October 22, 2014 Today was more difficult for me than it should have been. Today I had to force myself to take time and do nothing. I thought of things I am supposed to be doing. I thought of the upcoming assignments that I should be doing. yet I can’t work on them because I am forced to take time and do nothing except rest something I must do this to write a paper on. Rather interesting quandary: Do nothing except rest or partake in a “holy leisure” activity so that i can write a paper on what I experience by doing this. What can I do and for how long will I last? These questions became like a mantra. I opted for a leisurely walk. But where to walk and should I take the dogs? After some thought I decided not to take my dogs. Love them but, this assignment needed my full attention. A little more pondering and I chose to walk the labyrinth again. I drove over, left my phone in the car and kept my shoes on this time. I walked leisurely to the start of this maze. I tried to shove everything from my head and quiet the voices that were telling me what I needed to get done and what deadlines were coming up. the nagging questions of: how I was going to pay my bills, how long would I have to live with friends, when would this divorce become final, when would i get my life back, where was God when i needed him, and Why couldn’t he answer any of my prayers, all bounced around my head and refused to leave. I started walking very slowly. With each step I pushed away or tried to the distractions that disturbed my focus. By the end of the first quadrant, I had managed to get some focus, empty some thoughts from my head and now I could take bolder steps. I walked even slower and began saying the words light, heal, help. Before I was done with the quadrant the word help became my call. Over and over with each step I spoke this. At the start of the third quadrant, I began to argue with God. I got angry. Why was he letting me suffer? Why didn’t he answer prayer? Why was his timing such that I felt overwhelmed? What was his purpose for allowing me to feel this way? I yelled. I spoke with my hands. I got more angry over having to take some time with God when I could have used this time to do some reading for a class. By the end of the quadrant, I was calmer. In the last quadrant, I walked and thought. I reviewed what I had been going through and tried to find a reason for it. I found none. I made it to the center. I was exhausted. I was focused but still I couldn’t feel God near me. I sank to the ground, curled up in a fetal position, and cried. I laid prone with the rocks on my face. I cried harder. I gave up. I quit crying. I stopped thinking. I completely shut down. For an hour, I laid there. Two women came up to check on me. They asked if I was ok. I spoke one word, Yes. I never looked at them. I just stared at the sky. I felt hollow. I felt broken. I felt alone. I gave up trying to feel God. I gave up expecting an answer. I gave up on everything. When I had nothing left, I stood up and slowly walked the path leading back out. With the first quadrant done, I began to feel wind and sun. I heard outdoor noises. At the end of the second quadrant, I began feeling lighter. Quadrant three and I began repeating this to will pass. Part way through the last quadrant, I stopped and turned to look behind me. I traced my life, my steps, my feelings mentally, drawing a line in my mind around this maze. I turned to look ahead of me. But I couldn’t mentally relive my steps or draw the line that I would follow out. I pushed myself to move. I had carried a rosary in with me and held it loosely. Near the end, I tightened my hold on it. I said the Lords Prayer. I said a Hail Mary. Tears flowed from my eyes. I was near the end of the maze. Readying myself to leave it, I stopped to pray hard. I knelt down and kissed the earth. I looked up to the trees. The leaves reminded changes come to us all. The seasons change but so do we. Not just by adding a year onto our age but through our experiences we grow. We change. Change, is good. Change is a necessity, a voice inside me said. I looked at the leaves individually. Each leaf represented a change I had been through since February of this year. Some were good. Some have been heart wrenching. Some will reveal their reasons for needing to happen later. Standing, I breathed in deeply. I took those final few steps out of the labyrinth. I had left behind some burdens in the center. I felt lighter and yes, I felt God holding me. I went to my car slowly. Each step I forced myself to find a blessing. By the time I reached my car. I realized the biggest blessing was taking the time to force myself to find God. I had been letting him seek me when I should have been seeking after him. This forced intentional Sabbath is needed for each of us. We all find things that we need to do. Things that take up our time and leave us feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed, overworked, unloved by God. By taking down time, we relax, refocus, refresh, renew, not only ourselves but our relationship with God. Isn’t that what God intended when he gave the commandment: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Intentional Sabbath no matter what day we celebrate it on is something we should embrace if we desire to continue to grow in our faith and spirituality. At least I learned I need to do this.

Ever have fun simply walking the streets?.

Karma replied that complaints would, per routine, be directed to call centers in India.

A Universal Gesture.

Whose Krazy Now?.

Today is my youngest child’s birthday. 21 years ago, i gave birth to the biggest child in the nursery. It’s funny I don’t think there is anything about that day that I can’t remember. Actually that whole week, still is in my head pretty good. Ashlyn was born early. Dr Mistry, decide not to make me endure any more pregnancy fun. I was bigger around than tall with her. Seriously they measured me at the hospital. I’m 60 inches tall. With her in me, I was 64 inches around. I still had fours weeks left before her due date.

My husband learned that day you don’t tell someone in labor they’re not in pain. I choked him. My mom who was in the waiting area with my son came in to offer him a cup of coffee.She got to see him turning red and the nurse doubled over not able to catch her breathe. She learned to, don’t tell someone they are not hurting. Ash was born after just three hours of labor. Sh weighed in barely under 10 lbs. When they went to measure her they had to bring in another table and and combine the two measuring sticks. She was 26 inches long. Ash was the largest baby in the nursery. My son born ten years earlier was the smallest.

He sat in the waiting room, bummed that he was getting a sister not a brother or a dog. he shared his disappointment with a man who’s wife had been in labor 24 hours already. After an additional 24 hours she gave birth to the smallest baby in the nursery.

Ash was born with a broken shoulder. My husband had lugged most of my camera equipment to the hospital to take photos. My son held her when she was only a few hours old and promised he would take care of her forever. Suddenly her being a girl was ok. we did later get a dog, well dogs. That night he wrote down a list of promises and things he would do for her. I kept that piece of paper. Fortunately when our house in Virginia, that piece of paper did not get wet. Jim’s college diploma in a leather case, ruined but that paper in a book, stayed untouched.

It’s funny the days that stand out in our lives, like the birth of our children, are days that each year we get to relive. It’s those moments, those days, those memories, that keep us going, that deepen our faith, that make us believe, that yeah, despite all of the screwed up, messed up mistakes and blunders, in our lives, we did something right, Thank God.

Thigh or Breast Man?.

Hello, Today I was blessed to have guest blogger Joseph come back and write a delightful piece that will make you think and appreciate what we have in this life.

I’m hoping to be back with you guys soon! 

Love to you all!

May God’s blessings fall on you abundantly!

Peace to  you,

julie 

 

Writing, Distractions, and Life! How to keep your faith and get something accomplished.

By Joseph Courtemanche

 

The smell of garlic steak is creeping across the kitchen floor on little Sheltie feet as the oven creaks and snaps around the inferno containing the baked potatoes. Another afternoon of Facebooking versus writing is in full swing.

I look across the room and see my editor sitting on the couch, noise canceling headphones covering her ears to exclude the beeps and videos playing on the desktop. For some reason the manuscript only brings on the noise of keys clicking. Not much clicking takes place during these distracted moments when dinner looms large, stomachs rumble, and burnout over the novel is peaking.

As a writer, I have lots of things to do every day. Throw in a bunch of other work with my day job, my secondary job as an actor, and my tertiary job as a husband (just kidding, that’s number one) and I find a suspicious drain on my time that I will have to account for when my agent asks how the book is coming.

This afternoon that’s fine with me. I have made it 1/5 of the way through the final revisions to the book before it’s truly ready to publish. It’s been a long road getting here. Now, to find a publisher.

For authors in 2014 that’s not as daunting a challenge as it was even five years ago. We all want to be the new star with a major publishing house, but most of us acknowledge the fact that we’ll likely not be feted with champagne and truffles on the private jet as we fly to our signing party. Instead, we’re more likely to have a pizza with our spouse when we hit the send button on Amazon that uploads the book for sale.

I’m good with that today. My life is pretty swell. Easter is a few days away and God’s looking over me and mine. I’m happy with who I am and where my journey seems to be headed. Ten years ago that wasn’t the case. I was lost, distant from God, and in pain spiritually.

The best part of my job as a Christian author has been the ability to learn more about the gifts God gave me, and to allow those gifts to serve others. I had the greatest compliment a few weeks ago when a friend contacted me and asked that I pray for them during their upcoming surgery. They called me a “mighty spiritual warrior.” I have to pause a moment and contemplate that every time I think about it. They’d read my writing and spent a fair amount of time with me on a phone bank for KTIS radio during a pledge drive. That’s it. We don’t hang out together otherwise.

But I must be living the life out front and out loud. They knew where I stood through my actions and my writing. I was honored and humbled. I was also reminded that I need to rededicate myself to following Jesus every day and avoid the trips down the side paths of life that I sometimes experience. I want to be the guy people ask to pray for them. I’m not a pastor, not a deacon, not even a very good Bible reader. But my faith grows each day and writing is a big part of it. My hope today is that you’re feeling a bit uplifted when you finish this blog and that you take your life to the next level in Christ as a result.

Did it work? I pray that it did. Have a blessed day and thanks for reading my scribbling today. I appreciate your time.

Words Can Hurt (Me).

Literary roundup: Monumental Georgi Markov and remnants of former regimes.