Space ships, playing cards, keys, and dragons, OH MY!
Here is a little video I made just yesterday about my favorite things that I own and geek out over. If you watch closely and look behind me, you can even see some of my favorite books!
I am not a scheduled person. I barely have a routine. Honestly, the only routine I have revolves around my dog, and only because it is easier to follow his routine than it is to make my own.
Because of this lack of a schedule and routine, I tend to walk around all day long like a chicken with my head cut off. I have a ton of things to do, but I get distracted by a dozen other things that need done, and by the end of the day I can honestly say that I have been crazy busy doing absolutely nothing.
Thank goodness, I am getting better, and mostly because of this handy little game/app called HABITICA.
It used to be called HabitRPG, but that confused too many people, so they changed the name to Habitica.
On Habitica, you basically turn your life into a game that you can play on the computer or phone. Does that sound bad? Well, it's actually a pretty great idea.
When you join Habitica, you get a little avatar. This avatar has a life bar that will eventually run out unless the avatar gains experience and levels up.
On the main page, you input habits that you to wish to increase or decrease in your life, such as "Drink More Water", "Take The Stairs" or "Smoked the E Cigarette (instead of a real Cigarette)". You also type in daily items that you need to do every single day, such as "Walk The Dog", "Make The Bed", and "Watch An Episode Of Star Trek" (Yes, that is in my dailies. Judge not.). There is a To-do list where you put things that you need to do eventually, but aren't a habit you need to work on or a reoccurring daily item.
The plus sign on the Habits is for when you did good on that habit and you get points! The minus sign means you did bad and your avatar looses some life. DON'T touch the minus sign. Just don't.
The Dailies are to be clicked every day. When you click them, you get experience points! If you don't get around to doing something on the daily list, and that item goes unchecked, then you also loose a little bit of life. For each item unchecked, you loose a little more life.
The To-Dos don't do much except just sit around, waiting to be done. When you check one of them off though, you get LOTS of experience! Yay!
So I still don't have a schedule, but at least I know what I need to do, and I can use Habitica like a checklist and work my way through it each and everyday. It keeps me on track! Plus, it is a lot of fun.
There are chat rooms on Habitica, but they are totally optional for use. You don't have to even look at them, if you don't want to. Also, they are totally clean! The moderators work hard to make sure the chatrooms stay kid friendly. No foul language, no dirty topics. Very nice.
The main chat room is called the Tavern. You can go and talk to pretty much anyone there from any part of the world. Most of the time, it's full of newbs asking a bunch of dumb questions. So the moderators welcome fun and non-newb conversation.
There are also Guild Chats. You can join a guild (aka group) that focuses on something particular and chat with like minded people. There are guilds for Bible verse memorization, pet owners, financial discipline, wordsmiths, Star Trekkers, and so much more. Very often, these Guilds will also have challenges that you can join, which basically means that more habits, dailies, and to-does are added to your pile. These are good, though, because they are usually something you've been wanting to work on anyway.
I don't spend a lot of time chatting with anyone, but I do like stalking the Tavern. The conversations there can be enlightening, to say the least.
As your avatar gains experience and levels up, you will find that you can do more with it.
For one thing, you can choose what class you want your avatar to be: Mage, Healer, Rogue, or Warrior.
I'm a Mage.
Once you choose your class, your avatar gets a Mana bar, and you can use this Mana in different ways. As a Mage, I can "burn" some of my red tasks and get lots of experience. *smiles wickedly*
Once you reach a certain level, you also start "finding" goodies. Eggs, food, and potions start showing up in your inventory. But they aren't for you! You can pour the potions on the eggs and start collecting pets! Then you feed the food to your pets and they eventually grow into mounts, which your avatar can ride!
Yes. My avatar has a dragon. Lots of dragons, actually. It rides the gold one all the time. My avatar also looks like a fox... only because "dragon person" wasn't an option.
Now, which do I play the most: the phone app or the computer online version? I play both, but I like the one I can play from my computer best. It's just easier to use. But the app is nice for when I am gone from my computer and need to check on things.
So, yeah. Habitica is pretty awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who has trouble getting things done throughout the day or needs to build new habits and break old ones.
If you get on it, and would like some help or even just to chat, you can send me a Facebook message and we'll work it out! (Just follow the Facebook icon at the top of the page, or go to the "Follow Me!" button.
So, everyone in the blogging world is doing a "year in review" thing. I hadn't planned on it, but then I started looking through my pictures and thought "Ah, why not?". So here we are.
Don't worry, this'll be short.
My year has been pretty good, overall. Like any year, it has had its upsides and its downsides. Most of the downsides waited to come along until the holidays, though (great timing, right?). The rest of the year, though, has remained pretty uneventful.
First off, I started training Pilot to be a trick dog. He has earned his Novice Trick Dog Title, and we have been slowly, but surely, working toward his Intermediate Title.
You can watch his trick videos here: Week One Training, Week Two Training, and Week Three Training.
He is also planning to become a Therapy dog. He passed the Therapy dog test, but we have yet to make it to any supervised visits.
He helped me make a Star Wars doggy costume tutorial for Star Wars Day, which you can see HERE.
He and I also kept up a daily jogging routine all summer long! Whoohoo! I am super proud of myself for that, and Pilot of course loved it. Cold weather came along, though, and my stupid lungs cease to function in the cold. So. Yeah. Jogging routine is on pause and the old ball and frizbee have been brought out to play instead.
In the Spring, I was able to interview a lot of authors. It was tons of fun, I learned a lot, and I hope to be able to do some more interviews this year.
And, no - I did NOT get my second book published this year. It is finished, but not published yet. Read more about that HERE. If you want, you can read a scene (deleted) from the upcoming book.
I also got engaged....
I'm still a blissfully single crazy dog mom. ♥
I had a fun birthday. My mom made me a Star Trek cake and my sister got me a Star Trek and a Stargate t-shirt.
To end the year with a bang and a bag of lemons, cancer popped up out of the blue and took my grandmother who has been living on our property with us for the last 5 years. She passed away before Thanksgiving.
I was really hoping to end the year by going to the theater to see the new Star Wars movie in my Jedi costume, but that didn't work out.
I was also hoping to have my next book ALREADY DONE AND PUBLISHED AND OUT OF MY HAIR AND AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!.... oops. Did I just pound that out in caps lock? Oh well.
Despite said downsides, 2015 has been a decent year to live. I am looking forward to 2016 though, and I plan to accomplish a lot this year as a blogger, a author, and a dog mom!
"When is book 2 going to be done?"
"Are you done with book #2 yet?"
"I'm dying here! I need to know what happens! When is book 2 going to be published?"
I cannot tell you how many times these questions have been thrown at me this summer alone. Often times, they are accompanied by a friendly, threatening undertone.
I love it. It means that my book has fans! I mean, that is SO AWESOME. I never dreamed I or my book would have fans.
On the other hand, it is driving me up the wall. I love the questions, but I hate that I have no definitive answer for them.
Book #2 of the Tales of the Wovlen series is currently in the editing phase. I'm done writing it. It's 500 pages long, give or take a little. So, I haven't wasted the better part of a year writing a teeny-weeny thing! The editing phase has been a killer, though. You can't just finish writing a book, slap a shiny bow on it, and throw it at your ravenous readers. If you want it to succeed, it must be scrubbed, polished, shined, and meticulously groomed. Because of this, I'm sorry to say that I have no idea when it will be ready to publish. All I know is that it will be soon (not soon enough though!).
Editing is an exciting stage for an author, because we are watching our baby book go through a growth spurt.
At the same time, editing is a nightmare for an author. We just want our story to be DONE and everyone to love it. We don't want to read through it 50 times, and then 20 more times after that. We don't want to chop scenes out, shorten things up, keep Madam Point Of View in line, or endure the tedious trials of dialogue, grammar, and word-overuse!
WHY CAN'T YOU READERS JUST BE HAPPY WITH AN IMPERFECT WORK OF ART???
The only reason we authors do any editing at all is to please our readers. Y'all should be thanking us instead of threatening us with suicide notes if the next book doesn't come out by Christmas.
*squints at all the bookworms*
However, I do have some good news for you: my beta readers (those who help with the pre-editing phase of the book) have made some very encouraging remarks which suggest readers will LOVE book #2.
Exciting new characters, fantastic battles, goosebump generating scenes, and, of course, awesome dragons are only a few of the good things my beta readers have mentioned about the book thus far. All of it makes me super excited, and I can't wait to share the book with the world!
Seriously, I am way more excited about this book than you are. Like, you have no idea.
What Can You Do While You Wait?
The waiting process is killing me and I know it's not doing you, the reader, any favors either. So, here are three things you can do to make the waiting time shorter!
There are Affiliate links in this post. If you purchase anything through them, I receive a small commission which helps me provide free content for you to read PLUS buy pretty things to wear.
Please read my full Disclosure Policy.
What is Trades of Hope?
Trades of Hope was founded in 2010 by four incredible women, a mother/daughter duo, who believe that all women should be empowered and have a chance to create a better life for themselves and their families, regardless of their circumstances.
By creating jobs and establishing income-generating businesses, the artisans that Trades of Hope support are able to work, break the cycle of poverty, feed and take care of their families, and send their children to school.
This is not a charity. It's an opportunity to help someone earn a living, dignity, and respect in their community.
Trades of Hope works with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have AIDS. These women have never had the chances we've had, but they love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.
Trades of Hope helps them by marketing their products through the home party model, so they can put food on their table, a roof over their head, get medical care and an education for their children. Through Compassionate Entrepreneurs, like me, we are telling their stories to the world!
What is a Compassionate Entrepreneur?
Compassionate Entrepreneurs are the consultants for Trades of Hope. We sell the artisans’ products through home parties in the United States. We are the women who are the voice for the women who have no voice, empowering them to rise out of poverty.
I became a compassionate entrepreneur to change the world. It is a career that feeds my soul. I am helping women around the world in desperate situations by selling their "Fair Trade" products. I know that, with every TOH item I buy or sell, I am enabling someone to make their own life better. Through my sales, women are helped out of the sex trade, slums, sweat shops, and extreme poverty. They are able to send their children to school, put a roof over their heads, and put food on their tables. They are no longer enslaved by poverty.
By becoming a compassionate entrepreneur, I can put food on my table while helping a sister around the world put food on her table at the very same time. It's a great feeling.
What is "Fair Trade"?
Fair Trade is a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty. It delivers sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for small and disadvantaged producers. "Fair Trade" means that the artisans are paid first, and they are paid their full asking price. Artisans are guaranteed a living wage through the Fair Trade principles, and they make an average of six times more selling their products through TOH than they would in their own country. They are provided with a healthy and safe working environment, equal employment opportunities, and long-term relationships between producer and buyer.
It's the way things ought to be.
Who are the Artisans?
Trades of Hope focuses primarily on helping women, because statistics show that when you help one woman out of poverty, she brings four others with her!
TOH partners with more than 20 artisan groups from 10 countries who...
… have been rescued from sex trafficking.
… are survivors of acid attacks.
… have handicaps and could not work without Trades of Hope.
… have scars from leprosy (a curable disease) so they are not allowed to go back home or work anywhere.
… live in areas of extreme poverty where there simply are no jobs.
… would otherwise work in sweatshops making little or no money.
Trades of Hope has artisans in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Guatamala, Haiti, India, Jordan, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, and the Unites States!
These women (and some men!) from these different places are creative, talented, hard working, and grateful. They do not want our charity. They want an opportunity - an opportunity to have a job, to work everyday, and to provide for their families.
The artisan groups also teach valuable life skills and business skills; the artisans learn about health, sanitation, and raising healthy children. Some groups provide clean water to their area. Other groups have started schools for their artisans’ children and others in the community. Some groups offer housing assistance or help with home projects. Our artisans receive support in many ways and experience living in true community. But, most importantly, they are working and making a sustainable income to provide for their families.
One of my favorite artisans that Trades of Hope has partnered with (aside from those here in the USA) is from Cambodia.
Perhaps you've heard of Katie Davis, the author of the fantastic book "Kisses From Katie"? Well, through Trades of Hope, her artisan group in Uganada has been able to sell more of their necklaces and provide, not just for their families, but for their community.
Here is a short little video of Katie thanking Trades of Hope for their partnership:
What do you sell?
Products with a purpose!
Trades of Hope primarily sells jewelry - necklaces, earrings, & bracelets - but they also offer a gorgeous selection of scarves, some cool handbags and fashionable clutches, unique stationary, and beautiful home decor items.
There is a constant rotation of products - new items come in, and old items go out. It keeps things fresh and exciting!
How can I participate in the awesomeness?
There are 3 ways you can be a part of Trades of Hope:
Shop. Host. Join.
SHOP - The easiest and most immediate thing you can do is SHOP. Just use the link provided! Trades of Hope products are not only lovely, unique and affordable, but the soul and spirit behind them is what makes them truly beautiful.
I’m sure you can find a gift to buy, for a friend, loved one or yourself.
Want a super good deal? Check out the Last Call section for sale items.
HOST - Hosting a party is a wonderful way to take it to the next level and impact a greater number of lives. Hosting can be in the form of traditional home parties, a catalog party at work, an online event, a happy hour/coffee shop gathering, or even a playdate!
Everyone is always looking for unique, affordable gifts—why not help them out and host a party?
JOIN - Joining means becoming a Compassionate Entrepreneur, like me.
I won't lie: it's a lot of work. But it is very rewarding spiritually and emotionally, and I love that it is a flexible job that I can do mostly from my own couch.
You can find a CE sponsor in your own state to sign up under, or you can sign up under me and I can help you start your own fashion business (all from the comfort of my own couch, mind you).
What are you waiting for?
Whether you are interested in shopping deals, hosting a party, or joining, you can contact me on Facebook, Twitter, or email (all which can be found at the very top of the page or in the FOLLOW ME tab)! I'm ready to help you in any way possible (from the comfort of my OWN couch, mind you! Unless you have a spaceship where I could camp out... that would be cool).
If nothing else, I hope I have at least given you something to think about.
I am really sorry that this post is SO late. I was going to post this before the first of the month, but my internet has been horrible. Like, "horrible" is a serious understatement. I've been unable to do anything online. No Facebook. Very little Twitter. Even less Pinterest. Google hardly works *sheds a tear of sadness*. Right now, I am at a friend's house, mooching off her high speed internet. I have not seen ONE loading sign while I've been at her house. It's so great.
Anyway, the third week of tricks went really, really well for Pilot. As a result, I will be getting his Novice Trick Dog Title very soon! *does happy dance*
In this set of tricks, Pilot had already learned "Roll-Over", but he didn't know any of the others. I had fun finding new ways to drive him and encourage him. As you will probably be able to tell from the video, some of these were a little bit challenging, even after he had learned them. But they have been great exercise for his brain. Learning them has also made him more confident and they have set him up to learn some other great tricks (which we are already in the process of figuring out and memorizing).
Now I am planning on making a series of videos that show how to teach YOUR dog each of the tricks that Pilot has learned. I'm not sure how long it's going to take (considering it can take 3 days to upload a YouTube video on my internet), but if you want to be sure to get in on those when I finish them, subscribe to my YouTube account!
Enjoy the video (FYI, my voice tends to annoy me, so it might annoy you. Therefore, you may want to turn the volume down. Just say'in...):
This second week of tricks has been fun! The only one that I had previously taught Pilot was "Paws-Up". I'd also done a little bit of work on "Peek-A-Boo" with him. Otherwise, the other tricks were completely new, and he has really enjoyed learning them, especially the "Leg Weave". I think it is going to be one of his new favorites. It's a workout for me! My short little legs have to really stretch to accommodate him (and he's not even a big dog). Two of my favorite dog breeds are German Shepherds and Irish Wolfhounds.... hahahahaha! Wow. I'm kinda glad he's not either of those sizes.
"Take a Bow" has been incredibly easy to teach. What you see in the video is how you teach it: just lure them down to their elbows and click/reward them as soon as their elbows touch the ground. He still hasn't started doing it on queue alone yet, but he is almost there. It is going to be so stinking cute once he gets it! (Yes, I geek out about my dog...)
By the way, if you have ANY questions regarding the trick dog stuff, feel free to ask! I am putting together a Q&A blog post about it and I would love to see your questions in it!
Anyway, without further ado, here is this week's tricks! Enjoy the video:
As I mentioned in my blog post last week, Pilot is working toward his Novice Trick Dog Title. Through DoMoreWithYourDog.com, I found a helpful group on Facebook who had a great plan to follow to teach my dog 15 tricks in a month (15 tricks are required to earn the title). Pilot already knew all of last weeks tricks, except one, which was the muffin tin game. In that game, I place bits of kibble and treats in the muffin slots and place balls on top of them, so that Pilot has to find the treats. In the video, I could only find 5 balls to place on the muffin tin, so that is all he had to search through. For the actual trick, I am supposed to put balls in all the slots, and have treats hidden under about half of them. So, we are working on acquiring more balls.
I was curious how Pilot would do with the game. He likes tricks, but he’s not exactly motivated when it comes to games, and I wasn’t sure if he would get this game. Lucky for him, he’s a chow-hound and he’s competitive. I showed him the trick with Lady and Hugo, the other two rescue mutts, present. Hugo’s little spaniel nose went right to work and he started finding the treats. Lady caught on and started following along. Pilot, of course, could not be outdone, so he started racing them. He quickly figured out that it was quite rewarding.
I can’t wait for my sister, Kristyn, to try the trick with her Golden Retrievers. They are all tennis ball nuts AND chow-hounds! I think it is going to be hilarious to watch them do it for the first time. The two items combined will surely fill their happy Golden minds with extreme conflict.
Here is a video of Pilot doing his first week tricks. He is already working on his second week tricks, so hopefully we'll have another video for you to watch next week.
Wow, first of the month already? And on a Monday. Ouch.
Well, it is a perfect day to scream, and allow me to be among the first to scream... WHITE RABBIT!
I must be the first person, you know. And, undoubtedly, I am the first person to White Rabbit you. Even if you are reading this late, even if somebody else screamed "White Rabbit!" at you today, I can promise you that I AM the first. Consider the time stamp on this post. What time did it post and/or deliver to your email? 1AM... Yeah. I AM the first person to White Rabbit you this fine 1st day of June.
I rule this game.
Okay, I'll shut up now.
Trick dog? Is that a thing?
Yes it is! And it's gradually becoming a very popular thing among dog owners.
Do you remember Lassie? Benji? Rin-Tin-Tin? They were all "trick dogs". Their owners and trainers taught them a bunch of tricks, which they would preform anywhere, even on camera. Not only did their tricks make them look heroic on screen (and make them rich & popular), but it made them great companions and useful working dogs, and their skills have made millions of people happy for many years.
Now days, it has become really easy to find content that teaches you to train your dog the exact same tricks - all by yourself!
This is what I am doing with Pilot. It's my hope to turn him into a titled trick dog. He's already well on his way!
Teaching dogs to do tricks is fun and rewarding, thus why it's become quite a popular thing for dog owners to do. It turns a dog from "a pet" into "a stinking awesome person I love more than my in-laws".
Okay, not really, but you get the point. Trick training makes your dog a valuable companion, and not just an annoying back yard door bell. Your dog becomes a joy for everyone - friends, family, and strangers - to be around.
Despite what you might think, it's not that hard to train a dog to do tricks, especially if he is willing to learn and you're willing to spend some time with him. It's actually a breeze, what with all the great content available on the internet to help you along.
There are some great books available that teach you how to train your dog. My favorites are by Kyra Sundance from Do More With Your Dog.com. Her books have detailed, bright, colorful pictures. They explain how to do all of the tricks so well, that even the children understand how to do it.
She has a few DVD's now that go along with the books, so you can sit and watch how to do it!
These three books by Kyra are the best, and they are my favorites. They've helped me a lot in my training of Pilot and other dogs (Amazon affiliate Links - read my disclosure policy):
Which dog is a Trick Dog?
Any dog can learn tricks. Rin-Tin-Tin was a German Shepherd. Lassie was a Collie. Benji was a mutt from the pound. So was Old Yeller. Pongo and Purdy were cartoons....
The trick for you is to choose a dog that has a willingness to learn and an eagerness to please.
Most herding breeds, like German Shepherds and Australian Shepherds, crave the mental exercise that trick training provides. Some terrier breeds, like the Rat Terrier and the Parson "Jack" Russell Terrier, thrive on trick training. As far as hunting breeds, I've never met a Labrador or a Golden Retriever who were not eager to please and willing to learn.
Bully breeds, guardian breeds, and little companion dogs are typically more stubborn and it takes a lot more work to convince them to do a trick, but they will do it if you have patience and persistence.
DON'T tell me that you have no patience. Nobody HAS patience. You learn patience.
If you aren't a patient person, get over it and start learning how to be.
Trick training isn't just for the dogs, you know...
The AKC website has great information about all the different groups and breeds of dogs. If you have a favorite breed, you can look it up on the AKC website and learn more, or you can get on YouTube and see if you can find a Dogs 101 video about it. Both give you a great idea of what it takes to properly care for that specific breed, and how easy they are to train.
If you aren't sure what breed of dog might best suite you, AKC has a quiz that you can take which will suggest a few dog breeds that would best fit your home, family, and lifestyle.
If you have a mutt dog and can guess what breeds it has in it, you can try out the AKC breed comparison tool and make a guess as to what independence level your dog will be/is. It's fun to play around with, if nothing else...
Otherwise, if you have a dog that loves to hang out with you, is playful, and wants to please you, then you have the makings of a trick dog. No matter how dumb or smart you might think your dog is, it all depends on how much time and effort YOU are willing to put into it, and how willing your dog is to do it with you.
Pilot as a Trick Dog
Pilot is a little more independent than what is ideal for a trick dog. He has his own ideas about how things should go. But, he is creative and energetic, and he really, really needs the mental exercise. So, before I started teaching him any tricks, I had to spend a lot of time convincing him that he wanted to learn.
Learning manners was the first stepping stone I took to teaching Pilot tricks. Before getting his breakfast or supper, he had to sit politely. Before he could go outside, he had to sit and wait for me to open the door. Before I would open the gate to go for a run, he had to sit. Once he had "sit" mastered, I moved it to "lay down".
Good manners got positive results and made him happy. If he forgot his manners, then nothing would happen and he wouldn't get what he wanted. He started paying attention and listening for queues, because he knew that good things would happen when he did the right thing.
I figured out pretty quickly that I had to give Pilot more exercise, especially before training sessions. I cannot begin to explain how much that helped him to focus. His energy level is set at FORCE-OF-NATURE, and if he doesn't get it out of system, then he won't focus on learning new things. He just becomes this really irritating ball of energy with sharp toe nails.
Seriously, if you have a dog that is out of control, he/she probably just needs more exercise.
The last few months, Pilot has come to the point where he loves to do tricks, anytime, anywhere. This makes me really happy. He is learning new tricks faster, and he enjoys doing his old tricks over and over again.
His favorite trick is "Roll Over". He does it all the time, whether I ask him to or not.
Some days are better than others, and some days are just horrible, but that's why it's called LIFE.
Here is a video I recently made of Pilot getting some exercise, playing with his little sheep friend, and finally doing some tricks with me.
White Rabbit Link Up
Don't forget to link up your newest, most recent blog post below! I love to read them!
(I do read all of them, so keep in mind that it should stay family friendly and it must be new. No more than 72 hours old.)
Happiness. HAPP-I-NESS. H-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s.
You know, once you spell "happiness" so many times, it starts looking like a really weird word. It starts sounding weird too.
One time, a friend asked me "What does happiness mean to you?"
That is a really in depth and broad question. The term "happiness" can cover so many different things on so many different levels. But, when my friend asked me, I didn't need to think long to find an answer.
People tell me all the time that I am such a happy person, that I light up the room with my smile, and that my happiness is contagious. I get the feeling that they often wonder how I do it.
Well, it's not my fantastic personality, I can promise you that. It is simply because I AM happy.
To be truly happy, does it mean that you have a perfect life?
To be happy, do you have everything you want in life?
Does a happy person smile all the time?
So, what does happiness look like?
True happiness results from contentment. When you are content with where God has put you, with the life He has given you, then you will find that you are happy. Whether you believe in God or not, if you learn to be content with where you are at in life, with who you are, then you will automatically find happiness. Trust me. Been there, done that, have a t-shirt.
Often, we believe that, to be happy, we need to "make more", "do more", or "be more".
I have struggled with this:
I have tried joining missions, only to have a road block thrown in front of my face.
I have created kids missions just to watch them fall through.
I have made an effort to improve my community only to have it thrown back in my face.
I have considered marriage, becoming a mom and a wife, but the longing has never taken root in my heart and the right man has never shown up.
I have come to the point where I have looked up at the sky and said "What more do you want from me?! What more can I do?!"
You know what I learned? God wants some people to be busy, go on missions, start community projects, and do "more". But for me, He wanted me to stand back. Why? It took me a while to understand...
I have 5 younger siblings. They are awesome. Used to, I thought they were holding me back, weighting my wings down with spit-up and drool and Legos and Tinkertoys. They were pain-in-the-butts and I thought I had better things to do, more important jobs, than taking care of them and cleaning up after them.
God showed me otherwise.
My siblings are some of the most awesome people on earth (yes, I am biased). I have a ton of fun with them every day! We hardly ever fight. We are best friends. Together, we can build skyscrapers and blow mountains up! It's so awesome!
I would have never known the full awesomeness of my family and siblings if I had flown the coop.
I have an incredible talent for writing. I have a gazzilion stories swimming in my head, barbarians pounding on the inside of my skull, demanding to be released onto paper.
If I were busy with missions, community projects, or kids (mine or otherwise), I would not have realized my potential as a writer. I would never have published a book. My siblings would not be eagerly telling the new friends they make that their sister is a published author.
I am still learning my full potential as a writer. I still have a lot of work to do to become better. I mean, at the moment, I only have one and a half books published... not exactly something that is noteworthy.
Happiness does not look like a life changing trip to Africa. Happiness does not look like big bucks or a masters degree, your own house and car, or your even your own published book. Happiness is a state of mind that you must choose to be in. Nothing can make you happy, but being content with your circumstances is a daily decision.
Just because you are not where YOU want to be, because you don't feel happy, does not mean that you aren't exactly where you should be, where God wants you to be. What your heart longs for is often quite the opposite of what God wants you to do.
For me, God kept me in one place because He wanted me to learn to be content where I was at. Once I learned that lesson, I found an open door that I had never seen before, and it led me to a room full of possibilities.
Am I always happy?
No. It is an ongoing learning process. But it is easier for me to be happy, now that I learned the important lesson of contentment.
Do I get irritated and discontent?
Yep. A lot. I also get depressed, feel like I am out of options, feel restrained and suffocated, and I repeatedly have to put grand ideas and dreams back on the shelf where I got them. But when I stop trying to push my agenda, and take a deep breath and focus on what God has me doing, it gets easier. Sometimes, I even catch a glimpse of a bigger picture that will result if I stay where God has planted me.
What is the secret to contentment?
Stop pushing. Start breathing.
It is simpler said than done, but it is that simple.
Your calling may be sitting right in front of you, like it was for me.
Does this mean you need to stop looking for opportunities? Possibly. God has this cool way of dropping stuff into my lap. Maybe He wants to do the same for you? Or, maybe He wants to whisper the plan into your ear, but how can He do that if you are struggling with Him?
The run down is this: a happy person is a person who is content. Contentment is a choice that the person must make.
Ambition and goals in life are good, but sometimes we just need to stop and take a look at the garden we have been set in, just to make sure we aren't missing a chance to smell the roses.
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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