Writing with one eye open

I’ve been anxious to get back to my computer to write some more on my novel all day (NaNoWriMo). I’ve only just recently sat down to write, except that it’s been such a long day that my eyes are literally closing as I type out my thoughts. I’d manage to get one eye open, and then they’d shut again. Once that thought got written out, my brain stopped giving me relevant information. I’ll get to 5,000 words and beyond tomorrow!

One reason for said exhaustion: It’s a big day – our kitties moved back in with us! That was a lot of driving and not a little setup. My sister generously boarded them since mid-December last year while our new house was being built. She’s amazing. The cats are so cute exploring the new house only after the kids have gone to bed. I don’t blame them!

Now, I’m done writing for the day. 🙂 Good night!

Tea Party and Gold Canyon

The following are a few emails I rediscovered today. It tickled me pink. For one thing, I forgot that this web URL used to be a redirect for my GC biz.

Janurary 22, 2009

I want to say it was [S] that asked me about doing a gift basket, but I’m struggling to remember (pregnancy brain!)… Anyway, I sell Gold Canyon Candles, and I can set up a gift basket for the event. Also, she mentioned something about the tea light samples I can do for the grab bags. I’m happy to donate my talent/time/stuff in this way. Just let me know details on what’s needed.

Speaking of Gold Canyon, I’m hosting a Party this Saturday in the Fellowship Room. There’ll be samples of all the candle scents and prizes. It’s an open house type of event from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. You are welcome to come (and bring a friend)!

To find out a little more about the candle biz visit www.debcorner.com.

The Lady Fishers at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church (Fishers) did a fun and fabulous Tea Party on April 25, 2009. At the time, I helped with the church’s e-newsletter. I was also a Gold Canyon Candle Company (GC) representative.

Between this email and the date of the event was my daughter’s birth! I have another email where I was updating the church website the day before Sarah was born. The lovely woman I was coordinating with happened to be traveling for the birth of her granddaughter, who was born the night before my daughter was born!

Thank you, Deb: You never cease to amaze me. I know what today is and I will be thinking of you. God’s blessings to you. I pray all goes well.

Our granddaughter was born last night. She’s adorable! Eight pounds four ounces. Wow! It was a tough delivery.

You take good care, too, and I hope you will have a lot of people taking care of you, Sarah, and the boys.

A few weeks later, my friend was heading home and she sent me this note:

How’s the new mom and baby doing?  Outstanding, I hope… See you soon. We are heading home tomorrow.  Have been gone 4 weeks. By the way, my daughters love their candles!

I had so much fun volunteering at Fishers. I no longer attend Fishers, but I still consider them my “church home away from home.”

I really enjoyed working with the Gold Canyon too. I no longer sell GC products, but I definitely still use them! They are still my favorite candles.

I am a Saint

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.
– 1 Corinthians 1:2 (ESV)

Teacher Goes to School

I not only teach the children, but I’m always pushing myself to learn more.

I’m currently taking a class from Adobe Generation Professional on Web Design. It is a free class utilizing Adobe Muse.

I’ve been a web designer/developer for over 15 years now, but I’m loving this class! I’ve already learned so much. I got my start with programming, not design. I’m loving learning how to build websites without code and from a designers perspective. I’m also learning how to teach those skills to my students/children. It’s very cool stuff.

My class project is Buck Books – it’s an extension of our homeschool, and a learning playground for me.

*feature image credit: flikr

I am Born Again

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.
– 1 Peter 1:23 (ESV)

You have been born again, and this new life did not come from something that dies, but from something that cannot die. You were born again through God’s living message that continues forever.
– 1 Peter 1:23 (NCV)

Journaling

A writer is going to write!

I keep journals in such a way that it seems that my journals have journals. In the past, I would pick up a simple composition book, open to the first page, and start journaling. Within a month, maybe two, I’d stop using that journal. It’d get lost in my bookshelf, the seemingly inevitable clutter on my dresser, or deep in my closet somewhere. One day, I find it again.

You’d think I would just pick up where I left off, and keep journaling. No. By that point, I’ve already started another journal, of course! The result is that I have all these perpetually partial journals flitting about.

I’ve finally broken this bad habit with the discovery of my favorite journal earlier this year. I was wondering Target one day and found a Moleskine journal on sale. It was purple with light purple polka dots. I could not resist! As I started to journal in this Moleskine, I realized how much I love this journal! There’s even a pocket in the back for ticket stubs or whatever.

I’m on my second Moleskine journal. The purple one is completed! I haven’t completed a journal since the 90’s sometime, I think. So, finishing that journal was a big deal.

What to do with all the partial, old ones? I’ve decided to use the Evernote document camera and join those entries up with various other entries in Evernote.

My Evernote journal is my second favorite space for journaling. I use IFTTT.com to automatically pull my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts into my journal. So, that’s pretty cool. I also use Evernote to quickly snap a picture or jot out what’s going on – usually something funny the kids say/did.

There’s lots and lots of little life blips there that will make for great scrapbooking fodder one day!

Getting Things Done – The Tools

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox is my main email client. I use it on the web and with my mobile devices. I like how you can snooze emails until they are relevant.

My favorite feature is how you can group the emails into sections. My main sections are “Websites” for work related emails and “Reading List” for the handful of blogs I subscribe to. These two features alone help me manage email influx tremendously! The social emails come into the “Social” group, I skim all the subjects and normally just hit the collective delete button. It’s a super, fast and efficient way to process emails!

Evernote

I use Evernote for more and more every day. I coordinate family finances with my husband through Evernote. I keep track of my children’s and my medical care, school work, journaling, product research, and the list goes on and on.

Saving notes is easy! There’s an app on my phone, there’s a web clipper in my internet browser, and I can email notes to my notebooks directly. I also save notes to my notebooks via LiveScribe+ (a toy to describe in another post, perhaps).

My favorite feature of Evernote is that it is everywhere! The web, my computer (an application), my mobile phone, my tablet. Further, it is connected to many other services, such as Remember the Milk (RTM).

*Join Evernote with my link to give me points towards premium service plus get one month premium service yourself for free.*

Remember the Milk

You can do tasks in Evernote, but I’ve never really used Evernote for task management because it doesn’t do it well. For task management, I use Remember the Milk. I love RTM in its versatility, complexity, and simplicity.

I’ve managed to keep on top of things (mostly) through the use of tags, location, URLs, due date, and relatively complex recursion specifications within RTM. Most importantly, I use smart lists to help me keep projects/ideas/my days on keel. Smart lists are lists I created based on search criteria: only a certain tag in certain lists for a certain date range marked high priority. The possibilities are limitless!

My favorite use for RTM is having an organic chore schedule. We don’t have maid service, and I’m not always observant to certain tasks needing to be done (vacuum the air vents, clean the baseboards, vacuum behind the fridge, clean the bathtubs, etc). Once it does occur to me, I add it into RTM with a due date and a recursion of “after # months” (or days, weeks, or years).

For example, I have in there to change the kids’ sheets after one week. When I actually do change the sheets, I check off the task and a new task is automatically created one week out. There’s no sheets day to feel harangued about keeping or to feel guilty about missing. There’s just a gentle reminder that I haven’t done it in a while and probably should consider doing this sometime soon. After all, there are many days when chores are not my top priority.

Google Calendar

Finally, I use Google Calendars for everything event/date specific. I have my personal calendar, a school calendar, and a family calendar. Then, I have a few calendars share to me. All of these calendars are wherever I go, and they help me make sure I’m not scheduling too much in one day.

My favorite feature here is my ability to share my calendars to close family members. It’s an easy way for them to know what’s what and to know why I’m not answering the phone right now.

Blogger

I’ve had a Blogger account since before Gmail was released for Beta. In fact, it was because of my Blogger account that I got an early Gmail Beta invite. I think that was in 2000. I’m not 100% sure on that though. My recollection of time is iffy, at best.

Dec 2, 2016 Update:
I deleted my blog on blogger and moved its 3 entries over to this blog. I rescued this blip from my welcome page because it’s a fun bit of my tech history. 🙂

Making Your Loudest Voice Calmer & Your Truest Voice Stronger (excerpt)

This is an exceptional article. Here is the portion that spoke the loudest to me.

At my loudest, I was heard the least.

At my loudest, I felt the most pain.

At my loudest, I caused the most hurt.

At my loudest, my voice was most voiceless.

In those agonizing moments after my tearful, over-the-top meltdown, I’d frantically rummage through the junk drawer looking for my car keys. I needed to get away—far, far away.

One night I made it all the way out to the car. I was in my pajamas and my skin felt cold against the leather seats. I was shivering as my barefoot stepped on the gas pedal.

But I could not leave.

I went back inside to get my children. I gathered them up, one in each arm. I remember how they cried in confusion and fear. I made it to the door and realized I could not leave without my husband either. And I could not leave without my beloved calico cat, Callie. I could not leave my people.

Something needed to change.

I needed to find my voice—my truest voice—the one that could be heard … felt … and understood.

Source: Making Your Loudest Voice Calmer & Your Truest Voice Stronger

The author speaks of writing in journals, which is something I do myself. It really is incredibly helpful! If writing is not for you, and you’re curious about other ways to help you stop yelling, then check out The Orange Rhino.

Save a Load of Wash

In this distracted household, there are many times a load of wash has lingered a little too long in the washing machine. It starts to have a pretty impressive smell. Pew!

My solution is to run it again with the usual wash settings and these 3 things:

  • a generous splash of distilled white vinegar (about a cup or so),
  • a little bit of laundry soap, and
  • 3-4 drops of doTerra’s Purify blend.

I also set a timer on my phone to help me not forget it again!

As a matter of fact, I run every load of wash with 2-3 drops of Purify just to keep things fresh. Clothes or towels that go in the hamper damp get to smelling rather interesting, after all.


I use doTerra and Native American Nutritionals oils.

Joy Battles Discouragement and Wins

I find myself facing discouragement all the time: Health challenges, raising children challenges, homeschool challenges, challenging relationships, weight loss challenges, … Oh how this list could go on!

Thanks to this devotion by Donna Pyle, I’m reminded to not stare those challenges down in a one-on-one battle. I don’t do battle as the world does. I can fix my eyes on Jesus and HE’S got this and that (and that and that and yes, even THAT) challenge under His sovereign and perfect control. I can then discover that it is joy that beats down discouragement and I can carry on.

 

This is one of a free, weekly morning devotion I receive by email from Artesian Ministries.

Imagination Determinations

Good Morning God Amazon Kindle Book

I’ve been reading devotions from the Kindle book called “Good Morning, God: Wake-up Devotions to Start Your Day Good Way” by David Cook.

I started reading them as I’m getting ready for bed rather than in the mornings. My morning’s are for Bible study, but my evenings are perfect for winding down with a short devo. This book has been perfect for that purpose.

Today’s passage grabbed me up by the hair! The devo is titled “Only Imagine” and it really struck me how limiting my cynicism/pessimism towards certain people in my life has become.

Ideas and dreams you have today will directly influence your future. What you begin to believe for, and then how you act on that belief, will result in what you have, do, and are in the [future]… Believe for God’s highest and best in your life. Then begin to live and work as if that miracle is on its way.”

Am I shooting myself and my relationships in the proverbial foot? I’m starting to realize that I really am.

Ouch.

Lord, I’m sorry I’ve imagined horrible outcomes and lived with that negative mindset coloring my relationships. I pray for your help to imagine and believe the highest and the best of the difficult people in my life, and I ask that my relationships with them can survive and thrive to your glory! Amen.

Children of the Day

I’m currently going through a Beth Moore study called “Children of the Day” on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I love Beth Moore studies! I’ve taken part in quite a few of them… always on video with a group of awesome ladies from church. Her studies dig deep into the Word and she has a joyful, passionate enthusiasm for teaching the Word that is hard not to get caught up in. She is also a very brave teacher!

However… (you knew that was coming, right?)

I must say that this one is my least favorite. I like it – love it even – but it all seems a bit random and not very cohesive. It’s definitely a “take one day at a time” kind of study. Yesterday’s homework doesn’t necessarily lead into today’s homework or video session. She kind of ties them together, but the connections are a bit tenuous. One thing I both like and not like (I’m on the fence!) is that the homework is more story driven and less look-it-up-and-figure-it-out driven.

I think a part of the “scattered” feeling of this study is simply because these letters cover a lot of theological ground in very little space. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy had a LOT to say to their beloved Thessalonians by the power of the Holy Spirit!

I’m not committing to memorizing the books, but I am writing them out. That is a neat exercise that has inspired a similar concept with our homeschooling. The kids have their own Bible notebook, and they’ve been copying verses (or part of verses) for a few weeks now. They tend to work on that while I work through my homework. It’s become a very precious Bible Study time (when it works).

Despite my lack of uber-enthusiasm over this study, God still speaks and works through it all. I’ve learned a so very much about God, about myself and my faith through this study so far. Some of which, I’ll be writing about in the coming days. I look forward to each lesson, each video session, and each round of discussions with my gals at church.

Thank you Beth Moore, sister loved by God!

Journaling Bible

I have had a two-column journaling Bible for years. Recently, I discovered one section with horrible bleed-through. The pages are difficult to read, and it looks horrible. *sigh*

My loved ESV Journaling Bible Showing Pen Bleed-Through
My loved ESV Journaling Bible

Thankfully, journaling Bibles are becoming a thing! I spotted a single column one on Crossway while researching how to repair/replace my favorite purple, personal reference Bible – my cat chewed it up. *hiss*

Then, I found the following blog post with not only a reference to the very journaling Bible I spied earlier, but the tools to mark it up right. I’m thrilled!!

Here is an excerpt from her blog. Be sure to click through to read the whole thing!

I have always been one to underline and highlight and take notes in my Bible, so I’m thrilled that now I have ROOM to write in my Bible and still be able to see all the words beside it.

I’ve been trying a few different types of pens and highlighters and wanted to share what my favorites are so far! I would love to hear from you, too, in the comment section — tell me what your favorites are also!

Before I list all my favorites, I want to remind you of something very important! 

All you need: God’s Word + The Holy Spirit in you

Truly, you don’t *need* all these items. You don’t *need* a journaling Bible. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to purchase one right now. God’s Word never returns void, no matter what type of Bible you hold in your hands. These tools that I use, they are just that: tools. They help me to study, to focus, to hide God’s Word in my heart. But they are not as important as God’s Word. That is what matters most.

– See more at: http://mercyisnew.com/2015/02/03/journaling-bible-favorite-pens

 

Captive Thoughts

I woke up this morning with this scripture misquote on my brain: “Take captive every though to Christ.”

Naturally, this thought drove my time with Jesus this morning. Thanks to my YouVersion Bible App, I found what I was looking for.

Take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5b

Wow! That’s even better. Once that thought was settled, I opened my Abide app for prayer. Today’s prayer notification was on spiritual warfare…

Instead of struggling and trying to rely on yourself, put your trust in Him and His powerful weapons.

…you have given me the power of the Holy Spirit to put to death the deeds of the flesh.

Sometimes I wonder, “Is God really speaking to me? Am I imagining things? Did I make that up?”

Sometime I just know. This is one of those times.

I wanted to highlight the 2 Corinthians verse in my Bible, and accidentally turned to 1 Corinthians 10 instead, and found the following verse already highlighted.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will always provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

That was no accident! I ended my time with Jesus remembering my favorite verse on strength as I mentally armed myself for whatever my day might bring.

I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

To really see what I see, read this post through again, only reading the quote boxes.

Thank you Lord for speaking into my life, my heart, and my soul. Amen.

Magisto

I recently discovered Magisto while working through a course on the Adobe Education Exchange. The course required an iOS app, and I don’t have anything iOS. I had to improvise. I was able to use this app to put together a compilation of photos into a video very easy.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that it also automatically collects photos and videos into presentation clips as the days go by. Sometimes these auto-videos are duds, but sometimes they’re pretty cool. I recently had time to go through them and see what more you can do. You can download, share, embed, and well – what else do you want? lol

Magisto is on all devices, even your Windows 8 platform. It’s free and fun. Have a go!

Psalm 23 (ESV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Source: https://www.biblegateway.com
*feature image credit: pixabay

Focus on One

A friend shared with me an article from this e-book, and it really struck me.

Focusing on one task means that you simply choose one. Forget thirty. Forget ten. Choose one thing that you can do and do it…

One is a powerful number.

She goes on to describe a few scenes that could have come straight from my home. Scary and reassuring, actually.

One idea I never really fully considered though is in how I  choose the one thing I focus on doing next.

When you are able, choose the one thing that makes the biggest impact. I know you can’t always do this…
However, when you have the opportunity to start with that, do it.

Take housecleaning for example. The one task in house keeping that makes the biggest impact for me is picking up all the clutter in the main living spaces. Long time ago, I gave up on the picture-perfect (and even slightly attempted) organized play room. I have a bin in the living room to throw everything into that doesn’t belong in the living room. I take that to the kids room when it is full, dump it on the floor, and charge the kids with the task of putting their things away. It takes many days, and I often step in to help here and there. The point is that my main living spaces are not cluttered.

Even knowing this, I often choose to start the laundry or tackle the dishes first. Then, I look around exhausted and feel overwhelmed by all the clutter. For me, I need to start with the clutter.

The author, Jenny Herman, has a pretty cool blog which has a nifty “The Power of One” compilation. Fantastic stuff.

One final thought that keeps resonating with me is when Jenny Herman wrote:

Focusing on one does us no good if we are going it in our own strength. We need to look to God for our strength.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I can do ONE thing through Christ who strengthens me.
And then…
I can do ONE MORE thing through Christ who strengthens me.

Just keep going.

One thing at a time.

Steps to Peace

  1. Be selective with how you spend your time. You may be trying to do too many things and end up doing none of them well. Hurrying is trying to do more than the Holy Spirit is leading you to do. Be led by the Spirit.
  2. Be prepared to say no nicely. Sometimes we take on things we know we shouldn’t, just because we’re uncomfortable saying no. If you feel this pressure, ask God to put your spirit at rest and give you loving words to speak that will take away the unnecessary awkwardness of saying no.
  3. Resist the spirit of procrastination. It’s the attitude that says I’m going to sit here and wait until I feel like doing what I need to do. But God’s Word tells us to exercise self-discipline. Do what you need to do now so you can fully enjoy your times of rest.
  4. Eliminate key distractions. If you know you are easily distracted, set some guidelines for yourself. Don’t let them keep you up late at night so you oversleep the next morning and end up setting yourself up for a hurried, stressful day.
  5. Set appropriate boundaries for interruptions. Life is full of interruptions, but we can learn to set boundaries that help us manage them in healthy ways. Schedule times when you are “off-limits.” Let your calls go to voicemail, turn off your email, and decide to get back to people after your “off-limits” time is over. Trust the Holy Spirit to tell you when there is a true emergency.
  6. Modify your life. Ask God to show you “out-of-the-box” ways to save time and trouble. For instance, when I don’t have time to do the dishes, I use paper plates. And if I’m having a birthday party for one of my kids and don’t have time to make a meal, we just have cake and ice cream.
  7. Listen for the Holy Spirit. If you can see that your plan is not producing peace, go back to God; pray for peace and for wisdom to make changes that will benefit your life.

If you can learn to trust God “in the now,” receive His grace as you need it, and you can become a truly peaceful person.

~~~~~~~

The above is a partial re-blog from Joyce Meyer’s The Power of Peace. Click through to read the full article – there’s more and it is both inspirational and powerful!

Trust God, He’ll Lead You

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

http://bible.us/116/PRO3.5.NLT

I read these two verses over and over again, and each time different words pop out at me:

Trust, lead, all, show, heart, seek, depend, path, understanding, Lord…

There are big paths and little paths in life and I need to make sure I’m choosing them each after praying (talking and listening) and letting go of my need to control… my pro/con lists, my reasoning.

An abundant life in Jesus awaits my obedience in properly ordering my decision making process. I know the Lord’s plans are better than mine! Now to apply that knowledge and make my decisions nested in His will.