The Daily Decision

You know those times when you’re reading a blog post or a meme and something just jumps out at you and smacks you in the face. It’s happened to me a couple of times. (Hmmm… I need to put all of those sayings together so I can remember what smacked me in the face).decisions-by

Anyway, I had words smack me again today. I was reading a blog about being a writer and the challenges that can be faced with choosing a writing career. (Check out the post on Seekerville by Debby Giusti).

Debby said that you have to make a decision to write. Talk about words leaping off the page: you have to choose. You have to make the decision. Such a simple thing, but somehow it smacked me. I have a really made the decision to pursue writing? If so, then it’s a choice DAILY to sit down and write.

I think that’s true with most things in life. You have to choose.

If I really want to pursue a career in writing, I have to make the decision every day to put words on a page.

If I want to blog regularly (ahem!), then I have to choose to think of topics and again, put the words on the page.

If I want to get healthy and lose weight, then I have to choose to exercise or go to the gym. I have to make the decision to eat healthier.

Don’t get me wrong, I know things can happen that can totally derail your daily choices. I’ve had cancer twice, so I get that. I’ve been derailed! But when events happen that change your path, then you still make a choice of how you’re going to handle interruptions to your regular schedule. What will be your next decision?

To accomplish most things in life, you have to make the decision to do it. And do it. It’s a daily decision and a daily choice.

A couple of weeks ago, I was smacked in the face. Not literally. Despite my recent stings and falls, this was figurative smack in the face.

Have you ever been droning along with life and something just wakes you up and causes you to rethink nearly everything? Or at least inspires you to move forward? That’s what happened with me.

I heard two words that are so simple yet have impacted me deeply. They are: Take Action.

Pretty basic words, but when you think about them, they can inspire your entire life. These two words are my new mantra. Take Action.

Regardless of your dreams, goals, calling, diet plans, whatever, the only way to achieve any of them is to Take Action. Otherwise, you’re dreaming and planning, but not DOING. If you don’t take action, you’re not doing anything to accomplish your goals.

I have several things I want to accomplish including writing and finishing my novel, writing devotional pieces, and managing my health better. You know the old stand-bys of eat better, exercise, lose weight. I also want to grow deeper in my faith and have a stronger prayer life.

None of these can be accomplished unless I take action. Otherwise, I’m only complaining that I need to lose weight or bemoaning that I don’t have time to write or pray or whatever.

The solution is simple: Take Action.

Those two words resonate in my life all the way to my core.

What about you? Do you have something you in which you need to take action? Do you have a mantra that smacked you in the face and encouraged you? Please share.

In other words: Take Action.

What I’ve Learned from “The Voice”

For the past couple of seasons, I’ve been a fan of “The Voice” on TV. And this season, it struck me what I’ve learned from watching the show.
First, I believe we all like to watch these type of talent shows because it’s always a thrill to watch people go for their dreams. I appreciate “The Voice” in particular because it’s a positive show. The coaches can teach someone, share their knowledge and help that person improve without tearing them down and being so negative. You can learn from being positive and from being encouraging. There’s enough negativity and tearing down of people in this world that I really appreciate watching singers grow in their craft from working hard and receiving positive encouragement.

But something struck me recently that applies in my own life. One of the singers was afraid to call themselves an artist, to call themselves a professional. Immediately, Pharrell Williams said “You are an artist and you need to own that. Don’t think of yourself as anything less.” (I’m paraphrasing). You know what? Pharrell is absolutely right. These singers obviously have talent and they need to own that talent.

In hanging around with other writers, I see that we’re guilty of the same thing. I see so many, especially early-on in their writing journey, afraid to call themselves “writers”. I was guilty of that as well. But yes, I am a writer. Whether I’ve been published or not, whether I’m struggling, and whether or not I feel like I’ll ever be able to complete my novel – I’m still a writer.

Owning up to be an artist of any sort doesn’t mean you walk around strutting your stuff like you’re better than anyone else. It means you acknowledge your talent, and like the singers on “The Voice,” you work hard to improve, to learn and to grow in your craft.

God will take you where He wants you to go on this journey, but you have to work hard and never stop learning.

By owning up and saying “I’m a writer” (maybe again and again), it’s a way to encourage myself to keep going and keep striving to sit down in front of that computer to write the words.

Everyone is an artist of some sort. Whether you’re in the creative arts or not, you need to own what you’re talent is.

Next time you’re struggling tell yourself “I’m an artist.” Maybe it will inspire you to keep going during those tough days.

What tips do you have? Would a mantra like this work for you?

What We can Learn from Kids

If you’re a fan of the Food Network or cooking shows in general, you’ve probably noticed the overabundance of shows featuring kids these days. Namely, Chopped Junior, Kids Baking Championship, Rachael vs Guy Kids Cook-off, and on a different note, Project Runway Junior on Lifetime.Chopped Junior

I haven’t watched all of these shows, but I’ve caught a few. At first, before watching any of the shows, I had a negative attitude. Why would I want to see a bunch of kids cook or sew or whatever. It didn’t appeal to me.

But as a longtime viewer of both Chopped and Project Runway, I started watching. And now I don’t want to miss an episode. First, these kids have more talent than I can imagine. They inspire. They have passion, and most of all, they have FUN!

But one of the main things I’ve noticed is the spirit and positive attitudes of these kids. Yes, they’re on a competition show, and unfortunately, not all will win. But these kids have the attitude of “we’re all in this together” and “isn’t it great that we’re all on this show.” There’s a real sense of camaraderie. They want the best for each other and they’re willing to help each other out.

On Chopped Junior specifically, if one kid finishes early and another is still plating, the first kid will help out his fellow contestant so they can finish. There’s a sense of everyone needs their shot at this, a sense of fair play. Let everyone do their best.

You don’t always see this sportsmanlike behavior in the adult versions of these shows. The adult version comes with the “it’s all about me” attitude. Not willing to help their fellow contestants, not even cheering for them. Now this isn’t true in all cases, of course, but there’s a definite difference. And by airing these shows with kids, those differences become very apparent.

Now, I appreciate good competition as much as the next person. It’s one reason I love tennis. For the most part, you leave everything on the court, then you go to the net and shake hands. You should be appreciative of the competition and appreciative of the talents of the other person across the net.

If you lose a competition, or lose the tennis match, it doesn’t mean you’re not talented, or that this isn’t what you’re supposed to do, it just means you lost that match, that competition. What do you do from here? Learn from it and move on.

You get a feeling that these kids are learning. Learning that they won’t win every time. Learning that not winning means they don’t have talent or this isn’t what they’re supposed to do. And maybe most important, they’ve shared an experience with their fellow competitors and possibly have made lifelong friends.
So, what can we as adults learn from these kids? I think we need to learn to appreciate others around us, learn to appreciate the competition, the ups and downs, and maybe most important, the acceptances and rejections of life and how to move on, gracefully, head held high. Because we did our best despite the outcome. We need to accept responsibility for our own errors, and always try to do our best. We need to realize it’s not all about me.

I want to be appreciative of all the situations, good and bad, and maybe one of the most important things, I don’t ever want to lose my sense of fun!

Amazing what you can learn from kids, if you look around and pay attention.