Inspiring Words from Lynn Cowell

“Sometimes, even when we do the scary thing, the brave thing, it still doesn’t work out.” That excerpt from Lynn Cowell’s Proverbs 31 ministries devotion today stood out to me and hit home. She was talking about courage and bravery and learning not to quit.

In moments in my life lately, I have really been tempted to quit and give up. I have gone through significant disappointments and hard times and people hurting me and letting me down. Lynn goes on to say in her devotion, “difficult times in our lives can be the exact opportunities we need to learn not to quit. Here, we learn to be brave and to do the hard things again and again and again. In the tough places, we can learn that our God is faithful to help us; He will never leave or forsake us.” I agree, and that was a much needed word of encouragement today.

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Cubs win the World Series! A Dreamer’s Inspiration!!!

My Cubs Bear Excited about the Cubs Winning the World Series (photo credit Julie A. Smith)

With the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series last night 8-7 over the Cleveland Indians, it truly is a testimony to dreamers! It reminds me to never give up on the dreams that God has put in your heart. Some may take years to come to pass, but take heart that it likely won’t be the 108 years that is took since the Cubs last won the World Series. Hard times come to every household, but in life it is important to never lose hope or faith.

I grew up in Illinois and have lived here all my life, and my Grandpa used to be a huge Cubs fan. I always root for Illinois teams, and like many people I have come to expect the Cubs to lose. They are loveable underdogs. But it is new season of excitement and fresh life and new beginnings, and with the Cubs winning the World Series, it has taught me to not give up on your dreams no matter how long they take to come to pass.

Love is the Hope

The girl has a
hopeful heart.
Tired and forlorn
but still beating,
still prayerful,
and still seeking lasting love.
Love is the hope
of her.
Time smiles
and seasons come and go
for the girl
but she sees a future
in the distance
brighter than her current moments
and glistening with a golden sheen
like the sun and a thousand brilliant lights.
Love is the hope
of beautiful moments.
She is not backing down
from faith.
She is not giving up
having trust in her God
and His good hand
of provision for her.
Love is the hope
of God’s faithfulness.
Love beckons in the distance
still to be found and embraced
and toward that distance
she will go.

My Article was Published in “Empowered” (an online Magazine)!!!

Original Sunset Photography by Julie A. Smith
I submitted an article in September to the Christian online magazine, “Empowered.”  It was accepted!!!  My friend Melissa writes for them, and she recommended me.  It is a blessing, especially since I have wanted to be published in a Christian women’s magazine, but the ones that I have found don’t take unsolicited writing.  I have my blog, but it is incredibly exciting to get published on a wider scale.  I would love to have more opportunities for my writing to be published in the future.  As rain falls beautifully ending a drought, I earnestly hope that my writing both on my blog and my personal poetry will be reinvigorated and inspired again, ending a dry spell for me with both my motivation and inspiration that has been lacking.  It was extremely encouraging to have my article published, and I have received promising feedback from the small number of family and friends that I have told thus far.  It was so affirming to see my article referenced on the cover of “Empowered” with the caption “Finding your path.”  It was also empowering (yes, I am doing a play on words with the magazine title) for me as a writer to type up my credentials and biography and submit a professional picture (actually taken at a previous staff expo for my current job that has nothing to do with writing).  While there was a slight editing mistake in the article (i.e. I never actually bought a Siberian husky  when I was younger, because the dog sold at the pet shop before I could buy it), I am so thrilled with the article overall.  However. I have to fight my inner critic and own self doubts when reading my own work or thinking that I should have edited more before submission, even though I spent hours on the article.  I sincerely hope you have a moment to check out my article.  It is in the October/November/December issue of “Empowered” on the topic of careers that was published mid-end last month.  My article is on page 23-24 and is entitled, “Finding Your Path When your Career Path is Different than you Dreamed.”

Inspiring Thoughts on Confidence by Joyce Meyer

I read an inspiring daily devotional from Joyce Meyer today about confidence.  Here is an excerpt that particularly stood out to me and was helpful:

What is confidence? I believe confidence is all about being positive concerning what you can do and not worrying over what you can’t do. Confident people do not concentrate on their weaknesses; they develop and maximize their strengths.

Let’s say you are not a “numbers” kind of person. On a scale of 1 to 10, you might be a 3. You could obsess about your inability to “do the math.” You could buy Math for Dummies and take a class at the community college. But your math obsession could eat up time that could be devoted to stuff you’re an 8 or a 10 at—like teaching God’s Word, creative writing, or rallying support for charity. In other words, you might rob time and effort from the 10s in your life just to bring a lowly 3 up to a mediocre 5. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see where you need to invest your efforts.  (Quote by Joyce Meyer from her online daily devotional 4/2/14, http://www.joycemeyer.org/Articles/Devotional.aspx)

I Bought a Goat!!! (World Vision Gifts that Make a Difference)

World Vision logo (www.worldvision.org)

World Vision logo (www.worldvision.org)

Traditions are cool.  They are something you look forward to experiencing every year.  They make life more interesting and exciting.

For many years I was blessed to be able to sponsor a little boy, Hussen, in Ethiopia with two of my friends through World Vision.  It was one of the best things that I have ever done in my life.  One tradition that I have also done for several years at Christmas time is to pick out a gift through the World Vision Gift catalog to help those in need.  I’ve given to the clean water fund, given emergency food and aid to children in Africa, and given seeds for a family.  However, the one gift that I have longed to purchase for several years is a goat, which I planned to buy once I got married and had children.  I desire to show my (future) children the importance of giving and helping those in need.  My heart especially goes out to people and children in third world countries, especially after my mission trip to Haiti.  This year I decided instead of waiting for the future (i.e. marriage and children), I want to make a difference as a single woman and buy a goat now.  While not prosperous by any stretch of the imagination by American standards, I would rather stretch my income and bless a family in another country with a goat for $75 than use that money in a more self-centered way.

If you would also like to help people in need through Word Vision but you are looking for more affordable gift options, several affordable options are 3 ducks for $21, art and music instruction for $20, and a share of a donkey to take produce, firewood, and goods to market for $25.  You can also help children specifically in America by feeding a family of 5 for a day for $18 or buying $250 worth of necessities for urgently needed clothes and shoes for kids in America for only $25.

You can go online 24 hours a day to check out +/or purchase a gift for someone in need.  Go to www.worldvisiongifts.org.  They also have a mailing option to send checks, or you can call 1-888-511-6511 (Monday-Friday 6 AM- 9 PM and Saturday 6 AM- 6 PM PST).

Facts about World Vision: “World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”  They serve nearly 100 countries and “provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict, work with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.” (http://www.worldvision.org/about-us/who-we-are).

Here is a video link about how goats helped one poor woman with AIDS and her three children:

“She Paints in Blue”

She paints in blue

with brushstrokes deep and symbolic

of her heart.

Sometimes the blue is

the color of the ocean

and the beauty speaks to her

in a way that words are not quite

eloquent enough.

The calm.

The peace.

It soothes her soul

and echoes throughout her being.
___________________________________________________________________________________

Sometimes the blue is a melancholy blue

as it was today.

That shade of blue she paints

with an unsteady hand

and an intense gaze,

missing moments that she should not have missed.

Her inner Eeyore

Poked his sad ears down,

droopy and discouraged.

Twisting her ankle in the morning,

she was glad the pain eventually went away,

but it seemed one thing unfortunately led to another

and somehow Eeyore momentarily turned

into Oscar the Grouch.

Not her finest day.

Regrettably.
___________________________________________________________________________________

The last blue that she paints with

is a vibrant electric blue.

It excites her.

It inspires her.

It is one of her favorite colors.

Whenever she sees that blue

it makes her happy.

It is the shade of blue that she likes best.

She thinks electric blue is the color of

a man’s perfect dress shirt

or her dream Mustang.

It just seems perfect effortlessly.
___________________________________________________________________________________

She paints in blue

and a window opens to her soul.

*Poet’s notes: I used to love to paint when I was young, especially with oil paints. While I don’t really paint anymore, this poem was inspired by the beautiful color blue. I find it a shade that conveys so many things emotionally and aesthetically.