Quotes to Write By

26 Jul

Since I’m having fun at the Oregon Coast this week,  here is a quick quote for you! I am not able to think like this but it would be nice to. Less frustration would occur, I think.  Enjoy and you’ll hear from me next week.

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”

—Lawrence Block, WD

A Literary Quote

21 Jul

A bit of encouragement for you writers out there!

“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.”
– Ray Bradbury

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Wholesome Speech

16 Jul strivingforavirtuouslife

Today we are going to talk about how, as women (and men!!) striving to be more like Him, we need to pattern our speech in a way that glorifies our Lord instead of profaning Him. We have all been around those whose words are like nails being pounded into the coffin lid; fingernails on a chalkboard; conversation stoppers; joy-suckers. When one sentence can quiet a whole room in shock or anger. I have always been taught that what comes out of your mouth shows what’s in your heart (Luke 6:45) – whether it’s good or bad. As believers in Christ, we are not to be one of those joy-suckers. We are called, instead, to bring joy, to build up those around us.

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If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality and authenticity.  There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Wholesome

  • conducive to moral or general well-being; salutary; beneficial: wholesome recreation; wholesome environment.
  • conducive to bodily health; healthful; salubrious:   wholesome food; wholesome air; wholesome exercise.
  • suggestive of physical or moral health, especially in appearance.
  • healthy or sound.
  • of benefit to the soul

Synonyms- helpful, good, nourishing, nutritious

Since starting this post a few weeks ago (I didn’t write near as much as intended on vacation!) I have been listening to myself, and to those around me more closely. How common is it for us to encourage someone? I am ashamed to admit that even if I don’t speak it, sometimes my thoughts are not what they should be. And since it’s been so many days, I’ve also taken it one step further – how do people react to each other, in response to their words and general demeanor? This has included people working in restaurants and stores and wherever I’ve been. I have a friend who is very careful about how she talks about others – even in her hurt and frustration. It has been such a great reminder to me to try and do the same. The side effect of doing this observation, is that I grew to have less patience for those who speak without thought to the damage their words were doing – it started to leave an ache inside when I heard careless words. I have come to the decision that I want this ache to linger there, whenever I hear such words, as a reminder that words are precious and should be chosen with utmost care.
Eph 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Building others up according to their needs. Not our needs. Theirs. Jesus’ words were never intended to beat someone down but to lift them from their pain and suffering to life. Our words cannot bring spiritual life to someone, of course, but we can help them face another day or another moment. We can show them His love by our words and actions.
Luke 6:45- “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
This one worries me a little, guys. As I said earlier, I already know how often I can mentally if not verbally, criticize someone. Is that really what I want to be full of in my heart? Negativity? Criticism? I have had enough of that brought on me over the years that I certainly do not want to be one who turns around and beats someone down with her words just to… feel better? Why is it we find it so easy to be nasty? Sin entered the world of course, long ago in Eden.
Col 4:6 – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  
I keep thinking of the bad habit we as a general people have – we start forming our answers before the question has even been fully asked. It is a by product of our self-centered society. But by doing this, we are basically telling that person that we don’t have time for them; that we are more important. Which is the opposite of how we are supposed to be treating others – with grace and thoughtfulness.
Prov 15:1-2 ” A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
Be gentle with each other. Gentle. Remember holding a newborn? You slowly slide your hands on either side of the little one, one hand sliding farther to cradle the back of their head and then you gently lift until they are in your arms. But still, you remain gentle as you shift one hand, possibly both, to have a firm but gentle hold on them. Picture your words being your hands and the person you’re speaking to, the newborn. Be gentle, friends. Be it your wife, husband, friend, family member, the rude person at the store, etc. It doesn’t matter who or what – you, we, I , have been called to be gentle in our words.
James 5:12 “Above all, brothers, stop swearing oaths – not “By heaven,” not “By the earth,” and not by any other formula; rather, let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.”
Honesty. Straight-forwardness. Adding extra words doesn’t increase your honesty or trustworthy-ness. In one of my favorite novels, the main character is told several times to ‘trust me’ by her bully cousin. As her friend tells her ‘you know you can’t trust someone when they have to tell you to.’ It hits me every time with its truth. Let your words be as they are. Be someone of integrity and wholesome speech.
~Laura
A printable for you:virtueseries-speech

I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality and authenticity.

My Trip to California – the beach, Chocolate chip cookies and family

12 Jul triptocali2015

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The trip to Cali begins!!! Shared the backseat with Supey, my parents cute-but-annoying dachsund. It was sad to see the ground get browner as we got further into Ca. Our second night there, the big group of us (rarely was it less than 12 the whole time) went out for dinner!

Many happy times were spent in grandpa’s garden over the years. Filling over half of their backyard, it’s full of thriving plants. Right near the back door are trees full of grapefruit, lemon and oranges.

Celebrating Grandpa and Grandma’s 60th Wedding Anniversary and a family reunion in one big party! I even got to meet two of grandma’s siblings!

A bit of exploring while on the search for some gluten free and vegan chocolate chip cookies. (totally found some by the way, just gluten free and then the whole shebang in the same area, i just can’t remember the name!!). Lunch and horseshoes and a very good reason why I don’t live in California. =)

Lunch and Antiquing in Cayucos Ca. Schooner’s fish tacos were delicious, and the goat cheese they put on the side for me? I ended up eating it by itself – it was so creamy and amazing. The wood sailor was outside the restaurant, and was named my new boyfriend. For some reason, my OH didn’t seem concerned. Yes, that’s a Weird Al record, kicking myself I didn’t buy it!! And then my nephew took a broken toy to grandpa (his great-grandpa) for him to fix it, so sweet

 

 Elephant Seals in San Simeon. We learned a lot about them from a volunteer, definitely a worthwhile stop!

Fireworks at Pismo Beach with some of my family

It was a fun-filled trip, despite the 15 hours to get there and the 14 to get back! Whew! I am so glad to be home again though, at least until my next trip in a few weeks!

Short Story Sharing

29 Jun shortstorysharing

shortstorysharing

Once again I’m awake in the wee hours of the morning (if you thought of this song, kudos to you ) so here’s a snippet of a story I’m working on. I really might pare it down and try turning it into a picture book but I’m enjoying it so I hope you do!

“The door that, when opened, would show her anything she wanted to see, was finally before her. Eagerly she grasped the handle and turned but nothing happened. No matter how hard she tried, it stayed solidly shut. Her cheeks puffed and her face turned red with her efforts but the lock that held it in place was not moved.  In frustration she stepped back and stared at the frustrating door knob, when finally she realized, if it was locked – there must be a key! Spinning away from the door, she searched everywhere for the key – in boxes and bags, baskets and drawers, dark shelves and hidden corners were gone through. A room that was overflowing with every book, toy and child’s game imaginable was there. But no key. By the time she plopped herself down on the floor in frustration, her ringlets were in disarray, her dress was wrinkled and the buckle of one shoe had broken. Tears welled up in her eyes as she stared at the large round door in front of her. Her chin quivered and breath got short, but just before an ear-splitting scream was released, a small voice stopped her. “That won’t help, you know. It rarely ever does.” Drawing a startled breath and looking around her, the little girl spied a small mouse sitting atop an upside down china cup. In his hands was what looked to be a cake, only a miniature one so small that only in hands so tiny as a mouse’s did it look like a grand cake. In her distress she didn’t think of the oddity of having a mouse talk, she only replied indignantly, “Yes it does. I get whatever I want that way.” The mouse took a nibble of the grand cake and shook his head as he chewed. “Wherever you’re from, it’s clear it’s not here. For here, behaving that way only brings you one thing.” Tears gone and hysterics forgotten, the girl crossed her legs and straightened her dress. “What’s that?” “Death.” “Death?! You’re lying.” Her messy ringlets were tossed over her shoulder and she crossed her arms in front of her. “No, no. It’s true. If one does not behave themselves here, one does not behave anywhere.” At his little rhyme, the mouse chuckled to himself. “Well said, well said.” His whiskers quivered when he talked, but even more so when he chuckled. They almost danced when he finally laughed out loud. “I gather you have not been here long, or you would know this rule already.” “That is a stupid rule.” She felt proud of herself when using that word, her parents didn’t like it, and so she tried to use it as often as possible.  Gathering her dress in one hand, she started to get up until she heard the small voice again. “And where do you think you are going? I have not said you could leave.” “What? I don’t have to listen to you.” “If you want to know how to open that door, you do. Sit down.” As anyone knows when achieving something that is forbidden, it only increases your longing for it. But to all of a sudden be told how to get it, and that it is alright, decreases the attraction it once held for you.  While this held true for the little girl, she found she did still want to open the door. She refused to acknowledge this to the mouse that offered to help though, “Why do you think I care about that old door?” A little, teeny-tiny huff escaped his lips, “I dare say you do care. That was the reason you were about to set up a squall, isn’t it?” “A squall?” “A ruckus. A noise. Crying, child, screaming. That horrible noise you were about to burden my ears with.” Throughout this conversation the mouse continued eating his grand cake, one nibble at a time. Between every few bites he would clean his whiskers and take a drink of tea out of a dainty doll’s cup. Not liking that he wasn’t telling her anything about the door, and seemed to be partially ignoring her, she brushed her ringlets behind her shoulders, and said nastily, “It would serve you right, you little…” But that’s all she got out for he lifted a finger and shook it at her, “ah-ah-ah. None of that now. Remember the rule. Sit down. Tell me your name.” His voice, while being smooth also demanded that she obey at once. There were only a few people that can do this with their voice, and our friend the mouse, is one of them. To her dismay, the little girl found that she had sat prettily down on a cushion beside the table the mouse was on. “Melinda. My name is Melinda Cryalot.” “Hmm, it suits you I dare say. My name is Mr. Keeper.” “Keeper? What kind of a name is that?” She said with a sneer, for you see, she didn’t realize that her own name told others what type of a girl she was. “A fitting name. For, you see, I am the keeper of the key.” He said it all so calmly, as if it didn’t really mean anything. But really, he was watching her from the corner of his eye as he finished his cake and cleaned his whiskers for the last time.  It was very important how she responded to what he said, it would mean he could go on sitting comfortable in his chair, or he’d have to get up and do something about this newest child. He knew the King of The Land of Rules had a reason for sending Melinda Cryalot here, he just hadn’t figured out how to properly help her. So he was hoping inspiration would strike in the next few minutes.”

Yes, that’s probably more than a ‘snippet’ but I just couldn’t shorten it any…. Like I said, I’m loving the story already and have so many plans for this little girl! If you’ve posted a story you’re working on, share your link below – I’d enjoy reading it!  ~Laura

Book Review- June 2015 (part 2)

25 Jun bkrvwjune2015part2

As promised, here is part two of this month’s book review.

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Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Sophie’s Daughters bk 2) – Sally Mclellan is a total tomboy, and proud of it. But when artist Logan Mckenzie rescues her, she realizes that wearing a dress and being a woman isn’t so bad. But can she survive the outlaws that are intent on killing her, the only witness to their murdering, in order to really decide about loving a man who loves to paint the land instead of work it? And can she let her guard down and flourish as a woman? ~ I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel set in these times about an artist out in farming/ranching country. Loved the story line. Loved the characters. Definite re-read!

Sharpshooter in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Sophie’s Daughters bk 3) – After a disastrous marriage that has left her the focus of a feud, Mandy Mclellan Grey has sequestered herself and her children in order to stay alive. It will take everything Tom Linscott has to convince her to come to his ranch and marry him. The way he figures it, she should have as soon as she finished burying her worthless husband, five years ago. When Tom goes up the mountain to get Mandy, he gets a whole lot more trouble that he expected – a great deal of that from the deadly-accurate sharpshooter he loves. ~ The final book in this series, Connealy keeps the fun and suspense in this novel. While this one has a slight more ‘adult theme’ it is still very tastefully done. And of course, you get to catch up on Beth and Sally’s lives. Another great read.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – A precursor to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit  tells the story of Bilbo Baggins’ adventures with the dwarves that are going back to the Lonely Mountain in order to reclaim their homeland and treasure that was stolen from them by the dragon, Smaug. Through trolls’ snares, goblin tunnels, Mirkwood Forest and an angry Elvenking must they survive, before they even reach the deadliest of foes – the wily dragon who slumbers amid his horde of gold. ~ I just finished this a few hours ago and what a writer Tolkien is! I cannot wait to get the LOTR series now. The only part I didn’t thoroughly enjoy was the spider part –which makes perfect sense if you know me… An honest to goodness classic that I don’t know how I hadn’t already read.

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake ( Prairie Promises bk 1) –  Clara Fields is determined to get herself and her aunt to Oregon in order to start a new life there. But when they are booted from the wagon train, they must seek help in the small town along the Platte River. Striking a bargain with a shopkeeper, Clara agrees to help find his visiting son a bride in exchange for the shopkeeper’s house. The only problem is that  Dr. Saul Reed is not interested in getting married and settling in Buttonwood – he’s got a practice ready to start in Boston. ~ This is one of those I like to call ‘fluff’ books. Easy to read in a doctor’s office or a park but still well written to be worth reading and keep you interested. The circumstances throughout the book are laugh-out-loud ridiculous but definetly keep you turning the page. A very fun, quick read.

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt –  Guiding you through each day with advice, encouragement and worksheets, this book helps you stay focused on writing a book in 30 days. It is put out by Writer’s Digest. ~Gasp. I am SO excited about this book. I am not committing to writing a book in a month, but i am using it more as a guideline and to help me get the momentum back on the novel I’m currently working on. Which can make it a little difficult, what with having almost 40 pages written, and the intent is to start on day 1 with a blank page…errr, blinking cursor/blank document. I am excited to keep working through it and working out the kinks in my novel along the way.

~Sorry there’s no pictures or links for these books this month, but I’m getting these written out and scheduled for I’m heading for vacation tonight! So, while it’s not necessarily a ‘pretty’ post, the reviews are genuine and the books are awesome! Enjoy!

~Laura

Book Review- June

21 Jun bkrvwjune2015

How many months has it been since we’ve had a book review?!? Too many, and I am here to fix that! I have been reading all over the genres lately – thanks to the stack of books my mom gave me and other gifts by wonderful friends!

I am going to cover the books that I read since our last review in March and work forward from there, this might just be a two-part review.

Let’s begin shall we?

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Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (book 6) –   Anne is expecting another child but to the family’s dismay, Aunt Mary comes to visit, for a long time. To add to the difficulty, Anne starts to wonder if Gilbert still loves her. But, still full of spunk and imagination, Anne is ready to make her husband fall in love all over again. ~  Ah, this book was probably one of my favorites of those later in the series. I loved the children being young, a difficult relative coming and staying indefinitely and seeing Anne older and wiser but still full of dreams and imagination.

Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery  (book 7) – Anne and Gilbert now have six children, and their amusing antics are carried out in Rainbow Valley. Their new neighbors, two boys and two girls who only have a minister father, join them in the valley and add to the escapades. ~ This book was a delight to read. While I grew up out in the country, I certainly didn’t have adventures like these! You will fall in love with these children.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (book 8) – Only young Rilla is left of the Blythe children at Ingleside. Pretty 15 year old Rilla is only focused on getting to her first dance and hopefully, her first kiss from Kenneth Ford. But when the world erupts into war, her world is turned into one of drama and challenges. Not only do her brothers go off to fight, but she rescues an abandoned baby in a soup tureen. ~ I must admit that this one was harder to read, with it being focused on the war. But because of that fact, it was the best ‘account’ of what life was probably like for them during those days, so for that, I appreciated it. I like how Rilla grew up throughout the challenges and years.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (book 1) – Elantris was once a golden city in Arelon – literally glowing from the magic of the Shaod. It was the epicenter of trade and the demigods used their power to help others. 10 years ago, all that changed – the Elantirans became like lepers, and the city became their prison. In the devastation, a new capital has risen, Kae, in the shadow of the walls of Elantris. From across the waters, Princess Sarene of Teod comes to wed Prince Raoden – eager at last to meet and fall in love with this enigmatic man, but instead finds out that he has died and according to the laws of Kae, their engagement vows are as binding as marriage vows. Hrathen is a high priest of the Fjordell empire, and stepping into Kae hours after Princess Sarene has only two goals – convert the people of Kae in a few months’ time or they will all be killed. As Sarene battles politics in order to save both Teod and Kae from Fjordell control, she finds out the truth of Prince Raoden. He had become an Elantrian – outcast in the decaying city, and while trying to help the wretches there, he just might find the answer to the secret of Elantris. ~ Yes, this book deserves a long review. I LOVED this book. I never would have chosen it myself, but thank goodness for friends that send you books out of your ordinary! This quickly became a favorite of mine. The story line twists and turns so that I never knew how it was going to end and the characters were very well written. Neither Sarene nor Raoden are your typical royalty, and even the villian, Hrathen, has depths that intrigued and kept him from being someone you grew bored of. All in all, an excellent book full of suspense and lacking in anything sensual or ‘sketchy’. I’m even contemplating taking it on my trip to Cali with me!

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger are the main stars in this delightful children’s classic as their adventures range from the constant river,stolen  motor cars, the Wild Wood and gypsy caravans. Originally published in 1908, these friends have long delighted readers. Mole and Rat are the best of friends , as well as being the best type of friend to others; Toad is peevish, thinking only of the fun he longs to have and Badger is the bachelor who knows everyone and is the wisest of them all. ~Some friends recommended this book and I scored an older copy at Powell’s bookstore in order to read it. Delightful. Absolutely delightful. It will certainly be a yearly read.

Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Sophie’s Daughters #1) – Having trained as a nurse, Beth is on her way back home to her sister’s wedding. But when a stagecoach accident nearly kills them all, Beth struggles to help the injured by herself. When she realizes the incoherent bum she’s barely tolerated, is a doctor, she forces him to help her. Once in her hometown, her younger sister Sally has an accident and in order to be able to help Alex continue caring for Sally, Beth agrees to marry Alex. As time passes and Alex starts to show signs of being sane, and Beth starts to fall in love with him – everything else goes wrong, a bounty hunter intent on taking Alex in for deserting the Army and Alex decides to turn himself in and face the firing squad. ~ Happy sigh again with this book. It is a light, you-know-it’s-going-to-end-happily type of book but well written with a good twist on the ‘usual’ Christian western story line.

Part two will be later this week – with the rest of Sophie’s Daughters series and more! Come back and check it out!

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised when reading outside your regular genres?

~Laura

Chronic Pain and its side effects

17 Jun chronicpaineffects

I try not to use SGL as a place to vent but i wrote this a few weeks ago and I keep feeling the need to share it here. Maybe it’ll help someone know they aren’t alone in their pain. Mom, get a box of kleenex, you’ll probably end up crying. Sorry.

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It is a bit dis-jointed, but I’m going to type it here just like I wrote it:

“I want to yell and scream at the world, no, at the ever-ending, swirling, devouring Pain. The Pain that not only claws at me day and night but the equally absorbing exhaustion that pulls at my legs as if I had two ball and chains dragging around behind me; that weighs down my shoulders making me bend like a wizened old woman who has lived such a full life that her back has aged less gracefully than her spirit; it stiffens my hips and arms – the exhaustion is just as consuming as the Pain but for some reason it’s not talked about.

The reason for any of my sanity remaining lies in three places.God, family and friends, and Pain pills. The pills is the one that gnaws at me, the relief so wonderfully given, I fear, will come at a costly price and each day that goes by, I fear just what it will be. To get through a day means to take them, but what about the rest of my life?

A mind dragged through persistent, severe pain eventually starts falling. Falling to that which we all fear when we reach our later years. Falling to an ever-constant awareness of Pain past, present and future. To live in the moment becomes almost impossible. To be feeling well now means it is time to prepare for the Pain that is coming. Falling to the realization of broken hopes and shattered dreams. Falling to comparisons – between you and anyone healthy. Eventually the splintered mind will cordon itself off- just to raise its chances of survival.

This. This is the life of chronic Pain. It is not just the brutal Pain that vice grips my temples- but it’s the slow deterioration of everything else- all while tenaciously holding on to the life I long for.”

I would add to this, on the positive side, that I do lead a wonderful life – I have a sweet husband who supports and takes care of me, a dog that loves me despite never getting out for walks anymore and so many genuine friends, new and old. The problem lies in not being able to chase my dreams, or even keep my house clean and food made because of what my body is doing. It has begun shutting out so many things in my life that daily I worry what else is going to get pulled from my grasp.

So here’s to essential oils and herbs, prescription pain pills and netflix, video games and absorbing novels, heating pads and soft blankets – that make it all a little easier to bear.

~Laura

Book Review -Happy Wives Club

8 Jun happywivesclubbook

I have finished reading the “Happy Wives Club’ by Fawn Weaver as part of the Meaningful Marriage group on facebook. We read two chapters a week as a group and then had weekly discussions on it. It was a fun way to go through the book, but I can see, if you’re reading it on your own, just whizzing through it! It is a very light read.

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This is not a ‘self-help’ book. It is the story of Fawn’s journey across the world ( six continents and more than eighteen cities), seeking the answer to this question, “what is the secret of a great marriage?”  The standard she had was that the couple had to be married 25 years or more, although she broke that rule a few times in talking with some. It was fun to read about each place she visited, the places you must go and the places you musn’t (!). But it was interesting to read how so many people from different cultures, backgrounds and faiths – stated a lot of the same elements as the foundation to great marriages.

I will say though that there was a small section that I did not agree with. I don’t want to give any spoilers …. so i’m going to pause in writing this post to try and decide if I want to share exactly what it was or not… =)

Well, this post has sat in the ‘drafts’ section for weeks now waiting for me to decide. So, I guess I won’t share it and perhaps increase your curiosity enough that you’ll decide to read it! ha.

I will add, in the interest of full honesty, that while you ‘meet’ so many couples that are all very different, there seemed to be something….lacking almost in their accounts. Yes, they went through hard times and came out stronger but, I don’t know. I’d read how one says/does this and put it into my life and it didn’t fit. Now, I’m obviously not talking about the basic tenets – respect, love, selflessness – but of the other, ‘lesser’ things that were talked about. Maybe it’s because they’d all been married so long, while my OH and I are just over two years. Shrug. I never could put my finger quite on it, but it almost seemed too ‘happy wives’.  I would give a higher recommendation to For Women Only which was a wedding gift along with its counterpart, For Men Only – I had my notebook and pen out when I read these!

If you’re interested in giving it a try, it’s right here on amazon!

Thanks for stopping by,

Laura

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Authenticity

5 Jun strivingforavirtuouslife

I sat down to study on how to change things on my blog – a slightly daunting task at 8 in the morning – and then at 10 I realized I should be writing a Virtue post! Yikes! So here I am, changing my focus for the time being and getting into study mode!  I hope you’ll join me as we study Authenticity.

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Now, I know that in the Christian set, and others as well, that this can be a bit of a ‘buzz’ word right now. But I want to challenge you to put aside the emotions all that might have created and let the idea settle into your heart and mind. We have been called to be real. We have been called to live life without masks – be they literal ones or affectations. Masks hide who is behind them and show only what others want to see. But the real story, the real treasure, is just beneath if only we have the courage and faith to step out and throw down our masks.

We have been called to not apologize for who we are – but to apologize when we stumble and hurt someone. To be real, to be authentic we need to be able to see our gifts and successes just as well as our failures.

Over the years I have wondered if I was being really me. Or was I being the version of me that I thought those people wanted? For a while I got so caught up in this question that it became a fear for me and I started hesitating on saying what I thought; doing something with someone etc. And then one night, after dinner with a friend we wandered to a bridge over the river and just looked at the stars, the inky flowing water and I realized that I needed to let go of the idea of finding myself and just letting me be. It was one of those very rare times when I felt a burden lift off my shoulders. I realized that it was okay to be silly with one friend and serious with another. Different people bring out different attributes in you. Since then I have asked myself that same question, kind of as a barometer on how I am doing. And as a way to see where I really am emotionally. But through it all, I feel like I have learned that while the outside forces want us to be/look/act in certain ways, we need to keep our eyes set on what our Lord has asked of us – vibrant living in authentic ways.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality.  There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Authenticity –

  • quality of being authentic, genuine

for the purpose of a better understanding, here’s the meaning of Authentic –

  • not false or copied

synonyms-  “genuine, real, veritable share the sense of actuality and lack of falsehood or misrepresentation. Authentic carries a connotation of authoritative certification that an object is what it is claimed to be: an authentic Rembrandt sketch. Genuine refers to objects or persons having the characteristics or source claimed or implied: a genuine ivory carving.” 

 Col. 3:5-10 – “Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry); for it is because of these things that God’s anger is coming on those who disobey him.True enough, you used to practice these things in the life you once lived; but now, put them all away – anger, exasperation, meanness, slander and obscene talk. Never lie to one another; because you have stripped away the old self, with its ways, and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator.”
2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!”
1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him; because all the things of the world – the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life – are not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever.”
Most of us have heard these verses before. The old us is gone and now we are new! I want to add to that idea in the sense that, in being new, we have help in laying down our human desire of pride – trying to cover up any failures we think we see in how we look or in our personalities. Our new selves are to grow ever closer to Messiah.
2 Thes. 1:11-12 – “With this in view, we always pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill by his power every good purpose of yours and every action stemming from your trust. In this way, the name of our Lord Yeshua will be glorified in you, and you in him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.”
Rom. 12:2 – “In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”
Phil 1:27 – ” Only conduct your lives in a way worthy of the Good News of the Messiah; so that whether I come and see you or I hear about you from a distance, you stand firm, united in spirit, fighting with one accord for the faith of the Good News,”
 James 5:12 – “Above all, brothers, stop swearing oaths – not “By heaven,” not “By the earth,” and not by any other formula; rather, let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.”
Once we put off our old selves – the one that wants to lie to get out of a task at work; the one that nags her family; the one that constantly wants more clothes/shoes/etc – it’s gone completely right? We are free of those selfish desires! HA! I truly wish so, but no, it is really a daily laying down of the selfish pride and a daily choosing to follow Him who has ‘every good purpose for you’ and can transform us so we know the truth of God’s love and guiding us.
Praise Him that we are not alone in this daily struggle! Right there in Philippians, Paul exhorts the people to stand together and in one accord for the faith.
1 Peter 3:3-4- “Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear;  rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value.”
Ahhh, this verse. Raise your hand if you’ve heard teachings about this verse from both sides. One side says women should not wear anything fancy – and the other…. I had some friends who  were not allowed to cut their hair, wear jeans, makeup etc. The problem in that came that they weren’t taught proper modesty – it was forced on them is such a strong way. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes with this verse, it just makes me sad to see the second part of the verse basically disregarded because the focus is on the first part! It is to be our spirit that we are to spend time on, for that is what God sees as valuable.  Tending to our hearts is of greater import than our hair or makeup.
Prov. 31:30 – ” Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears ADONAI should be praised.”
And in that tending, we will be preparing ourselves for the rest of our life! My red curly hair will eventually turn gray, in fact it already has started. My eyes will grow weak  and my strength will be limited, not that it’s not right now (!) but if i tend the ‘garden of my heart’ regularly,  I shall still be worthy of praise.
Matt. 10:29-31 – “Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
You know that feeling when you get in the midst of a crowd? That little nagging feeling that you could disappear and no one would notice? Perhaps you get that feeling even when you’re alone -but you know the wonderful truth? God knows exactly where you are. He knows what you’re going through and how many hairs are on your head. amazing.
Eph. 2:10 – “For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.”
Ps. 27:1-4- “By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple.”
I LOVE these verse. All David is focused on is living in the house of Adonai. Seeing Adonai. Visiting his temple. He is not afraid of outside forces coming to do him harm because he knows the Lord will protect him.
Here are some extra verses for further study:
Ps. 34:1-22 ; Joshua 1:1-18 ; John 16 ; 1 Cor. 12:12-27
Of course, being authentic is not an easy thing! But what’s the saying of nothing worth having comes easy? Authenticity comes from knowing who you are in Him and being confident and secure in that knowledge.  Have you been around someone who is quietly secure in who they are? I am blessed to know several ladies who fit that description and just by knowing them I have been able to ‘grow’ in who I am. Not only does God use His word to teach us, but He graciously puts people in our lives as well! Just by knowing these ladies more, I have thought more and more on being an authentic wife, daughter, sister and friend. I challenge you to do the same! And if you don’t have a friend who encourages you to be authentic, I suggest you become that friend for others!
And here’s a little printable for you friends
blogauthenticity
 I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality.
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