Musings and Ponderings

I just had the opportunity to attend the C.L.P. Artists/Writers’ Conference once again.  The workshops were excellent and have given me much to ponder and consider.  Here are a few of the many lessons I learned or relearned.

1.  Too often, I’m afraid what comes from my keyboard or pen is more about me than about my Father.  “He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30 ESV

2.  I am humbled once again by how much I have to learn in the art of writing.  I blush as I reread what I have written two years ago and even a year ago.  And hopefully when I look back to today on April 13, 2016, I will shake my head in slight embarrassment at my poor sentence structure and boring words because I have learned and developed better writing skills and structure since then.  Even if I live to 108 years old, there will always be more to learn and perfect when it comes to writing!

3.  I want to honor and serve you, the reader, more.  I don’t want to waste your time or give you something worthless to read.  After God, you are the most important part of the written word because you are the one who reads it!

4.  Not being able to keep a journal doesn’t automatically disqualify me from being a writer.  May I insert a *sigh of relief* here.  I have lots of journals, but if you would look through them, you would find scattered entries which range from weeks to months apart.  You would find poems and scribbled drawings instead of organized daily events and emotions.  You would find prayers to God, which would probably make you doubt my sanity at some points.  But you would not find a neat journal which is so often associated with a writer, and that’s okay.

5.  Sometimes I take the reasons I write for granted, but I have been reminded of them once again.  I write because I would explode if I couldn’t.  I write because my heart yearns to share the love of God.  I write because of the thrill that comes from putting words down unto paper and bringing to life stories and characters with their own unique personalities, adventures, and lessons to learn.

6.  Yes, writing is easier than talking.  And I have found kindred spirits who can identify with that.  Wouldn’t life be smoother sometimes if we could write to one another instead of speaking?!  At least it would be for me when my tongue becomes tangled and my mind can’t seem to force the right words from my lips!

7.  I am on the search for a good writers’ group.  Any suggestions or volunteers?  I’m looking for a support group which can give each other honest criticism and help proofread each others’ works.

8.  It will be fun to play around with some antithesis, polyptoton, synesthesia, and hyperbaton techniques in my personal writings=)

9.  Editors are amazing people, and after sitting in the workshop, “Working with your Editor”, my admiration has only deepened.  Even though their notes and manuscript changes may seem intimidating at times, they are such an asset to the written word and are working diligently to better the writing and the writer to produce something valuable for the reader.

10.  I sometimes grow lazy and am not very diligent about watching for writing errors.  Time to refresh myself on the grammar rules and stop using the ellipsis improperly;)

11.  And last but not least, I enjoyed these quotes which were scattered throughout the handouts.

  • “The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” – Henry Green
  • “My commodity as a writer, whatever I’m writing about, is me.  And your commodity is you.  Don’t alter your voice to fit your subject.  Develop one voice that readers will recognize when they hear it on the page.”  – William Zinsser
  • “Don’t say, ‘The old lady screamed.’  Bring her on, and let her scream.” – Mark Twain
  • “Description should begin in the writer’s imagination but finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King
  • “What you want is practice, practice, practice.  It doesn’t matter what we write so long as we write continually as well as we can.  I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.” – C.S. Lewis
  • “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention…. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don’t cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you’ve got.”  – Steven Pressfield
  • “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway

Why I Don’t Do The Diet Thing

There seems to always be a new diet out there.  I have seen good results from friends who follow the meal guidelines and recipes from some of the more popular ones, but for those who were wondering, these are the reasons I don’t diet.

1.  Although eating right makes a huge difference in one’s health, I fear that this often takes the place of exercise.  It should not be one or the other, it should be a combination.  Although following certain food rules is easier than doing single-arm burpees and squat jumps and seems to profit just as well because there is weight loss, our bodies are being neglected if we fail to incorporate exercise into our daily regime.  I am a personal testimony to this fact.  I exercised for about three years, almost every day, six days a week; but lately took a break because my allergies have been draining all my energy.  I finally started to gain some control over my allergies and started back on my workouts again.  Even though I was careful of what I ate over my non-exercise time, but body majorly declined.  By exercising again, the scales is dropping, I’m starting to see tone once more in my muscles, my mood has dramatically increased and depression decreased, energy has mounted, endurance lengthened, blood sugar leveled, and my heart and lungs are happier than ever.  For me, exercise has helped my health in ways that eating properly could never do on its own.

2.  I can’t justify buying expensive food products (which most diets call for) when I can make just as healthy of food by using ingredients that are able to be obtained within my budget.  All it takes is a little food knowledge and creativity, not expensive and hard to get items.

3.  Everything that I have tried from popular healthy-eating plans and diets have been (how can I say this nicely?- not very tasty or fulfilling).  I have come to the conclusion that I will do five-hundred jumping jacks before putting another piece of skinny chocolate in my mouth.  Those five-hundred jumping jacks will allow me at least one piece of delicious Dove dark chocolate.  By exercising, I can eat the yummy stuff (like actual chocolate, cheese, and milk) once in awhile that I couldn’t have otherwise.  No offense, but I think most people can make just as healthy of food on their own that is much yummier than the recipes in the diet books.  It is nice though to have a healthy recipe to go off of when cooking, but feel free to spice it up a little with some fresh herbs or veggies!

4.  Often diets call for a person to give up one part of the nutritional triangle.  Do not completely eliminate your dairy, proteins, veggies, and healthy fats.  For example- I have heard of diet plans that call for a total avoidance of dairy, but I have worked in a retirement home and seen the effects of osteoporosis.  Use control in your eating habits, but don’t keep your body from getting the vitamins and minerals it needs.

5.  Diets leave one depleted of energy because they usually don’t allow enough calories for physical labor.  There’s a difference between hunger and weakness.  It’s okay to be hungry, but not to be so weak that your daily functions suffer.  Make sure that you don’t overeat, but also make sure that you consume enough of the good calories to make it through the day and give your best to your work and family.

6.  It would be nearly impossible to do any diet plans in this family.  The men would refuse to follow, and since they work hard and burn most of the calories they eat, I think they deserve a plate of meat, vegetables, and potatoes.  And frankly, I don’t have the time to make a separate menu for myself, so I just control the portion I eat of the yummy hearty yet healthy food that the entire family is eating.  We also work most evenings and have to grab food on the go; so I simply pick the healthy items when we go to restaurants.

7.  Diets are technically not very healthy for the body, and you will usually gain back even more weight after coming off of a diet because your body goes into an emergency i’m-not-gonna-starve mode and starts to store your calories.  That’s why I prefer a continual lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise which actually burns your calories and turns them into muscle.

8.  Diets simply focus on what the scales and tape measures say.  Yes, I want to lose weight, but I also want to prevent things like high cholesterol and diabetes while building heart and lung strength, muscle, and endurance.  That can only be done through a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise.

Living a physically healthy life is a journey.  Don’t spend a ton of money buying diet books and pills and then rely on them to decide your eating habits.  Learn what is healthy and what isn’t and then create your own menus.  Add a little herb and fresh fruits and veggies, and I guarantee your meals will be much tastier.  Make healthy eating and exercise fun and creative!  Don’t view exercise and healthy eating as something you have to do but as a gateway to a happier, healthier you!