Tag Archives: writing

Travel Advisory – Narrow Road Ahead

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Travel Advisory – Narrow Road Ahead

I had been out of sorts all weekend and now I was stepping off a flight, still in a funk.

I’d been in this airport before; it was familiar though not the least bit comforting.

It was barely October but the northeastern air was cold as I exited the terminal toward the rental cars. “At least I know my way around” I thought as I trudged in that direction, pulling luggage and balancing a heavy computer bag on my shoulder.

I settled into a sedan and drove away from the airport, remembering the first time I flew into Manchester. That time, the luck of the rental car line-up afforded me a Mustang convertible. I had put the top down in spite of the chilly temperatures.

One wrong turn transported me into a fragrant forest of trees. Realizing that I must be off course, I navigated onto a side road to turn around. The sound of the gravel under those tires and the earthy scent of the trees reminded me of places I love. Even now, the memory calmed my heavy heart a bit.

I passed the spot of the errant turn and smiled to myself. Maybe a cup of coffee would perk me up, I thought. I spotted a new Dunkin’ Donuts just before I reached the on ramp for the interstate; in just a few minutes I had a steaming cup and was on my way to the hotel that would once again be home for the week.

After a quick call to let my hubby know I was bound for my destination, I reflected in silence as I drove the mostly deserted highway.

I’m too old for this.

I am too tired for this.

I can’t do this.

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I recited a litany of reasons and excuses – all well-rehearsed over the past few days. Weariness set in as I sipped my coffee and focused on the road.

I had forgotten the natural beauty of the drive south toward Boston. It was overcast, but even under gray skies the glorious colors of fall brightened the landscape. The birch trees stood tall, their white bark like dress whites crowned with colorful leaves.

I noted one of those highway signs that marks a famous landmark. Robert Frost Farm. The client had mentioned it on my last trip and suggested it might be worthwhile to stop and explore on my return to the airport. Ever the worried traveler, I didn’t dare risk missing my outbound flight.

But now I was in no great hurry to reach an empty hotel room. There was no mystery or excitement or even concern about finding it. I’d stayed there before and it was just the standard place to rest after a long day.

Only days before an Amazon box awaited my arrival home after work. I opened it with curiosity, since I didn’t recall ordering anything. To my great delight, my sweet hubby had ordered a stack of books recommended for writers! Among them was Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott. And so I had just read and underlined these words:

“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things,
to go places and explore.”

“I’m a writer”. I had only recently mustered the courage to make that declaration and in the moment I felt a fresh determination to walk in that. I took the exit and navigated to the tiny, unassuming farm.

frost-home-window

I shivered as I exited the car and approached the barn. A lone man sat just inside. After greeting me, he quietly waited as I explored the artifacts and books displayed.

“Would you like to view the video and tour the home?” I hesitated only a moment. Writing was a great excuse to explore this place that had inspired Frost to write. For the next half hour, I settled under an afghan on a rough wooden bench and watched a poor quality film about the life of one of America’s most beloved poets.

I toured the home; the simple farmhouse was anything but inspiring, but as I peeked out windows and imagined life there in the early 1900’s, I realized that inspiration comes in the ordinary moments of everyday life.

I purchased a small paperback collection of Frost’s poems, said goodbye to my tour guide and walked the grounds, collecting damp leaves as I wandered. The question hung in my heart and mind. “What am I doing here?”

There was small stone wall; I stopped to rest a bit despite the chill. Opening the small book, I found Frost’s famous words:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.[i]

Frost’s reference to a road less traveled reminded me of the words of another who had this to say about choosing a path:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it. ~ Jesus, Matthew 7:13-14

That chilly afternoon, I realized that I choose a path every day.

The wide road is so appealing. I want easy. I long for wide lanes and smooth terrain. I stand at the fork and want to choose for my comfort, for my peace and for my convenience. Me, me, me.

fall-leaves

I lingered for a bit, considering the week before me. It was not the road I wanted to choose. It was hard; it was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But it was ordained. It would stretch me and at the end of it, I would be spent. And that is exactly the way I long to live: poured out and used up for the reasons I am alive – to love God and to share his love with others.

I stood and walked back to the car, my steps lighter. I breathed the autumn air deeply and paused again to look back at the homestead.

It was going to be a great week. I was sure of it.

Navigating the road less traveled,

lorraine

[i] The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

 

Are  you looking for a safe place to seek encouragement?

Hopelively is a private community for women desiring to find and keep their Hope. For women seeking encouragement in their wellness pursuits or recovering from loss. Our goal is to promote a spirit of hope in the midst of struggles, both physical and spiritual.

Find us on Facebook.

Administrators: 

Jami Amerine of Sacred Ground Sticky Floors,

Lorraine Reep of Grace and Graffiti,

Rebecca Huff of ThatOrganicMom 

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When Success Gives Birth to Fear

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When Success Gives Birth to Fear

 

I’ve had the best week of my writing journey. I experienced the joy of seeing the stats jump higher than they ever have and it was all for this. As a writer, I pray that God gives me something to say. The truth is that words are not unique…they’ve all been spoken by someone. It is their arrangement and the truth that they convey that will touch the hearts of readers.

So, when the words that I strung together by his grace alone were read by over 1700 people, I was overwhelmed. At first it’s quiet optimism that this “writing thing” is not just a fluke. I see shares by people I’ve never, ever heard of and I think, this is how this works!

And then, my daughter shared my post. “My mom’s blog hit home with me today!” she said. My family and friends are the ones I want never to disappoint or embarrass, especially my girls; this is the one that meant the most.

For a few days, I just enjoyed feeling successful. Lord knows that I’ve had my share of rejections. I publicly moaned about the second reject from one syndicate and was immediately embarrassed that they responded on Facebook, encouraging me to keep trying. Deep down I know that I may not be a good fit for them. I’m learning a lot through rejection.

And then it was time to start considering a post for this week. I started and discarded so many pages. I wanted Jami Amerine’s sarcastic wit, Ann Voskamp’s meandering stories and Melanie Dale’s in your face truth. I was falling way short of it and nothing that I wrote was any good.

And I realized that I was afraid because of recent success. What if I’m a “one hit wonder”? What if I never write anything so well-received again? What if I embarrass my girls with my inept attempts at this?

So I took a ride, alone in my car. Silence: lots of quiet, and I listened. He already knew that my heart was troubled; no words required from me; I just needed to be still.

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And he said to me, “Go back to your call, Lorraine. Go back to the beginning.”

I’ve written the promise in my journal and I’ve read the words over and over so that they are becoming part of my heart, but I heard him speak them fresh:

The Sovereign Lord (that’s me, you know) has given me (that’s my part, Lorraine) a well-instructed tongue (they are my words, not yours), to know the word that sustains the weary (you’re tired aren’t you love; the words are first for you and then for the weary ones who will read them after you). He awakens me morning by morning (Just focus on today, sweet Lorraine), wakens my ear to listen (wait for me – I have something for you to say) like one being instructed (I’m teaching you how to do this, rely on me).
Isaiah 50:4

The same God who called Jami, Ann and Melanie called me along with a long string of amazing writers that I’m blessed to know. The stats can be encouraging but at the end of it all, I am writing for an audience of one.

Please God, don’t let me get so caught up in the numbers and the syndication that I forget that.

Needing his grace more every day,

lorraine

If God has called you to write, check out this online free writers guide:

http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com/ladder-to-roof-top/

It’s been my joy to contribute there, but more important, I’ve learned so much from these talented, generous women!

If you missed last weeks post about feeling invisible, here you go!

 notdesigner.blogspot.com_logo_facebookPlease visit and “like” the Grace and Graffiti Facebook page here.

And remember, it’s nice to share with your Facebook friends!  Thanks!

 

It’s a beautiful day for a launch!

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Launches are exciting events.  I grew up in Central Florida in the years of President John F. Kennedy’s expansion of the U.S. space program.  I watched as the Friendship 7 carried John Glenn 162 miles away from the earth.  We could stand outside and see the trail of the huge rocket as it slipped away from the bonds of earth’s gravity!  We were all on pins and needles awaiting reentry. Nearly five hours later the country let out a collective sigh of relief as the capsule landed in the Atlantic Ocean.  At seven years old I had no idea where the space program would take us. There were skeptics, of course. I even heard that some didn’t believe it happened. But those dreamers…they took the first step and fifty years later there is a manned space station orbiting the earth.

For years, really since ninth grade, I’ve had a yearning to write.  A teacher expressed that I had talent, and it touched a deep place in my spirit. Fast forward many years when I began to put some words on paper.  It was challenging, yet cathartic, this process of writing. I wrote a few articles for a church-sponsored inspirational column in the local paper.  It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I read them over and over, even though I didn’t even get a byline.  Something that I wrote was good enough to publish! To be honest, it is more likely that I was willing and they needed 250 words to fill the space, but it was enough to rekindle the yearning.  Some of my favorite authors have blogs. The short posts are often humorous, inspirational or even instructional and I decided that is the arena for me to step into this venture.

Recently our small group at church studied the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson.  For the first time, I shared my dream publicly.  I began to pray and prepare to leave “Familiar” and begin the journey toward my “Big Dream”. The most profound realization was that God is the Dream Giver.  How foolish would I be to miss his gift to me?   With this post, I’m launching MY dream.

So, what to expect from this dreamer?  I’ll be writing from my heart about being a wife, a mother, a friend, all from the perspective of a woman seeking to know Christ in his fullness.  I’ll be sharing about my Tribe – the women who surround me with love, who allow me to speak into their lives and do the same for me.

I’m strapped into the seat and with this post, the engines have fired and I’m on the way!

Thanks for watching the sky, my friends.  I’m enjoying the ride!

“Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:16 MSG