Category Archives: Inspirational

Where is my answer?

So many times we pray, every day and each night
For the things we want most, we pray with all our might.
We pray for strength and healing, we pray for things to go right
We pray for patience or gifts, we pray others may see the light.

We selfishly ask for grace, or blessings, or peace
We sometimes ask for things that are just out of reach.
At times we ask for forgiveness, or maybe we say thanks
But do we stop to acknowledge when things have gone our way?

Songs have been written about unanswered prayers
At times we think we’re alone, no one is there
To listen to our pleas, or to show how they care
We begin to focus on our selves, and the strength we can bear.

Or the strength we cannot bear, at times we stand alone
We can’t imagine how anyone else could have known
The troubles that we face, or problems we have,
Or worse yet, how far we think we have grown.

The truth is we haven’t grown, or maybe not enough
By the simple virtue, we haven’t learned to trust
That all our prayers (or hopes, you may say)
Will ultimately be answered, some way, some day.

But the piece most of us miss, the trickiest part,
The answers are always there, right from the start.
The time hasn’t come for the answers to be revealed
As hard as it is, we must wait for a solution to be real.

And what happens when it comes, the thing for which you prayed?
Are you thankful? Are you grateful? Or are you somewhat dismayed?
Is it that for which you asked? Or is it something slightly different?
How do we recognize it if it isn’t quite how we meant it?

Does it matter if it’s perfect or, better yet, slightly imperfect?
What’s important is what you do with it, how you use it.
Then, take one step farther, can you look back and see
What you have now is what you wanted, if it’s meant to be.

The trouble is life turns and twists, each desire becomes a next
then suddenly the thing we wanted most, turns into regret.
Regret not due to being ungrateful, but more so because
Our needs, wants, and wishes are full of many flaws.

We’re selfish in our choices, we’re blinded by our needs.
We dream big, we achieve it, then something else takes seed
Once it is answered, the most recent prayer is forgotten
And before we know it, our faith and hope goes rotten.

Please try to remember, my dear friends,
what was once will always be,
Faith and hope and trust and love,
Always begins with thee.

Colossians 4:2


A Cup of Love

Break out the bubbly ~ It’s time for celebration! I did it!  I entered my very first writing contest.  Although, it’ll be several weeks before I know if I officially won anything (stay tuned – announcements posted here first!), I know it’s already a success – but not for the reasons you might guess I’m going to share.

I could easily make a post that the reason this entry was a success was because I found a piece of courage I didn’t know I possessed, or maybe because I overcame a fear, or perhaps because I went out on a limb, or some other super-cheesy, somewhat lame reason.  While all of those reasons are true, that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about finding truth, and therefore help, in unexpected places – in the face of perfect strangers.  Strangers that have zero benefit in helping me.  Strangers that only help because they’ve been there before and received help from somewhere equally surprising as I did tonight.

I guess this is similar to the Pay-It-Forward phenomena we see this time of year in the form of paying for the Starbucks order behind you.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have your order paid for by another and then to turn around and pay for the order behind you.  That’s lovely.  But ultimately, who does that benefit?  It could be argued that one person benefited, the final person in the 3 hour record-setting pay-for-the-order-behind-me trend.  We won’t go into the potential selfish-ness of the final person that didn’t pay for the next order – I could actually make an argument towards honesty for that last person not to be swept into a charitable deed just because.  But is that enough?  Is that enough for all the effort, time, and money spent in creating, perpetuating, publicizing, reading, sharing, etc that story – that it benefited ONE PERSON?  ONE. PERSON.  One.

I’m off track, let’s get back to me (yes, that’s selfish but this is my blog).  So tonight I attended my second meeting of a local writing group.  This writing group is made up of all kinds of writers – some published, some published very successfully, some still hoping to get published, and many – like me – just exploring the group.  This group is an eclectic group in age, experience, background, genre, etc.  All the things that make us different.  This group hosts an annual writing contest, called a Flash Fiction. There are minimum standards for each entry, the most interesting standard is that each entry MUST start with the same 5 words – She clung to the edge.  

When I came home from my first meeting a month ago, I started forming the ideas of how I would finish those words.  Finally I put pen to paper and created a little, newborn baby.  This baby, like all newborns, I coddled and groomed and protected, knowing a day would soon come that I would expose my newborn to the world.  Finally, this afternoon I felt prepared to submit my newborn baby to the judgement of the contest organizers.  I printed my submission, being careful to follow all guidelines.  I attached my entry fee check and paperclipped everything together with the same care a mother bathes her newborn.

Then the meeting started.  There was a panel that, amongst other things, spoke to the difference in a good submission and a “needs work” submission.  As the tips were spoken, I couldn’t help but view my newborn through the lens of these experts.  With each tip they gave, I judged my newborn, I judged myself, I judged my excitement, and I judged my gift.  Then the presentation was over and, despite my fierce judgement, I was called to submit my newborn – the very one I cruelly judged just minutes before.  With severe trepidation, I submitted my creation then IMMEDIATELY put a disclaimer on it This is the first piece I’ve ever written.

Why? Why wasn’t I proud? Just last week I exposed my most vulnerable side for, literally, the entire world to see.  But now I was recanting this exact vulnerability.  Why?  What was different?  I’ll tell you what was different, faces were different.

From my living room, in my comfy clothes, I can type anything and feel safe.  But when I’m standing face to face with others, literally handing my creation to them, it feels very unsafe.  More unsafe than I could have ever imagined.  But guess what?  All those around me embraced me with support, honesty, and love as soon as I spoke the disclaimer. Their words formed a bubble around my self-judgement, insulating me and my newborn baby.  With kindness, they shared their own stories about their first submission, their reservations then, their anxieties now.  They were, in essence, what I needed them to be and the exact time I needed them to be it.  And they gained nothing from it.

Yes, you could argue they gained a good feeling or it still only benefited one person.  The key here is they were under no obligation to say anything perfect.  To tie this back to the Starbucks example, the first person in the 3 hour record was selfless, the last person was selfish but all those between really meant very little other than to draw out time between the beginning and the end.  So my question becomes, how am I unconditionally giving back?  How am I benefiting a stranger? How can I show gratitude in an impactful way?

I don’t have those answers, but tonight I was reminded of what incredible good, truly impactful good, can come from selflessly giving to a stranger.  I’m so thankful to be on this journey, and I’m so thankful you have read to the end!  Thank you for joining me on this celebratory post.  Check back soon (like next month!) for my contest results!

Philippians 2:4

The Places I’ve Been

So I’ve been writing privately for a few years now, toying with the idea of sharing with the public my most vulnerable side.  Until recently, I’ve chosen to stay private.  But as is often the case, the more I kept my vulnerability to myself, the louder the internal voices became urging me to share it with the world (or at least my corner of the world).  Finally, I received a friendly push from a relative stranger to just go for it – to put myself out there no matter what the risks.  She encouraged me to truly embrace this gift and see where it takes me.  Her arguments were compelling and my resistance was futile.  So here I am… writing for you to judge or embrace my contributions.

So what made this relative stranger deliver this friendly push?  An assignment.  I was given the inspirational Dr. Suess book Oh the Places You’ll Go and was asked to read it and create something related to the book and where I was in my internal journey to excellence.  I’m about to share it with you.  But before I do, my reflex is to put a lot of caveats on the work – a littany of reasons why this work isn’t great.  I want to lay out all the reasons you should hate this maiden voyage into the literary world.  I want to give you the criticism in advance so you know that I KNOW there is work to be done.  Trust me, I know there is a lot of work to be done.  But in my efforts to grow, I’m not going to do any of that.  I’m only going to ask you to remember the assignment: To create something related to the book and where I am.

The Places I’ve Been

It started long ago, over 20 years to the day
When I graduated from high school and started on my way.
I went to college as most graduates do
I picked a school but had absolutely no clue
What I wanted to do; what I wanted to be
But a course for learning – college was for me

As graduation drew near a declaration of major was made
With no plan and no ideas, With my parents I stayed
I landed a job in an industry that worked well
I climbed the ladder and my resume swelled

I filled my days, my years, and my dreams
By taking each step in the right direction it seemed
A husband, 2 kids, a house and a dog I collected on the way
Too many blessings to count, too many roots to stray
From the path I was on, the path with no destination

Or is that true?  Do you know?
How can you tell?  Should you stay?  Should you go?
What path should I leave? What path should I take?
Or is there a path I should simply and purposely remake?

So many ways I could turn – left or right?
Do I have the strength, do I have the might?
The paths are parallel.  They also intersect.
At times they overlap, at times they dissect.

Are these the dark days? Is this the dark before the light?
So many questions but no answers in sight
I have my faith, I have my family
Am I running away? Or am I finding a place to stay?

Seek and you shall find – but how many questions do I ask
Can someone please tell me – what is my task?
Do I pick one thing to try and give it my all
Or do I try to launch them all?  What if I fall?

How many times can you fall? Does it matter?
What’s important is how you get up; after all there is no ladder
There are no easy answers.  There is no map
We each must decide when to embrace, when to retract

The qualities and gifts that makes us, well, us
Are the ones that we trip on and stumble and bust
All our thoughts and our dreams
Even our grandest of schemes

But maybe…..

The places I’ve been are the places I’ll go
And the places I’ll go are the places I’ve been
For each time around, you see different faces
You see in yourself a variety of places

Each place and each face has a special distinction
And without cycling around you can’t get the education
That you need to survive all the places you’ve been
Since the best part, is that there’s never an end

To this wonderful world, the things that we see
The things I can be – it’s all up to me
I must quiet the noises
Listen for the right voices

There’s no hurry to decide
To choose left or right
I have the strength, I have the might
I just have to close my eyes and take one step

Or maybe two steps, or maybe three
Or maybe it’s four that leads me to me
But no matter if it’s around the corner or maybe a mile
I know it when I see it, I just have to smile.

The places I’ll go are the places I’ve been
The places I’ve been are the places I’ll go!

1 Peter 4:10