To Plan or Not To Plan

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I love planning now although I feel like a child doing it will all my sticker packs. As a kid growing up, I hated it didn’t see the point in planning, but I also had fewer responsibilities in life. I miss those carefree days of making sure my chores were done and being ready for dinner. Sometimes my imaginary friends made me late for those types of events. 

When I got to college is when I started planning more because I was taking more than full loads and trying to remember what assignments were due was not something I committed to memory. After I forgot I couple times, I started carrying around an organizer. However, when I got a job while going to school full time and was also in other organizations my planning became trickier. The limits of my memory were stretched with everything I was trying to contain for classes, work, and extracurricular events. 

When my baby was added to the mix of going to grad school, working, and keeping up with laundry I knew I needed to get serious about a calendar. So, I decided to try out a few different planners to see what I enjoyed the most. 

When I decided to become a serious planner, I didn’t know what would work for me. I liked to plan out most of my life with a paper calendar, and yes I still use a written one.  I was once told by a pastor I was doing research with, “Why remember things you can write down?” Her planner was large enough to take someone out. With my child growing, I really got into planners and was obsessed for a while. I would try all the new planners coming out. 

These are a few I checked out:

Passion Planner

Happy Planner

Franklin Covey Planner

Moleskin

Erin Condren

Day Designer

When I became a mother, I realized that my sleep-deprived mind could barely remember the way to work or how to do laundry. Planning became mandatory to keep my sanity and my small family running smoothly. Games, plays, and school events quickly filled up the spaces left between chores and work. 

I have found a planner I love and use one with stickers because it is relaxing to me. It makes me want to look at my planner and add things to it. It has taken me years to find a planner I like and stick to it. I am totally up a creek without a paddle if they stop making it. I do use my phone calendar as a reference point, but there is just nothing like writing it down for me.

One thing I have never done was plan out anything that I was writing after I came back to the writing life. Most would say, “Well Esme, this is why you don’t finish anything.” I would reply with, “Nope usually fear that keeps me from finishing.”

However, I primarily wrote short stories and poetry the majority of my life, and they for me didn’t require a lot of planning just a lot of revision. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I got a book idea. This book was massive and perhaps would have to be written in a series to do it justice. 

So, I started the piece much like anything else I had ever written I began with a character and gave them life. I like to write by just letting it fly out of my head on to paper, but it has left me with my character in a place I am not sure how to get them out of. After about a year of this on and off again I had a few good little stories, but it was still all over the place. 

It wasn’t until this year that I really started to plan out my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I had to scrap nearly everything I had written up to that point and do an outline of all the characters in my story as well as what they were going to do. I took a long to time to figure it out, and in fact, I have put my novel on hold until I can plan what is next in my story. 

I have been writing 4 stories at the moment they come together into one picture. Which honestly is how I feel like God writes my life out, but God also says I know the plans I have for you! So, I feel like planning my novel would be the best benefit in every way possible. In fact two months ago my mother told me the same thing. Yes, mom, you were right okay. (She is way too often and don’t tell her I said that.)

In other words, this woman who wasn’t a planner in the beginning soon ended up being one, and moral of the story is even when you get older your mother is right. 

~Esme

Improve Your Year by Picking a Word

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I am starting the New Year late. It is the first week I have started to feel like myself again after the holidays. Every year I have been very precise about planning out my goals for the new year. However, after deep reflection of my life over the last six weeks I have decided to change some things. I went through this last year and saw everything I had not gotten done for the year and with deep sadness, I was at a loss of how to proceed. 

I put so much pressure on myself to accomplish great things that when I end the year no seemingly closer to my goal, I wanted to hide. 

I picked myself up I decided that instead of doing all of these crazy goals for this year that I would just do two. Writing has really been a focus of mine for the last six months. I have been moving back into this passion after years of trying to resist it. 

My two goals are to 

1. Finish the novel I have been working on 

2. Send out some other work for publishing. 

I am excited to just try to do these two things for a busy year I have ahead. 

I have also chosen a word to help me keep focused this year. I did this last year as well to keep me going through a very tough year. It took me a while to think about what this word would be. I took quizzes online and listened to podcasts trying to figure what my word should be. Last year it had come so naturally to me, but this year it was a battle to come across the right one. 

This year it is abound. 

Now you might be thinking why not flourish, and I am right there with you, but for me this year it is abound. I was reading a book by Max Lucado Unshakeable Hope. There is was a the end of the book, “He wants us to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) 

It jumped off the page at me abound. I had been struggling so much this year with hope. I hope that I would get to keep my home, that I would be able to care for my daughter, that I would find someone special for me, and that I would amount to anything as a writer. I had been so beaten down especially in the family losses over the last couple of months I didn’t even know how to stand up anymore to have faith in this moment of my world crashing in. 

Most would put it off as me worrying too much and that I needed to have faith.

 Let go, Let God. 

Someone is coming. 

God will never leave you homeless. 

These were all phrases coming from the right hearts, but it didn’t give me any comfort at night when I was already to the point I had lost my hope. When too many bad things where sturring up so much pain in my life.

Let me tell you something, for me, I could not have faith until I had some hope. I can even think of when I first came to be a Christian it was because I finally started to have confidence that God really did love me for me before I believed wholeheartedly in Him. I spent the better part of last week filling myself up with God’s hope for my life and what difference it has made for me on the inside. 

I have decided to make this word abound or my overflow focus on God. Last year it was about getting through the year and this year I want to be basking in the presence of God. 

The top three reasons I chose to do a word again this year.

1. Helps me have focus not just on steps to make a goal but a feeling I want for the year.

2. They are more fun to me than a goal because I can play around with the definitions. 

3. It is easy to pair it with a quote or scripture for the year. 

I found out too when it is the background of my phone or cover on social media I see it more often, and it helps me keep my focus. 

Is picking a word for your year what you should do?  

I will leave it up to you. 

Is it too late to choose a word?

Never but just so you know sometimes the word chooses you.

Walking Through the Valleys

I walked down by the creek across the bed of rocks in the valley down the hill an away from our house. The bed rocks have been pushed into a pile below in this ditch right next to the water. It was beautiful down there peaceful and a nice place to get away when you want to hear the waters moving.

The day I walked down there the water was lower, and it seemed to be getting lower every year. The dry air of suffocating in the 100-degree heat. I want to go play in the water a lot as a child like most children do. I kept walking with eyes on the rocks before me to keep watch for things that slither.  Snakes common in the area. Before I knew it a giant black snake slithered out of the grass in the field and was in my path on the rocks. 

I stopped frozen in fear, in a time before cell phones, and no one within shouting distance. Two more steps and I would have been stepping on it. The snake stopped looked at me and hissed I started to lunge toward me. I thought for sure I was done for and it would bite me, but I couldn’t move even if I wanted to. To my surprise, the snake continued on into the creek and started to swim in the direction I was head as well. I quickly turned and ran as hard as I could back to the road crying and shaking.

Fear had stopped me in a critical moment in my life while I stood in a valley. I was running in the opposite direction that I wanted to go because of fear.

I wonder how many times God has been with me in those moments when I ran out of fear in the opposite directions of the path He was leading me down. The truth was God was always there and still is. In that valley much like the rest of my life, I felt like I was alone. There was no bombing presence of God in my area at all, and everything was silent. In the valley, I was looking down at my circumstances instead of up to my Jesus. 

It was easy for me to get discouraged in the valleys of my life when God was not in my life.  Yes, I have had more the one, and I think we continue to have those moments no matter what the circumstances are in our lives. Perhaps a valley moment starts with a death, divorce, or destruction. It could even start with just a series of ordinary life events that seems to not be going right.

This last month was a valley moment for me many times. I had the goal of writing my novel and so many things started happening. I had headaches, rashes, nightmares, and I fell multiple times doing ordinary things. I lost members of my family. I was taken through a week of everyday things gone wrong. I did not despair, but I was still down.

How would I handle this valley? 

Would it better than before? 

Would I get mad and yell? 

Would I be quiet and cry? 

Would I turn to my Father in heaven? 

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I am sad to say I did get mad and yell sometimes. I was crying a lot too, but I also turned to my Father in the middle of my messy valley moment. It was easier to turn to God this time than the last time this happened to me. I am getting stronger in my faith and focus on Jesus. I kept praying even though each day did not seem to reach better results. I kept praying and pushing into God’s promises for me. I had to keep walking in my valley until I reached a new level of surrender to God. 

In the valley, there is still joy, peace, and forgiveness. A valley is a place to find God and to seek His face. It reminds me there is so much more work to be done in me. 

Keep walking through your valley.


~Esme

When I Unplug

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Our car drove into the driveway, and I had taken fallen asleep again in the backseat. The car door slammed shut, I woke up, and we were at grandpas again. I loved the wide of open spaces and woods to explore. I walked into the dark two-story house because they never had their lights on during the day. 

There was a TV right inside the front door that was never on. My grandmother sat in the kitchen reading newspapers. I walked through the living room and around the corner to the porch door. I could hear the squeaking of the porch swing where I found my grandpa each time we came to visit. He would sit on the porch swing for hours just staring at the road and the field across the street. 

He was overall a quiet man, and when I came here after a brief talk about what I was learning in school, we were silent. It was not an uncomfortable silence or cruel it was the way my grandfather was. I thrived on quiet myself because in the field across from his swing was an open field where my imagination took flight. There were jolly green giants, princesses being rescued, and an assortment of made up creatures. At least twice a month we made this trip on Saturdays to their farm and the quiet.

Some of my fondest memories are of my grandpa and our time together. I wish he could have seen me grow into the woman I am now, and I could have known him as an adult to ask him the questions I never thought of as a child. I am confident my life would be different. 

Since then the days of swinging with grandpa, almost 20 years ago, things have changed a lot. The age of the internet, cell phones, and tablets came into public existence. Now there are things continually calling for your attention literally. Our phones, tablets, and computers have notifications from apps, texts, and phone calls. I am not sure there is an escape from the internet now unless you are in a remote area. Televisions blaring in every room of the house and now at eating establishments. If I am not on technology, I am talking about something to do with it. 

Did you see that movie? 

Did you watch that show? 

Have you heard that song? 

Did you see that video? 

Did you see that picture? 

It honestly makes me feel overwhelmed. I cannot get lost in my own imagination when there are things continually buzzing and ringing in my ears. So I unplug from it all because my mind longs to be quiet.

I have found weekends liberating for this last part of the year. Aside from a few weekends, I have tried my best to stay of technology in particular social media. My phone goes into silent mode starting Friday night, and it does not change until Sunday morning. It is not a matter of being completely, but it is a matter of deciding when I will check my electronic devices. I am taking the control back instead of letting electronics control me. 

Do I sometimes miss things? Yes. 

Do I miss important things? No. 

I have shut off as many notifications that are not important to me as possible. This has become vital to my family life and my creative life. I thought I would be missing out on too much in other people’s lives, but the truth is I didn’t. People had called me when someone I knew died, and if I had missed it they are dead already what I can do? I have found more peace and creativeness by now allowing outside forces into my home through my phone. 

Yes, this is also why sometimes it may take me a couple hours or sometimes days to get back to a friend. I am not saying we all must forgo social media and technology, but sometimes it is nice to leave my phone in the house and sit outside to watch the wind blow. In this world of instant everything, I miss the days of before cell phones and the internet when it took 15 minutes just to connect. It made you really question whether this phone call or internet time was worth it. 

When I am nature, my thoughts come back to the surface, and I can ponder again. 

Unplug with me and let our imagination run free.


Being Head Chef of Your Life

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I have never been the best cook but I have also never tried to be either. In this age of streaming, almost any type of cooking show is out there that you could ever want and I love to watch them. It has been great to watch different chefs do their best to please the judges who are often chefs themselves. Within a few episodes, I think I would have whatever the recipe was down and seen their mistakes there was no way it I would make the same mistakes as someone else. I could win that show without a problem...  queue laughter from anyone who has eaten my food.... silence because no one has.

When I think about cooking, I think about my mother and my family. She used to say “There are too many cooks in the kitchen.”  She would run me out as a child mostly because I was afraid the boiling water and splattering grease. Through this process, however, I never understood how the food was made. I knew where it came from because living on a farm you garden and we ate a bull we raised every now and then. Her point was there were too many leaders and not enough followers. 

I have found this situation often manifest in my walk with Jesus. There seems to be a multitude of leaders in the world and when it comes to what we think is best for our own lives.  I wanted to be the in charge of my life after leaving my parents farm. I think I knew what was best for my family and I. My money was my own to spend any way I chose. I could live my life the way I wanted. I could read, eat, drink, and watch whatever I wanted or if I was with a friend they had some influence on me. 

I can now picture Jesus standing there waiting patiently for me to be done walking away from Him. He was in a chair by this time because it has been years since I let Him have a say in my life. He never took His eyes off me just waiting for me to give up my head chef status in my life. I would fall on face over and over I was so stubborn. It took a lot of self-inflicted pain and discouragement for me to decide that maybe I did not know what I was doing. He could tell I was getting tired so He began to tug at my spirit and heart to let Him in.

 I did finally let Him into my heart, and it was the most awesomesauce day ever! I was finally okay with a follower of Jesus because there is so much more I got out of life by being a follower. I wasn't about the things I gave up but about everything I got to gain by being in God's presence. He has feed me with His goodness daily.

In my journey of being a follower of the head chef Jesus, I have chosen to do a lot of things I am not used to. I run everything in life by Him first. I listen a lot more than I ever did before to someone else. I look to see what His reply is when I ask Him a question about my life. I read His Word and seek His knowledge about how He would handle situations in my life. I do all of this because I love Him and I asked Him to be the head chef of my life, Lord of my life. 

I could have asked Him to just be my savior from hell which is fantastic, but I wanted more. I wanted my life to manifest a real change of direction. I want to be a new creation in Him and renew my mind daily with His Words. I wanted to start my eternity of worship right now.

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There is a difference from just wanting the get out of hell free card and wanting to be His disciple. I will not say it is always easy to say no to the latest movie that everyone else is going to because you know it will hurt your spirit. It is not always easy to fast for some answers or breakthroughs for situations. It takes discipline to pray and read His word when you don’t feel like it. It is not always easy to put down social media and push into His presence. It is all a choice I make, and it is not requirements of God to live on this earth. We have the free will to do what we like and to live as we want to. I have already lived my life how I wanted, and it did not turn out to be good for me. I want to flourish with Him now. I do not do these things because I have to but because I love Him, He has blessed my life so much, and I am so grateful I want to do the things that please Him.

He stands there day after day watching you, waiting for you to say you have had enough. He longs to be near and beside you all the days of your life on earth and for eternity after that. He loves us so much even when we have made our lives the worst mess we could ever imagine and more. There is only one in eternity, and it is the head chef Jesus.

~ Emse

Jump Into Writing

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This blog has been going on for a couple years now even though there is nothing left of it in its original form. It has been strange for me to talk to people I do not know and let them into my personal thoughts. I have had to overcome great amounts of fear to accomplish what I have thus far. 

Throughout these months I have carved out time to write and sometimes not as much time as I would like.  I had been continuously fighting the feelings of rejection and the thoughts that no one was really reading this anyway. I usually tell these feeling to shut up or get out. 

While in some ways it may be hurtful to think that no one would read it, I suppose I would understand there is so much to learn these days on the internet. I keep going through and keep pushing through because whether anyone reads this or not I have this blog is something I need to do.  I wanted to jump back into writing again. I really just enjoy talking on paper and to people if they are out there. There are so many things to be afraid of in this world why let a wounded ego be one of them.

In the time the characters have been on vacation in October I have been working on short stories. What is wrong with my characters? Nothing, they are beautiful I check on them from time to time. They have been on an extended vacation trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. We still go out for walks, but we have not spent a lot of time together, but we will be soon. 

The book I hope will be finished by the end of the month as I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year and hoping to reach 50,000 words at the end of the month. However, I have been working on short stories in the meantime just to see what it would be like and also outlining my novel to write in November, which it is now. 

When I was in college, I loved writing short stories because sometimes a novel seems like a daunting task. I am happy to say after hard work I have finally sent something in to see if it would be published. 

Does this mean I have an agent? No. 

Does this mean I have hit it big? No. 

Does this mean my work will be published? I have no idea, but I sure do hope so. 

It has taken me a long time to finally let something leave my hands for someone else to read. Even if my story is rejected I tired and I think I would like to keep trying.

I am glad to say I was actually totally calm about the whole situation. I am not really worried about it, and when I hear something, of course, I will tell you too. Until then, however, I am going to keep working on my writing because I want to be better than I am now. I want to look back on these blog posts someday and see how far I have come. I cannot look back until I had started and I keep going. I have decided to jump all into this part of my life. Though I have had to take some swimming lessons and practice a lot, I am not drowning in my fear like I was before. Please don’t let fear stop you from doing great things with your life. Your failures are not failing but lessons in how not to keep swimming.

Find Your Book

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So can I ask what the last book you read is? 

Be honest with me. I will not judge you. 

No, not an article on Facebook, or the last news report but a book. These things called books are now a foreign idea. 

These strange things called books have a beginning, middle, and end. These rectangular devices range in page number from around fifty pages and up. Books can be paperback or hardback. You can buy them at almost every store now you walk into. My favorite is just loaning them from the library these days.  

Even now with a couple clicks on your phone, you could have a digital book downloaded. (The digitals don’t smell the same as the originals though.) 

Books are everywhere, and they influence more in the world than you think they do. Books of faith cause wars and unite people with the same verse. Books can evoke a whole spectrum of human emotions within a short period. They can help you de-stress and make staycations more interesting.

It has been a while hasn’t it since you read something that was not on social media…..

Now probably five years ago I would have told you I only have time to read things for school an nothing else. I don’t have time for this, and I really don’t like reading anyway. Yes, I know a writer just said she didn’t like reading. 

Yet social media is mainly reading have you noticed that? You are now reading about how someone is doing instead of them telling you on the phone. It also reminds me texting is even reading. I hear the excuse of I don’t really like to read often, and when I listen to it I want to counter with you must not like food either? Was that too harsh or rude? Perhaps instead you are saying what does reading have to do with eating? In a word a matter of taste.

I do not like every food on the planet. There are some foods too spicy, or I don’t like their texture. There are many foods in existence that seem way too out there to even try. However, I do like a lot of different foods, but I didn’t know until I tried them. 

I believe reading books is a lot like eating food. I did not know what kind of books I liked until I tried them out. When I was a child, I read the books my parents wanted me to understand, when I got access to a library I found I was trying to keep up with what friends were reading. Even though I did not like what my friends read and I struggled really struggled with reading, so I kept looking. I found out I love mainly non-fiction books and I wanted to learn more about the world I lived in. Non-fiction children’s books also had awesome pictures.

Then I was in college and did not have time to read anything but the books required for classes. English classes were required and as it turned out in some of my classes fiction books were the required reading. I found a new section of books I liked to read, coming of age. It was also because I was coming of age in my own way. When I was in graduate school, I was always reading the academic work written in my field of study. So, it was not until I graduated from graduate school that my mind became still and I longed to fill it with something new. Into my head walked hoards of fiction books. 

I started to read what everyone else did again, and it got me nowhere. So, I began to experiment by getting different types of books that seemed appealing to me. It was not long before I started reading post-apocalyptic books. The end of the world was exciting to me, but I realized post-apocalyptic movies were what I liked the most. I decided if I liked those types of movies then surely I would like those types of books too. Now I don’t like every single book out there on the subject, but I did find a start again for my taste in literature.

Can I ask you do to something for me? Please don’t give up on reading and keep searching for the types of things you like to read. Use the library to find the kinds of books you want without spending a fortune. If you get a chapter in and you don’t like it take it back and get a different book. Read with your children and most of all read to your children. If they are not interested in what you are reading to them, let them pick out a book, or read your favorite book to them as a child. They will see your excitement and want that for themselves.

Don’t give up on books they are still being written for you.


The Prayers of Children

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As I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I die before I wake,

I pray the Lord, my soul, to take. 

Amen

This was the bedtime prayer I was taught as a child. It is lovely prayer and helped me understand I would want to be with the Lord at when I died. Heaven was a place talked about often especially when someone died I realized it was the end. As a child, however, I really had no idea what heaven was about and why this prayer would be necessary. 

Over time I had stopped praying all together except when the family went to church because it was part of being in church or when my animals were sick. I often prayed for the healing of the animals on the farm because I hated seeing them in pain. Though I never saw an animal healed, I still begged and pleaded with God to do something. At times I even prayed they would just die quickly, so they didn’t have to suffer anymore. (There was not an abundance of dying animals nor were any animals sick or hurt on purpose.)

Death was common in my life as a child, but I still didn’t understand what being in heaven really meant other than they were no longer here. When I needed help, I prayed, but even then I did not pray that often. I did not understand what prayer was for.

It wasn’t until after the birth of my child that my life drastically changed and I began to understand what prayer was for. Even while I still walked in the darkness, I knew I wanted my child to have the strong faith I had seen in my classmates at a young age. 

I saw them strong, and they endured many things but never lost their hope. I wanted my baby to go to church and have the faith I did not have growing up. The problem was I thought the answer was a church. The truth was the answer was Jesus for both of us. I needed Him just as much as she did and more if I was going to teach her anything about God. What I found out over and over was God was using my child to teach me about Him.

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It was not until I was an adult that I found out prayer was really talking to God. I thanked Him for all the things my life, asked for protection when I needed it, just spoke to Him about what was happening in my world. I told Him stuff I worried about, things I loved, and things in my life I saw no purpose for. I started to have a relationship with Jesus. Prayer = Relationship with God. Then I found out further down the line that pray = mountains moved. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Mark 11:23 (ESV)

I started to teach my child about prayer when I understood it to better depths myself. When she would hurt herself, I would pray for the pain to leave her. When I was sick, she prayed for me. I came home from work one day, and she told me she prayed for the cat who had a scratch on her and it went away. I have been amazed by her prayers, at her relying on God before anything else in her life. We pray every morning before school and every night before she sleeps. We do not pray a formal prayer but one of conversation with God often. 

There was a small prayer she knew that I had taught her. Not because I wanted a formal prayer but these were issues we were having and living out. We were freezing, not feeling safe, we had bad days, and nightmares. It was important to thank God for everything we had even if it was little. I thought it was important to tell Jesus we loved him and really mean it every day. There are so many times we forget to mention to each other how much we love them. This prayer as altered some as she has gotten older and when we get to the thanking part she thanks God for her toys, every person in her family is named, all the children, the babies, and the world. There have been nights when she wants me to pray instead, and I have out loud. She hears me pray about many different things when I pray for us because I am already talking to Jesus, so I pray for others too.

It is vital for our children to see us pray, and read the bible. It is essential for them to see our faith in our words, actions, and beliefs. It builds our children up, and it will build us up. I ask you to pray with your children in a meaningful way whatever way that is. It will equip them as an adult to live a life with God as opposed to without Him. Start when they are young and speak life into them. Pray the promises of God over them as infants or at any age. For those of you with grown children who may not be walking with God don’t you dare give up on them, you keep praying them through.

~Esme

A Word to Describe Me

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If I was turning my life into a word what would it be…Love? Family? God? Self? 

Can life be described in just one word? 

We are gifted in the English language to have so many words to identify ourselves with, and yet these words also are not full enough to say who we really are. I find when you ask someone who they are they usually describe themselves by whatever they do in life. I think for many years it was what I felt gave me purpose. 

My favorite word is a worshiper of the Lord Almighty.

I often find I describe myself as a Christian, single mother, daughter, sister, friend, writer, a runner, a working mom, tired, hungry, happy, sad, or a person who does know what is going on. I think I am missing the point because any of this words of the world have their own meaning to each individual. Even though I have tried hard to put myself and my world inside a box of words, there are always more to be added. There is not one word so descriptive no other word will do.

I have so many words to string together could one word really satisfy me? I would say in many ways it could not, but I also think many times we use just one word to describe the world around us. Beautiful, ugly, rich, weak, crazy, fat, and thin these words seem to be the ones I hear out of the mouths of people often. 

Are these words exact about what they are describing? 

Many years ago I wrote so I would not cry and be sad. It is not how I started my writing, but it is what it turned into for a while. The emotions I felt were so real and intense I did not know what was going on. Then I strung words together only to find I was not just sad and crying for no reason, but I was heartbroken. I had lost the one man I loved dearly. 

For people to describe me as sad was an understatement and for others to say I was uncaring was hurtful. However, the blank pages did not judge me like we often judge each other. The pages let me pour out my grief in a way I could not with another person.

Maybe where there is now beauty in someone’s life where there was pain and suffering. I have come across things that seem ugly now, but was so beautiful and still is if you would just look a few steps closer. It is a matter of what we are willing to see in someone or something. 

I love words and the process of what happens when you put them together to create people, moods, and settings. I try to stay true to the words I use to describe someone, but sometimes even I am fooled by my perceptions. I usually try to keep quiet, I would never want to hurt anyone with an incorrect word even if they were not around to hear it.

Please be patient with people in this world. It may be easier to yell and be unkind, but it is not helpful to anyone. I love what joy words can bring. When we use these words in positive ways, we get a father proud of his children or loving his wife. A mother so strong she will not let her child see her cry when they lose their home. A child full of hope everything is going to be alright against all the odds. A friend who makes her best friend laugh when they feel the world is falling down. A teacher who encourages her shy student to keep pursuing his dreams. 

My point? One word is not a good judge of who a person is really. You start to fixate on that one-word description and then some words that might follow. There is so much more in a person than what we are seeing.  

My second point is to use creativity whether it be writing, painting, drawing, sowing, or the other 500 things I have not written to figure out who you are, and what is going on in that head of yours. Paint your fears, draw your dream, and write your future.

What word describes you?

Don't Forget Your Armor

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It all started on a hot Thursday morning in the life of a somewhat normal woman. She woke up with a hundred things to do that morning just like every other day. Today, however, she had taken the day off from work and was excited about walking around the mall alone, going to have lunch alone, and find a quiet corner of a coffee shop to read. It had been so long since she had time to herself. She usually spent every day off she had at home cleaning and doing laundry. She was so incredibly excited! She got her child ready for school and was getting ready to drop her off. 

As she was heading out the door, her mother appeared and wanted to take boxes to storage. This was, of course, fine because it had been put off often and really needed to be done. She would be a little later getting started, but it would be okay because things needed to be done. She moved all the boxes and then dropped off her child. She decided to come back home and get ready so she could be on her way. She was hungry, and something was unsettled in her spirit. The feeling like she knew there was something terrible was going to happen but couldn’t figure what or why she really had this feeling. The woman ate breakfast talked with her mom about her plans. Her mom was going wait on a plumber and was debating mowing the yard. The woman got up changed out some laundry and started washing dishes. Busy work again, she thought, but it has to be done, so I will do some. She started to cry and wondered Why am I doing this again? This will be the last day I have for months, and I should do what I want to do! Her tears came down harder. I am so angry I wanted to leave for the day and do fun things again. Her mother noticed her tears, “What is wrong?” she asked her daughter. She could no longer contain her emotions and disappointment any longer and started to scream, “Why does it matter? Does it matter that I wanted to spend a day alone? Maybe get my hair done the way I had been talking about for months? Nothing matters anymore!” she shouted at her mom. 

In truth, it was not her mother's fault at all. She felt worthless and like no one cared at all for her and what she wanted in life. Her world came crashing down within 20 minutes because she lost her identity. She screamed out in pain and frustration how could this be happening again. 

I am fine everything was fine.

I find when everything in my life seems fine it usually means something in my life is about to go terribly wrong.  Questions are swirling around in my head I am not addressing. There are situations I have let sit on the back burner of my mind until they are boiling. This is kind of what my life was like a few months ago. Within a few hours of things not going right, my life started to spin around my selfishness instead of my God. 

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I had turned over my child of God badge and just stood there letting the turmoil consume me. I was falling deeper into this hole of self-doubt. I know it was not right for me to let it get that far. It was not until I started to ask for prayer that things would begin to change. Remember who your enemy is… it is not you but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV). I had left part of my armor of God at my bedside. I surely won’t need it today since I am getting to do what I want. How foolish I was to try to get through a day without all of my armor.

In the bible it says, 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:13-19 NKJV). There are many times when I have thought maybe my ways are better than Gods way. And it never fails to see Him helping me pick up my messes when I have been too stubborn to listen to Him.

How did the day end? Better after I was reminded in my chaos to pray the Word of God over me. My focus came back to Jesus and every single beautiful thing He has done for me. For Him to die for me was true enough, but the Father continues to bless me daily. The Holy Spirit is still within me, even on the days I mess up. Also on the days, I have a meltdown. My advice is don’t leave your bed without your armor, in fact, don’t sleep without it.

~Esme