Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sending positive thoughts does nothing for me

There has been a trend, and I first saw it appear on Facebook the last two years I was in college. Someone would say that they were struggling with something, or sad or disappointed, and several people would say, "Praying for you!" Then, there would be that one acquaintance who would say something between "Sending positive thoughts your way," or "Sending light and positive energy to you."

First, that sounds to me like the jokes we make about "You must have brought the rain/snow with you."After I get over that, I think about the flip side... do people think prayer is the same as just a good wish, and that the power is from themselves whether they are thinking, wishing, or praying for someone?

How many times do we just say that we are praying for someone and not doing more than thinking of them for 5 seconds? Ever feel guilty when you receive an update because you totally didn't even remember it again after that first moment after someone shared bad news / a hard situation?

I'm still learning about prayer. I'm not as consistent as I would like to be. I don't spend enough time listening. I'm not perfect. 

And, I know that people mean well when they say what they say. But empty promises of praying for one another changes about as much as a thought. And I don't subscribe to the philosophy that you can change things with just thoughts. God may intervene supernaturally, but there will be action. You yourself may take action. But this physical world primarily is affected by physical action and we hide behind good wishes when we can bring that meal, wash those dishes, and sit by their side.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It will be perfect

As I sat between the socks, new outfits, handmade gifts, blankets, baskets, gift bags, and wrapping paper, I felt so many things. This was different than the other times I'd been in that room.

It was several weeks ago now, but it affected me for days. My husband had just discussed with me when we should put up the crib. I was dead set on December, AND wanted the only "guest bed" (aka futon couch) we had to stay up, too. That's not really reasonable, I realized, but it was the last point that had me feeling like I couldn't let go: We don't know where we'll be - here or somewhere else - until mid January, anyhow.

Why does that even matter to me? Because I was planning on decorating and making a perfect little nursery, and I couldn't wait to start...

And even then, I know I'm not going to have a perfectly coordinated picturesque room. Why?

Well, because I'm doing it. And I mess things up. They don't come out like the magazines. They don't even function half of the time. And who has the space for these Pinterest ideas, anyhow? I have three bookcases lining one wall, and a piano, and a futon couch, and a big reclining chair in that room already.

 Besides, I don't even like pink that much, yet one of my themes is Precious Moments...

These things don't matter. My child's going to all too soon be communicating what she likes, anyhow, and I don't she'll be so boring to only like one thing.

I'm a military wife. I can pick up and go and never even have a nursery, and still raise my child right. If that's how it has to be, it happens that way. Then why do I feel so sad? Maybe because I couldn't even wrap the Christmas present that I was wrapping in that room that day without messing it up, leaving a crumply corner at the top.

But, I don't need a crib set up to start decorating, and I don't need much to organize these tiny outfits and tiny items she'll need at the beginning of her life, whether she spends her first months in this room, or another. So, today, this is all that's done, but it's a start:

Why you can't re-write an article

I've run into this a few times lately on - people want you to "re-write" something. The different aspects I see that come into play are as follows:

Often the content is very well written, and even well known material, but the client wants to use the information for his own purposes, and doesn't know how to talk about the content himself.

The client may have some specific ideas about what he wants to add or not include, but usually doesn't communicate those things, and then is disappointed that the client didn't know instinctively where he was going with the project.

The client only provides one source, but expects the writer to pull from multiple sources, OR the client doesn't realize it's impossible to write a new article on things that are not common knowledge subjects without research and pulling from other resources. 

For example, re-write the above sentence... there are only so many ways you can say that.

There seems to be a big misunderstanding about what an original idea is, and how writers function. If you're re-writing one sentence, that's one thing... but it's much more productive and much easier to write from a topic (such as: discuss homelessness and veterans) than to say, "Hey, I found this great article on this topic and I want you to rewrite it so I can use it in my book."

Often, I can't even "re-write" a description or a single sentence to a client's satisfaction. How many ways can you say, this product is a mug? I often think I've done well to engage a reader, and I receive back comments such as, "I was looking for something catchy..."

So, re-writing is now a key word I stay away from, because, for me, that means: A client with poorly thought out expectations, with some agenda they aren't sharing, looking for a shortcut to having their own stuff, without creating their own stuff, and expecting me to read their mind and then create awesomeness. That's worth more than the $5 they're usually willing to pay.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I like irony.

I like my life of ironies.

As many pastors and friends have said, "There are no coincidences, just God showing Himself at work in the world." I find irony points me back to the Lord.

I remember reading the definition in my 10th grade literature class. I think I knew what irony was long before that, but I liked that video teacher a lot, and her explanation set my imagination on fire.

It makes a really good story, too - and I like having stories to tell or write. I like making people laugh who really don't expect me to be funny. I like the connection I feel when someone busts out laughing. My best friend Alex always makes me laugh that way, and laughs with me that way.

I can think of lots of examples - I loved coonhounds, but got dachshunds. I got told by my own beloved parakeet to "Go sit on the chair" for time out constantly. I got all A's my first semester of college at 16/17.  I ended up dating a guy I didn't even speak to in high school when he filmed me for my journalism class. I got my first kiss in the rain.  I married my first kiss. I stood up for a kid who was labelled a biter when I pretty much couldn't stand him for other reasons, and now he's my favorite kid I've ever watched. I took a chance despite my anxiety and reconnected with my beloved nephew. Major life events happen while Erik was away at times - like when I scored my favorite job of all time at Net3 Technology. When he finally called, I told him he could get cable - not that I got a job - and made him make the connection and laugh. There are so many more times...

Thank you, Lord, for irony.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dogs, and habits, and what made me think of both in the same post.

I like dogs. I like cute puppies, my family's lazy old dog that lets my almost 2 year old nephew "play" with him (which looks more like constantly antagonizing him), and a lot of my friend's dogs. Sure, I'm initially afraid of large dogs that I don't know, but that started later in life and I can get over it if it's a nice dog.

But recently, I keep thinking of all of the reasons I don't want a dog, especially right now.

1. I feel clean after I take a shower - and I don't want a dog to drool all over me before I get a chance to go to bed. (Note: Germany never drooled on me unless he was ill, so I'm not saying all dogs have that problem, but I do like hound dogs, and they usually have that problem.)

2. I don't have to worry about who will let my dog out when I decide to stay out a few more hours to get something done.

3. I don't have to worry about what I put in the garbage can and if my dog will shred it across my whole house while I'm not looking.

4. I don't have to buy a fence or pay a pet fee.

5. I don't have to worry about what prize I pick because of knowing my dog will eat it.

Yeah, that last one - I can have nice things and don't have to worry about keeping them out of reach of my dog. Sure, it was a teenage girl who said it, but I was just thinking how confining and all consuming having a dog is! And it's not even a person - I'll do that and more for my baby someday - but I just don't have the kind of routine now that supports having a happy dog.

Maybe someday, but definitely not now.

It somehow made me think about other "pets" we keep. I know sometimes we don't realize just how confining or consuming our habits are. We think all our habits are cute, familiar, even noble. But if we are the masters we won't let our pets run our lives - we will take charge of our pets. It really makes a difference between a well behaved dog and a chaotic life... I'll let you take the interpretation where you want it. Just a thought.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Love Languages?

I never have believed in coincidences.

Yes, we all laughed that the one lady's baby went to the center when I asked who had the Love Language of receiving gifts...and no, that's not mine.

I'm with the majority for once, in that encouraging words are my favorite thing. And tonight, I got confirmation from my husband that I didn't even really know how badly I wanted or maybe even needed. I listened to him list out, for the first time I remember, everything that I've been involved in, and it was like even before he finished the sentence, his support was given with just the mention of these things.

I was determined when we moved to Kansas that I'd do my part to make this a good season of life. I love being at home, and there's lots to do here, but I quickly found I needed at least one or two outside involvement activities to feel connected - especially when Erik's gone.

I quickly found multiple ways to be involved. I wanted to find out what opportunities to get involved there are, and which ones I feel like God wants me to be involved in, so I showed up to everything at first.

Since I made a lot of these decisions about how I spend my time without much input from Erik, I started wondering what he thought, and I'd ask... but it's different than what happened tonight. He initiated the words that I needed to hear. I have to think that God did that in answer to my prayer for my upcoming Fall commitments... I feel so blessed and at peace about those things.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I am with you always

Matthew 28:20 I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

This verse has actually come up at least three times this week at different events, completely unrelated to each other. Ironically, at least two of the events have also mentioned something I talk about all the time: Satan's number one lie is that you're alone. That no one has ever experienced what you're going through right now and that no one understands what it's like. That you're isolated, that you're the only one who has ever sinned this big, that you're the only one on this journey.

Right now I'm doing well, and I haven't felt like that in a very long time. But I will never forget as a teenager and a young adult feeling like that... and how I chose to remember that I wasn't alone, because God understood and never left me. Even when friends left, I wasn't alone.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Hats. I have always liked them, and like to own several at any given time. Hats symbolize roles for me.

Currently, metaphorically, I'm wearing several. That's not unusual, but I've had the desire to sort them out lately. In no particular order...

1. PWOC member. What it means this week? The PWOC retreat. What it means this Fall? Possible Bible study co-facilitator.

2. Youth leader (Youth For Christ). What it means this week? I'm about to get blasted by colorful powder in a color war. What it means this summer? Hopefully, training and encouragement alongside likeminded youth workers.

3. Youth leader (on post). What it means this week? The kick-off for our Bible study. What it means this summer? A lot of really fun Wednesdays with some awesome girls, I hope!

4. GGFG Manager.
Let's see, there's book sales, emails, posts... editing, gathering works for the new book, gathering recordings for the audio book, trying to make an e-book... and Godly Guys For God management still at this point until it takes off!

5. Writer and Editor for
Gigs, gigs, and more gigs!

6. VBS Preschool Director
Planning today, VBS at the end of the summer!
These are the verses:
Matthew 28:20
Ephesians 2:10
Luke 6:31
1 John 4:10
Matthew 14:27

7. FRG leader. Training this week, events soon to come!

8. House Manager
Dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping... okay you get the picture. Oh, and cooking! I like that, except for the mess I make.

9. Church member. This one... not sure what it looks like even weekly at this point!

10. Future Awana Sparks leader.
Prayer now, more definite preparations later!

11. Wife, daughter, friend, aunt, granddaughter, sister, niece...
and most importantly, Child of God.

Monday, February 24, 2014

AFTB Courses

For those of you who don't know, the Army offers free classes to families which cover a myriad of subjects relating to Army family life. These are called Army Family Team Building classes (AFTB). I began taking these classes shortly after the new year, but have waited to post about them, as I took them out of order, and just recently completed Level 1.

One thing you may find interesting are the 7 core values of the Army, which is also known as the acronym LDRSHP (pronounced Leadership). Basically, these are:

  1. Loyalty - Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers.
  2. Duty - Fulfill your obligations.
  3. Respect - Treat people as they should be treated.
  4. Selfless Service - Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
  5. Honor - Live up to all the Army values.
  6. Integrity - Do what’s right, legally and morally.
  7. Personal Courage - Face fear, danger, or adversity [physical or moral].
To read a longer description for each value, go to the official army site:

Okay, some are kind of vague... and some actually remind me of Bible verses. Comment if you know which ones ;)

What do you think of this list? Have you ever written out a list of values to live by? Why might such a list be useful to you... or to a soldier? Just some questions that came to my mind...

Thank you for your love and support, family and friends.

Friday, February 7, 2014

For Your Military Family Friends

There are things that you can do to make your friends' lives so much better when they leave to go to their first duty station. My friends knew just what to do, and you will too, if you give it some thought! Everyone is different, but I'll give you some ideas from my life.

1. I wasn't excited about moving to Kansas until Rebecca gave me a book about Kansas oddities to visit and a road map. I laughed at the first things I read in that book and was much more curious thanks to "Kansas Curiosities."

Thoughtful and useful!

2. Cold weather gear. A coworker gave me a coat, and I use it all the time! She barely even knew me, but she was not using it and I was super thankful for the new coat.

My dear friend Amy gave me gloves and lotion shortly before I left!

My GrandMaMa sent me a little something and told me to get long johns. That note made me laugh.

And the other GGFG staff member, Megan, made me a scarf! (And a potholder!)

These are gifts that made the transition easier, because they were things I needed a lot! They also comfort me.


3. Thoughtful award! Ms. Cheryl took the time to make me something I will have everywhere I go on my front door - she made me a Christmas wreath. Holidays can be hard to deal with because of missing people, and being able to decorate my new home with something that welcomes new people in, made by someone who cares so much, was really nice.


4. Something I'll never forget is when Kaeyla sent me what was supposed to be an anonymous  Starbucks gift card - I figured it out, but I felt so blessed that day!

5. When I got to Kansas, my house was warmed by a very surprising delivery of my first house plant! Thank you Rebecca, Amy, and Alyssa!

6. Mrs. Kilby gave me something to remember the South by - a cute little tea towel with a saying on it. I enjoyed the thought of having something from SC to show off to my Kansas friends!

7. Letters - there's nothing like getting a note in the mail! I really cherish every note. It was cool to get all of my Christmas cards out here, as well!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Does Your Name Mean?

In my house in Florida, for most of my life, I remember there being a little framed artwork in the hallway outside of my bedroom. I saw this multiple times a day. There were two columns, one for Hillary Beth and one for Holland Bianca. I remember only one thing from my sister's side "she who works with her hands" or something like that. I remember from mine - Hillary means cheerful, and Beth means house of God. I know there was a whole list for each, but that's what I remember reading.

When I chose names for characters in my stories, I often went on elaborate searches for names that meant something that revealed a particular trait. I also named each of my future daughters, just in case I had three daughters, first and middle names included - but unless you are Alex Campbell or Rebecca Kilby, you probably don't know those names.

When I got married, I decided that if anyone asked, my official new name meaning read, "Cheerful house of God, who is my King," as Koenig means King.

What does your name mean? How has your family shaped this meaning for you? What do you consider when picking a name?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A lot of lotion

Since we've moved to Kansas, I have been using lotion a lot more than I ever have before. Face lotion is applied every time I don't have makeup on. Hand lotion is in my purse at all times. I put lotion on my legs every day, or else my legs itch like crazy.

Before we moved out here, I was worried that I'd never be able to use up all of the lotion I'd acquired from old gifts. (Lotion eventually does "go bad" - it will separate.) I got some off brand stuff in gift sets from various people that I can't put on my face, and feels weird on my hands... but I never care what's on my arms or legs, so it's all getting used up.

So, if you're going to move to cold places, or the weather turns on you, it's: hats, gloves, scarves, boots, lotion. Got it?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Last year I gained what was lost back

I'm still a bit in review mode. I've posted my year in review pictures on Facebook in a note as I often do. I've started / restarted many routines now that I'm finally in a house again and have access to everything necessary for what I consider normal life. But as I thought about the biggest things in 2013, one more thing stood out.

In 2013, despite having not seen him in months, despite being extremely anxious about my request, and despite my worries about what my own sister would make out of the situation, I wrote a note just before my nephew's birthday and asked his paternal grandmother if I could please see him before I moved in a matter of weeks.

God had been putting it on my heart in an overwhelming manner; it was like the Holy Spirit wouldn't leave my heart alone about it. I held my breath... and something told me that I was doing this for more than my own selfish desire to hug my nephew one more time when I hadn't seen him in almost a year.

When the answer was yes, I was so excited that I didn't know what to do. As a good aunt, I decided to buy him presents - these cute Bible story books I'd often seen at a certain store, and a toy that was like a gumball machine with 4 brightly colored balls that popped out of it when you press a lever. And when I saw him, I couldn't stop smiling. I loved him so much all this time, and then I loved him even more. I was happy to see he was a smiling, happy child, and how his grandparents talked about him let me know he was loved and cared for.

I didn't know I'd get to see him multiple times before I left... that my parents would get to reconnect with him and continue to love him and enjoy his adorable 1 and 1/2 year old antics... that I would get to the point where I could pray for him and not feel overwhelmingly sad, but rather joyful. I look forward to watching him grow through pictures and videos, and when I'm in town for visits.

What if I hadn't listened? What if I hadn't asked? What if I'd listened to everyone else's opinions about the situation and never tried?

I would have let fear control me instead of connecting with this family. I don't think a baby can have enough love. And oh how I love this baby nephew of mine!