Saturday, July 2, 2011

I've Moved...

Hi all!

I've moved my blog to a Wordpress site.  Please join me over there!!!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A" Must Read" Manifesto by Jeff Goins

"I’m a writer.
I could say that I love to write.
But really, I like to be read.
A lot."   (Jeff Goins, The Writer's Manifesto, pg. 4)

From the first page to the last, The Writers Manifesto grabbed my soul and held on tight.  As a new writer who "likes to be read...a lot" I constantly waver, arms stretched out, on the tightrope between "creativity and congratulations.." (page 9).  If you feel the same, don't miss this book.

Jeff Goins packs oceans of inspiration into an ebook that can be read in the amount of time it takes to drink a glass of water.  When finished reading, you'll want to drink it'll have to... if you want to truly soak it in.   

The Writer's Manifesto speaks to every writer, whether famous or unknown, confident or insecure, experienced or new to their craft.  It exposes the battle that rages within each of us...the desire for applause vs. the need follow our own creative instincts.  

If you really are a writer...if it is who you are, not just something you do... this Manifesto will resonate with you, and you need to read it.  You really do. 
You can get the FREE ebook here: The Writer's Manifesto
Also, check out Jeff's blog here:  Jeff Goins Writer
And join the discussion about The Writer's Manifesto here: The Writer's Manifesto on Facebook

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Special Girl

I have a daughter with special needs.  She’s 12 years old…her name is Lizzy…here she is…

She has a rare form of Down Syndrome called Mosaicism or Mosaic Down Syndrome.  I know, I know, you weren’t aware that there are any ‘forms’ of Downs, but there is this one.  It means that only some of her cells are Trisomy-21 (which causes Downs) instead of all of them. 

She’s an amazing girl.  She’s funny, she’s smart, she’s outgoing and friendly.  She loves horses and she is an amazing vaulter (a special kind of riding where they do artistic routines while riding on the back of a moving horse)  Here are some pics to help you understand...

Adults LOVE her.  Kids are mean to her.  It’s very sad.  She has one really good friend, and that’s good.  There are a couple of kids at school that will be kind of nice to her, but most just ignore her.  They don’t understand her.  She’s so high functioning that, instead of being obviously Downs, she comes off as just awkward and weird. 

She bites her nails until they are too low to bite.  She also bites her lips so she gets sores that make her mouth hurt.  She has a lisp, she wears glasses and she doesn’t care much about social ‘graces’.  None of these things are great for a 12 year old girl, about to enter Middle School. 

I worry about her a lot.  And, to be honest…bluntly honest…I feel ‘heavy’ for her and, selfishly, for me too.  I sometimes forget how heavy I feel….I get used to it I guess.  Until something reminds me. 

Lizzy went to camp with the middle school youth group from our church this week.  She was gone for 5 days.  I missed her and worried about her a bit, but I knew she’d find an adult leader that would love on her, so I knew she’d be fine. 

When I picked her up today, she walked off the bus, and my first thought was ‘she is a total mess’.  She was filthy (she had only showered once all week because the water was cold).  She looked exhausted.  She had a big scab on her chin (looked like she fell on gravel), but she said she has no idea how she got it.  I saw her trying to talk to a few different girls, and I saw them completely ignoring her.  She gathered her stuff…her backpack, duffle bag, sleeping bag…and I gathered up my ‘heaviness’ and we got into the car. 

She had a great time at camp.  She, of course, met a leader who she loved and who loved her back.  She hung out with a couple of girls from school, and “they ignored me sometimes, but mostly they were nice.” 

And I’m heavy again.  I hadn’t realized the lightness of the week, but I realize the weight when it returns.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Lizzy with all my heart and soul, and it’s because of that love that there is also a tension…a weight…that I live with.  I want others to see in her what I see.  I want her to “fit in”…not in an unhealthy way, but just in a happy, friendly way.  I want to teach her certain, appropriate ‘social graces’ without belittling who she is, or making her feel like I don’t think she’s good enough.  I just want to help her.  

So, no big revelations…no big spiritual insights in this post today.  Just my thoughts about my lovely girl. 

If you have a special needs family member or friend, tell me if you connect with this post at all. 

If you don’t, please don’t tell me…
“God loves her more than you do” or
“You should give all your worries to God” or
“It’s better if she doesn’t fit in because fitting in isn’t what’s really important” or
“Some people go through life with only one or two friends and that’s okay”. 

I know all those things already…I really do…and I believe them.  But my heart breaks for her none-the-less. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where My Passion Intersects A Need (maybe?)

Back in April, on the Re:Create Cruise, someone said (I believe it was Randy Elrod) to find your vocation “where your passion intersects a need.”   Then last week I went to the Storyline Conference and was inspired and convicted by Don Miller to get off my butt and start doing the things I need to do to create the story I want to live.  I think I might have found a way to do just that, and I want YOUR opinion.

As I said in my last post, “The Secret to Learning Others’ Stories”, if I could do anything right now, I would listen to people’s stories then write about them.  I LOVE to sit with another person and hear his story,  I mean the story of his life…stories of events that shaped him…stories of his greatest joys and deepest tragedies…stories that give insight into the person he is today. 

I also love to write.  I love to re-tell stories.  I love to use words to create emotion and spark imagination.

So, how do I intersect these passions with a need?

Here’s my idea…it’s still very rough, with a lot of details to figure out, so be honest, but no TOO rough with me!!! 

I’ve seen A LOT of books out there filled with life story questions.  You’re supposed to buy the book, answer the questions, then give the book to your children or grandchildren.  I’ve also seen some “story” websites where you can go online and write your story for family and friends to read (seems pretty much like a blog).  The problem is, many people can tell their story if asked the right questions, but will NEVER take the time to sit and write it out.    If you are one of those people, let ME write your story for you… 

Here’s how it would work…
  • We would meet for a videotaped chat…about 2 hours in length
  • I would basically interview you about your story…we’d have a casual chat over coffee, or something similar…easy, unassuming, informal.
  • I would use my creative talent to write your story in a way that fits with your personality and tastes.  If I find you to be very serious, the story may take that tone.  If you’re a joker, the story will have humor…etc…This would be partly based on my own intuitive “feel” of the situation, and partly on the purpose of the story.
  • That story can then be presented in different forms (printed and framed, in a book form, in a book form with pictures that you give me, in a book form with stock photos that relate to your story, maybe also in an e-book form)
  • You can also purchase a DVD of the interview (edited or un-edited)
Here are some possible uses…
  • For the elderly to leave their life story behind for their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc…
  • As a wedding gift…I would interview the engaged couple, then write the story of how they met, fell in love, got engaged.
  • Wedding anniversary…”The story of our first year" or “The story of our first 20 years”. You get the point.
  • High School graduation… “My life story so far” or “My high school story”.  This could be written from the student’s point of view, or the parents’ point of view, or both. 
  • Others??
So, here’s where I need your help!
  • Do you think this is a good idea or not?
  • Would you ever consider using it? 
  • What issues immediately come to mind that I might not think of? 
  • Anything else you wanna say!!!
I would greatly appreciate your time in giving me some feedback to help me get started!

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    The Secret To Learning Others' Stories

    I love to hear people’s stories.  If I could do anything right now I think I would sit down with people from all different backgrounds, listen to their stories, then write about them. 

    Every person has a story.  Everyone. 

    The cashier at the grocery store…the man sitting across from you on the subway…the homeless woman at the corner…the wealthy businessman who won’t give you the time of day.  The famous…the infamous…the unknown.  They each have a story.    

    Some filled with pain, some filled with joy, most with a certain amount of both. 

    And one thing that I know for sure is that almost everyone wants to share their story.  Everyone wants to be known…everyone wants to be heard.  Some share their story with the world, some with only a cherished few. 

    So how do I get people, sometimes virtual strangers, to tell me their stories?  Well, it’s a pretty big deal…quite a secret.  It takes great talent and finesse.  A skill that requires much practice. 

    Re you ready?  Here it is….

    I ASK.

    Amazing huh? 

    I ask.  I ask about their family.  I ask about their job.  I ask why they chose their job.  I ask where they are from.  I ask why they moved where they are now.  I ask.  Just ask.    Usually within 2-3 questions, I get to hear a story.  

    Meet Joe. 
    Joe and I worked for 2 hours together at an aid station at a charity bicycle ride.  Here’s some of what I learned about Joe…
    He has 2 living children, ages 8 and 17.  They live in California with their mom.  He has another daughter that committed suicide last year.  His ex-wife knew that his daughter was in crisis, but she didn’t talk to him about it.  He holds a lot of anger about that.  He works with at-risk teens, and his eyes light up when he talks about them.  (By the way, when someone is telling you their story, and their eyes light up, you’ve hit on their passion.  They’ll talk about that all night if you will listen.  And you will learn more about the person while listening to them talking about their passion any other topic. )  I learned all about Joe’s philosophy of working with troubled kids, as well as his hopes and dreams for the kids he works with.
    Joe is a big man with a big heart for kids, and I can now pray for him more specifically because I have heard his heart. 

    Meet Gerald.
    Gerald sat behind me on an airplane trip to Portland. I didn’t actually talk to Gerald myself.  Gerald was about 90 years old, and he was sitting next to a kid of about 10.  The kid was flying alone, and he and Gerald became fast friends.  Gerald was annoying to most of the passengers in a 5 row radius.  He talked too loud for an airplane and he laughed a lot, with a big guffaw kind of laugh.  But, guess what?  The 10 year old asked him a couple of questions, and what came next was a plethora of stories from a life well-lived, some a bit inappropriate for 10 year old ears, actually.  You know what, though?  These two people who live across the county and 80 years from each other bonded on that airplane.  They heard each other’s hearts.  They connected as only humans can do.  They connected as God intended us to do.  Simply because the boy took the time to ask. 

    And that’s the point, right?  Our stories bring us together.  Our stories give us a glimpse into each other’s hearts, passions, dreams, pains, joys, fears.  When we ask someone else, with genuine interest, about their story, we let them know that we care about these things.  We let them know that we want to know them…to hear them.  And we are blessed.  We are blessed in an intangible way…a spiritual way.  We can’t put it into words, but it changes us for the better.  

    So here’s my challenge to you.  Just ASK.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Just Another Night...

    I spend another night
    Lying in our bed
    Looking out the window
    Pondering our story

    Wondering what’s happened
    How did we ever get here?
    We had such different plans
    For where we would be now

    Tears fall down my cheek
    Although I try to stop them
    Cannot stuff the heartache
    Deep inside my soul

    You lie in bed sleeping
    It comes so easy for you
    The fear and pain don’t haunt you
    Once your head hits the pillow

    While I spend another night
    Lying in our bed
    Looking out the window
    Pondering our story

    Wondering what’s happened
    How did we ever get here?
    We had such different plans
    For where we would be now

    Tears fall down my cheek
    Although I try to stop them
    Cannot stuff the heartache
    Deep inside my soul

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Am I A Wrong-Blogger?

    I'm pretty new to blogging...actually, very new.  I haven't decided yet if there are right and wrong ways to do it.  I've read blogs about blogging, with great hints about how to get more readers, how to keep readers, how to guest blog, and how to organize your blog.

    I've been told, "don't talk too much about yourself," and "just be yourself," and "only talk about stuff that is important to you," and "find a topic that people will be attracted to and write about that."

    I've heard, "your blog posts should be 200-300 words max" and "your blog posts can be up to 600-800 words."

    I've seen blogs on all kinds of topics, from marketing to motherhood, vocations to vacations, gardening to grand-parenting, and leadership to landscaping.

    I've seen some great gimmicks like "A Photo A Day" and "Seven Sentences" (where every post is exactly 7 sentences long).

    My blog is pretty much about whatever is on my mind when I sit down to write, along with the ongoing story of A Girl Named Little.  I have no real topic, no real focus necessarily.  I don't stick to a set length for each post, and I don't really do anything fancy to get more views.

    I know that I'm called to encourage people to break the ties that hold them back, to reveal the secrets that weigh them down, and to battle the fears that tie their hands.  I'm not sure that my blog is specifically about that, though.

    So, am I a wrong-blogger??  (I just made up that term, by the way...just for fun!)  Is there a right way to blog?  Do I need to pick a specific topic?  A consistent length?  Do I need to post less about my own thoughts, and come up with a more "generalized" topic to discuss?

    When you first started your blog, how did you decide what to write about? What blogging "rules" do you use?

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    We Are All Worship Leaders

    I’ll admit to you right up front…I stole the ideas for this post from the Worship Pastor at my church (Southeast Christian Church,Parker, CO), Jeff Percival.  Jeff not only led the music portion of the service today, but he also did the teaching, and his words have resonated in my soul all day. 

    He used this great quote by Louie Giglio…

    “I think all music – not just Christian music – is worship music because every song is amplifying the value of something.  There’s a trail of our time, our affection, our allegiance, our devotion, our money.  That trail leads to a throne, and whatever’s on that throne is what we worship.  We’re all doing a great job of it because God has created us to be worshippers.  The problem is that a lot of us have really bad gods.”

    He also used Luke 4:18-19...

    “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (NLT)

    So, here’s the deal friends…We are ALL worship leaders!   Each and every one of us…believer or non-believer, old or young, those employed in ministry and those employed in secular organizations…we are ALL worship leaders.

    Why would I say that?  Here’s why…
    1. God made us to be worshippers, and we all worship something
    2. The life I am living amplifies the value of whatever I worship (if I worship money, my life will amplify the value of being wealthy…If I worship fame, my life will amplify the value of being well-known and recognized…if I worship Jesus, my life will amplify the value of Christ himself)
    3. Others will recognize and resonate with the things that I worship…those things that are amplified in my life.
    4. I am, just by the very nature of what is amplified in my life, leading others into worship of something…I am a worship leader.

    So, here’s the question…

    Your life amplifies the value of something…what is it?  What is resonating with others when they are with you?  What kind of worship are you leading?

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    A Girl Named Little - Part 5

    To read...
    A Girl Named Little - Part 1 - click here
    A Girl Named Little - Part 2 - click here
    A Girl Named Little - Part 3 - click here
    A Girl Named Little - Part 4 - click here

    “I need to tell you something about your grandpa,” Little heard her mom’s voice say over the phone.  Sitting alone in her college apartment, Little’s stomach started to churn, her hands started to sweat.  Mom’s voice sounded concerned.  Could she know something?  How?  Or maybe he’s sick, in the hospital, dead.  Little’s mind sped through a million possibilities in just a few seconds. 

    “What’s going on?”

    “Well, it’s crazy.  These two little girls in his neighborhood have claimed that he exposed himself to them.” 

    Little felt instantly queasy, lightheaded, short-of-breath. ‘Oh God,’ she thought.  ‘This is it…it’s all going to come out now…and I’m not the only one.’  Anger, disgust, rage, hurt, fear all surged through her simultaneously.  She tried to stay focused on her mother’s words…to act surprised, unaffected.

    “Huh,” was the only sound she could get out.

    Her mother continued, “They say that they were riding their bikes down the street and he exposed himself through the front window.  These little girls are trouble makers, though.  You know he would never do anything like that.  I have no idea why they are making up such a horrible thing.”

    Little couldn’t speak…what could she say?  Should she confess her secret?  Everything in her wanted to say, “No!  You’re wrong!  He would do something like this!  He did this to me, and even worse!”  But she couldn’t…the words were stuck…fear overwhelmed…nothing came.

    Finally Little asked, “So, what’s going to happen?”

    “Well, this has actually been going on for a little while, but I didn’t tell you sooner because I didn’t want to worry you.  Now it’s going to court, so I thought you should know.  But we have letters from a bunch of neighbors supporting your grandfather.  Those girls make up lies all the time.  I’m sure the judge will see that they are lying and that your grandfather would never do such a thing.” 

    And Little didn’t tell…and the judge ruled in favor of her grandfather…and those girls were called liars…and her guilt and shame grew. 

    • Painful secrets don’t sit dormant.  They are a breeding ground for guilt, shame, self-hatred and doubt. 
    • Painful secrets don’t heal themselves.  Healing requires truth and light.
    • Painful secrets don’t only hurt their holder.  They create a wall of fear which separates their holder from truly loving others, and so the hurt spreads. 

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Parent Therapy...I Need Help!

    I spent the last few days in Georgia with some of my family.  We were celebrating the high school graduation of one of my nieces.

    My middle brother and his wife have 3 kids, ages 20, 18 (the graduate) and 16.  I haven’t had the chance to spend extended time with my nieces and nephew in a few years.  One of the things that I noticed about them during this trip is that they get along SO well with each other!  To be honest, I was feeling pretty insecure about my own kids, so I said to my sister-in-law, “Please tell me that they used to fight with each other when they were my kids’ ages (14, 12, and 10).” 

    She thought for a moment then said, “Actually, they didn’t.”   

    ‘Hmm,’ I thought.  “Okay, I don’t really mean ‘fight’.  What I really mean is more like ‘bicker’.  They did that, right?” 

    “Ummm, no.  They really didn’t.  They’ve always gotten along really well.”

    Now, I know what you’re thinking…she has just forgotten.  Everyone’s kids fight, or argue, or bicker, or whatever you want to label it.  Or, maybe she just doesn’t want to admit it…maybe she’s one of those moms that acts like her kids are perfect.  But I can tell you this.  I’ve known my sister-in-law for over 20 years and that is just not her personality.  She’s honest about the weaknesses of her children, along with their strengths.  She loves her children dearly (as does my brother), but neither of them are blind to the truth either. 

    Then I came home to my kids…who really are awesome kids…but who do not get along nearly as well as my nieces and nephews do.  A few minutes after arriving home, I was looking through my son’s 8th grade yearbook with him, when his youngest sister asked if she could look it when we were done. 

    If you had walked into the conversation at this point, you might have thought that his sister had just asked him to cut off his own arm.  He acted so 'put out' by the question.  I mean, how could she?  It is a ridiculous request when you think about it…that his younger sister would want to look at this book that means so much to him…that she might actually be interested in something pertaining to him…I mean, it’s ghastly, really.

    Someone help me understand what is going on in his mind?  Help me, seriously.  When you have something you care about, and someone else shows interest in it, isn’t your first reaction to want to share it?  Aren’t you excited that someone else cares about it?  Don’t you want to show it off?

    Why is this not true for my son with his little sister?  And, how should I handle it?  Do I force him to show it to her?  Do I try to talk to him about why he doesn’t want to show it to her?  Do I try to use reason and logic? 

    Help?? Anyone???

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Teenage Attitude

    My 14 year old son is an awesome kid...I love him to death.  He also has his “teenage attitude” moments when I absolutely want to wring his neck!  One of those times happened this evening…just a few minutes ago, actually….and I’m still fuming just a bit.

    Since he only has one more week of school, I decided to go online and check his grades.  He has always been a good student with good grades, so I had no significant worries about what I might find.  What I wasn’t expecting was that he has 8 missing assignments.  Eight.  Not just one “oops I forgot” moment.  Eight missing assignments.  That’s not an accident…that’s pure irresponsibility. 

    Of course, this little discovery spawned a “conversation” in our household this evening about responsibility, lying, etc…  And here is what my 14 year old son said to me…”I can handle my school stuff on my own.”

    If I hadn’t been so frustrated with him, I would have laughed.  “Umm…really?  Really?  Did you fall on your head today?  You have 8 missing assignments!  That’s not how I define someone who can handle his schoolwork on his own!” 

    I sent him off to work on his assignments and thought to myself (and I’ll be honest here), ‘teenagers are just stupid…MY teenager is stupid.  He actually believes that we should just step back and let him do what he wants to do (or not do, as the case may be).   He actually believes that, at the ripe old age of 14, he’s got it all taken care of.  But wait until he needs something…a ride, some money, dinner…will I be so unnecessary then?’

    Then suddenly I heard a whisper in my soul.  I sensed Jesus saying, with a bit of a friendly smirk on His face (and, yes, I do believe that Jesus smirks!) “Isn’t this, Kim, the way you so often act toward me?  Don’t you often act like a stupid teenager who thinks that she can handle life on her own?  Don’t you often believe that you’ve got it all taken care of?  Until you need something, that is.”

    Ouch…it’s true.  Maybe, like my son who thinks he’s older than he actually is, I think I’m more mature than I actually am.  If I’m honest, I walk my faith more often like a stupid teenager than a mature adult. 

    But, as always, there is good news.  I still love my son more than life itself…I would die for that stupid teenager!  And Jesus loves me more than life itself…so much so that he already died.