story was born. Many changes and iterations later, the story is different.

Revival or Refining — Part II

I’ve been pondering the Revival or Refining question for a few days. Thanks to each of you who reacted to this post.

A friend on FaceBook posted a comment that simply said “Both”.

His response resonated with me. I believe he is correct.

God’s church is the people! So when we consider anything the church is experiencing we need to consider what the individuals are experiencing.

Refining happens when we submit to changes God wants to make in our lives. These changes should be happening to all believers regularly. Then those changes should bring about revival within us. We should be strengthened, changed and desire to be closer to God.

Refining may have gotten a hard wrap. People tend to consider it something negative. Sometimes the process is difficult, but that may be the result of our resistance. The results of refining are what most of us desire.

  • To be free from impurities
  • To be free from moral imperfection
  • To improve or perfect
  • To be free from what is coarse, vulgar or uncouth

If these things are going on in your life, you are changing. Those changes are reason enough to celebrate “revival”.

Here’s the definition for revival so you can see if it might already be occurring in your life:

  • An improvement in the condition or strength of something
  • An instance of something becoming popular, active or important again

I think The Church should be ready for both “refining” and “revival”. We should encourage one another to submit to the refining and live in revival!

 

Iron Sharpens Iron

As Iron Sharpens Iron
So
Writers Sharpen Writers

Most writers I’ve met are solitary creatures. We do our work alone.

Yet it is in coming together, baring our souls and sharing our work we are honed to be better at our craft.

I’ve found writers either instantly bond, or take some time to develop a relationship. Once that relationship is developed, they tend to hold others gently, recognizing we are each a work in progress – both in our lives and in our work.

It is in those relationships other can speak into both your life and your work. In the differences of opinions, the suggestions or the encouragement we learn. I learn. From these people, I hone my skills. I change and my writing changes. I hope I do these things for other writers as well.

My goal is to become a better writer this year. That means I have to commit to more time writing. We’ll see how that works for me.

Go. Learn. Love. HAITI — The Short Story

I arrived home about 4 am today.

It was an amazing week! I’m still sorting through all the different thoughts and emotions involved in experiencing something so totally different from my life routines.

Market Day
Market Day
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.

There were 14 team members, 3 team leaders, and 3 translators working together in the Torbeck area, Okay Region of Haiti.

We installed 50 filters.

Yes! 50 filters.

What does that mean?

Each filter can process approximately 20 gallons of water a day.

That creates a potential of 1,000 additional gallons of safe drinking water available each day to improve the quality of life for the people of this area.

Lovely Haitian Girls
Lovely Haitian Girls

More info and photos to follow…

Think About It…

I won’t be here forever.

None of us will.

When you reflect on that fact, what do you think about?

I know I’ll be in a better place, so I’m not worried about me.

However, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about what that will mean for others. Probably since I was in my 40’s I’ve tried to make it my goal to ‘make memories’ with others. Besides ‘stuff’, which may or may not be of value to anyone else, I feel memories are the only thing I can leave behind which will make a potential difference in one’s life.

I think about those I’ve lost in my life. The ones I think fondly of were those with whom I shared good memories. Others, well, I was able to perform the necessary functions required at the time, but their loss was not much of a loss to me.

There will always be ‘givers’ and ‘takers’ in life, but the creation of memories only happens when each party is contributing, shares in the other’s joys and sometimes sorrows; each party wants happiness for the other. These memories may not always be about happy times. With one you truly love and are invested in, there may be times when one of you is struggling with something. In a deep relationship, even during those times you make memories with the other person by being loving, supportive and caring for them.

I want my life to be about making memories! Memories that will leave people thinking fondly of me, either when we part for a time or when eternity arrives for one of us.

I struggle with how to pass this understanding on to my children. I want my time spent, whether talking with or being together, to be about building understanding for each other and making memories. I enjoy thinking of the successes they have shared with me. I pray for the concerns they have. I love it when we are planning a future get-together or event and each of us is involved in the process.

Instead, I sometimes find conversations that feel like obligations, words with no real connection. It hurts and leaves me feeling empty. Are those the memories they will have of me? If so, I fear I have failed at what is most important to me.

We’ll Meet Again Up Yonder

Fran and Rick @ Ashcroft

This week one of my special friends went home to be with the Lord.

I met Fran Cohler about 10½ years ago at my future husband’s home. She came into the room with laughter and an open heart. A friendship was born that day which has brought me much joy and happiness over the years. She and her husband, Rick are some of our closest friends. They were people we could share good times with, create memories with, pray about family members and talk about the deeper matters of life, one’s spiritual life.

As a woman, Fran shared God’s love openly. Her fingers made beautiful music as her hands danced across the keys and she shared this love of music with many. She had a tender heart and brought encouragement, support and laughter where she went. She and my husband shared this zany Irish humor, which I enjoyed listening to and being part of.

She left her touch on my life, as I’m sure she has on many others throughout her life. She will be honored and missed by many; but her memory will linger in the hearts of those lives she touched.

 

Fran and Rick @ Pine Creek CookhouseFran and Rick in Green Bay

What does living a life of faith look like?

A friend asked, “What does living a life of faith look like to you?” WOW, what a powerful question. I think the answers to this question are as unique as the people to whom it is asked.

For me, living a life of faith means living my life in such a way that the love of Christ is reflected to those around me. Some days, I do accomplish this better than others. Yet the truth is, God intimately knows me, knows my weaknesses and loves me! Loves me, just as I am. This is a powerful truth to grasp and because of this truth, I can start fresh after I have failed. To me, living His love means I need to accept others where they are; I need to not judge others for their shortcomings; I need to be able and willing to speak of His work in my life; I need to attempt to bring a piece of heaven to those around me. Each of these efforts is not to bring glory or praise to me, but to draw others closer to the love of Christ in hopes that they too will experience a personal relationship with him.

What does living a life of faith mean to you?

Mentors and Friends…..

Mother’s Day seems like the appropriate time to think about those people who have influenced me. My life is richly blessed because of those who have impacted my life.  I think about the things I enjoy doing, or some of the food I cook and realize those were gifts given by another to me. During my childhood years it was mostly family members like my grandmother, some great aunts, my mother, an elderly neighbor lady, and several teachers making those contributions. Upon reaching adulthood, those who impacted my life were mostly friends, and co-workers and my husband. Many were people I share faith relationships with.

Of the people I’m thinking about, many have left this life on earth, yet the gifts they imparted to myself and others live on. I know this is part of the circle of life, yet it leaves me wondering about what things I might be passing on to others. I hope to pass on a love of life, an appreciation for others and the gifts of nature, the ability to be gentle with one’s self and with others, and the need to have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe and Christ his Son.

My wish for you is that you enjoy the day; that you spend some time thinking about those who have influenced your life and also how you are influencing those around you.

Happy Mother’s Day to any woman who is reading this!