What is Writing Out Loud?

Growing up, there was one feeling I remember feeling the most out of all the others. Alone. I felt alone. I felt like I was a burden to others around me because I always had something going on. There was always something. I don’t know how I learned it—but I learned it was a negative thing. I was the only one I knew with a mentally disabled brother. I was the only one with a terminally ill mother. I was the only one in my neighborhood who was going through, well, everything. Everybody else around me was all smiles and happiness and easy. Oh my gosh, how I just wished for easy. 

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2020 Goals & Goal Setting

It’s that time of year where everybody is talking about goals and resolutions. Then, there are a lot of people who tell you not to set resolutions and set goals instead because goals are more likely to be accomplished. It can be a really confusing time of year. Especially for me because I’m task minded and I think about all the things I want to do and accomplish in the next 12 months.

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The Day After

Happy day after Christmas everybody! Over in the desert, we have a lot of rain, the highway to California is shut down because there is snow and everybody is being forced indoors. It’s a little weird. Normally, Christmas is cold but full of sun and the outdoors are begging us to come out and enjoy all the new toys. Little Man will have to learn to ride his bike another day, I suppose.

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Currently December

General- It’s December so obviously we are (still) in Christmas mode! We still have a few presents to finish up and I have one final shopping trip that I get to do solo to to pick out Hubby’s gift. Technically, we have two shopping trips because we are taking my brother out shopping sometime this weekend but that is for him to pick out stuff, not us for other people so I don’t really count it. We are getting ready for our Christmas party! (whoo hooo!) And all the other things we will be doing that are Christmas-y. This weekend is going to be pretty epic, and I’m excited. Does anybody say epic anymore? Is that still a thing? Oh well. 

Reading– I finished Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. This book you guys, THIS BOOK. I’m going to have to do a full review on this book because if I start talking about it now, I’m just going to ramble on for days. I’m currently reading Where’d You Go Bernadette? By Maria Sample, it’s for book club. YOU GUYS I HAVE A BOOK CLUB. This is the best thing to come out of 2019. Okay, top five. I’m also technically still reading Bookish Boyfriends but I’ll probably put it on hold until I finish the book for book club. My goal is to finish it by the end of the year. I am so close to my goal of 40 books this year. 

Listening– Still Christmas music. All the time, everywhere. Seriously, I haven’t stopped. When I write I am listening to worship music. However, I’m discovering that it is easier for me to focus when I have music on instead of the TV in the background. Send me your favorite songs! 

*the next section might contain spoilers

Watching– OH MY GOSH THE MASKED SINGER! I wanted Fox to win and I’m so glad he did! I figured out it was Wayne Brady when he sang “Blame It”. I heard the Wayne Brady I grew up hearing sing on Whose Line is it Anyway? Hubby figured out the Rottweiler was Chris Daughtry when he finally sat down and watched an episode. While he was singing his song for the finale, I could literally hear Daughtry songs playing through my head. I wonder if the panel has ever heard Darren Criss sing because his voice sounds NOTHING like Daughtry’s and therefore sounded nothing like the Rottweiler’s. It is still a good show. I’m excited for season three! I’ve also been watching a lot of Danny Phantom and Gray’s Anatomy and Friends. Just re-watching the good stuff. 

Writing– After I stopped doing NaNo because I knew I wouldn’t catch up and I didn’t want to stress myself out and hate writing, I set a goal for myself to get to 15,000 words by the end of December. Well, I met that goal yesterday! WHOO HOO! I am also about to start writing a Christmas poem and I’m kinda excited to try out this new type of writing. Me + poetry doesn’t always mix but Christmas poems are different so maybe this will be awesome. I have a solid and cute idea! 

This month is basically about enjoying Christmas and time with my family. I’ve been posting a lot more about what we are doing this season already so I feel like you guys already know what is going on. I’ll also be posting about the rest of the things we do this month and how we did presents this year sometime in January!

Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is blessed and merry! 

Denying Self

If you’ve been a christian for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about denying self at some point. I’ve been hearing it a lot more from prominent christians on the internet lately. Mostly in podcasts but I’ve still been hearing it a lot lately. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about denying self and I understand the concept. As I heard it being talked about in these podcasts though I started to ask; what did that look like?

We are constantly reminded that we are called to love others and pick up our cross and deny ourselves. We know what loving others looks like, we have example after example in the Bible in parables and in how Jesus treated people. Our goal should be to love people like Jesus did. He invited tax collectors and fishermen to follow him, to learn from him. I don’t recall him asking a Pharisee or an expert in the law to follow him. In fact, during Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees and experts in the law worked very, very hard to shove the law down Jesus’ throat as if he wasn’t the maker of the law. 

What does denying ourselves look like? Well, I’m about to dive in on my thoughts about this and what I think it might look like. 

Luke 9:23 says: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

There really aren’t any parables about denying self from what I’ve read in the bible. Now, I’m not a bible expert but I’ve gone through it a few times, especially the gospels and I don’t recall a verbal example of what denying self looks like. As I’ve asked this question and thought about what it would mean, God has been whispering the answer to me by giving me real life examples in my own life. 

For me, denying myself is not hitting the snooze button when my alarm clock goes off in the morning. I was specifically shown a time that I have free to work on my book (a book that God has told me to write for years and I was running from it). I wake up earlier in the morning to give myself that writing time and then I start getting ready for my day. Some days, I bolt up, excited to write and get going like an energizer bunny. Other days, the snooze button in my best friend and I can get really logical and make sleeping in sound like the best option. I don’t need the added sleep though. I just don’t want to get out of bed. Denying myself is getting up anyway because I’m writing this book for God and because he told me too. Denying myself is not giving into the feeling of “just five more minutes” because those five minutes turn into an hour and then I don’t work on my book that day. In fact, I’ve slept in more times than I’ve woken up to write when I’m supposed to. This is a discipline I’m working on, getting out of bed when I’m supposed to. 

Denying myself is to not allow my past hurts dictate the type of relationship I have with people in my life. When someone close to me hurts me, it is so easy to be like “well, cannot allow that to happen again” and cut that person off. Denying myself is forgiveness. I know we are called to forgive but sometimes, it is easy to argue why you should forgive them and then forget them. Denying myself is not forgetting them and still allowing them space in my life. Even when the hurts are numerous, I still forgive and allow them in my life. If Jesus was closed off, none of us would have been saved. 

Denying myself is setting my coffee down, my book down, my laptop down, my phone down and playing legos with my son on the floor. While I want to be scrolling through Instagram or reading an article or whatever I was working on, time with my son matters more. While I logically know it matters more, sometimes it is hard to put into action. Maybe I’m comfy on the couch, maybe I don’t want to get up and sit on the floor, maybe my back hurts, maybe I have a headache. 

Denying myself is saying yes to things that will take up room in my schedule. After my accident, I was forced into slowing down and saying no. While this was a good lesson, I’m learning I work in extremes sometimes. Everything used to be yes, and now it is like everything is no. However, sometimes an opportunity will pop up and I should serve and I should take it. It is very easy to still be of the no to everything mind-frame, I have room in my schedule for some things, not all the things. Denying myself is allowing room for the some instead of only focusing of what I have going on. 

Denying self is realizing that it isn’t all about you. Denying self is doing the right thing even when we don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like waking up every morning at 5 AM to work on my book. I don’t feel like bringing up all the things I’ve gone though and re-living them through writing about them. I do it though, because God told me to and I answer to God. If my ultimate goal is to go back home one day and hear “good job my good and faithful servant” I won’t get there by hitting the snooze button. 

Denying self is allowing God’s will to prevail and allowing yourself to be used in whatever part God has for you. In the garden, before the soldiers came to take him away, Jesus was in the garden at Gethsemane and asked God to take away what he was supposed to do. He asked God to take the cup from him and allow it to pass over him. He knew what he was about to go through would hurt and be painful, it would be hard. Even though Jesus knew his purpose for being on earth, it was still hard to do it. Jesus denied himself in his humanness and allowed God’s will to overcome, giving us the salvation we all needed.

When we need an example of denying self, look to the cross. Once I look there, the snooze button seems like a small thing to give up.