Tag Archive: writing


My thought has always been, in writing this ‘I Spy God’ book, that it would be a compilation of short stories…stories revealing God through the little opportunities of every day life.  That’s what I write and so I figured why not?!!  Easy peasy, right?!!

But then I thought… “who am I?”  No one cares about my life.  I’m just average Joe blow over here in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin.  Sure, people can relate to me…I’m no one special, a wife and mother of four just trying to get through the day, but there are already books out there, much more interesting books I might add, that already do that:

When God Winks  – an incredible series of books by Squire Rushnell, exactly how I see God work, revealing God through life’s ‘coincidences.’  It’s a fantastic read and because of Squire’s background, he knows lots of stars and famous people, so his books are filled with really very, very, interesting true-life stories…much more interesting than my life stories, that’s for sure!

Chicken Soup for the Soul  – you’ve probably heard of this series of books that offer encouragement and light hearted stories.  But they also have a couple books that provide stories much like I have…  Answered Prayer, Angels Among Us, Finding My Faith, etc…  Again, great reads filled with true-life stories of everyday people who experience a Spiritual power in their life.

Angel Watch  – a series of books from Catherine Lanigan, the author of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, that offer stories about how angels are all around us performing little miracles.

There Are No Accidents  – a book by Robert H. Hopcke that shares stories of coincidence and accident…engaging the reader to acknowlege that all things happen to teach or show something.  Another great read.

So, after finding all of these books you can only imagine my defeat.  The official “What’s the point?” question revealed.  But God keeps encouraging me and reminding me that He has given me a story to tell.  The one that is not like any other because there’s no one else in this world like me.

Boy, isn’t THAT the truth?!!  Praise God for that!!  🙂

So I trudged on…trying to piece together a book of stories that will not only inspire and encourage, but will also help other people see God in their own lives.  But it wasn’t coming together.  Then God hit me…as He so often does…right on the forehead.

{cue: V8 commercial}

Yes, those other books are wildly entertaining, encouraging, inspiring…but so many of them (not all, mind you) don’t point to God and especially don’t use Scripture references to further prove that God does work this way in our lives.  The thing that’s missing between all of these books is the HOW TO.  HOW does just an ‘average Joe’ see God in their life?

It’s really fairly simple how God revealed Himself to me…He used only a few steps to prepare me to begin seeing Him in the little things:

    • TALK TO HIM (prayer)
    • GET TO KNOW HIM (study)
    • LOOK FOR HIM (every day opportunities)
    • TELL WHAT HE’S DONE (share your ‘I Spy’ stories)
    • EXPECT HIM (anticipate those ‘I Spy’ moments)

So that’s where I am.  Whatcha’ think??

I am also looking for examples to include of people God used throughout the Bible in each of those steps.  It seems David does each of those steps, and of course, being a man after God’s own heart, he does all of them well…but I wasn’t anticipating ‘I Spy God’ to be a study of David.  I wanted to use the not-so-famous people of the Bible…the ‘average Joes’ so to speak.

I have also been struggling with putting in a chapter or at least including my testimony, of how I came to know Christ…although perhaps it goes with the ‘get to know Him’ part.  I absolutely want to share that part of me and of course it certainly does help to see Him when His Spirit lives inside you, but I also think that people who don’t know Christ yet are able to see Him too.

Anywho… any suggestions, comments, snide remarks are welcome, but here’s the path I feel God leading me.

OH!!  And, if any of you creative types out there can offer suggestions for clever chapter titles or sticky statements, I will be forever indebted.  I am terrible at that part!!  Uff…

Let me know your thoughts.

Much love,
Nicole

 

Related Sites:
When God Winks   (whengodwinks.com)
Chicken Soup for the Soul   (chickensoup.com)
Angel Watch   (catherinelanigan.com)
There Are No Accidents   (robhopcke.com)

As many of you know…and I’m sure there are some of you do not…God placed a desire in my heart to write a book.  A book, essentially, revealing God’s finger prints all over our lives that many people just shrug off, ignore, excuse as coincidence or simply can’t see.

I have many ‘I Spy God’ stories that I have shared on this blog and many more unpublished, unfinished, scribbled in notebooks.  I hear ‘I Spy God’ stories from friends that aren’t even written anywhere, see God so often through little things that haven’t been shared…and I long to help other people recognize God in their own lives, as easily as they recognize joy in the laughter of a child.

So…I need help.  I want you to read the introduction I wrote to my book.  I thought I would put it all together as a conglomeration of different ‘I Spy’ stories, but I think God wants me to write it as a study — a guide to help others see Him in their own every day moments.

I don’t want accolades, I don’t want book deals, I just want to finish this project God placed on my heart…even if it’s only published on here.  Please let me know what you think, any ideas or suggestions you have and once we’re more into the heart of the book, I will need help finding examples through God’s Word that display what I’m trying to share.

Make sense??  Hope so.

Thanks so much to you all who are willing… I know God will use you to help me get His words out.

Much love,
Nicole

P.S.  Please forgive me for any grammatical errors.  I like to write, not correct… and I have a love affair, I have found, with commas.

I weighed myself this morning.

I don’t advise it.

The number on the scale is almost 30 pounds up from my lowest weight.  You see, about six years ago I used to weigh around 230 pounds and I worked hard, found my rhythm and lost the weight.  You can read about it in my post: My Motivation

But over the last year I changed my focus; trading in workout for writing and have now found myself at an impasse.

I am satisfied with my writing; I started a blog and went to a writer’s conference, but have been quite frustrated with the lack of guidance and leading I feel God should be providing.  I desperately long to write, but have found no doors opening.

And the more I focus on my passion for writing and not exercise, I have found myself soft, lazy and in the place I was before when I weighed 230 pounds…

miserable and questioning.

What is going on?
Why is this happening?
Is this the wrong path?

Jax and I teach the kids that we must work hard in this life.  Of course God can help make things easier at times; allowing a good grade on a test not studied for, or produce an outstanding crop not tilled well.  But those provisions are not the norm.

Because of the choices made so many years ago in a garden of perfection, we must now work to achieve a desired result.

“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground…”   Genesis 3:17-19

So why wouldn’t this apply to me?

I worked hard for five years learning how to treat myself; working my muscles and fueling my body, but what have I done with those tools?

I go eight months doing little more than walking the dog and when I get back into working out, I go like gang busters for one whole week, while filling my belly with s’mores, cheesecake, ice cream and birthday cake, then Monday morning rolls around and when I step on the scale I’m surprised by the jump in the numbers.

I feel God’s call on my life to write and He hands me an amazing opportunity to attend a writer’s conference, He gives me tools to build my ministry and write more effectively, but what have I done with those tools?

Sure, I’ve sent in a few articles here and there, I’ve guest posted on friends’ blogs while keeping my own up to date, but I have been playing it safe.  I haven’t done the work because I don’t want to hear the “thanks but no thanks” replies.  I don’t want to hear the “you’re not good enough.”

I don’t want to use the tools because I don’t want to fail.

But isn’t it failing if I’m not putting in the work required?

NO MORE.

It’s time for me to pull up my big girl panties.  God did not place me on this earth to sit idly by.  We are called for a purpose, and we must do the work… walk the path, write the words, pick up the weights.

Oh Lord, you can make the crops grow, you can bring the sun to warm and the rain to feed, but if I don’t prepare the soil or if I don’t cultivate the produce, I won’t get a good crop.  Please give me the desire to make good choices, help me to do the work necessary to give you the most glory and to fulfill the plan you have for my life. 

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”   Romans 12:1

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”   Romans 12:2

I am blown away.  My blog, these measly, amateur scribblings of how I see God working in my life, was mentioned yesterday in a Lovebug‘s take of her most favorite blogs to flutter to!  I am absolutely humbled and in awe.

Not an hour before, I wondered if God really wanted me to write. I have been trying to raise money to attend a writer’s conference for several months now.  God has helped me raise nearly 70% of the total funds needed, but the $300 still left to pay is due next Tuesday.

{gulp.}

Then I got news that the flexible spending account I had through my employer had been canceled and I no longer qualify for the program because my hours at work have been significantly reduced.  Due to this sudden change, any funds I put toward my account have been forfeited, and now any chiropractic, optical, or major dental work will have to be paid out of pocket.  An expense that was surely not planned or expected.

{gulp.}

That was it…I lost it.  All the money I’ve been putting into that account from my paycheck, money we could’ve used for groceries, gas, lots of other needs, was gone.  I began thinking that perhaps this is God telling me He doesn’t want me to go to the conference after all, especially when it’s going to cost even more money just to travel there, when we could be using that money for better purposes…instead of me chasing a crazy dream.

I voiced my concern to a friend of mine when God reassured me through her response: “The Benny card has nothing to do with the conference.  God knew this would happen and He knows how you will get to the conference.  It will just make it more awesome!”

Then, God placed a beautiful reminder on another friend’s Facebook page:

Then, a Lovebug’s encouragement in her post Hey all You Bloggers…: “I have met some awesome bloggers and it still amazes me with all the wonderful things I read and come across.”  She even mentioned that my blog was her “inspiration dosage.”

Unbelievable.

It is amazing how God works in our lives. How just at the right time He sends a word of encouragement through a friend,

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”   Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

unveils His artistry in a sunset,

comforts us in a hug,

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”   Psalm 46:1b

reveals His power in a storm,

smiles as we enjoy a warm cup of coffee,

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”   John 15:11

uncovers His creativity in a flower,

and laughs when we finally understand and are in shock and awe of His amazing love, provision, and grace.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”   James 1:17

I love writing, receive great joy in it, and would absolutely be satisfied to just write my prayers and share my silly little stories with my family and friends.

But I pray that God uses the stories He gives me to allow even one person to see Him in a new light; that His amazing love is revealed, that eyes are opened to the truth of His Word, that He is seen as colorfully and amazing as I see Him, and that He receives all the glory from it.

“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.”   Daniel 2:21-22

Lacking motivation…

I have been writing now for years, but since I felt God calling me to focus more on this writer’s journey several months ago, I have poured myself into spending time in His Word and in prayer over what His plan for me is, and I have at least a couple things straight.

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First and foremost: I am called to love God.  That’s pretty easy…it’s hard not to love and live for someone so AWESOME!!

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”   Deuteronomy 6:5

And secondly:  I’m called to be a help meet and teacher.  That one’s pretty darn obvious, I have a husband and four kids, and also very easy because again, it’s hard not to love and live with five entirely AWESOME peeps!!

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”   Genesis 2:18

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”   Proverbs 22:6

After that is where things get fuzzy.

I have an intense desire to write and share what God has done in my life, and so am writing, planning on attending a writer’s conference, and planning to write some more.

However since feeling this longing, I have poured myself into using the quiet hours of the morning in prayer… instead of sweat.

I have lost my motivation.

I previously used those hours to first pray and then work out.  I woke at 4:00am (the ONLY time I am not interrupted by the needs of my family) every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still waking at 4:00am, but am now using my work out time to continue in prayer.  And what I have found is; praying for a couple hours straight is so sweet, and adding coffee to the mix??  EVEN BETTER!!

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However… with my spiritual life hopefully heading down the right track, I have found there to be a few side effects;

soft mid-section,

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spreading seat,

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and SERIOUS lack of motivation.

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You see, six years ago after having my 4th child, I was 33 years old, over 230 pounds, depressed, exhausted, and just felt so defeated.  I once heard someone say; “if you get to your goal weight when you’re in your 30’s, it is much more easy to maintain that weight as you get older.”

I desperately wanted to lose weight, but didn’t know how, and I so wanted to be a good example to my children about how to live a healthy lifestyle.

I started by setting goals each day:

 

A fitness goal:

GET OFF THE DANG COUCH!

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“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”   1 Corinthians 9:27

I began walking for 30 minutes or 1 mile, whichever came first.  Then it became 2 miles.  I started to feel a small urge to run, so I tried it.  And it was awful.  I couldn’t even run 30 seconds straight!  But I kept trying.  So I started small: walk 5 minutes, run 30 seconds, walk 5 minutes, etc…  I slowly got up to 1 minute straight, then 2…

After about 4 months, I was up to over 1 mile running.  It was not fun, but I could do it.  My sister asked me to do a 5k race the following month.  I never thought I could do over 3 miles – but she was told that if you can run 2, then the adrenaline would push you through the rest.  So I signed up, and set my goal to run 2 miles straight.  By the time the race came, I could do 2 miles.  I did finish the race, but the last ½ mile was very, very difficult.  I pushed myself and got through it.  I only stopped 3 times during the race, once for water, and twice for my sister’s untied shoelaces, and just the feeling of accomplishment is what I fell in love with.

A nutrition goal:

STOP BEING SUCH A PIG!

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So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”   1 Corinthians 10:11

My mother had gone through Weight Watchers, and had all of the books, so I poured through the information and essentially did weight watchers without the corporate weigh-ins.  Meaning; I ate minimal sugar, fat, carbs, caffeine and because I was exercising I ate more lean protein.

A weight goal:

JUST LOSE SOMETHING!

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“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,”     Ephesians 4:22-23

I weighed myself daily, and still do.  My weight fluctuates by about 5 pounds…depending upon what I ate and drank and so forth – so I’m not too much of a stickler on the number, but it does help keep me on track.

And lastly…

REWARD YOURSELF!

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“but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”   Matthew 6:20a

Ok, so the Bible doesn’t tell us to reward ourselves, but in certain cases such as potty training and weight loss, bribing absolutely helps.

I set several longer term goals and rewarded myself when I reached them…and DO NOT use food as a reward!!  I baited myself with things I normally wouldn’t spend money on.

When I reached 200 pounds = Teeth whitening.  190 pounds = Pedicure.  180 pounds = New clothes (that fit!!)  170 pounds = Naval piercing.  160 pounds = Tattoo.

The results??  See for yourself…

2006 ~ 230 lbs

2011 ~ 160 lbs.

So…I guess I need to get back on track.  Stop making excuses and glorify God in every aspect of my life!!

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:17

He has clearly given me guidance and passion in writing, and has even given me more time to write…so now it’s time to get back on track and, well… run!!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”   Hebrews 12:1

heehee…

“lay aside every weight…” (Now that’s funny right there!)  as said by Mater from Cars 

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