Friday, October 28, 2011

The Song In You

It's a heady experience to achieve a long time dream.  Definitely a mind blower and affirmation for never giving up.  Yet is it the norm to accomplish a daunting goal...perhaps a lifetime dream or a vision you carried for years?  I dare say it is not only because I've seen too many people die feeling unfulfilled and questioning what it was all about.  I've seen seniors looking back with a feeling of wasted years having acomplished maybe what society says is enough but not what they wanted.  Unachieved goals, ignored callings and those attempts to do something that just never would pan out.  All this falls under the heading of a song that's in you.

Henry David Thoreau wrote: Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

The first time I read that it sent chills up my arms.  I was much younger then and the thought was depressing to say the least.  I think maybe that is when I made a decision to push harder and hang in there longer to achieve my own personal dreams of which the hardest would be to become a traditionally published writer.  I am pleased and most thankful to say the Lord has blessed me to get there.  The journey was not easy or quick but the impetus that propelled me was threefold.  First it was what I loved doing.  Second it was a perfect fit for my personality and life and third, the most important was it became a calling from GOD.  These three factors sustained me during the rough times...mostly knowing this was GOD's will for me.   It was a dream I often felt like would never come true yet I couldn't stop my pusuit of it.  My spirit pushed me past the many rejections and countless criticisms.  My ego was trampled time and time again and all I got from GOD was that this was boot camp for the soul.  I was on the right path and stay there and do what needed to be done.  So ego bruised, emotionally battered and mentally frustrated I kept going.  Writing became second nature.  I am a learn as I go person and that's just what I did and am still doing,  I'm grateful for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and help from everyone who has invested their money, time and efforts into my work.  From the bottom of my heart I thank you all. 

That being said I close with the point I wanted to make from the start.  Don't give up on your dreams.  Keep plugging no matter how impossible it may seem.  If your dream comes from GOD then you should KNOW it can happen because with GOD all things are possible.  He's  master at turning things totally around in an instant.  Dreams keep us hopeful and hope is necessary to make this spiritual journey with Christ Jesus.  Do you have a song in you that needs to come out?  Whatever your vision is for your future start making a move toward it now.  Don't go to your grave with your song still in you.  We are all meant to sing at least one of our special songs in this life if we dare and if we persist.  I for one am singing one of mine now and it's a wonderful thing to be able to do.  I'll tell you this with all sincerity; it's worth pushing through the hard stuff to get there.  

May GOD grant you favor, my friends

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Lone Ranger Rides No More!

Anyone who has accomplished a great deal has had lots of help from either family, friends or associates...maybe all of the above.  It's extremely rare if not impossible that a super successful individual made it all by himself alone.  Somebody, somewhere at some time helped that person in some way.  A television show I watched as child was called THE LONE RANGER.  I can hear the episodic closing lines in my head now.  As the Ranger rides off on his trusty steed Silver a beneficiary of his crime busting fetes would ask, "Who is that masked man?"
"Why, he's the Lone Ranger."

I liked the show a lot but the title was incorrect.  The masked avenger of crime was not alone.  He had, Tonto, an Indian sidekick who saved his butt from the fire many a time and he had his horse Silver.  I always saw my self as a Lone Ranger type, a solitary person not prone to needing swarms of people around me.  I moved on m own and did my own thing not worrying about what other people did or thought of what I was doing.  I had friends of course but I didn't travel in large groups or clicks.  I was never one to follow the crowd because too many people got on my nerves.  I marched to my own beat which was never quite like the others and that was fine with me.  I was independent to a fault so the last few years the Lord has been dealing with me in that area.  It has become disturbingly clear the Lone Ranger bit is not part of a Kingdom program.  GOD's about people loving people, needing people, helping people and ministering to people as well as fellowshipping.  Well, I don't mind saying I was none too pleased with the prospect of needing people.  It smacked right up against my self sufficient attitude and exactly how much interaction do I have to endure?  "I'm not a people person!" I protested but the Lord was having none of it.  He eventually made it so I had to rely on a little help from my friends....a hard pill to swallow.  I was raised a proud person and that went right out the window.  A humbling set of experiences indeed and still some are in motion.  I've gotten better about my social interaction.  I've improved with excepting we all need help sometimes.  I understand how Kingdom service works and that it's for other people's benefit.  My calling is for the people and that being so I have to deal regularly and intensely with and for the people.  I get that.  GOD has changed my thinking in many ways since I was saved.  It's astounding when I look back but this particular transformation has been a grueling trek that broke me in a way I didn't want but needed to be broken. 

What I'm purposed to do requires a lot of being with people.  Although a writer gets to spend a lot of solitary time in their craft it's not all solitary.  Marketing and all kinds of events will place a successful writer around many people.  It's the nature of the marketing/publicity beast.  Christian counseling certainly is not a solitary ministry but it's not intimidating for me.  I'm great with one on one encounters.  All along GOD has been preparing me for whatever lies ahead.  I continue to have a somewhat independent spirit and my pride is in tack within reason.  I'm still not an Auntie Mame kind of people person but my love for people has grown exponentially as has my ability to give up the Lone Ranger outfit.  I give it up because there are lots of people to meet and minister to and many more novels to write and loads of non fiction books to produce with scores of people to counsel before I ride off into the sunset of my life yelling "Hi-yo Silver!".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Lately I've been taking a retrospective view of my life in preparation for a book I'm writing about lessons I learned in life.  As GOD often does he points me to other works similar to what I want to write to give me a sense of how to successfully accomplish my goal.  I keep my fiction writing and my evangelical or Kingdom writing separate for reasons I won't elaborate on at this time.  The non fiction I'm working on currently  has a heavily autobiographical lessons learned theme.  The two books I was pointed to for guidance and style were what I consider secular works but each had noticeable spiritual influence.  FAIL UP by Tavis Smiley was the first one I read.  It was twenty lessons he learned from failures and how they were turned into positive experiences.  I consider it a very good read and it helped me rethink a couple of areas in my own life.  I'm proud of the brother for his broadcasting work.  The book seems to be a culmination of his experience, maturity and authenticity.  It's evident his faith is an important part of his life if you watch his PBS show and the book confirms the fact.  I highly recommend the book.  The second book I read of this type was by Iyanla Vanzant titled PEACE FROM BROKEN PIECES.  I knew close to nothing about this woman prior to reading her autobiographical trek.  I'd seen her on Oprah a few times and on other television shows but that was it.  Reading her story I was amazed at where she hailed from and what she'd been through.  The woman is strong and very accomplished.  My hat is off to her for her tenacity and strength.  Considering her background becoming who she is to the public was no small feat.  I cried and laugh through her experiences like sisters often do for one another.  I fussed and if I could have would have hit the girl up side her head for being foolish.  It was a good read also.  Iyanla's theology and mine don't mesh.  I think she's confused but I know she's representative of this new age melange of all sorts of things mixed with Christianity.  That's not me.  I'm sold out for Christ Jesus and that's it.  No African, Native American paganism or Eastern philosophy for me, thank you.  I don't fool with communicating with the dead either.  So that aspect of her experiences turned me off but she also talked about Jesus and the Bible quite a bit.  Like I said I think she's confused and something else is in play but I won't get into it.  The main point I'd like to make about her book is she peeled layers of her life back and exposed all sorts of dysfunction in her world and family line...a very brave thing to do.  Bravo, my sister!  Both books showed courage and authenticity in exposing unfavorable, sometimes shocking and downright ugly occurrences.  Much respect to both of them for being as real as they were for their readers...and themselves.

The common thread I got from the two books that stuck with me was benefiting from life lessons learned through the ugly stuff and digging down deep to expose your destructive stuff.  That in itself I think is healing.  Writing exposing work that shows how you got from where you were to where you are can't be easy.  That's a self examination kind of book that most of us would rather avoid.  For me, a very private person, it is not my comfort zone at all.  Yet my spirit has told me even before I read those books I needed to do just that.  As an author at the least a tiny piece of me is in everything I write but this will be different.  I'm the focus and my life is the story.  I have to peel back the layers and expose my warts for all the world to see...not a fun thing.  Flaws, failures and bad behavior as well as the good stuff...some of the events that taught me worthy lessons in life, that's what this will be about.  I'll focus on how the Lord has molded me and honed my abilities for His use.  I'm convinced, in my life at least, He guides people toward a certain path.  All my journey has been pushed for that end.  All the lessons I learned and experiences I had that helped mold me into who I am I need to share.  I debated with the Lord on this but as usual I lost.  So my privacy goes out the window along with my pride, I suppose.  I'm bracing for the task if it helps someone else do better or get over their fear, guilt or embarrassment.  I cringe at the thought of such public vulnerability but I hold on to the scripture telling me, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.  Being authentic doesn't bother me.  I try to live authentically as best I can.  It's writing it down and being so publicly exposed that rattles my nerves but giving help and hope to others is a great benefit even if I have tell a bit of my personal business.

Be Blessed and be a Blessing, my friends

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Spring is a wonderful time of year!  Where I'm living in the northeast it means brighter days, warmer temperatures and goodbye heating bills. If that doesn't make you do a happy dance how about it ushering in those beautifully fragrant flowers of May and reacquainting us with life out of doors.  Uncover the grill, drop the awnings and get out your's spring again!  After a hard cold winter it's good to feel the warmth of the sun.  Those changes play out in our lives as well.  Everything about spring says new life and move forward.  Move forward in your life in every area even if in very tiny steps...just keep going.  We all know stagnant water turns bad with smelly stuff festering in it.  Well, stagnant lives do the same.  Regardless of age, financial status or level of education we can all find some way to keep advancing.  From eating better, exercising more or taking those piano lessons you've wanted for fifty years.  Buy a farm [if you've got it like that] or buy a book you've always wanted to read but never did.  Make that move and do something to propel your life to a better place.  Spring brings out the hope in people, an urge to do something spectacular or at least different.  How spectacular depends on the individual but progress is characterized by advancement within it's self not comparatively.  The small slow movements of a snail is as important as the giant gallops of a Giraffe.  It gets them both where they want to go.

Spiritually Believers and Disciples of Christ Jesus should be constantly moving forward [upward] in our spiritual journey.  From Glory to Glory, as we say in the faith, our direction should always be toward Jesus' ever present example from the Scriptures.  Moving forward is ingrained in GOD's creation and the human culture.  We set our spring time clocks by the phrase...spring forward to remind us what direction we should change the time.  The Bible says our help comes from above to remind us which way we should cast our eyes.  In this respect forward is up and I for one want to move on and go forward.  Therefore I keep my vision up and try to keep moving.  I remember when I learned to drive.  I was told to look in the direction I wanted the car to go, not at the lines but the center of the lines where I wanted to point the vehicle.  Apparently where we  focus is where we go.

So this spring  move forward in some way.  Spiritually for instance you could start increasing your quiet time with the Lord, going to one of those Christian retreats or taking a Bible study course.  Maybe extending yourself to help others more or sacrificing a little pleasure for someone other person's benefit.  Physically move forward  in maybe ramping up your exercise or getting in the habit of drinking more water.  Don't forget relationally either.  Spending more quality time with family and friends even if it's just through phone calls or mailing a card saying you're thinking about them. Intimate contact is a dying art with all this technology jazz.  Email and texting is crippling our ability to write well and compromising our attention spans.  Plus we're becoming a society starving for genuine personal contact but that's for another blog.  For now think how you need to move forward this spring.  Blessings to all.