Sacred Spaces

I grew up watching Mr.Rogers Neighborhood. Along with other PBS shows. Shows that I am convinced shape who I am as with much as my family and the books I read as I grew up.

When I think of Mr. Rogers, I think of the verse below.

“Love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

In this age of instant judgment and defensiveness, this kind of love is scandalous. The reality of Mr. Rogers message is that he was as scandalous too. Wearing his cardigan sweater and soothing voice, he taught many how to care and love.

Watch an episode and you see him taking the time to listen to his guests and understand them. He took his time with things and people. Especially children.

I recently watched the documentary Won’t you be My Neighbor, listened on the audio book The Small Faith of Mr.Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth and am in the middle of the new Rogers biography The Good Neighbor (The Life and Work of Fred Rogers) by Maxwell King. Both-available on Hoopla.

One of the most fascinating things about him was his belief that the space between the screen and the audience was sacred ground. Imagine if this idea was endorsed today? That as we all have access to reach so many people to view that space as sacred?

How would this change how we engage with people? That the space where we post things and the person viewing it be considered sacred space? The words we use online whether to make a statement or to comment on something are revealing of our hearts.

That in fact one of the ways to love another is to also care how and what we post online. The same care we take of people in person. Engaging with people instead of simply trying to change their minds.

Fred Rogers understood that the sacred moments were in the small and overlooked. That they take place in the most basic, seemingly mundane moments are indeed sacred.

For myself it has meant being less reactive online. Taking my time to respond if I choose to respond at all. I don’t have a well loved television show as Mr.Rogers did but I do have my small space here and hope to use it well.

Typewriter

Finding the Right Words

When I relaunched this blog I came up with the tag line, finding my words. Writing is hard, keeping up a blog in a world of so many has been tough. I question the need for yet another blog in an already crowded field. Not to mention the constant death nil made about the state of blogging.

Which is why I took a break, allowing the website to gather dust. The truth was I had become overwhelmed with my self imposed blogging schedule. More often than not it feels like my words are flung into the great void called the internet.

Does it matter if I write in the greater scheme of things? Who would care if I find my words or not?

As I began to blog again, I found that it’s important to me. Writing, blogging these past few years has helped me to learn how to think through a topic. Believe me there have been many a blog post either deleted or sent to the draft file.

Finding my words mean also finding the right words. I have to own what I say on here, asking myself if what I’m writing will be helpful or show care for others. Too often words are simply flung out there. Not to mention how long things live out despite deleting anything.

Note how past social media posts can be used against someone? That something a person once believed can never change and therefore they should never change or grow? This often makes me think twice about posting much of anything lately to be honest.

I want to be real but also careful with the words I put out there. Regardless if they are read. I know what I’m putting out here and the effect of what I say can have on others.

With a less stringent blogging schedule, I found greater freedom in writing blogs . I’m not struggling to come up with a post. Instead I post as I like to, aiming for at least once a week. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t post.

My words, whether spoken, texted, posted on social media or in a blog post matter. They come from my heart and therefore I must write with care. I hope for people to come away from reading a post having gained something. Some hope or encouragement or thought provoking.

Mid Week Motivator : Fight to Write

Writing, it’s what I’m made to do. Whether or not I make money from my words, I will always be one. I can never not write. Whether it be in my journal, here or my novels. The words come to me and they must be written.

Because it is my passion, writing is hard. Some days the words come easily and freely. But other times, it is hard. So hard. The words just do not come, the story gets stalled or hits a dead end.

Giving up writing is not an option. Fighting through those hard times are worth it. It means what you have to say is important. Because the other side of fighting through are beautiful words. Those words are there on the other side of fight.

Keep writing, don’t give up. Keep fighting for those words. Because your words are important and need to be read.

 

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.

 

 

 


 

 

Mid Week Motivator: Five Days Left

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Congratulations!!!! Can you see the end?! All the coffee, chocolate and sacrifice is nearly at an end!

Hang in there! Just more days left! No matter where you are at with your word count, finish. Work until you get there. Stop on the 30th. Take a few days to regroup, reintroduce yourself to the family and friends.

Then continue on.

Later begins the next phase, revision. But that can wait, allow your mind to regroup. After all you need to figure out what happens to the fire breathing unicorn.

Mid Week Motivator: Plan Ahead

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Next week is Thanksgiving. A time to spend with family. There is also time to prep for the meal. Think about what this can mean for your writing schedule. Obviously, things must be adjusted.

How much will depend on what you hope to do for both.

Agree to what your able to do for the holiday. But also honor your hard work up to this point. This is nearly the finish to your novel.

Decide now if you are writing on Thanksgiving or taking the day off. By doing so, this will allow you to relive some stress. And also adjust your writing schedule accordingly.

That being said, congratulations on getting this far! I know that some days it can be like pulling teeth. At times your manuscript may seem more of a mess than not. Remind yourself that December is for revision.

Mid Week Motivator: Halfway Done

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It is the mid point of November. You are halfway through this wild experiment called Nanowrimo!

Congratulations! You have the workings of your novel set up. Perhaps you are just hitting your stride. The words flowing from your hands like water from an open faucet.

Or perhaps the words are more like an intermittent drip, drip, drip.

Keep working. If a scene is frustrating, work on another one. Stepping away from it for a bit can help your brain to process better. To return to that section feeling renewed.

Keep going. Some words are harder one than others. You will be happier knowing that you tried than to have given up.

Remember, the goal is to finish, not perfection.

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: 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!

Writing Is Hard

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Some days, writing be like- morguefile.com

Writing is hard. It has been said before. Finding the right words can be difficult. Whether it be a blog post, poem or story. It is hard because my heart and soul goes into what I do.

As frustrating as it can often be, I do not give up. Writing words, expressing myself in this way is who I am. When I write, I feel a kinship with those who came before me. Those writers I grew up reading, ones I am discovering now who are my comrades in words.

They understand why we keep going back, to writing despite how difficult it can often become. How mentally exhausted I feel getting through a difficult passage or plot point. There are days I want to quit.

But I cannot. Writing is ingrained in me.
Just because it can be hard or uncomfortable does not mean I should stop.

That is when the good stuff is just starting. Pushing through the difficult passage or figuring out a character is worth the struggle. Because something is hard, does not mean it is impossible.

Writing is hard, as it should be.