In the News!

26 Jan

newsOne of the things I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to work on a variety of projects.  All of them involve some type of writing or editing (no kidding!). But for the past few months, I’ve gotten to come out from behind my computer screen and embrace a new role . . .

 

I have added “reporter” to my list to my list of “can dos.”

Yes, I have had the chance each month to interview some local high school students who are participating in a six-session leadership training program called the Legacy Youth Institute and then to write a news story about that month’s session.  I must admit that at first I was a bit uncomfortable with this role (the interviewing part of it, anyway).  I mean, there are so many things that could go wrong!!

Would I know the right questions to ask?  Would I be met with blank stares?  Would I be able to write fast enough to properly record what they said?  Would I, heaven forbid, misquote or misrepresent what they said?  That actually happened to me once in an unfortunate (read, I’ll never do it again) exit-poll interview, so I am super-sensitive to NOT doing that to someone else!

All valid concerns, but I am happy to report that I survived to tell about it . . . and, I actually came to enjoy it . . . and, I managed to write news stories that our local radio and newspapers found worthy to run.

And, I was reminded of  a valuable lesson . . . it is a good thing to stretch yourself, to try new things, to learn how to do new things . . . even if you feel uncomfortable and even if you aren’t sure you are going to master it.  For a “recovering perfectionist” like me, these are good things to know, and even more important to practice.

So, a big thanks to my client, Ozark Mountain Legacy, for giving the me opportunity to expand my professional horizons.  I trust that this experience will remind me to embrace new things that come my way in the future . . . I’ll keep you posted!

Check out a few of my news stories about the Legacy Youth Institute (and also about EarthWise Recycling Center!) – I am honored to have played just a small role in both of these awesome community initiatives:

Legacy Youth Institute Kick Off

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #2

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #3

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #4

Legacy Youth Institute – Session #5

EarthWise Recycling Center Grand Opening

Writing . . . It’s Good For You!

8 Oct

speechlessA couple of weeks ago, I had the awesome privilege of sharing a part of my story (my personal story, that is) at an event in my town.  When I was first approached about speaking at this event, I was left speechless . . . but not for the reasons that you might think.

For a lot of people, speaking in front of a crowd is about equal to asking them to poke their eyes out.  But for some reason, I am not afraid of public speaking.  I realize this might seem strange coming from a person who spends much of her day behind her computer screen instead of being “out amongst the people” (that one’s for you, Dad!).  But, it’s true.  Fear of public speaking was not the source of my speechlessness.

So, what was it?

I realized pretty quickly that my speechlessness stemmed from a nagging uncertainty about whether I was even “qualified” to speak on the topic.  I knew that I intellectually agreed with it, and that my way of life supported my beliefs on the subject.  But, I still wasn’t sure if my life story had enough substance (or enough exciting details!) to inspire an audience for 15 minutes.

I decided I needed to think about it and promised that I would let them know as soon as I could.  Well, wouldn’t you know that I could not stop thinking about it.  And, I don’t just mean “thinking about it” in general.  Oh no.  Even in the half-consciousness of sleep, my mind was formulating ideas, phrases, and even entire sentences of my as-of-yet-not-even-decided-if-I’m-going-to-give-it speech.  Events of the past fifteen years (both life-shaping and seemingly mundane) suddenly took on new meaning and had new purpose in light of my mind’s focus on the topic at hand.

I think I had my answer.  I decided to share my story.

I literally had to force myself to sit down and write my story (yes, even us writers sometimes have to make ourselves do the very thing we usually love to do).  I had made a few disjointed notes over the previous few days, but other than those, I was starting from scratch.  But, to my delight, the words started spilling out of me onto the screen.  Page 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . 6 . . . 7.   And, the story I needed to tell that day was complete.

And then, I was really speechless.

You see, every detail I wrote about that day, I already knew.  But, what I didn’t know until I wrote it was how it all fit together.  And how it all fit together was what left me speechless.  The authenticity, the vulnerability, and the honesty that was required to write what I did did not leave me uncomfortable, fearful of rejection, or threatened to be misunderstood (though I could have been).

Rather, it left me thankful that I’d taken the time to write it down.  It left me energized.  It left me with a deeper sense of purpose.  It left me content with where the bumpy path of my life has taken me.  It left me hopeful.

So, I’ll encourage you again (remember this post!) to take the time to write out a part of your personal story.  You just might be surprised what you uncover!

Story Writing Help!

19 Sep

Calling all short story writers!!

One of my clients recently recommended a book she found very helpful:

How true it is that sometimes authors have really unique, exciting ideas for a story to tell, but they just can’t seem to figure out how to successfully meddle through the writing process to get to the finished product.  If this is your issue, this book may be of help.

Happy Writing!

Living Still

6 Jul

So, I mentioned in my last post that I had been up to one other thing this spring.  So, here it is . . .

Over the last year, I have written several posts about Abby Lewis’s book, Blossoming out of the Valley.  This project is near and dear to my heart for lots of reasons (which I blogged about here, and again here!), and both Abby and I have been blessed to see the impact that this book has made on people’s lives.

A few months ago, Abby decided to re-release this book under a new title, Living Still, which she believes better communicates the central message of the book – learning to live the life God has planned for each of us through the practice of “stillness” before God.  Or, in other words, “living still.”

We took the opportunity to update the book to emphasize further the many blessings of “living still” and added some additional personal testimonies that we hope will encourage and inspire you.

I am honored to have Abby Lewis as my guest writer today.  Welcome, Abby!

Warning:  Drought Conditions . . . Danger Ahead?

During my walk the other morning, I saw that most of the yards I passed were dying.  There was no color left in the grass or flowers and the leaves on the trees were beginning to turn.  Yet a few houses down, I saw a yard vibrant and alive, full of color and beauty.  It is obvious why one yard is thriving and why the other one isn’t, right?   We all know the answer to that.  One has been nurtured, fed and watered, causing it to thrive while the other one has not, causing it to dry up and begin to die.

I love nature and it breaks my heart to see everything dying during this drought, to see the life and color just fade out of God’s beautiful creation.  But there is something that breaks my heart even more….people in a spiritual drought.

I look around and see exactly what I saw during my walk the other morning.  I see some people thriving, full of joy, peace and love and then I turn around and see others who are stressed, bitter, full of anxiety, depressed, angry and so much more.  I would guess that the ones who are thriving are choosing to spend time with God while the other ones aren’t.  The ones who are full of joy are choosing to feed themselves daily with the word of God while the other ones are listening to their own wisdom.  The ones who are full of peace are choosing to seek the heart of God in the midst of their circumstances while the other ones are relying on themselves to figure it all out.

It breaks my heart so much to see this because 10 years ago I was there.  I experienced what life was like when a person chooses to live far away from God, when a person chooses to live in a spiritual drought.   I was only twenty-four years old, but I was in complete chaos.  I suffered from extreme anxiety, control issues, depression and numerous addictions.  My marriage was falling apart, as were my relationships with my entire family.  My thoughts and words were filled with negativity and lies, and I had accumulated major credit card debt.  As my problems piled up, they began to manifest physically through severe neck and back pain, as well as numbness in my left arm and left side of my face.  I had no love for myself, no joy, no peace and no happiness. My entire life was in complete and utter chaos.

So how did I come out of all of this?  How did I begin to thrive and be so full of life?  How did I become peaceful and joyful?  How did I get out of the spiritual drought I was in?  It really is very simple.  I chose to spend focused time with God each day, and in the midst of it, I learned the practice of “living still.”

What is living still?  Living still is not adopting a life of inactivity or solitude; rather, it is choosing to live in tune with the voice of God in the midst of the inevitable noise around us.  Living still is recognizing that without God, we cannot experience the fullness of life. It is choosing to trust God more than we trust ourselves. Living still is learning to rest in God’s perfect love for us. It is taking the time to listen to His still, small voice with the expectation that He will lovingly guide us, one step at a time, toward freedom. The practice of living still works. Learning to live this way delivered me from the pit and continues to transform my life each day.  And, I am confident that living still can change your life too.

Read Abby Lewis’ powerful, life changing story, in her new book Living Still.

For a limited time, download the Living Still e book for FREE.

Click Here to Look Inside Living Still

Click Here to Read Reviews on Living Still

Click Here To Download Your FREE Copy

 

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

 

Abby Lewis has a degree in Health and Wellness and her massage therapy license. She is the author of Living Still and producer of A Breath~in Stillness.  Her life’s work is to passionately encourage others to experience transformation of spirit, mind and body by learning to practice “living still.”  In January of 2006 Abby opened her own business called Healing Naturally. To learn more about Abby visit her website at  www.myjourneytohealing.com

Wow . . . It’s Been a While!

3 Jul

I absolutely cannot believe that it has been three months since I’ve posted!

I will offer no excuses.

But, I will tell you what I’ve been up to . . .

  1. This winter, I did some editing for an very talented young author, who has begun work on a series of fantasy novels (well known novels in this genre are Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia).  I am continually amazed by her creativity and am so glad that she decided to add that Minor in Creative Writing to her college coursework!  Click here to learn a little (or a lot!) about the fantasy genre.
  2. This spring, I have been working with a local non-profit called Ozark Mountain Legacy on their awareness campaign (letters, press releases, etc).  This organization is all about encouraging people to intentionally preserve and pass on the positive values of our community, which I think is a pretty important thing.  Working with them has prompted me to evaluate whether there is a consistency between what I claim are my personal and family values and how I live . . . a good exercise for all of us, in my humble opinion 🙂  I’m looking forward to all that they have planned in the next year!
  3. I have been editing for a doctoral student who is pursuing a Doctor of Christian Ministry.  Though some close to me think that editing a dissertation would be worse than poking your eye out, I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying it!  It helps that I have a real interest in her topic and that I have a pretty deep humanities background (liberal arts majors unite! whoever said that we couldn’t be put to good use?!).  I am looking forward to working with her during her next two years of study.
  4. This summer, I have again taken over the The Track Family Fun Park’s blog . . . this year, they are calling it the “Mom Blog,” which is a good description since I am a mom who blogs.  Click here for a little taste of my writing antics.  I’m having fun with it – enjoy!
  5. And, there is one more thing that consumed some of my time this spring . . . but you will have to wait until later this week to find out what it is!

There you have it.  I have been blessed beyond measure with work I enjoy.  You can’t ask for much more than that!

The Other Side . . .

29 Mar

So, what I didn’t show you in my last post was “the other side” . . . of my office, that is.

Are you ready?  Here it is:

Yes, that is a very comfortable queen size bed.

Remember that proud exclamation of productivity I recently made in my last post?  Well, this might be my nemesis.  Only time will tell.

If I am able to overcome this temptation that awaits behind my desk chair, you will surely hear about it.  If not, I’ll probably ignore the fact that I actually thought it was an amusing idea to let you in on “the other side.”

Stay tuned.

A Bit of Updating . . .

27 Mar

It has been much too long since I’ve updated the ole’ blog.

In my defense, I have not been sitting around eating bonbons (though the temptation certainly exists!).  I have been attending to the normal demands of life (certainly you all can relate to that) and have been enjoying my work with several clients (more about those projects another time).

I have also been doing a much-more-than-usual amount of traveling.  This translates, for me, into “one step away from the loony bin.”   Not pretty.

In short, these past few weeks can best be described as a total whirlwind . . . and as I write that, I realize that I’m not just using “whirlwind” in its figurative form.  Nope.  We very literally had a tornado blow through our town a few weeks ago.

Thankfully, no one was seriously injured (which is nothing short of a miracle!).  Personally, our home was not touched, and though one of my husband’s business locations was severely damaged, we are choosing to respond with gratitude.  We have started the process of “updating” that property – doesn’t that put a positive spin on it?!

And in that same spirit, I chose to spend a good part of my kids’ Spring Break doing a little updating myself . . .

My new (and much improved) workspace!

Now, don’t get me wrong . . . my previous workspace was just fine.  However, I think my family was getting a little tired of me using the chairs in our kitchen sitting area as filing cabinets.

This is for you, fam!!

Well, let’s be honest . . . not entirely for you.  I must say that having a designated (and very stylish, if I do say so myself) workspace has been very nice for me too!

I mean, really.  How could you not be productive in a workspace like that?!