Getting Beyond the Shadow of Doubt

When I was a kid I thought I was invincible. In my mind, there was literally nothing I could not do. I climbed trees, played with caterpillars and caught fireflies in jars. I explored my expansive yard and imagined myself as my idol–Wonder Woman! My childhood was not drama free, but my imagination was like a protective cloud into which I would ascend up and away from the mundanities of daily life.

Then I became a teenager and the bubble burst. I was introduced to mean girls and bullies that my imagination could not wish away. Middle school was a war zone and my side was losing!

High school wasn’t much better. By graduation I emerged bruised, but hopeful. The future seemed more promising than the past. However, I underestimated the extent of my psychological injuries. Suddenly faced with the weight of my choices I was overwhelmed by the reality that my future was up to me! While I knew what I loved–books and writing–my former confidence had long since left me. What if I chose wrong? What made me think I could make a living as a writer–“a writer?” Someone scoffed. “You can’t make a living doing that!”


Unlike the little girl who was undaunted by trees and laughed at the tickle of caterpillar legs, my teenage self was immobilized by fear. Doubt crawled out from under my bed and hovered over my dreams.

“You can’t” became my blanket, covering me when I wasn’t cold.

“You can’t” drove me to a different destination, a detour I never intended.

“You can’t” shouted at me from the stands and stopped me in my tracks.

“You can’t” has held me captive. When will I be free?

When I recognize the signs of succumbing:

  • listening to people who don’t have my best interest at heart
  • believing people who don’t know what God has planned
  • wavering in uncertainty rather than trusting in what I can’t see

If I’m ever to move past this point where I always stall, I must reach back and grab hands with the little girl who didn’t know fear. I must re-capture the imaginative mind that dreamed of possibilities, rather than allowing my thoughts to drift towards all the improbabilities.   If I could only reach out and boldly grasp what God is holding out to me! Overcoming the shadow of doubt may be the hardest hurdle, but it is not impossible.  

Do you believe it? Come with me.  Let’s reach for it and keep reaching!

Cover photo courtesy of

Mayhem Monday: Are You Stronger Than You Think?

They had no idea how afraid I was.

I could hear their voices down below, encouraging, cheerful—and their laughter. For them, this was all fun and games, but I was terrified. I wondered why I had agreed to do this. Why did I think I was up to the task? But I was stuck now. It was too late to turn back, yet I was uncertain of the way forward. I was in such a narrow spot and couldn’t see the top from my vantage. My heart was pounding and I regretted keeping on the flannel-lined hoodie.  The heat crept up my neck like mercury in a thermometer. Then I heard his voice beside me.

“Do you want to quit?”

In my mind I screamed “Yes!” But I couldn’t bring myself to say so out loud.

“Come on, you can do it!” I heard them saying.  Their confidence shocked me.

“You can do this.” He added to their assurance with his own quiet push.  “All you have to do is…”

Of course, “all I have to do”—easy for him to say. Everything is easy for him! I’m the one who struggles. I’m the one who lacks confidence. Now here I am, on the brink of something, wavering and uncertain.

It’s so typical of me.

To linger in that liminal space is always dangerous. While you waver you give yourself time to rehash all the reasons why you should quit.  You recount all the things that are against you and all your weaknesses that make this present challenge impossible.

How many writers, or artists, start their great masterpiece with great excitement only to hit a wall and convince themselves that they aren’t talented enough to complete it? How many projects have you started, then quit because it got too hard? And when you get to that point, how easy is it to get distracted by the success of others?  “It’s no use, we think to ourselves. Why did I ever think I could do this? How did I get here anyway?”

“Do you want to quit?”


But, there’s a crowd of people waiting for your book, your article, your story, your song, your poem, your gift—you can’t quit now!

“You can do this” says the quiet voice right next to you. That soft, encouraging voice that you love. “You’re stronger than you think and you’re closer to the end than you realize.”

No, it’s not easy, but you’ve come too far to turn back—you might as well muster the strength to push forward.

I finally decided to push past my fear.

And when I did, something amazing happened. I pulled myself over the ledge! It had been just above me all along.  The cheers of my supporters erupted all around and I had to fight back a little tear–I made it!  It wasn’t just a physical challenge. It was a mental challenge, symbolic of every mental battle I’ve ever fought.

Perhaps you need to hear this as much as I do: the success that you think is out of reach, is not. You just have to be brave enough to go for it. Your insecurities may be drowning out the assurances of loved ones, but you can decide to push past the fear.  Move first and the mind will follow.  Stop doubting and start believing that you ARE strong enough! It is at the point of your greatest despair when you will find that you are the closest to a turning point—if not the very summit that you’ve been seeking! Just. keep. climbing.

Happy Monday!


Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash

FIRST Monday: Give it all You’ve Got!


Can you believe it? We’re half way through 2018 already! As this year flies by, I’m busy building Books & Coffee to provide you with new and improved content. Be sure to stop by each Monday to jump start your week and look for more new features coming soon! Today we’re kicking off a new feature called FIRST MONDAYS.

Starting today, every first Monday of the month you’ll find a POWERPACK for all you CREATIVES out there!

  • Something inspirational– either a quote or essay that will inspire you.
  • Something sensational—for your sense of taste, that is—a healthy recipe! Something delicious and nutritious—brain food!
  • Something professional –a tip or challenge to help you overcome a weakness and/or keep your creative juices flowing!


*Wild Card* Sometimes I will add a physical challenge since I believe that exercise is a powerful tool for enhancing creative flow! So, get ready!



You pull your floral wrap a little tighter around your bust and carefully adjust your Erykah Badu head-wrap and sunglasses as you stroll onto your favorite beach feeling safe, and therefore confident, in the sun although the sun is barely touching any of your bare skin. Your kids sprint past you, carefree and happy, towards the welcoming waters that beckon, but you resist the temptation, settling into your beach chair to catch up on your summer reading. This is great, you say to yourself. So relaxing. But you ignore the puddle of sweat that is making small rivulets in the sand beneath your chair. Apparently, the cool cotton cover-up is not so cool after all! As you adjust to pry apart your thighs which are stubbornly sticking together you hear a man whistle. Looking up you quickly realize who he’s whistling at: a bikini-clad woman is walking straight towards you! She’s about your height, about your weight and, yes, your complexion too, but she has none of your hang-ups. Her varicose veins are in full view, climbing up her dimpled thighs like ivy. Her not-so-trim tummy tips over her bikini bottom and her breasts are all smooshed inside a sports-bra-style bikini top that is working way too hard to keep everything together! Her curly hair is swirled into a bun on top of her head and she’s wearing huge sunglasses that cover half of her face. She has on bright red lip stick, big hoop earrings and high-heeled sandals that make her look 6 feet tall!


Did you just say that out loud? Her shoulders are back and her head is up. She smiles as her eyes meet yours. “Hey girl, you are rockin’ that head scarf! Mind if I sit here?”

“Of course!” She sits and you listen as she tells you where she’s from, where she’s been and where she’s going. Then she stands abruptly and says, “well, it’s been nice chatting with you, honey, but I think I’m going to take a swim, it’s so hot out here!” And off she goes. Kicking her shoes aside she trots, cellulite and all, into the cool blue sea, happy and free, while you sit, sweating and safely covered under a head-wrap and not-so-cool-cover- up…

Fear can hold you captive. It can absolutely confine you to a tight space and convince you that there’s nothing else you can do–so don’t even try! But, if you look, you’ll see that there are people all around you who are doing it. They’re pushing past the fear and going for it–running headlong into their dreams, diving head-first into the ocean of probabilities, not allowing the uncertainties to hinder them. They don’t look back to consider “what if” and don’t worry about what “might be”. They can’t allow the thinking of others to slow them down, they have to accept that the sea holds their destiny and, however imperfectly, if they dive in, the worst that can happen is they’ll come out wet!

If they can do it. Why can’t you?

It’s summer. Shed the wrap and give the beach the body you’ve got!

It’s your life. Stop holding back! Shed your fears and give it all you’ve got!

What have you got to lose?

TODAY’S SENSATION: Try this tangy citrus salad! It’s a guilt-free snack or dessert that’s perfect for summer!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Next month I’ll have a creative challenge for you. But it’s summer! Head to the beach or community pool with a pad and pen (leave your laptop at home). Jot down whatever comes to mind–without editing–and come back to it later, when you have time. You’ll be surprised by what emerges when you allow yourself the freedom and space to just be!

Happy Summer!


Cover Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Girl in swimsuit photo–Facebook post.