Monday, February 24, 2014

My Safety Net

I pondered about what to write about and I browsed through my images looking for inspiration. I found this image. It says, "Being a Christian doesn't mean I won't fall... it means Jesus will catch me when I do..."

I am a Christian.

I will fall.

It's inevitable. From the moment Eve took a bite of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, I've been doomed to fall.

But, since God sent His only Son to Earth to live a sinless life and then be sacrificed for the sins of all the people, He's given me a safety net.


There is a wonderful book titled, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It starts out at the beginning of the year, and you read one entry every day. I read the 2013 edition.

I had a simple routine. I would get up every morning and take out my mouth splint for my TMJ, take my allergy drops and add three minutes to the timer. During those three minutes, I'd read the entry for the day from Jesus Calling. It was like getting a treat every morning. I looked forward to each entry. Even going on business trips or whoever, I took this book with me and read the daily entry.

Here is a great entry from January 15th: "My Face is shining upon you, beaming out Peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to Face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you,  you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out, "Help me, Jesus!" and I will lift you up.

The closer you live to Me, the safe you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the One whenever changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today's waves. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future! Stay close to me." Philippians 4:7; Matthew 14:30; Hebrews 12:2

Isn't that a wonderful piece? Just call out "Help me, Jesus!" and He will save me.

I truly believe that.

Do you?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

People are always telling me I have a great attitude. I mostly shrug it off and say, "I'd rather have a positive attitude than deal with the opposite."

The more I think about it, the more I have realized that I really do have a really good positive attitude about life in general.

Right now, I'm going through some serious stressors.

  • One of my dearest friends died last week. I'm attending his services this weekend.
  • My mother-in-law went through a series of strokes and is hospitalized. 
  • I'm trying very hard to get a handle on my new business, Succeed at Writing, and learning how to market, gain clients, and create services.
  • I have suffered with TMJ/TMD pain issues for ten years. Since last October it has  been so serious that I've had to change my eating habits to only eat smoothies or very soft food. No chewing allowed.  I had an MRI that showed the two joints that help you open and close your jaw are not working properly. I've seen two oral surgeons and I'm scheduled for an outpatient procedure at the end of the month to correct it.
  • I have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand. I've had it in my left hand and had it surgically corrected. I've been told by doctors that I cannot get it corrected in my right hand until my jaw is fixed.
  • I was scheduled to go to Arizona last December to see my new grandson when he was born, but my doctors told me I couldn't travel while I had these jaw issues. So, I had to cancel my flight plans. He's now two months old and I've yet to see him except in pictures.
  • My granddaughter turned six yesterday and while talking to her she begged me to come out and visit. It was so difficult trying to explain to her that I couldn't travel until after my surgery. I truly hated disappointing her.
  • Because my mother-in-law is hospitalized, my husband has scheduled a trip to see her this weekend, so I will be left alone. (I'll have my dog and parrot to keep me company.)

Any one of these things can cause a Bipolar trigger and send me into a tailspin. I'm using positive thinking techniques to get through each of them. I'm also using tools I've learned through therapy to find ways to keep myself distracted from the pain/discomfort/stress of any one of these issues and most specifically, being left alone while my main support person leaves for three days.

I'm trying very hard to maintain a positive attitude through all of this. I think that I'm definitely blessed that none of my issues are truly so serious that they are debilitating. There are other people in the world who are in a much worse condition than I.

I'm attempting to keep the worrying to a minimum. Worrying doesn't really accomplish anything. It does cause stress and I've done well to keep from sinking into an anxiety episode.

I'm keeping busy with various projects. I'm going to be a workshop presenter at the next Florida Writers Association Annual 2014 Conference. So, I am working on the handouts I will give the attendees.

A business plan must be created for Succeed at Writing, so that is another project I am working on. I've been working with a business coach who lives in Sweden. He has been tremendously helpful in keeping me grounded and following correct procedures along with giving me the right amount of positive encouragement to be excited about the future plans for my company.

I am a board member for the Florida Writers Association and also the Board Liaison between the FWA board and the Writers Group Leaders. I make sure they are kept up to date on all communications and help answer any questions they might have. I also read all of their meeting reports and give them positive encouragement.

I'm attempting to keep at least two weeks ahead on my blog, Your Writing Coach, so that at any time, I am prepared in case of an emergency.

I'm presenting a workshop in May, titled "Finding the Time and Commitment to Write" for a writing group near me. This is an exciting workshop to give because of the anticipated group participation.

As you can see, I have plenty to keep me busy. Some might think I'm overloaded, but I'm not. I compartmentalize each task and schedule work on each one on a calendar I keep open on my desk. Seeing it there gives me the feeling of comfort in knowing that I'm in control.

I love what I do. I enjoy helping writers succeed. I am excited about the path my new business is taking. Physical problems aside, life is pretty darn good. Why shouldn't I have a positive attitude?

I can give you some tips on how to maintain a positive attitude:

  • Prayer. Reading God's word.
  • Don't focus on the negative side of any situation.
  • Do only what genuinely makes you happy.
  • If stressors occur, keep your mind focused on positive outcomes. 
  • Worrying doesn't help. It only causes stress. It doesn't accomplish anything.
  • Find distraction opportunities. Read. Watch a movie. Work on a puzzle of any type. 
  • If you have a dog, take him/her for a walk. 
  • Take yourself for a walk.
  • Call a friend. Chatting to another person always helps me keep perspective.
  • Remember, there are other people with far worse issues. 
  • Volunteer your time, if it works in your schedule. If it doesn't, it will only stress you out.
  • Stay connected to family and friends.
  • Don't read newspapers or watch the news or listen to news type talk radio shows. I have stopped this and feel so much better. I do have a link with CNN that sends me anything of extreme importance. Other than that, I have barred all news shows from my home.
  • Maintain balance in your life. 
  • Nourish your dreams.
  • Form a support team for yourself and use it.

What about you? Do you maintain a positive attitude? How do you maintain it? I'd love to know your tricks and tips.