When God’s In The Wrong Seat

January 22nd, 2015

driver photoBetween the birth of Lil Bit last October and our enforced exile from our bedrooms last September, life has been chaotic, to say the least.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry…

My original intent was to have a set of Bible studies posted during December for the season of Advent and at least one message uploaded for each week in Advent. As you may have noticed, that didn’t happen. I revised that schedule and decided to go back to my regular monthly Bible study and monthly message starting the first of January. As yet, I’ve only been able to write most of the message. Recording it, however, is turning out to be wishful thinking on my part. As for the Bible study, I might still be able to post it by next Wednesday — maybe.

The same challenges have cropped up in regards to the next book in the Malkin series. I normally write the bulk of those during NaNoWriMo in November and finish drafting it in December, then start planning the novella in January. I just started the next novel in the series this month and I’m struggling to get the scenes drafted. The novella? I haven’t even begun to think about it.

Those are just my writing challenges. On top of those we’ve had to remove all the drywall from all the bedrooms and the bathroom downstairs within a few days because there was significant mold growth on the backing. And of course, one can’t ignore the piles of dishes in the sink or Mt. Washmore by the laundry room. Nor can one turn a deaf ear to the rumbling of stomachs, unless, of course, one enjoys a good mutiny. Oh! And let’s not forget the bills accumulating in the “to pay” file.

That’s where I was last Monday when at 5 a.m. God reached down and reminded me that I can’t do it all.

You can’t do it all…

I woke up to feed Lil Bit, as usual, but scooting to the end of the air mattress to get to her was painful. I noticed I was feeling a bit stiff and sore earlier in the night, but hadn’t thought much about it other than to make a note that I’d need a good, hot shower to work the kinks out in the morning. Despite the pain, I levered myself up from the floor (did I mention the air mattress has a leak I’m still trying to fix?) and took a step toward her bassinet…

and promptly collapsed back on the mattress. The pain shot through my body like lightening, making me light-headed and nauseated. I managed to gasp out to my sleeping husband that I needed his help and, thankfully, he was able to take control from there to take care of both me and our youngest baby.

When morning finally arrived, I took stock of what didn’t hurt. It wasn’t much. Everything from my neck to my knees screamed at even the thought of movement. The joints in my hands ached as if I had arthritis. My muscles protested like rusted cables.

“What am I going to do?” I wondered.

My husband needed to get to work. My mother wasn’t due to arrive for our girls’ day out until later that morning. I was going to have to disappoint my oldest daughter, Blur, and tell her Mommy couldn’t take her to get her hair cut today. And what about all the other things I had planned to do that day?

As my husband fed Lil Bit, I broke the news to Blur. She seemed remarkably calm, offering to take care of me until I felt better. She fixed me a bowl full of saltines and a cup of hot 7up, brought me my phone to call Grandma and proceeded to check on me every few minutes. I couldn’t have asked for a better little caretaker.

A few hours later, my husband had gone to work and my Mom had arrived to take over caring for the girls. I was feeling a little better, thanks to the Tylenol I’d taken earlier, and went ahead with my plans for a shower. As the water pounded out the rest of the stiffness, I pondered what could be behind the sudden onset. I couldn’t think of anything I’d done that would have elicited such a strong reaction by my body. One thought, though, kept running through my mind.

This was my body’s way of telling me I needed to take a break.

And on the heels of that, “You’ve prayed for God to take control of all these challenges. Maybe you need to hand the wheel over to Him.”

Moving into the passenger seat…

I decided then to just take the day one moment at a time and let God take care of the details. Since then I’ve done that each day, reminding myself when I start getting anxious that I’ve let God have the driver’s seat in my life. I won’t say my pain went away miraculously or that every day since then has been a breeze, but it’s getting better. The pain is finally gone and the anxieties are under control.

As for the work? I’ve decided to adopt the saying “progress, not perfection.” I will continue to post Bible studies, but they may not be on a specific day every month. My monthly messages will be uploaded as .pdfs, but the podcast may be added at a later date. As long as I’m getting scenes drafted I won’t worry about when I’ll have the book finished and ready to be published.

Progress, not perfection. Its about putting God in the right seat. So long as He’s driving, you’ll always end up exactly where you need to be.

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Wordless Wednesday: Psalm 46 10

July 11th, 2012

Psalm 46:10, be still and know that I am God

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46 10 (World English Bible)

Wordless Wednesday: Proverbs 3 24

July 4th, 2012

Proverbs 3 24, sleep, rest

When you lie down, you will not be afraid.
Yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.

Proverbs 3 24 (World English Bible)

Reap Rewards With Patience And Perserverance

April 25th, 2012

 

harvest, reap, corn, grainLet us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season,
if we don’t give up. — Galatians 6:9 (World English Bible)

Every farmer knows you can’t expect to harvest a field of crops the day after you plant them. Unfortunately, the rest of us sometimes lack that kind of patience. For instance, some new writers think their first draft is magic and doesn’t need any editing. In truth, this new writer may not want to spend the time on the editing process even though it’s a necessary part of the writing process.

Another example is a new indie author who thinks uploading one book will mean huge sales and getting to quit the day job. Nope. It takes time and work to get there.

Time, work, patience and perseverance is what we need to accomplish any goal. If we’re patient and keep steadily working toward our goal, we will eventually reap rewards better than what we could have hoped for.

Take A Break

February 25th, 2012

I’m getting ready to re-vision my blog. By that I mean I’m going to take a short break to brainstorm some great ideas for future posts. I want to make this a place you can stop by to pick up handy tips and inspirational messages to help you in your day-to-day life, as well as catch a weekly laugh.

That being said, I don’t want to just leave you high and dry while I work up a new plan, so I’ll be re-posting some of the best from the last year. Enjoy!

Take A Break

Maybe it’s just a “man thing,” but both my husband and my father will run themselves into the ground to get a project completed. Given half the chance they’ll drag anyone helping them down, too.

Case in point: the guys chose a very hot day to put posts under our front porch roof to keep it from sagging, figuring the job would only take about 2 hours. It took most of the morning and the entire afternoon. Getting them to stop, even for a few moments to take a drink, meant needing to become an overbearing, stubborn commander with a voice that would ring across a parade ground.

Not a happy experience for any of us.

The reason I was given for driving themselves like that was they “wanted to get the job done.” Not an unreasonable response, but it wasn’t a very wise decision.

What’s the real problem?

It’s a combination between wanting to achieve a goal and having little respect for yourself and your body — that thing called a temple in the Bible.*

Accomplishing something you’ve set out to do is a great high. Finishing a goal takes away, at least for a time, those feelings of inadequacy, of fear, of anything that holds us back from being happy. It’s something like a “runner’s high” where endorphins are released.

The problem shows up in not respecting the body’s needs. Just like an athlete on a “runner’s high” can injure themselves, anyone driven to achieve a goal can harm themselves by ignoring the need to rest.

That goes as much for mental labor as physical labor because staying up late to complete a task, like meeting your daily writing quota (guilty!), when you know you can’t sleep in is as bad as pushing through physical exhaustion to finish building a porch.

Taking a break is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of wisdom.

Breaks do prolong the time it takes to accomplish a task. There’s no getting around that. However, not taking a break risks injury.

In the case of my husband and father, it meant possible dehydration and heat stroke. For that sleepy writer it might mean making poor decisions at the day job or saying something to a loved one that you’ll regret later.

A better solution is to plan ahead. Make sure you add in time to take a few breaks. Expect whatever you’re about to do to take at least twice the time you think it should. If necessary, break it up over several days. There is nothing wrong with taking your time.

If you have a deadline, planning far enough ahead means no need to “pull an all nighter.” The other positive outcome is that you might come in ahead of your deadline. That feels even better because, not only are you ahead of schedule, but you’re not too tired to enjoy it.




* “Don’t you know that you are a temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” — 1 Corinthians 3:16 The World English Bible

Hearing God Word By Word

January 19th, 2012

There are a multitude of ways to study scripture. One of my favorites is to choose a favorite verse and meditate on it word by word. With each word added to the sentence a new layer of meaning is revealed. Let me show you what I mean using Psalm 46: 10, Be still, and know that I am God.

Be…

We spend so much time doing, we sometimes forget what it means to be. The sense of being is to rest in the hand of God. In this one word, we can feel God’s call to stop and enjoy being alive.

Be still…

Not only does God call us to enjoy the simple fact that we’re alive, but to enjoy time just doing nothing. There’s also the subtle reminder to listen to God, to others, to ourselves.

Be still, and…

From a call to quiet listening, God is adding something. What, we do not know and perhaps that is the point. We cannot see all God has planned for us. All we can see is this moment, but we can rest our hopes on God’s love of us.

Be still, and know…

At some point, the promise God has made will be fulfilled. We can know what was previously unknown.


You get the idea. It’s a simple way to find new meaning in scriptures you’ve read and heard a thousand times.

What different methods do you use to gain new understanding in God’s Word?

***

GFront-Cover-25-percentod promises to be with us through everything,
encouraging us to trust him through every situation we encounter.

Individuals and groups alike will find themselves
discovering that every day is a new opportunity to see God’s touch on their lives as they journey through scripture to uncover that:

  • No Matter Who You Are…
  • No Matter How You Feel…
  • No Matter What People Do…
  • No Matter What Happens..
  • No Matter Where You Are…
  • No Matter How Little You Have…
  • No Matter What You’ve Done…
  • No Matter How Old You Are…

Trust God!
Paperback edition also available on Amazon.

Ebook version available for Kindle, InkteraNookKobo, and Scribd or…

buy the .pdf version here

 

Vol1Cover25percent

Get six Bible based, inspirational messages by Virginia Ripple from the blog One Servant’s Heart all in one .zip file.

Messages include:

  • Called to Forgive Called to Serve
  • New Beginnings
  • No Fear In Love
  • The Boneyard
  • The Dirty Little Penny
  • The Hardest Commandment

Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

 

Simply Prayer ebook

When we find ourselves stymied by what we think prayer should look like, it’s time to step back and think like a child. God loves each of us and wants to hear from us.

Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need, but sometimes we need a little help getting started. In this book you’ll discover the basics of:

  • What prayer is
  • Why we pray
  • How to pray
  • How to know your prayers are answered

From repetitions to labyrinths to dancing to journals, it is all Simply Prayer.

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or…

buy the .pdf version here

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com or in my CreateSpace store front.

Or Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

 

Fear NotWhen life seems impossible to cope with, God reaches out to remind us of his promises for our lives. Journey through scripture to meet God in new and unexpected ways as you discover what it means to “Fear Not!”

Anyone can use Fear Not to meet God in new and unexpected ways.  Each of the eight sessions begins with an introduction, then moves on to a scripture reading (included), questions to ponder, a meditation picture and lastly a list of possible hands-on projects you can do.

The eight sessions are:

  • Session 1 … God is always with us
  • Session 2 … God is in control
  • Session 3 … God keeps his promises
  • Session 4 … God keeps us safe
  • Session 5 … God provides for us
  • Session 6 … God reveals himself to us
  • Session 7 … God gives us new life
  • Session 8 … God sends a Helper to us

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or …

 buy the .pdf version here

Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

Upon Review: In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner

September 14th, 2011

Welcome to Spirit Wednesday where we take a look at all things spiritual from meditation to prayer to cleaning the house. Yes, even house work can be a spiritual experience… if you choose to see it that way.

In the Aeirie of the Wold available at Amazon.com

I love to request free books to review. In fact I subscribe to two review sites: Book Crash, which is where I found In the Aerie of the Wolf, and Book Rooster, where I discovered The Unfinished Song: Taboo (read my review here).

I’m usually pretty selective, too, because I don’t want to leave a ho-hum review for a book simply because it’s not in a genre I particularly enjoy. This time, however, I read the book description without paying attention to the genre and the result was… interesting. Here’s the description that sold me on In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner:

Set in 18th century England, our heroine Anne is betrothed to a man she’s never met and must leave behind her girlhood fantasies. When she arrives at the home of Lord Wolverton, Master of the Wolf’s Aerie, the mysteries and challenges of her new life cause her to seek Biblical wisdom and guidance concerning honor, integrity, and faithfulness. In this story of the discovery of true love, there is also danger, betrayal, and sword fighting and it all takes place in a castle complete with secret passageways.

I’m a sucker for mysteries and sword fights. I wish I’d realized before I started that this was historical romance. (Note to self: ALWAYS check the genre before requesting a review copy.) That being said, once I figured out what I was reading, it made actually enjoying the book a lot easier.

The mystery…

The beginning is somewhat slow as far as mysteries go (the dead body doesn’t show up until chapter 2) and easy to figure out, which is why I was confused from the start. Again, had I realized this was a romance and not a mystery, as the description seems to indicate, I certainly would have enjoyed the beginning more.

The romance…

In the Aerie of the Wolf is a standard historical romance. The romance itself is quite touching from the start. The historical elements were added with precision most of the time, though I thought the descriptions of objects could have been a little less detailed. And the end was just what was hoped for from the beginning. In fact, I, who abhor emotional displays, found myself reaching for a hankie as I read the end.

The Christian elements…

It’s important to me to review as many Christian books as I can because I write Christian books. I want to support my fellows and I want to learn what’s out there. What I’ve discovered thus far is a continuum from books that are thinly veiled attempts of Bible thumping (on the left) to books where Christian themes seem tacked on at the last minute (on the right).

In the Aerie of the Wolf swings between the two extremes, beginning at the right and swinging almost completely to the left by the end of the novel, with an extended dialogue between the two lovers where they quote scripture to each other. I’m all for using scripture in a Christian novel — sparingly. In the end I skimmed those parts.

Overall…

If you enjoy a good romance, one with strong Christian elements and a touching story, you will thoroughly enjoy In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner.

***

Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need, but sometimes we need a little help getting started. In Simply Prayer you’ll discover the basics of: what prayer is, why we pray, how to pray, and how to know your prayers are answered. If you’re looking for ideas and examples on simple ways to pray you can find them in Simply Prayer, available in print, for KindleNook and audio book.

Take A Break

May 11th, 2011

Maybe it’s just a “man thing,” but both my husband and my father will run themselves into the ground to get a project completed. Given half the chance they’ll drag anyone helping them down, too.

Case in point: the guys chose a very hot day to put posts under our front porch roof to keep it from sagging, figuring the job would only take about 2 hours. It took most of the morning and the entire afternoon. Getting them to stop, even for a few moments to take a drink, meant needing to become an overbearing, stubborn commander with a voice that would ring across a parade ground.

Not a happy experience for any of us.

The reason I was given for driving themselves like that was they “wanted to get the job done.” Not an unreasonable response, but it wasn’t a very wise decision.

What’s the real problem?

It’s a combination between wanting to achieve a goal and having little respect for yourself and your body — that thing called a temple in the Bible.*

Accomplishing something you’ve set out to do is a great high. Finishing a goal takes away, at least for a time, those feelings of inadequacy, of fear, of anything that holds us back from being happy. It’s something like a “runner’s high” where endorphins are released.

The problem shows up in not respecting the body’s needs. Just like an athlete on a “runner’s high” can injure themselves, anyone driven to achieve a goal can harm themselves by ignoring the need to rest.

That goes as much for mental labor as physical labor because staying up late to complete a task, like meeting your daily writing quota (guilty!), when you know you can’t sleep in is as bad as pushing through physical exhaustion to finish building a porch.

Taking a break is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of wisdom.

Breaks do prolong the time it takes to accomplish a task. There’s no getting around that. However, not taking a break risks injury.

In the case of my husband and father, it meant possible dehydration and heat stroke. For that sleepy writer it might mean making poor decisions at the day job or saying something to a loved one that you’ll regret later.

A better solution is to plan ahead. Make sure you add in time to take a few breaks. Expect whatever you’re about to do to take at least twice the time you think it should. If necessary, break it up over several days. There is nothing wrong with taking your time.

If you have a deadline, planning far enough ahead means no need to “pull an all nighter.” The other positive outcome is that you might come in ahead of your deadline. That feels even better because, not only are you ahead of schedule, but you’re not too tired to enjoy it.




* “Don’t you know that you are a temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” — 1 Corinthians 3:16 The World English Bible