Link-Ups, Series

Dairy Queen, Hotels, and Racing

When my husband and I started dating, we knew that we would be in for some wild rides. I mean, how could we not be? We each had school-aged children we were bringing into the relationship. I have a ten year old daughter, a nine year old son, and he has a nine year old daughter.

One such adventure brings me back to Labor Day weekend of 2015. We decided the five of us would travel to Brownsburg, Indiana, to visit my brother and his family. Living outside of Lafayette, Indiana, Brownsburg is easily a day trip, but we wanted to allow the kids time to swim by staying overnight in a hotel.

A week or so in advance, I, with gusto, jumped at the chance to prove my hotel-booking abilities to my new fiance. I did a search for area hotels, and, having found one that proved to be satisfactory in the two big requirements: breakfast and pool, I booked it. Success!

The day of our trip comes. We head south to visit with family. The weather was gorgeous. The food was fantastic — of course, when is grilling out NOT a supremely awesome choice for summer meals? And the company was enjoyable.

As the day turned to early evening, we knew we needed to be getting to our hotel to check in. We say our goodbyes, and get everyone loaded up. At some point after we left, I decided I wanted Dairy Queen. Being such an excellent navigator, I opened my Mapquest app on my phone and got right down to finding a Dairy Queen in the area.

It seemed the closest one was quite a distance away, but hey, it was a warm night, and our spirits were high from the wonderful day we had. We ventured on.

As we traveled, it was becoming unclear where this elusive Dairy Queen might be. We ventured on.

As we turned into the golf course, my fiancé was beginning to question where Mapquest was taking us. He was adamant that there would be no Dairy Queen in the middle of a golf course. I was adamant that THIS is where Mapquest was taking us, so there MUST be a Dairy Queen. To which he replied, “Unless there is someone living in this neighborhood named Dairy Queen, there is NO Dairy Queen here!”

Well then. I guess my fine navigational skills just got knocked down a notch or two. Ok fine. Well, Mr. There-Is-No-Dairy-Queen-here, then by all means, please lead us to a Dairy Queen.

Sure enough, he did just that. He pulled out his phone (we both have iPhones, both with AT&T as our carrier) and opened his Maps app. Which promptly delivered us directly to a Dairy Queen parking lot.

Ok, there’s my first slice of humble pie for the evening.

Once we had our fill of ice cream and the kids were beginning to get a little stir crazy, we decided it was time to call it a night, and headed to our hotel.

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the festivities in Brownsburg, Indiana over Labor Day weekend, let me share something with you. Brownsburg is the NHRA drag-racing capital of the world (if not the world, certainly the USA). And guess when their biggest event is? Yep, you guessed it, Labor Day weekend.

Suffice to say, every decent hotel room within a 15 mile radius of Brownsburg was booked. Which, was of no consequence to us, because I am a master-hotel-room-booker.

Or so I thought.

My charming and gentlemanly escort pulled up to the hotel I booked and walked in. Confident in the fact that his woman, with two degrees, has this room ‘in the bag.’ Poor fella. He didn’t know what he was about to face.

Apparently, when I booked the room, the website had defaulted to a day two weeks in the future. So, we had our room booked…for the Saturday in two weeks. Um, not the best situation, considering where and when we were staying.

Humble pie slice number two was a little rough going down.

Not to worry, my man is a problem-solver. There is a hotel right next door. Let’s see what their room availability is.

He goes into the hotel, and comes out successful. We have a room! We were so excited.

Until we got to the room.

It was a room with two full-sized beds. Not exactly prime sleeping conditions for 5 people. But we managed to make it work, without anyone falling out of bed. But not before we went swimming in their outdoor ‘heated’ pool. Oh yes those are my air quotes, because there was NOTHING heated about this pool. Fortunately, the woman at the front desk of the original hotel, you know, the one with the room booked in two weeks, felt bad for us. She allowed us to swim in their hotel pool. Which was thankfully, indoors.

You know the old saying, “We will laugh about this someday”? Well, we do, now. Although that night, I was really beating myself up.

I felt inadequate. Incapable. And most of all, I thought for sure that this would be the beginning of the end of our relationship. I mean, really? Who wants to be with someone who can’t navigate or book a hotel? I just knew our demise was approaching.

Fortunately for me, my husband is a wonderfully forgiving man, who gives me more grace than he gives himself. He was cool as a cucumber the whole time, which was a good balance to my embarrassed, red cheeks.

I guess the lesson I learned is that we all make mistakes, no matter how much we try to be ‘perfect.’ And the important thing is how we handle the mistakes. Do we let them make us bitter? Or better? Now, when things begin to escalate between us, and one of us is about to say something we might regret, all we have to do is say ‘Dairy Queen’ and this event comes back to mind and we can laugh together.

Link-Ups, Series

My Goals and Vision…

Areas of Lack

They say that the best way to accomplish your goals is to write them down. The purpose for this blog post is just that — to develop SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound and to document them. To put them in writing is to give voice to them and make them more concrete.

I’ve put off doing this for quite some time. Until today. I recently decided to plunge into a writing challenge in order to overcome some of my perceived inadequacies. I’m hoping that this writing challenge will push me beyond my current writing comfort zone.

Let’s be clear. Anything worth having is worth working for. Nothing good will come easy. And, to be honest, I’ve been, ahem, coasting in this writing thing. Well — no more.

I am dissatisfied with my current level of writing; more specifically, the lack of time I set aside to write. I have yet to make it a discipline — something I do whether I want to or not. I’m also desiring clearer direction when I do sit down to write. Sometimes I sit down to my fancy Mac, and just don’t feel I have anything worthwhile to say.

Finally, I desire to have someone help me with some of the technical/programming elements of my website. I am pretty tech-savvy, but again, finding the time to devote to searching for the answers is a challenge.

Vision and Direction

Well, in order to get somewhere, you have to know where you’re going, right? This is my vision for my writing.

I can see myself, by the end of the calendar year 2016, having written an eBook of devotions for moms. Additionally, I can see being a regular contributor on at least three websites, other than my own. My writing habit will continue to flourish.

Steps to Get There

In order to accomplish my vision, I will write more. I will start by writing 250-300 words three times a week. Once I have been doing this consistently for 4 weeks, I will increase my writing to 500 words three times a week Once I’ve done this consistently for 4 weeks, I will increase my writing to 500 words five times a week. Once I’ve done this consistently for 4 weeks, I will increase my writing to 750 words, five times a week. I will then set a longer term goal with upwards of 1500 words per writing session. During this dedicated writing time, I will turn off all distractions, including email, my phone, and the tv. I will also utilize the many writing prompt resources that are already in my possession.

I’m excited that this journey begins today. I hope you’ll come along with me. Perhaps you can begin your own journey based on my experience.

His Word, Series

My Why and My What

My Why is…

…to inspire others to live in the fullness of Christ

…to share my story

…to love others to draw them to Christ’s love

My What is…

…being a child of God

…being a wife

…being a mother

…being involved in women’s ministry

…being a writer

…being a reader

What has made me forget My Why…

…fear – of acceptance, of rejection, of being too loud, of being too quiet, of being known well, of not being known well

…the enemy

…money, or the lack thereof

…confusing the ‘urgent’ for the important

Am I being a good steward of My Why…

…not always – when I get discouraged or think that everyone has already said what I want to say, and said it better, then I shirk my God-given responsibility to share

…when I am walking in my purpose, I feel fulfilled

Link-Ups, Series

#write31days – Day 1

Espresso 2

Brave – there are songs and movies and quotes about it. To some degree, everyone wants to be it. And yet, do we really know what it takes to develop that sought after characteristic?

I had a planner recently. For any of you who know me, you know I love all things ‘office-supply.’ I love planners, pens, post-its, markers, etc. On this planner, the cover said, “I Wanna See You Be Brave.” I would often look at that cover and think about what makes one brave.

Merriam-Webster defines brave as: feeling or showing no fear – not afraid – having or showing courage. Courage is defined by Merriam-Webster as: the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

I think we can learn a lot about bravery and courage from these two definitions.

One of my favorite songs these days is by Sara Bareilles called ‘Brave.’ I’ve included some of the lyrics below.

You can be amazing; you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug. You can be the outcast, or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love. Or you can start speaking up.

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do when they settle beneath your skin. Kept on the inside and no sunlight, sometimes a shadow wins. But I wonder what would happen if you say what you wanna say. And the let words fall out; honestly, I wanna see you be brave…

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down by the enemy; fallen for the fear; and done some disappearing, bow down to the mighty. Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue.

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in; show me how big your brave is.

And since your history of silence won’t do you any good, did you think it would? Let your words be anything but empty. Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave with what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.

Clearly from reading these lyrics, we know that she is talking about being brave and telling others the truth. Of course we always want to tell the truth, in love. But I think sometimes, we get so caught up in being politically correct, that we forget the truth needs to be shared. This requires bravery, courage, fearlessness.

So today, if you have words that need to be said, in love, say them. Show me how big your brave is. Tell that person you love them. Say ‘I’m sorry’ to the one that deserves to hear it. Don’t let another day go by without saying the words that need to be said.

Link-Ups, Series

#write31days – Brave

Espresso 2

So, as is with every October, hundreds, no THOUSANDS of wonderful writers from all over join together for a writing challenge – to write every day for the month of October. 31 days…

Now, for those of you who don’t write on the regular, this may seem like no big deal. But when you choose a topic to cover to write on EVERYDAY for 31 days, it can seem overwhelming.

Take me, for instance…I came up with a fantastic idea for this year’s challenge. To write for 31 days on brave women. And here I am, two days late, just now posting my intro…

Alas, it’s better late than never.

I hope you’ll join me here every day for October for #write31days, covering 31 Days of Brave Women.

Have a great day, my friends.