How to “Find” Time in Order to “Create” Time

Alarm clock

The trouble is, you think you have time. ~Budda~

 I recently wrote an article for our professional art educators’ association about making time to create and now I see how some of the tips I shared with art teachers could also apply to others exhausted by day-to-day stress. Most think we teachers have it “easy” because we get “our summers off”….please! Have you really ever stopped a teacher long enough to hear what they do during their summers?!?! We do NOT have the summer OFF! Maybe we don’t clock in every day at the school, but we work our butts off! Oh, sorry, I digressed…..

Okay, let’s acknowledge what we DO know about time:

  • All of our plates are full, too full.
  • All of our schedules are cray-cray.
  • All of us have overcommitted ourselves.
  • All of us are exhausted and stressed out.

AND

  • All of us have the same number of hours in a day.

So now you’re asking, “then how in the world do I ‘find’ time to ‘create’ more time?”

I’m glad you asked…..

About this same time last year, I was exhausted. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. Emotionally. Someone needed to stick a fork in me because I was D-O-N-E! I was overweight. I was tired ALL THE TIME. I was stressed about work. I was stressed about money. I was stressed about my relationships. I was stressed about not having enough time to get everything done. I was stressed about being stressed! Not good!

I saw a picture of myself around that time and thought, “Oh, my, goodness! What happened?” (No, I’m not showing THAT picture!) I had gone through a battery of tests to become a living kidney donor only to find out I had high cholesterol, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and I was about 20 pounds overweight. Ugh! Not pretty. Not knowing if I would be approved as a donor, but wanting to be healthier if I did and having seen that picture, and determined to change that imprinted image on my brain, I decided I had to do SOMETHING and I had to do it NOW.

Me Run

 

I started walking the very next day. Let me tell you, I couldn’t walk very far that hot day in July, but by the end of November, I entered my first 5K and finished in record time (okay, it was MY record time, but it was still a record in my book) and dropped 23 pounds.

Oh, and guess what? I had more energy. I was getting more done. And I was a lot less stressed! And I found time I never knew I had.

Once I carved 30 minutes out of my day to exercise that opened up time to think about other areas of my life. While I walked/ran, my mind was free to think about all the things stressing me out and I actually figured out how to solve some of those problems along the way.

That was the first step….

1-Make the Decision to Start

You know you need to do something different, right?

Okay, check, you’ve done Step 1! Only 3 more to go…..

Find 15-30 minutes somewhere in your day. Mine was a short break in the late afternoon to reboot my energy. Maybe your 15-30 minutes is in the morning before the day gets going or maybe in the evening after everyone is asleep or busy doing other things. Maybe it’s not 30 minutes right off the bat. Start with whatever time you can find to just stop (no distractions – that’s cheating) and step back to objectively look at your life.

You can’t “create” time if you don’t know what you’re already doing with the time you have. ~Kelly Berwager~

 

 2-Schedule some YOU Time & Have a Goal

I’m not sure what you need time for (exercise, prayer, creating, etc.), but you have to schedule it like you do anything else in your life. Put it on your calendar. Put it in your phone. Schedule it just like you do anything in your life that you deem important.

What gets scheduled gets done. ~Michael Hyatt~

You may also need a goal to strive for in order to focus on moving forward. My goal in creating time was to lose weight and gain energy, so I looked at each week and then each day to see when I could schedule a time to run. It didn’t happen every day, but I could fit it into most days and put it on my daily agenda as a scheduled item.

I also put a timer on my phone for other things. I would grade papers or create PowerPoints for about an hour at a time, take a break, walk around the building, stretch, etc. Once I started paying attention to the time I was WASTING actually doing my job, guess what? I found “extra” time in my day! If I seriously spent one hour grading papers and not looking at or answering emails or making unnecessary trips to the copier, I accomplished what I was “suppose” to AND I had time to do what I “wanted” to.

 

3-Replace Your Time for Other “Stuff”

When finding those extra nuggets of time, maybe look at what you could get rid of first. Is there some television you could live without? What about less “surfing” and scanning of Internet, magazines, etc.?

Try waking up a few minutes earlier in the morning to look at your day, make a to-do list, and schedule a little extra time in your day. Or maybe you’re better at night; before you go to bed make the to-do list and schedule some you-time for the next day. If you know what’s on your agenda for the next day, you’re must more likely to make it happen.

Priorities people, priorities!

 

4-Learn to Say “No”

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that the very successful people say “no” to almost everything. ~Warren Buffett~

 As children “no” was one of the words we let spew out of our mouths all the time; it may have been the “first word” for some. As adults we forget how to say that small two-letter, one-syllable word, yet every time we say “yes” we add more stress to our already stressful lives. Why do we do that? That’s probably an entire post all to itself! For now, let’s just practice saying it. No. No. No.

When you’re asked to do something “extra”, think about it before you give people an answer. REALLY think about it. Don’t just look at your calendar; think about what it will do to your attitude or your stress level more than your already full schedule. Will this commitment take away even more time from your day? (If yes, then your answer should be “NO”.) Will this group or organization fall apart if you say “No”? (And you know they will survive without you, even if just for a little while. If the answer is no, then tell them “NO”.) Will this activity or new responsibility add more or less stress to your life? (You are the only one that knows the answer to this one, but be honest with yourself.)

See, saying “no” is really not that hard! You remember how to do it, right?

Saying “no” to just a few things in your life could actually open up time to deal with other things that need your attention: your work, your wardrobe, your children, errands, bill paying, etc. The list is endless (because we all have endless lists).

Spa rocks

I really haven’t touched on what staying stressed out, being overcommitted, burning the candle at both ends, being out of balance, or whatever you call it, can do to you spiritually, but the enemy finds a way into your life every…. single…. time. Think about it….am I lyin’? No.

When your defenses are down (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental) the enemy sees a crack in the door to sneak his way into your mind and life. When things start spinning in your head and you’re exhausted, spent, d-o-n-e, you can’t think straight and you start believing the enemy. Gurl, don’t believe it! This is when you HAVE to make time to take control of YOUR TIME and use it for what God intended you to do. If you don’t know what that purpose is, NOW is a great time to start finding out.

So many parts of your life can be saved (and I’m NOT being overly dramatic here, I’m serious) by stepping back and getting your life back on track. The enemy wants you off-track so he can make you doubt yourself and do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Just think, if you felt good, were not stressed, and had time to think, pray, meditate, sleep, exercise, create, read, spend time with your husband, boyfriend, friends, or children, wouldn’t you be a much happier person and a nicer person to be around? YES, you would! The enemy would lose!

Find time TODAY to create time EVERY DAY – Your [eternal] life depends on it!

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! ~ Psalm 31:15~

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What things do you do on a regular basis to create time for yourself, your sanity, or your life? Please share them below in the comments. Also, don’t forget to sign up to receive the blog straight to your email by signing up here on the blog or find us on Facebook (When We Listen). 

 

The Only White Girl on the Bus and Racism

Charleston-Shooting-A_sham-725x502 With conversations surrounding the Charleston, S.C. shooting, I decided to revisit situations that have shaped my thoughts on racism.

  

As my Dad rounded the corner off Pennsylvania Avenue and parked in front of one of many high-rise buildings, I slowly read the words across the top: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. I was sitting in front of THE AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C. What the heck had I gotten myself into?!?!?

 

Let me back up a second….I was 19 or 20, had been accepted to a summer program at Georgetown University to study Comparative Political and Economic Systems (yes, this art teacher was a business major at one time!) and to intern at a government agency. Lucky me was assigned to the AFL-CIO! The white girl from small-town Alabama was going to school and working in Georgetown for a summer. Holy cow!

 

Every day I took classes at Georgetown University, caught a bus from downtown Georgetown, connected to the Max subway system and took 1 or 2 trains to a subway stop just blocks from The White House. I would cross Lafayette Park, and arrive at my internship at Frontlash, a voter registration arm of the AFL-CIO. I, along with another student, were assigned to one of the lead peeps there named Sonte’ DeCote’.

 

The White House & Lafayette Park

 

I will never forget her name because I thought it was such a beautiful name. She was the first person I had ever met who was of a “mixed” race, but she would not be my last. Her heritage was French and African American. She was under five feet tall, beautiful, and a ball full of fun and confidence.

 

When construction workers would howl at me on the streets of D.C., I would make a face or act offended. Sonte’ taught me how to walk with confidence down those streets (in my 1980s suit, pantyhose, and high heels, none the less!) and to acknowledge their hoots and howls with a nod and a smile. The jeering stopped! Worked like a charm! Who knew!

 

Before I left D. C. that summer, Sonte’ told me I was “the coolest white girl she had ever met”. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that comment, but decided it must be a great compliment and thanked her for the experience of a lifetime.

 

I tell you all of this to set up for what I really learned that summer……

A Life of Privilege

Coming from a small town in Alabama, I might not have been “experienced” in a worldly sense, but I had lived a life of privilege. Our family was upper-middle class, Dad worked, Mom stayed home, and we wanted for nothing. We had traveled some. We had read and seen a lot, but we never saw “color” among people. We never heard derogatory words used against other races, other religions, or other people of any kind.

 

All that said, I knew some of Alabama’s history when it came to the Civil War (or the War Between the States, as my Grandmother called it – there was nothing “civil” about it she always said), the Civil Rights Movement, the 1960s, etc. But, when I was asked to repeatedly say “ya’ll” and to comment on Governor Wallace and Selma, I realized these folks didn’t get out much! Wallace and Selma, seriously? Was that ALL people knew about Alabama?

 

Not until I was allowed into “the field” with Sonte’ did I realize the irony of my situation.

 

Rosa Parks

 

We literally traveled via public buses (never did that in Alabama!) to transportation hubs (places where the drivers picked up their buses) and registered transit workers to vote. I looked around one day and yes, I was the ONLY white girl on the bus. The only white person period! Then it hit me, oh, my, goodness, is this what it feels like? I wasn’t scared. Heck, I had Sonte’ with me. I was intimidated and I was feeling a bit ashamed. Not sure how to put that into words. No one knew I was from Alabama, until I opened my mouth, so what did I have to be ashamed of?

 

Alabama’s Checkered Past

Knowing where I came from, the history and reputation my state had, the questions I was being asked by other students from around the country, and sticking out like a sore thumb, it finally clicked for me.

 

I saw color for the first time in my life.

No One is Born Racist

LOVE this caption and picture! SO, SO TRUE!

 

That summer was the summer I grew up. I saw things, experienced things, and did things that allowed me to see past the walls of Alabama.

Mr. Wu, I Presume?

I met a guy. A Chinese-American guy (told you Sonte’ wasn’t the only “mixed” person I would meet that summer!), and we fell in love, or so we thought. That’s not the point of this story though. We fell out of love a few years later, but we’ve remained good friends to this day. Moving right along……

 

When I asked permission to spend extra time in Georgetown to work for an Illinois senator and stay with my new “love”, I was met with discrimination that I had never heard or seen before. My parents were against it. My friends were against it. What the what?

He was Chinese-AMERICAN for God’s sake!

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/friend-foe-the-contradictions-in-how-americans-and-chinese-see-each-other/259710/

 

It was the first time I realized how much it truly bothered me for people to make assumptions about others without knowing anything about them other than a name or an ethnic background.

Fast forward a few years and racism hit me in the face several more times….

-My college sorority tried to pledge an African-American gal (who was awesome btw!) and we were met with opposition from an alum (we fought it all the way to the national level and WON!)

-Had my pen pal of 15 years from Antigua banned from a “private” restaurant where I was having my after-rehearsal dinner (I canceled the party without consulting the member whose membership we were using and found another restaurant just as appalled by the discriminatory actions as I was!)

Nelzine

-A job I held, for a very short period of time, at a moving company proved to be unbearable when my boss, who was also an African-American minister, used reverse discrimination towards me by making black and white references towards me constantly.

An African-American student at a high school where I taught accused me of discriminating against him even after we had some very deep conversations about race and how much it bothered me to see anyone discriminated against. Once his mother heard that, she quickly apologized and took him out of the office.

A tour guide from Pakistan tried to get me to go on a personalized tour of Jerusalem with him and became offended when I turned him down (multiple times, btw!). He asked me if I had something against a man from Pakistan taking me on a tour and I stopped in the middle of Old City Jerusalem, stomped my foot and said (in my best stern teacher voice), “I have nothing against a Pakistani taking me on a tour! I would have you know I teach in a school with children who are Christians, Jews, Muslims, black, white, …..” and I went on and on! (I wanted to say, “I have nothing against a Pakistani taking me on a tour! I have a problem with YOU taking me on a tour!” but I refrained.)

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What Makes the Difference?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than to say none of us is immune from racist actions if we are truly paying attention and listening to what’s going on around us. No one is born to hate. We are born to love, so why do we continue to have these conversations and tragedies, often in the name of “religion”?

 

Racism is nothing new. There is actually a very, very, very long history of racism dating back to Biblical times. Jews and Samaritians were not allowed to talk or associate with each other. The German Nazis Party wanted to completely annihilate Jews. European explorers tried to extinguish Native Americans from their land. Europeans and Americans owned Africans as slaves. The list goes on ad nauseam! So if Christians are taught not to hate, but to love one another, just as Jesus loves us (John 13:34-35), why do unbelievable events like what happened in Charleston, SC continue to take place?

 

I am still dumbfounded. I do not have an answer. But, I do wonder……

 

By looking back through my past thirty years and remembering that summer in D.C., I realized there are things in this world that I did not agree with, I can only say it has a lot to do with who and what I grew up with. 

 

Did my “opportunities” allow me to “see” racism in action while also softening my heart NOT to perpetuate such hate? I’m sure all of those things did.

 

Did others, like the South Carolina shooter and many more like him, NOT have those opportunities, those friendships, those conversations that might have opened their eyes, ears, and minds to see PEOPLE rather than COLOR? I can only think the answer is probably, yes. Opportunities to experience others’ points of view. Chances to walk in someone else’s shoes. Occasions to see the pain and the hurt words and actions can do to a person’s self-worth. YES, all those things COULD make the difference between someone hating another and loving them.

 

I Will Never Truly Know Your Pain

As ugly and upsetting as MY experiences have been, they are nothing compared to the things that have been done to and at people of color. I will never know the true feelings of what people of color have or will experience.

  • I can only put myself in situations that teach me how to love rather than hate.
  • I can be friends with people who teach me how to accept rather than reject.
  • And I can have conversations with others to teach them how to see people and not to see color.
  • I can pray for healing in South Carolina and across this nation.
  • I can lead by example. 

 

mandela-racism

My short time as the only white girl on a transit bus let me step into someone else’s shoes and see what it might feel like to be the “minority”.

 

Have you ever been discriminated against for the color of your skin, your gender, your religious affiliation, etc.? Tell me your story by leaving a message in the Comments section below and you’ll be entered to win one, or two, of my new When We Listen wristbands.

Wristbands

The Dad I Always Love, But Don’t Always “Like”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

~Ephesians 6:4~

Dad with Courtney and me

Dad with Courtney and me

Family Resemblance

So, who do you look like, your mother or your father? If you were to ask anyone who knows my family, they would tell you I favor my Dad or Dad’s side of the family. Nose: Most certainly had the Campbell nose! (Another confession, I had it surgically “corrected” several years ago). Whew! Mouth: Dad’s in appearance and the gift of gab. The knees and the feet: Dear Lord, yes! Those must have been some dominant genes because both of my kids are cursed with these feet!

So, with so many physical features alike, why do I not always “like” my Dad? Maybe because we’re too much alike. (I hear that one a lot!) Maybe because he’s male and I’m female. Maybe because we grew up during radically different times (He-the 30s, 40s, and 50s and Me- the 60s, 70s, and 80s).

I really can’t say.

I can say it was not one particular thing that has separated us. As with most family riffs, it was a combination of things over many, many years that probably contributed to our love from a distance.

Family Riff

This past Father’s Day (2014) was probably one of the biggest riffs we’ve ever had. It was U-G-L-Y! It all started with his disapproval of me getting a tattoo, of which I am extremely proud of, by the way. One harsh word led to another and I vowed to leave his house. Unfortunately, it was also his 61st high school reunion, so my sister and Mother talked me into staying the night and going to the reunion. Needless to say, I stayed, although grumbling the whole weekend.

All the things that were said that day brought back every horrible thing he had said to me over my entire life. His expectations were always very high and if I failed to meet those expectations, oh my, well, let’s just say when the “D” word (Disappointed) got thrown around, you just wanted to pack your bags and run away from home. And those feelings of disappointing my Dad all came running back. Just like I was 10 again!

 I’m 51 years old people! Why do I still feel this way?

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

~Colossians 3:20~

Relationship with Our Heavenly Father

I tell you this to say, because of the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy relationship with my earthly Father, I’ve also had a very tumultuous relationship with my Heavenly Father. I’ve always seen God as a male figure. Who knows if that’s correct since He created us in His image. Just sayin’. Because of that association of God as a “father” figure, I assumed every time I disappointed my earthly Father, my Heavenly Father had to be a bezzilion times more disappointed in me.

When my Dad was “absent” because of work or other obligations, I felt like I had to do things on my own. I thought the same way about God. I can’t see Him, so He must expect me to handle everything on my own.

I will never forget one day hiding behind a piece of furniture and running up to hug my Dad when he finally came home from work only to be met with, “What do you want?” I didn’t have the words then, but I wanted him. I wanted him to be there. I wanted him to be present when my sister and I had stuff to talk about or something to show off because we were proud of an accomplishment. That small, seemingly careless statement has stuck with me for decades. I never wanted to “bother” my Dad after that.

Same with my Heavenly Father. Why bother Him if he’s not around to see what I’m doing? Why bother Him when He obviously has a lot to do and doesn’t want to be bothered with me? My problems were insignificant in this vast world of people with bigger problems than me.

The Rest of the Story……

So, not to leave you hanging, I held on to the anger and bitterness from last Father’s Day for about six months. Every time I thought about apologizing, I thought, “Whoa! Wait a minute. What do I have to apologize for? He should apologize to me!” I would get so angry all over again, that I just brushed it aside.

Multiple people told me I needed to make amends, more for me than for my Dad. As December approached, I was getting my mind and body ready to donate a kidney to a total stranger. Somewhere amongst all the concern and love for someone I had never met, I heard the Lord nudging me to talk to my Dad.

I wondered why He wanted me to do it before the surgery. Was something bad going to happen? (Yes, that thought did run through my head!) Not long after feeling this tug on my heart, my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Then it became clear that neither my Dad nor I could leave this world feeling angry and resentful toward one another, so I called my parents and told them I wanted to see them.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

~Ephesians 4:31-32~

I knew I could write a letter and get everything out that I wanted to say, but I also knew that would be the cowardly way out. I still wrote a letter, but after reading it over and over and then reading it to Tom and seeing the grimace on his face when I said certain things, I knew those things might be better left unsaid.

I decided it was best just to tell him how the things he said to me that day were extremely hurtful and I did not appreciate him saying what he did in front of my husband and daughter. In my Dad’s mind everything he said was “the truth” and maybe to some extent he was right, but words hurt. Hurtful words said in front of those you love stays with all who hear them for a very long time.

Words hurt. Hurtful words said in front of those you love stays with all who hear them for a very long time.

 I said my peace and he apologized. Easy peasy!

Well, not exactly. We did share our disagreements about my tattoo and other things, but we didn’t solve the world’s problems. Sorry. We left that for the rest of you! But we did come to an understanding: I will not always like what he says or does and he won’t always like what I say or do, but in the end, we will always love each other.

No, my earthly Father is not the warm and fuzzy, Beaver Cleaver dad, but he’s the only one I’ve got. And although we may not always “like” each other (just speakin’ the truth Dad!) I know he’s got my back and that’s all I need to know.

Heavenly Father’s Got My Back Too

My relationship with my earthly Dad may not be perfect, but the love and grace I have been shown by our Heavenly Dad over the past few years (with all of my ugly truths) is more than enough to sustain me every day. I know I probably disappoint Him every day as well, but knowing He is omnipresent let’s me know He’s got my back too.

 

Dad and Dean loving Auburn football!

Dad and Dean loving Auburn football!

What’s your “riff” or “tumultuous” tale? If you’ve had or have one of those relationships with your earthly or Heavenly Father, leave me a comment below and share how you handle problems in your relationship with either.

Also, guys I haven’t forgotten about you this Father’s Day! I’ve found an awesome, Godly man who is a blogger for men. He talks your talk (sports, marriage, kids, etc.), is very transparent, and obviously shares the love of the Lord just like the rest of us.

*****Ladies, bookmark his site and find a way to “share” it with your guy!!!!*****

He’s name is Jackie Bledsoe and you can find him here. I patterned my blog and a lot of my “wording” from his blog. See if you catch the “likenesses” in our blogs.

Here’s wishing all of you dads, step-dads, uncles, grandfathers, and men of God a very, very blessed Father’s Day 2015!

 ***By the way, I am headed home to visit with my Dad this weekend and I have a feeling it will be a much better experience this year!

When Sin is a “Good” Thing

How many times have you heard someone say or maybe you have said, “If it feels good it must be what was meant to be!” or “It sounds like a good idea, so it must be what I’m suppose to do”. Many times we do and think things that FEEL and SOUND good, but they are NOT what we should be doing and often we end up feeling hurt or abandoned. This is the enemy’s way of reeling you in.

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Now that I have you attention with sin “feeling” good, please know that sin is NEVER a good thing, BUT what can come from recognizing sin and changing how you think and act can be used for good.

 

Galatians 6:8-9 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

 

Everywhere I turned last week I seemed to hear this message, in one form or another. A goofy video I shared with my art appreciation class showed Bob Ross saying, “In art there are no mistakes, only happy accidents”. A sign I have posted in another classroom says, “In art there are no mistakes, only opportunities” and in Jeff Goins book The Art of Work, he shares “the result is often…..full of failure and self-doubt, but ultimately instructive.” So what were all these signposts trying to tell me?

 

As I was contemplating the week ahead and thinking about this post, I was reminded of a time I sinned, in a big way, but how that sin was ultimately used for good.

 

This Friday, June 12, 2015 Tom and I will celebrate our 4-year wedding anniversary. I am reminded of our wedding day (just my Mom, Ann-Ashton, Gina & Mitchel our last minute photographers, and the preacher) and how we live-streamed it to friends and family who could not be there. The four years since have been full of highs and lows. We’re on a journey we feel the Lord has put us on together.

Then I stopped and remember HOW we got here and it was not all good.

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Tom and I met on a dating website that I would rather not name because, well, let’s just say it wasn’t “Match”. Although we tell people we met on Match, it’s only because it sounds better than the other site and we really hate to admit where we were spiritually 8 years ago. That was sin, through and through!

 

But God had a bigger plan. He used that chance meeting at a time in our lives when we both were at the lowest of lows and turned it into something beautiful. I was listening to Pandora as I was writing that line and guess what song was playing? Stephen Curtis Chapman’s Something Beautiful! How cool is that?!? From that 1st meeting, the topic of church and our falls from grace came up and then He slowly worked on our hearts and minds to change us into a testimony for His glory! We didn’t automatically change or get our lives back on track, that took several years and we’re still working on it, but thank God we’re where we are and we’re not where we used to be!

 

We would not recommend this plan of action for dating to anyone! We still look back and think, “Oh my gosh! You could have been a serial killer! What was I thinking?” The point of all this is how mistakes/sin can be turned around for good – His plan and His purpose.

 

Although our marriage is still not perfect – never will be – it is a work in progress that continues to have it’s highs and lows and something I will fight for until the end of time. We are currently dealing with living separately due to job situations, struggling with finances, etc. and I can honestly say, with an expectant heart, “What will He teach us from all of this?” If He can bring two sinful, broken people together, change their hearts and minds to live for His glory then I cannot wait to see what He does with our current struggles!

 

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

We’ve learned not to see all of our situations as “bad”, but as opportunities to grow, to trust, and to expect great things. That is a total mind shift people! I’m telling you this does not happen overnight! It has taken me a loooooong time to get to this place. By learning to think this way and to trust that He has my back, I’m less likely to screw things up. Left to my own accord, I will most certainly screw it up! We all will.

 

So, with that, I want to wish my awesomely handsome, loving, funny, hard-working, and God-fearing hubby a very happy anniversary and thank you for NOT being a serial killer! 

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How have you lived in sin only to see how the Lord used it for something good? Please share in the comments section below.

 

Also, submit a comment and AUTOMATICALLY be entered in the drawing for a custom Deomai painting…..Your choice of scripture! Be sure to go to the Art Stuff page to see more details.

Birth of a Blog!

18 years ago, I was getting ready to birth this other “baby”! All photographs by Deanna Harrington http://dphotography.zenfolio.com

Hello and Welcome to When We Listen, the Blog! Today is our official “birthday” (mine and this blog), but the idea has been incubating for several months (just like a real baby) and has taken several people to actually pull it off TODAY (just like the delivery room). As of yesterday, I didn’t think we would make our due date!

The premise of this blog is multi-layered, but basically boils down to the Lord answering a question I had one day. I asked, “What am I really suppose to do with my life?” I love teaching. I love creating art. I love sharing my stories about how He has spoken into my life and literally saved it on several occasions.

No, He didn’t say, “GO START A BLOG” (in a big, God-sounding, mountain-moving-sort-of-voice), but I already knew He wanted me to begin writing about my experiences, so something clicked about putting it all out there in a blog.

I have to admit two months ago I barely knew what a “blog” actually was, much less how to start one. Oops, maybe I’m not suppose to admit that! As you will see, I’ll probably admit a lot of things as we go along. But, as the Lord usually does, He sent information and people my way so fast I could barely keep up!

I talk about this in my free offer, Learning to Listen, if you want to read further – please leave me your email address in the box to the right and you will receive it automatically!

Almost two months to the day, information about blogging started showing up in my Inbox (kind of strange, don’t you think?), ideas started pouring in faster than I could write them down, and people (some of who I already knew, some I had never met, & some I have yet to meet) appeared in my life with talents and offers that made me know this was what I was suppose to do next.

I also knew I wanted to focus on helping women, of any age and background, learn to hear God’s calling on their lives and lead more intentional and joyful lives through artistic endeavors. Hence, a faith-based art blog was born! I’m no expert on the subject, but God has been working on me for the past few years preparing my heart to at least give it a shot. No one is a perfect parent or expert starting out, but I’m willing to continue learning and sharing as this blog and I grow and listen to what God has called us to do.

LOVE my logo! Great design by Dan Beltran. artbydanb@yahoo.com

LOVE my logo! Great design by Dan Beltran. artbydanb@gmail.com

So, the anticipation of this blog has been just like expecting the birth of a child. I’ve spent hours worrying about whether or not it would look like me, whether it would have all it “fingers and toes” in place and ready to go, would it have a sense of humor, would it be authentic, and would it live a long and happy life. Well, all of its “fingers and toes” (bells and whistles) are not fully-grown just yet, but I’m working on it!

Whether it lives a long and happy life is up to both of us: writer and reader. If I can provide fun, interactive, and informative content and you actually read it, then my “baby” will grow up strong and leave her mark on this world. Are you in? Ready to raise a new baby in a world of millions of other blog babies?

My plan is to deliver two posts per week. Some posts will be stories and/or inspirational vignettes, while others will be art projects, techniques, or ideas for art doodlings or projects. Other ideas I’m working on rolling out soon are speaking engagements and art workshops. Please contact me if you would be interested in working together.

 Well, now that labor and delivery are officially over, it’s time to step back and watch this baby grow into a respected young blog in her very large community. Please help me welcome her into this big, wonderful world by saying “hello” below and becoming my village of caretakers. Pass her name along and invite others to the baby shower.

Leave your comments below and be sure to send me your email so you will be sure to get weekly updates as she grows up right before our eyes!

Now that you’ve seen the premise of the blog, what things would you enjoy reading about further or seeing here on this blog?

Kelly

*Special thanks to Dan Beltran (artbydanb@gmail.com) for the logo design and DeAnna Harrington for the fun photo shoots (and beautiful pics!).