On life's journey, whether traveling around the world or walking around your block, there's lots to learn about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, so lets dive into a new ocean together!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Life is a Journey

One large bouquet (YOU!) can go a long way.
When you mentor, you multiply

Life is not a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in one pretty and well preserved piece,
but to skid across the line broadside,
thoroughly used up, worn out,
leaking oil, shouting

There are moments when we feel worn out, 
used up, ready to throw in the towel. 
 Our emotions can do a number on us physically,
telling us to go to bed and pull the covers over our heads.  
I've done that, but through the years I have learned a better way. When these feeling try to overcome me, 
I make a bee-line to my back door.  
Don't judge me...I'm not running away.  
I know that once I'm outside, breathing in fresh air, 
listening to birds chirping, admiring God's creation,
I will gather a better perspective of my challenge-at-hand. 

I'm not a psychologist, but I have a little tip:  
Next time you are met with a challenge or disappointment, 
go to that place of quietness where you can take some deep breaths, settle your spirit, quiet your emotions, and talk to your Creator.  Jesus is waiting for you, to lead you and guide you 
through the valley of the shadow of death.  
You will come out stronger, ready to get back in the race and shout, GERONIMO!

After running my first 1/2 marathon.
A word for someone out there in Blog Land: 
Keep running your race--at your own pace.  
God is not finished with you.  
Look around.  
Someone is watching you, whether you know it or not.  
Point them towards heaven with the life you live.  
You lead, not with only the words you speak, but by example. Through your writing, your art, your gift of hospitality, your smile.

Holding forth the word of life;
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,
that I have not run in vain,
neither laboured in vain.
Philippians 2:16

I wish you smooth running and oceans of blessings!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Disappointments come and go ...

Discovering how to run your physical race and your spiritual race -- at your own pace!

Running my race in Istanbul, Turkey 2008

Honestly, I did not feel like writing a blog this week.
But I also know there is someone out there in 
Blog Land that needs to hear a few encouraging words.  
Words you have heard before, 
but perhaps you need a reminder.

Life is full of disappointments.
 Some big.  Some small.
 Throughout my seventy-two years, 
I have had my fair share of them.  
Jobs.  Marriages.  Children.  Friends.  Pastors.  
This week I had a big one.  
My heart responds in love and best wishes.  
No judgement.  
No details.   
No theology.  Only simplicity.

I do want to share a few words from my heart.
Going through another disappointment, I am again reminded ...

Man will disappoint.
 Jesus never disappoints.
We respect those in authority, but we cannot idolize them.
We must keep our eyes on Jesus, not man.
Then when disappointment comes,
He is there to comfort us.

With disappointment, 
comes discouragement, 
perhaps even a time of mourning the loss that you have incurred.  
It's alright to shed tears, cry, weep.  
But afterwards, there is peace in knowing that you 
shall continue the race that God has set before you.  
God has given each one of us a mandate from heaven, 
no matter how big or small we think it is.  

Life goes on. So must we.  
Surround yourself with those who will comfort you, 
but at the same time, 
they'll encourage you to 
continue on the path that God has prepared just for you.

I wish you waves of encouragement and oceans of hugs!

Running my first 10K race
with my running buddy in
Los Angeles, CA 1978

... Let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Hebrews 12:1

The new me!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

wRite, publish ... AND speak??

Preparing to speak at
The Golden Hills Garden Club 2014
*deep breaths*

Surveys show that men's (and women's) two top fears are:
death and public speaking.  
Not me.  Mine are needles and public speaking.

Since the publication of my debut novel, Lady and the Sea, I have attended several writers conferences. I was doing great until a New York Times bestselling author announced, "Now that you are an author, you must also be a speaker."


Since then, I have been invited to speak at various groups--a Jewish Culture Class, Oakleaf Village--to name a few.  Excitement is my first emotion.  Then fear hits.  My Aunt Eunice didn't help matters at all.  When I told her, "Auntie, I'll be speaking at various venues, and possibly appearing on The Katie Couric Show," she grabbed my shoulders and said, "Shaa-ren, you have got to start Botox-ing immediately!  Until then, stick to the radio."  Great.  Public speaking.  Now needles

my Aunt Eunice

I went home and sat myself down in my office.  Sipping my third cup of coffee, I tried to analyze the whole speaking situation.  Why are we so afraid to stand and speak in front of an audience, no matter what size?  Lots of reasons.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of being judged, or made fun of.  Fear of forgetting, or ... and ... ugh ... saying those empty words.  And what if people begin to nod off?  Fear of being boring.  The list goes on.  Oh, yeah, almost forgot.  After I finished giving my speech in my 11th grade Speech Class, I fainted.  The 'A' I received never made up for the embarrassment I experienced waking up underneath a table, with a cute football player holding my hand, asking, "Are you okay?"  

You have your own fears.  Those are a few of mine.

Then I got hold of myself.  Hey, girl, its not all about you.  Speak about the journey that God has you on.  It's all about Who you are speaking about.  It's about encouraging the woman who needs to lose sight of her safe shore and jump into a new ocean ... art lessons to create what is in her heart, singing lessons to share the melodies in her soul.  The lists are endless.  Inspiring that person in the back row who has lost faith for her forgotten dreams.  Dreams to help the helpless, both near and far away.  That's what it's all about, girlfriend.

Every time I prepare to speak about my journeys, I take a deep breath and tell myself, It's not about me, Lord, it's all about You.  Then I know that I will be a success, no matter what happens when I take center stage.  And I wish the same for you, my friends.

P.S.  No botox-ing for this girl.

Hear, for I will speak of excellent things; 
and the opening of my lips shall be right things.  
For my mouth shall speak truth...
Proverbs 8:6-7a