Orange book with feather quill. Five Things Friday at Frankly, My Dear...

Five Things Friday at Frankly, My Dear…

The calendar tells me it’s been nearly two months since I last blogged.

Inconceivable! from The Princess Bride


Without going into dramatic detail, suffice to say life with all its twists and turns has been a great distraction from blogging. It’s been full of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. And we’re all learning to exchange beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

The calendar also tells me the year is about two-thirds behind us. Now that’s crazy! I look back on my resolutions and I’m so happy I had just one.

BETTER! 2014: January 1: do. be. dream. feel. live. BETTER.

BETTER! 2014

I’m proud to say I’ve continued to do what I can to make life Better for those around me, and yes, for myself. I’m not proud to say I’ve put blogging on one of the back burners. It’s one of those things that I have great aspirations for, yet lately seem to not have time. So today, I’m taking time. I’m making time. I’m blogging. And I feel better because of it.

This week’s Five Things Friday theme is Start/Stop. It’s about those things in life that we either need to step up to, or let go of, or find a happy medium to make them better.

Here’s my Five.

1. NOLA. Is that really such a surprise? I hit a very tall Writer’s Block wall over two weeks ago. Thankfully, my writing mentor, Aaron Gansky, talked me through it. Based on feedback from Aaron, The Wordsmiths (the critique group I belong to), and several other beta readers, I’m going back to the beginning. Just the beginning. The plot itself will remain nearly the same, with just a few more twists and turns than I originally mentioned. But I need a better diving board, so I’m rewriting what I have and moving on from there. [Thank you, Aaron, for pointing out that my murder mystery novel has yet to include a murder.]

The Wordsmiths Critique Group

The Wordsmiths Critique Group

2. My budget. I had a long talk with God about my finances and to be honest, I didn’t like what He had to say. Because He said “Trust me.” It’s scary to trust a God I can’t physically see, for money that I physically need. I’m learning to be still, to not force anything, and to communicate. I stopped going from paycheck to paycheck, and started to really use my Mead OrganizeHer Expense Tracker. No, I’m not trying to be a commercial for them. But if you were to ask me a year ago how I keep track, I wouldn’t have a clue. Now, as soon as a bill comes in, I put it in the Bills pocket. Each month has an expense list, suggestions, and blanks for me to include my own. I’m learning to call my creditors before the due date if I can’t make the full payment. And you know what? They work with me. I’m no longer afraid of my finances. And that’s a good start. I’m still praying for a way to cut down my Sycamore tree, as it’s leaching into my watering system and I found out I’m highly allergic to it. And Beckie and I are hoping to attend next year’s Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference in May. There’s a huge correlation between my prayer life and peace about my finances.

3. Who’s Beckie? She’s the Newest member of The New Inklings, the writer’s group I formed around my company, New Inklings Press. Beckie and I know each other nine ways ’til Sunday and are just now realizing how many connections we have. I met her over a year ago while promoting The Unemployment Cookbook, and she recently reached out to me for a writer’s get-together. She’s been published in magazines, completed the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL), and inspires me to keep going when I want to quit. Because of her, I’m going to start the next lessons at ICL and finally complete the course I signed up and paid for so long ago.

4. Complicated. In May/June, I was thrilled to have met up with an old friend and we had the idea to pursue a relationship. The relationship aspect didn’t work out, but I learned a valuable lesson through it: Don’t Leave. Period. While our romantic intentions didn’t flourish, I learned better communication skills. I prefer writing, of course. He prefers speaking. Long texts and longer phone calls were the norm between us. And no matter that any long-term romance was never a really good idea between us, the friendship has remained. As has my determination to not walk away from the fundamentally most important parts of life. He and I haven’t left each other, we just left behind an improbable romance. And I’m okay with that. Because, fundamentally, he’s still here for me. And I’m still here for him. No matter what.

Don't Leave. Period.

Don’t Leave. Period.

5. Social. At the beginning of this post, I alluded to some, shall we say, challenges in the past few months that have sapped my attentions and my strengths. Because of this, I’ve had to evaluate my social calendar and make some changes. I momentarily stepped down as Social Media Manager (SMM) for my writer’s club. Aaron hired me as his SMM for a reciprocal mentoring agreement. I’ve taken as much off my plate as I can, and I’m still paring down. I’m learning to fit dinner and socializing into the same event. I’m learning to say “no” instead of “let me try”. I’m learning to rest. I’m learning what and who the important socials are. And I’m learning to let go. It’s not my favorite thing. But it’s important.

5b. [BONUS] Social. Aaron is teaching me how to nerd it by playing Magic: The Gathering. Stay tuned for his guest post on the subject. I enjoy the complexity of strategy, the lottery-feel of opening a new pack to search for random “rares”, and that while he’s always winning at Magic, he’s also mentoring me on my writing. It’s a win-win-win situation, in my book.

5c. [DOUBLE BONUS]. Social/book. If any of you bloggers reading this are interested, Aaron is giving away five free copies of his newest book, THE BARGAIN, (either digital or audio) in exchange for a thorough/heartfelt review on your blog. Just leave a comment below and we’ll be in touch with further details.

The Bargain by Aaron D. Gansky

The Bargain by Aaron D. Gansky

Well, now that I’ve started blogging again, it’s time to stop this post. It’s your turn to comment, like, link up, and otherwise share what your FIVE THINGS FRIDAY: Start/Stop items are.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
MoJo Book Review and Giveaway: The Bargain by Aaron D. Gansky
It’s Complicated, Part One: My Relationship
2014: BETTER.
Doing the Write Thing: Writing Conferences Fundraiser

My Interview with Ms. New Orleans 2014, Lindsay Reine
Doing the Write Thing, Weekly Recap: June 15, 2014
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