Monday Mayhem: The Secret to Success

Hi Everybody! First, a quick update:

Chrystal Evans Hurst Mastermind 2018

As a member of Chrystal Evans Hurst’s Mastermind 2018 Team for Digital Media and Branding I have been busy these past few months helping to design and create the content that you see when you go to Chrystal’s She’s Still There Instagram page or pop over to the show notes for her upcoming podcast. There is a flurry of activity taking place behind the scenes to make sure the images and words come together just right and it has been exciting working with Chrystal’s team to make it happen. Be sure to check out her YouTube show The Sister Circle and sign up for the online She’s Still There Bible Study that begins TODAY! In addition to the study you also get some cool freebies too.

Now, on to other news!

TeachingKids

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had the privilege of meeting the author of the best-selling novel, The Shack, and I wanted to tell you more about that incredible experience. William Paul Young has done many interviews and his story is well-known. His book, which was published in 2007 has now been made into a major motion picture starring Tim McGraw, Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington. There’s no need for me to re-hash what you, likely, already know or what you can easily Google, so instead, let me tell you what impressed me about Young from a writer’s perspective.

I asked W. Paul Young to talk to my students about writing and how he came to write The Shack in the first place. What struck me about Paul’s response was his apparent lack of ambition: “I just wrote it as a gift for my kids,” he said, quite matter- of-factly. He said he had no expectations or intentions when he wrote it–the exact opposite of what I see in most writers who absolutely crave the attention and approval of their audience. Not Paul Young.

If you ever get a chance to meet him, you’ll notice right away, he’s an easy-going guy. His words and manner flow freely. He greets everyone with a warm hug and a smile– as if he’s known you all along! “My wife’s name is Kim, so I’ll never forget your name” he said to me when we met and I was pleasantly surprised by his friendliness. I was embarrassed to escort him through our antiquated building with its creaky stairs and musty, basement classroom. I tried, in vain, to apologize for the less than stellar accommodations where he would be addressing our students, but he waved away my self-pity, shoved his hands into his jeans pockets and proceeded to share his story with the students. He cared not one bit about the chipped paint or the tattered seats, but cared immediately for each upturned face, each student who listened intently. Leaning casually on the teacher’s desk, he spoke from the heart and told the secret to his success–yet, the secret might surprise you!

Teaching

Paul says when he wrote The Shack he had no intention of publishing it beyond the 15 copies he made at the Office Depot because his wife had asked him to write something for the kids– to put down on paper all that was going on in his head. She had no idea the finished product would be a 250pg. novel! And Paul had no idea it would impact so many people’s lives. He says it was through the story that he worked out his own questions about God and found peace. At the age of 50, for the first time in his life, William Paul Young says he finally obtained ten crucial elements that allowed him perfect peace:

identity, worth, value, meaning, purpose,

destiny, significance, security, community and love

which is why he was perfectly content with his job as a janitor scrubbing toilets and had no burning desire to sell his book–nor did he have any inkling that it might one day be a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie! All of that happened because of a bigger plan that was operating outside of Paul’s control.

As a writer, he just worked out his questions through the fictional, yet “true,” story and allowed God to handle the rest.

I know. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Yet, the lesson for me—and all the other writers out there—is who are you before you sit down to write?

Paul says he was completely fulfilled, happy and at peace working three jobs before he ever published a single copy of The Shack! So, if our whole identity is wrapped up in our profession, in our craft, in our possessions—in anything that is outside of us—will we ever find that perfect peace that Paul described? It seems that his success with The Shack flowed naturally from his own place of peace rather than from any striving or effort on his part, and I realize that was the secret to his successsecuring success before his success. For him it meant finding the answers to his questions about God and settling into a loving relationship with his God, family and community as a result. Then, when he sat down to write, it all began to come together.

Paul told us that people often say they want God to “use” them, but God has no need to “use” us. Instead, God invites us to be a part of something, to join Him, if we will, to take part in His divine plan. The work and the striving that we do suggests so much effort on our part, but when we rest and wait to see how we can join in with God’s plan that’s already in place, there’s such an ease and freedom that follows, an ease that W. Paul Young exudes and that, apparently, has manifested in all his successes.

Paul’s talk has made me think differently about my own striving towards success as a writer. Perhaps my focus should be less on where my work will go, who will read it, where or whether it will ever be published. Instead, I may just need to write and see what happens. There may be a plan in place for my writing that I know nothing about! The same is true for you–in whatever area you hope to be successful in. Why don’t we wait and see? 🙂

YoungandMe

Happy Monday!

SignatureMed

Monday Mayhem: Enjoy the simple things

So, I haven’t shared a recipe or workout in a while,  but it’s January, so while you’re still gungho about working out, let me share a quick routine–ready?

Okay!

First, turn on your TV or radio–might as well have some background noise, then grab some hand weights (or a small child, canned goods–anything with some weight to it that you can hold for 5 minutes)

Now,  set your timer to 5 minutes and march up and down your stairs!  Don’t have stairs? March around your house, apartment, bedroom, dormroom…whatever! Just get those knees up!

If you’re holding something that has a reasonable amount of weight and you’re moving, I guarantee you’ll feel something! If not, move your arms up and down as you march or pick up something heavier.

Catch your breath after 5 minutes, then repeat as many cycles as you have time for. If marching is too tame for you, then pick up the pace! Lift your knees higher and go as fast as you can. (See my post on Tabatas.)

Then, when the workout is done, it’s time for your reward:

So, I made the most AMAZING grilled cheese sandwich ever in my new air fryer–have you seen these things? They are fantastic! You can “fry” without frying and have dinner on the table in minutes.

I also happened to have some of my holiday wassail left over from Christmas and decided to settle down with my delux GrilledCheese and a cup of this deliciousness and I must tell you it was quite a treat!

Okay, so the theme for today is–enjoy the simple things.  What’s so great about grilled cheese you may ask? Nothing, until you add a dash of herbs and a slice of tomato. Then your basic grilled cheese goes to the next level. Trust me!  (Even if you don’t have the air fryer yet, you can still use low fat margarine instead of butter and prepare on the stove as you normally would.)

And for those who’ve never heard of wassail, well, there’s an entire tradition behind this holiday beverage that goes back to the Middle Ages, showing up in English literature, in fact, which was a happy discovery for me!  According to Robert Doares, the word comes from “the Old Norse ves heil and the Old English was hál…meaning ‘be in good health’ or ‘be fortunate.’ The phrase was first a simple greeting, but eventually the reply “drink hail” was joined with it to create one word and one meaning: to be in good health. Basically, to have good fortune was to enjoy a meal and drink with friends and loved ones!

Ironically, traditional wassail was also consumed with crusty bread or toast which explains why we raise a glass and “toast” one another today as we offer health and good fortune to those we love.

So, I think it’s quite appropriate for me to offer you this lovely combination, don’t you? This perfect GrilledCheese with crusty bread and my own version of wassail as I extend to you good health and good fortune!

Wassail

My wassail recipe is also quite simple–I told you, it’s the theme for today. Here are the ingredients I use (amounts are approximate):

  • 2 liter apple juice
  • 1 can frozen orange juice
  • 2 liter cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 10 cinnoman sticks
  • 2-3 slices of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1/4-1/2 cup whole cranberries
  • add orange slices 1/2 hour before serving to preserve color
  • add 1/2 cup sugar if more sweetness is preferred

Just pour everything into a crock pot or a large pot on the stove–put the burner on low and let it simmer for at least an hour. Your house will be filled with a wonderfully sweet aroma and there’s nothing better than the delicate balance of sweet and spice which you control by the amounts that you choose to add.  When served, the ingredients can be strained, but they look pretty in the glass, don’t they?  This will keep well in the frig for 4-6 weeks.

Voila! Instant comfort food on a chilly January afternoon. Can you picture it? Cozy blanket. Grilled cheese. Warm, spiced cider…ahhh…wassail!

Happy Monday!

SignatureMed

 

Cover photo credit: pixabay.com

Monday Mayhem: Rewrite Your Story!

Well we’ve crossed over the threshold into another year! We often use this flip of the calendar page as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf in our personal story as well. So, what new plot will be worked out this year? What twists and turns are in store? Are there cliffhangers yet to be resolved?

What’s exciting is each of has the power of the pen in our hands. We get to write, or rewrite our story, and with each new year we’re presented with a fresh new page on which to publish whatever twist or turn we think our story needs.

Too often, though, we relinquish that power to others, allowing others to define us. We let others tell us who we are then find ourselves like Alice in Wonderland sailing headlong into someone else’s storybook adventure.

If you’ve been trapped in the vortex of someone else’s story, I invite you to take up the sword, that is your pen, literal and/or metaphorical. Determine what it is that you, the protagonist, want.

Make a plan for how you will move towards that goal or purpose and begin revising your story. It’s a new year, you have a fresh page!

Check back tomorrow for Tanzy Chandler’s New Year’s story!

Happy Monday 2018!

Photo credit: pixabay.com