Embracing Beauty

As a little girl, I played with my mother’s make up. Playing dress up in her clothes that she no longer wore. It was act of mimicking what I saw. I longed to be grown up and make up was very grown up. My mom wears make up on a near daily basis, and I began wearing it off and on during my middle school years. A habit that has continued onto this day. Some days I wear want to wear it and others I barley get some on at all.

This past week I got to have my make up done. This may not seem like much but it is not often that I get to have this done. I can count on one hand the number of times I got to have this done. This last time was for a work luncheon for my day job. All of us got to be glammed up as part of the celebration. It was fun and weird having so much attention on me. From the amazing young lady who did my make up to the reactions garnered once it was done.

By the end of the day though I was just itching to wash my face. Thankfully, throughout the day I was comfortable as my skin was able to breathe. Washing it off felt wonderful though! I usually wear minimal amounts of make up if any at all. I am grateful for the genes I inherited that has given me skin that I do not feel the need to wear any make up. I am also grateful that I am comfortable in both states.

But not everyone is. So many woman feel naked without their “face” on. And others, like me can get along just fine with or without it. I think it is important to be comfortable with and without.  Embrace the story your face tells either way. Whatever the reason you have to wear it or not wear it, embrace the woman you are in total. You are complete and beautiful whether or not you wear make up.  Enjoy what make up can do but also enjoy the natural beauty that is already there.

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Make up has power to give the person wearing it to have confidence in themselves. To reflect themselves from the inside out or vice versa.Then when you do get glammed up, be sure to get photos! Take photos sans make up too. Celebrate your beauty.

Story Monday: Hamilton

For the first Monday of each month I like to discuss story. What it is and how it affects us. Today, I’m going to get a bit political as I look at history. Particularly early North American  history.

Recently I have become slightly obsessed with Hamilton the musical, based on the Biography by Ron Chernow. The broadway show written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, previously of The Heights.This musical tells the factual story of not only one man but also the birth of my nation. I must say it is great to listen to while running as well.

What I am reminded of most is that anything we currently bemoan the state of affairs. None of this new. There has always been personal ambition mingled in with collusion which somehow benefits the citizens.

I am reminded that this country was founded by an imperfect group of men. Men who were all too human in temperment and ambition. Their hurts and desires at times getting in the way.

It had to be frightening and confusing for not only leadership but regular citizens. Imagine being back then. A war has just been won, severing us from Europe. From what we knew to a new system , yet untested.

One beset by ego, back room deals and uncertainty. Some things never change. I also see hope that dreams and  hardwork can bring. Benefiting not only a person but so many more.

The show, does not shy away from Hamilton’s foibles. Which all of us are susceptible to as well. These can be our downfall, but also be moments to show our strength of character. The story of Alexander Hamilton resonates because it is the human one. The struggle, triumph, self destruction , selfishness and love. 

That and the amazing music.

Story Monday: Reading Habits

Reading is a passion for me. However, I feel a bit guilty. I have not read nearly as much people suppose I do. This has been a year of Netflix viewing I admit. Binge watching my way through several series and movies. There is no one else to blame but myself, I made time for things I wanted to do.

It’s something that I’ve missed in my life. Getting lost in another world. It’s something I need in my life, books. The perspective of others. A playground for my imagination. To stir the pot so speak as I work on my own writing.

I need story. My Kindle and bookshelves beckon me to read them. I look forward to diving in. Below is a list of the books I did read this past year.

My 2015 Reading List

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

This autobiographical tale of a free man being sold into slavery was gripping and tough to read. The hope he had in being reunited with his family is felt throughout the work. I reccomend this book to educate and remember our history.

Pride & prejudice by Jane Austen 

This was my fifth time rereading it. Each time I rejoin the Elizabeth and Darcy I learn something new. Perhaps it is part of  getting  older but I find Mrs. Bennett a more sympathic character than I did before.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

This is my slow read. I began reading it over a year ago. From time to time I read chapters, savoring the words and this world. I do not foresee finishing it this coming year either and that is just fine.

Searching For Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

This book was eye opening and for anyone grasping with what the Church can be and the reality of where it is. I enjoyed her previous book A Year of Biblical Womanhood.

Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

A friend introduced me to this series and I have yet to stop! The first season of the show is faithful to the first book to a T. I enjoy the romantic aspects and adventures of Claire and Jaime through time. I am currently finishing Drums of Autumn.  

Zombie Christian by Sabrena Klausman

This sat on my bookshelf for over a year I must admit and only just finished it (but hey it still counts as a 2015 read!). This book examines lethargy that had settled not only within the Church but in the body of the church.

Do Over by Jon Acuff

This was my first book I read by Jon Acuff. This is a great, clarifying book on how to assess where one is at in their career and the steps we need to take to move forward.

 

 

 


 

 

Story Monday: The Story of Christmas

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The first Monday of each month I focus on story. Today, I am focusing in on the story of Christmas.

It is hard to miss the fact that it is Christmas season. Decorations have been put up, party inventations are being sent out, Christmas music is playing non stop in the stores. Beyond all this glitter is a deeper story. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy all the glittery aspects of this time of year. Watching my favorite Christmas themed films and specials. Spending time with family and friends while enjoying the tastes of this season. Perhaps a bit too much at times.

In all of the hustle and bustle of this month, running from one event to another that this is also a season of waiting and anticipation. Forgetting the story and reason behind all the glitter.

It is a story of God choosing to reconcile us to him. Leaving behind the security of heaven to come down to earth in the form of a human. To live and suffer amongst us. To experience all the joys, happiness, sadness and struggles. All the while knowing we would betray him, misunderstand him, and forget. Yet, he still chose to rescue us.

As I consider and savor the story of Christmas. I keep running into that word, chose. God chose to reconcile us with Him. He chose all that would follow.

This is my reflection this advent season, as I read through my devotional, as I ponder the gifts to make and decorate. I find myself stopping moment to moment to simply ponder. To stand in awe. God chose to come down to us. To meet us in our mess and sin.

How wonderful is that? This is a story of hope being delivered to us. A time of anticipation and reflection. In the midst of the busyness of this season, don’t forget the story behind Christmas.

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Mid Week Motivator: Embrace The Crazy

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Coffee and chocolate, the fuel of writers

It has begun, the writing extravaganza known as Nanowrimo. Fingers fly over keyboards, words spilling onto the computer screens. Then being deleted, written again and perhaps now a whole paragraph is gone.

This is the time to embrace the crazy. Follow your characters over the cliff, discover a new subplot or perhaps find that a character needs more play.

Accept that this draft will be crappy and messy. The point of doing this is not  perfection with every word but to get the words onto the page. This manuscript will not be ready for submissions December 1st.

It will however be ready for you to shape, edit your words to be ready for submissions. But that comes later.

Right now comes the crazy. This is the moment to write about your new best friend, the two headed, fire breathing unicorn.

Story Monday: Bookshelf Purge

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Box of books ready for donation

We all have those books that mean more to us than others. It struck me recently as I paired down my bookshelves that there were some books I always keep. And my hope to one day live in a tiny house means I will need to choose which books to keep and which to purge.

After all I won’t have much room to store them. By giving away books I have no interest in reading again, I am giving someone the opportunity to enjoy them. For them to do more than collect dust on my shelves.

Doing this can be hard. Feeling as if I am now betraying these works who live on my shelves. As a book lover, it is within me to keep all the books. However, practically I cannot continue to keep them.

In future I am going to put aside those books I have no desire to read again. To either give them away to my friends or donate to my local library, hospital or nursing home. Yes, I could also sell them to a used book store. However the danger here is then returning home with more books!

What a great way to help the community? By giving the gift of story?

Story Monday: Preparing For Nanowrimo

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In just a months time will begin Nanowrimo,(National November Writing Month). A chance to write your own story! This takes place during the month of November.

Thirty one days to let go and let your story come to life. You can join a community of writers both online and in real life. Which I highly encourage as it helps to motivate. Seek out local write ups, follow the hashtags #Nanowrimo #nano on Twitter.

It is a month to finally write that first draft that has been waiting to come out. The story you have been waiting to write. Use this month to prepare, plot and think. November first will begin the mad dash of an entire month of writing!

I have participated in years past and while I never “won” (meaning you have a word count of 65,000 to 80,000 word count) . But it did push me.
I learned how to push through those hard days. Close up plot holes .To look at the bigger picture of my story
Gain confidence in my skills.

At the end what you will have is a full first draft, ready for you to work over. Please do not send off your Nanowrimo draft to publishers. It will need polish. And research which agents to send your novel off to. Again Twitter is a great tool for this.

Due to my schedule this year, I will not be able to participate this year. But during this month I will use my Mid Week Motivator posts to give tips and encourage those of you who choose to participate.

Happy writing!

Story Monday : Zombies & Survival

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The first Monday of each month I like to talk about story. How it manifests in our lives. Today, I want to talk about The Walking Dead and its companion series Fear The Walking Dead.

Fear The Walking Dead takes place at the start of the epidemic which leads us to the world of The Walking Dead. With the premiere of TWD still weeks away, this show is a nice little appetizer. The two shows tell the same story from two different perspectives. Before and after. I have to say, I am enjoying FTWD so far. I enjoy knowing more than the characters, waiting for them to discover all that has been revealed on TWD.

I enjoy these shows for several reasons. First the writing is just phenomenal, every episode I wonder what will happen next. This show demands you pay attention to the smallest details. You never know when it can surface later. Those are the best moments as a viewer.

But why is this show such a phenomenon? What about it draws us in so much?

I believe it is because it speaks to innate desire to survive . We can place ourselves in the lives of the survivors. I mean who resigns themselves to becoming a zombie? We want to believe we would fight and survive. That we would be Rick’s right hand guy or gal.

But this simply is not possible is it? The zombies out number the humans. For this reason, I fear the final fate of the family from FTWD. Surviving this, in those beginning days are no more than a fluke.

That being said, I love the opportunity to explore another part of this universe. To see the initial pandemonium as the pandemic rises. Our systems of government, cities and towns falling apart as some flee and others succumb to the disease. In the midst of hopelessness, there is a glimmer of hope.

Perhaps in the end it is this idea of hope that gives these shows an edge. In this desperate place, there can still be family. Together, we can get through this as opposed to alone. While one can physically survive, as Michonne did, ones heart and soul was damaged. Look how long it took her to break down those walls. Once she did, she began to love fiercely and began to live instead of simply survive.

A book I liked as a teen that followed these themes was The Stand by Stephen King. No zombies but a lot of good verses evil.

The Stories We Tell

The first week of the month I like to discuss story. What it is, how story has evolved and changed over time. You can read the first post on this here. Today I want to talk about our stories and how we are telling it today. Namely through social media.

We are all story tellers. More so these days than ever before. With the prevalence of social media, it has become our new reality. Instead of stacks of letters and documents, future generations will sift through our posts.

It is through these posts that they will piece together the story of our lives. This occurred to me as I thought about the purpose of social media. Of course one aspect is to connect with people. To seek information as well.

But what about the legacy these postings will have for future generations.

What is the story that they will find about us? The version of our lives that we present is often sanitized or an edited version. It is how they will discover how we lived. Will we be judged because of one or two random posts? Photos, pithy (at least we hope) comments will paint a fragmented picture.

Time will tell what kind of picture this will paint. What will all our sharing, posts and present to them. Perhaps it is something to consider.

What is the story of ourselves, our lives that we hope to leave behind? Which fragments of our lives will form this picture?

Mid Week Motivator- I Did Not Win

This past month was Nanowrimo ( National November Writing Month) and I chose to participant once again. I have yet to win this thing and this year was no different. I went into it this year with the vaguest of ideas, and it showed. Unusal for me was the way I bagan this one. It started with an idea instead of a character. This proved to be a challenge for me. I always begin with a character, with the story forming around this person.

It was not until the end of the month that I finally had a break through. Finally figuring out who my main character is changed the whole story. This has changed the whole story but for the better. Believe me when I say that.

I went into Nanowrimo unprepared and I lost. This is alright though. Writing is a process, as we are told. Sometimes we writers get in our own way too. I broke all the rules of writing. I did not protect my writing time well enough. Not to mention that this was the busiest time at my day job plus my new writing job, my time and brain were drained.

I did get the start of my story. An idea that is rather exciting and will surely challenge me.

That at the end of the day, is what matters. Goals may have to move or change. Story may change but as long as there are words on the page ( or computer) then all is not lost. I have not truly lost.