Saturday, September 24, 2011

So Long, Facebook

Lately I've been feeling a little bit like I shouldn't keep my facebook account.  I do this from time to time - delete my account and then eventually start it up again after an absence of a few months or so.  I noticed that my blog updates in April and July were more frequent, and I want to make sure I'm blogging because writing is really important to me and I want to be writing as much as I can.  In April, I was blogging a lot because I'd given up facebook for lent.  In July, I didn't have a job, so I had a lot more free time.  I can't very well quit my job just to write my blog (much as I'd love to just live off of writing!) so I think the best decision is to stop with the facebook.

It all comes down to how much time I waste on facebook.  Sam and I found a really great church in Salem where the pastor speaks truth - no sugarcoating here - and a few weeks ago he spoke about the importance of stewardship.  I need to be a good steward of my money, yes, but I also need to be a good steward of my time, and facebook does not help me do that.  I know for some people it's not a big deal;  Sam, for example, goes weeks without really checking in.  But for me, it's a way to procrastinate, to put off doing things I really should be doing.  So what should I do?  Eliminate it from my life.

So...the only reason I'm really even writing about this is in case anyone finds my blog through facebook.  If you want to be updated when I post, you can sign up for the "follow by email" or you can become a follower.  And if you don't care to keep updated, that's fine too!  I'll keep writing even if no one reads it.  :)  Just thought I'd let you know, if there is anyone who happens to read when I put posts on facebook and cares to keep reading.

Also, random thing - I got an US magazine in the mail today - sent to Kimberly Swensen (not how you spell my name) and I have no idea how I got it.  I never signed up for it or paid for it.  Isn't that random?  Do magazines just send free issues now?  Or did someone sign me up and pay for a subscription to this magazine for me?  I have no idea.  So random.  I know that has nothing to do with the rest of my post, I just am still a bit baffled by it.

And...time for bed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Queline

I started playing water polo the summer before my freshman year of high school.  I was the only new girl on the team (this was before I convinced Bree to play with me) and I was playing in my first game ever.  During that game, I was swimming and thinking I was probably going to drown and wondering why on earth I let Beth convince me to play this awful game when there was suddenly a turnover.  Since I was slow and barely getting to the correct side of the pool, I was the closest one to our own goal, so my coach shouted at me to defend hole.  That was when I was certain I'd drown.  You see, Jacquie played hole.  I had never met her but I knew who she was.  The best female athlete at our rival high school and two years older than me.  And intimidating.  And I was supposed to defend her; me, a timid, terrified freshman who was playing my first game ever.

I remember that I forgot to put my hips up, and Jacquie, realizing she could easily turn me, called for the ball.  I tried to stop her from shooting, but it was futile.  She easily rose out of the water and slammed the ball into the goal, and I yelled at my coach to take me out of the stupid pool.

That was my first encounter with Jacquie.

Fast-forward seven years.  I had just moved back home and got a job at Starbucks, where Jacquie worked.  She was also attending the church where my dad had recently taken over as pastor, so I saw a lot of her.  It seemed that she immediately decided we would be friends, and so we were.  She would show up at my house and tell me we were either going for a walk around the park or playing our guitars together.

I loved it.

I love people who immediately act like we have been friends for years, who skip all the fake, superficial conversation and jump right into a real relationship.  That's what Jacquie did.  And I'm so thankful, because her friendship means the world to me.  When I lived in Porterville, we were literally together all the time.  We got in trouble often at Starbucks, and at the bank we worked at together, because we couldn't stop laughing.  I credit her with being part of the equation that helped me out of a very difficult time in my life, and if it weren't for her openness and honesty about her own struggles, I don't think I would be who I am today.  I want to force her to be my friend forever because I like myself better when I'm around her or at least being somehow influenced by her.  I can be vulnerable and serious with her, and in the next moment we can laugh so hard we're literally shrieking.

Jacquie sincerely loves others and loves the Lord.  She is an excellent example of a loving, helpful wife, one who puts her husbands needs before her own.  She has a precious baby girl named Eliana, and it's so fun to watch her be a mother, or rather listen to her on the phone.  (She called me when I was in the middle of writing this blog, and I got to listen to her talk to Ellie and tell her not to squish a butterfly.  By the way, Ellie, I guarantee you'll watch plenty of Disney movies, and make sure to ask your mom to do her impersonation of the mice in Cinderella.  Very entertaining.)

Jac, I'm blessed to be your friend, and even more by the fact that you continue to encourage me through letters and phone calls, even though we live 800 miles apart.  I'm thankful for you and your kindred spirit, and for your ability to crack me up with your impression of my running skills.

By the way, I really think you should move to Oregon. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sewing, Singing, Shaving

Lately my days have been full of working, watching the Office while cleaning, eating candy corn (shhh, I know it's not Halloween yet but it's already in the stores, people), and reading.  I've been slightly lazy and low on energy, but guess what?  I found someone to teach me to sew!  Jay and Sheena came over for pizza and wine Sunday night and I randomly asked Sheena if she'd teach me to sew.  She promptly went out to her car where she collected mounds of fabric that she just happened to have in her trunk.  And sew we did.  Two pillowcases and the cutest apron ever later (refashioned from a thrifted bed skirt), and I was hooked.  Monday I went and bought thread, fancy scissors (now I know why we were never allowed to touch my mom's sewing scissors), and pins.  My planned projects: hem my work pants, make some pillow covers for our ugly couch pillows, and hem the $5 jeans I bought at Burlington today.  I'll still need lots of instruction and practice, but I'm excited to be crossing one of my resolutions off my list.

On another note, tonight Sam and I watched The Sing-Off, which we love because we both love to sing and listen to pretty voices harmonize.  (In fact, my proposed name for one of our daughters is Harmony - he hasn't given in.  Yet.)  Tonight Sam proclaimed it to be his favorite show, and I decided we should develop our own acapella group.  While we watched, he was sitting on the couch and I was laying on it with my legs draped over his lap.  At one point he started furiously moving his forearm up and down my shin, and I asked what he was doing.  He said he had an itch and he was using my leg hair to scratch it.

Okay, so perhaps my lazy days should come to an end.

Goals for tomorrow: shave legs, sew, and make Sam sing acapella with me. 

And probably eat more candy corn.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coffee, Bree, Coffee, Seattle, and Coffee

I planned a very impromptu trip to Seattle earlier this week to see Bree.  We hadn't seen each other in about a year, so, understandably, I was pretty grouchy and she was really serious.  We realized we had better see each other soon in order to rectify that.  She helps me be happy and I help her be loud and obnoxious.  It's a give and take sort of friendship.

I worked at Starbucks for eight hours Monday morning (leaving the house by a quarter till 5), and once I got off my shift around 1:30, I made the four-hour drive to Bree's place.  We went for dinner at a really yummy Thai place and I ate way too much yellow curry.  Although really, can anyone ever eat "too much" curry?  Doubtful.

The next day Bree and I got sushi, went to Pike Place Market, walked by the waterfront, explored downtown, and walked around Ballard, Bree's neighborhood.  I had no idea Seattle had so many fun names for all the neighborhoods.  (Salem does too, although we're less creative with it - we call them "West Salem" and "South Salem" and the like.)  Some photos, which aren't the greatest since they are from my phone:


Clearly excited to be at the original Starbucks.  I even bought a mug.  Yep, nerd.  And of course we got a picture of us drinking our delicious beverages.


The Seattle Art Museum (or "SAM") where Bree works.
Another view of the museum.  And below we are frolicking, laughing, and posing in the secret garden we found.




 Above, Bree sipping her cappuccino.  Below, my almond latte and gluten-free berry tea cake, all from Caffe Fiore.
Pike Place Market!
Stuffing our faces with yummy sushi.
And here we are, in the obligatory tourist photo with the Space Needle behind us.

I had such a blast with Bree but was sad it was such a quick trip.  We both had to work on Wednesday, so I was literally only there for dinner Monday night and then all day Tuesday, then I left Wednesday morning.  Next time I'm bringing the husband and we'll visit my family that lives up there (talking to you, Jim & Rhona!) and see more of this lovely city.

So thankful to be able to hang out with one of my favorite people.  I'm realizing more and more lately how blessed I am with the friends I have.  Just wished more of them lived in Salem.  (Hint: that's an invitation for you friends to move here and/or visit me.  I can promise free coffee and lots of kitty cuddle time.  And Kimmy cuddle time.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oh hello, delicious!

Here's my disclaimer:  I am not a cook.  This blog will not regularly feature recipes because I have come to terms with the fact that cooking is not my gift.  I've even realized I'm not as much as a baker as I used to think I was - making the same cookies once a month doesn't exactly qualify me anymore.  But!  I would love my blog to be a source of help, be it in encouragement or in recipe offerings, and I feel like this recipe is too good not to share, especially with my fellow I-don't-like-being-in-the-kitchen friends.  You hard core chefs will probably find this recipe too simple, so feel free to chuckle softly at the fact that I'm excited about a recipe this easy.  Additionally, I did not invent this...yeah, right.  I got it from allrecipes.com.

Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews (oh hey, my four favorite foods are broccoli, garlic, butter, and cashews!  Perfect...)

1.5 pounds broccoli cut into pieces (I don't know how much this is...and I buy broccoli that's already been cut.  Cheater, right here!)
1/3 cup butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free, if you're gluten-intolerant)
2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced (The first time I made this, Bree had to tell me what cloves were, and show me how to peel them and mince them.  For others like me, here's help.)
1/3 c chopped cashews (or just leave them whole, like I do)

The recipe says to put the broccoli in a large pot with an inch of water and boil for seven minutes, but I just use my lovely Pampered Chef small micro-cooker and throw it in the microwave.  Again, I cheat.  Drain the broccoli and arrange on serving platter.  (I used a quiche dish, since it's shallow.)  While broccoli is cooking, melt butter in small skillet over medium heat.  Mix in brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, and garlic.  Bring to boil, then remove from heat.  Mix in cashews and pour sauce over broccoli.  Serve!

You can serve this as a side dish, but I like to throw it with some brown rice for a meal.  I've also added chicken before, and it was delish.  It's a pretty inexpensive, healthy, super quick meal that I've come to make over and over and over again.  Part of the reason I wanted to share it is because many other young wives like me are finding themselves a bit lost in the kitchen, so I figured, if you're like me, you could use another easy, fast, cheap recipe!  (And to all of you young wives who are rock stars in the kitchen, I sort of hate you a little bit.  Not really though.)  Luckily God blessed me with a husband who is impressed by and completely content with canned pasta sauce thrown over noodles, so it all works out.

And here's a picture.  Sorry I didn't take any photos while I was making it - I didn't plan on posting this until I had made it and realized I should share the wealth.  Happy cooking!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reading



I've discovered that it is somewhat impossible for me to read one book at a time.  Generally I'm reading a work of fiction aside something non-fiction, and one of them tends to be more intellectually challenging while the other is just for my own enjoyment as a reader and to (hopefully) help me grow as a writer.  Since I will sadly be taking a break from school until I officially become an Oregon resident (because, surprise, Sam and I are not made of money), I am all the more determined to continue my reading, especially that of the challenging nature.

Here is what I'm currently reading, along with my list of books I hope to read in the next few months.

1. Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut

I discovered how much I liked Vonnegut in a Literary Analysis class last semester when I read his short story Harrison Bergeron.  I highly recommend reading that.  Vonnegut likes to make somewhat depressing stories very funny, which I appreciate.  After all, who doesn't like to laugh?  Deadeye Dick is certainly a sad story so far, but so deliciously written and decidedly amusing.  I have no idea how he does it, which is why I'm so intrigued.  I'm ashamed to admit I've never read what is arguably his most famous work, Slaughterhouse Five.  Perhaps I should add that to my reading list, so I'm not a complete embarrassment as an English major.

2. In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado

Admittedly, grace is one of the hardest things for me to give as well as receive.  I have no comprehension of it, and any book that can somehow help me to understand it better is something I want to read.  I love Lucado's writing because it is poetic yet accessible.  Even his children's books have had a profound effect on me, particularly You Are Special and If Only I Had a Green Nose.  I also credit Every Day Deserves a Chance as being part of what helped me out of a particularly difficult time in my life.  I'm really looking forward to getting deeper into this book.

3. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

I found this for $3 at a used book store in Sebastopol, and I couldn't pass it up.  I feel like this is another book that every English major must read, and I feel like it's something I should own.  Don't ask me why I feel those things, but I do.

4. House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

I got this book for twenty cents at my favorite thrift store that I used to live across the street from in Petaluma.  I know there's a movie about it, and I know it's creepy.  I also know it's part of Oprah's Book Club, which makes me rather wary of it.  I made the mistake of taking Oprah's advice on another book when I was sixteen - She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, which was probably the worst book I've ever read.  I don't even remember if the writing was bad or if I just completely hated the story, but whatever it was made me think Oprah has bad taste in books.  And sorry to those of you who are fans of She's Come Undone, but I would probably also think you have bad taste in books and you probably wouldn't like what I like, so you should probably stop reading this list.  Hehe.  Either way, I'm giving this book a chance but if I'm not into it in fifty pages, it's going back to the thrift store.

5. Edifying Discourses, Soren Kierkegaard

I got this for twenty cents when I bought the above book, and it stood out to me mostly because my cousin Erin, the philosopher, happens to be a huge Kierkegaard fan.  I'm excited to read it because of the section titles such as, "Love Covers a Multitude of Sins", "Man's Need of God", and "The Narrowness is the Way" and because Kierkegaard was a Christian philosopher.  I love it when highly intelligent people can use logic to explain Christianity, which might explain my love for C.S. Lewis.  I must admit that I am intimidated, seeing as how I'm not much of a philosopher myself, but I'm hoping this will stretch my brain and help me not sound so uninformed when a philosophical conversation presents itself.

6. Crazy Love, Francis Chan

In the protestant church world, I'm way late jumping on this bandwagon, but I've heard enough good things about this book that I'm encouraged to read it.  I'm excited to find out what everyone is so excited about.

7. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende

I don't know much about this book, other than that the author has received critical acclaim for her works.  The story doesn't necessarily sound like something that I would normally choose, which is why I want to read it.  I like to force myself out of my boundaries every now and then.  Plus, I got this one for twenty cents, too, so I thought, why not?

And on my Kindle (which came with my phone - no, I do not own a Kindle because I am very much a lover of the printed page, the look, smell, and feel of a real book), I have three books that were free downloads.  Robert's Rules of Writing, by Robert Masello, Portable MFA in Creative Writing by the New York Writers Workshop, and I'm an English Major - Now What? by Timothy Lemire.  Those are going to act as my teachers and classroom for now, hopefully to encourage me to keep going with this whole writing thing.

And finally...my goal is to someday read the Harry Potter series.  No, I've never read it, and yes, I felt like a complete outcast among my fellow English majors at Sonoma State.  When these books came out I was in high school and all the younger kids were reading them - all the kids who eventually became my classmates at Sonoma State.  I was under the impression they were for elementary students, so when I was sixteen and in AP English, thinking I had better read all the classics and literary works before becoming an English major at Long Beach State, I thought it would be a waste of time to read kids books.  No offense to you hard-core fans, of course.  I'm interested in reading them and I plan to, I am merely explaining why I haven't yet.

So there you have it - that's what I'm reading and planning on reading.  If you have any other recommendations, or if you see something on my list that you think I should just skip, let me know, and likewise I promise to tell you which of these are worth your time and which aren't. 

And if you are only reading blogs, get thee to the library and read a real book, because blogs are not nearly as well-written as books, especially now that any old bloke can write any silly thing and call it a blog.

Case in point.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Patience Continued...

So I promised this yesterday, but I'm just now getting time to write today.  Maybe you thought I forgot, but I really just wanted to help you all practice patience.  (No, I'm lying, I really just didn't have time.)

I think patience in life is really just the ability to wait in trust and hope.  Now let me make this clear: I hate to wait.  Absolutely despise it.  I don't like waiting for anything, whether it's major or minor.  I don't even like how long it takes my hair to grow, or how long it takes to lose weight.  If I decide I want long hair and to drop a size, I want those things immediately.

It's easy to blame my impatience on society.  Technology seems to make things faster and faster.  Remember dial-up internet?  How annoyed would I be if I had to wait for that now?  Not to mention, I now have a smart phone, which means I can be on the internet, with information at my fingertips, all day long.  How did people live when there weren't cell phones, email, and airplanes?  Everything must have been so slow.  And my guess is that people were a lot more patient.

I know what it's like to wait.  I know what it's like to wait for healing, to wait for a new job, to wait to meet someone you can share your life with.  I know what it's like to pray for those things to come and to grow more and more discouraged when nothing seems to be happening.  I've never experienced it myself, but I know others who have experienced the pain of waiting to get pregnant and have a baby.  I am in no way suggesting that anything I say on this blog will make that waiting easier, and I hope no one thinks I pretend to have all the answers.  I really don't.  I think patience is very hard to master, and that the only way you develop it is to spend a lot of time waiting.  That's why it's a risky game to pray for patience - God will, indeed, provide you with opportunities to practice waiting.

So because I have nothing wise to say on the subject, I'll let God's Word do the talking instead.  Meditating on these verses that I've memorized over the years is my fix-all when I'm having a hard time being patient.  My hope is that they will be helpful to you as well, if you find yourself in a position of waiting.

"But God's not finished.  He's waiting around to be gracious to you.  He's gathering strength to show mercy to you.  God takes the time to do everything right - everything.  Those who wait around for Him are the lucky ones." Isaiah 30:18

I love that verse.  Don't you love the thought that the reason God is taking so long is that He's gathering strength to really bless you?  Like, His blessing will be so huge that He wants to take the time to do it perfectly because He loves you that much!  I love it.

"Wait and trust the Lord.  Don't be upset when others get rich or when someone else's plans succeed." Psalm 37:7

This is a hard one for me.  When I'm waiting for something specific, it's even harder to be patient when I see others around me who keep getting what I want.  Before I got married, I really wanted to get married, and while my relationship was ending, everyone I knew seemed to be getting engaged.  It's so hard not to become bitter in those situations, especially if you have been really patient.   But if we can remember that God sees all and is in control, it can be a little easier to accept.  We can't see the whole picture, and reasons why it might be better for us not to have whatever it is we're waiting on.  In my example, I am so grateful God didn't give me what I wanted!  I wanted to marry this other guy, and I had no idea that God had someone much better in mind for me - Samuel!  Like I said in my wedding vows, I'm so glad God's dreams for me were bigger than what I had for myself.  Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.  (Any Garth fans out there?)

"God, the one and only - I'll wait as long as He says.  Everything I need comes from Him, so why not?" Psalm 62:1  

Literally everything I could possibly need comes from God.  Life, breath, abilities, love.  He knows what I need more than I do, and if I can remember this, it makes it easier to wait on His timing.

"Wait...for God.  Wait with hope.  Hope now; hope always!" Psalm 131:3

I think I've mentioned before the I have a love affair with hope.  When all I can see is rain and clouds and hurt, I still have hope, and in my opinion, there is nothing better.  Maybe sometimes God lets us wait just so we can experience that hopeful anticipation of His blessing.  We will always have hope, as long as we trust God.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Ah, there it is.  That one just about sums it up.  We can be joyful because we have hope, and we can practice patience when we are afflicted.  Meanwhile, we can be faithful in prayer, which draws us closer to God.  Awesome.

I don't know why we have to wait, and I don't have all the answers.  But I do know that when we have to wait, we learn to persevere, and when we persevere, our character grows, and when our character grows we get even more of my favorite thing - hope.  How radical is that?

"There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" Romans 5:3-5

It's not easy for me to be patient, and I still don't like to wait.  But if I can focus on all the things I gain by waiting - character, virtue, blessings - then I can wait with a better attitude.  And slowly, little by little, my patience will grow.  And that's the whole point anyway, right?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Have Patience

Thanks to my last blog where I shamelessly begged for inspiration, I have something specific to write about today: patience.  JulieAnn requested a post on it, and it also happens to be one of the fruits of the spirit, as per Janna's suggestion.  Perhaps I'll start doing the fruits of the spirit every Tuesday...Fruit-Filled Tuesdays?  Tuesday's Spirits?  Hmm...that one just sounds like I'll talk about beer, and I don't think that would be wise, since I don't know very much about beer.  Patience, on the other hand...well I don't know much about that either, but we'll give it a shot.  And as far as titles go, I don't think I'm one of those cute blogs that can pull of a specially titled day, so we'll forget that, too.

If you asked my husband or my parents, they would tell you I am one of the most patient people they know; then they would happily accept the money I paid them to lie about me.  Since I can't afford to bribe anyone, you probably shouldn't ask them.  To put it mildly, patience is not one of my strong points (neither is honesty, apparently).  Part of the reason JulieAnn's suggestion intrigued me is because it is something I'm working on.  I'm certainly not an expert, but I'll share with you my little tricks at trying to master this ever-elusive trait.  Since I could go on and on about patience and probably write a book on how impatient I am, I decided to split this blog into two.  Today I'll write about how to be patient with people, and tomorrow I'll write about how to be patient when we're in a waiting period of our lives.

My impatience often shows it's ugly head when I'm driving, so I've started trying to practice patience on the road.  Please forgive me if these suggestions are just plain obvious.  I tend to be a pretty basic person who is completely fascinated by simple concepts and ideas, so for me these have been utterly helpful, though I do realize they are probably something all of you smart people already do.  First, I try to leave early enough so that I'm not running late and yelling at the car in front of me for driving too slow.  When I'm not in a hurry, I'm more patient.  (Who would have thought?!)  I also found that if I make it a point to let people in front of me - the car trying to merge, the car with the blinker on hoping to change lanes, the car trying to pull out of the driveway but can't because there is too much traffic - it actually makes me feel better.  It's that weird thing that happens when we put others first and we're actually the ones who benefit because we've done something kind.  Hmm...maybe nice people are happier than bitter, selfish people?  I need to remember that...

My job has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about dealing with frustrating and annoying people, which I'm grateful for.  I think my patience with people has grown a lot since working at Starbucks, and I've learned a thing or two about how to think about others in a way that enables me to be kind and not so easily annoyed.  I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, so when someone complains about a drink or tells me I've done something wrong, I'm annoyed.  So what I've started doing is pretending that that person is my mother, or my friend, or my grandmother, and that they really don't want to be complaining, they just really want what they ordered.  My mom has ordered a white hot chocolate from Starbucks numerous times, and somehow the barista always makes her a white mocha, which has espresso in it.  My poor mom literally can't stand the taste of coffee (I know, I don't get it either), so if they put espresso in her white hot chocolate it's a waste of $3 for her because she can't drink it.  Now, if my mom were to tell her barista that her drink was wrong and it needed to be remade, I'd be pissed if they were rude to her or impatient with her.  So when I'm tired and busy and don't want to deal with customers who are complaining, I try to remember that this could be my mom, and that even though it's not, I need to be nice to her (or him, whatever the case may be).

I try to do that with annoying drivers, too, or the slow person in front of me at the post office, or anyone else who generally makes me feel anxious or stressed out.  If I picture that middle-aged driver who just cut me off as my dad, I tend to be a lot more gracious about my reaction.  It's that same "treat others the way you want to be treated" idea, but I added a "treat strangers as if you know and love them", because let's face it, we should be loving and patient with everyone, not just our friends and family.  And further, we should be very loving and patient with our friends and family, too!  (Sorry hubby, I know I can be a beast and impatient with you.  But I'm working on it.)

To end, I'd like to include a little song I learned as a child that I enjoy singing to others who are being impatient.

"Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient
You only start to worry
Remember, remember
That God is patient, too
And just think of all the times
When others had to wait for you."

What helps you be patient with others?  I'm asking for reals...I'd love more ideas to practice.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Confession

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes my blogs aren't nice, encouraging, or uplifting. 

I say on my "Who" page that I want my blog to point to God.  And that's the truth.  I really do want my blog to be useful in encouraging others.  I want to be honest about my struggles in the hopes that someone will feel not quite so alone, or might benefit from lessons I've learned.  But, even though my intentions are good, sometimes a few little naughty posts get through.  You'd probably never recognize a naughty post because I'm so good at disguising it as a "this is only about me" post, or an "I'm being so humble" post, but I know my motives and intentions, and I'm ashamed to say that they are not always so pure.  In this day and age of anyone-and-their-brother can start a blog and project their ideas to the world, it's easy to start using it as my own personal microphone where I can say whatever I think about whatever I want and you poor readers have to just read it and be subjected to my crazy thoughts that I put forth as truth. 

Sorry about that.

When my blog becomes too much about me or what I think, that's a problem.  I think my ability to write is a gift from God, and I want to use that ability for His glory.  Of course my blog will be somewhat about me; I can't avoid that.  And some of the most healing moments in my life happened as a result of friends sharing their struggles and what they learned through them, so I want to be able to do the same in that regard - that's where the "about me" will come in. 

But...I've felt convicted about the times when I lost sight of my purpose for writing, and I just wanted to make amends here. 

Truth be told, I want God to be the boss of my life, and that includes my blog.  I want to write whatever He wants others to read.  I want to be His instrument.  There have been times where I planned to write about one subject, but when I sat down to write, something totally different came out.  I hesitated publishing those blogs, considered deleting them, because I felt a little too vulnerable, a little too naked, because they seemed a little too honest, and I wasn't sure I wanted the blogging world to know those intimate thoughts.  Not surprisingly, those posts seemed to have resonated the most with people.  Funny how that works.  I have no doubt that it was God nudging me, knowing that someone somewhere needed to read it, or maybe just that I needed to write it, because it would provide healing for me.

So...why am I telling all of you this?  Well, to be honest, I'm having a bit of a "Jonah and the big fish" moment, where I feel like I'm supposed to attack a certain subject that I really really don't want to write about, so I'm sort of avoiding it and hoping that if I ignore this feeling long enough it will just go away.  (If you don't understand the Jonah reference, you can read his book in the Bible.  Basically, he ignores God's direction because he's scared and gets swallowed by a whale until he learns his lesson.)  The funny thing is, ever since I felt this vague sense of what I should write about (which I subsequently ignored), I have felt very little inspiration to write.  It's as if my brain has turned off and the writing won't flow again until I write this stupid thing I don't want to write.

Whoever said following God was easy? 

So people...what do you want me to write about?  My precious friend JulieAnn, who is possibly my biggest writing fan and who encourages me and thinks I'm better than I actually am (probably because she loves me so much) has said she has wanted to send me blog ideas to hear what I would have to say on certain subjects.  And I guess I'm just curious - is there any subject any of you think I should tackle?  (And if you don't support my ploy to avoid writing about what I don't want to write about, I understand.)  I guess I'm just curious to see if anyone will request the exact subject I'm avoiding.

And don't worry, I will write about it...I just don't know when I'll be ready to share it.
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