January 30, 2013

Worship Wednesday: All I Wanna Do



Ginny Owens sings a longer version of this song, but it's the cry of my heart.

All I wanna do is give this life to you.
Oh, all I wanna do is give this life to you.
All I wanna do is give this life to you
And let your will be done
Till it's all I wanna do.

And that's truly how I want every aspect of my life to be: my marriage, my friendships, my writing, my music.

Of course, I'm far from perfect. There are so many times that pride starts creeping in, trying to win the battle for my heart. Unfortunately, sometimes, it doesn't take much.

But I keep holding onto the fact that the deepest desire is for God to be glorified, that what I do would please Him and be what He wants for me.

Because if He's not glorified...what's the point?

Your Turn: What song has touched your heart lately?

January 28, 2013

Marriage Advice for the Pre-Married Me: Guest Post by Jennifer K. Hale

Today I'm super blessed to host my writer friend, Jennifer Hale. I don't even remember when I first met Jen, but I just have to say...sometimes you just click with someone, you know? Of course, it helps that we're both blonde singers with a passion for writing, but still. ;) Jen has blessed me over and over again with her honest and open heart, and I know she'll bless you today.


There have been several times over the course of my adult life when I've looked back and thought, "Man, I wish I could talk to myself then to tell myself what it's going to be like now."

I'm sure you know what I mean--the idea of being able to give yourself advice in the past in order to make it easier on the journey to the present is an appealing thought. Of course, part of the "fun" of getting to the present is learning the lessons that God brings us through our trials, but still...I'd like to give my past self a little advice.

Specifically, marriage advice.

I'm lucky to be married to Super-Hubby, so I don't have much to complain about. Like all couples, we have had our rough patches in our 11 and a half years of marriage, but nothing serious. Nothing that is marriage-destroying.

Still, if I could go back in time to the day of my wedding, here's what I'd tell myself:

  1. Chill. Your personality is dominating and you've got to back off and let him be the man. There can't be two people running the show, and God designed him to be the leader of your household. Let him lead from day one.
  2. Start talking about your parenting philosophies and ideas now. Don't wait until you become a parent or you'll find little surprises that you weren't prepared for. Like his idea that his children need to be exposed to superheroes and Star Wars from the moment of birth.
  3. Don't worry about the cat. She's going to die eventually and while everyone will think you are a horrible person for not loving his cat, you'll be able to rejoice in a cat-free home before you know it. (No, I didn't kill the cat. She died of natural causes. Probably an overload of evil.)
  4. You're not just marrying him, but his entire family too. Do not do not do not do not do not do not allow issues with extended family (on both sides) to become issues in your marriage.
  5. Pray for him in specific ways throughout each and every day. Don't let one day pass that you haven't blessed the man who loves you in the name of your Savior. Lift him up so that he can fulfill each and every plan God has designed for him, including being a husband and father.
So, there's just a bit of advice I'd give myself if I could time travel back to my wedding day. And I'd probably tell myself to pack warmer clothes for the honeymoon to avoid freezing at our day in Disneyland.

Share with me: If you could go back to your wedding day, what would you tell yourself about marriage, your spouse, and creating your own family?

Jennifer K. Hale is a hopeless romantic living in a Thomas the Train world. Mom of two little boys and expecting a third, she's come to terms with watching Disney princess movies alone. She's married to a middle school teacher and was a high school history teacher herself. Jennifer suffers from a healthy chocolate addiction and she and her family make their home in Georgia. She is a writer of historical and contemporary romantic fiction for the inspirational market and you can connect with her via her blog at www.jenniferkhale.com or on Facebook.

*Hey, Lindsay here again. I'm guest posting about writer's block and brainstorming today over at The Writers Alley. I'd love for you to stop by and say hello!

January 25, 2013

Fun Friday: Pampering

I gotta say...sometimes, a girl just needs to be pampered.

Next week, I'm getting my hair cut and highlighted. Finally.

It's gonna feel sooooo good.

Because my split ends are starting to take over and I don't have to tell you how fun that is.

I never used to highlight my hair, but it kept getting a darker shade of blonde over the years and I wanted it to pop more. It costs a bit extra (I only go every three months!), but it's so worth that "pretty" feeling.

I also am quite partial to pedicures as a form of pampering...hmm, maybe once it's warm enough to wear sandals again (usually in March here!)...

Your Turn: What's your pampering of choice? Forget how expensive it is and go with your gut reaction on this one... :)

January 23, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Beautiful Things


My husband first introduced me to "Beautiful Things" by Gungor.

Love!

I love what the chorus says in particular. It's so simple, yet profound:

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things
Out of dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things
Out of us

We were dust. He made us. But He didn't JUST make us.

He made us beautiful.

We are His handiwork, creations of art formed by the hand of the Creator.

Doesn't that give you all kinds of chills?

For me, it's a call to remember...He made me just as I am, even the parts of me I don't care for (well, minus the ugly sin stuff). When I compare my outer self to other people, I'm basically dissing my Maker, telling Him His design wasn't good enough for me.

Ah, how our perception is so limited and shaped by other humans.

He made you. You are beautiful.

Revel in that for just a moment...

Your Turn: What song is speaking to you this week?

January 21, 2013

Bless the Lord Reason #14: He Reminds Me Today Is Not Everything

I'm a list maker.

Yep. Every morning, whether I'm at work or home on a Saturday, I make lists of what I want to accomplish that day.

Of course, I also try to make lists of what I want to accomplish that week. And then I have lists of goals for the month and year too.

I've talked before about my tunnel vision. I tend to focus in on something big I want to accomplish, and from then on out, it takes an army to stand in my way. I force my way through any barricades life throws at me. I am Lindsay, hear me roar.

Oh, wait.

Maybe that's not always a good thing.

Yes, it's good to fight for our dreams, and to be organized, and to discipline ourselves to do what we said we will...most of the time.

But that tunnel vision can turn into something that's more harmful than helpful, at least for me.

Because I stop seeing the reason I'm doing it all in the first place.

Case in point: I'm a writer. I want to be published. I want to write full time for a living. Sometimes I can get so narrowed in on that fact alone that I forget WHY I want to write.

It's not so I can be famous, or receive accolades, or feel good about myself. Ultimately, it's so people might read my words and draw closer to the One who gave them to me in the first place.

But I often forget about the PEOPLE, and RELATIONSHIPS, and spending time with GOD, which are the reasons life is worth living in the first place.

I love when God reminds me: it's not all about today. That doesn't mean I need to live in the future either, unless we're talking Heaven. I want to be focused on the end game--the end result of a life lived here--not in a morbid way, but in a way that helps me keep a Heavenly perspective, viewing everything in light of what things here mean for eternity.

Who knows how God will use what you're experiencing and doing today to affect that future?

So, maybe it's okay to be tunnel visioned...so long as the focus is narrowed in on God.

Your Turn: Are you a list maker? Do you struggle with tunnel vision too?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

January 18, 2013

Fun Friday: Belated Anniversary Celebration!

No, this isn't where we're staying. But isn't it purty?
My husband and I started a tradition on our first anniversary: we always celebrate by spending a night in a hotel somewhere.

We've tried to vary the hotels where we stay. Sometimes they're fancy. Sometimes they're not. But it's always nice to get away.

I'm hoping we can keep it up, even once we have kids (foolish thinking?).

Our anniversary is in November, but it's right before Thanksgiving and my husband usually has trials (he's an attorney). So this year, we're celebrating in January. This weekend, in fact, since we both have three-day weekends courtesy of MLK, Jr.

I can't wait to lay back, splurge, and enjoy our little weekend "away."

Your Turn: What are you up to this weekend? Do you have Monday off work? If you're married, how do you celebrate your anniversary?

January 16, 2013

Worship Wednesday: What Do I Know of Holy?


I know "What Do I Know of Holy?" by Addison Road isn't a new song by any means...but it gets me. Every. Time.

Just the whole idea that I think I know so much...and I don't.

'Cuz God's holiness? His love for me? The depth of Him and who He is?

Yeah. I don't get it, even if I think I do.

These lines? Wow.

What do I know of holy? 
What do I know of wounds that heal my shame
And a God who gives life its name?
What do I know of holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name.
On earth and heaven above,
What do I know of this love?

Sigh.

It's so much bigger than I can comprehend...but I'm so glad my lack of understanding doesn't stop me from receiving it.

Your Turn: What song has been on your heart this week?

January 14, 2013

Bless the Lord Reason #13: He Gives Me Courage

Sometimes, I feel like this guy.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid...for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."

That's what God tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6.

Chills, right?

Because I don't know about you, but I'm running scared a lot of the time.

Like today.

Today, I start a new job. Yeah. Shaking in my boots a little bit. I mean, yes, I have great hopes for this job. I get to telecommute some of the time. I get to do something different--be a copywriter. I get to meet new people.

But that scares me. Because what if I'm horrible?

What if no one likes me?

What if...what if...what if?

And this year, I'm hoping to submit my story to agents, possibly editors. Right now, I'm revising my book and hoping, praying that somehow, it'll be "good enough." But if I put it out there, that will either be confirmed or denied.

Sometimes, in my fear, I wonder if it'd be better to hold onto it, because then I don't risk anything. No rejection. No failure.

Ever feel that way? I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. Sometimes, it SEEMS easier to become complacent. To stay where we are because, well, we at least know more about our current situation. We've figured out ways to cope with it.

And what if the future and the new situation actually hold something WORSE than the things that have seemed bad in the here and now?

But again...God tells us...don't be afraid.

He goes with us.

He won't leave us.

Yeah, sure, sometimes, He only lights enough of the path ahead for us to see the next step. It scares me to not see farther down the road. I wonder how long it is, and where the potholes are, and whether I'll walk in circles or actually get somewhere.

But the whole reason isn't because I lack courage.

He gives me that.

It's because I haven't surrendered control. I haven't trusted enough. I know He's set me on the BEST path. But I tremble sometimes to take a step.

Today, in faith, I'm taking that next one. And then tomorrow, I'll take another.

Because as scary as it is to walk in the dark, feeling blind, I know deep down I'm not.

Funny enough, I'm actually walking toward the light.

Your Turn: When had God reminded you to not be afraid?

January 11, 2013

A Favorite Pretty Healthy Recipe: Texas Caviar

So, I took the plunge.

Yep. Decided to get healthy this new year, and signed up for Weight Watchers. I've done WW before and just really needed the accountability to live a healthier lifestyle. I figured if I was investing dollars into it, I might actually lay off the sweets and fast food a bit more.

One of my favorite recipes of all time is Texas Caviar. It's great as a side salad or with tortilla chips (that part isn't the healthiest, but you can make your own chips or use the baked ones that are fewer calories and fat).

Here's how you make it:

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas (don't use frozen)
  • 2 cans shoe-peg corn
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chiles (original recipe)
  • 2 bell peppers (red and yellow are preferable)
  • One bunch green onions
  • One bunch cilantro
  • Fresh lemon juice (half a large lemon will do)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Italian dressing
  • Hot sauce, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS 
Empty the black-eyed peas and corn into a strainer and rinse. Mix with Rotel in a large bowl. Chop bell peppers, green onions, and cilantro and mix with other vegetables in bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over mixture and add salt and pepper; stir. Mix in enough Italian dressing to coat--I end up using between a third and half of a large bottle. Stir. Add desired amount of hot sauce and stir. Refrigerate at least a few hours.

TIP
This makes a huge batch, so you can cut the recipe in half for smaller portions.

Enjoy! Have a great weekend.

Your Turn: What's your favorite dip for chips?

*Yesterday, I guest posted on Keli Gwyn's blog about the time my husband sang for me. Won't you drop by and say hello? 

January 9, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

My awesome friend Amanda Dykes tagged me in a blog hop where writers talk about their current projects.

So I thought it'd be fun today to tell you a little about the book I'm currently writing. I won't give away too many details, though...you know, in case it ever actually gets published (still got my fingers crossed and prayers lifted on that!).

So, without further ado, here are the questions Amanda passed on for me to answer...

1) What is the title of your book? The title is The Song Inside, though I don't actually have much attachment to it (I'm horrible at titles!!). The book is about a singing competition, but the title is more about how there is a song inside each one of us, a deep yearning for something...more. What does your song say about you? (Mysterious, right? Ha.)

2) Where did the idea for the book come from? I actually don't remember, but I do remember waking up at 3 am one morning and grabbing a notebook as the ideas flowed. So maybe I dreamed it?

3) What genre does your book fall under? Inspirational contemporary with romantic elements (yes, there's a love story!)

4) Which actresses would play your main characters in a movie based on your book? 
For Stacy (the daughter), I'd have a blond Rachel McAdams:

And for the mom, Marcy, I'd have a demure Demi Moore (ha):

5) How long did it take to write the manuscript draft? I wrote the majority of it in about three months, though it took much longer to plot and structure it.

6) Who or what inspired you to write this book? It's my hope that it's always God who inspires me to write. I want my work to be something that gets people thinking about more than just the "here and now." Stacy and Marcy learn some important lessons about who they are in God...lessons that I've had to learn (and keep learning) myself.

Thanks for reading a bit about my work in progress. Hopefully someday it'll be in print, but for now, I appreciate you letting me share a bit of my heart with you.

And with that, I'm tagging each one of you writers reading this in this blog hop! Feel free to participate if you'd like.

Your Turn: What books have you been reading recently? If you're a writer, how long did it take you to write your draft of your current book (or a previous one)?

January 7, 2013

One Word 2013: New Job!

The cutest ever blog button designed by the lovely Melanie Moore at Elegant Custom Blogs
Last month, I wrote a post about choosing one word to focus on in 2013. The word I chose was REJOICE.

As I said in that post, I don't know what 2013 will bring, but I do know that my goal will be to rejoice in all things, even if it's not what I'd hoped for.

However, I'm happy to report that 2013 is starting off amazingly well...I've already got something to truly rejoice over: a new job!

I have loved my job as a curriculum editor at a university, but my job location was going to be moving about 45 minutes to an hour away (one way) in the next month or so. Hello, I'm already too busy as it is. So I prayed for something new.

I've been freelancing off and on for a company for nearly two years, and whaddaya know...a copywriter there moved to a new position, and they needed a new one.

I'm blessed enough to be that one!

The best perk of this job is that I'll be able to telecommute a few days a week. So this will soon be me:
You know, minus the curlers and coffee. And brown hair. And...well, you get the picture.

God has definitely answered the prayer of "more time" in me getting this job. I was really starting to wonder how I was going to fit writing time in with two hours of driving a day.

I'm so thankful that He saw my need and gave me something wonderful to rejoice over so early in the year!

Your Turn: What are you rejoicing over today?

January 4, 2013

Fun Friday: Favorite Christmas Gifts

I'm pretty blessed.

For Christmas this year, I got an abundance of gifts. Way more than I deserved.

And there are a few my husband got me that I am especially excited about.

First...


Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. I've heard this book is amazing and totally changes the way you think about life. I can't wait to dig in and...well, learn.

Next...
The fifth and final season of the TV show Chuck. And okay, technically, I already enjoyed this one. My husband and I sat down the day after Christmas and watched almost all 13 episodes. Yes, it was that good.

And last...

The entire series (all seven seasons) of Boy Meets World. This is like one of my favorite shows from childhood. I may get all nostalgic when I watch them.

I got a lot of other sweet gifts, like gift cards to Amazon and Old Navy, a new watch from Charming Charlie, an infinity scarf from Germany...and I'm excited about those too.

Yeah, like I said. Blessed. Blessed not only by the gifts themselves, but to be loved by so many amazing people who gave them.

Your Turn: What was your favorite Christmas gift?

January 2, 2013

Bless the Lord Reason #12: He Gives Me Rest

If you're anything like me, you lead a busy life.

Work.

Family.

Friends.

Getting healthy.

Ministry.

Me time.

Oh, wait. That last one? Doesn't happen too often in my life. (I know, I need to work on that.)

No, if you're like me, you go, go, go until you pretty much collapse. Vacations often aren't relaxing either, even if they're an awesome change of pace, because you want to experience, experience, experience.

So when, exactly, do we get a chance to rest?

I'm a big proponent of resting regularly--taking those much-needed breaks when we actually need them. You know, before we give all we've got and fizzle out.

But alas, though I'm a proponent of it, I don't listen to my own advice. I have the hardest time resting. I feel like I'm lazy if I spend all day reading a book. Or watching TV. Or spending a ton of time with family when there is much to be done.

Thank goodness God knows better than me.

I just spent the last week and a half off of work. I had a mini "stay-cation" with my husband. We took time out to spend time together. Time reading. Time watching TV (and yes, we may have watched nearly the entire last season of Chuck in one day...no judging!). Time with friends. Time just doing whatever we felt like.

At first, I felt guilty. After all, I have a novel to revise, a class to prepare for (teaching-wise), blog posts to write, meals to plan, a bathroom to clean...etc., etc., etc.

But then, I settled in. God gave me peace about resting. He reminded me that he told us to set aside a day of rest every week. He's a proponent of resting when we need to. (Hmmm, guess I got the idea from Him.)

And time with people? It's never, never wasted. So often I get focused on doing, achieving, checking stuff off my list.

And I forget to enjoy the relationships in my life. The great joy that comes from truly connecting, laughing, being real with others--beyond the everyday, surface-level "Hi-how-are-you-today?"

So props to God for making me heed my own advice...and for helping me to feel a peace in doing so.

Your Turn: Are you as bad as I am about resting regularly? Or have you established a good "rest routine"? If so, I'd love to hear it!

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net