How To Pray for Singles

Lately, something has been bugging me about praying for the marriages in our churches. Not just because it is yet another reminder of my singleness. A question formed in my mind, Why aren’t singles in the church as specifically prayed for? I don’t believe that this is because we are thought of as less than marrieds. This may have more to do with the mentality towards singleness. Even from those of use in the midst of it. That somehow our lives and struggles are not as important as those who are married. Or that this state of being is more private to be prayed about so publicly.

It is of course important to pray for marriage. It is hard, challenging, full of trials and blessings.  It is a beautiful example of Christ’s love for us.

But so is singleness. Being a single in the church today is more of the norm than not. A pew poll from 2012 found that this group is in fact growing. For a number of reasons people are waiting longer to get married. Or are recovering from past relationships. Or like me have never been in a relationship.

In fact most churches are having to adjust how to minister to us. (I will touch on this more on another post).

Which is why it is just as important to remember to pray for us. Singleness can be just as challenging, full of trials and blessings. Pray not only for our potential, future marriages but also for our lives right now.

The majority of us are searching for our spouse. Pray that we be discerning in pursuing a spouse .  Pray for us as we try online dating and get to know new people. Pray for us as we pursue our dreams and establish ourselves. Keep in mind too not necessarily all of us are looking for that in our lives. Marriage, like college may not be for everyone.

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Mid Week Motivator- Self Care

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Screen shot of yoga workout

This past week I did not feel well. I had a cold, I finally conceded. All the symptoms were there. Sneezing,  chills, general weakness.

I was in no shape to run as I wanted.  However,  I also did not want to lose a week of working out. Instead I chose to do Yoga. I felt it was the gentler choice for my body.

I know I am doing something good for my overall health and not missing out on staying with my workout schedule. If you are not well, doing an alternate, gentler workout can be a choice.

Please if your illness is worse than an oncoming cold, take the time off to rest. Once you are up and about go for the gentle workout as your body continues to heal. This is self care, especially with cold and flu season coming upon us. Choose the gentle route to keep that momentum going!

Five Year Goals

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This is my five year plan. For most of my life I have not been a planner. I guess you can say I just let life happen. Part of it had to do with just not wanting to deal with the responsibility of life. The rest had to do with the grief I was still in the midst in from my mom’s and Pop’s deaths. I just did not see the point in planning for anything at all. For having hope in my future.
I have to thank Jon Acuff for starting the 30 Day Hustle group on Facebook, one of the members issued a challenge to post your goals for the next five years. Which I accepted.

For that I have paid a heavy price. Most of my adult life has been harder simply because of my lack of goals and planning. College was a haphazard mess, not understanding what it is I even wanted to do. Often hindered by my poor financial decisions. Some of which I am still dealing with today.

In writing my first novel I learned the important lesson of planning. I had preferred to just “pants” it as we say in the writing world. In rewriting the manuscript (TWICE!), I learned the importance of planning. To have goals to strive towards. Today I refer to myself as a “plantser”. Someone who plans out my stories but allowing room for the story to speak to me. My outlines leave room for the unexpected.

I had reached a point in my life where I desired to even have goals. Drifting in my life was no longer desirable. I wanted more.

It helped to have encouragers alongside me. Wendy, you are so much the reason I am where I am today dear friend!. As my career as a Writer begins to take off, I realized the need to have a vision for the next five years of my life. Hence the list up top.

It’s far from a comprehensive list. More of an outline really. It will most likely change as I continue to grow. I once feared making plans because what would happen when they fell apart? That may happen or my goals met in a different way. I once asked a friend, would she be open to achieving her goals if the how changed? That is where flexibility comes in.

I need to open to perhaps it taking less than five years or more than five years to cross these off the list. Just as I am open to my allowing my outlines to leave room for change. After all, there is my plan, then there is His plan. No matter the outcome,I have hope for my future.
How open would you be to your goals or the how changing?

Mid Week Motivator- The Mirror

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The mirror is a place of complete honesty. There is no where to hide is there? It is just you, staring back at an image of yourself. 

It’s up to you to choose love it. My choice to love my imperfect looking but healthy body.

Next time you find yourself before the mirror,  stop. Take a real long look. Don’t think, just take it in. Acknowledge where you are, right now.  Don’t tell yourself you used to look good or that you will when…

Part of a weight loss journey is loving yourself at every stage. By loving yourself, who you are right now can only help as you continue your journey to health.

Growing Through Prayer

Recently life has gotten complicated. Demands on my time have been needed. I am more than happy to be able to help.

However I soon found myself drained. Doing what I always end up doing, taking all of it on myself.  Asking for help has been hard for me. Even as a kid, my stubbornness in this lead to frustration. I hated having to ask for help because it meant I was not able to do it on my own.

Asking for help was weak. Sadly, in some ways this is how I have often looked at prayer.

That somehow God would think me weak for praying. I had forgotten that I am renewed through prayer.
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The act of prayer is seeking God. It is saying that I recognize that I am not able to do this on my own.

This is not a new lesson for me. Again and again, God has shown me the power of prayer.

But I am stubborn. Perhaps it is my Irish ancestry, but I am stubborn.

My God wants me to seek Him. He wants me to be dependent on Him.
Not because He is egotistical.  But because of his love for me. He can take on all my burdens.  That is the truth. He can take it ALL on!

Not just a specific one or some of them. But Every. Single. One.

That is what I had forgotten. It is in fact weakness to not seek Him. To not pray.

Praying does take away the problems we face. It does help to handle them, to discover the strength that only God can give us. That is what is most Important.

Mid Week Motivator- Rest

Sleep and Rest are both important and often it is believed that they are the same thing. For years I believed that. But in thinking about it recently it hit me that they were in fact not. Getting enough sleep in important for overall health and it is a form of rest. Rest in itself is wholly different. There are many types of rest. Something I have touched on in a previous post in which I rediscovered what it means to rest.

In our day to day lives it is often go,go go until we are physically unable to go anymore. We schedule ourselves doing one task after another, going from one place to another without thinking of taking a rest from it all. When I first began working out, I went full force seven days a week, doing two a days five days a week. I did not yet understand the concept of a rest day.

I felt like I was doing something wrong when I finally did begin to take them. As if all the hard work would be undone by taking one day off. However I found that I had a better week working out when I did take them. My body needed time to rest. To repair and prepare for the coming week. These days I take two days off from working out, depending on my schedule. Find what works for you but take a rest day from working out.

Another form of rest is taking what is referred to as a mental health day Just as our bodies need to repair and prepare, so do our minds. We were made to work but to also rest, after all God rested didn’t he? Rest for me means pulling back from the world by turning off the phone. Writing, journaling and reading. Or binge watching some television in my pajama’s. Basically taking the time to reset my mind.Taking my time waking up from my slumber, having woken up naturally as opposed to an alarm clock.

Reality is, we need to pull back from things. To sit and just be in order to not get worn down. We are not made to constantly be on the go. We are made stronger after times of rest. Our bodies and minds are better prepared to face what lies ahead.

However rest looks to you, I encourage you to be intentional about taking it. It sounds funny but schedule a day or even days of rest. Write in your calendar and do it. Do whatever you need to do in order to be the best version of you. Both physical and mental rest is important on your health journey.

What does rest look like to you? How do you recharge when you feel depleted?

Mid Week Motivator- The Need For Sleep

In the past I have discussed the need to exercise, eat right and drinking plenty of water of to stay fit. Today I want to address sleep,next week I will talk about rest. which may seem like the same thing but in reality are rather different.

Let’s talk about sleep and how our society frowns upon it. Face it, we live in a world where people brag about how little sleep they get. When I ask one of the young adults in the group I lead at church how they are doing. The answer is usually, “Tired.”. We have scheduled our lives to the point where we continually push back getting sleep. It is seen as an accomplishment. I don’t understand why though. When I do not get the amount of sleep I need ( usually around 7 hours) I know I am not able to think clearly, my filter is off and my temperament changes.

Knowing these things about myself, I make sure to schedule a bed time for myself. Yes, I know growing up we believed one of the marks of adulthood was not having a bed time. Having a set bed time though is a mark of being a grown up. It’s deciding to do what I need to do so I can have the better day. Having a set time to sleep has several benefits for me. First, just as my body knows around what I time I need to wake up, it learns what time I go to sleep. I get the amount of sleep I do need, which gives me the mental and physical energy needed for the next day.

Getting the sleep you need to recharge is key in staying fit. When I was leading at camp this summer, I found myself eating a lot more than usual. I did not understand why until I came across this article explaining that to compensate for lack of sleep the body will demand more food in order for you to have enough energy. It made sense! I was not sleeping well in a room full of middle school girls on an air mattress ( a discomfort which was totally worth it!). So in response my body was demanding more food. Take a second to think about that. If you are not getting the sleep you should how is your body compensating?

Not only is eating too much a potential consequence of lack of sleep but getting sick can be too. With little time for your body to recharge, it can make you susceptible to more colds and flu’s because the body’s natural defenses are not in full force. They are stretched too thin.

Take naps. I found this chart to be helpful in figuring out how long a nap to take. A ten minute cat nap can do a world of good! Even if all you do is lay down and not sleep, your mind and body get to just stop for a few minutes. I always think of other cultures that tend to have siestas or just shut down in the afternoons. Not everyone may be sleeping but they sure are resting or taking the time to enjoy their mid day meal. Then recharged they go back to work.

Brag about how much sleep you are getting and how well rested you feel the next time you hear someone bragging about how little sleep they got. What helps you to get the sleep you need?

I do want to concede that I do not struggle with insomnia or have issues staying asleep. This particular blog is geared for those who believe getting less sleep is better. I also do not have children or an overnight work schedule ( but I have in the past so I understand how hard it is to get the sleep you need.) If you are having a hard time sleeping please seek medical help, proper sleep is important for your overall health.

Read, Write, Repeat…

” If you do not have the time to read, you don’t have the have time or tools to write.” – Stephen King

 

 

   I love this quote. It is often a convicting statement for me in those times when I have less time to read. How can I possibly grow as a writer if I do not have the time to read? It is just with anything else in life. One has to make time for it. I wish it was something I could do without having to schedule it in as when I was  younger. But there it is. I have to schedule this love of mine into my busy life. Just as with everything else. 

 

It also gets me thinking about the books that have infuenced me as a storyteller. Not only books, but films and television shows. Each has taught me valuable lessons on how to tell a great story. And also how to not tell a great story. Some may have thought that I was wasting my time all these years when really I was doing valuable study and research. There is much to learn from all forms of writing. To tell the a story in the proper way.

 

 My teachers have been many, the worlds that were created from imaginations captured mine. I have been taught by many masters the art of story telling. One does not need to have a masters in order to do so. Sit and read. Read the good, and the bad. Read and reread the classics. Redifine what is a classic. 

 I have been shaped by books. So many books. Without them I just do not know who I am. What follows is a shorlist of books, films and television shows that have greatly influenced. Note I say influenced. These are at most no younger than ten years. 

 

1984 by George Orwell– I read this when I was a teenager. This was my introduction to a dystopian future. Greatly influencing my first novel. The story of Smith first becoming aware that the world he lives in is just wrong and then trying to fight it is fascinating. It still blows my mind at the kind of technology and even thought processes that exist in this fictional landscape, are now a reality. Perhaps not to the full extent portrayed in the book but to some point.

I would also recommend Animal Farm by this author.

Continuing with the theme of a dystopian world, these also greatly influenced me. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Giver by Lois Lowry. All of them portraying worlds where the citizenry is either forced to or corereced into following the status quo and when they do not dire consequences follow.

The Stand by Stephen King– This hefty book takes us through the ravages of a plague and how the survivors rally together. There is also a great spiritual battle and also influenced my first novel ( which is still currently a manuscript, more on that on another post.) Check out his short stories, if you enjoy the film The Shawshank Redemption, then read the story it was based on.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller– This portraly of WWII pilots and the absolute insanity of war, even “a good war” . This helped me to understand the true cruelty of war and how it affects those fighting it and those caught in the middle of it.

 I would also recommend Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank. These books bring the heroic struggles of everyday citizens and soldiers doing their best to understand the chaos of war. Recently,l when I went to see The Fault in our Our Stars, I teared up during the scene in the Frank Attic not because of the love story but thinking of the people who hide out there during the war.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee– What else can be said about this masterpiece? Five year old Scout leads us through the tumultuous events of her young life. If you have not read this book, please make it the next one on your to be read list! If it has been a long time, I suggest you reread it. Then watch the film, one of the best adaptations of a book in my opinion.

Persuasion by Jane Austen- While Pride and Prejudice is my next favorite book of hers, this later work shows her growth as a writer. Her strength is in observing people and their behavior in public.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott– This book about a family and the misfit Jo, in a family of misfits discovering who she is meant to be is close to my heart. The film adaptation is wonderful as well.

Honorable Mentions-

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Igalls Wilder – When I discovered that she was a real person who actually lived in the frontier I was beyond thrilled! Reading her books brought this world to life for me and lead to me checking out every book I could find about frontier life.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery– Who could not love dear Anne? This plucky orphan who while she grows up and matures never ceases to speak her mind. That is what I love about her the most. Also how she never let life keep her down for long. Great lessons for anyone. The series on PBS years ago was just like rereading the books.

The House of The Spirits by Isabel Allende– This book tells the tale of a family who has to deal with the consequences of coming to power and the choices they have made in their lives. I also love the Stories of Eva Luna by the same author.

I would also recommend One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

All these books helped me to first dream of worlds outside my reality, sparking my imagination. Then helped me to become a writer. A writer who still needs and loves to read.

There you have it. The books that have influenced me the most. What books come to mind for you?