Because Words Change the World

Today I am guest hosting Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup. Do you have a link to share? Book reviews, writing, anything literacy related is welcome. Please share with us! 

How has literacy impacted your life? This is one of my answers.

I’d heard it often enough, and I knew it to be true. Words have power. A good speaker can motivate, a book open your mind to new possibilities, an essay expand your horizons. Even a small word of encouragement can keep one on course. I knew it and I believed it.

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I used words to try and talk to people. I asked and informed, explained and requested understanding. It was frustrating. Then I wrote a story. I wrote a story about my child’s day. I had no intention of having it published or really doing anything with it.  I need to make it clear that this was no earth shattering prose. It was only a simple, every day essay. The kind you would see on a mom blog.

I tucked my essay into my Bible study book. I don’t remember why the leader asked if anyone had anything to share, but I felt that nudge in my spirit. I ignored it. Speaking out was not my thing. She asked again. No one knew I had that sheet of paper in my book, about my frustration, or my writing. Then she asked again. By this time, people were looking around. I couldn’t read it out loud myself, so I handed it to her and asked her to read for me.

People cried. More than that, my son’s world changed because the story, a plain little story about a little boy who liked things all boys like, had drawn others into his world. So they made room for him in theirs.

There are journeys impossible to fathom unless you walk them, and battles only understood from an altered perspective. Story lets the reader experience connection. Our point of view shifts. Suddenly we can see something we never saw before. Perception becomes clear. Truth is revealed.

Words and story can open hearts. Words can build community. Sometimes, words can simply make a little boy feel accepted.

And the whole world changes.

Becasuewordschangetheworldspring-flower

 

 

Now it is time to linkup to Literacy Musing Mondays. This link up is for all bloggers who love to write anything literacy related such as essays about the love of reading and/or writing, book reviews, or posts about fun literacy activities. All family-friendly posts are welcome. 😉

 

Literacy Musing Mondays

Ashley from www.circlingthestory.com

Ashley @Circling the Story

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Mary @Maryandering Creatively

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Tami @ThisMomsDelight

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Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!

 

Mary’s book review of Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner was the most clicked! She is so excited about everyone’s support! She loved this book so check out the review if you have not already done so.

Mary still wanted to feature a great literacy blogger this week; so, she selected the second most clicked post to feature: this wonderful post:

Books About Bears Your Preschooler Will Love

By Carolyn at House Full of Bookworms


Carolyn features some sweet books about bears. I love all of her selections! You don’t want to miss this one either. Plus, it really is worth it to visit Carolyn’s fun site!

You could be next to be featured! Remember, we try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin your posts to our Pinterest Board!

Follow Mary Hill’s board Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup on Pinterest.

You will have until Saturdays at 12 p.m. now to link up! So come back often. :)

Literacy Musing Mondays

Linkup Rules:

  1. Include a link back or the blog hop button linked to this hop on your posts.
  2. Link up the urls to your posts not to your blog.
  3. Please remember this is a family-friendly linkup. We reserve the right to delete any posts that are not family friendly. We love all kinds of literature and genres including family-friendly inspirational romances, fantasy, or scifi. We do not welcome anything with excessive sexual content or cursing.
  4. Be sure to visit at least two other bloggers’ posts and share comment love! Remember it is also nice to follow them on their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook
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  6. Tweet about the link up too.

4 Tips On How Not to Plan a Writing Retreat

#amwriting donnastone.meI have had fair success at getting words on the current WIP flowing. Not all of those words are kept, mind you. But then that is the nature of a first draft.

“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.”Joyce Carol Oates

Committed to writing a certain amount on my novel in progress every day, I have decided to pretend this forced vacating of my home is a writer’s retreat. This fantasy would probably be easier to maintain if I had not brought my family, including our new puppy, along with me.

Tip #1 Don’t bring your kids or a puppy.

kayleeintroublesmall.

There are also the constant interruptions of new information about the home repairs which tend to get me sidetracked. The ongoing saga is a twisted version of a never ending story, reminding me of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

Along the way to the discovery of where the moisture is coming from we found no leaks, but we did find out the home has what was referred to as “the pipe of the future” otherwise known as polybutylene pipe. This particular kind of pipe is no longer used because it is destined to fail. Check your pipes, peeps.

During the new water line installation, I was informed the hot water heater has been leaking. No word on the water damage from that yet.

After numerous consultations, it has been determined that the constant water collecting under the sinks is probably from condensation. This may be due to the vapor barrier being compromised when a neighbor’s dog got under the home. Or it could be because of improper site prep. They are working on it.

Tip #2 Leave your home problems at home and don’t answer calls.

Other issues will be dealt with as the summer progresses. The good news is, no mold in the walls as far as we can tell with mold kits and this handy snaking camera.

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Tip # 3 Don’t give up writing no matter what.

“Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”               Red Smith

Meanwhile, I will keep busy scribbling away on the book when I’m not enjoying myself poolside here at my writing retreat.

Tip #4 Don’t forget to find JOY in the journey.

#amwriting

How are you reaching your goals? What inspires you? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment.

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Am Writing| A Persistent Passion

#amwriting  donnastone.meFor the last few weeks I have been displaced, my thoughts scattered by events and summer schedules. On top of all the chaos that is typical of the Stone Clan, I have not been feeling all that great.

Some days it is a challenge to write. Most days lately. But it’s not like I can NOT write. It is what I do.

But boy, doesn’t life intervene? I need to refocus on my goal and make the necessary adaptations.

I may have mentioned accountability before, but in the past I joined a group whose members are dedicated to write at least 500 words every day. Every. Single. Day.

For me, that means a minimum of 500 words on my novel draft in progress, no matter what.

I’m struggling with this. I know many people find it easy to write the first draft, but not me. I am primarily using voice to text on an old HP tablet. I have been informed on numerous occasions it is so old it’s obsolete, but I feel a certain kinship with it. It took forever for it to learn to translate my accent into recognizable English and it still makes mistakes.

I also tend to forget what it was I was saying if my device doesn’t translate well the first time. When I go back to read a section of indecipherable text regularly leaves me puzzled as to what I originally meant to write. For a  time, I wondered if I needed to plot more to solve that issue, but I don’t want to over plot.

It is harder for me to write fiction using speech to text than to write blog posts, emails, or letters with it. Have you found this to be true for you?

And then there is the obstacle of my own self. In my first middle grade novel, I could write the main character, Nina straight out of the chute. She is plain looking, snarky, emotional, and has a quirky family. My new MC, Trish, is different. She is a blonde ballerina who always tries to be the good girl. Hmmmm. We do share some issues. I will get past her looks and personality to dig them out. I may not be a ballerina, but I am exceedingly persistent and will find the real Trish under all those blonde locks.

coffeegrinder

I may have to let some things slide a bit, what with the current craziness, work on the book, house stuff, and taking care of the family. But my 500 daily words on the novel in progress is one of my anchors. I know this is what I am called to do.

#amwriting

What’s your calling? How are you managing to answer that call while juggling life?

Linked up at

Literacy Musing Monday, The Book Nook

 

Finding Strength: Cipro Story

Strength is what I do not have.

Three years ago I had a reaction to a common antibiotic, Cipro. I was unable to walk or care for myself without assistance. I have improved, but recovery often seems like an unattainable dream.

I get discouraged. My strength has been stolen.

I miss things. Shopping with my daughter for prom dresses via text message is not the same.  I miss my family. I miss their moments and celebrations. You can’t hug when you are in different locations.

It is rare for my good days to coincide with days out. Struggling sucks the joy out. Thank goodness for online shopping. The UPS man probably thinks, “Lady, why don’t you make one big order a month already.”

During the past three years I have been occupied fighting my every day battles. On the counter right now I have several lidless containers because when I finally do get one open, the lid tends to slip away and land on the floor. You know what? Jars do fine with a bit of plastic wrap to cover the opening, and I planned on taking another vitamin tomorrow so it’s all right. However, someone really needs to pick up under the kitchen table.

The tendons and joints in my body often swell now, so any given day may be ice pack worthy. The amount of ace bandages make me look like a mummy at times. My downhill slide has been a bumpy one, with one thing following another. Challenges pop up as if falling were not already hard enough. I suppose if you’re going to go down, make it spectacular.

When I think about the physical grind it can seem like all I’ve done is shuffle along. Remember that Tim Conway old man skit? But during these three years I have had my Rocky Moments as well. Imagine that old man doing the fist pump to Gonna Fly Now. Yeah! That’s what I did the first time I managed handicap steps instead of a ramp. Go me!

I have my own speed now.

I fought a huge battle for my son, too much to get into here, but moms and dads know. Someone decided to get in the way of my child’s progress. Mistake. I fought for a year and it was one of the hardest battles I’ve ever been in. There were many prayers and tears. In the end we finally got his chance, what was rightfully his. Nothing was wrong with my voice. I made phone calls until I found a way.

He is running with that chance. Does it matter if his steps are a little slow at times? Nope. Cue Gonna Fly Now. We will fist pump together. Go son!

After I regained enough health, I completed writing two novels and started a third. Wow. I impressed myself. Sometimes I had to use speech to text. I thought I would never get Dragon trained. What a formatting mess. But words got onto the page.

I am sure the most eloquent prose ever spoken has been forever lost, mangled by my computer’s inability to master the southern accent.

The trick is to get words on paper by any means possible. Spiral notebooks were always in my bed so I could reach them. I learned to put them on their own pillow. Temperamental, they are.

I joined an accountability group and committed to a minimum of words written on my novel per day. Once you give yourself permission to take small steps and plod away you will be amazed at what you can do.

These accomplishments only came about through prayer and persistence.

Other good things of note happened these last three years. My middle son became a proud homeowner. The oldest is building a house, the youngest boy started college, and Baby Girl has found her calling.

It’s enough to make one dizzy, this fast crawl.

None of my strength comes from myself. It’s plain to see I have none. What I have is a destiny. And I have my own pace, even if it is a slow shuffle.

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None of my strength comes from myself . . .donnastone.me on pink boxing gloves

Take the Road to Dreams

No one else can live our dreams for us. To place what is in one’s heart, superimposing it on an another’s destiny, is a cowardly ambition. To allow people to use us in such a way is almost as bad.

Our dreams are our own. People will tell us that we are not good enough. They will say, “you are not an artist,” or “not educated enough,” or “the right kind,” and that they know better. They lie.

birdcage2

 

 

 

 

 

You are beautifully and wonderfully made, complete with a destiny, a fire in the belly. It’s your job to stoke it, regardless of how many wet blankets come along oh-so-eager to smother.

Forget nurturing the tiny spark with gentleness, hiding from naysayers. Make the fire roar so they don’t have a chance to extinguish the flame.

Forget nurturing the tiny spark with gentleness, hiding from naysayers. Make the fire roar. (Tweet This)

Some people disrespect you because their eyes are too full of their own failures to see beyond the smallness of themselves. Don’t be them. Tend to your own vision. Do this and you will recognize the greatness in fellow travelers.

There is no need to push others aside, because the road prepared for you is your own. The obstacles there are your own as well. It is your job to take them on.

Do not go against what God has prepared for you. Figure out what you are here for and get to it. Dreams can be quiet and simple, but must be large to your own eyes. Dig around in your soul and find them. Understand the uniqueness of your calling. Understand the value of your deepest hopes and why they are imbedded in your being.

There are prizes you will never receive. Goals unreachable and impossible. They all look that way from where you are standing right now. No one can say with the slightest speck of certainty what dreams are within your reach.

No one can say with the slightest speck of certainty what dreams are within your reach. (Tweet This)

Passion and destiny collide. With all the tears and bloody bruising, it’s not always pretty. But it is always exquisite, your beautiful dream, big and gorgeously audacious in the middle of ambition and grit.

The joy is in the pursuit of destiny, not in trophies or glittery accolades.

This is how we live a dream.

What will you do with your dreams today?

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cat lion forget nuturing the tiny spark . . .make the fire roar donnastone.me quote

Growing Weary?

Do not grow weary.

I get weary. Who doesn’t? But lately I have been pondering growing weary. Not being weary, but growing it.

To grow something you have to feed it. Good or bad, growing things must have a source of light, water, and food. Conditions have to be right. Shelter from predators and inclement conditions must be provided.

I never considered the concept of growing weary like I grow other things like faith and patience. I can see how a person could feed weariness. Negative thoughts, listening to wrong people, forgetting Who is really in charge here, neglecting to recharge and encourage ourselves; all of these things help weariness thrive.

Our souls will always filled by something. Even when we say we are empty we are speaking of a feeling of darkness, despondency, or negativity. Our world is designed with no gaps, the spaces filling up as soon as there is an inch of available space. Something pushes in. Something grows.

To raise something we want, we cultivate, preparing the soil and digging as deep as future roots require. No shallow scraping out of a handful of dirt, the shovel digs deep. If the earth resists, we dampen with water, forcing softness out of stubbornness. We do this without taking affront. It is the nature of things.

It is also the nature within us that prompts us to prepare for a large thing, a deep thing. This is faith.

We loosen the earth, raking, grabbing handfuls of dirt and squeezing, breaking, understanding that the goodness will not give itself up to those who refuse to work. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty. You have to be willing to have faith.

Your faith must be large enough that you feed and water the plants and protect them constantly. Unguarded and neglected, they rarely produce. Even the strong, well established plants are no match for a sudden frost, or hungry caterpillars.

Except of course, for the never ending weeds. This is the battle. Plants that give us life, and plants that choke out those that give us sustenance.

We choose what we will grow.

Death and life. Build or destroy.

It is very easy to grow weariness if we succumb. It is a natural thing, like weeds. Something is going to flourish in every gap we leave open. There is no empty space.

No one intends to propagate weeds. They creep in when attention is elsewhere, taking advantage of every opportunity. Before you know it, they are tall and strong, arrogantly taking over the place if we let them.

A garden needs regular tending. A calling needs feeding.

Do not grow weary.

 

Watering Can A garden ... Do not grow weary quote donnastone,me

 

Today I will feed my soul with Truth and not grow weary. If I keep my focus on the tending of my destiny, refusing negative thoughts, weariness will have a much harder time taking hold.

Time to get my hands grit-under-the-nails dirty.

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Here and Now| When Five Minute Friday

Five minutes, no edits, one word.

 

When.

When is such a strange word. A nothing word. A word that looks both backwards and forwards but not at the here and now.

When I was younger, she says, I was so happy. I didn’t feel like I had to be someone I’m not. She mourns. Her eyes take in the old self of what she once was and no matter what I say, she cannot see the beauty of who she is. I say, you are still you, and she nods. There is no sparkle.

When I get in to my house, he says, and begins to tell of all the adventures and plans that will happen then. In his imagination of when he has already paid of a mortgage and saddled himself with more debt, buying things. In his future when there is not rust or rot. Then he will be happy, he thinks, when a shiny red pickup and a garden and fences and a hundred other things litter his paid for kingdom.

When school is done, the other one says, then I will get a job I like. His days will be spent on worthwhile pursuits and he will drink life and be satisfied, when that happens.

I used to dwell on the mountain top between the whens and never know it. Too busy looking backward and forwards I missed the view, the joy of being between the whens.

Today I do not think of the whens of the past or the future. Today I want to live in the now.

Linked up atflowers-613586_1280

Five Minute Friday, Titus 2 Tuesdays

 

Goal Setting: What Does God Require?

Goal Setting What Does God RequireI love a good to do list. I actually make goals at a set aside time twice a year. Goals are good and necessary. Without a plan it is virtually impossible to succeed at any large task. But inevitably all my planning leads to more planning.

My eyes are bigger than my planner, and my pencil too fat to scribble in everything I try to fit into those neat little lines. There is no way to squeeze in everything I think I should or could be doing.  There is always a lack, a big hole in my life where I am failing. As soon as I get one area of my life under control I notice, or remember, something else that needs to be done. I am only scattered when I try to do too much. Somehow the idea of a fresh start deludes me into thinking that I am suddenly a woman of limitless energy and the amount of time contained in a day has become infinite.

to do list

Usually by the end of the first week of January my stress level is pretty high. I know I should be organized, scheduled, and have an exercise plan for the new year like everyone else. The truth is, I rarely even have the new calendar printed out yet.

 

 

I know I should be organized, scheduled, and have an exercise plan for the new year like everyone else. The truth is, I rarely even have the new calendar printed out yet. (Tweet This)

I think a great deal of my over planning and unrealistic goals comes from my fear of being inadequate. The tendency to compare my life, my goals, and my abilities to other people’s is a trap I regularly fall into. You would think I would have learned to avoid such a pitfall by now, but the prize looks so shiny. You know, all those filled in little checkboxes that are written proof I have done a good job. This may make me feel accomplished, but in truth all those activities can make me lose sight of what should be the priority.

Years ago God gave me a verse and I wrote this verse on my very first serious planner.

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

When I become overwhelmed, which is quite often, these words anchor me. All the various goals I made for myself are not necessarily what God has required of me. His requirements are simple. They are not easy. They are infinitely practical. Every day, whether planned out or not, I can be sure that I will be given plenty of opportunities to fulfill my Lord’s requirements for the way I should conduct my life.

I really don’t need to go looking for other accomplishments to try and succeed at. This one verse, Micah 6:8, is a pretty tall order all on its own. I don’t need to over fill calendars, lists or organizers until I feel like I measure up to a self-imposed standard. I only need to stay yielded to the Holy Spirit and remember what is primary.

Keeping my eyes on three things: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God gives me the focus I need to succeed in reaching the goal that God has for my life.

 Three things: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God gives me the focus I need to succeed. (Tweet This)

Nothing else required.

Linked up at #The LoftTitus 2 Tuesdays, Equipping Godly Women, #ThoughtProvokingThursday, ShineBlogHop, Good Morning Mondays, #TellHisStory

Pray for Me

I have been thinking a great deal about what direction I want to go with my writing, my ministry, my life. Words to me are a necessary as breath. When my hands don’t work I speak, and when I can’t speak or move, songs run themselves through my mind. Lyrics and melody of the original kind.

Surely this is my life calling.

It is who I am. A writer.

Now I am asking myself why I write and who am I writing for?

I write because we hurt. I write for you.

In my very first adult writing class my teacher told me, “You should write for troubled youth.” I didn’t know what to do with that. I didn’t think I was really cut out for teen ministry. Not any specific ministry, really.  Mostly I encourage people without considering their outsides or position. Everybody’s been through stuff. I’ve been through stuff.

My heart’s desire has been to give shelter, a safe place, and to have that for myself as well. I need to nurture, to encourage and lift up even while I am nothing but a cripple, cobbled by my own bondage, never quite able to permanently shed the constricting cords of the past.

I pray. Give hugs. Write prayers for people. Pen bad poetry and better stories to point the way. Sing. Try to tell the truth. Share sorrow.

Life has concentrated me until this is all I can do. What will He fashion from this frailty? What will He do with me, a broken girl?

I have written a book. Some will not see what is meant only for the heart it was intended for. The message is gentle, because the girl it is written for will not be harshly led. She is one of the fragile souls. I have wrapped truth in a story for her, only her.

Now to find a way to set the words out, hoping they find home, the place where they were always meant to rest. The heart of every girl who needs to hear these specific words of comfort.

Pray for me.

Traveling Woes

I. can’t. do. it.

I knew it would be hard, but I attacked the task. Arming myself, I took it one step at a time. Now here I am in the middle of this path, exhausted.

I cast a glance over my shoulder and stop moving. I say to Jesus, “Hey, wait a minute! Look at all that other stuff I’ve been through.”

I don’t look at Him when I say this. My attention is too focused on making a list of my sorrows. During the tally I think, “And now this.”

Other people walk along, out for a stroll. They travel with ease. This is so not fair. They aren’t struggling with this. A few of my weapons slip out of my grasp and fall to the ground.

I say, “It’s not . . .” I sit down in the dirt. “I don’t understand.” It comes out a little panicky sounding.

My feet hurt. They are full of cuts and blisters. A tender, purple swelling makes me feel sure something is broken.

“Look at me,” He says.

I know this voice. So I look.

I see His suffering. His mercy. His grace. I see and almost know, a little, what it means. I don’t understand everything. His suffering. His mercy. His grace. His patience.

I get up and gather my things, never taking my eyes off Him.

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There are times when we are bottom-of-the-barrel empty. Even when we know we are not alone, we know Jesus is there, we feel alone. It’s too much. It’s too hard. We can’t go on.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Going forward is hard, but abandoning the path for another way is out of the question. That road leads only to certain failure. Death.

Take a breath.

Take His hand.

We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28 AMP

Travel well, Beloved Child of God.