Hi, friends. We’re well into the year now–can you believe summer is pressing in, nearly ready to explode onto the scene? I’m already feeling the heat here in north Texas; we’ve hit the upper eighties and low nineties several times in the last month.
So far this year, my One Word of Listen is going along fairly well. God’s whispers and nudges have come quite regularly in the past four-plus months since I hung my new calendars, and my gut instinct virtually every time has been to say, “Okay, Lord, I’m listening.”
The weird thing is, I wasn’t expecting that instinct to settle in quite so fast. Isn’t there supposed to be a struggle? Some learning curves? Or at least a failure or two before I sort it out?
You know, I’m exhilarated to say, “I’ll take this happy surprise!”
While I haven’t yet been able to instill the “let’s read these devotionals I bought for this Listen journey of 2023” habit yet, learning to better listen to God throughout my daily life has come rather easily thus far, thankfully. I’m so grateful for His generous grace in this journey.
So what has my Listen venture looked like so far?
It’s led me to take some risks in my writing journey, which has led to my second- and third-published books, Seize the Love featuring my story A Baker’s Heart and the upcoming Springtime in Surrey featuring my story The Cottage on the Hill. (You may explore my books on this page, which will be updated with my newest book as soon as I have permission and links.)
It’s led me to distance myself from a couple of unhealthy relationships.
It’s led me to soak in more family time even when deadlines are looming and my brain is overwhelmed.
It’s led me to a jam-packed copyediting schedule and gained me three new clients so far this year. (I’m scheduled ahead through September, so if you’re wanting on my schedule, plan well in advance to check for openings. See this page for details of what I do and this one for my editing portfolio.)
It’s led me to more clearly sense God’s presence even when my spiritual life seems dry as a wasteland.
It’s led me to do a walking challenge with a dear friend.
It’s led me to trust even stronger that God’s got my finances in mind even when they overwhelm me for one reason or another.
It’s led me to walk the block with a new neighbor after having just met her (and her dog) as we crossed paths walking opposite directions.
It’s led me to be bold and ask some acquaintances if they want on my mailing list for upcoming goodies that I’ll be sending out to celebrate my new book. Not a single one has said no yet, and, in fact, they’ve all been quite enthusiastic and supportive about it. (If you’d like more information about this mailing list, please contact me through the form on my contact page.)
It’s led me to discover more of how I want to use my blog and social media accounts in my writing journey. Having talked this out with my publisher at Wild Blue Wonder Press and then prayed through it, God has given me grand ideas and infused me with some confidence with which to step forward in faith and implement the ideas one article and tweet and Goodreads update at a time. (You may follow me at both Twitter and Goodreads, if you like.)
It’s led me to embrace in a new way the not knowing of life. Not knowing what’s coming is sometimes very overwhelming for me, as I’ve long despised change. However, I’ve come to a point where I’m even encouraging others to embrace it, because change is inevitable. The more we accept that, the more content I believe we’ll be, and the easier we’ll adjust when those changes head our way. Doesn’t mean we always have to like it, but we do need to learn to get used to it, as it’s always going to happen.
It’s led me to crave the childlike perspective I used to have. I think it’s possible to regain some of that, even though the world is a lot scarier and a lot bigger than I ever imagined back then. This is something I’m planning on exploring, to see if there are tangible ways in which to sort of narrow my view of the world in a way that carves out space for more childlike innocence and naïveté while still retaining my grown-up skills and work ethic, among other things.
It’s led me to stick to a better budget for my needs, for the most part. (I’m still a sucker for a good book sale, go figure. So there’s that “issue” to still contend with.)
It’s led me to suffer more graciously and much more patiently through illnesses and “fight back” against long-term effects and extensive recovery periods of said illnesses. I’ve found some good supplements and teas, for detox as well as regular several-times-a-week health, and they seem to be helping, along with the new walking habit I’m working on building.
It’s led me to invest in some extra supplements, vitamins, and healthy hair and face products to work on some issues but also to be spoiled by my Heavenly Father, who nudged me in this direction.
It’s led me to “let [my] gentleness be known” to a new student who had extreme anxiety but has learned to deal with it enough to soak in mathematical knowledge at a fast rate like I’ve never before seen in my 20 years of experience at this tutoring gig. (So proud of her!) [The quote is from Philippians 4:5 NKJ.]
It’s led me to meet tough deadlines even when I’ve been sick and weary and craving naps in my recovery. I’ve grown to cherish my work in new ways and discover whole new levels of dedication and work ethic, which I’ve been praying for, for years. God’s blessings and answered prayers sometimes come as I simply buckle down and work hard, and for that, I’m grateful.
It’s led me to discover I’d rather talk about faith over politics any day of the week. I find faith discussions so much more enriching and uplifting to my spirit and the essence of who I am. While it’s good, in a way, to stay in the know of what’s going on in the world politically, it’s not a zone in which I want to live the vast majority of my time, because it’s draining and wearying. I’m glad some people are called to it, to push hard to create a safer, better place in which the rest of us can live happy lives, but at this point in my life, I’m not one of those “called to politics” people. So let’s talk faith around here, okay? (And books, of course.)
It’s led me to seek out the happy places and uplifting people on Twitter. Who are the encouraging people you follow on Twitter? I’d love to discover more people with enjoyable posts.
It’s led me to pray heartily about a particular dream I suspect God is infusing into my heart. If I feel led to jump in feet first, you’ll hear all about it right here on Writing to Inspire. Can’t exactly say “stay tuned” on this one, because I’m not sure in which direction or how quickly God is leading on it, and I definitely don’t want to jump the gun, but the idea is growing quite fondly in my soul right now. Please pray for me, friends. I need all the support on this front I can get while I’m hashing out this idea with God. Thank you so much!
It’s led me to bless an elder by toting her shopping cart to the cart return so she wouldn’t have to expend extra effort on a warm day.
It’s led me to chat with cashiers and other store workers and offer them kind words and a smile (and sometimes an “I’m praying for you” and the accompanying prayers) especially when they seem like they’re having a rough day or just lost a coworker or dealt with grouchy customers most of their shift.
It’s led me to embrace living by the moment, because sometimes God’s whispers and nudges come in the moment rather than ahead of time. This, more than everything else, has reminded me of John 14:26 and Luke 12:11-12, which have always encouraged me that the Holy Spirit will guide me in what I am to say in moments when I am unsure or haven’t the words myself (and He has done so many, many times already in my life).
Overall, this Listen journey is tender and sweet and encouraging. Have there been a few bumpy moments? Sure. I’ve been ill a couple of times, discouraged, spiritually dry, and unsure of the next right step. But the good (as noted above and so much more that I don’t have space to chat about) far surpasses those things. The hope I see in every new word from God, each successful moment, and all those positive results of listening to my Heavenly Father inspire me to keep striding forward with Him in this adventure called life.
If you’re doing One Word this year…
what’s your word
how have you seen God move in your life in this area so far?
Springtime in Surrey Updates!
I’m waiting to receive the compiled document of eight novellas for copyediting. In the meantime, I’m brainstorming and writing several blog articles. Some of these will be featured right here on Writing to Inspire, but others will be a part of the upcoming blog tour for the book. Please stay tuned. I’m sure we’ll have sign-ups for that very soon.
Speaking of sign-ups, we have an active one right now to help us with the cover reveal. Would you like to get the first glimpse of the cover and then share it with your online friends?
My fellow authors are sharing about their stories as well. Check out any or all of their links for the latest tidbits of news.
Reminder what my Springtime in Surrey story, The Cottage on the Hill, is about:
She cried into her tea every afternoon.
He wondered why.
Moira Wood lost her ballerina dreams when she suffered an unfortunate accident. During every teatime at her cottage hideaway, it hits her afresh what she won’t again be able to obtain.
Helping out on his uncle’s farm, Adrian Davis worries he’ll never earn a place of his own. While sent on a bevy of errands, he observes a woman crying into her tea and wonders why… and what he could do to cheer her up.
When forced to confront their own regrets, will Moira and Adrian trust that God has a good plan even through crushed dreams and far-off hopes?
In the meantime, friends, if you would like to host me as a guest in July or August, please let me know. I would love to chat about faith, Springtime in Surrey, The Cottage on the Hill (my story in the anthology), my writing process, books in general, life notes, or be interviewed by you for your own blog or social media site. Please contact me asap if you’re interested so I can get something written up in the next few weeks.
BOOKS TO READ
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