Mysteries - Day Eight


Day eight of the Southern Cross Novel Challenge, and I discuss mysteries, spoilers…and the title of my book.




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This Day’s Race - Day Seven


Day Seven of the 2008 Southern Cross Novel Challenge. Inspired by the Belmont Race, I realize…some days, it’s just not your day.

It was really not my day for videography–took me five hours to get this one uploaded. But I learned a lot, so that was good. Oh, and keep watching even after the picture freezes–it doesn’t end when you think it does. ;-)




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This Day’s Race - Day Seven


Day Seven of the 2008 Southern Cross Novel Challenge. Inspired by the Belmont Race, I realize…some days, it’s just not your day.

It was really not my day for videography–took me five hours to get this one uploaded. But I learned a lot, so that was good. Oh, and keep watching even after the picture freezes–it doesn’t end when you think it does. ;-)




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Running for It — Day Six


Day Six of the 2008 Southern Cross Novel Challenge. I’m running with inspiration…and beginning to think that I’m talking too fast for my camera…

Also going to work on the video quality in future, but today I was losing light and on my way out the door. So…here’s a slice of reality. ;-)




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Threads — Day Five


It’s Day five of the Southern Cross Novel Challenge. Threads of story build into a tapestry, and make something beautiful out of my writing…I hope.

By the way, I haven’t converted my blog to all-video…I’ve just been a bit out of words lately. ;-) More text posts are in the works, as well!




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Relationships — Day Four


It’s Day Four of the Southern Cross Novel Challenge…I’m learning something about life from my imaginary friends.




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Going the Distance — Day Three

Day Three of the Southern Cross Novel Challenge, and I have writer’s block. Oh, noes!




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God Answered



I was writing at Starbucks for the day. The internet wasn’t free, so I decided not to go online—I thought I would probably get more work done that way. I planned to write blog posts; but I soon found that neither my flash drive nor my laptop contained the drafts I intended to finish. My drafts are backed up in email, but I didn’t think it was worth the time or effort to log on. So, instead, I organized some story files, then decided to go through the blog drafts I did have.

I opened the first file in a series of three that I had jotted down, but never developed—a “Goal Quest” series. I didn’t feel particularly qualified to guide others on their goal quests today, but I opened it anyway.

I was facing a short paragraph that confronted me with an unexpected challenge:

“Get away by yourself to a quiet place, and take a good look at your life. What is your purpose? What do you want to accomplish? Write down everything that comes to mind, and study the list. What is important to you? What do you want to do?”

I had written the words weeks ago, but I never expected myself to be the audience. Shocked, I took in my surroundings. Cool and sunny, peaceful if not silent. Quiet. I had nothing else to work on, so I started writing down the answers to my questions. I finished with this:

~~I want to live independently and freely

~~I want to drive my own transportation; go where I want whenever I want

~~I want to write and create freely in a peaceful, relaxing environment

~~I want to live the most I can live, without limitations of worry, health, or fear

~~I want to be free to be myself

I saved the document, looked out the window for a minute, and wondered—How? I felt the vague notion that I needed action steps for my goals. I thought perhaps taking action steps would prepare me for the time when the goals become reality. So I opened a new note and began typing the first goal that came to mind:

Goal: Buy/Lease a mini SUV

Action steps: Practice driving

I stopped there. It felt aimless. Preparing is good, but how do I achieve what I’m preparing for? Feeling a sense of the ludicrousness of the situation, I opened up the second document in my Goal Quest series. Maybe I had some pointers for myself, I thought.

The first thing on the page was James 1:6-7:

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.”

A beautiful tune began playing in Starbucks then–I could only half-hear it. I caught the words, “Got in her car…”

I looked out window again, watching all the mini SUVs fly past. Two young women, one pushing a stroller, appeared to my right, walking along the sidewalk in front of me. I thought of the future, of having a family. Facing all these goals I had just written, the goals I wanted so much, I reflected that my lack of faith is what’s crippling me. I can’t see how to achieve what I desire most. I feel like I’ll be stuck here forever. I panicked at the helplessness.

I turned to the Lord on a cry of my heart: “How??”

My eyes fell on the young woman who was now at my left. She was pulling her sweatshirt jacket over her shoulders, and suddenly I saw the words printed across the back in big, bold letters:


“Oh, God,” I whispered as tears stung into my eyes. “Oh, God.” I’ve been hearing the word “work” for months, in answer to my pleas. I know the work I need to do, and I’ve been trying to do it. But I still feel frozen by fear and doubt…doubt that it will accomplish anything. Doubt that I can accomplish anything.

I let the feeling soak in–the feeling of hearing God speak. And then my ears caught a few more words from the quiet song in the background:

“You’ll never be alone, no matter what. You’re going to be okay.”

I cried all the more. It’s the answer to all my prayers. The key I need to unlock the future I desire so much. I will work, and God will make magic out of it. Somehow, for the first time, the realization sank in. I believed it.

The future is now.

I left Starbucks, and walked back into my busy life with a new, soul-stirring sense of peace and security. God will make it work.

Pop picked me up, and as he turned the ignition, the car radio came to life in the middle of an advertisement for the new “Chronicles of Narnia” movie, which debuts this weekend. I heard Liam Neeson’s rich voice–as the character of Aslan the Lion, who represents Christ–ask:

“Are you prepared for the wonder that awaits you?”

Yes, Lord. Yes.


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Have Confidence in You!


Soaring by StacyJMT, originally uploaded by StacyJMT.


In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’ character sang a rousing pep-talk to herself in an effort to boost her self-confidence. We can do the same. Taking a cue from the lyrics to “I Have Confidence,” we can follow the character’s example and build our sense of self-worth—proving to ourselves that we are capable of achieving more than we think we can.

“I must dream of the things I am seeking”

How you see yourself goes a long way toward influencing what you become. Imagine the person you want to be—play it over and over in your mind, like a movie. If you have a hard time visualizing, try writing down the qualities you desire. Start each item with “I am…” not “I want to be…” Tell yourself you are, and you will become that.

“And while I show them I’ll show me!”

Action gives birth to confidence. Are you afraid to do something on your goal list? Then do it. The knowledge that you faced your fear will encourage you—and you’ll discover that you can achieve your dreams. That sense of accomplishment will make your confidence soar.

“With each step I am more certain”

The more you realize your progress, the more confident you will feel. Track your progress—have good pictures taken of yourself, and look at them daily. If possible, put examples of your work, thoughts, or projects online, such as in a blog, photo hosting account, or group forum. Seeing your work onscreen and receiving positive feedback from others will do wonders for your sense of self-worth.

When someone gives you encouragement, print it out or write it down, and look at it often. Drive it into your mind that you are good, you are worthy, and you can do whatever you set your mind on.

Think that sounds conceited? It’s not—it’s edification, and it’s essential. You would do it for others—give yourself the same kindness.

“Besides what you see I have confidence in me!”

Look the part. Invest in a good hair cut. Buy clothing, accessories, or cosmetics that make you feel good. Don’t think you can afford it? The truth is, you can’t afford not to spend money on your image. Work it into your budget, if you need to, but do not scrimp in this department.

Spending money on your image is as viable an investment as putting it into office supplies or business cards. If a $40 trip to the stylist makes you feel like a million bucks, that’s a good return on your investment.

“Wake up! It’s healthy!”

A fast way towards feeling confident is to exercise regularly—not only is it good for you, strenuous exercise also causes your body to manufacture endorphins, chemicals which actually produce a pleasurable sense of well-being. According to Wikipedia, they’re released during exercise, excitement—and orgasm. Think that will get you to exercise?

“I have confidence in confidence alone!”

A wise adage urges us to act as if we have already received what we want, even before we receive it. If you act confident, you’ll feel confident.

Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, keep your chin up. That alone gives a sense of stability. Speak firmly. Breathe. Relax. Think of all the steps you have taken to boost your confidence, remember the progress you have already made, and take the next step forward. You can do it.

I have confidence in you.


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Currents of Life




At the moment, I live at home with my folks and sister. The challenge about this is that it’s hard to find a quiet space for my work or personal time; but the good part is that I can spend one-on-one time with the family I love.

Weekend mornings often turn into “dad and me” time. Dad’s an early riser; I’m usually next. It’s typical for me to walk into the dining area on a Sunday morning and be greeted with the warm aroma of pancakes and coffee, and the sight of my Dad seated at the table with the lights on (no matter how sunny it is outside) and the newspaper and remnants of his breakfast spread out around him. This was the scene that greeted me today.

I poured myself a cup of coffee and drifted over to the table, picking up the career section. The cover story talked about protective parents who need to let go of their college-bound offspring. Not much else there, so as my Dad opened the business section, I peeked over his shoulder. This is a bit of a Sunday ritual–I drink my coffee, he turns the pages. If I’m interested in something, I lean closer or ask him to wait before turning the page. Technically, I’m being a pest, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

My glance idled through a column about one man’s need to let go of an aging parent who tends to make unwise financial decisions. Then my Dad interrupted my thoughts with a comment about the business article he was reading. He closed his remark with diffidence: “Of course, that’s just my opinion.” But his thoughts were right on, as they usually are.

There are times when Dad has a clear perspective on things that I’m either unaware of, or don’t understand. I value his wisdom. By the same token, I know there are subjects that I can explain to him.

Next, we read the trivia column together and started talking about tides. Both of us have a solid knowledge of that subject. We’re on an even field in this respect.

It led us to a discussion of ocean currents. I had never quite understood how they worked, but my Dad was able to explain it clearly to me. Seawater condenses as it gets cold in the north, then sinks. The water moves south, where it gets warmer and rises toward the surface. Eventually, it’s driven north—and the cycle starts all over again.

Suddenly, as I stood there looking over Dad’s shoulder, the puzzle pieces of the past few minutes began to assemble in my mind. My Dad and myself finding common ground and learning from each other. Parents letting go of adult children; adult children letting go of aging parents.

The world keeps changing. Life keeps moving. Yet somehow it always goes back to the place where it started. Like the currents of the ocean.

At some point, it will be my children who are looking over my shoulder; learning from my experience, sharing understanding, teaching me what they know. Looking over my shoulder, and preparing to take their place in the world.

Life flows.


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