Friday, November 30, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday—Book Love

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Have you ever asked yourself where have I been all of this book’s life?

I’m having so much fun reading BELONG TO ME by Marisa de los Santos!

When is the last time you remember having fun while reading a book?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Billowing or Extinguishing Your Gift

We do plenty of this on our own in regards to our gifts—billow and extinguish. Our calling, our gifts are like fire inside our souls. Some people fan the gift while some stifle it and attempt to turn it to ash. Today I’m going to address ways to identify those who billow and extinguish your gifts in your life. Time is precious. It’s worth it to evaluate who does what and how often.

Those Who Extinguish:

Make Sarcastic or Cutting Remarks
It’s obvious Uncle Larry doesn’t take you seriously when every time you talk about the book you’re writing you get the eye roll and “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Ignore Your Gift Altogether
Sister Sophia neglects to mention that project you’ve been buried in for months. Who knows why, but it’s become the proverbial elephant in the room. (Did you know that supposedly elephants like alcohol? Got this from Water for Elephants…too funny if it’s true. Carry on.)

Turn It into a Joke
“Hey, did you hear this whirly bird has written herself a little novel?” Aunt Patty smacks your arm and waits for the rest of the family gathered at the holiday table to burst out in laughter as you bask in being the butt of the joke instead of the life of the party.

Keep You Busy & Distracted
“Oh, sure you can mail out five hundred letters for the school fundraiser. It’s not like you’re working or anything.” PTO rock star Mandy doesn’t get it, does she? This group is most likely to do what they do unaware. They get the least likely to own culpability stamp.

Those Who Billow:

Use Encouragement as a Motivator
You hear it. You feel it. It nestles in your bones every time Aunt Serena pulls you aside and whispers, “You’re going to make it. I read your blog. I believe in you.”

Speak Truthfully, but with Your Best Intentions in Mind
You shout out joyfully whenever you receive feedback from Best friend Becky that’s chock full of wisdom and insight for you to keep on keepin’ on.

Act Supportive & Positive about Your Vision
“It takes a certain kind of tenacity to keep at it in your line of work. Tenacity I’ve seen in few, but I see it in you.” A mom’s billow still burrows deep.

Help You Focus & Strive for Your Goals
“I’m open to hosting the holiday party this year. You’ve told me you’re getting ready to face a tight deadline and I can’t wait to read your work.” Brother Todd words ring bells and give angels wings.

Know who you’re hanging with this holiday season. Oh, and when you click here be prepared to get billowed!

Can you think of any more clues you’re talking to one who billows or extinguishes?

*I am in no way implying in this post we are to hand the power over to others to dictate how we handle our gifts. Only, it does influence the way we think about our gifts—who we choose to spend time with.
**photo by stock.XCHNG

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Am the Movies I Want to See

Holy movies, Batman! I can’t remember the last time this many movies were in theaters that I couldn’t wait to see. When it comes to breaking the bank as I chomp on Twizzlers and stare at the big screen (after I silence my cell phone), I’m inundated with spectacular choices.

Non-stop adventure. Oh yeah, that’s me. Whipping around the house trying to clean before company, planning Christmas on a budget and a prayer, running from carpool to carpool until I’m like Chicken Little in disbelief the sky is falling.

Seriously though, my husband and I have enjoyed these movies since we were newly married and rumor has it (Adele sings theme song) this one is aces.
I’m Skyfall with one exception; I’m stirred, not shaken.

Les Miserables
Depth + redemption + forgiveness

Story . Of. My. Life.

The first Les Mis with Liam Neeson ranks as one of my all-time favorites. And now they’ve gone and done it again but with vocals accompanying the acting. Get me to the movies. And if anyone slips up, forgetting to silence their phone I will not hesitate to clobber ‘em. Thank God for forgiveness. ;-)

My children are not far from teenage years. I’m becoming a CIA operative. Also, as with every person alive, I too have a lot going on behind the scenes.

Besides, I just have to see a movie where a movie (a “science fantasy in the style of Star Wars”) saves the day.

Okay, so I’m not a really tall man with a beard, but I strongly believe in the abolition of slavery—of all kinds. History has always been one of my best teachers.

To boot, my eight-year-old has a tiny crush on old Abe. Better go check out more about who captures her attention while she’s still young.

The Hobbit
Again, not so much a make believe dwarf-like creature but I’m all about taking on a challenge. If you’ve clicked on thoughts that move more than say, twice, you’d know how much of a proponent I am of personal growth. Seems The Hobbit deals with that a smidgen.

I’m sure I’m leaving at least one out. Those are the biggies though (with Les Mis highest on my list).

Are you the movies you want to see? What movies do you want to see? Seen any I mentioned you care to comment on?

*photo by stock.XCHNG

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Moving Turkey

The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.” ~ Maya Angelou
Happy Thanksgiving!
See you Monday.

*photo by stock.XCHNG
**I’m seeing a wee bit of irony in posting a picture of a turkey with this quote…poor guy, his tomorrow is not like our tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

About a Skinny Emily Wierenga

Beyond excited for you to read this guest post by gifted author, Emily Wierenga...
Maybe it’s one of the reasons I whisper hallelujah each time I find a boy in my womb growing long and limber, although I know eating disorders are just as real for them, 25 per cent real in fact, and we just don’t realize it…
That men sometimes hide in toilet bowls and candy wrappers and weigh scales, but 75 % of women struggle with disordered eating and I never really wanted to have a girl. I never really liked the color pink, and I still struggle with OCD and I joke that it’s like ADD only different acronyms but when the stress becomes high it’s truly debilitating.

Prayer is the only antidote and if I did have a girl, I fear I’d always be adjusting her pink ribbons. Or purple or whatever I would insist on her wearing, and I’m still thin. Too thin, my husband says, the one who saw me through my anorexic relapse. The one who prayed me through nights of insomnia, and days of only eating supper, the one who gave me the ultimatum on the side of the highway after I tried to drive us into traffic. It was him, or food, he said. He couldn’t do it anymore, and I chose him, and every day now, I choose him.

I have four boys now, two of my own, and I’m trying not to mess them up. I’m trying not to let my OCD or my dislike of cooking or my struggle with portion size affect them or their understanding of value. I’m trying to sit with them at mealtimes, and eat with them and place my hand lovingly on theirs and to remember that food is much simpler than it seems.

I’m 32, and I like a piece or two of dark chocolate just as much as the next person along with a glass of red wine (or two). But I catch myself looking in the mirror too long after I’ve had a shower, or sub-consciously feeling the bony parts of my arms.

I remind myself of my mum, in many ways, who’s re-teaching herself things like balance and moderation after eight years of brain cancer. I have to re-learn things too. I know I’m recovered in the same way that I’m being healed, in the same way that I’m saved even as I’m being perfected. And it’s all grace, they say, but I say it’s all God.

Because that’s what is growing inside of me now. God. All warm and dark and mysterious.

And I’m beginning to wear pink, because I’ve realized it brings out the blush in my cheeks. And I dream about her sometimes. A girl. With her chubby cheeks (yes, I said chubby, even though I still struggle with eating even though I just wrote a book on eating disorders) and her soft voice singing, as she toddles down the hall and her brothers laugh when they see her, laugh and dance with her to the music on the radio.

She’s wearing lots of ribbons. All kinds of colors. They look like freedom.

And I’m starting to believe the only kind of weight we need to fear is worry. It’s like chains, and it’s only in taking that first bite of chocolate or that first yoga class or that first step across that bridge that makes you shout the hallelujah, chains springing free and your skinny self, clapping for all the world to hear.

Emily Wierenga is giving away a free copy of her newly released book, today: Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, with Dr. Gregory Jantz (

To WIN, please leave a comment talking about YOUR FAVORITE FOOD.

To order a copy of the book, please visit here. You can find Emily at her website where she writes about her love affair with her family and her faith.

I’m consistently moved every time I encounter Emily’s work. It’s abundantly clear she’s uniquely blessed to minister to women. I’m honored to call her friend. Thank  you, Emily, for all the ways you move us! ~ WPM



Friday, November 16, 2012

A Somewhere Over the Rainbow Moving Thoughts Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.
What is somewhere over the rainbow for you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

8 of the Best Ways to Step Inside the Shoes of Another

If you’ve visited here much you know I’m a huge proponent of empathy. I believe it transforms characters to become more authentic in novels, it draws people closer together, diminishes the fierce intensity to judge, and provides countless opportunities for us to grow.
Whether we’re trying to better understand our main characters or that family member who keeps confusing us into next week…

Here’s my I 8 Wednesday list of ways to step inside someone else’s shoes:
Understand How She Communicates

Some are talkers. Some are writers. Some express freely. Some shy away. Some are passive aggressive. She has experienced life. She wants to share—how will she go about doing so?
Consider Her Past

Everyone has been hurt. And everyone’s hurt places tell a story about who they are today. Scars, emotional or physical can stand out like the equator when we’re trying to understand the map of one’s soul.
Share Her Dreams and Failures

She has hopes. She’s failed. Both have influenced the person she has become. Take a moment to imagine her dreaming…and failing. Is she inspired by People or National Geographic? Does she give up easily or dig in until her fingers bleed?
Which Relationships Does She Value Most & Which Does She Fear Most

What’s that saying that we become most like the five people we spend the most time with? Who does she surround herself with? Who terrifies her? Why?
From R.E.M. to Early When She Rises

Our thoughts are often freshest in the morning, most unscathed by the distractions of the day. Attempt to wake up in her skin, facing the day as she might. Is she wide-eyed, bounding from the bed full of exuberance or dragging herself to the coffee pot as she smashes sleep further into her eyes?
Work with Her

Does she like what she does? If not, does she have a hobby or something she pours herself into outside of work that fulfills her? Take on her hobby for one day.
Take Yourself out of the Equation

We’re all influenced by our own life experiences. Make a concerted effort to view the world as she might. Strip yourself of any preconceived judgment likely waiting to pounce. Does she handle her emotions and take on the world vastly different than you do?
What is She Hiding

So much of communication is unspoken. What do you suspect she hasn’t told anyone? Or only a trusted few? What does this secret say about her?
I believe empathy is one of the most effective antidotes to judgment. We all judge, it’s part of our wiring. But there is a way to salve the sting of our judgment—by cultivating a spirit of empathy.

When is the last time you felt compelled to become more empathic toward someone?

*photos by stock.XCHNG


Monday, November 12, 2012

A World without Reading or Writing

Cue theme music to any horror film. How dare I write such a blasphemous title for this post.
But seriously, I did this, I took time to imagine what it would feel like not to be surrounded with words. Looking back, there was one period of my life when we didn’t own a home computer as we waited, in transition mode, to be assigned our territory. This period stretched on for a year. But I also had a newborn and was fully entrenched in survival mode so I’m not sure I can count this year.

Who would I be if suddenly the director of the show Hoarders decided I owned too many books and he sent his crew to barge in to cart them all away (wah!)? Who would I be if suddenly my brain clenched and I ceased writing the entertaining twists and turns my characters love to take?

No doubt I’d be crabbier, perhaps I’d overcompensate on the social front—but mostly I think I’d go mad.

Why bother exploring a world like this—a world void of words? Two reasons:

1. I’m playing with the idea of creating an illiterate character and I want to climb inside his shoes.

2. Last night I read this in Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (in the chapter titled, “We Are Not the Poem”)

“Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black-and-white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.”

Smash number one and number two together and you get something that might shock book lovers and writers everywhere. It’s something I’m still letting seep inside my mind. While we’ll forever be responsible for our words, I’m beginning to grasp the reality they don’t encapsulate who we are in entirety. Yes, words are valuable and they can be hugely important. In fact, I believe words possess the power to be revolutionary and it’s a privilege to be able to read and write as so many of us do without giving it a second thought.

Here’s something I’m going to work hard to remember though as I write to make impact with the world…my words are separate from who I am. They “capture moments I’ve been awake enough to write." They may help keep me sane, fill a passion within, meaningfully reach readers, or enrich my life in innumerable ways, but without them I’d go on. Or at least I think I would. ;-)

Have you ever considered who you’d be in the absence of reading or writing?
*photo by stock.XCHNG


Friday, November 9, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

You read it years ago, a book, a quote, brilliant advice...It’s still with you.

Share with us…

*photos by stock.XCHNG

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

8 Reasons Why Waiting is Hard

The November issue of Health reports “40% of women polled have experienced a three-hour-plus wait at their doc’s office.”
And we’re not only left twiddling our thumbs in doctor’s offices. Any of the following sound familiar? Carpool line. Grocery store. Bank. Pharmacy. DMV. Test results. Publication. And there happens to be a major holiday approaching that tends to attract diehard shoppers. Ring any bells?

Waiting is a pain in the arse. We all know this. But have you ever taken time to consider why it’s so difficult? No worries, I went there. I pinpricked the waiting process in order to test why we’re so allergic to it. And here’s what I came up with…
Comparing Carol

Carol is obsessed with measuring herself against others. She checks how quickly the line next to her is moving in Target. She plants what her neighbor plants. Determined to be found parallel with the Mrs. Jones, Carol has established herself as an expert in the art of comparison.

Word for Carol: Her race is not your race. Find your own road and go at it at your own pace.
Bored Barb

Barb’s legs bounce. Barb’s thoughts fly to pessimism. Barb texts distant relatives to keep from sitting alone with her thoughts. Barb can’t handle her own boredom.
Word for Barb: Times in wait are perfect breeding grounds for creativity to grow. Learn to appreciate stillness.

Entitlement Eva
Eva wants what she wants and she wants it now. Eva deserves it. Eva is never ever ever getting back together with you (wrong song, wrong topic, excuse the distraction).

Word for Eva: Try playing this song every so often, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Fearful Freda

Time to think equates to time to worry for Freda. One anxious thought begets another, then another. The worry train is headed for one mother of a wreck.
Word for Freda: If you must play worst case scenario, force yourself to envision yourself growing from the outcomes. God tips us off not to fear in the Bible 365 times, one for every day of the year. Must have been an important point He wanted to convey.

Busy Betsy
Betsy’s brain is busy. Betsy’s plans are busy. Betsy is so wetsy with distractions she’s left herself such a small window of downtime, if the wait exceeds her expected allotment of regimented minutes, Betsy becomes one soggy Betsy wetsy mess.

Word for Betsy: Slow down. Carve out time to do nothing—absolutely nothing. Let go of some commitments. Reevaluate priorities. Un-busy Betsy.
All-Knowing Alana

Alana knows what’s best for Alana. She’s had her future categorized and strategized on the back of a Johnny Depp poster since she was a pegged-jeans teenager.
Word for Alana: Life throws us curveballs. Ground yourself in God and expect detours. Do you still have the poster?

Now or Never Nelly
Nelly is afraid if it doesn’t happen now it never will. She’s lost a lot in life, seen it slip through her fingers, bawled as the window has slammed shut. Nelly has an irrational fear that if she’s unable to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life right now her straw will crack, the drink will dry, and she’ll have nothing left to ingest in the future.

Word for Nelly: While it’s noble to have a passion for the present, the best truly is yet to come. Every single second offers opportunity for growth. If you’re strong now, Nelly, you’ll be that much stronger in the future.
Control-Lovin’ Colleen

Colleen is best friends with Nelly, Alana, Betsy, Freda, Eva, Barb, and Carol. (Wouldn’t that be cool if those first letters actually spelled something? They don’t, but would have been cool.) Colleen is insecure. Somewhere inside she still buys that if she can just get a handle on her life and steer it, things would finally fall into place. She’d be peaceful, happy, and radiant each morning when her feet hit the floor, free of care. It’s up to her to minimize the wait. It’s always up to her.
Word for Colleen: Ultimately it all comes back to your need to control. Surrender. Trust in an omniscient God. Mei Banfa (thanks Amy for teaching me this Chinese expression) = Accept what we cannot change.

Why did I write we on that last word to Colleen? Because I can only write about Nelly, Alana, Betsy, Freda, Eva, Barb, Carol, and Colleen because I’ve waited in their shoes.

Among those I listed, who best represents your current allergic reaction to waiting?
*photo by stock.XCHNG

Monday, November 5, 2012

Star Perspective

“Stars are formed inside vast clouds of hydrogen gas, such as the Eagle Nebula. A small fragment of cloud collapses under gravity.  It becomes increasingly squashed and eventually forms a spinning ball of gas termed a protostar—the first sign of a new star.” ~ One Million Things: A Visual Encyclopedia

When your future seems cloudy
When you feel like your world is collapsing
When your resolve is increasingly squashed
And your emotions feel as though they’re spinning out of control…

These are all indicators you’re becoming a star.
It’s up to you how bright you will shine.

Perspective is everywhere if we choose to see it. What have you discovered inside a discovery lately?

*photo by stock.XCHNG

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Friend and author, Rosslyn Elliott's new book, Lovelier than Daylight portrays various perspectives concerning alcohol. She churned some thoughts in me the other day.

It’s from these thoughts my Moving Thoughts Friday question was born…
Drink or Abstain?

*photos by stock.XCHNG

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...