Off The Beaten Path

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“Sounds boring,” she said leaning back in her chair. I chuckled a little and pressed for an explanation. “What does that even mean? Inspirational books?” she sighed, incredulous in her questioning. I rubbed my forehead trying to find the words. It’s not easy sharing your ideas only to have them rejected.

“It’s about being mindful of what you read,” I said trying to choose my words carefully. I went on to explain the reason I started an online book club was to inspire and empower women with God’s truth for their lives. “You mean like a ministry?” she asked.

Interesting question. Can a book club be considered a type of ministry?

I didn’t think of it that way, after all, I’ve never been to seminary and please don’t ask me about the specifics in the Bible — I read the good book and I know what I know but I get nervous when asked.

“Not quite,” I continued hoping she understood I’m not trying to add reverend, bishop or any theological prefix or suffix to my name.

As a woman who is interested in strengthening her walk with God, I find it difficult at times to find things to read — things that are not mainstream.  I see the same people over and over again and hear the same message …over and over again. I wanted to hear from new voices, see fresh faces all while being inspired.

So I started a book club.

So far in the club house, we’ve invited several authors who have shared a little about their faith walk, the inspiration behind writing their books and broadened our horizon letting us know that great authors exist off the beaten path – not everyone worth reading has gone the traditional route.

We’ve heard from Krista Pettiford, a Christian writer, blogger, and author from California who said, “He didn’t design us to conform to the world’s standards but to be transformed by renewing our minds.” And even Melisa Alaba, who runs a global sisterhood organization filled with women leaders and business owners who are committed to economic empowerment and service.She stopped by the club and showed us how to use our superpower. Even author Mary DeMuth, whom I’ve written about,  stopped by and dropped a couple of truth bombs on the group. I was over the moon.

Sounds boring? Nah.

It’s been like a dream come true for me. I’m in the company of really positive women who are also BOOK LOVERS! It doesn’t get much better than that. But here’s the rub, I’ve been over on Facebook jamming with the club and forgot to you bring you along. So. If you’re interested (and I hope you are) join me in the club house. I hope to see you there.

Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now…

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I’m already living my New Year’s resolutions. I know I’m a little ahead of the curve (okay, way ahead of the curve it’s not even Christmas yet) but I couldn’t wait until 2015. This year went by incredibly fast, and I’ve learned so much during my 40th year on this planet.

I’m not teeming with Christmas cheer or goodwill (although I’ve got my fair share); it’s just that when something clicks, and I get it, I get it. Earlier this year, I made a promise that my 2014 journey would be about self-acceptance. I’m happy to report that my mission… was not accomplished.

You read that correctly. Not accomplished. Nada. Nein. Nope.

Self-acceptance, I’ve learned, is a process based upon choices we make every day; it’s not all or nothing. The question I had to discover the answer to was: could I continue to love and accept myself no matter what happened? Could I treat my failures and successes the same?

It’s not easy.

There’s a beautiful book written by Maya Angelou that reminds Unknownus about the beauty of life, and how to appreciate the curves and bends that we’ll encounter on our journeys. I read the book 15 years ago and recently re-read it and even still, Maya’s words continue to inspire me. So I’m living my new year today, and I know for sure there are three things to which I resolve…and there’s no going back:

    1. I know that I cannot be everything to everyone all the time. I won’t do it to myself, anymore. As helpful and as giving as I try to be, I know that for the sake my sanity I must create boundaries for myself.

2. I know that how I live my life is an extension of the type of person I endeavor to become. I’m constantly changing, growing, learning every day and the moment that I stop learning is the moment I cease to exist. I cease to be a good example to my children. I cease to be a helpmate to my better half. I cease to be a supportive sister and friend. I know that I get to choose every day I wake up. I chose. I decide.

3. I know that I can live a life full of intent and be kinder to myself. I read a quote by Diane von Fürstenberg that said, “when a woman learns to become her own best friend life is easier.” I get that. I love that. I get it now. The same grace that cover the people that I care about also covers me.

You know I’m okay with not totally getting the self-acceptance thing right. I still have some growing to do, and I’m learning that my desires for my life changes with each passing day. I’ve got a lot more living to do; I’ve got more questions to ask.

What about you, dear heart? Was there anything significant that you learned about yourself this year? Anything you’ve learned to accept about yourself? Or sage advice for anyone looking to make changes?