Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I saw this quote on Facebook today...

"Everyone has a chapter they don't want to read out loud..."
(It was attributed to Toby Mac, but the internet is filled with misquotes so I'm not 100% certain)

It got me thinking. I have some of those chapters. Maybe I don't want to read them out loud, but more and more I want to write it all down. Every chapter, every paragraph of my life was part of creating the person you know today. Pain as well as joy. Created by God, but shaped and formed by what I experienced in this world. Yes, He's there to help, but he doesn't always shield us from the blows, the cruelty, the abuse.

We walk through life and all it's experiences. Our hope is in knowing we are always loved by our Creator. He knows our pain. He knows we grow from our experiences, so He does not keep us in safe, controlled hot houses. Some flourish, no matter what they are put through. Some are destroyed, unable to understand why He left them hanging. Perhaps I am somewhere in the middle, not destroyed but not always victorious. I'm human. I fail. I hurt. I rejoice. I overcome. I'm alive. I am His in all my chapters, in all my various hues.

© 27Jul2016 ajj

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Special Little Snowflake...

Am I a special or unique...
  1. 1.
    a flake of snow, especially a feathery ice crystal, typically displaying delicate sixfold symmetry.
  2. 2.
    a white-flowered Eurasian plant related to and resembling the snowdrop, typically blooming in the summer or autumn.

Or just simply a...
  1. 1.
    a small, flat, thin piece of something, typically one that has broken away or been peeled off from a larger piece.

  2. 2.
    NORTH AMERICANinformal
    a crazy or eccentric person.
    synonyms: ditz, space cadet, airhead, fool, scatterbrain.
    "Geoff can be such a flake."

Snowflake or flake, read on and decide for yourself! 

The BlogHer Prompt for today:

"Do you get nervous in social situations? How do you power through that anxiety?

Hmmm, how to answer that? I definitely have a high level of social anxiety. The results vary from butterflies in my stomach to outright sickness. Clammy hands, sweaty brow, dry mouth, etc. More than once, I've had to excuse myself because I got so ill. This usually happens once I'm at a social gathering or event, but I've also had it happen while preparing to attend the event. This has occurred for things I love, like baby and bridal showers, weddings, family parties, concerts, church services, trips, etc. This has increased in intensity over the years.

I don't always power through, which can have a huge impact on my relationships. I find it easier to deal with the feelings of nausea, or outright sickness, in the security of my own home. People don't always understand why they receive a last minute cancellation from me, or why I leave shortly after arriving. The times I have powered through were usually much more enjoyable and rewarding than I imagined they could be. When the anxiety begins to wash over me, I try deep breathing, sitting quietly for a moment, saying a prayer, and visualizing a positive experience. Often, if I can get past the initial wave of terror, I find the demons quiet down and I'm able to enjoy the event, though this isn't always true. 

It's frustrating to be so affected by social situations. I'd love to figure out what my "trigger button" is and then to disable it. As my oldest son often tells me, "You're a special little snowflake" and that I am! Maybe not so special or unique, but some kind of a flake for certain! 

© 19Jul2016 ajj

Monday, July 18, 2016

New People...

The BlogHer Prompt for today:

"Do you like meeting new people, or do you prefer to hangout with people you already know?"

This is a tough one for me. Although I enjoy meeting new people, I always have a bit of social anxiety about it. I'm also very reluctant to integrate new people into my world. I suppose it is a result of being burned a few times in the past.

I'm the person who can chat with strangers in the supermarket, the park, a restaurant, etc., but who freezes up when being introduced to a new person at church or in the neighborhood. What is that? I know I worry about what to say, but I often end up rambling nonsensically about anything and everything, all the while wondering if they like me. I have to work at focusing on them, on what they are interested in, and less about what they are thinking of me. I'm somehow always trying to fit in, instead of realizing I do have something to offer in the way of friendship. Once I can relax and let go of my insecurities, I nearly always end up enjoying the company of someone new.

At the core, I will always prefer to hangout with people I already know. Friends and family. My comfort zone. I already know what the expectations are. These people have seen my flaws and failings, and have stayed in my life anyway! They're part of my framework, my foundation, my society. It doesn't mean I don't make room for new friends, I'm just very selective, even cautious, about who I open up to.

The irony of this, is how comfortable I am with blogging, knowing strangers may be reading my words and judging them. I always hope what I write will resonate with others, either striking a common cord or introducing a new way of looking at something, but I don't have the same reticence as I do in meeting people face to face.

Learning to set my insecurities aside is a continuing process. I am getting better at it, but may never be completely free from those feelings, and I'm ok with that.

© 18Jul2016 ajj

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Catching Up on Prompts...

With the holiday weekend, I got busy and didn't get back to the BlogHer writing prompts. I looked them over this morning and several didn't apply to me, so I'm combining them into this post.

I still read the first blog I began with, Silver Valley Stories. Carol introduced me to blogging and a community of other writers. I read several blogs before finally deciding to start mine.

I can't remember who I first emailed with, after we met through blogging. It was very likely Pam Warden of Pam Warden Art, Donna of Made in Heaven or Donna of Cottage Days and Journeys. I do know I've made some wonderful friends along the way.

It's always flattering when someone mentions me in their writing. My friend Carol wrote a very sweet piece about our friendship a couple years ago, Kindred Spirits. We've had a unique and special friendship, and I treasure it!

I can't close this post without mentioning the heartbreak going on in our nation. Praying for all who have lost loved ones. Praying for peace.

© 09Jul2016 ajj

Friday, July 1, 2016

Writing Prompts and Blogging...

I decided to try using the July Writing Prompts posted on BlogHer (just click on the name to see the prompts for yourself). The prompt for today is:

What was the first blog you read online?

That would be Silver Valley Stories, written by my dear friend, Carol Roberts. In fact, Carol is the person who suggested I begin writing a blog. She knew I had a love of words and writing, and thought it would be a great outlet for me to practice my skills. How right she was! Blogging has been a wonderful release for my creativity, my love for sharing family stories, and so much more! It opened a world to me, filled with like-minded, creative individuals. Through blogging, I've met people from all across the country and as far away as Australia and Europe. Some have even become close friends. I've learned, been entertained, and I've seen the world through different eyes. Blogging has definitely been a rewarding experience for me!