About Me

2016. Ahh… another year. Another fresh start. I don’t know if you’re allowed to put the words “fresh start” and “another” together in a sentence – it seems a little contradictory, but such is life.

This year I decide to try this “blogger university” thing. Basically it seems like it’ll just be me getting emailed assignments everyday and having a forum I can visit if I want. It sounds a little basic for somebody who’s been blogging for 5 years, but it’s been 5 years of inconsistent blogging. Plus I’m always open to learning more and growing in my writing. Except when I think I’m too good for something that will help me learn, and then I have to wait awhile until I come back around to it and decide maybe I’m not too good for it after all. Okay, I’m just making fun of myself a little for whoever didn’t catch that.

Anyways, the first assignment is to write about yourself and why I’m blogging and kind of to revisit my blogging from the past and what more I would like to do.

I am a 29 year old chick living in Las Vegas. My life is kind of ordinary – I have a normal day job where I sit at a desk all day, a husband, and 3 dogs. My original intention of this blog was to keep family and friends updated on my exciting life when I moved to Boston to go to Graduate school. However, after a semester I decided that it wasn’t a good fit for me and came back to Vegas. So there’s not that much to update for friends and family. The point of continuing my blog was to keep me writing. To continue to grow in my writing, and possibly to just put myself out there to see if anybody actually had any interest in what I had to say.

I’m not great at blogging all the time but have come back to it again and again, so I’m going to keep trying to work on it. I decided to sign up for the blogger university thing as a way to remind myself to write. Most of the time I work on my writing for a few weeks and then it falls off the face of the planet for 3 or 6 months or more. I just figured this might be a good way to try to keep up my writing.

Anyways, that’s me! Feel free to share in the comments about you!

Forbidden Love Letter

Here’s a silly writing exercise I just did from Poets & Writers prompts: http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

Creative Nonfiction Prompts

Writing exercises to help you generate well-crafted narratives.

Love Letter

posted 2.14.13

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, write a love letter to an inanimate object that explores why you appreciate what you’re writing about, what its special qualities are. Title it as you would address the letter: Dear Subway, Dear Keychain, Dear Gloves…

Here’s my love letter:

Dear Sean’s Mac Laptop,

I just want to confess my secret love to you for Valentine’s Day. I know you belong to my fiancé, but I can’t help but want you all for myself. You are so easy to use, and you making writing a joy.

My old laptop and I have had some good times together, I’ll give you that, but it’s just time to move on. Honestly, I’ve outgrown this old Vaio. Five years together, and it thinks it can just be slow and lazy all the time. It doesn’t give me the new and exciting adventure you can offer.

I shouldn’t be saying all of this. I’m actually writing you this letter from my Vaio right now.

I guess I should cut it short, Mac, before Vaio realizes what’s going on – but I just wanted you to know how much I miss you. Only a day apart and I already can’t wait to get close to you again.

Yours,

Regan

Write one & send it to me! I’d love to see what you come up with   🙂

Lisa’s Writing Exercise

My friend Lisa shared this writing exercise with me last week. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to do it. You take ten lines from a book, sort of randomly. I chose Flannery O’Connor’s: The Complete Stories. I turned to pages randomly and then found one sentence from each page that I liked:

1.) She allowed herself to be guided by his mother to the car and put in the back seat without seeming to know who the rescuer was.
2.) He reached into his pocket and withdrew his pipe and a sack of tobacco.
3.) She wanted to get up and go to him but she could not move.
4.)Parker, still barefooted, burst silently in on him at a little after three in the afternoon.
5.) She’d stood stiff up and said they lived where they could afford to live and made the best of it.
6.) The umbrella was one his landlady had stopped using fifteen years before (which was the only reason she had lent it to him) and as soon as the rain touched the top of it, it came down with a shriek and stabbed him in the back of the neck.
7.)His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still.
8.) The old woman clamped her gums together.
9.) There’s about ten million billion more just like them and I know what Mrs. McIntyre said.
10.)She didn’t take anything to eat, forgetting that food is usually taken on a picnic.

Next I picked the best three:

1.) She wanted to get up and go to him but she could not move.
2.)His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still.
3.) The old woman clamped her gums together.

Next, write a poem or story using those sentences. I used them as an introduction paragraph, but you can do whatever you want. Here’s the story I got:

Last Words

She wanted to get up and go to him but she could not move. His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still. The old woman clamped her gums together.

She lay in a hospital bed, tied down with tubes. Even if she were free of these restrictions, she would not have had the strength to walk to her grandson. He had come to see her on her deathbed, in the last of her days. How many things she had wanted to tell him over the years. Now she lay in bed, not able to think of one of them. Marcos stood across the room unable to ward off his fears of sickness, hospitals, and death even as he stared those things in the face.

She wanted to go to him, to let him know that it was still her. Regardless of the circumstances, it was her – he didn’t have to be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. They were silent: she constrained by weakness, he constrained by fear.

Suddenly, her nurse Edline walked in the room. “Hey, sweetie. How’re you doing?” she asked, walking to her bedside. She rythmically took her temperature, blood pressure, and checked her I.V. “Are you in any pain?”

“I’m okay,” the older woman grabbed the nurse’s hand. “My grandson Marcos here came to see me.”

“Hi there, Marcos. How’re you doing?” Edline asked.

“Doing good,” he said in a low reserved grumble.

“Well, baby, come on over her and give your grandma a kiss. You can’t hurt her any.”

Marcos hesitated, but walked closer to his grandmother’s bed.

“Now, do me a favor and sit down right here,” Edline motioned to the foot of the hospital bed. “Now take your grandma’s foot and give it a little rub over those sheets there.”

Sitting down, he placed his hand on her foot, but made no other movement.

“We have to keep her muscles as lose as we can. They get stiff laying in this bed all day.”

Edline moved around the older woman’s hospital tray and busied herself tidying up the room. She looked over and saw Marcos massaging his grandmother’s feet.

“Does that hurt?” he asked.

She grimaced, unable to hide the pain. “A little, but I know it’s good for me. You know when you were a little boy, I tried and tried and tried to get you to drink medicine. I explained to you over and over again that even though it was painful at the time, it was going to make you all better.”

“Yeah, I had ear infections all the time,” Marcos answered.

“I want you to remember that,” she paused until he looked at her face. She looked into his blue eyes and said, “Sometimes what is the easiest and feels the best at the moment is the worst thing for you. Sometimes the best thing for you, is the thing that is the hardest to push through and deal with. But, if you just keep taking the medicine – you’ll get better. It’ll get easier. you can’t let the sickness rule your life.”

Silence fell between them.

“Isn’t that what this is now?” he asked, his voice unsteady.

“No, this is just the natural end to a long life. I put in a lot of years fighting through sickness and pain, and pushing through anything that stood in my way to do what was best for me, your mom, and you guys.”

Marcos sighed. “I know, Grandma.”

“No, you don’t know,” she said sternly. He looked up at her abruptness. “You have to fight, you don’t have your whole life to let the demons that rule your life win. You have to fight everyday, one day at a time. And sometimes you’ll lose, but if you keep fighting – you’ll beat those demons.”

All Marcos could do was nod silently.

“I love you. I just want what’s best for you. I won’t be here forever to tell you these things, just promise me you’ll do the best you can.”

“I promise,” a tear slid down his cheek. “I love you, Grandma.”

Mountain Top Experience

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated anything about my life. But today I just wanted to do a writing exercise. I found a prompt on Poets & Writers webiste:

Taking a Trip

posted 12.28.12

Write an essay about a trip that you’ve taken during which you were in search of something. What were you in search of—family connection, relaxation, adventure? What did you find? Was it what you expected?

I’ve taken many memorable trips in my lifetime. I would maybe even go so far as to say that on almost every trip, I’ve been in search of something (a different perspective, an experience with God, an adventure). Trips are for experiencing life. Traveling keeps your eyes fresh and your perspective new. That’s one reason I never want to quit traveling to new places.

One meaningful trip I’ve taken was a month long assignment serving at a summer camp. I went to this camp in search of an experience with God, and maybe more specifically direction for my life. I found an experience with God in the way that you always find it when you are coming to Him looking for answers. I found Him in a much more meaningful way. He busted through my broken faith and redefined it, taking all the questions about my future and where I was going and making them absolutely irrelevant.

It began on the flight from Las Vegas into San Diego. I remember being absolutely upfront and real with God. “Okay, God. I know my relationship with you is not what it used to be. I’m not really sure who you are or who I am anymore. I just pray that you would do something in me and through me in my time serving.” Thus the battle began.

Spiritual growth comes in a lot of different ways. Sometimes it comes peacefully on a summer night, reminding you that God is the point of everything. Sometimes it comes through an outward circumstance, a tragedy or taking the step to go off to college. This was neither of those things. Camp was an opportunity to focus on what I had been struggling through spiritually and to attempt to put it into words to some older Christians who might be able to make sense of it. At the time, I had no idea what I was even struggling with. I knew I had hit a wall, but I had no idea what that wall signified.

Some of the girls I bunked with at camp used to say, “They couldn’t pay people to work as hard as we do.” I was the only lifeguard. I sat out in the sun, day after day, kept the pool clean, kept the chemicals in balance, and set up other games and activities for campers. In addition to all that, you try sleeping in a room full of 12 other girls and see how you sleep. I was exhausted all the time, and one-hundred percent out of my comfort zone. I went to camp knowing absolutely no one, and I am not the social outgoing person who makes friends immediately.

I did, however, end up getting close to a couple of other girls at camp and to a woman who was working there for the month. I spilled out my spiritual distresses to this woman, and she tried to help me sort through the mess that had become my walk with Christ. She was all about staying in “the tension”. One of the first messages I heard at camp was about Jacob wrestling with God and getting his hip torn up from it. That’s where I felt like I needed to be. I had questions about God and about this Christianity thing I’d been walking in for so long. My ideas of who God was, was not what it used to be and I had to confront God with that and see what His response was.

I felt like I kept seeking and seeking and seeking. I poured out my heart every day in a pink journal that I had brought with me, filling it with my exhaustion from camp, my frustration with campers and other staff, and with my questions for God. This is when I learned for the first time in my life that it’s okay to be mad. Emotions are human, so it’s okay to have feelings and not to be the perfect Christian who doesn’t get upset about anything. I felt like I had spent so long not being okay with getting upset about things that once I gave myself permission to, I got upset about anything and everything. And I was okay with that. I had spent twenty years being a push-over and a nice girl, and I wasn’t going to do that anymore. If I was mad, I was going to be mad.

This is still something I’m trying to find the balance to – being real, but also being considerate and keeping your-self in check.

Then after about half the trip of just wrestling and praying and not even knowing what I was fighting, I finally had a breakthrough. We were worshipping God one night by singing some praise songs, and I just decided that instead of trying to get to God I was just going to let God come to me. So I closed my eyes and just was and let God just come to me. It was then that everything just fell into place. I had a vision in my mind of Jesus hanging on the cross and dying for my sin. I poured out to Him that I wasn’t good enough. That no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t solve all the social justice problems that I kept hearing about at my college. I couldn’t ever be the crazy, outgoing evangelical person who shared Christ with anyone and everyone. I couldn’t even figure out what I wanted to do with my life – and whatever I did decide to do would probably end up being selfish, because it would be: a missionary, going into ministry, or being a social worker. I couldn’t be all these things that I felt like I should be for Christ. But, then I saw the cross of Christ and realized that I didn’t have to be any of these things. Jesus died on the cross so that God could meet me where I was. I didn’t have to be any of these other things to be good enough for God – because that wasn’t the point of being a Christian. The point of being a Christian is that we aren’t good enough. God’s grace alone is what allows us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and if I’m still living my life in the law… trying to be good enough for God, than I am not living by God’s grace.

So, we quit worshipping and I felt all light-headed and floaty like I do when I’m having a spiritual experience. I ran into the dorm and threw on my running shoes and went up a path onto a dark mountain to just be with God. I repented for trying to be good enough in my own merit for God, and thanked Him for his precious son dying on the cross to be my Savior. And then I finally felt like that wall had been broken. I felt the beautiful presence of God and swam in it. I prayed with the lady who had been mentoring me, and just felt myself beaming like the disciples who saw Moses when they climbed the mountain with Jesus.

After the trip, I did not want to return down the mountain to my normal life. But, as we all know, life has to return to normal. In my day to day life, I felt more freedom than I ever had with Christ. I allowed myself to be more open to things I’d been closed off to before, and to make mistakes if I needed to make them. I stopped living in fear of making the wrong choice. I learned that I was called “Redeemed”. Christ died on the cross for me to redeem me, and that took on a whole new meaning. And of course all the newness of the lesson eventually faded away. Back in normal life (6 years later) I still don’t feel the presence of God very regularly. I haven’t had a positive experience of growth like that since then. But, I’ve been a Christian for 12 years now. I know God. I know that whether I feel His love, or not, whether I’m reading my Bible every day and attending church or not, that God still loves me. I’m not trying to meet a church quota, or Bible reading quota. I’m just living my everyday life with the Lord. I know I have a lot of things I still need to work on and grow in (which I always will), but I know that God’s love is not conditional on those things.

And… even if I never experience Christ in that way again until I die, I know that He’s there and loves me, but I do believe that in another 6 years or 10 years or 20 years, I will have another mountain top experience with God. My faith is not dependent on those feelings, but it’s still such a high to have them.

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