April 15, 2014

Laughter Trumps Tears

    My long day of work came & went with alacrity. I scooped Sara up from home afterwards & we went to Walmart for some girl schtuff. An hour & a half later & some new clothes & snacks, we got home. Don't judge. 
     I had been up since six, my hips & feet were practically crying for rest, & so I did. At work, a lot got accomplished, but at home there still was & are two baskets of laundry to put away. I was thoroughly exhausted & could barely keep my eyes open by 8pm. Still trying to give myself grace for days like this--when not only the work stress but my physical pain zaps my brain so I can't get much writing done.
    I was laying on my bed, chatting with Sara. My eyes were shut so I wouldn't see the laundry baskets sitting at the foot of my bed. Lest I fell asleep, I opened my eyes & they fell upon a single pink rose on my desk. No it's not from anyone special. I bought a half dozen roses for Mum & she gave me one. She's sweet like that, to share our love of roses.
      Keep in mind--I'm exhausted. Pain level's just ebbing at long last & I have a ton of things to do. Not exactly the best frame of mind for me to wonder if, one day, My Guy will bring me roses for no reason. Surely he'll know how much I love them. Or will it just be me buying myself flowers to brighten my desk every few weeks? Tears pricked behind my eyes & I shut them again as the wondering spiraled.
     My eyes flew open when Sara exclaimed. She had knelt on her bed to open her window, & she knelt on her curtains. The entire curtain rod fell on her--swathing her in white, filmy curtains.
     She looked so surprised & confused that I just lost it. We have the type of relationship, you understand, that when we're clumsy or get the least bit hurt, we laugh. If we bump our head in the attic or stub a toe? We laugh at each other. My stomach ached from laughing so hard at Sara's minor misfortune & once I caught my breath & recovered, the pain was still there, so was the exhaustion--but I felt lighter than ever.
      I had no revelation, no conviction coming through my thick skull--just a random moment of laughter. A gift from my Father Who knows what my needs & my heart better than I do.

April 11, 2014

Swedish Fish God-Appointments

I had more calls last Friday than my long day on the phones the day before. 3.5 hrs of the phones being on there were eight sick calls, countless appointments, faxing, writing up Rx's, etc. And did I mention almost over forty appointments to confirm? Just a typical Friday at work. 

There was an especially talkative, but very sweet lady who called. I could tell right off she needed to unload a little so I caught up on the faxes & listened ... & tried to pay attention as to why she was calling me. She needed our fax number. The poor thing had three children, worked three jobs & her husband's out of town a lot for work. And she has her own health to worry about. A simple, "I hope you don't mind me saying, but I'm praying for you" from me, & ten minutes of a God-ordained conversation later--yes this was a brief slow time Friday morning--we hung up. I learned she is a Christian, & how amazing it is how God sustains us thru even the most trying times through other people or random acts of kindness or a simple, I'm praying for you. 
Left work with my heart warmed & glowing.

Headed then next door to Walgreens for some movie snacks for me & Ronnie to see Capt. America 2 that night. Was in search of Swedish Fish jelly beans in particular. A patient brought them into work along with other goodies as a thank-you & I was hooked. Seriously, try them. I asked an employee there where they could be found & she geeked out about them with me & pointed me to an Easter-themed box of Swedish Fish. I think I may've said something along the lines of, "Thank you so much. Have a blessed day."
Well, this woman clasped her hands to her heart & proceeded to tell me how much she needed that, & that she would claim it in Jesus' name because He had just been so good to her through a lot of rough times she's had recently. I replied, "Amen to that" & her eyes filled with tears & she proceeded to share the work God has done & is doing in her heart. 

It's the little things like these God-appointments; the choices not to rush, be kind & really listen with the same grace gifted to each & every one of us from the Lord even in our not-so-pretty moments. Some times I have moments where I wonder, What would it be like if _______. If I could write full time & not have to work; if I had a Mr. Charming as my one friend calls that ever elusive Special Someone; then I remember God's will is for me to bloom where I'm planted & live now. 

April 8, 2014

'Twill Be My Joy ...

Working on some edits as rain falls soft outside. The sky's gray, but light, at seven o'clock. My sister's playing her guitar across the room, kids & Mum are downstairs ... I'm bushed after a too late night & a long day's work. Spring's just about here *touches wood* & at long last. It's almost seven thirty & the sky's colored dove gray--but still it is light out. 
God's promises are yes & amen. Spring always follows winter.
So much to do ... but so much to love. To read. To pray. 
And so much to listen for. 
Mary sat at Jesus' feet instead of helping her sister in the kitchen. Martha missed out by being preoccupied with so much work "to be done under the sun" as Solomon warned against in Ecclesiastes.
Easter draws near & far too many people are preoccupied. I'm not talking about those who "do" the Easter Bunny & chocolate & plan on making this holiday the first out of two times they go to church this year.
I'm talking about us, the redeemed of the Lord. God's children. Me--His daughter. Reluctant to slow down. The road to Calvary is one not to be recalled for a mere one or two weeks out of the year. It is to be recalled in every moment when we make the choice to give into the comments & complaints that too easily can jump from our mouths. The moments when our own physical steps are limping & painful but there's still an hour or two more to the work day. 
Jesus' walk to Calvary--widely recognized as Holy Week--was not one short week in length. It began on that night when He came to earth & the angels sang, Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace, goodwill towards men. 
His walk ended not when His steps faltered on the hill & His cross was borne by another the rest of the way. His walk to Calvary ended not even when His feet were nailed to the Cross. 
Jesus' walk ended at the precise moment foreknew since the beginning of time when His blood was spilt to atone for us all. No earlier would the Lord have uttered, It is finished.
He asked that the cup be taken from Him. But yet He uttered, Not my will but Your's be done, after crying to His father--our Father--in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I stand amazed in the presenceOf Jesus the NazareneAnd wonder how He could love meA sinner condemned uncleanFor me it was in the gardenHe prayed: "Not my will but Thine"He had no tears for His own griefsBut sweat-drops of blood for mineTwill be my joy through the agesTo sing of His love for me!

April 3, 2014

Wanted: Writers

Below are some fantastic places in need of submissions on a myriad of great subjects. I write/have written for almost all of these fantastic places & have been incredibly blessed.

Love books & film?
Write for Charity's bi-monthly webzine, Femnista. She has a wide range of upcoming topics so contact her today for some inspiration & a spot in the webzine!
We welcome any and all submissions. Because we are a little webzine, we do not offer payment, but you do get your name out there and a spot as a blogger here on our main website. Our writers range in age from their mid-teens to moms. Your age doesn't matter... what matters is the wisdom and passion you have to share. We are looking for writers who love their topic, who are inventive, creative, and willing to try. Our goal is to celebrate women of all ages, all interests, and all talents, through our publication and our bloggers. That is our mission: simply to encourage you to be you, and to be all you can be.

Meditations of His Love: a devotional blog for young ladies
If you have something on your beautiful soul to share how the Lord has worked, taught & is renewing you day by day--head over to Meditations of His Love & Kindred Grace {their details below}
We welcome your guest posts! If you have something on your heart that you’d love to share on Meditations of His Love blog, please send it our way.  Before you send us your article, please make sure it follows these requests.
1. Is your post glorifying to the Lord and Scriptural?
2. Is your post full of grace and an encouragement to other women?
3. Is the message of your post relevant to the theme at Meditations of His Love?
4. Is your post proofread and free from grammatical and spelling mistakes?
5. Is your post free from controversial doctrine and theology subjects?
6. Is your post free from political or government debate?
Your post must meet these requirements, & be 200-600 words long.

Since our desire at Kindred Grace is to provide a grace filled space for conversations between sisters in Christ, we always welcome submissions from our readers. Guest posts can be on any topic that will glorify God & encourage other Christian women. Browse our archives for for an idea of the variety in the pieces published here at Kindred Grace. Follow the links below for specific writing guidelines & details on the submission process.
Writing Guidelines
Submission Process
The Art & Craft of Writing
Do you like to write about, well, writing? How you spill your own words across pages or into cyberspace, your publishing journey thus far & what you're learning on the crazy journey of being a writer, check out Every Good Word.
Anything & everything having to do with writing. Your story of how you came to be a writer, lessons learned along the way, editing tips & tricks, research techniques, how you manage your time as a writer, why you write what you do, the genre you write in...do you have your own unique idea or angle of writing not mentioned here? Send it on over to me!
Adornabelle ~ beautiful within, adorned without
If you love fashion, beauty tips & tricks & have found your niche in your personal style--hop over to Adornabelle!
Adornabelle is a site focusing on modest, classic fashion, healthy fitness and natural beauty.  We welcome your guest post submissions. If you are interested in writing for Adornabelle, we encourage you browse our site for the kind of content and quality that we’re looking for. You can also read about some of the topics we hope to feature here.
If you're in need of writerly services like edits, covers, formatting, look no further than three of the greatest. 
Rossano Designs in a small, Christian company run by an independently published author to support other authors. Rachel Rossano enjoys designing & formatting. This company is her way of helping others give their stories professional covers & presentation at a reasonable price.

Do you love to splash words on the page? Me, too. I know what a feat it is to put pen to paper and be proud of what you've written. I can be your extra pair of eyes. I am passionate about helping you polish your work until it shines as it should. I am trained in rhetorical composition, love to perfect punctuation, and fondly refer to myself as one of those grammar aficionados. I have worked with writers seeking traditional publication and those on the self-publishing route. I also have experience with international writers and those whose native language is not English.

Interested? Let's talk! Contact me at rachelle (at) rachellerea (dot) com. Click here for more details!

Each story has a season. Maybe you're just starting out, wanting to know if anything bright and good can come from your novel beginnings. Maybe you're almost ready to watch your full-grown book blossom to life - you just need to prune it and trim it a little more before you can show it to the world. Or maybe you're looking for someone to help you showcase and share the work of your hands. 
Wherever you're at, I would love to help you! First, I invite you to take a look at the various pages on the site. If you think I can give you the encouragement and direction you need, then send me an e-mail, and we'll figure out the details. I'm excited to share the journey with you! Click here for all the details!

March 31, 2014

A Freeing Declaration {Stone Collective}

Do not cast away your confidence, which is great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God,
you may receive the promise:
For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come & will not tarry ... 
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
Hebrews 10:35-37, 11:1

I'm convinced this time between school & marriage is one of the most sanctifying & important times in my life. It's not to be wasted or taken for granted--this is my lifesong prayer. The fact that God has done more & more work in my heart & life these last almost-three years since graduation should tell me that this season of life is to be treasured & used to the utmost God glorifying advantage. But it's easy to forget all that in the day to day. The day to day where you see not only an engagement announcement but also baby news on social media within minutes of each other{!}. But it is good.
The day to day when you watch old family videos when your siblings were precious babies & you were a painfully awkward twelve year old with braces & you wish things were as simple & carefree as they were back then. Those days were good!
The day in & day out part time job God dropped in my lap three years ago & continues to beat me over the head with confirmation that this is where He wants me to be. It. Is. Good! In spite of the very normal stress of working with & around imperfect people in an imperfect medical practice.
It. Is. Good.
There's a song called While I'm Waiting by John Waller, & I've known of it for four years but only just recently did it go straight through my heart, peeling yet another layer off I didn't know I needed removed. The salty, burning layer of my pride--it's multi-layered, trust me, like an onion--that says there's something wrong with me or I'm doing life just wrong & that is why I'm not in a relationship. 
After a Tuesday night at church, I came home feeling incredibly down on myself but tamped it down & just ignored it. I put the bandaid back over it. But God needed to let me breathe, so He removed the bandaid/onion layer what have you--you get the jist. And through that song, I finally realized it's okay to breathe while my heart yearns & wonders & occasionally aches.
It. Is. Good.
God's plan is where I'm at. What I'm doing. The work in progress that I am. 
God's will for me in every season is to,
Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God 
in Christ Jesus for you. 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This renewed faith--another layer, if you will--that the Lord worked in me, has evidence in words. Not only His promises in the Word, but in words I pray & write down for my Special Someone. A few weeks ago I was writing to him & thanking the Lord for all the work He has done & I'm sure is doing in My Guy's life.
I wrote one thing that had never, ever crossed my mind before. 
I thanked God that My Guy is a certainty. That the unique story God has for me & the lucky{??} guy has already come true.

Never had I praised & prayed with such declaration before. 
LIVE IT OUT! Stone CollectiveAnd it was freeing.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer. Hither by Thy help I've come. And I hope by Thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home.

Joining in with Sarah Francis Martin & many other wonderful women of God who are raising their own  remembrance "stones" in art form as an ovation of praise to the Living God.

March 27, 2014

The Occasional Soapbox: Fashion Edition

For the first time in my life & through God's work & grace alone--I am happier than ever with my figure & appearance. Like everything else in life, my weight is a work in progress but it is just a number. Not a definition of myself or a factor to my self-confidence/worth. Long story short, I'm on a slow but sure "shrinkage" quest. And that is one {small} reason I am here today ... not to rant. Much

I've been on a quest for a dress to wear for one of the weddings I have this year. Trust me when I say I've exhausted the internet & many stores. Not just the designer brands at department stores like Macy's or Kohls, but even exclusively plus-size stores like Avenue or Lane Bryant. I've noticed an increasingly worrisome theme in the "plus size" or "Woman" departments in big, brand-name stores. Even my beloved Target! Not only are they smaller in selection, they are more expensive. Beyond those two basic, unavoidable facts about those sections, I dare someone to point out a store whose plus size section isn't, there are two extremes the plus size fashion world needs to amend.

The first extreme is that plus size fashion is incredibly dull & "old." There's no color! I am thoroughly sick of black & grey & winter blah colors. I'm all for the classic little black dress & how we all can put our unique spin on it. And black is slimming. However ... the abundance of "old lady" patterns & dated colors leave much to be desired in the plus size section.
The second extreme is that certain stores try too hard. I'm referring to those "Junior's Plus" sizes. Some designers make the same little ballerina homecoming dresses or the boho-chic itty bitty clothes in bigger sizes & it just doesn't work. This principle could be applied to the "Misses" size. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack with all the department store brands to find a 16, & you could have one piece in the same size from two different brands & they fit completely different. I was at Dress Barn the other day & the Misses 16's were like a 12W! 

The fashion industry doesn't make it easy for us girls & young women with curves, let me tell you. It can be incredibly discouraging going from store after store looking for pieces you can mix & match to make your own. I was going to go on a longer rant about the fashion industry -- but I'm going to look at this as a creative challenge. Sometimes it takes digging thru clearance racks, thrift stores & those plus size sections to find just the right pieces to make outfits work. No matter what--don't give up or settle. Figure out your personal style & wear it with joy. Walking with confidence in the One Who sees you as beautiful--fearfully & wonderfully made.