Arise and Dream!

This blog has been silent a long time. It’s about to wake up.

I (Stephanie) disappeared (as opposed to Kitty and Shonna who just relocated) and stayed away much longer than I’d planned. I ran into my scaredy-hole, created a tunnel network down there and am having a hard time finding my way out. Reigniting this blog is just one way I’m re-entering the online world. (If you are interested in my personal journey, you’ll probably get more information faster by visiting Stephanie’s Musings.)

Briefly, my husband and I separated and divorced five years ago. I was buried in the pieces of my broken life and dreams. In the process of picking up those pieces, I decided to return to college. The past four years have been an intense, overwhelming, healing, stretching, challenging, I’m-not-going-to-make-it adventure (torture?). I finally graduated in December (2015) with a a BS in Graphic Design, and a Communications minor.

The self-doubt and lack of confidence and just plain I-don’t-fit anywhere-what-do-I-think-I’m-doing-what-could-I-possibly-do-that-matters feelings have pommelled me since graduation. I’ve alternated between being convinced I’m not really qualified to do anything (regardless of that degree) and glaring down those doubts and trampling them with physical proof (like the degree). All that angsty feeling results in a lot of procrastination. (Anyone else get frozen when their emotions go dark?)

It is well past time to stick my head out of my scaredy-hole and re-engage with my dreams. So here I am. Not sure my dreams are the same as before. (How could the be? I’m a different person.) Whatever they are, it’s time to explore, re-discover and re-ignite them.

One of my biggest dreams is to write, to craft stories and share anecdotes that bring life into such clear focus that those who read are encouraged, enlightened and inspired. Thus, it makes sense this blog would be a starting point for re-igniting my dreams.

We started this blog to encourage other writers on this journey. Restarting it will help me find my way back to the writing path and hopefully continue the task of encouraging others. I look forward to reconnecting with RFW readers and gaining new ones!

See you in the next post!

Changes

There are a few changes happening here at Routines for Writers.  The biggest is that Stephanie is returning to blog.  In fact, Stephanie is taking over the day to day upkeep of the blog, allowing Kitty and Shonna to devote more time and attention to their own careers and other websites.

Stay tuned!

20 Books on Sale Today For 99c Each!

PreLaunchImage2Hi friends!

I’m participating in a book sale today with 19 other writers. There’s a little something for everyone, and each of the books are only 99c today. Most books will be on sale today only, while some like mine will be 99c for a few days. Check them out! 🙂

Stuck With You by Kristy Tate

Calling All Glass Slippers by Jacqueline Diamond

Jack Fell Down by Michelle Knowlden

Heart’s Desire by Susan R Hughes

Emerald Fortune by Lou Nelson

Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts

A Deadly Denial by Kathy Bennett

Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz 😀

Neighbors by Michael Payne

Ghost of My Dreams by Angie Ray

Love at the Beach (3 books in 1) by Laura Taylor

Judy Uncensored by Debra Salonen

The Ring That Binds by Linda Carroll-Bradd

She Likes It Tough by Geralyn Corcillo

Shadows Till Sunrise by Chris Marie Green

The Bachelor’s Baby Promise by Barbara McMahon

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick by Donna Fasano

You Don’t Know Jack by Adrianne Lee

Big and Bright by Jan Hudson

Demon Lover by Kathleen Creighton

 

Influences

This month we are talking about the books and/or authors who have impacted us. I learned to read at four and have read so many books in the past half century, there’s no way to pinpoint all the influential books and authors. Most have merged into a living collage of memories in which specific details may bubble into the forefront at times, but which usually remains a backdrop for my thoughts and personality. There are a few books, though, that have radically changed my perspective in some way, changing the course of my life for the better.

Thirty years ago or more, I decided to believe the Bible.  In the years since, I’ve read every word multiple times, studied some sections so intently I have them memorized and put into practice much of what I’ve learned. It is safe to say the Bible has influenced me more than any other book I’ve ever read and, while the change was slow, it did radically change my life. For the better.

Three years ago I read a book that did the same thing, only more dramatically. When I read “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft, I was bludgeoned with an awareness that what I’d perceived as true was in fact horribly wrong. His detailed descriptions of manipulative, controlling and abusive behaviors shined a spotlight on my marriage. Like puzzle pieces suddenly falling into place, my memories coalesced into a picture that made a horrible kind of sense of the decades of confusion, misunderstandings, doubt and manipulation. 

Lundy Bancroft’s book revealed the truth about the manipulative and dysfunctional patterns present in my marriage, but it was Leslie Vernick’s books that launched the healing process. Leslie Vernick, a Christian counselor, vividly, compassionately and accurately wrote about the damage destructive actions cause and how to respond in ways consistent with the Biblical principles on which I’d built my life. In “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” I found ways to verbalize my perceptions and objections. In “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” and “How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong,” I found helpful tools and suggestions to build health and life into my relationships.

Uncounted numbers of books have influenced me in ways I only dimly perceive. Uncounted more will continue to enlighten, educate and influence me. These three authors, however, created a crossroads in my life that dramatically and irrevocably changed me. For the better.

Influences

          As you have probably guessed, this week’s theme is about what influences us. When Kitty and Shonna and I came up with this topic several weeks ago, we determined that we meant outside influences. Maybe it is the emotional journey I have been enmeshed in for so long or maybe something else, but I can’t seem to think of any outside influences that are not at least an indirect result of my internal, mental and emotional influences.

          The more I consider this topic, the more I realize that what I think not only motivates me to do (or not), but it also filters what I hear and understand and believe. If I believe I’m intelligent and capable of learning, I’ll hear and draw strength from those voices of friends and others. If I don’t believe I’m capable, I probably won’t even hear blatant encouragement. If I do hear it, I’ll discount it. So what I think about myself, my abilities and my possibilities in large part determines what influences me.

          As our regular readers know, I’ve been through an emotional year and a half. I’m on the healing side of that journey, but I still need what a dear friend calls “reality checks” every so often. Periodically, she would share an event or opinion and ask for my perception. She wanted to know if her feelings and actions were appropriate or if she had misconstrued something. By getting another person’s perspective, she can better adjust, or reinforce, her mental influencers.

          My major reality check influence is the Bible. I’ve chosen to base my life on its principles. There have been times when what I read conflicted with what I thought or accepted. Because of my choice to believe and live by the Bible, I had to adjust my thinking. That hasn’t always been easy. (How can I live if I die? How do I become rich by becoming poor? Am I really loved so much the Creator of All pursues, protects and provides for me?) But I choose to believe and in the process, have found strength and purpose through difficult times.

          “How To Live Right When Life Goes Wrong” by Leslie Vernick has been a huge influence this year. I’ve read that book and “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” multiple times in the past months. (Despite its title, it is more about recognizing and creating emotionally healthy relationships.)

          My friends and my family rallied around me. They believed in me when I doubted myself. They encouraged and prodded and supported me through some very dark days. One friend in particular made a point to articulate those areas where I excelled. (I didn’t believe her for months, but finally some of her words took root and replaced the negativity and self-condemnation that filled my mind.)

          God, books and friends. Seems like appropriate influencers for a writer. Wouldn’t you agree?

Oops!

          Forgive me. Please! I didn’t really forget this blog . . . I just forgot what day it was. Blame it on end of the semester mind-mush. I’m in the last week of classes, preparing for finals. ( And I felt so caught up yesterday. )

          This morning I was mentally running through my list of things to do. I thought, “I need to finish up that blog post and upload it sometime today.” Then it hit me. Today is Wednesday! Oh, no! Wednesdays are non-stop activity from the moment my feet hit the floor. There was no way I could finish the post and upload it. As it is, in order to get this apology written, I had to skip the few minutes walking with friends time that I try to steal each Wednesday morning before the day’s sprint begins.

          I apologize and promise to be back next week. (Maybe I’ll have slowed down. One can hope.) Have a blessed Wednesday!

Author Crush – Lundy Bancroft

          Last week I told you about Leslie Vernick and her books. This week I want to introduce you to another favorite author. Lundy Bancroft. His book “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” was instrumental in helping me realize exactly what was happening in my own life. The clear explanations and examples made it easy to see the truth of the relationship. Lundy Bancroft writes in a way that presents clear factual information while radiating care, concern and compassion. The shame and embarrassment at being part of a dysfunctional relationship is lessened as he explained and exposed the variety of ways an angry or controlling man will seek domination. Written with skill and compassion, this book is a must-have for anyone needing insight into abusive relationships.

          Last year Bancroft teamed up with another counselor/author, PAC Patrassi to publish “’Should I Stay or Should I Go?” This book is an invaluable aid to the woman in recovering from an abusive relationship. Bancroft and Patrassi present clear processes to help the woman determine if a relationship is worth investing in and how to evaluate progress. Clear explanations and wise counsel are given to help sift through and discern truth from subterfuge and selfishness within the relationship.

          At no time do the authors say, or even imply, a woman should leave a relationship. This book is focused on empowering a woman to make wise, informed decisions within the dynamic of the relationship. To aid restoration of the relationships, they have created a webpage specifically for the man/abuser in the relationship. This page includes a couple of chapters of the book, slightly rewritten to be the most benefit to an abuser truly seeking truth and a way to a healthy relationship.

Author Crush – Leslie Vernick

          As I wrote in a previous post, I separated from my husband about a year ago when I realized that our relationship needed help. I was not able to verbalize it well at the time, but I knew there were serious problems in the way we related. I wanted to find healthier ways to communicate and interact. Over the ensuing months, I devoured books on relationships. I found many books that helped identify the problems, and a few had helpful suggestions for countering those dysfunctions. What I really wanted, though, was something that helped me understand healthy relationships.

          I knew the best way to effect change is to have a clear, concrete picture of the desired change. If I expected to succeed at changing our relationship into something better, I needed to know what that better relationship should look like. Because my faith is so important to me, I wanted something that would help me put Biblical principles into practice in ways that would create and nurture a healthy relationship.

          After months of searching and reading and assimilating copious amounts of information about relationships that I discovered “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” by Leslie Vernick. This book is a goldmine for anyone searching for guidance in developing a healthy relationship based on Judeo-Christian principles. Those not interested in the faith aspects can still get lots of insight and help in creating emotionally healthy relationships, but the relationship issues are explored from a thoroughly biblical base. Even though the title suggests differently, the focus of this book is the pursuit of healthy relationships. I finally have my clear, succinct picture of a healthy relationship in the definition she gives.

          An emotionally healthy relationship is a mutually respectful, mutually honest and mutually caring and committed relationship. I needed this simple standard to use as a measure. Whenever my intuition says something is “off” in an interaction with anyone, I can quickly compare the situation with this definition and adjust my thoughts, expectations and actions accordingly.

          Leslie Vernick is my newest Author Crush. Everyone of the books I’ve read, () have been chock-full of helpful, faith-friendly insights and suggestions. Visit her website to get a taste of her counsel. Or download samples from Amazon.

Author Crush!

          My life is so busy right now, I end up walking around in a sleep-deprived fog more days than not. I am working nights, 11 pm to 7 am, in a nursing home about an hour from where I live. I am also attending college, carrying a full course load. I started out working full-time, but have dropped down to part-time. Even so, I there are times when it is all I can do to get through the night-days. Sometimes I forget or miss things. Or I’m late. That’s what happened last week. And last month.

          February at Routines For Writers is Author Crush Month. This is the month we invite authors we admire to guest blog with us. Normally, I would be introducing a few of those guest authors. This year, though, I procrastinated and didn’t send out invitations soon enough. I still planned to introduce you to several of the authors who have influenced my life this past year. Last week, though, I didn’t realize it was February. (Maybe I need to Discover how to use a calendar. 😉 )

          About a year ago I came across two books, both on the topic of abusive relationships “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” by Patricia Evans and “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Mind of Angry Controlling Men,” by Lundy Bancroft. I have devoured scores of books and articles on this and related topics in the past eleven months. These two books, along with “In Sheep’s Clothing, Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People,” by George K. Simon, Jr and “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship,” by Leslie Vernick are the most readable, informative and helpful on this topic. I will be sharing more about these authors and their books in the next few weeks.

          (Well, not next week. Next week, Art Holcomb will be blogging with us. He’s a screenwriter and has written some wonderfully insightful guest blogs on Larry Brook’s Storyfix.com. He’ll be doing the same with us next week.)

          Now it’s time for me to head off to try to catch 15 winks before my next night-day begins.