Wednesdays Are For Writing

In The Beginning

I remember when I was young and in school, we often had to do short pieces of writing for class. I don’t remember if I used to enjoy this or not, but I do remember not being very good at it. I had a difficult time coming up with something good that didn’t sound like I had copied it.

When I was in grade 5, in 1978/79, we read a short story about a ghost who caused mischief. We had to write our own ghost story afterwards and I remember that I didn’t understand it had to be our own creation. In my little piece of writing, I used very similar situations and the teacher wrote on my paper that it was too close to the story we read. I didn’t know anything about plagiarising at the time. Mrs. G also got quite angry with me for calling the woman in my story a dame. In a brusque tone, she informed me that, “That is not how we refer to women!”

My real love for writing began when I was in grade 11 and I began writing stories and what I had hoped would be novels. Some of these would be what we refer to now as fan fiction. Again, I had no training, no writing class; I just wrote for the fun of it.

These were horrible pieces!

I do remember what I enjoyed the most (and still do) was in creating my own characters, places, descriptions. I didn’t worry about spelling and punctuation as I wrote (which was fine, because that is what editing is for); I just let the ideas flow from my mind and onto the paper.

Cringe-worthy Discovery

Many years later, as I was cleaning out my mom’s house after she died, I came across the notebooks I had used for these stories (put away in a box in my old room) and I sat on the floor in the bedroom and read them over. Definite writings of a high school girl – terminology and all! I think I consistently cringed as I read through every page. They were certainly not worth saving so I readily tossed them in the trash!

Drawn to Creating

Over the years, I felt drawn to creating, drawn to recording the plots and characters I gave birth to. I’ve written several short-short stories (of around 700 words each), a couple of poems, and attempted a couple of novels.

More recently, I wrote a piece of non-fiction for an anthology called, Carpe Diem (see the Published Writing tab) which was published and released in March of this year. The book hit best-selling status in the self-help category on the release day!

I am now a published author, and I am working on my own non-fiction book!

Growth

I have learned a lot and grown since I first began writing. It’s all part of the process, and all writers go through it. I want to include a writing portion on this blog – likely on Wednesdays (hence the title of the post). These posts will be anything from sharing pieces of my writing, discussing the writing process, referring other writing blogs and/or podcasts, inspiration – anything writing related.

What have been your writing experiences? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments.

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Going Deeper With God

Just a short post today.

Early last week I finished doing my study of the book of John in the Bible. I’d like to say I worked on it every single day, but that would be a lie.

Something I noticed, as I looked back over the notes I took, was at the beginning of my study I was more detailed and made more notes, highlighted more passages, etc. I don’t know if along the way I “forgot” that I was making detailed notes, or if I just didn’t put as much into it toward the end. I certainly think that not focusing on it every day was a factor! None-the-less, I did gt a lot out of this study.

Recently, I have felt a strong desire to grow deeper into the Word and with my relationship with God – deeper than I have before. And, now that I have more time, I hope to set my priorities and spend this needed time with God.

I have been feeling like I have only let myself go just so far into my relationship with God, possibly because I let fear control me. I have been afraid of what God might tell me, what He might reveal, or what He might want me to do. I mean, what if it doesn’t line up with what I want to do?

I do believe I am doing what God wants me to, but what if I dig deeper and find out otherwise? Or what if God wants me going in a totally different direction with what I am doing? Am I prepared for that?

I guess fear is trying to overcome me. That sneaky devil is trying to have his way! I’m not going to let him win, though. I AM going to go deeper in my walk, no matter what it reveals to me! I want to be the woman that God wants me to be, and I definitely desire to go grow deeper with Him.

If God is for me, which I know to be true, then who can be against me?

What is something you would like to improve upon in your walk with the Lord? Let me know in the comments!

Updated to add link to the post on Apple Blossom Ministries that resulted from this post.

Your Sin Is Worse Than Mine…

purple flowers with a green background and the words "Your Sin Is Worse Than Mine" and a link to appleblossomministries.ca

I don’t know how many times I hear of people, and have had it said to me, that someone else’s sin is worse than whatever their sin is. It’s like people believe there is a big list ranging from number one to…however many sins there are. And on that list is ranked the least sin to the greatest, with the greatest as being number 1. “Well, what they did is way worse than my lies, or my speeding, or my (fill in the blank)…,” they say.

I don’t know why we do that. I guess it’s human nature. Maybe we try to make ourselves look better, or take the focus off our own sins and put it onto someone else so that we don’t have to face, or give account for, our sins.

The Adulterous Woman

In John 8 we read about the adulterous woman. The Pharisees were always trying to test Jesus, and this time they (and the scribes) brought a woman caught in the “very act” of adultery to Him. They quoted the Law of Moses in which the Israelites were commanded to stone the woman and then asked Jesus what he had to say about it.

Reading further, we find out that Jesus simply bent down and wrote something on the ground. I’ve always been curious as to what he may have written. Did he write, “Not Guilty” or did he write a scripture?

When He stands up again, Jesus says, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (vs. 7).” Then He bends down and wrote on the ground again.

Just Walk Away…

Those who were accusing this woman began to walk away, one by one, beginning with the older men. When I was in university (my degree is in Biblical Studies), a prof once told us that the understanding as to why the older men were the last to leave, was that the younger men would have had less sin than the older ones. This was, of course, due to age; the older men had lived longer and would have had more time to commit more sin.

The men all left until Jesus was the only one remaining with the woman. None of the scribes and Pharisees condemned her, because they had sin in their lives as well.

Jesus Has No Sin

Note that Jesus is the only one who has absolutely no sin in His life. Yet, rather than stoning the woman (and He could have done that since His command was that those who had no sin could throw the first stone), He told the woman that He also didn’t condemn her, and that she could go, but His only stipulation was to “sin no more.”

One thing that has interested me about this story, is that only the woman was brought to be stoned. Last time I checked, adultery involves two people. So, where was the man? Why wasn’t he being brought along to be stoned?

But that’s a post for another time…

There Is No Condemnation

In this post, I want to focus on the fact that Jesus didn’t condemn the woman for her sin. And, just like he her, Jesus doesn’t condemn you for your sin either. He also doesn’t condemn me for mine.

My friend, Jesus went to the cross for you. He took all your sins on Himself, and died for you. He doesn’t condemn you for the things you have said and done. He loves you!

“I do not condemn you, either.” Jesus says.

You do need to be aware, however, that just because God does not see one sin as being worse than another, that doesn’t give us liberty to keep sinning. Jesus told the adulterous woman to, “Go. From now on sin no more.”

We still have to do our best to refrain from sin, though it will happen because we’re human, but it doesn’t give us an excuse to purposefully sin.

Friends, I want you to know that it really doesn’t matter what you have said or done. The Lord does not condemn you, and if you ask for forgiveness, you will be forgiven. Jesus loves you so much, and He is waiting for you to reach out to Him.


Take His hand, and feel no condemnation.

That Old Familiar Feeling…


The other night, I felt a familiar feeling begin to creep up on me. I sensed it crawling up my spine and slowly branch out across my back and over my shoulders, encircling its arms around me, tightening its vice-like grip…

That old familiar feeling of anxiety was back.

While I’m getting much better at identifying when it hits, I don’t always clue in quickly enough to try and stop it from taking over.

What did I have to be anxious about that night? Absolutely nothing!

So, what was up? Why did overtake me if everything was fine?

Examine What Leads Up To An Anxiety Attack

I think it’s important when we are dealing with anxiety that we take a step back and examine what leads up to an attack. For me, the other night, I realized that I had been comparing myself to others. Basically, I was comparing my beginning to their middle or end results. How crazy is that?

The more I think about the situation, the more I feel that the enemy was pushing my buttons, and even though I know how crazy it is to compare myself to where someone is in their walk, in their life, with where I am, I let the deceiver whisper in my ear.

And I found myself believing him.

But not now. As I sat reflecting and writing down my thoughts on the situation that night, I honestly felt the anxiety slipping away. I felt myself coming to my senses.

Stop Comparing Myself!

For me, comparing myself (which is not something we should be doing in the first place) to others is never a good thing. It never ends well for me, and I usually end up anxious or depressed, or both.

I’ve been guilty, in the past and even the present, of looking toward an end, a solution or what have you, and wanting that result and then feeling like a failure because I am not there, I’m not where I want to be. What I fail to look at, or remember, is that in order to get the end results, I need to take the necessary steps to get there.

A Long Process

Usually, results don’t happen over night. Sometimes it’s a long, hard process; other times the journey is quicker. But regardless of how long it takes, The journey must begin with a single step, followed by another and another until we get to the solution, the end, the goal.

How many times do we, as humans, desire something and then when the going gets tough, or we realize the process is going to take us much longer than we anticipated, do we give up instead of pushing on? I’ve read, or heard, of a saying (I can’t recall where, though) that talks about how if we really want to achieve something, we will put the necessary work into it.

Put One Foot In Front of the Other

So now, in order to get to the place I wish I was at (the results I am desiring), I need to put one foot in front of the other, so to speak, and do whatever it takes if I want to succeed and see my dreams come to fruition.

And, a day or so later, I took the next step down a new path. It’s scary and exciting, but I’m doing it!

How do you head off an anxiety attack? Let me know in the comments!

New Year Blessing

mountains, lake, water, man looking out over water,

We have come to that time of year again – December 31st!

For many people, this is a time to reflect on the past year. Memories are often front and centre on this day as we come to an end of the final page of this chapter in our lives. We think about all the good times we had, and even the painful ones we encountered. Sometimes there were a lot of struggles that were endured, missed opportunities, and many tears. Other times consisted of successful accomplishments, happy tears, and lots of laughter.

On this day, we look to the future and wonder what the next year will hold for us. We hope for good things, and that nothing bad will come our way. We make plans, we makes lists, and we wonder and dream of what’s to come.

As we embark on a new year, 2019, I wish you all the best and pray that this will be the year for you to grow stronger, and deeper, in your relationship with Christ, that you will seek him with your whole heart.

As we leave 2018 behind, grab hold of Jesus’ hand and move forward with Him by your side.

Be blessed, my friend!

Shelley

Remember the Reason for the Season

Christmas ornaments and lights on branches of a Christmas tree; the words, "Remember the reason for the season!" in the upper right corner.

It’s Christmas Eve today, and like most homes at this time of year, we have had our Christmas tree up for awhile. The colourful lights glowing, decorations hanging, and the angel watching over everything. The top section of our artificial tree is leaning some, because the part it’s stuck into has a piece broken off causing the top portion to not stand up straight. I’m reluctant to give up this tree and get a new one.

This tree belonged to my mom. And when I look at it, I think of her. Usually my thoughts are happy and pleasant, but in all honesty, sometimes I feel sad.

I have always struggled at Christmas with my emotions for as long as I can remember. I vacillate between feeling happy and cheerful, and depressed and discouraged.

I remember feeling depressed many times when I was young (though at the time I don’t think I was aware that was what I was experiencing) and telling my parents I didn’t want anything for Christmas, because I didn’t deserve it. There were times when I would plaster on a smile, because that is what we are supposed to do at Christmas. It’s a joyful time of year, after all!

In my adult years, I have struggled with the thoughts that present themselves in my mind when I hear others trying to help with comments of “Cheer up!” or “It could always be worse. There are others who are in far more serious situations.” And, while I know people mean well and are trying to be helpful, they really aren’t. Not when my depression has made an appearance. Sometimes I just have to ride it out.

There were lots of silent, hidden tears shed at Christmas in my past. But, I am thankful that the last few Christmases have been great – no tears, no feelings of not deserving, no depression.

In all honesty, there are a number of things that have helped me with this – my medication, having a loving husband who is very understanding and supportive, changing my attitudes and thoughts, and most of all, the love of a Saviour who was born to die and give me eternal life.

Christmas is not about the presents, the tree, the lights or decorations. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. And if depression is something you deal with, particularly at Christmas, please don’t suffer in silence. You aren’t alone in this, and your struggle is real. Reach out to someone, take your meds (if you are on them; if not talk to your doctor), don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to the Lord; ultimately, He is the only one who can help you overcome this.

And, I pray that this Christmas, you can feel the joy that only He can give you.

A “Separate” Blog It Is…

Welcome back!

You may remember a recent post I made, about not using this blog and just using the one I have on Apple Blossom Ministries.  Well, after much deliberation, I have decided to reverse that decision. And I removed that post.

Quite simply, I just wasn’t feeling it. It didn’t seem to be the right time for that change, and quite honestly, I was letting the world dictate how I should be doing my ministries. No more.

So, I will be continuing to use MacKenzie’s Musings for my blog, and Apple Blossom Ministries for my ministry.  The two aren’t entirely separate, but for now, I feel this is the best fit for me.  I do have this blog on my website, and I will always promote Apple Blossom Ministries here.

 

Jumping Back In

apple blossom jumping back in pinterest

Today is my last day of a 10 day vacation I took with my husband – though a couple of the days were work related for him.

I really enjoyed my time off because I had been feeling stressed from work, and I think I was taking on a little of my husband’s stress as well.

Directing More of My Time To My Ministry

sunset beach people sunrise

While away, I was able to come to the conclusion (from talking with my husband and a friend) that I want to jump into my writing more.  I want to start directing more of my time with my ministry, following my dream and what I believe is my calling.

I need to get more serious about it than I have been.

The Need for Focus

That means I need to be more focused, and now that I have had some time away, with my husband, to relax and rejuvenate, I feel encouraged to continue with my writing, and with my direction for Apple Blossom Ministries (come check out what I have so far).

Today’s “focus” involved spending time on my blog post writing, and with creating the first few instalments for my Thankful Thursday series (debating on whether or not that will be featured here on the blog, or on ABM). I also started working on another project I have in mind for ABM.

Please keep me in prayer regarding all of this. I want to serve the Lord and help other women along in their journeys as well.

What do you need to take more seriously and focus on? Let me know in the comments.

 

15 Things For Which I Am Thankful

apple blossom thankful

To me, Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday that happens once a year.

During Thanksgiving, we often tell others what we are thankful for.  I don’t think that should be limited to once a day in October or November, depending where you live.

Really, we should be thankful every day.

What It Means

To be thankful means to express feelings of gratitude, to appreciate something, or someone.

Sometimes, when life throws us for a loop, it’s hard to see the good. We tend to focus on the negative aspects.  But, even during those trying times, we can be thankful for something.  Focusing on the good can help redirect our thinking to something more positive.

I know, normally, people tend to list what they are thankful for at Thanksgiving.  It’s not Thanksgiving now, it’s already passed for us here in Canada.  But, I’m going to list some things that I am thankful, or grateful, for.

affection appreciation decoration design

My List:

  1. Jesus
  2. My salvation
  3. My husband and step-son
  4. My other family members
  5. Friends
  6. My home
  7. My church
  8. My job
  9. Living in Canada
  10. The beauty in Nova Scotia – lots of gorgeous places to see and explore
  11. The leaves changing colour this time of year (gorgeous!)
  12. I can see and hear
  13. I can walk (have the use of my legs)
  14. I can read and write
  15. The generosity of others

Those are just 15 things I’m thankful for.  Of course, there are many more people and things, but this is just a start.

Thankful Thursdays

I’d like to start a regular series on the blog to help remind myself to be thankful in all situations, like Paul talks about.  I think it’s a good way to help me redirect my focus during those difficult times.

And I’d like to be able to share that with you, to help you as well.  I’d like you to share the things you’re thankful for on Thankful Thursdays as well.  I think this would be a great way to help us be more encouraging to others so that we can be reminded that there is always something to be thankful for, every day – not just at Thanksgiving.

notebook

So, even though I’m a day late because it’s Friday, let’s get the ball rolling.

Leave a comment with something you are thankful for today.