Writing the Everyday // day 3: dishes

4.23.20 dishes

Clean the sink before dinner to make cooking easier.

Wash the cook prep dishes as Ant or the toaster oven or the crock pot cooks the meal.

Eat dinner while watching a movie, playing a game, or just the two of us at the dinner table.

Put the dinner dishes in the sink, with the intention to wash them in a few minutes.

A couple hours later add the ice cream bowls and spoons to the sink too.

Continue reading

Let’s Change the World

August 27th, 2016 // Winding through the canyon on Highway 49 Saturday morning, I listened to the very first episode of the STORY podcast, which you can find on iTunes. (It’s essentially a way for the people who attend this conference to stay connected to it all year around).

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And honestly I don’t think it was a coincidence that just a week after subscribing to it that when I went to the podcast app on my iPod, STORY’s first episode downloaded and Jeremy Cowart’s name was apart of the title.

February 2016 // But this really goes back all the way to February when Jeremy shared his  “I’m Possible” video on Facebook. Continue reading

Bob & God

Note: This post was supposed to roll out Monday evening. And naturally I would live up to every word in this blog post. Instead, Life happened like it likes to. Monday night I dealt with bugs and couldn’t concentrate. Tuesday I stayed an hour later for work. Last night was Bible Study. I came home last night just so grumpy and irritated, picking at Anthony and frustrated with myself. I cried because the only productive day it felt like I’ve had was all the way back at the beginning of this week: Sunday. It seems like a distant memory  now. Then last night I read Nicole Dianne‘s words: “…you have to be the one to take action. As with most things in life, hobbies and interests don’t just land in your lap…when you pursue creativity, it too will find you.” Amen. So, without further ado, I present you “Bob & God.” Happy Thursday, Friends! May you give yourself enough grace the rest of this week to pursue your dreams.

I’m currently reading Love Does by Bob Goff. On page 133 he writes this:

“I think God is more of a Half Dome traveler than a Hampton Inn traveler. Jesus doesn’t invite us on a business trip. Instead He says let’s go after those things that inspire and challenge you and let’s experience them together…”

Bob Goff is one of those people who just talks so relateably about Jesus and Life. The things that inspire and challenge me – writing, reading, church, devos and Bible studies, relationships, my attitude, health – I struggle with viewing those areas of life as God experiencing them with me. I’ve always viewed them as for God. There’s a difference. The latter implies sacrifice (which Bob talks about in Chapter 13) and working and not a loving relationship with a loving God, more like a relationship you have with a supervisor or manager. The former makes life a whole lot easier to look at, a lot less lonely, and more than just bearable – it’s fun! With God I’m not just not tired, I’m running. I’m soaring! (Isaiah 40:29-31).

“…You don’t need a lot of details or luggage or equipment, just a willingness to go into the storm with a Father who’s kicking footholds into the steep sides of our problems while we kick a couple in ourselves too…”

I love details. And lists. And plans. Routines. I love crossing things off. Which is why I’ve finally once again planned out a daily schedule for myself and given myself goals for this month. Two living, breathing, attainable goals. (“Intentionality, people!” – Dave Ramsey) But there comes a time when I’ve planned too much, made too many lists, taken too many notes, sat through too many classes, live events, and webinars. When life is overwhelming and everything runs around in my head, I tend to go to the extreme: Do Nothing. Goals don’t exist yet here. Dreams stay dreams. Chances are I will absorb some new/interesting/fun information related to my genre or readership or the craft of writing in general or about Christianity, attitude, living, or health, but what’s the point of absorbing information if I’m not giving myself the time and space to process any of it? If I could, I would be a Forever Student. Well, I am one because I’m always learning wherever I am. But I would really go back to school just to be in school, taking a whole bunch of random classes that add up to nothing except a major in Life and Fun and Learning. I love being a student. However, that’s not the point of college. A degree helps you specialize in one area. Which is why I don’t see myself going back to college anytime soon because 1) it’s not in the budget to send me to school for fun and 2) my focus right now is Writing.

I rarely see Life as the adventure it is, let alone an adventure with God. I NEED to be better at remembering- knowing – He is on the journey with me. He isn’t my supervisor or manager, who observes me working down here on earth or sits in His office. He is my Father. He is walking with me. He’s trying to lead. (Am I letting Him?) He is my peace (Ephesians 2:13-16) in the Half Dome-sized problems and seemingly insignificant ones, too.

I haven’t made much progress out of Dreamland since my epic river jump at the end of last summer. In 4 months and 11 days I accomplished things. Anthony and I saw Jim Butcher, author of The Codex Alera and The Dresden Files series, at a Copperfield’s book signing. (Now that was an adventure!) I attended Michael Hyatt’s online Influence and Impact Summit. I won a 1-year free membership to Platform University as a result of that Summit. I got like three colds. We learned our cat is allergic to a White Fir Christmas Tree. I did win NaNoWriMo with 51,000+ words – a HUGE step out of Dreamland, but the first draft still isn’t finished. I reblogged this post about infertility and scared my sister – and possibly confused others. (For personal reasons, but not quite in the same capacity, I relate to infertility posts. And I admire those who are so honest and vulnerable on the internet about their personal lives and struggles).

Getting out of Dreamland is hard. Some days it takes sheer determination and doesn’t always feel like an adventure.

“…He guides us into those footholds with His strong hands while we’re safely tethered to Him by a bright red rope of grace, which holds us securely…”

However Thursday, February 4th became my new January 1st. As previously mentioned, I now have a schedule of my daily life. Novel Writing is scheduled between 8 and 9 o’clock at night during the week. (While it’s a priority, it still comes after Anthony and I eating dinner and washing dishes). Somewhere between 3 and 4 hours of writing time will happen on the weekends. Home and Health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – are priorities this year as well.

I have a Bullet Journal in the works that I’m actually using (!!!).

February is Operation Finish Amy Story First Draft.

Also, God will be the start to my days! I know I am a much nicer, happier human after I’ve spent time with Him. And it will help give my whole heart and mind to my day job.

“…the terrain we navigate doesn’t seem as scary either, because when you’re on an adventure with God we’re too excited to be afraid and too engaged to be thinking of anything else.”

And thanks to Bob Goff I’m not just working for God, I’m living right alongside Him. He is holding my hand, asking me to continue to put my faith in Him. I’m still holding a piece of paper with my scribbled details and questions but I’m looking at it less often. Because I’m connected to Him.

So, until my novel’s complete first draft is resting peacefully in my desk, this may be the last post for awhile (which isn’t unusual for me at all). Look for me in March-ish: while Amy’s story naps, I will become a student of WordPress.

I know I’m a month behind, but I don’t want my lack of movement in January to dictate the next 11 months of 2016. I am dreaming Big Dreams this year and planning Baby Steps to accomplish them.

Fare thee well, Readers, God and I have a story to write!

Ripple Effects

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This is not Clarks Hole. This is the river near the Mountain Quarries Rail Road Bridge. It’s also the best shot of ripples we got today.

The coolest thing happened today.

I jumped.

Off of a 7 or 8 foot high rock into the North Fork of the American River just past the Foresthill Bridge.

It was one of the most terrifying, fun, courageous things I’ve done in awhile.

The thing is: the majority of the time I sat on that rock, psyching myself out, hundreds of metaphors filed into my mind. “So many metaphors are coming to me,” I told Anthony who was back on the rock next to me after his first jump. “Sometimes being a writer is a curse.”

A couple of other people were on the rock next to us just jumping into the water. I think they came back three times while I sat up there.

“Why can’t I be that brave?” I asked out loud.

“If you can ride roller coasters, you can do this,” Anthony said to me. “You’ve just got to do it, babe.”

Of course this advice applies to every aspect of my life. If I can jump off of a rock, then I can:

  • get up early and exercise or do yoga before bed
  • write a story and see it through to publication
  • overcome health obstacles
  • never be tied to credit cards
  • grow my little internet home into something bigger

If I can jump off of a rock, then I can do anything – I can do everything – I set out to do and be.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

– Lao Tzu

A published book on a shelf at Barnes and Noble starts with me putting words on paper.

The journey to Financial Peace starts with budgeting and getting out of debt.

The journey to a healthy body begins with putting an exercise routine into place.

Back on that rock, the momentum built up. I wanted to walk away. To just go back into the water the way I came. But there’s a reason they say the best way to get used to cold water is to jump in.

I moved to a lower “shelf” of rock. Anthony moved to the one I had just recently vacated. He looked at me. “Jump with me. On three we jump. You ready?”

I said no at least twice. What could’ve been the third time he asked, I said “no” again quickly followed by a “just keep counting anyway.”

He did.

Three.

I jumped. Screaming on the way down.

I need to hold my breath.

Splash!

Back up for air, swimming toward the opposite shore with a racing heart and wobbly legs. (I’m not the best swimmer.)

Today, I jumped. Off of a 7 or 8 foot high rock into the ice-cold water of the North Fork of the American River. It was the most fun, terrifying, courageous thing I’ve done in awhile.

Writing metaphors are everywhere in my life. I am aware of them more than I’ve ever been and I’m pretty sure it’s because of this blog, because my heart of hearts beats to the drum of Writer. It just takes a single jump. It may be incredibly terrifying. Actually, if it’s something you could do the rest of your life and love it in spite of  how hard it will be, there is 100% chance it WILL BE terrifying. But I promise you: it’s so much fun on the way down.

If I hadn’t jumped, this positive, confident blog post wouldn’t have been written and posted today. Because I jumped I am going to – for the hundredth time – create a writing schedule. I have writing dreams that are stuck in Dreamland because the only person who can move them into Reality is unhappily comfortable residing in Dreamland. One day at at time. One step at a time. One jump and many ripples are created.

What is one step you can take today in the direction of your dream?

P.S. There is no epic photo of my husband and I in mid-jump. There will be no iPhone filter enhancing the brightness of the river water or the rays of sun streaming from the left-hand side. I was totally tempted to yell across the river to my sister to grab our iPhone-turned-camera-only and just start snapping pictures of the entire jump. Afterwards, I even voiced my wish that it had been documented. But, thinking back on it, I’m kind of glad there isn’t one because I can see it my head. I know how bright the sun was today. I know how clear the water was. I remember what it was like to plunge straight down into the icyness and fight my way back up. I can see our hands in the air. I hear myself screaming to give myself momentum. I will always remember the day I jumped. No photo necessary.

P.P.S. Also, the “thing” that held me accountable to jumping: the person who jumped with me, counting to three. He’s been jumping beside me for five years. Anthony Paul, thank you.

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jumping together since 2010 ❤