Posted in Write 31 Days

Restful Mission

As I sit here trying to force my brain to stay awake long enough to get this post out there, I realize it’s a losing battle. I’m tired. No, actually I’m exhausted. The last five days have been a whirlwind of activity that started when my husband and I attended WordCamp Tampa last Saturday and Sunday. We’ve been going nonstop ever since. Between going to the gym, my day job, leading  Small Group at church on Tuesday night, attending a small group this morning at 6:00 A.M., work again, working out again, I’m beat!  Oh, and I accomplished a couple of administrative tasks I do for the church and cranked out a few blog posts. I’m physically and mentally whipped.  So, I have declared tonight my “I’m on a mission to get 8 hours of sleep”. If I go to bed RIGHT NOW, I may actually succeed in this mission.

I have a big and exciting weekend ahead of me. We’ll be spending several days with very dear friends we don’t see nearly enough, and I’ll be attending the Women of Faith Conference with my friend Lindsey. I’m looking forward to the next 3.5 days so much. And I know my body. I need to recharge. So please forgive the short post and come back tomorrow when I hope that my brain has had a chance to reset and I can tell you all about my next mission or mission related ideas.

Even my kitty Peppy says it’s bedtime.  Have a great evening and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

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~~~~~~~~~~UPDATE~~~~~~~~~~

Mission Accomplished – God had his hand all over this one!
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The read out on my Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit Sleep Tracker on Friday morning.

 

 

 

Posted in Write 31 Days

Which Mission Are You Talking About?

I found out about the Write 31 Days challenge late on the evening of October 4th. By the time I talked myself out of not doing it, it was already after 10:00 on the night of October 5th, five days into the challenge, and five days late. Sometimes you just have to say “so what” and just do the thing you want to do, even if it breaks or bends the rules.

I was able to post my first blog for the challenge with only minutes left to get in with the other 1200 bloggers taking part. Whew…it was a close one.  As a result of my limited time, I only touched on my purpose in this challenge at a very high level. Then yesterday for my second post, I didn’t get started writing until late again. To break what appears to be a pattern, I’m going to take the time today to write about what I’m going to write about. How’s that for filling space with words?

Since I’m writing about the word mission and all the things it means to me, I decided to see what Dictionary.com says it means to them. Here are all the different meanings of the word mission as a noun:

  • a group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.
  • the business with which such a group is charged.
  • any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed.
  • an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction
  • a calling or vocation.
  • a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose.
  • those sent.

During the next month, I will write about our upcoming mission trip to Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic with our church. We are partnering with SCORE International and will work in many different areas while we are there. I’m very excited about not only sharing how we are fundraising and preparing for this trip, but also my personal hopes and dreams for our work there.

I will also share about the personal path my husband and I have taken with regards to our health and wellness. We’ve been more conscious about the food we put into our bodies for the past 10 months and I would love to share some of the lessons we’ve learned and rewards we’ve reaped on this journey.

For several years now I’ve struggled with figuring out what my spiritual gift is. I plan to continue exploring this until I find that one thing God has placed on my life so that I may better serve Him. I may never fully realize this, but it won’t stop me from continually trying to better myself for His glory. This next month will be a chance for me to dig into that a little deeper and share what I’m learning through my blog.

The final mission I plan to share with you are those little things that nag at me, my never ending want-to-do list. These include learning spanish, photoshop, and learning how to code for WordPress.  I have a pretty long list and will write about some of them. I’ll let you know my progress, setbacks, and successes during the month. So far, my mission to write every day for the past 3 days has been successful. I’ll take that win!

When I told my husband about my topic of On a Mission and what I planned to write about, he asked “Aren’t you just listing goals you want to accomplish?”  I thought about that for a minute and conceded that he was absolutely correct in his assessment of my plan. However, I believe simply listing a group of goals is a passive thing. By saying “I’m on a mission to…”, I feel that I’m being more active with my intentions. I’m not expressing a desire to do something. Instead I’m telling you I’m doing it.  If I  say “I have a goal to drink 100 ounces of water tomorrow”, it feels different than “I’m on a mission to drink 100 ounces of water”. In my mind, the “I’m on a mission” phrase evokes more passion and desire, which fuels me to ‘git er done’.

So, there it is. These are the stories I’m on a mission to share with you. I hope you will come back and see what I have to say as I blog my 31 Days On A Mission.
31days

Posted in New Day Resolutions

New Day Resolutions

I’ve never been one for making resolutions on New Year’s Day. I’m aware of how much of an opportunity for failure this creates and it’s just not something I want to do to myself. However, I recognize there are so many areas in my life that need to be tweaked, improved, changed or eliminated. Since I have no desire to make some big promise to myself to make a big change for the upcoming year, I’ve decided I’m going to take baby steps and set goals and desires that I can achieve in a single day.

One thing I recognize about myself is my tendency to beat myself up when I fail at something. During my Project 365 Photo A Day challenge, I would rake myself over the proverbial coals when I missed a day. And don’t even get me started on how depressed I became when I missed so many days in a row that I just threw my hands up in the air and surrendered to the failure. What I didn’t do was to celebrate the 306 days I DID post a photo.  I’m not sure why my brain works in this way but I hope to slowly improve and change this way of thinking. I’m hoping that by celebrating a daily goal reached I can create more positive thinking and less negative, self-defeating thoughts.

I started the day by listing a few things for my New Day Resolutions for January 1. My list included eating no meat, cleaning out my closet, spending some quality time with the kids, writing, napping, and starting the YouVersion Essential 100 Bible Reading Plan. Seems pretty simple, right? Well, it would have been had I not gotten sidelined by some stomach ailment that’s pretty much kept me in bed all day (check off napping). I never did get up the energy nor feel well enough to clean my closet so that’s going to move to another day in the near future. I also didn’t spend any time with the kids for the same reason but I’m hoping I get to do that tomorrow after work. I was able to avoid eating any meat and actually had a full vegan day so I think I should give myself a bonus point for that. I’m writing for the first time in months and it’s feeling great even though I feel like my thoughts and words are all over the place but I’ve also promised myself that I’m going to write for me and if that means rambling on and on in run on sentences that don’t make sense to anyone but me, then so be it. LOL See how I did that there? Clearly I can check off the writing goal for the day. The last goal was accomplished, sort of. I called an audible and started the Soul Detox reading plan instead of Essential 100. I’m calling this one a success because at the end of the day, the goal was to feed my soul with God’s word and I did that.

I’m happy with what I was able to do today, even with this stomach thing knocking me down. I’ve got one more goal to check off on today but I’ll be doing that with pen and paper. Gil picked us up these amazing Five Year Journals and today begins that project. I’ve never been much of a journaler, but I’m looking forward to doing this with him.

 

Posted in Fiction

I’ll Give It A Try

After seeing my talented hubby’s blog post this morning, I felt inspired to step outside of my comfort zone and try something I’ve never done. Fiction writing.

Gil follows the Florida Writers Conference blog and there was a cool writing exercise today. I love what Gil did with the assignment. Check it out here.

And now, for the assignment:

To all the guys (and some of the women) reading this, let’s pretend this picture isn’t about the first thing you thought when you saw it. After all, not everything revolves around that.

Pretending then, that the woman in this picture isn’t in the throes of connubial bliss, in 100 words or fewer, what’s happening in this picture. One thing that might make it more interesting is what could be a foot and a pantleg in the background. So what’s happening here? Is she giving birth? Is the Alien bursting forth from her chest, just like John Hurt’s? Is she doing a particularly difficult abs routine?

Figure it out. One hundred words or less in 20 minutes.

My submission:

Samantha’s night terror abruptly wakes her husband. This night, he does as he has many times before. He throws himself over her in an effort to hold her down, afraid the merciless writhing will cause her harm. He knows the dark shadow in her subconscious is back again. He watches as the silent screams try to escape from her mouth. He is the only one who hears her quiet pleas. Then, just as suddenly as the nightmare started, it’s over and Samantha returns to the peaceful sleep that was so violently interrupted by the memories of her abuser.

 

Posted in My life in pictures

143/365 Membership

Last October, Gil met author Debora Cody at the Florida Writers Conference. It was through this chance meeting that she invited him to join her at her local writers group in Brandon. I tagged along both for support and out of curiosity. It wasn’t until we arrived that I realized the name of the group was Brandon Christian Writers (BCW).

The group was very friendly and welcoming from the minute we walked in. There were writers who have published books and who have had their articles and essays included in both local and national publications. There are teachers, editors, and other business professionals. The common bond in the room was that these people write and have a strong faith in God.

Let’s see, I write and I have faith in God. Yep. I belong here. And even though I still don’t in any way consider myself a “writer”, I do put fingers to keys and words appear for others to read. I don’t really have any great aspirations of writing a book but I have to admit, an essay or article would be kind of cool and I had never really thought of that before visiting this group. I left that night with a renewed sense that even though I *only* blog, it still matters.

Tonight, the group resumed their regular meeting schedule after a holiday hiatus. And, tonight I became a paid member. So did Gil. I was actually giddy as I wrote out the check. I’m super excited about being a part of this. I feel that I will learn so much through the sharing, critiquing, and mentoring of these people.

I also believe that I will be growing in my faith as well. I feel His presence within this group. I  feel that lots of little dominoes fell at exactly the right moment to guide me to this place. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for me.

(I should mention that Debora was a guest blogger for Random Writers last year. I invite you to read her story, A Slice of Heaven. Another member of BCW, Alan Jarrett, became our first contributor this year as we opened up RW to others.  I hope you’ll also take a moment to read his post titled God Box.)
Posted in Random Writers

Fear Kept Me From This

By Lee Sullivan

Random Writers Topic: Write about overcoming adversity?

I’m in the middle of one of the worst adversarial periods I can remember going through in a really long time. I think it’s for this reason that I’ve been sitting here for hours staring at this blank white page on my laptop. I want to write about overcoming adversity, but right now, adversity is kicking my ass. I’m just not really feeling it and I am completely stressing about the fact that I have this blog post due for Random Writers. Of course, the more I stress about it, the less likely the words will come.

Wait!

What did I just say?

“I am completely stressing about the fact that I have this blog post due for Random Writers.”

Wow, if someone had told me 13 months ago that in a year, I would be stressing about having to produce a blog post- on a schedule- I would have completely dismissed them as insane.

But look at me.  Exactly 385 days ago, I posted my first entry on Purrfectlee.com, and now I also contribute to Random Writers.net on a weekly schedule. I’m blogging and I love it.

I have to admit that I have not gone through my life wanting to write. It has NEVER been a dream of mine.  As a matter of fact, when I’m given any kind of assignment to produce the written word, I freak out inside. I can’t even write a note in a birthday card without breaking out in a cold sweat. If I’m asked to provide a blurb for a brochure or piece of publically shared material, I’m paralyzed. Even producing a simple tweet or FB status where I want to provide content to others causes extreme anxiety from the fear that I’ll make a mistake in grammar or spelling.  

You see, I’m a self proclaimed spelling nazi and grammar queen wannabe. There is something in my brain that completely short circuits when I see the word your where you’re should be used, their instead of there, and than in place of then, just to name a few. I literally cringe when I see blatant misspellings that could have easily been corrected with a click of the spell check feature in most word processing and email software. I can hold my own with written grammar (even though my spoken words often betray me (thank you to the Alabama public school system), but I do freely acknowledge that I often have to research the rules to determine the right way to write (see how I used right and write correctly there?). Let’s just say that GrammarGirl is my best friend.

I’ve been a blog reader for years now, but something happened about a year and a half ago. I started to notice that there are some great bloggers out there who provide beautiful and important content, and they have the occasional typo and misplaced comma. There are others who seem to write only in run-on sentences, and still others that appear to just make up the rules of grammar as they go. I began to notice that I didn’t care. At first these errors were terribly distracting to me, but once I looked past the letters and punctuation and started looking at the message instead, I began to ‘get it’.

A light turned on for me and I realized that not everyone out there cares how the information is presented – just that it is. I started to realize that I was letting my fear of making a mistake, and being judged by that mistake, keep me from doing something I felt a strong urge to do.

For months I had been daydreaming about starting a blog. I had things floating around in my head and thought that if I could just get them out, I would feel better. I imagined using words as a form of therapy to deal with memories from my past, celebrate my present, and even as a form of accountability for my future dreams. I allowed a fantasy to evolve that by writing about my wrong choices, maybe others would make a right choice. I simply wanted to share what life had taught me.

My experiences with my blog have been incredible. I’ve received so much feedback and love from you guys that my heart has been full with joy. I’ve made discoveries about myself that I never saw coming and feel that even my relationship with Gil has grown tremendously because of this blogging thing. 

I look back at how those negative thoughts of fear and self-doubt almost kept me from doing something that has become a way of life for me now. Everyday I force myself to stop, think and create something – whether it’s 1000 words or a photo that needs no words – I’m forcing my brain into action and I’m telling a story.  And it feels so good. Even when my paragraph structure makes no sense and I scatter random commas in all the wrong places, it still feels good.

This is exactly why Random Writers was born. Gil has always said that anyone can write. I have always argued that his statement is true, but not everyone can write well, and this holds people back. It did for me.  We wanted to provide a place for ANYONE to share their thoughts, dreams, fears and wishes and not feel that perfection was a requirement. We hope to give a safe haven to those who have stories to tell but no place to tell them without fear of being judged or ridiculed. I wanted to provide an outlet for others who, like me, have allowed fear to hold them back.

Do you have a story to tell? Are you afraid your words aren’t good enough and in the right order? Then come join me and my friends at Random Writers and let’s make fear our bitch.

Posted in Post A Week Challenge, Treasure Chest

Monday’s Treasure Chest – It’s YOU!

I missed my Monday Treasure Chest post last week because we were traveling back from St. George and Rock by the Sea, and honestly, when we finally got home, I completely crashed. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of the computer and think. However, on the drive home, I was contemplating about what the post would be about if I actually found the energy needed to write, which I obviously did not. As I thought about my many blessings, one kept coming back to the forefront of my mind. I found myself smiling with joy each time I thought about my most recent discovery in that chest.

My treasure chest has been overflowing lately with blessing of you. Yes, you, there, reading these words. I am so honored and humbled that you’ve taken time out of your busy days or nights to check out what I have to say. I am even more grateful when you tell me about it. Recently, I’ve been left completely speechless and crying tears of delight because of the compliments you guys have given to me.

I had wanted to start a blog for a really long time but my fears kept telling me it would not work.  Once I finally decided to just go for it, I was so blessed by the fact that Gil was there every second of the way offering words of encouragement, praise, and guidance. I could not have gotten this far without him. I, also, could not have done this if not for you and the amazing, sweet, wonderful feedback you have been providing me for months now.

I recently received an email from someone I love and cherish very much. This email left me in tears for hours. These weren’t sad tears but tears of joy and a sudden awareness that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing with this blog. I’m writing about what I feel, what I want, what I need and what I love. I’m trying to say things here that maybe I’ve been too ashamed or afraid to say out loud. It’s strange how I know this is the most public way possible to share my innermost thoughts but something about it also seems so anonymous, and that makes it less scary. I know, that makes no sense to anyone outside of my crazy little brain, but it’s how I feel. I’ve felt demons inside of me start to die and disappear. I’ve felt portions of my soul, which I thought were dead, start to rise again. I’ve felt closer to God than I have since childhood.

When I started writing back on January 1st, I had big plans and big dreams for how this project would progress. After 30 days of writing every day, I had proven to myself that I could do it and all the fears I had simply faded away. You guys were reading and commenting and telling me that you liked what I had to say.  You were telling me that my words touched you and you told me how you felt the same way but couldn’t find the words to say the things I was saying.  I was flying pretty high and very satisfied with what I had accomplished when February rolled around. But then, I began to fail myself. I began to find reasons not to write as often.

I don’t know what happened. I blamed work, kids, exhaustion. All of the same things that were there in January but I somehow managed to still make the time for me and for this blog. I still thought about writing every day but I could never find the motivation I needed to sit down and type. What really sucks is that the motivation was there, I just kept ignoring it, kept pushing it aside and giving something else a higher priority. You guys kept providing the motivation I needed in the form of conversations and emails, comments and feedback, and questions about when I would post again. I don’t know why I let my dream start slipping away, but I did. I feel ashamed and thoroughly disappointed with myself.

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”

~Mumford and Sons

As I sit here and write, I think about all the things I want for this piece of my world. I want to tell my tale and find out more about myself, but there is so much more I want. I want to share my experiences with you. I want to grow in my faith in God with you. I want to talk about my marriage, both the good and sometimes not so good parts of it. I want to share both the uplifting and heartbreaking stories that have made me the woman I am today. I want to open myself up to you in an effort to share who I really am and who I really want to be.

I am going to pour my heart and soul into this dream of mine. I am going to love and nurture it with every ounce of passion I have. Maybe if I do those things, and do them honestly, maybe you can find some piece of my life and experiences that inspire you.  Maybe you won’t make some of the mistakes I’ve made. Maybe you’ll find some peace within yourself because my words helped to heal an old wound. Maybe you will find the inspiration you have been looking for to pursue your own dream because you see my courage in the pursuit of mine. My main objective with my writing is still to find my authentic self. But how awesome would it be if I play a very small part in helping you to find your authentic self as well?