Balance – Part 2

click here for Balance – Part 1

My creative focus remains on the River Wild Series. At the moment, I have a fascination with moving bodies of water. That’s why my second post on balance has an ocean theme.

When life gets a little turbulent, my initial response is to retreat to the safety of the shore. Experience has taught me that I need strength and self-confidence if I am to maintain my balance when the waves are breaking. This realisation teaches me that, while I enjoy watching moving water, being moved by the waves has become a fearful thing. A reminder of all my limitations, which takes my eyes off the potential adventure and parks me on the shore of “I must not dare”.

God and I have been talking about how I can regain my self-confidence. There are parallels between my creative hesitancy and my physical wellbeing. I have a long-term infirmity that has kept me out of the waves for the past two summers. Here’s a photo of me – note the sensible walking shoes to avoid any possibility that I might trip or fall.

January 2019, Tiger Head Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania

Anxiety was the catalyst for my initial injury and anxiety continues to sustain the problem. I find myself pausing before I step forward to help someone, wondering if I will have the strength to make it safely home when I am finished.

Anxiety also nibbles away at my writing success. Not even three self-published books on my bookcase are enough to keep me upright when anxiety rolls in, like a thundering wave, and sweeps me off my feet.

The balance that I am seeking is halfway between “I am too afraid to try” and “my reckless decisions come at too great a cost”. I want to get back into the water, and to be confident that I won’t drown.

For me, the answer includes making a stand with God at my side. I’m looking for that place of safety, where He holds my hand. If the waves threaten to pull me off my feet, His strength sustains me. He created the waves and can see the danger that is coming, and He asks me to trust in Him. In everything I write, that search for balance is there.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.

The form you have selected does not exist.

Balance – part 1

Sometimes all I need is a little treat to tide me over until the next meal. This “little carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing” photo was hiding in my photo archive. If I had one of these right now, it would only take me a moment to gobble it up. Then I could get back to writing my post without feeling guilty.

But I have a confession to make. If I had some of these little cakes in the pantry, and nobody to share with, I would probably eat them all. Of course, I would make myself walk to and from the kitchen for each one. That would remind me that I was being distracted from the tasks that I have on my today list. And if that didn’t work, then I would set myself a longer walk, and maybe even allocate a household task to complete on the way.

January 2019 site specific weaving, Blue Lagoon Conference Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Recycled knitting yarn and balcony structure.

If I am left to myself, I can sit at the computer for hours without moving – except to eat. I’ve been trying this walk-to-eat strategy for a few years. I even used it for my final university art project in 2017. Visit my artist page here.

Finding the right balance between writing and researching how I’m supposed to do all the other things on this writing journey is a challenge. Sometimes, I get so involved in writing that I fall behind with my publishing schedule. At other times, it feels as if I’ve gone too far the other way… This is a different kind of weaving, the meandering to and fro while still keeping my eyes on the final direction.

And then there are the knots! Those little intersections of time and opportunity where everything seems to converge and I come to a standstill.

It is times like these that I return to Scripture. I believe that there will always be an answer to whatever is worrying me. Here is one of my favourites: Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd.
How does this apply to my situation? He leads and I follow. Like all “good sheep”, sometimes I get distracted, but He’s ready to call me back. If I get into trouble, He has a big shepherd’s crook to bring me out of the tangled mess I’m in. There are even a few times when He has to carry me. But my favourite times are when He runs along beside me, helping me discover the fun in this adventure.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.

Making better choices

Making choices is a central theme in my series of unpublished manuscripts. It is also significant to my own journey towards being a published author.

Make a better choice.  

That has become my mantra when I am working with the children in the real world 

I find it applies to my young friends, both at school or here at the KTL Church House in Sorell, Tasmania, Australia.

Children often need reminding about the choices that they make. They can choose to argue with their friends or they can find a way forward that brings them more enjoyment. They can choose to continue their current behaviour which has poor consequences, or they can make a change. They can choose to sit there feeling bored, or they can look around for something interesting to do. The list of scenarios seems endless…

Making better choices is also one of my goals for the characters in my current series of unpublished manuscripts. In Book 1 “White Rose of Promise” the heroine has to choose between the plans her family have made for her life, and the promises that God gave her for a romantic future. In Book 2 “When Promises Are Broken” the new heroine faces choices that will have significant impact on her future. In Book 3, untitled as it only exists as a paragraph outline, my third heroine has to wrestle with past choices that are bringing her an evil harvest.

But it took an evening of sickness to remind me that this command applies equally to me. This morning, I could choose to stay in bed and let the one dedicated day of writing drift away. Or I could get up and make a start on the list of tasks I set myself.

Which brings me here. I have to remember that this writing journey is like preparing for a race. Each day I miss out of my training schedule puts me further from my prize. If I really want to wear the status of being a published author like a crown, then I have to put in the time. 

I am a visual learner. Here is one of my inspirational images that helps me get up and keep going. This floral coronet was a gift for my double celebration in April 2018: graduation and my 40th Wedding Anniversary.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

All week, I sneak moments to think about my writing projects and look ahead to this day where I can devote a solid block of time to writing. I have chapters from Book 2 to print for my alpha reader, and changes to implement in preparation for sending that manuscript out to my beta readers*.

*I am seeking more beta readers, so if you are interested in having a say about character development, and getting a sneak peak at my Christian Romantic Suspense series of manuscripts, please visit my Facebook page and leave me a comment. There is also a secret discussion group where you can contribute to research and planning. 

The rest of my list includes looking at cover design options for Book 1, writing advance posts for my daily prayer blog, and praying over the other stories that haven’t made it from my heart to the typed page yet.

I also try to catch up on reading all the subscriptions that are sent directly to my personal email address.

And take the time to meet up with a friend and work colleague to keep myself anchored in the real world.

This is Ezra Teeb-O’Malley.
One of his real-world followers made him his own Facebook page

Click here to follow Ezra.
Sometimes I think he has a more exciting life than I do 🙂

Here are a couple of inspirational quotes that have been helpful this week.

“Why does that give us hope? God chooses people who are open, listening and ready to speak out – no matter who they are or what they do. Can he choose you today?” Sarah Bingham

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”
Maria Popova,  Brainpickings 

“The Dos of Blogging – End every blog post with an open-ended question.”
Edie Melson, The Write Conversation, Monday September 10 2018.

A final word for this week – and I am taking the advice of Edie Melson, and leaving you a question.

My first book has a heroine who has the makings of a saint, the second book has a heroine who stands up for herself and readily admits she is a sinner. The third book has a central character who changes her name as easily as changes her clothes. She steps onto a plane as Jezebel and gets off as Delilah. When she tires of this identity she chooses another one, leaving behind broken hearts and shattered lives, but she has no regrets.

What will be Delilah’s new name?