donovanmneal

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

We’re moving!

In Misc, Personal, Uncategorized on June 22, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Image

Evening all,

After tearing over the decision I’ve decided that I need to take the next step of getting my platform underpinnings together.  So I’m expecting to move to a Bluehost.com server.  The finances are finally there, and to take things to the next level I need to simply own my blog/website.  Right now I have two sites to keep up and I need to direct traffic to one point.

So keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  I also want to make sure I’m targeting content that readers want to see.  So I plan on dealing with leadership, entrepreneurship, and writing and or course Christian opinion.

Please bear with me, its been a hectic last week with my kindle countdown promotion which was an incredible success.  Also I have both my sons and my own birthday’s coming up this week.  But I do expect to put up some content this week.  I also have a author interview that is upcoming as well as two media announcements shortly so stay tuned!

One of the challenges of running your own business is that you really are doing everything yourself.  So it takes time.  Since I do work, well needless to say its time consuming.

But great things are in store.  In the meantime enjoy this bit of music that is part of the soundtrack for the next book.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Lessons on service from the Parable of the Talents

In My two cents and Christian Opinion, Personal on June 9, 2014 at 7:00 am

I am a student of leadership, and as such I am always looking for insights on how I can best bolster my own shortcomings in the area.

Today I found some interesting nuggets of revelation I had not considered in my past readings of the parable of the talents.  I want to thank the Pastor Brad Powell of Northridge Church in Plymouth Michigan for his teaching.   You can find the link to the applicable service here.

In Matthew 25:14-30 we have the Parable of the Talents.  There are a few simple truths that have escaped me until today.

Profitable servants don’t need instructions.  They just need a mandate and the resources.

The master did not give instructions on how they were to increase his goods.  But it was apparent that they had an expectation that by having his goods they were to do so..  The best producers take it upon themselves and take ownership over taking what has been given to them and making more of it. Anyone that’s not willing to make the talent better than what it was before.  Is simply a servant that hasn’t had the opportunity to be rebuked yet by the master.

Profitable servants don’t operate without connecting with others 

Talent reproduction requires interfacing with others. You can’t do it alone.  What skills sets are required to be aggressive enough to “trade” with another.  The profitable servants exchanged value.   Profitable servants understand that their job is to increase the value of that which they possess.  This requires recognizing the value in others and in what others have to trade with with.

Profitable servants are not content or satisfied with where they are.

There is every reason to think that the servants would have continued to trade to the masters benefit.  Good servants don’t stop.  They don’t stop until the master arrives and give an accounting.  They don’t stop until they reap the reward given to them by the master.

Profitable servants don’t make excuses.

Great leaders are only interested in what it takes to get the job done.  Period.  The profitable servants didn’t make excuses for the expectations of the master.  Nor did they give response that the masters expectations where to high or unreasonable.

Profitable servants don’t complain about the talents given them.

No where do we read that the servants complained that a co-servant didn’t deserve the talent given them.  Nor do we hear them complain about why they didn’t get more.  They simply produced with what was given.

Profitable servants don’t complain about the master

The unprofitable servant told the master all that he was, and was able to articulate accurately the expectations of his master.  And used his master as an excuse not to produce.

These are not the only truths one can glean from the scripture.  I’m sure others can articulate more or even expand on the ones already given.  What I do know is that I am once again challenged to be a good and faithful servant in every area I am called to serve.

What about you?  Is there a particular area listed above you still need to grow in?  Leave a comment below.

Thanks for dropping by!

 

D

 

 

How do you handle trolling behavior?

In On writing, Personal on May 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

When I started out in writing I just wanted to tell a great story about a biblical event.  I thought it would simply be so cool to just tell what I thought was a fascinating story from the Bible.  Enter the troller

trolling

One of the things that I’ve tried to do was build alliances with others.  Find others in my field and pick their brains, learn from them, and maybe even give back something useful to them.  I had hoped I had found such a person in this woman whom I met on LinkedIn.  A creative writing major who loved writing and was a professed Christian; I dialogued with her for several weeks.  We even had one phone call.  I gave her an unedited draft of about 2 maybe 3 chapters of my novel.  She gave me some good feedback.  Later she engaged in some Facebook behavior that was simply problematic for me.  Behavior which I asked her to discontinue and talked with her at length about before I discontinued communication.  It was after this (I think I honestly knew before) that I had stumbled upon a very opinionated, person who by her own admission enjoyed arguing with people

 

Eventually she made a remark, about a friend of mine that I really did not care for, and I decided… that was it, the relationship needed to end.  I blocked them on Facebook, discontinued email communication and explained to them why I was doing it.  This occurred back in the summer of 2013.  All was silent until Feb of this year when my book was released.  After the reviews came in, this person decided to make comments on seven of them.  As of the 18th of May the troller has placed 2 more additional comments. Now keep in mind she has no book review herself.  She’s just piggybacking on others reviews. (She seems to be checking in occasionally to see what’s being said, and choosing after months to still make comments.) She selectively finds the weakest reviews and emphasizes in her comments the least favorable elements of that review.

So after thinking about all this I have to confess that I’m amazed (and concerned on some levels) that a person can be so infatuated with you that they feel the internal need to do such a thing.  I mean what motivates such behavior?  I didn’t spurn this woman romantically that was not an issue.  At least not for me.  (No telling what this woman was thinking.)  So I see these comments on my amazon page.  Go take a look here.  Tell me…what would you do?

Questions

1. When and if should an author (or anyone I suppose) respond to trolling behavior?

2. Has this ever happened to you?

3. What makes a person behave towards someone whom they have never met personally.

 

Hey help an author out by buying my book and leaving a review.  I figure the best way to shut a troller up is by success!

click here to check out the reviews.

 

 

 

.  .

 

Meditations on Footwashing: A weekly series

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Personal on May 18, 2014 at 9:00 am

Foot_washing

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, “Let thy feet be Washed: meditations on foot washing.”

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands.

John 13-1-3a

Who are you?

It’s a simple enough question is it not?

Who are you?

It’s a question that seeks information regarding ones identity; it is also a question, that will solicit different responses depending of course to whom it is asked. However, the one common denominator no matter who is asked and what seems to be universal to all men; will be to answer with ones name.

One of the biggest plagues confronting the church today is her identity.

Who are you?

Jesus stated in the gospel of John” … that by this (i.e. love) shall all men know that ye are my disciple. “John 13:35

 

Instead, people know us by our denominational affiliation, our adherence to creeds and doctrines; weather or not we utilize instruments in praise and worship, or by what formula we use to baptize believers? We are conservative, liberal, Christian, atheist, Muslim, agnostic, Catholic, American, African-American, Latino, and a host of other descriptors.

This issue of identity has been a struggle for some especially those within the black community as the struggle over which descriptor best answers the question of, “who are you”?

 

Likewise, the church has struggled in its answer of who she is. Are we Catholic, Unitarian, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, and a host of other denominational names.

The question of identity is of such importance that we will assist children at a young age in learning how to pronounce their name. Many a parent will smile with glee when a child can not just say “mommy” or “daddy” but can with recognition respond, and recite their own name.

So the question remains.

Who are you?

Currently there is a multicultural emphasis in American that is seeking to assist us in understanding our individual identity. This emphasis would seek to instruct us that we do not have one identity but several.

“They” say that our identity consists of our gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, class, and political affiliation? The “multiculturalists”, would seek to explain our identity against the backdrop of oppression, victimization, and the privileged vs. the non privileged.

 

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands. That He had come from God and went to God. He riseth from supper and laid aside His garment, and took a towel and girded Himself.

What we do, who we affiliate with and a multitude of other actions can be derived from answering this simple question.

Who are you?

Who we are addresses the issue of our identity. Identity or rather the question who am I; is one of the most fundamental questions anyone can ever ask themselves.

The Merriam Webster’s online dictionary gives several definitions for the word identity.

1 a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness

2 a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual: individuality b: the relation established by psychological identification

3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted <establish the identity of stolen goods>

4: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols

Other synonyms for identity help us

character, distinctiveness, existence, identification, ipseity, name, parentage, particularity, personality, seity, self, selfdom, selfhood, selfness, status, uniqueness

Identity. (n.d.). Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1). Retrieved October 16, 2007, from Thesaurus.com website: http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/Identity

For the purposes of this work I want to use definition two. In other words Jesus knew who he was in character, personality parentage, status and uniqueness. He knew who he was related and connected with. This information helped him, stabilized him and can help and stabilize us as well. When the answers to these questions are in error or not known, abuse of ones self and others is destined to occur. (Hosea 4:6, John 8:32, 2 Tim 2:25)

Statistics of the world bear this out. Erik Homburger Erikson (June 15, 1902May 12, 1994) was a Germandevelopmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, and for coining the phrase identity crisis. He believed that the identity crisis is the most important conflict human beings encounter when they go through eight developmental stages in life.

Scripture at least affirms the power that an identity crisis can have.

The answer to this question becomes even more important when you are experiencing life altering events; when the circumstances of life come against us. When the Devil attacks it is important that one not develop amnesia during such a time.

The issue of who we are is not only something that we as Christians have to deal with but its something that also Jesus himself had to resolve.

Yes Jesus too had to deal with identity issues. It is one thing for parents and well wishers to know who you are and what they might want for you. It’s an entire thing all together for you to know that for yourself.

Let us examine the scripture and see what insight we might glean from them.

Here in the book of the Gospel according to John we are at a unique time where Jesus is in the beginning stages of what’s referred to as His “passion.” He’s at the table eating with his disciples and he finalizes the last things in preparation to be crucified. The Scripture says that this preparation occurred prior to the feast of the Passover.

And it is here at this crucial point in the life of Jesus, that some things were revealed to Him.

It is clear from the scripture that knowledge or an conscious awareness or resignation of reality had come into the mind of Jesus Christ.

This new sum of information is made clear in verse 3, that, “He knows that the Father has given all things into His hands.”

Here we come to a crucial turning point in the ministry of Jesus. A turning point where the Son of God acquires or at least articulates the revelation and fact that all things have been given into His hands.

Now often we read the Bible too quickly so I would admonish you to allow this to sink in and germinate in your spirit and imagination.

Jesus realizes that there is nothing that is with holden from him.

There is nothing he can’t possess.

There is no power capable of stopping any and or all desires he would set his mind to.

He has been given authority from God the father and the power to accomplish whatever his heart desires.

He becomes the boss, the head honcho the big cheese.

Has this sunk in yet?

Now keep all this in mind because not only does he realize this. He boldly proclaims this to those that are within earshot. He communicates this truth to his disciples, and wants them to understand the nature of this power.

Before I go on let me ask you a question.

What would you do if you had the ability to do anything you want?

What would you change?

Who would you impact?

Think of the authority are your disposal; to change any and all things; to have the means at your disposal to carry out your hearts desire; weather for good or for evil. Nothing was withheld from you. “All things had been given into your hands”. He had something to offer the world and he was ready to deliver it!

This is where Jesus was in his ministry on earth. The pinnacle of what most of us would consider success. He had it all!

And it’s at this point in time, that with the understanding of this revelation, this ascertainment of illumination; that He does something that totally shocks the disciples that are around Him.

 

He washes the disciple’s feet.

 

Here’s some food for thought.

1) Do you know the meaning of your name? If not find out what it means, and why were you given that name.

2) What is your family history? Go back at least three generations, and learn about the lives of your parents and grand parents. What were some of their most notable accomplishments, some of their weaknesses’, strengths, who were their contemporaries? What was going on in the world at the time and how did they interact with those events?

3) What is your personality profile? Take a temperament test such as the MBTI (Meyers Briggs Temperament Indicator) and discover more about yourself, and how God has “hardwired” you. There are many free tests one can take on the internet.
4) What are your Career interests, extracurricular activities, subjects of interests?

5) Who has influence in your life? This is one of the most powerful questions one could ever ask. To help you answer that question; ask yourself this. Whom would you not want to disappoint? Whom do you go to for advice and counsel? Who holds your secrets? Whose untimely death would leave you crushed? This person or persons whoever they are; are probably key people in your life that you’ve invested a portion of your self esteem. If they think negative about you. You think negative about you.

 

If you found this blog post enjoyable please stay tuned for more on this subject in the weeks ahead.  I also want to encourage yo to enjoy my fiction writing.  If you have ever wondered about the fall of Lucifer and how he became who we know today as Satan.  I want to invite you to take the time to check out my novel.

 

 

 

 

Ramblings and such.

In Misc, Personal on April 14, 2014 at 10:54 am

01 A a GZ 1

I’ve been struggling lately with some postings and have been very busy too.  Best practice they say is to at least 3 posts weekly.  I’m more of a post when the muse hits, but today I thought I’d just talk about what’s going on with me a bit.

Today I took the time to submit my novel for to Amazon’s ACX to create an audiobook.  We’ll see what happens.  Like all things Amazon, it was an easy process for book setup.

I’ve been struggling on how to direct my blogging.  My struggle is really coming up with content for so many areas.  (Blog, social media and writing)  Finding time to actually write the next novel.  Increasing my platform especially via twitter and google plus.  Twitter is amazing!   I’ve quite a few non-fiction works that I started but need to complete, so I’m looking at bring them back and publishing them,

I’ve had a story idea for a year now.  I’ve been wondering about how realistic it would be for me to work on two separate novels simultaneously.

I’m at the computer so much my neck/shoulders muscles have started to hurt.  Been doing some exercises to keep things in order.  But yikes talk about pain!

I like the control of doing things as an authorpreneur, yet I must admit, it would be nice if I had another me who could spend more time doing networking with people online.

If all goes as planned, I hope to have the next book out in time for Christmas.  I’m still going through some financial challenges so that impacts my ability to pour myself entirely into my work as I would like.  But I’m optimistic that in time things will work out and asking for you to keep me in your prayers.

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas so it’s loaded with all kinds of books now.  I’ve been reading The Shack by William P Young.  I’m almost done with it.  It’s a good book, a quick read actually too.  I would recommend it.

Had a great service yesterday and it made me think about a variety of things specifically I was asked to reflect on the cross.  I was reminded that we have in our culture powerful symbols and icons.  The Nike Swoosh, The Golden Arches of McDonalds.  There are a multitude of logos and brands that with one look you instantly recognize the company associated or action associated with it.

But think about the cross.  We wear it over our necks as gold jewelry, have it dangle from our ears as earrings, will drape it on t-shirts, and have it dangled as a belly ring.

But the cross was a form of torture, it was an instrument of capital punishment used by the roman empire. A form of punishment so severs and terrifying that you thought twice about committing a crime that might result in crucifixion.  Imagine if we draped an electric chair in gold, and draped it about our necks.  Or worse silver studded nooses.  If I had 14k gold earrings of an electric chair dangling from my ears what would you think?  Kinda weird huh? But the cross is such a powerful symbol because its been transformed from a symbol of torture and capital punishment to a symbol of hope.

It is the perfect embodiment of God’s justice and love.   As we prepare to celebrate God’s solution to man’s sin.  Let us remember that the cross is more than a piece of fancy jewelry to be worn.  But the real consequence of our rebellion against God, who took our deserved punishment, and in our stead and voluntarily paid the price for our sins.

As I ramble, I’m again asking for your prayers and well wishes, as I am beginning to do some readings and more radio interviews.  Speaking of which I have a blog talk radio interview on Wednesday April 16th at 2pm eastern.  I hope you can tune in as host Giovanni Gelati and I talk on the G-Zone about my novel. Check the link out for Wednesdays interview here.  ihttp://bit.ly/1gnnIPM

Finally I’ve developed a seminar I’m looking at doing as well.  On independent Publishing.  There is so much that new authors don’t know.  I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve made some home runs.  I’m hoping I can help other authors duplicate and expand on my own successes, and help them avoid problems in getting their books out.  I’m constantly amazed when I talk to new authors about what they  don’t know.

I’ve got tons more stuff to share, but ‘its time to make the donuts’ so I’ve gotta log off, but hey I always enjoy hearing from you. Please leave me comment and I’ll put your name in a hat to receive a free copy of my novel!

Here’s some music to uplift you!

D.

 

 

Low self esteem and the Christian: Accepting the greatness in others and yourself

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Personal on March 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

One of the common scriptures that is heard within Christendom is found in Psalms 139:14

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

It’s a simple scripture really. A scripture that exalts the excellency of person-hood. That there is a duality to the craftsmanship that is you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

“I was naked and I hid myself.”

Often however we do not feel that way. It is easy in our American culture to compare ourselves with one another, and as such determine, we are not good enough.

“Who told thee that thou was naked?”

Low self esteem comes ultimately from someone telling us that we are lacking in some way. (Yes I know you can tell yourself. But you have to receive a message that something’s wrong with you external from you. You have to compare yourself against something.)

I’d argue that low self esteem is the result of fear that we are insufficient, inadequate–that we are simply lacking in some manner. When we experience this fear we hide who we truly are. We cover ourselves with the trappings of the others, and create false masks, to beautify what we now perceive as inadequacies.

I remember growing up feeling that I was too small. Being a grown man and thinking that I was not smart enough. Often times I saw myself and others putting others down, to make myself look good. But in the course of time when you spend time with God, you read scriptures like this.

“…round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” Rev 4:4

Reading scriptures like this makes me realize that God is not intimidated by other’s royalty. Why should he be, He is the author of royalty.  He is the King of Kings. I have found myself saying that realizing, I don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room. I am in the room because I AM smart. I’ve learned over the years that it’s OK to be one king among many. That your sufficiency in one area does not have to abase my own. There are billions of stars in the sky, and each is brilliant in its own way. Each makes its impact on its environment.

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev 4:10

Discussions about “who is the greatest” simply misses the point. You are a King, You can feel comfortable bowing before the one true King and placing your crown before him. I’ve learned that no one can beat me at being me. Nor is it necessary for me to lift myself up to make others look bad. To just walk in my own royalty. Learn what makes me unique. I figure when God made you, he recognized the world needed that extra something that was you.

Jesus the greatest king with all his power, and authority thought it nothing to take up a towel and wipe the grime off his followers feet.

Can you accept the greatness in others, and marvel at how fearfully and wonderfully made each person is? Or are you a star jealous that you are not like other stars?  I’ll just be content to let my own little light shine.

Something to think about.

Torn Veil version 3 (non-editable web-ready file)

What it is like to be a writer.

In On writing, Personal on January 14, 2014 at 5:38 am
Revision doesn't have to be hard.

Revision doesn’t have to be hard.

I was once asked what it was like to be a writer.  And though I would never presume to speak for all writers.  I can definitely comment on my own experience.

Writing my novel was a labor of love.  Honestly, I don’t know if I should put more emphasis on the labor or the love part of that statement.

It meant being alone a lot.  Thinking about how subject matter should and could be tackled.  It meant discovering what the Bible had to say about the subject I was writing and what level of creative license I would take to explore things the Biblical text did not address.

It meant envisioning a world that I had never seen but only heard and read about.  Creating personalities, as opposed to automatons.  Characters that you might emphasize with, laugh with, champion, and learn to hate. It meant creating a world that was simple enough that people could engage in and view the movie that played in my head.  It meant asking what was this characters conflict?  What could prevent them from achieving their goals.  Figuring out plot lines. Learning more about grammar.  Realizing my limitations and seeking out more information.  It meant writers block, trying to figure out what ‘writers block’ was, and learning to overcome it.  It meant being disciplined sometimes, and not others.  It meant counting words, and seeing if I progressed today.  Figuring how to transition between scenes, how long chapters should be.  If the verbiage sounded right, or not write at all.  It meant, reading my work so much that I got tired of reading it.  To write 5, even 10 pages of text, then realize its drivel, and to delete a days or more work.

That’s some of the labor part.

Writing a novel is bringing something from nothing into reality.  It is just a concept, an idea, but to finally hold the completed work in your hand.  It’s an awesome feeling.  It’s an awesome feeling when you go to the copyright offices website and register your book.  It’s an awesome feeling when you see the cover of your novel for the first time.  It’s an harrowing endeavor to hand it over to an editor and then get it back knowing that you have to remove scenes or other bits of dialogue that don’t make sense.

It’s a nerve wracking experience to send out query letters to agents, and essentially trying to sell them to “pick me!” “pick me!”.  It’s painful when your work is rejected.  And then making the decision to do it again.  And again…and again….and again.  It’s a sense of wow, now how do I get this in the hands of readers?  It’s the soberness that comes when you realize that, your book is but one book out of the millions on Amazon.  When you realize, you need to start a business if you want to actually sell the book.  That you are more than a writer.  You are an authorpreneur, a marketer, graphic design specialist, editor, publisher, lay out artist, publicist.   The revelation that the author hat is only one of a hydra of hats.

It’s exciting to see your name and have others see your book and say,” wow, you’re an author?”  Or “Did you write that?”  “Where can I get a copy?”  “What’s your book about?”  There is an inevitable smile that occurs when the statement or question is raised.

That’s some of the love part.

You are elated when you get a one page registration letter from the copyright office indicating that they have your book on file and it’s officially registered.  There is no greater feeling than when someone reads your book, and they tell you how exciting it was to read, or what they learned, or how amazed they were.  It hits you in the gut though when someone tells you it stinks.  If your like me in those moments you look then to some of your favorite writers and see that they too have bad reviews.  And then you accept the reality that you are indeed an author.  You’re not just a writer anymore.  But a published author.

You lament when you find errors you thought you had corrected, embarrassed over a plot hole that you can see but others can’t.  Cringe when someone tells you it’s not a book Christians should read. Then confused when other Christians love it and get exactly what you were writing at.  It’s then that you realize that you have moved beyond your comfort zone of your own world, into the big world of…well the world.

You are excited over every blog post comment, interaction with readers, more and more you get it.  You are constantly reminded why you wrote the book.  You look at sales numbers.  You learn how to market.  You make connections that help strengthen you and your team that assists you.  You wonder where family and friends are or not in talking about your endeavors.  You make new friends and associates.

You learn how much to talk about your book without crossing the line of bragging or spamming or being inordinate in the accomplishment and promotion of your work.  You wonder if you’re me how to balance scriptural principles you’ve learned with the business of promotion.

You stretch, you live, you cry, you wait…you do a lot of waiting.

You learn a lot about people, yourself, and the business. And when no one else is looking.  When all eyes are not looking at you.  You sit silently behind your keyboard, hearing the clitty tap, sound of your keys while you quickly attempt to place on ‘paper’ the rapidly developing pictures and dialogue that is flooding your mind and which sometimes you can’t get out of your head fast enough.  You backspace, and try not to edit, and then sometimes you do, but the words, nouns, and verbs leap off the page screaming for you to allow them to live, to tell the next story.  To be part of the next piece of creative written prose given to you.  They scream with every stroke of deletion, lamenting in anguish that they have failed to be apart of the creative world you are imagining.  Yet others are arranged in such a way that they collectively sing in choral praise, excited to be brought forth into the world.

And that’s what its like to be a author.

And then you do it all over again.

 

D

Ready for the New Year!

In Personal, Uncategorized on January 9, 2014 at 10:01 pm

New Day_C_NV

Hey peeps, sorry I have been away for a bit, end of the year stuff and transitioning.

But I’m back and have plenty of things in the hopper.  After doing some soul searching I decided I needed to cut back on those things which were not productive for me.  So I have decided to stop writing for Examiner.com  I need the time to write and there’s so much going on with trying to promote my new novel that I need to really be selective on what endeavors I am going to engage in and which ones I am not.  So I had to let that go.

In any event, I am slowly building that authors platform people talk so much about.  It takes time and work.  But I’m up to the task.  I had a wonderful experience the other day where a client from my job called me and specifically called to comment about my novel.  The person had noticed it in my office and wanted to talk more about it.  I obliged her and it resulted in her coming by the office to pick up her own autographed copy!  A very cool authors moment.

Now that the new year has begun I have started the second in the series of books.  It has already taken a life of its own and is coming along well.  I hope to have the new trailer out to promote it.  Look for it on my website and here.

Going into 2014 well be talking about more topics related to Christianity and the news, more entertainment pieces, some author interviews, and of course select pieces of music, and personal pieces and of course writing tips and resources.

Alright I think  that about covers everything.  I’ll see you on Monday for that days writers resource!

Regards,

Donovan

6 expectations I’m learning to accept: Life is difficult.

In Personal on July 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm

desperate days_t_nt

While at service this past Sunday I was enlightened when the speaker talked about expectations.

He characterized expectations as mental pictures of what we believe life should be or what should happen.

All in all these mental pictures really are simply illusions.  We have illusions of what we think should and will happen.  These mental illusions and our belief that they will occur forms the base of much of our disappointment.  It’s a powerful truth and one that I’ve had to come to grips with both in my own personal and professional lives.  This is not to say we should not have any expectations.  But often our mental pictures are distorted.

I recently went in for my eye examine, and in doing so the doctor consistently had me look at the eye chart while he placed lenses over my eyes and asked me to evaluate which image was better. Life is often similar in that we “see through a glass darkly” at reality, only having a limited scope to see accurately.

The reality is that expectations or mental images are not limited to just myself but to all of us.  As such we must often mange not just our own illusions about the way thing should be but also those around us.

The speaker listed 6 areas that he uses and that I will adopt in my own life about expectations.  These 6 things I find can unlock some secrets to happiness in our life.

Here’s number one: Life is difficult.

This doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun, or that one can’t find love, riches, fame etc.  But that life is not just a series of perpetual positive experiences.  People die, hope fade, and dreams can die, justice is not always served this side of Heaven, and dang nabit sometimes the bad guy actually wins.  We get sick and despite all the faith we have in God or in our ability to overcome.  Sometimes we don’t overcome the situation.  We fail.  When I read my Bible I don’t see anywhere where Jesus told his followers they would have a life of ease.  What I read is…”in this life ye shall have tribulation.”  “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.”  What I do know of a surety is that he’s promised to walk with me during said trials and tribulations.  But never that he would remove all problems from my life.

I think part of disillusionment with God is that often it’s just the opposite he doesn’t take the pain away.  It’s almost arrogant to think on some level that if God would sacrifice his own son why we think he won’t on some much smaller level allow us to experience pain?

So I’m going to have difficulties on the job at times.  My relationships sometimes will NOT measure up to what I expected.  In fact some relationships will downright test my mettle to live in the light of my professed convictions.  There will be misunderstandings.  I will lose loved ones.  Life is difficult.

When it’s all said and done, He’s promised to be there through it all.

I once read this scripture and joked…

Psa 46:1-3 … God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

I remember asking in prayer if we could have a lil less of the mountains be carried into the sea.  But as in this scripture the Maker makes it clear.  His presence in all things is something we can rely on, and that’s an expectation I can handle.

 

Sometimes you do not need to know. You just need peace.

In Personal on June 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

desperate days_t_nt

Several years ago, I lost my younger brother to violence.  It was unexpected as all tragedies typically are.  I was also in the midst of dealing with my own personal demons as well.  My marriage was teetering on the brink of divorce, and in the midst of my own troubles, my family now looked to me to help console them during this troubled time.

My family asked me to do the eulogy, and I officiated the entire funeral and burial service.  As an ordained minister, it was my duty to comfort the bereaved.  The matriarch of our family had asked me to do this, and I was not going to decline.

I was grieving myself.  Hurting…wondering if I could ‘pull it off’ per se. Wishing my brother and I had spent more time together.  Dealing with who this murderer was that took him.  Why it had happened?  Why did God let it happen?  I did not feel ‘qualified’ to speak to anyone really.  Not with all that, I was struggling with.  Why I was being selected during this trying time in my own life to speak to my family?

I searched for answers.

In searching to find understanding the Lord, lead me in his word and specifically to Philippians 4:6, 7.

Php 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Php 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

In my own search to ascribe meaning to such a horrible event, the knowledge about there being sin in the world, and my understanding of how Satan is a real force left me little comfort during this time.

I found that in spite of my searching nothing this side of Heaven would give me what I needed to come to grips with such a useless and senseless killing.  It was then that I realized, and saw one of the truths of this scripture.

Simply, that there is a peace that passes understanding.

When we are in trying times and when we seek out meaning and ask why me?  The reality is that sometimes there is silence to our inquiries.  Nevertheless, I believe that God is never truly silent, we just cannot often hear over the static of our emotions and own minds.  Yet here in this scripture God gives us an answer.

We need the peace that passes our understanding.

We need this type of peace that can bring silence to our questions and make our heart bear the unbearable again.  In the same way, that lift can supersede the law of gravity likewise the peace of God can supersede our need for understanding and give us consolation during difficult times.  It’s a special peace in that it comes from God.  This peace has two key ingredients in that it accomplishes two things.  Two powerful balms we need desperately when we are hurting and asking why.

This peace, ‘keeps’ our heart and our mind.  Which is a good thing because, when our hearts are hurting and broken, and our minds riddled with doubt, and questions: believe me you need something to help hold it together.  This does the trick.

So when you find yourself asking why, when you are struggling to find meaning where there seemingly is none.

Stop it.

Settle your heart and mind, and tell God the despite failing to understand, that he grant you an anxiety free mind, and bestow on you the peace that only he can give.  A peace that would protect, shield, comfort and stand as a sentinel against any and all things that would bring you into anxiety and distress.  That both your heart and mind during rough times be liberated from the paralyzing hurt that can come from difficulty and pain.

To those that are hurting, and or know those that are.  I pray that the peace of God would rule in your heart, and that you might experience the reality of this promise.

If you have something meaningful to add, please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Regards,

D