currently {8.10.16}

listening/enjoying/feeling/planning/waiting/reading

Listening to the book of Ephesians on my Bible.me app. I love this app! It’s my favorite for listening to the Word.

Enjoying the solitude of the early morning and my clean desk. Man, was it haaaaaard to get my butt out of bed this morning but the fact that I FINALLY have a clean desk for the first time since I moved was incentive enough to get up!

Feeling equally excited to get married and apprehensive about the wedding. I so can’t wait to marry the Fiancé but I always stress before any big event I’m involved in. The fact that it’s my big day exacerbates that a little. BUT! I’m determined to not just survive this season but truly enjoy it 🙂

Planning new stuff for the blog….I’M SOOOOOO EXCITED 🙂  I have been slack in writing this year but it’s super hard for me to juggle wedding, work, new projects and blog all at the same time. Bear with me.

Waiting for the weather to cool off. IT’S SO HOT -_-

Reading:

  • Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  • Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

currently wednesday {6.8.16}

writing/watching/choosing/thinking/wondering/reading

Writing lists. Lists for church activities. Lists for the wedding. Lists for the blog. So much to do, so very much to do!

Watching Little House on the Prairie. I have seasons 1 & 2 on DVD and I’ve been revisiting Walnut Grove this evening as I’m knocking tasks off my to-do lists. One of my favorites 🙂

Choosing items for the wedding registry with The Fiancé. It’s such fun planning our new life together! Looking forward to being a Mrs.!! ^.^

Thinking of what to bring to lunch tomorrow. I’ve brought my lunch twice this week already which, considering my usual eating habits, is pretty good! I’m going to try and plan out all of next week so there’s no guesswork 🙂

Wondering if I want to use a Happy Planner (Amazon) next year or if I should try something different. I really like my Happy Planner buuuuuut there are so many other systems to try out. Buuuuut Me & My Big Ideas just came out with some beeeeautiful new editions and, oh goodness, I can’t decide!

Reading:

  • Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen & Alex Kendrick

What are you currently up to?

My Life in 2016 So Far

Last March, I wrote a post called What Life Has Taught Me So Far in 2015. Almost exactly a year gone by and my life has completely changed. Since that last post, I’ve experienced 3 major life changes:

  • FINISHED COLLEGE
  • GOT ENGAGED
  • WENT BACK TO WORK FULL TIME

Yeah. Graduation officially happened in September last year but my engagement to the BF and new job happened back to back at the beginning of the year so when I say it’s been a whirlwind, I mean Whirl. Flipping. Wind. And I know you know what it’s like cause these seasons come to us all. For better or worse, everything gets flipped upside down and inside out and you’re left trying to catch your breath and find a new equilibrium. I can happily say however, that this whirlwind is definitely for the better. Still kind of catching up with everything but while the year is still relatively young and while I’ve got a few moments on the treadmill (yes, I’m on the treadmill), let me catch you up on my thoughts on my life in 2016 so far.

I had plans to write some pithy post about what life has taught me but right now, I just need to dump. Nothing profound, nothing special–just simple, raw thoughts. You may pass it up if you’d like, I don’t mind. This one’s for me. I need to unclog my brain and share a little of what’s been going on up there.

Thoughts on finishing college…

I feel like I’ve been working on my degree forever! I took a slow, more unconventional boat to getting my B.A. and now, in my mid-twenties, I can finally say I’ve got a degree. And while I must say it is quite lovely not to come home from work and have assignments waiting for me, my education has only just begun (and best better believe Karen Carpenter is singing in my head right now too). It was during the last year of school when I discovered that there were so many other things I wanted to learn about. Things like content marketing, passive income, writing, neuroscience, relationships, the benefits of reading, healthy lifestyle habits, productivity, etc. My reading list has just gotten longer and longer and I keep thinking, goodness, if I could just get paid to read and research I’d be set! In no way does my degree mean that I’ve arrived. I took some great classes and it’s a great foundation I wouldn’t trade but that’s what it is – a foundation. And a foundation is only worth something if you build on it. So even though I’m done with college (for now, anyway) I’m continuing my education. I’ve just shed the assignment deadlines :).

I don’t have as much time as I’d like with a full time job but one of my goals is to really take time to further my personal education, to indulge in the things that spark my intellect and creativity.

Being engaged to your best friend is the most wonderful thing ever 🙂

I was thrilled when the BF asked me to marry him. Being engaged to my best friend is the coolest thing and I love it. I truly love the man more and more every day. However, this new phase of our relationship does have its own set of difficulties that I wasn’t anticipating. Nothing bad, just challenging. We live over an hour away from each other and mostly only see each other on the weekends so finding time to get things done is sometimes tricky. We’ve got different priorities and navigating through and coordinating our own processes and procedures, if you will, is uncharted ground for me. And while sometimes it feels like the wedding is so far away, the days are flying by at such a pace that I feel like I’m never going to get anything done! That’s why I’m so thankful that God gave me a man who is not only a sweetheart, he’s also reasonable, understanding, and not high-maintenance. Cause while being engaged is all very romantic, it’s also a time when you’re forced to think practically and seriously about the future. We’re building a life, after all, not just planning a wedding. Being engaged to a man who gets all that and helps keep me balanced is such an incredible blessing!

HE ASKED SHE SAID YES
HE ASKED SHE SAID YES

New jobs are like new mission fields.

If there’s one thing I know about jobs, it’s that you’re not there just to make money. When you spend the bulk of your week at a place with a group of people, you have one very important responsibility: shine a light so that people’s lives are made better because you were there to be a positive influence for God. I believe that if you let Him, God will hand pick your place of employment, not just so you can pay the bills, but so that lives can be touched-yours included. I love the people and environment of my job, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. My goal for however long I work at my office is to stay positive, work hard, and be His hands, feet, and voice. It’s not easy, especially when the day is stressful but I count it a privilege and I’m every grateful.

And for now, that’s all she wrote! I’ve been hard pressed to find time to write this year and I’m working on finding a new groove. I’ve got so many ideas for posts and things I want to share so I will get it together eventually. In the meantime, I’m going to take it all one day at a time, allowing God to lead and things to fall in place in His time.

Y’all enjoy the rest of your day <3        

10 Ways to NOT Be a Lousy Customer

If there’s one thing that I learned when working my office jobs, it’s to respect customer service reps. After spending hours and hours on the phone all different kinds of people, I understood what it’s like on the other side of a service call. I’ve always been a pretty chill, friendly person but my work experience gave me the desire to step it up when speaking with people on the phone and in person.

When you pick up the phone to pay a bill, reschedule a doctor’s appointment or troubleshoot a computer issue, you’re the one in need. When you’re paying for your groceries, getting your car washed or eating at a restaurant, you asking something of someone else. And yes, you’re paying for those services but you also have a responsibility in that exchange–the responsibility to be conscientious and respectful.  While I tried to give my best to everyone I interacted with at my job, I definitely had my favorite people who I loved to help and often went out of my way to assist. These were people who were polite, friendly, honest, and understanding.

We often complain about lousy customer service and it is definitely out there, but have you ever considered whether or not you’re a lousy customer? We don’t often think about it but customer service is a two-way street. You can’t control how other people treat you but you can certainly make an effort to do your part.

I’m going to go over 10 Ways to NOT Be a Lousy Customer on the phone or in person.

Lousy Customer

 

  1. Speak clearly. 

    When giving information over the phone, like an address or ID number, speak clearly and slowly. Give them time to correctly input or write down the info your giving them. I couldn’t stand it when people rattled off their phone numbers like I was supposed to be able to hear, process, and write it down in a split second. And if you’re the one taking down information, make sure and repeat it back to them to make your you got it right. And if you have an accent, be it from another American region or the other side of the globe, be aware that the other person may have trouble initially understanding you so be patient with them and don’t get angry if you’re asked to repeat yourself more than once.

  2. Don’t get frustrated when your call gets transferred.

    Unless you’re getting tossed around like a hot potato from person to person, don’t get frazzled when you get transferred. They’re just trying to get you to the person who will best help you. And when they transfer you to the new person, don’t assume they know what’s going on. Sometimes they have no clue and you have to tell your story again. Be cool, answer their questions, and let them do their job.

  3. Say please and thank you. 

    Remember the magic words you learned as a child? Yeah, they still apply. Say ‘yes, please’ and ‘no, thank you’ when asked questions. It’s like the difference between walking in wearing jeans and a t-shirt and walking in dressed in a well-tailored suit. The jeans and t-shirt may look alright but the suit, well, that’s just snazzy. People notice snazzy.

  4. Make eye contact.

    When speaking with people face to face, make eye contact. If you’re speaking to your waiter, take your nose out of your menu and actually look up and talk to him like he’s a person, not just an order-taking machine. Conversation is about making connection and one of the ways we do that is through eye contact. It helps build trust and tells the other person that you are taking them seriously and care about what they’re saying.

  5. Put your grocery cart away. 

    One of my biggest grocery store peeves is seeing shopping carts hanging out in the parking lot. Unless you need to jet off to some dire emergency, take the extra minute and put your grocery cart where it belongs. And don’t just leave it there haphazardly, nest it in with the others. My OCD self has actually straightened out crooked carts because I couldn’t get mine in. It takes a couple of minutes, your groceries will be fine. Be a dear and save the employees the headache.

  6. Put items back where you found them. 

    We teach our children this when they’re young but have you noticed how messy we grownups can be sometimes? If you’re in a waiting room, put the magazine back on the rack or table where you found it. If you’re at Walmart and you change your mind about an item, put it back on the shelf where you found it, not in another department on the other side of the store. There are times when you just have to leave something in the next convenient place but don’t make it a habit of leaving things where they’re not supposed to.

  7. Don’t be a cheap tipper. 

    Be prepared to tip well when you go out. Don’t just give the minimum across the board. If you truly weren’t satisfied with the service then just give the minimum, I think that’s our duty as customers. But if you really appreciated the service, be as generous as you can reasonably afford. And if you’re a regular at an establishment, definitely be generous with the staff because you don’t want to be the one that causes eyes to roll cause you’re known for being the cheap one.

  8. Always ask how they’re doing.

    When someone asks you how you’re going, always return the favor and ask how they’re doing. I’ve heard genuine surprise and appreciation in voices over the phone when I’ve done that which means I can only imagine how many customers never take the time to ask. Remember, you’re making a connection. That connection may only last a few minutes but go ahead and make the most of that time by being genuinely friendly. You might just make their day!

  9. Show your appreciation.

    At the end of a conversation or transaction, always, always, show your appreciation for their time. For me, it’s generally something simple like, Thanks so much for you time, I really appreciate it, have a good day! Sometimes, if someone just really did a fantastic job, I’ll lay it on thick, Thank you sooooo much, you’re a lifesaver! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me figure this out! And be appreciative even if your problem wasn’t solved. Thank them for trying and be gracious when they apologize.

  10. Don’t act entitled.

    I said earlier that people notice snazzy. Well people notice jerks too. Don’t be the jerk who acts like she’s entitled the best of everything. People who got on the phone and spoke to me like I owed them something shut me down in seconds flat. You know the kind I’m talking about. They’re the ones who go around like they own the place and when they say “jump” they expect you to ask “how high?”. Yes, you may be paying for a service but it’s the people on the other side who get to determine how well your experience is going to be. Conscientious people like doing things for conscientious people. Don’t be a jerk. Be gracious, humble, and conscientious.

There is a lot of lousy customer service out there to be sure. But don’t add to the mess and act lousy. We’re all customers, we might as well be go at it!

What are some ways you try to be a good customer/patron/patient? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

14. Do Not Hand Over the Mic | 31 Days

This is post 14/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

I was listening to a couple of writer interviews yesterday and both of them talked about how they deal with trolls and people who speak negatively and inappropriately in their lives and about their work. One of them said something really interesting–do not hand over the mic.

Handing someone a microphone is not just letting someone talk to you. It’s also allowing their words have an effect on you. It’s considering what they have to say and giving them space in your mind. 

There are people in our lives who think that they have something to say about us and the way we live our lives. I’m not talking about true friends and mentors who love and understand us and really want what’s best for us. I’m talking about those who act like they know you but have never taken the time to be a friend and then speak to you like they’re entitled to an opinion. I’m talking about the people who just want to argue for the sake of arguing and really have no interest in your opinion. I’m talking about the people who just want to hear themselves talk. 

Do not hand those people the mic. Do not give just anyone room to plant their ideas and opinions in their head. That doesn’t mean you should be rude, but when the negativity and snark and, well, stupid remarks start coming, step away and don’t let yourself internalize any of it.

In such a noisy world, with so many people and things vying for our attention on a daily basis, we don’t have time or space for words that don’t uplift, encourage, challenge, or motivate. Surround yourself with people who are truly interested in real conversation and relationship. Life is just too short for anything less.

It’s your mic. Do not hand it over to just anyone.  

#write31days

12. Happiness | 31 Days

This is post 12/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

Sara Groves’s 2009 record, Fireflies and Songs, has a song called Different Kinds of Happy. I loved it the first time I heard it. It’s about the difference in happiness between her wedding day and the moment, years later, coming out of marriage counseling knowing that they were going make it.

“It’s a sweet, sweet thing

Standing here with you and nothing to hide

Light shining down to our very inside

Sharing our secrets, bearing our souls

Helping each other come clean”

Sara Groves, Different Kinds of Happy

I’m not married so I can’t relate completely but I love it anyway cause I do believe there are various degrees of happiness all around our lives.

There’s the happiness of listening your nephews tell you the cool thing they just did.

There’s the happiness of playing a board game with your family.

There’s the happiness of a good book and a quiet evening.

It’s not complex or complicated. It’s the simple and steady. And the serendipitous and all-consuming.

There’s the happiness of coming out of extreme pain and knowing you’re going to be just fine.

There’s the happiness of a first date and then, a year later, the happiness of a familiar hug.

And like she talks about in the song, there’s happiness of being honest and real with someone and feeling secure in their love and transparency. you can’t get to that place in a day or two or even one or two years.

Happiness comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. But I think that the deeper moments of happiness come after the challenging times when you can look back and see how far you’ve come and look ahead and see how far you get to go. Deeper challenges, deeper experiences, can make for deeper happiness afterward.

Sure, happiness is finding a piece of chocolate at the bottom of your purse when you’re late getting lunch but it’s also looking at your kid brother after you’ve had a fight and knowing that no matter what, he’s still got your back.

I think back to what made me happy 10 years ago. Man. While many of the same things still make me happy, experience has shown me a different kind of happiness that I couldn’t have anticipated. You just can’t until you’ve come through. And 10 years from now, I’ll think the exact same thing. There are different kinds of happy that you can see in your life now. There are different kinds of happy and sometimes only a later you will fully understand. 

I wish those two could see us now

They never would believe that there are different kinds of happy”

Sara Groves, Different Kinds of Happy

#write31days

4. Snapshots | 31 Days

This is post 4/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

Last year and the year before, I had no time to really enjoy the seasons. It was the worst during the holidays. I’d bring homework to family parties and was always thinking about my next deadline. I was constantly running at breakneck speed in order to get everything done and done well.

I understand that there are times for that. When you just have to get it done.

But I hate it. I hate missing out on the present in pursuit of a future outcome. While I think that God expects us to do good, hard work, I believe He also expects us to enjoy the beauty around us.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Psalm 34:8

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Yesterday, we took communion in church and at that end of the service, we sang Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. That’s the whole point of communion–remembering the sacrifice, the great and terrible sacrifice He made for us. That’s the point of church–to recognize Him as the Creator and Ruler of all. The whole point of our existence is bring glory, honor, and praise to our Heavenly Father and we can only do so when we break from the rat race and fix our eyes on Him.

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.19.23 AM

Picture

Did my God create a beautiful world or what?

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.34.17 AM

The birds are calling out to one another overhead, the sun is shining on my back, the wind in is rustling through the trees. Food cooks on a smokey morning fire and I stopped caring what my hair looks like. No one care what your hair looks like when you’re camping.

God’s in His heaven. He’s working wonders in my life. I’m in a slower season now but whenever it does pick up again, as I’m sure it will, I want to still take time to take snapshots of the present. To be still. To know that God has and always will be in control. To remember that His mercy never fails and His love is big enough to cast out all my fears. To listen to my family and friends. To care about the happenings around me.

To put my life in perspective.

Our work is important. But the everyday moments deserve our notice. They’re wonderful in their simplicity. God gives them to us as a gift. Don’t miss out on the beautiful present in pursuit of a future, as good as it may be. Life is too short, too precious, to ignore the life we live now.

#write31days

25 Things You Should Know Before You Turn 25

I turned 25 last week.  Still not sure if I feel different yet, lol.  I’m so blessed to have reached the beginning of a brand new year of life and I’m thankful but I can’t begin to tell you how different my life is from the way I envisioned it when I was 15.  Twenty-five was so old 10 years ago.  Now I’m here and I realize I was wrong…and right.  A quarter of a century is still young but it’s old enough to know a thing or two about life.  Here is a list of 25 things I’m glad I’ve learned so far or am still..ahem..trying to learn now.

25 Things

1. Life isn’t going to go the way you planned.

This is number one on my list for a reason.  Realize that you may not end up where you thought you’d be by the time you hit 25.  If you end up somewhere better, great!  If not, it’s totally okay.  Learn from any mistakes, do the best with what you’ve got and keep moving forward!!

2. Get your financial act together.

Know how to budget, do simple taxes, and be serious about your savings account.  You don’t want to set yourself up to live paycheck to paycheck.  Always have some kind of financial safety net.  It doesn’t have to be big; even something small is better than nothing.  We live in a crazy, uncertain world.  Anything can happen and we don’t have control over much but take control of what you can and minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises.

3. You don’t need to ‘hang out’ all the time.

Even the most social of social butterflies need alone time to chill, re-focus, and hear herself think.  Enjoy your friends but schedule time for a little solidarity.  People who are constantly around people and can’t stand to be by themselves are the ones who need some quiet time the most.  Light some candles, take a hot bath, read a book, do a crossword puzzle…be creative.  Your brain will thank you. Believe me.

4. Know your way around a kitchen.

You don’t have to be a culinary artist but know the basics of cooking and baking.  If you’re just starting out, pick a few recipes to master.  These are the dishes you can bring to a friend’s house or whip up when you’ve got last minute guests.  Get some cookbooks or actually read the food articles on your Pinterest boards.  If your single and don’t wish to remain so, then cooking is definitely something you’re going to need to learn if you want to raise a healthy, happy family. Plus, eating in on a regular basis is always cheaper and healthier than constantly eating out.

5. Get your wardrobe together.

Every adult should have a wardrobe that represents either the lifestyle that she leads or the one she wants to lead.  Know what wardrobe basics are.  Know the difference between fashion and trend.  The older you get, the more you want to steer clear of dressing too trendy.  Build your wardrobe with pieces that are stylish, long-lasting, and still reflect your unique personality.  Your tastes will probably change as the years pass but do take some time to really figure out what you want to say with your clothing.  How you present yourself to the world is important.  As much as we shouldn’t judge people from their appearance, first impressions make a difference.  Use that to your advantage and dress yourself with purpose and class.

6. Know when to shut up.

Plato is quoted to have said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”  Mature adults know when to speak and when words are unnecessary.  Don’t speak every thought that pops into your head.  Don’t gossip or spread rumors.  Think before you open your mouth and really practice listening to other people.  You’ll develop better relationships, succeed professionally and get yourself in less trouble.

7. Be a student.

You may think that when you finish your formal education you get to call it quits on the pencils and books.  Not so my friend.  Graduation doesn’t mean the learning stops.  The most important thing you should learn from formal education really doesn’t have anything to do with your degree or certification.  Formal education should teach you how to be a student for life.  Think about all the things you’ve always wanted to learn and figure out how to learn them.  It may mean a free course online or a class at your local recreation center.  Whatever it is, make time to immerse yourself in what you’re passionate about.

8. Have friends that are older than you.

I was one of the first children born in my parents’ circle of friends so I spent my early years around mostly adults.  I’ve since learned that having older adult friends is one of the smartest things a young person can do.  They’ve lived more of life than you and can speak wisdom into your life.  Having friends outside your age demographic challenges your brain and gives you broader perspective in life.  Develop some relationships with adults who are older than you–it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

9. Listen to your parents.

Yes, you’re an adult.  Yes, you need the freedom to make your own decisions.  But listen up.  Your parents have done this adult thing for a bit longer than you have–pay attention to what they have to say.  That doesn’t mean they’re always right or that you have to agree with everything they say.  But give them a chance, they’ve got experience and that counts for a lot.

10. Keep house.

Whether you’re in a dorm room, an apartment, or living with your folks, learn basic home ec skills.  Remember, if you’re single and you don’t want to remain so, you’re going to need to know how to run a household.  Period.  Can you iron, do dishes, dust, vacuum and clean a bathroom?  Great.  How about change a lightbulb, put a piece of furniture together, hook up the entertainment system, talk to the cable guy or get the dry cleaning done?  There is more to adulthood than keeping a job.  The household you decide to set up will need your attention in every aspect from the houseplants to the rent check.  Learn all you can about running a household during whatever season you’re in now so you’ll be as ready as possible when the time comes.

11. Unplug every once in a while.

It wasn’t so long ago that cell phones did little more than make and receive calls.  You used to have to pay-per-text.  Remember T9?  And apps  What’s an app?  There was life before smart phones.  There is an up and coming generation that won’t ever believe that but it is true.  Put your phone down, step away from your computer, and turn off the TV.  Log out, sign out, exit, shut down, and unplug.  You won’t die.  It’ll be there when you get back.  I get it, there’s stuff going on and you need to be apart of it.  But I promise, email can be checked later, the latest Vine craze can wait, and FB statuses don’t always need updating.  Go and check out life beyond the screen.  Some of you remember what that’s like, yeah?  It still has it’s charm too.

 12. Leave the drama in high school.

If I had a nickel for every time my parents called me a drama queen…well, I’d have a lot of nickels.  Some people are born dramatic, some learn the art, and some have drama thrust upon them, to borrow from Shakespeare.  I think I’m a little of all three, if that’s even possible. It’s not an endearing quality and I’m sloooowly learning to keep it in check. There are times when drama can’t be avoided, it just happens.  When it does, keep your reaction and involvement at a minimum.  Don’t be remembered as the one who made the biggest fuss.  Remember all the junk that went on in high school?  Yeah, don’t repeat all that nonsense.  Leave high school drama at high school, grow up and act like an adult.

13. Kids are awesome.

I love kiddos and we’ve got lots of them in my extended and church families.  If you’re single and or childless, you’ve got the opportunity to be the ‘cool’ auntie or uncle.  You may be paying school loans or rent but you’re not paying for diapers, school tuition, or pediatrician bills.  Spoil the kiddos in your life a little.  Even in this tech-crazed world, a box of crayons and paper will still occupy the modern child.  And when your budget won’t allow even the simplest gifts, your time and attention means a lot. Kids remember more than we give them credit for.  Make friends with them and their parents now and you may be the trusted adult they go to when they need someone to talk to later in life.

14. Go to sleep.

You learned how to pull all-nighters in school and a parent-enforced bedtime is a thing of the past.  Just because you know how to sleep late and function during the day doesn’t mean you should.  This is one that I really struggle with.  I love the solitude of the night and I’ve done some great work during late hours.  However, the truth of the matter is the best work is done when the mind is rested.  So go to sleep at a decent hour, rise early and hit the ground running.  Sleeping late is a bad habit that’s worth breaking and your 30-year old, 40-year old, 50-year old self will thank you profusely.

15. Take care of your body.

Just like it needs sleep, your body needs good nutrition, hydration, and exercise to function best.  Eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink lots of water.  Find an exercise you enjoy and do it at least a few times a week.  Limit your sugar and fat intake and don’t eat late at night.  You will age more gracefully when you take care of your body when you’re young.

16. Know what you believe.

You should be able to have an intelligent conversation about what you’re beliefs are.  Don’t subscribe to beliefs simply because your parents or friends believe them.  Own your what you believe.  Form opinions on purpose and be able to back them up.  It’s okay if you’re not sure what you believe about something but don’t stop there.  Ask questions, study the subject and come to a conclusion.  The world is noisy with sound of a million different philosophies, ideas, and opinions.  Start with God and His word and you’ll have the best framework with which to build your worldview.

17. Know your limitations.

Youth is a great time to try new things, have adventures and step outside of your comfort zone.  But know your limitations.  It’s okay to say ‘no’.  Don’t do things just cause your friends are.  Maybe now isn’t the best time for that.  Check in with your instincts.  If you don’t feel ready, capable, or comfortable, pay attention.  Be smart about your choices and don’t stretch yourself too far.

18. Sleeping around isn’t cool.

I know this is so not PC but sleeping around isn’t cool.  You’re only stealing from your future by shacking up with people you’re not committed to.  Treat yourself with more respect and dignity than that.  It may feel grown up and mature but you don’t have to sleep with someone to have a great relationship.  And if your partner doesn’t think so, then they’re not worth your time.  Believe me, there are so many other aspects of a great relationship than sex.  Work on those things and have fun without jumping into bed.  Your future spouse will thank you.

19. If you want to get married someday, act like it.

Having said that, think about whether or not you really want to get married.  If you do, then act like it.  Don’t give too much of yourself away to too many people.  Focus on being friends first before deciding to date exclusively.  And friends don’t get benefits if you know what I mean.  Move slowly so you can decide if the other person is worth moving forward with.  Anything worth having is worth waiting and working for.  Relationships need time to develop and mature, give them that time.  Ever after is a looooooong time and real love is too sweet to settle for cheap imitations.  No need to rush.  Your future husband or wife is a real, living, breathing person somewhere out there.  Are you living a life you’d be proud to share with him or her?  If not, it’s about time you did something about it.

20. Singleness is a gift.

There is nothing wrong with being single.  In fact, it’s a necessary season in life to figure yourself out.  When you don’t have the distraction of a significant other, you can get to know yourself, your passions, and your goals.  So what you have to play third or fifth wheel again.  I can almost guarantee you that even the happiest couples miss bits and pieces of their singleness every once in a while.  When we enter a new life season, there is often a trading something for something else.  Enjoy and make the most of your singleness before you have to trade it in for being apart of a team.

21. Life isn’t fair and it doesn’t owe you a thing.

I’m sorry if this is news to you but life don’t owe you a thing.  It’s your responsibility to make something of yourself and you’ll only get as much as you put into it–and sometimes, you won’t even get that much.  Entitlement isn’t a luxury you can afford.  You are going to get used, betrayed and stabbed in the back, I’m sorry.  Sometimes the mess and hurt will be your fault and other times your best efforts will only earn you disappointment and heartache.  But God is gracious and life will always be worth living no matter how hard things get.  Take responsibility for your actions, work hard, take the bad with the good and learn how to get back up when you get knocked down.

22. Give a care.

I’ve met people who truly do not give a care about other people’s situations.  They may care about the things that relate to themselves but that’s it.  These people don’t go very far.  Oh, they may succeed professionally but they miss out on so many other things that matter more.  Take genuine interest in the people around you.  Ask real questions not just the polite, small talk niceties.  Don’t be nosy or get into people’s business but show that you care about and value them.  Smile.  Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  Give up your seat.  Offer to help when it’s needed.  Go out of your way.  Relationships are about what you can give not what you can get.  Care enough to give your best to others–your co workers, your family and friends, the elderly couple in the grocery store, the teller at the bank, they all deserve your care.  Give it freely and without condition.  You’ll be a much happier person when you do!

23. There is a difference embracing your inner-child and acting childish.

There are some things that shouldn’t change when we grow up like enjoying an afternoon at the park, a favorite childhood story, or a game of Candyland with your nieces and nephews.  There is a part of childhood that every adult should hold onto or else we run the risk of over-working ourselves and taking the wrong things too seriously.  Children value the simple things, they’re not complicated and will tell it like it is.  Take the best of childhood and pair it with the wisdom that should come with age.

That’s not the same as acting childish. Don’t run around doing stupid things, not thinking of how it’ll effect other people.  Don’t throw tantrums, toss around people’s feelings, or be careless with other people’s things.  That’s childish behavior and you should know better than that.  Be responsible, say what you mean, and don’t sulk when things don’t go your way.

 24. Stick to your commitments.

You said you’d have lunch with a friend.  Don’t ditch just cause something else came up and it sounded like more fun.  You said you’d participate in a group project.  Don’t flake cause you decide you don’t feel like doing it anymore.  It’s one thing to forget, get sidetracked or over-booked.  It’s an entirely different thing to choose to skip out on something because you don’t feel it’s worth your time.  Don’t be wishy-washy, flaky, or unreliable.  It’s childish and rude and you’ll only frustrate people.

25. Know how to give a good handshake.

One of my biggest pet peeves is a fishy handshake.  It’s weak, limp and you have to hold on to the other person’s hand or it will just slide past your fingers.  This is especially annoying with guys.  Know how to give a good, firm handshake, complete with a friendly look in the eye. No need for a death grip but don’t shy away either.  Good handshakes will vary depending on the setting and the person but don’t miss out on mastering this piece of social intercourse.  People will believe you when you say, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”


If you’re going to turn 25, then take the opportunity to learn as much as you can before you hit the quarter-life mark.  If you’re past 25, then take the opportunity to look at what you know and what you probably should know by now.  Life is a cumulative journey and there’s always more to learn and more ways to improve.  Embrace the best and live life to the fullest!

Why Women Love Gilbert Blythe and Why Guys Should Pay Attention

Gilbert Blythe.  The name alone is enough to make hearts swoon!

When I heard that Jonathan Crombie died two weeks ago, I cried. Call me sappy or too sentimental but I did, for real. Not only was he just too young, he brought to life literature’s most beloved boy-next-door and I felt like a tornado swept through my childhood and the memory of those sweet, sweet years will never be the same.

jonathan crombie IMDB
photo credit – IMDB

So, what’s the big deal about this guy, Gilbert Blythe? Why do girls fall for him so easily? While women everywhere have swooned over any number of literature’s leading men over the years, from Darcy to Rochester, it is my humble opinion that L.M. Montgomery’s dear Gil is the best.

So, if you’ll allow me, I’m going to indulge in a bit of sentimental fan-girling. I write this for Green Gables fans, of course, but I write it first for the little girl who grew up with Anne & Gil and will always cherish the memories of movie marathons and worn paperbacks.

That is to say, this post is for me.

But, you will have, of course, noticed the second half of my title: Why Guys Need to Pay Attention. Yeah, this one is for the guys too – if they can sit through it. Ladies, pass this on to the gentlemen in your life and see what kind of conversations it’ll start. If you’re a gentleman and you’re reading this, I have five things to say to you:

  1. Excuse the profuse sentiment.
  2. You’ll notice a Guy Tip at the end of each item – that’s for you. If you want to just cut to the chase and read those bits first, go for it!
  3. If your girlfriend or wife made you read this, suck it up, read it and then give her a hug and ask her why she thought you should and really listen to what she has to say. Be open to a new conversation.  
  4. You’re about to find out why, if you didn’t yet know, the lady in your life had has such a huge crush on a fictional character. 
  5. You’re welcome.

NOTE: If you haven’t read the books, you won’t recognize some of the references. If you’ve never watched the movies or read the books…well, you decide how you feel about spoilers!

So, here’s my list in memory of Jonathan Crombie.

Why Women Love Gilbert Blythe and Why Guys Should Pay Attention

(This post contains affiliate links)

1. He lets Anne be Anne.

Oh, Anne Shirley!  She’s a wonderful mess of imagination, goof-ups, temper, drive, and dreams – and Gilbert loves all of that about her. He never tries to make her something she isn’t. He lets her be herself and admires her for it.

This most definitely does not mean that he’s a pushover! If he has a differing opinion, he’ll state it and stand by it. (You may recall their discussion about Leslie’s husband in Anne’s House of Dreams). These two chums-turned-lovers don’t always agree, and their lives aren’t free of struggle – they’ve got issues just like everyone else. Gilbert doesn’t think she’s perfect but he loves her for the person she is and the person she’s becoming.

Guy Tip: If you really like a girl, let her be herself! Great relationships aren’t about what you’re going to get out of the other person, they’re about how you bring out the best in that other person. Bring out the best in your lady and if you’ve got a keeper, not only will she shine, she’ll do the same for you too!

Gentleman, if you’re married, this is even more crucial. We all change over time and I’m sure that if you’ve been married long enough, both of you can say that, in some ways, you’re not married to the same person you stood next to at the alter. And that’s okay!! That’s the way life is and it’s a good thing as long as we’re growing and learning and progressing. Let her grow and learn. Let her mature and change. Let her thrive. Again, if you’ve got a good girl, she’ll do the same for you and the two of you will have a good thing going.

2. He works hard.

Gilbert works hard for what he has and isn’t showy about his successes. He simply shows up, does his best, and lets his work speak for itself. You see this all through his years in school and later as a doctor. He doesn’t let obstacles throw him and he pursues excellence. And Anne knows this. Even before she falls in love with Gilbert, she knows her best guy friend is somebody who chases dreams and does the hard work. She knows that he’s not flakey and she can trust him cause he’s proven to be dependable. 

Guy Tip: If you haven’t already, figure out what you want to do in life and then work hard to make it happen. It’s not about having all your ducks in a row right this very minute but rather doing the best with what you’ve got and always pursuing excellence. That may mean sacrificing stuff you used to enjoy when you were a kid. If you find yourself having to decide whether or not to study or work longer on an assignment for your job rather than hang out? Congrats, you’ve entered adulthood. If you have to start at the bottom again even though you know you’re worth more? Congrats, you’re entering a new season of life.

Working hard means paying your dues in the pursuit of what you’ve deemed important. We’re all old enough to know that we don’t realize success overnight – it takes work. Life is a cumulative journey; we learn by and build on experience. Embrace it, work with it, and then let your successes speak for themselves. And, I assure you, the good girls will pay attention and they will applaud you because that kind of work ethic is attractive. I promise.  

3. He’s patient.

This is evidenced in the TV series but so much more, I think, in the books. How incredibly patient this guy is! He fell in love with Anne long before the thought ever occurred to her that he could. And he waited. And waited.

The second book in the series, Anne of Avonlea, ends with Anne and Gil walking home from the wedding of a dear friend, Miss Lavender, who had married her sweetheart from years ago. Anne comments on how sweet their story was and how happy she was that the bride and groom came “together again after all the years of separation and misunderstanding.”

“Yes, it’s beautiful,” said Gilbert, looking steadily down into Anne’s uplifted face, “but wouldn’t it have been more beautiful still, Anne, if there had been no separation or misunderstanding…if they had come hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other?”

Get’s me every time. Here’s what happens next.

“For a moment Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways…perhaps…perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.

Gilbert wisely said nothing more; but in his silence he read the history of the next four years in the light of Anne’s remembered blush. Four years of earnest, happy work…and then the guerdon of a useful knowledge gained and a sweet heart one.

Anne of Avonlea, Chapter 30

In our culture of hook-ups, shack-ups, and split-ups, it’s all the more satisfying to read about a patient guy. Gilbert decided to bide his time and work hard so that he could offer Anne a future. So the two set off for Redmond College to pursue their academic dreams. 

Enter Roy Gardner. You book readers will remember Roy from Anne of the Island. Anne fell for him because he was the epitome of perfection she had conjured up in her dreams. Poor Gil!! But he still held out. Oh, it hurt him to see is best girl going around with another guy but he waited. He knew he couldn’t ever love anyone the way he loved Anne but he never pressured her even when it seemed like he was going to lose out all together. That my friends, is not just patience, but good, ol’ fashioned, long-suffering love.

Guy Tip: You can’t force someone to love you or be with you. The whole time Gilbert was waiting for Anne to come to her senses, he went on with his life, pursuing his goals and working hard. He didn’t pine, he didn’t stalk, and he didn’t guilt-trip, tease, gossip, or gripe. By the time she came around, he was a whole individual with a full life to offer her. Yeah, it was incredibly tough because he didn’t know if she’d ever accept him. And what would have happened if she never chose him? His heart would’ve taken an unbearable hit, yes, but he would have still been a whole person with a full life to offer whoever his Mrs. Right would turn out to be. That’s called quiet strength and gentlemen, I promise you, it speaks volumes! Be patient, let things happen naturally, and don’t put your life on hold in the meantime.

4. He’s a class act.

Roy Gardner may have been Anne’s ‘perfect man’ but Gil more than outshines him as a class act! He’s sensible, grounded, and not silly or self-absorbed. Think young Gregory Peck or Jimmy Stewart. I consider a person to be a class act when they just go about their business responsibly, graciously, and unselfishly. They’re humbled when you compliment them, they don’t make a lot of fuss about themselves and they’re not out to toot their own horn. That’s Gil. He knows how to have a good time with his friends but he’s not all that concerned with the latest fads and trends. He doesn’t get involved in things he knows he shouldn’t. He’s not perfect but he’s prudent. I know, it’s not a sexy word but it’s an invaluable trait. As he grows up, he tucks into the pocket of his adulthood those things that make a real man – integrity, honesty, loyalty, and real love.

Guy Tip: Yeah, yeah, girls want a guy who’s good looking but she also wants one with a stand-up character. A sensible girl doesn’t want an immature airhead, a clingy boy, or a self-absorbed workaholic. Seriously consider those things you know you need to work on and, that’s right, work on them. If you don’t know what your character flaws are, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook – ask someone you trust and who will tell you the truth! You want a good girl, gentlemen, you gotta be a good guy. You gotta be a class act.  

5. He’s secure.

Remember when Anne and Diana beat Gilbert and Moody Spurgeon at the three-legged race? And remember when Anne beat Gilbert during the spelling bee by correctly spelling ‘chrysanthemum’ (and best better believe that, to this day, I spell that word with Anne’s voice in my head)? The beginning of Anne and Gil’s relationship was purely competitive. They worked hard to outdo one another in school. When they became friends, they helped each other in their studies and when they became professionals, they supported each other in their respective fields. All the while, Gilbert was never threatened when Anne succeeded. He didn’t have to prove himself and he didn’t always have to be right. He worked hard and was secure in who he was. That security allowed him to genuinely rejoice in others’ successes even if he was the one who lost.

One more thing worth pointing out – remember, in the third movie, when Anne was busy ‘co-writing’ her book with Jack Garrison and didn’t have as much time for her dear, fiancé? Gilbert knew she was working on something that mattered a lot to her and gave her the space to do so. He was also secure enough in their relationship that he wasn’t threatened by her professional relationship with Jack.

Guy Tip: Develop your talents and celebrate hers. If you’ve got a keeper, she’ll support you and push you to be the best you can be but you have to do the same for her. Both Anne and Gil are dreamers and doers, that is, they both figured out what they wanted to do and they worked hard at pursuing their passions. Have fun, throw in a little friendly competition to keep you both on your toes. Hold each other accountable when appropriate. Ask her about her latest project, be interested in what she’s doing. Give advice and ask for her opinion on whatever you’re working on.  And if she beats you at your favorite game, just give her a wink, congratulate her and say you’ll get her next time!

6. He’s a romantic

Okay, so we know that Gil pulled Anne’s hair in school and called her ‘Carrots’ but we find out later that he really was a super sweet guy and just as romantically inclined as Anne. You movie watchers will remember when Mr. Phillips made Anne sit by her nemesis, Gilbert, in school one afternoon, but it’s the book readers who may recall that Gilbert, who was truly sorry for teasing her “took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, “You are sweet,” and slipped it under the curve of Anne’s arm.” (Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 15). Anne promptly crushed the candy with her shoe without glancing at the gift-giver but years later, she was reminded of that incident. One Christmas during college, Gilbert sent her “a thread-like gold chain with a tiny pink enamel heart as a pendant. On the accompanying card was written, “With all good wishes from your old chum, Gilbert.”” (Anne of the Island, Chapter 37). Sweet, yeah? But get this: she was already going steady with Roy Gardner.

Yeah.

It gets better. In the midst of finals and graduation preparation, Redmond was buzzing with the gossip of Roy’s impending proposal to Anne. And then Gilbert sends her flowers for Convocation. But not just any flowers, these were lilies-of-the-valley like the ones that blossomed at Green Gables. Gilbert knew that even though Roy Gardner was her chosen man, he still had something that Roy didn’t have: the history of a beautiful friendship. So he capitalized on it and sent her flowers on the day the two of them had dreamt about for years. The sentiment touched Anne’s heart and whose flowers do you think she carried that day?

Guy Tip: Romance has less to do with flowers, chocolate, and expensive dates on special occasions and more to do with remembering shared moments and making much out of the small, simple things in life. And romance isn’t just about how to talk sweet to a girl either. When we say a guy is a sweet talker, we’re usually referring to a guy who knows how to use his words to get what he wants from a girl. That’s not a man, that’s just a boy with a decent vocabulary. A real man can treat a woman with love & respect regardless of whether or not she reciprocates it. Gilbert didn’t give Anne flowers in an attempt to win her back. He was being a friend and saying, “Hey, we made it! Congratulations and good luck!” No shooting stars, no candlelight, no touch, but oh, how very romantic. Why? Because he cared. 

Girls want to know you truly care and it’s your job to figure out how to best show that you do. For some girls it’s flowers, for some it’s good morning texts or a handwritten note, for others it’s a copy of her favorite book or a well-planned date. Actually, I can almost guarantee you it’s a combination of many different things and those may change over the years! Find out what’s important to your girl and do those things even if you don’t get it. Why does it have to be that brand of chocolate? It doesn’t matter. If she means that much to you, you’ll take note and buy her that brand of chocolate. She can open a door and she can hold her own in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter, hold that door open and ask if you can help out whenever possible. Yeah, it takes effort, but if you’ve got a keeper, guess what? That’s right, she’ll take the time to do the same for you. And if she forgets or is going through a particularly busy season, that’s okay, hang in there. You’re going to want her to understand when you’re going through a crazy phase and forget the anniversary of your first date!

And gentleman, if you are already married, this is even more important! Just because you said “I do” doesn’t mean you don’t continue to put your best foot forward. You have to work twice as hard keep her happy now because the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever but romance must always stay alive. There’s no magical age where we stop developing and changing. Like I said before, we change as the years go by. If you’re married, you’ve committed yourself to a lifetime of studying your wife. Be a romantic by doing your absolute best to making her happy and bringing out the best in her.   

7. He loves her

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t highlight Gil’s simple love for Anne. Yes, this whole list has demonstrated how much he cares about her but I have to spell it out just a bit more. 

You can see it on the screen when he looks at her. Jonathan Crombie did that look so well. It wasn’t anything creepy, seductive or even particularly charming, it was just pure love and adoration. He was completely smitten. It started out with a boy’s fascination with the new girl in school. 

“Gilbert Blythe was trying to make Anne Shirley look at him and failing utterly, because Anne was at that moment totally oblivious not only to the very existence of Gilbert Blythe, but of every other scholar in Avonlea school itself….

[He] wasn’t used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and meeting with failure. She SHOULD look at him, that red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin and the big eyes that weren’t like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.”

Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 15

And then, finally, after years of her implacable hostility, their fierce academic competition turned comradeship, and lots of hard work, and sacrifice on his part, Gilbert finally won.

“[It] was a happy and beautiful bride who came down the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September noon–the first bride of Green Gables, slender and shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting. It was to him she was coming in the sweet surrender of the bride. Was he worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped? If he failed her–if he could not measure up to her standard of manhood–then, as she held out her hand, their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad certainty. They belonged to each other; and, no matter what life might hold for them, it could never alter that. Their happiness was in each other’s keeping and both were unafraid.”

Anne’s House of Dreams, Chapter 5

 *insert happy sigh*

Guy Tip: If you’re a guy and you’ve made it this far, congratulations! I’m writing this not knowing if any guy is going to take the time to wade through this fan-girling but I couldn’t write this any other way – it flowed so naturally. Here’s my last guy tip:

I’ve been talking about how Gil was patient and waited for Anne for years but I need to add a very necessary caveat. This is a made up story and I get it. Gilbert Blythe isn’t perfect and I get that too. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all Gilbert Blythe Formula and I’m not trying to say that there is. However, the traits that make women swoon over him are very real and you would do well to consider them if you’ve never done so before. BUT! That doesn’t always mean you’re going to get the girl you’ve got your eyes on right now. Montgomery knew how to spin a good story but as we all know, the guy doesn’t always get the girl no matter how much he may ‘deserve her’ or how ‘good he was to her’ or how ‘patient he was’. Sometimes, she’s just not the one. 

‘Getting the girl’ may mean wading through some heartbreak, some loneliness, and some frustration before it all works out. I don’t believe in soul mates but I do think that you should wait for someone who loves you for who you are, and is willing to spend the rest of their life with the good, the bad, and the ugly both people will most definitely bring to the table. 

There’s always talk about girls saving themselves physically and emotionally for Mr. Right, but guys have hearts too. So don’t be in such a rush when you see a pretty face. I think that a lot of times, guys really mean well but y’all don’t give it enough time. Sometimes, even if she is the girl for you, you’ve just gotta wait. But a good woman is always worth waiting for, guys, I promise. 

Be a hard working, patient, class act dude who’s making himself a whole person with a full life and you’ll be worthy of a keeper. And when you get her, take the time to be romantic and love your sweetheart for who she is and I guarantee you, she’ll be one lucky gal!    


I went on longer than I originally intended. I was even considering a Part 2. But here it is and while I don’t know if Marilla Cuthbert or Rachel Lynde would have altogether approved of such fan-girling, I’ve throughly enjoyed it!

If you’re a die-hard Green Gables fan, leave me a comment and add to my list. Why else do women love about Gilbert and what other guy tips can the gentlemen in your life benefit from our favorite boy-next-door?

If you’re a guy and you finished this post, I have two more things to say to you:

  1. I hope you’ve gained some insight into the female sentiment.
  2. Thank you.

Y’all have a great day 🙂

P.S. For all y’all movie watchers:

“Christine was engaged to somebody in her home town. I knew it and she knew I knew it…I knew college gossip credited us with being in love with each other. I didn’t care…There was nobody else–there could never be anybody else for me but you.”

Gilbert, Anne of the Island, Chapter 41

And that is how the line is supposed to go!


 

If you’ve never read the books and you love the movies, I highly recommend reading the whole series! They’re beautiful stories and you won’t regret it! You can purchase the entire 8-book series HERE

Aaaand if you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read 4 Things Girls Need to Understand (Why You Don’t Deserve the Guy You Want)  which is my bookend post for the ladies!

The Stuff of a Successful Life

When you hear or see the word ‘success’, what comes to mind?  Money?  Your byline on the front page?  A happy family?  A rise on the corporate ladder?  Success means different things to each of us and there are a myriad different roads to that success.  And while I’m not an expert in this area, I have learned a thing or two based on the little victories in my life and various pieces of advice I’ve received.  Tucked into the pocket of my adulthood are 5 things I think are woven into the tapestry of a successful life.

There are things you have to do or be in order to be a writer.  And there are things you have to do or be in order to realize success in your life.  These 5 life tips are written in terms of being a writer cause it’s my niche and I think the principles are all the same no matter what you’re pursuing in life.

Success-Writer

 1. In order to be a writer, you have to be a reader.

A writer who doesn’t read, is like a cook who doesn’t eat or a musician who doesn’t listen to music.  If you want to be a writer, a composer of sentences, you’ve got to read.  And not just read but read well.  Don’t just read one kind of book, read broadly and outside of your comfort zone.  Allow yourself to mature, learn and grow as a reader and that’s one of the ways you’ll mature, learn, and grow as a writer.  Get to know style, structure, and voice.  Stretch your brain with subjects that you may not be naturally in to.  Challenge yourself with topics that you’ve always been interested in but didn’t think you were ‘smart’ enough to understand.  This takes some work but it’s worth it.

While I think that reading is important not matter who you are, the principle also holds true when it comes to your actual life’s work.  Submerge yourself in those things that will enhance your talents.  The more you engage in your talents and passions, the better you understand what it means to be whatever you want to be.  No matter what kind of work you do, don’t be satisfied to know just what your job requires.  Familiarize yourself with the context in which you work.  It will help you do your job better, you’ll become a better conversationalist and you’ll set yourself up for upward mobility in your organization.  Just remember: cooks eat, musicians listen to music, and writer’s read.  What do you do?

2. In order to be a writer, you have to write.

So, if you’re going to be a writer, you have to write.  Well, DUUUUHHH!

Lol.

Sometimes it’s not that simple.  Writing is hard and there are times when it’s more simple not to write.  But the desire doesn’t go away–so you have to do it!  Saying ‘you have to write’ means that you do it even when it’s hard.  Just because you’ve got a passion for something, doesn’t mean it’s going to come easily.  Having a passion for something means that even when it’s hard, you keep doing it.  

Same goes for anything else in life.  If you want to succeed at something, you have to do it.  You don’t wait around for ideal circumstances, you don’t wait until you know better, you just do it.  And you do it when it’s hard and you don’t want to. The BF once told me that this is what separates the boys from the men – the ability to keep doing something when it’s hard or you feel like it’s not worth it anymore.  The stuff of success is doing the hard things no matter what.

Note: I have to add a caveat – this doesn’t mean that you do things thoughtlessly or recklessly, without consideration.  But sometimes, we sit around and daydream about what we could be doing, despairing that we’ll never get a chance to do this, or be good enough to do that.  Sometimes opportunity doesn’t knock, you have to find it yourself.  Be prayerful and considerate of your options but don’t sit around and wait for easy – be purposeful and just do it!  

3. In order to be a writer, you have to be vulnerable.

Writing is putting your heart on the page and hoping no one steps on it or rips it to shreds.  It takes a lot of nerve to be that transparent with your thoughts.  And it takes a lot of guts to be okay when someone doesn’t like what you have to say.  A writer has to care more about writing and what she’s writing and less about what people think about it.  The ability to be that vulnerable is tough but it’s necessary.

There are times in life when you just have to be vulnerable in order to get anywhere.  Asking someone out, going on a job interview, striking up a conversation with someone who probably wouldn’t normally talk to you.  That first step, that first move – these are moments of vulnerability cause you don’t know what’s going to happen and your feelings may take a hit as a result of your actions.  But let me tell you something. Risking your pride and your feelings is a part of maturing and growing as a human being.  There’s no growth where there’s no risk and where there’s no risk, there’s no success. Care enough about your goal to take chances and be vulnerable.

4. In order to be a writer, you have to be willing to listen.

Confession – I struggle with this.  As a word lover, I’m too quick to speak and even slower to listen.  It’s really not cool and I have removed my foot from my big mouth on many, many occasions in my short life.  But listening is an important quality in a writer.  And not just when it’s your turn to listen in a conversation, but just in general.  Be aware of what’s going on around you.  It could spark your next blog post or start an interesting conversation.  You never know!

The same holds true in life.  Sometimes you really don’t have to talk.  If you’re like me, you have a zillion thoughts going on at once, multiple tabs open and comments on the ready.  But just because you have something to say, doesn’t mean you have to say it.  Practice listening.  Wait for people to finish their sentence before you respond and think about what you’re going to say (my parents just heard the hallelujah chorus in their heads and have no idea why!).  Maybe this isn’t an issue for you, but for all y’all fast talkers out there, be slow to speak and quick to listen.  Believe me, people will appreciate it!

5. In order to be a writer, you have to love it.

A writer doesn’t write for the sake of being a writer, a writer writes because she can’t help but write.  This quote says it best:

If you can quit, then quit.

In order to be a success in any area of you’re life, you have to want it enough.  If you you’re going to invest your time and effort doing something, make sure you love it.  This doesn’t mean quitting your day job, abandoning your responsibilities, or ditching your commitments simply because you don’t love them.  Life comes in seasons and everyone has to pay their dues or do things simply as the means to an end. Whatever you’re working towards, love it enough to use those things that you may not love, or even like, as learning opportunities and stepping stones along the way.


Success, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.  One may look at the family who drives a old van and always seems to be struggling financially as not successful until they see the joy of the children, the contentment on the wife’s face and the spring in the husband’s step – that is priceless.  

You’re not here to please everybody else, just One Person.  When God looks at you, you want to be sure He likes what He sees you spending your life on.  He created you with a specific purpose in mind.  That purpose doesn’t necessarily mean something seemingly grandiose like mission work in a foreign country, leadership in a far reaching ministry organization, or a best selling book.  Sometimes that purpose looks more like faithful service in your local church, witnessing on the job, or raising children that love the Lord.  The stuff of a successful life is deciding to do whatever it is that God placed you on this earth to do no matter how hard it is or how much it costs you.

The stuff of a successful life is


I don’t know what challenges you’re facing this week, but I do know one thing – God’s got your back.  He has a beautiful, unique purpose for your life, better than anything you could ever hope for or dream of.  Don’t chase the world’s standard of success.  Embrace God’s great plan for your life and work diligently to become all that He created you to be!

Have a blessed week, y’all!

Elyssa

 #goodmorningmonday small