“In the Absence of Light”

“In the Absence of Light”

There’s an absence of light
Behind my eyes,
An absence of words
In my fingers,
And on my tongue
Sings voices I have not heard
In many years.
There’s an absence of warmth
From my arms,
Where a baby would sit;
An absence of solemnity,
The kind that was sad
But also safe.
There’s an absence of fear
Yet an absence of strength
In my legs, enough
To stand on sand
As the chilling ocean waves
Sweep me out from under.
An absence of sincerity
Haunts my movements
And my intentions,
An absence of desire
For camaraderie,
Fellowship, constraint.
An absence of openness.
There’s an absence of light
Because I walk in the dark.
But in the absence of light,
I still walk.

Catherine Joy

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2017, the year of…

2017, the year of…

Tomorrow is a new year, and it’s time for a new word. For 2017, it is the year of Endurance.

2017-the-year-of

Halfway through 2016, this could have honestly been my word instead of Independence. My mind was already shifting to this focus. This year I wasted a lot of time being disillusioned about my life; I fantasized way to much and ended up disappointing myself because, surprise! life isn’t a fantasy. My writer mind wishes it can create my own story just as easily as it creates others, but I’m not the only one who can throw curveballs into the fray. By October 2016, I figured out what word I needed to focus on next. It came like a clear beam of sunlight through the reddening autumn leaves.

Here’s why Endurance is my word for the year: I’m a wimp. I’m not saying that because I started hating on myself. I really am a wimp. Or, in nicer words, I don’t have as thick skin as I thought I did. I am a naturally emotional person who quits on things too soon because I didn’t get an instant “click” within the first few days. This bad trait has caused me to make several regretful decisions that I try to distract myself from to keep the shame level low. I don’t seem to have any endurance, for anything.

I think it was when I came across Hebrews 10:36 one September morning as I was on the bus that I decided on the word:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

“Patient endurance” kept playing over and over in my head. It certainly was what I needed right now. The Bible has so many examples of people who endured through much suffering in order to finish and receive the reward: Joseph, Job, Elijah, Paul…not to mention Christ himself.

With a focus on Endurance, I want to develop every part of my endurance: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I don’t want outside forces to determine my choices anymore. I don’t want to be such an easy quitter anymore. I don’t want to be controlled by flighty emotions that just end up driving myself and others crazy. I want to endure, especially during the hard parts. I want to get strong. I’m working out this year, and I mean my mental muscles.

year-words-so-far

past years’ words

Weekly Devotion-Tough Love

Weekly Devotion-Tough Love

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

-2 Thessalonians 3:5

I find it interesting that “the love of God” and “patient endurance” is together in the same scripture, both being encouraged and persuaded. I’ve been told by a very wise individual in my life that sometimes the love of God is putting us through challenges that ultimately make our character stronger, because our character is the most important thing to him.

This scripture is a prayer for us, that we would come to understand the patient endurance that God wants us to have, endurance that comes only from Christ. We need it, to overcome, to press on, to finish. It’s something we call “tough love.” Even God uses it, and it’s always for our best.

As a Writer…What can you do?

As a Writer…What can you do?

As a writer, the following thoughts constantly cross my mind. Do they cross yours? Not to toot our own horns, but writers have a pretty tough and powerful job. We make history, you know. We create worlds. We change lives with a few words. And we have our nagging doubts.

As a writer…you worry about getting a writing job.

The great thing about writing is that even if you’re not doing it for a living at the moment, you can still do it. Just keep writing, and use the non-writing job as an opportunity to gain experience and inspiration for your writing. And hey, if it’s an easy job with a minimal schedule, more time to write!

As a writer…you worry about getting the right job.

Just as I don’t believe that there is someone who is “the one,” (don’t beat me up about that now) I don’t believe there is a job that is “the one.” If an opportunity arrises, take it. Every position, however long you have it, provides some kind of substance that you take with you, even if it is an unpleasant job. Rather than try to determine if a job is the right job, look at it as simply a valuable experience that you can develop from.

As a writer…you keep thinking “I can do better.”

This kind of thinking is a weakness which is also a strength, and vise versa. It’s good to believe that you can do better; it will motivate you. But it’s important to keep this thinking and its effect in check, else it will quickly do the opposite. If you begin to notice that this thinking is causing you to doubt and give up, stop it in its tracks right there. Find better, healthier motivations.

As a writer…you can’t pinpoint your craft.

You’ve heard the question. When you tell people you’re a writer, they ask, “Oh, what do you write?” And you don’t know what to answer. Right now you dabble in different genres and formats. That’s great! You’re a writer; you’re not required to pick a genre. But I completely understand that you want to know what your style is. Well, just keep writing, and pay attention to yourself. What kind of story do your thoughts habitually drift to? And perhaps the biggest hint of your style is what you read. If your reading taste is mystery or fantasy or young adult or nonfiction, more than likely that’s your writing taste.

As a writer…you sometimes obsess about numbers.

I’m guilty of this, counting the number of people following my blog, or the amount of minutes I write each day, or the number of words in my novel. But I’m a writer. I work with words, not numbers. Numbers should not be our business, at least not obsessively. And, whatever you do, be careful of counting that one certain number that can really mess with you…money :-).

As a writer…you wonder what you accomplish with writing.

Any artist questions why they do what they do from time to time. An artistic career doesn’t often have tangible, spreadsheet results that one can share. The result of an artistic career is the creation of art, and art is something that the world cannot do without. Maybe to survive, but not to live. Whenever I question if my writing is accomplishing anything, I remind myself that what I am accomplishing is making art, which people need to live. And writing is a very powerful outlet. You can change thoughts, opinions, or decisions with what you write. Just think of that.

As a writer…you question your editing ability.

If you think your editing skills can improve, then there’s no harm in improving them! Read books, research web articles, take a class, interview an editor, whatever! A writer can always improve their skills, especially with editing. What also helps me is reading with a critic’s mind. Reread one of your favorite novels with the mind of an editor, seeing what makes it good and what could make it better. For now, if you want some good editing done on your writing, ask someone else to critique it for you. That’s what professional editors are for!

As a writer…you think you don’t read enough.

You cannot be a writer without being a reader. But luckily those of us who want to write have a natural draw and love of reading. Things like our life schedules can make it difficult to make time to read, or, if we are little more honest, the intrusion of cell phones and Netflix turns us into lazy butts. Just like what I learned with everything else in my life that I want to be doing, you have to make it a priority. Treat it as much of a demanding aspect as going to work. After all, it has its rewards. If you want to read more, then you have to discipline yourself to read more. Be patient with yourself. The point of discipline is trial and error. Let the desire to be a better writer motivate you.

A Poem A Day #514

Love Travels A Distance by Keith Garrett Poetry

A boy and his dog, love between two,

Each day he waits at the stroke of four.

Soon they will be separated by circumstance,

Strength and courage will be tested, a faithful friend….

You’ll have to read the rest at http://keithgarrettpoetry.com/2013/09/27/love-travels-a-distance/   ^_^

The Gift of a Handicap

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
-2 Corinthians 12:7-10