1K Words for 100 Days


1K Words for 100 Days

You may have read a few weeks ago the post entitled, New Year Ramblings And Why I Must Write. I wrote about how I know that deep down inside my soul that I am a writer.  I have always had the dream to be published in some way outside of a self-published blog.   I love writing very much.  Some have even said I’m pretty good at it.  I find that hard to believe sometimes but, “HEY THANKS!”

A big thing I wanted to change in 2015 was that I wanted this to be the year that I truly became a writer.  I want to spend far more time writing and I want my writing to get to more people.  The funny thing is that I came to realize where my writing was falling apart.  I was approaching writing the same way I see many people approach food and exercise.  You want to change so desperately and that is not a bad thing but you are so motivated to change that you try to change way too quickly.  For example, you say you will go on a “diet” and you will hit the gym 5 days a week and follow a routine that includes weight training and cardio.  You follow your plan for a few days and it goes well.  It is hard but, by golly, you can do this. #noexcuses.  Then life starts to get in the way and slowly but surely (or perhaps not so slowly) you stop because it is just too hard.  The change was too quick for it to be sustainable.  How would I coach that person?  I would assign one eating habit every week or every two weeks.  We’d build on that one habit bit by bit until there is a new way of living.  For exercise, we’d start with getting used to movement a few times a week.   Whatever you love doing a few times a week is good.  Once that is established you start working on more developed workout plans.  As you work towards to change habits one at a time you are establishing true change that will be sustainable and will actually stick.   It is slow, and sometimes hard, work.  It goes against our fast paced society and its desire for a quick change or transformation.  While such things can occur it is not normal and often falls apart eventually.   No one likes slow change.  But, the ones who slow down long enough to give it a try usually find that it works and that they are better for it.

All that being said, I have found that I was trying to take the quick approach to my writing. I automatically jumped to wanting to be published through my blog, articles, books, etc. when I wasn’t even in the habit of writing every day. What in the world? The ultimate goal would paralyse me because I was always waiting for the big inspiration to come and it never did.  I read a quote the other day that said, ”

“If I waited to be inspired, I would be screwed.” -Neil Gaiman

How could I be a professional writer if I weren’t already writing on a consistent basis and how in the world could I even have content if I didn’t take the time to write everything down? It hit me suddenly a few weeks ago that if I really want to be a good, published writer I have to write every single day. You would think I would already know that but no one ever said I don’t struggle with stubbornness.  So, I started coaching myself how I would coach a client seeking habit change. I told myself to forget the whole idea of being published and to just write every day. I started a document and named it “Ramblings” and I gave myself the task to write something, anything, every day. I was to write a page in the document every day to the best of my ability. It didn’t even matter what I wrote. It really was just ramblings most of the time. I used that document to hash out some ideas in my head. I used it to pray and to work through some emotions. Some of it was stream of consciousness and some it became blog posts. As the weeks flowed along and I was writing more days than not I realized that writing was actually coming easily. There wasn’t much writer’s block. I really did have a lot to say and write. I just had to sit down and start writing every day. It was a good feeling.

Then I came across a writing challenge that was along the same vein as my new habit. Write 1,000 words a day for 100 days. That would add up to 100,000 words. That is a ton!! I usually don’t jump on board with ‘challenges’ because that tend to go against the whole slow habit change process. You hit something hot and heavy for a short amount of time and hope it sticks. There is often good change but often-times it doesn’t stick when the challenge is over, assuming you actually finish it. I was hesitant about doing a writing challenge because I was afraid I would fall the way of most challenges. I would quit and then feel awful and even more of a failure. The difference this time was that I was already doing this in my own way. I had challenged myself that I would write a page every day. All the 1K words for 100 days would do is tighten it up a bit. Turns out that one page at the particular format I was using was right around 850 words. One Hundred Fifty more words wouldn’t be that hard to round out to 1,000. The previous personal challenge didn’t have very many parameters so it was pretty easy to skip a day. 1K words for 100 days gives me more motivation to sit down and write out 1000 words each day.

Here are my parameters:

  1. Write my 1,000 words every morning first thing.
  2. Write Monday – Saturday . Sunday is a free pass because I try very hard to not turn my desktop computer on and other devices are just too hard to write 1000 words on.
  3. Because I won’t write on Sunday, those days won’t count towards my 100 days. So, my time will go a little longer than a straight 100 days.
  4. I can’t accumulate words. So, if I write more than 1,000 words one day then those are bonus words. The goal is 1K words in 100 days, not 100,000 words total.
  5. Write 1K words and get a check-mark for that day. If I don’t get the check-mark then I have to add a day to my calender.
  6. FOCUS
  7. Write! Write! Write!

You usually hear me talk about habit change as the key to sustainable improvement in our nutrition and fitness, but the same concepts work for other areas of you life.  If there is some area where you want positive change break your goal down into achievable steps and work on those steps/habits one at a time until you have achieved your goal.  And that includes learning to write consistently.

What is one area where you could use some habit changes??

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1K Words for 100 Days

Go Deeper than Feeling Fat

Go deeper

I saw a video the other day of a girl and how she came to accept her body. I loved what she said. “Fat is not a feeling. There is not such thing as feeling fat. So, when I feel fat, I know that means I am feeling something else and it is worth figuring out what that is. ”

Here is the video if you would like to watch it here. It is worth the 3.5 minutes.

Wow….that is powerful.

Fat is not a state of being or a feeling.

Fat is a substance that is within our bodies. And if we had zero fat we would be dead.

So, yes, there is no such thing as feeling fat. When we “feel fat” it is most likely emotion from somewhere else. It is through the programming over all the years that we translate those feelings into “feeling fat.” We want to avoid negative feelings from wherever they may come so we turn those feelings into something else. Ironically, we turn those feelings into something that is negative too. And then when we feel fat we feel prompted to fix that feeling. I guess in a way “feeling fat” is something we feel like we can fix by way of dieting. We feel somewhat in control because we know that we can control what we eat and how we exercise. The harsh reality, however, is that we end up only making it worse and only perpetuating the problem. We try to fix the problem of “Feeling fat” by only going further and further down the rabbit hole of dieting and exercising harder.  We create a cycle that only gets worse and worse.

What if we listened to ourselves?  Whenever we hear ourselves saying or thinking, “I feel fat,” we tune into that and say, “NO! I don’t and can’t feel fat. What else is it that I am feeling right now?” Once we notice our thoughts we then force ourselves to sit and feel, truly feel. Acknowledge the feelings and the emotions and name them. Be honest with ourselves. “I feel sad.” “I feel anxious.” “I feel depressed.” “I feel unsure.” “I feel afraid.” These are not comfortable emotions and it is not fun. But, if we allow ourselves to feel it all we can be more in tune with our bodies and our souls. We can understand ourselves. We know where the true problem lies and the reason for “feeling fat.” We can learn why we are diverting these emotions to our bodies and then taking our angst out on our bodies. Our bodies are good and need care. There is no reason to take everything out on the body.

It is okay to feel and to feel fully.

Sit down. Take a deep breath.

For ten minutes, allow yourself to feel completely. Name those feelings for what they are…..fear, anxiety, panic, sadness, confusion, depression, uncertainty, etc. You don’t have to have a solution but just allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling is important to loving your body and being who you truly are.

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Go Deeper than Feeling Fat

Because I am Pro-Woman I Must Speak…

Pro-woman

 

**LONG, but important Post**

This blog post is not my typical material but I feel it is so very important. It all boils down to respect and ensuring that women know and understand their value and worth. I tread carefully as I write this because it is indeed a very sensitive topic but I also don’t tread carefully because way too many people do tread carefully. We need to face this problem head on, eye to eye. It really is a matter of life and death.

 The tension is very real right now. As the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” is about to come out on Valentine’s Day this coming weekend you feel the tension between those who want to see it and those who totally oppose it. There is tons of conversation about this movie because of all the topics that it brings to the surface. There is tons of fighting going on because of this movie as well. You can even feel the activity in the Heaven-lies as the struggle is spiritual as well.

I don’t want to really get into the movie very much. I have not read the books and I do not plan to see the movie. I know I cannot speak from much knowledge of the content except from what I have researched. The movie will come and go with time. The conversations, the fights, and the whispers will fade as the next big thing comes on our radar. If anything, I can be thankful for this movie because it sure has opened the door for many conversations. It has opened up dialogue.

What I have been thinking about is the much larger issue that surrounds this movie. Honestly, the movie is just a pawn of a much bigger problem. It is problem that must be addressed. I confess I have a fear about me as I type this because I know taking a stand means stepping on a lot of toes. But, how can we even fathom change without stepping on toes? How can we even claim to live boldly when we step back because we might offend someone? I have pondered this for a long time and I knew I had to write something but I have avoided the issue for so long. I didn’t want to get involved. Sure, a post here and there on Facebook was great and all but that is so easy. Open the door, drop the post on my timeline, and close the door back up again and stay in my safe and secure condo. I am learning too much that I have reached the point where I can not stay quiet anymore. I must be willing to take a stand and be willing to suffer the consequences. (“Suffer” may be a bit harsh but, whatever).

I tread carefully here because I want to take a stand but I know I am dealing with hearts and minds. I, in no way, want to come across as “better than” or self-righteous. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am in need of Jesus the same as anyone else. But, I am also a follower of Christ who stands on His Word.

At “She is Clothed with Strength”, we stand on the Scripture that says “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25) Originally, I chose that scripture for my business because I wanted women to know their strength in the gym and outside the gym. Since then I have come to focus more on the dignity part of that verse. I have come to realize that women need to know their worth and their value. One way I work towards that goal is through reshaping food and exercise habits and helping women to know that their worth and value has nothing to do with a number on the scale or what size of clothes she wears. I help women to break free from the dieting mentality and trying to fit in certain boxes. I know the pain because I was there. I know the pain of disordered eating because you want to feel good about yourself. You want to feel worthy because you fit in certain clothes or you look a certain way. It can be such long and hard road finding your value and worth. Trust me, I know.

I want to women to know how awesome they are. I want them to know they are LOVED. I want them to know they do indeed have immense value and they are so much more than what society wants to tell them. For that reason, I have to speak out about a problem that has been in our midst for a very long time but is coming to the surface because of a certain movie.

 Pornography.

Wow. I NEVER thought I would write anything about this topic. But, my eyes have been opened to a world that I would much rather avoid but as William Wilberforce said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” Here’s the thing. I can’t look the other way anymore. I cannot look away from the complete attack on a woman’s value and worth that pornography is . I just can not. He also said, “A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is not faith at all.” Wow! Indeed. I must act. Or Speak. Or write. Whatever.

(Note: This article is not about rights and whether or not anyone has the right to consume pornography. I support liberty and I support choices. You have the liberty to choose pornography. I also have the liberty to choose to oppose it and speak out against it.)

Of course, when you mention pornography most people think about the visual kind. I’m talking about the magazines, the images online, and the movies. But, we mustn’t forget that written word can be just as much pornographic as the images. Some people call it “Mommy Porn” and many dismiss it as not being pornography because it is “literature” and just not the same. Porn is porn. Period. I lump it all into one category of Pornography.

I love the quote “Those who oppose pornography are not anti-sex. They are simply wise enough to recognize that pornography is poison. When used as a substitute for love, it is the equivalent of giving salt water to a man dying of thirst—it will merely inflame the desire further without bringing any satisfaction.” (Source)  Indeed. I am not anti-sex. The opposite is true. I am very pro-sex.

You see, pornography cheapens sex and it cheapens women’s bodies. It takes an otherwise beautiful outward expression of deep love between two people and makes it into something to be consumed and spit out by others. And then those who want to take a stand against such a thing are called “Old-fashioned” , “prudish”, and “anti-sex.” When in reality, those of us “old-fashioned” folks are the ones who are loving and supporting sex for what it really, truly is.

“I am not anti-sex, although I don’t particularly object to being called old-fashioned. I am, however, very anti-porn—and that is because pornography is rapidly turning healthy, loving, and committed relationships into something “old-fashioned.” It is robbing the current generation of their ability to enjoy life-long and happy commitments.” (Source)

I have always known about pornography, visual and written word, and I have always known it was something I should not consume. Sure, I’ve read a few pages here and there but whenever I did I did not like the desires it lit up inside me. I knew that my addictive personality could go way too far with that and I am so very happy that I knew deep down inside this was something to avoid at all costs.

I am just like anyone else when I would see the smut magazines in the convenience stores or hidden away in someone’s house. But, whenever I would see these publications I couldn’t help thinking that this woman was someone’s daughter and perhaps someone’s mother. I just couldn’t understand how such publications were evident of freedom or liberation. Sure, the women most likely made the choice to be published in this way but to my young mind I just couldn’t see how that was respectful of her, the model. Those pictures, and ultimately the model, were to be consumed, like food. Like meat. She was not seen for who she really is. A soul. A person who desires love just like the rest of us.

Long story short, I knew about pornography and I knew I did not like what it did to me or how it treated women. So, I avoided it.

Jump ahead to now and I attended a conference at my local church. The all-day conference was on the topic of Human Trafficking or Sex Slavery. Whoah! How in the world does one choose to spend all day on such a heavy topic. I don’t know, really. All I know is that God spoke into my spirit and I knew I had to attend. There is way too much information to share in one blog post but I walked out of there mentally and emotionally exhausted. And I learned how that thing I would see in the stores and would walk right on by because I didn’t like how it made me feel is the ‘entry drug’ to a much deeper and darker world. Yes, those images you glance at at the store or read in that novel are just the wading pool of an ocean of much bigger and more evil acts.

“Whoa Whoa Whoa…..why are we discussing human sex trafficking?! I don’t participate in that!” You are right. You probably don’t. But, here’s the thing. While we may not actively participate in such a heinous act we can support the industry that it comes from.

There is a distinct link between pornography and sex trafficking. There is a path set out before us that goes from casually viewing images at the convenience stores to viewing images online to viewing videos online to watching more hard core images/videos online to actually acting out the fantasies with a girl who has bought for her body. It is the nature of addiction. You keep trying more hard core things to get the high that just keeps disappearing.

Okay, we’ll leave that there. I really don’t want to spend this article writing about girls being bought and sold against their wills. (You have no IDEA how common this is…..right in your own town.). It is huge business.

This is why I stay away from any form of pornography, including “Mommy Porn.” This is why I stay away from movies such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I cannot and will not ever support abuse of any kind. I stay away because I believe in every woman’s value and worth. Every woman is a soul who is loved by her Creator. She is not a tool to be used. She is not a commodity to be bought and sold. She is not a piece of meat to be leered at.

I take a stand against pornography of all kinds because I love women. I love their beauty. I love their hearts. I love their souls. And since I would never want to be treated like property I stand for all other women who are treated like property or who are in fact, someone else’s property. All women matter. Period.

Yes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is that serious. I will not be at the movie theater that night because I am very much pro-woman and I am pro-sex.

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Because I am Pro-Woman I Must Speak…

In Praise of Stillness

In praise of stillness

When I first started writing this post I started to entitle it, “In Praise of Slow,” but then I remembered that title was already taken. I remembered where I saw that title was from an extremely good TED talk by Carl Honore.  You can see that TED talk over here and I highly recommend that you do.   He discusses how the US and the rest of the world is joining “The Cult of Speed” and he invites all of us to slow down our lives.

I am finding this to be very true in my own life.

For a long time I found that in many ways I judged my own value and worth by how busy I was.  It could be busy at home, busy at work, busy at school, or busy at church service.  I wanted to be more and more and more busy to fill my time.  I thought to be successful was to have every minute accounted for and figuring out how to fit more and more into that time.  If only I didn’t need to sleep.

One day I came to a very jarring realization during my morning devotional.  I am seeking ‘busy’ because if I slow down, I will have to listen.  I will have to listen to God’s voice more closely and change.  I didn’t want to face myself and I didn’t want to face what God had to say. I stayed busy so I wouldn’t have to ask myself the hard questions.   So, I stayed busy.

Well, God has a way of getting his voice heard.

In the more recent months, I have been finding myself going in the opposite direction.  Instead of seeking busy, I am seeking stillness.

I still do the same things that I used to do. I still keep the house the same.  I still run our homeschool the same.  I even train more at the gym more than I used to and my business is slowly growing.  But, the difference is that I am not rushing from one the thing to the next.  I still have my check lists and my goals but I consider my time and my effort a lot more closely.  I don’t jump on opportunities to fill my time but I pray before I commit.

I should pause for a moment to explain the difference between “good stillness (or slowness)” and “bad stillness.”   I believe it is because of the “bad stillness” that people, including me, find it hard to slow down.  We think that slowing down means being lazy and non-productive.  There is good reason for that but it doesn’t have to be true.  You can, indeed, slow down and be just as productive and dare I say, more productive than before.  That is the “good stillness” and slowness.

I confess my new found love of stillness has been challenged as we have recently moved to a new area. The activities are new and the people are new.  Previously, I would instantly want to hit the ground running and fill my time with activities for my son and for myself.  But, going into this move I heard God’s voice very clearly saying that this was an opportunity to learn more about stillness and slowness.  I shouldn’t jump on opportunities because they are there but I should prayerfully consider how my time can be best used. It is hard because I find myself in lonely times, wanting a stronger social network, sometimes.

But, the benefit of a move and a new area is that I am working with a fresh slate.  Instead of stepping back from obligations because I need more stillness I can be more careful in what I take on in the first place.  I believe that I am in a much better place to take on more as the opportunities arrive.  I can give a much better “YES” that is not tired, but is willing, able, and excited.

The fun thing is that in my search for stillness I have found some wonderful hobbies that truly help me slow down.

I have started swimming. Being in the pool is very calming to me.  It is so quiet when I am under the water.  The rhythm of the strokes is almost meditative.  I still seek to improve my strokes and my endurance and I have goals for what I want to achieve. I just get to improve myself all the while receiving therapy for a ‘slower’ activity.

I am reading more and by its very nature reading forces you to slow down.  I turn off the computer at a certain time each night and I either curl up on the couch or lie down on the bed to read for a while.  It is wonderful.  It is slow and my mind is full of interesting ideas.

And, finally, I color.  I laugh as I write that but it is so true.  As I was starting to learn about slowing down and the benefits of it I learned about the growing trend of adults who color.  I printed off a few pages from Pinterest at first and loved it.  I found that I found it very calming and that I think very clearly when I’m coloring. I can can listen to audio books more easily when coloring and I can pray more easily when coloring.  Then I found about the book Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford and just had to have it. This book is so lovely and I look forward to the stolen moments I can spend coloring in the pages.

Here is an example of one of my finished pages…

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I am sure my life will become more busy as we establish a life in our new home. There are fun things to be done. There are things to learn and there are businesses to grow. But, this time I won’t be just filling up time. I will instead seek stillness as I utilize my time well.

How do you seek stillness in your life?

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In Praise of Stillness