Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Table Topics - Writing a Book

One of my resolutions for this year is to attempt to begin writing a book. Part of the delay in my motivation, aside from other things being more of a priority, is deciding which direction to take. I have lots of ideas, but nothing that is bubbling to the top. So I've decided to open it up to my blog readers....those great folks that endure my babbling on a regular basis and can point me in some direction. Here, in no particular order, are my options:

Devotional Book - I've written a lot of devotions for folks taking mission trips through the years and many of my spiritually-focused blog posts are suitable for converting to devotions which makes me consider compiling the work I've done, adding to it and creating a complete devotional book. This option is probably the path of least resistance.

Lifestyle Discipleship/Mentoring - This is my passion in ministry. After my Mom passed away, God showed me the importance of a godly mother and being able to be that to those who didn't have the awesome Mom I did. Through that path, I've developed a training curriculum and resources to help people get started. I've done seminars but never compiled it in book format. I'm a firm believer that "one size does not fit all" when it comes to discipling and mentoring and I've always wanted to get all that organized and published.

Dealing with Singleness - I'd have never dreamed I'd be single at this age, but I remind those that ask that I'm single by God's Design, not my choice. Even though I've walked this road not chosen, I've learned a lot along the way. I have some ideas on paper for this one as well, and want to make it as humor-filled as it is spirit-filled. So many times in my journey, someone would encourage me in a wonderful way spiritually when really, all I needed was someone to laugh with me. If I choose this option, I'd want to do both.

Fictional Story - This is the least developed of all the options. But since I love reading fiction and enjoy a story rich with plot and developed characters, I've often dreamed of writing a novel. I have no clue what the story would be, but I'd develop characters and go from there, just like a good creative writing instructor would tell you.

Let's hear from the audience....Which option should I choose?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Resolve...

Since January is half over, I guess it's time to get serious about my resolutions. I typically don't make annual proclamations about what I'll not accomplish because my perfectionist tendencies and Type A personality make me too much of an overachiever to do so. (hmm, would that be an over-overachiever?) At any rate, this year, I wanted to resolve to do some things as personal goals and deal with the Type A ramifications later. Here they are, in no particular order...

1. Fall more in love with God - Each year I look back to see how I've grown spiritually from the last year and seek out areas where I can improve. Because of my obsessive tendencies (see above), I can get very legalistic about the mysterious quiet time we all achieve to have daily. This year, I want a yearning to spend time in prayer and in the Word. I'll admit, many days, that desire just isn't there. Oh, I can't wait to watch my favorite TV or movie, or pick up that book I'm reading, or even, on some days, go to the gym. But more times than I like, I'm not running to God. I dwell a lot on falling in love with the man God has for me, when I probably just need to fall in love even more with God and he'll take care of the rest.

2. Keep developing a heathly lifestyle - For about a year and a half, I've been a faithful gym attender and since March 2008 I've been intentional about altering my diet. So far I've lost 23 pounds, not enough, but a good start. This year I want to continue that trend. I may post various foodie tips throughout the year on my blog as I share things that help me fend off my love of sweets and all those other things that are glorious, but not healthy.

3. Nurture relationships - What I've learned over the last year is that time goes by quickly and people are but a vapor so the time we spend together is invaluable. From making a memory at Christmas with my friends to spending a Friday night at church playing cards with our sweet senior adults, I've learned the best things in life are relationships. And my life is full of some very cool people. This year I want to be more intentional in spending more time with old friends and and meeting new friends. My favorite activity, bar none, is laughing and spending time with great friends...emphasis on laughing.

4. Read more books - Last year I kept count of the books I read for pleasure. This number didn't include Bible studies I did or books I read to enhance my career or ministry work. I ended the year at 10. I love to read, although after college, reading became a turnoff due to all the reading I did for school. My love of it has returned after reading traditional books in print and listening to audio books in my car. Escaping reality with a great novel has a refreshing quality about it. Also, since writing and creativity is a big part of my job, just the increase in reading in 2008 has proven beneficial in my work. This year, I've taken steps to increase that number...at least by 2. I recently joined a local book club held at one of our Barnes & Noble Bookstores that meets monthly. I get to read books I'd never have chosen on my own and get to know some other folks who enjoy reading as much as I do. I'm eternally grateful for my sweet Mom who read to me as a child and was a reading fiend herself. She taught me the value of reading and it certainly has changed my life.

5. Finish a project - I also enjoy crafts, recently, crocheting. But, to date, I have yet to finish an afghan. You see when my Mom was alive, I'd start one and then she'd finish it. I must be Type A with attention deficit issues. Since she has passed, I've started two afghans with no completion. The first one was a disaster and I just pulled it out and saved the yarn. The second one became a joke amongst my friends. I followed the pattern closely, yet what was supposed to be a baby blanket would cover two small children and I wasn't even close to finishing. Not to mention I'd purchased way more yarn than the pattern called for. I kept that blanket for possible future salvage but had given her all she was getting from me. This year I've wiped the slate clean and started fresh. I'm working on an afghan and first indications after a couple of weeks is this pattern and this style is probably going to be my signature piece.

6. Start a project - For many years I've wanted to write a book. I've had a few things published in my lifetime, and enjoy writing my blog for my faithful readers, but there is that small fire inside of me that one day I would like to see my name on a book by-line. But I've named my book "Mr Holland's Opus" because while I dream away at writing that book, other things take priority. A full-time job to pay the bills.....ministry, which I love....all very good things, but still things that distract from that little dream. This year I plan to at least start the project of writing a book. My first step is choosing the topic/genre, which will be an upcoming Table Topic to discuss. Like Mr. Holland, investing in people's lives will take priority, so this book may take a while...

Let's hope these six resolutions don't send my perfectionism into a frenzy....