Never Too Crazy to Read

The past four months have been the craziest of my life.

Take one couple’s residential pack-up and a move nearly 500 miles spanning three states, traveling in a small sedan with four dogs weighing a total of 130 lbs., and you have the setup.

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Image courtesy of Morguefile free photos

Yet, mentally and physically exhausted at night, I continued my habit of reading a novel for at least a half-hour or more before falling asleep. Fiction took me by the hand and led me into worlds far removed from the stress of boxes crowding every room, dozens of accounts requiring changes, and last-minute veterinarian and doctor visits. Each fictional world–even an unfamiliar one–felt more normal than the real one I lived in and gave me a short period of peace and relaxation.

I’ve always loved books, but their priority struck me when I made a note (on one of many lists) to be sure to include my Kindle in the car with essential personal items in case the moving van arrived late at the new house. It was critical that I immediately have something good to read.

When I hear someone say life’s too crazy and there’s no time to read, I smile a gentle little smile and hope one day that person will discover the truth.

During which difficult times did you find solace in a book?

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Writing Goals Are Like Trying to Lose Weight

weight1  I’d like to lose 30 pounds in 3 months. And I’d like to write 30,000 new words in one month (outside of editing).

Would LIKE to.

A cousin of mine can shed 20 pounds–BOOM!–whenever she wants. Often, I’ve seen her at a certain weight, and when I see her again in a month or two, she has a seemingly different body. And she doesn’t exercise. She simply disciplines herself to eat less. I’ve watched her and lived with her at times, so I know that’s how she does it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the capacity to do anything in big chunks like that. I’m the type to pace myself and take small steps. I don’t want to feel as though I’m starving, so I cut back slightly on total intake and eliminate the worst of the worst foods. I lose a pound every couple of weeks. If I achieve the same results in a year instead of a few months, isn’t that okay?

It concerns me that a woman (or man) might beat herself up emotionally over her struggle with weight. And I worry about some of my writing friends who stress themselves out over their daily writing goals. A thousand or two thousand words per day is an admirable goal, but I wonder what it costs if their lives are already jam-packed with other goals and duties. I’d hate to think they berate themselves when the goal isn’t met.

I admire the highly disciplined. I really do. And there was a time when I was like that– I hit the floor running in the morning and didn’t stop until my head hit the pillow at night. But I’ve learned what I’m comfortable with at this stage of my life. I set my goals at amounts that don’t make me sick or take the joy out of my day. With 300 to 500 words written per day (including weekends), I can write one of my YA novels in 3 or 4 months.

tortoise  Not saying my way is right for anyone else but me.  But I reach my goal  just the same.

Do you have a goal you’re currently trying to achieve? What is your method of attaining it?

cynthia-toney Cynthia

 

Human Wisdom vs. Faith (Are we like ants?)

 

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“John! The ants have found their way into the house!”

It was springtime and all manner of creatures were waking up and going about their business of finding food. Unfortunately the food for these little voracious creatures had been found in our pantry. The ants not only had found their way in, but they boldly chose none other than our front door as their entrance. After foraging around our kitchen, they gathered near the door with crumbs too large to go out their exit.

Determined to defend my pantry, I sprayed an ant deterrent around the front door. For the next few days, I was pleased to see that I had prevented their return. However, undaunted, soon they found another way in near the front door. In a rage, I dashed to our local building supply and purchased a myriad of ways to eradicate these little menaces. I was not going to be dominated by them! I sprayed the whole perimeter of our house, and put many different types of bait out for them. I triumphantly declared a victory after about a month of no recurrence. Either they had found less invasive ways of feeding themselves, or they were history.

When they were denied entrance the first time, they probably thought it a huge misfortune, and set about finding another way to get what they so strongly desired. This was met with their demise, or at the very least, a serious setback.

I was reminded of a wise phrase I’d heard many years ago: trying to explain God’s ways to us is like trying to explain the Internet to ants.

How different from the ants were we, when we have stubbornly pursued a direction that was a huge mistake, even though the short-term gain looked so enticing?

So often our unanswered prayers distress us, and we refuse to look at the possible reason they haven’t been answered. Perhaps the direction was not a mistake, but there were things we needed to learn first. Either way, God is never late in bestowing blessings on us, but the blessings may come in very different forms from what we’d prayed for, and in His time, not ours.

So, have you ever had something seemingly horrible happen in your life, only to have God show you a totally wonderful new direction?