Monday, February 25, 2013


This week, for our Tuesday link up with Holley Gerth, we will be sharing a story of someone who has inspired us to keep dreaming. It can be someone from the Bible or our family or down the street.

To be honest, this one kind of stumped me. There are so many people to choose from in my life that it's hard to narrow it down to one. With the articles I write for the paper, I meet a lot of very inspiring people - people who have realized their dreams through a lot of hard work, perseverance and faith.

I also have family members who inspire me, and this doesn't even touch all the people in the Bible that inspire me, too. The list some well-knowns like Moses and Paul, but it also includes some people you may not have heard of like Shiphrah and Puah.

The person that inspires me the most though is Enoch. We are first introduce to Enoch in Genesis 5, and he has the distinction of one of the few people who never died. Instead, God just took him up to heaven.

"Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." Genesis 5:22-24

Enoch is mentioned again in the Faith Hall of Fame listed in Hebrews 11:5. "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God."

Why does Enoch inspire me? It's not because he never died. It's because the only thing the Bible lists that Enoch did was walk with God. For hundreds of years. The result of walking with God was that God was pleased with Him.

There Enoch is, sandwiched in that faith hall of fame with Biblical greats like Noah and Abraham - men whose deeds have been well-known Sunday school stories for generations.

But Enoch - his only claim to fame was that he walked with God.

I find the story of Enoch to be inspiring because he didn't please God with great deeds. He pleased God because he chose to daily make the quiet choice to put his hand into God's and just walk with Him.

Why is this inspiring to me? Well, the truth is I tend to get really hung with up with doing and things like making a difference, having impact, and being productive, but just as Jesus told Martha to take a page out of Mary's book, that sitting at His feet was far better than bustling around, Enoch reminds me that no matter what my dreams, no matter what I accomplish - even good or great things - the most important thing in all of it is that I walk with God.

Without God, without that daily intimacy of trusting God enough to put my hand in His and move forward wherever He leads, even realized dreams are empty and meaningless.

So, Enoch inspires me. He inspires me that it is the quiet, daily devotion to God that makes the biggest difference - both in my own life and in those around me. He reminds me to be still and know that God is, well, God which means I'm not. I don't know about you, but that takes a world of weight off of my shoulders.

I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to be uber organized with graph charts and to do list systems and measure my productivity.

I just have to walk with God - that is enough to make Him pleased with me.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, February 22, 2013


I am a bookworm. From the time I could first read I was always diving into stories - well, I take that back. Before I could read, I relentlessly pestered the adults in my life to "read me a story." I couldn't get enough of stories.

Even now, my husband says that I inhale books, and it's true. If I get a good book, there's a chance that by the time I put my head on my pillow to sleep, I will have read the last page.

My love of books is one of the reason I want to be a writer. If I read a particularly well-written story, I often cry when I turn the last page because it hits me in a very tender part of my heart that THIS is what I want to do - to touch someone's heart, to change their perspective, to widen their view and open their mind.

In the past few weeks, I've been running breathless. I've been looking at my dreams, honing in on what I need to do and where my focus needs to be. That's a good thing. In order to realize a dream, I can't just fantasize about it. I have to pull on my boots and start walking toward the peak of the mountain. There is no magic "beam me up" in realizing a dream.

But in the process of getting on the path and moving toward my goal, I have been missing the scenery. Yes, realizing a dream can be hard work. Sweat may be involved - even tears, but if I trudge along, with my head down, I am missing out on the beauty of the journey.

This week was my "birthday week," and yes, if possible, I try to stretch out the celebration as long as possible. So, after getting my "have to" work done, I decided to give myself a little present - the freedom to enjoy a few good books.

To be completely honest, I needed a little break from learning about developing platform and designing my blog and narrowing my niche. I needed to clear my head from researching potential markets for my work and remember why I write in the first place - to honor my first love which has always been and will always be fiction.

So, yesterday and today, I've been a bit of a loaf. Yes, I got my necessary things on my to do list done, but instead of trying to squeeze a few more things on there, I sat down. And I read.

It was like my soul went "ahhhh."

As someone who feels like I'm always about two steps behind, it's hard to give myself permission to just be. The thing is though, busyness does not beget creativity. Creativity blossoms in times of stillness, in times where there is enough non-activity to peel back the brain from the present urgency that often surrounds and presses down on me.

So, this week, I'm book wallowing. I have a small stack of well-written, interesting stories, and as a birthday present to myself, I'm giving myself a little time - time to read, to wallow in the written word.

What book has touched your heart recently? I'd love to hear about it as I'm always looking for a good read!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Someday - it's the most dangerous word for any dream and dreamers seem to specialize in somedays. At least, I do at any rate.

Someday, I'll write that book. Someday, I'll start my freelancing career. Someday, I'll clean out that closet, but someday never comes.

This week, Holley Gerth has asked us to share the one thing we will not delay any longer on the road to our God-sized Dreams. I thought about this quite a bit since she posted the assignment.

To be completely honest, this assignment hit pretty close to home for me because let's face it - I am the QUEEN of not following through. I have lots of plans for tomorrow, but my today is frittered away far too often.

So, I have made myself a list of three things. I am giving you permission to hold me to it.

The first thing I am doing is scheduling a head shot of myself. I really hate getting my picture taken. In our last family picture my youngest is a year old. Did I mention he'll turn 12 this spring? It's so easy to want to wait to get my picture done after I lose weight or after my hair grows out or after I get it cut or after my freckles fade from the summer sun. Lots of excuses going on, but I need a head shot for my new blog I'm working on - no more waiting to lose 10 lbs!

The second thing I will be doing this week is sending out at least two query letters to a magazine. It's so easy to read about doing it and then research magazines and a million other things to prepare to send those queries out. But while it is good to be prepared, I can also get stuck there and never actually do it! So, this week, I'm going to bite the bullet and send out two queries and write for sample copies and guidelines for two more.

The third thing I'm going to do is write out the short story that has been rattling around in my head for the last week. My hope is to get it into good enough shape to send to the Writer's Digest writing contest. It may not win, but there is one thing I DO know. If I don't send it in, it has a 100% chance of not winning.

As a dreamer, it's easy to see the distant peak of your dream, but forget that without mapping out the path from here to there, it stays a fantasy.

Yesterday, I turned 40 years old. I have decided that with a new decade, comes a new adventure. THIS is the decade that I will go from a girl with her head in the clouds to a woman with her feet on the path, moving forward.

What is one thing you can do today to move toward your dreams?

~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, February 18, 2013

THE BIG 4-0!

Yes, today I have reached a milestone. I am now - officially - 40 years old. I had a friend ask me how I felt about that recently.

My response was and is, New decade; new adventure.

The truth is when I was 20 years old, if you had described my life at 40, I would have probably wrinkled my nose. I didn't expect to still be living in our little town. I certainly expected to have done greater things career-wise, and I hoped that things like finances would no longer be an issue (yes, I was slightly naive!).

That is not the case, BUT God had bigger and better planned for me.

For instance, I could not have imagined my two boys or what being a mom means to me. I am not terribly maternal by nature, but being my kids' mom has been one of my greatest blessings. Oh andif you mess with my kids - I WILL hurt you! lol

I have so much for which to be thankful: a great husband, awesome extended family (and soon to be sister in law!) and wonderful friends. I am on Holley Gerth's God Sized Dream team, and I am dreaming again.

I have a job that affords me the luxury of working at home, and a truly great thing called flexibility. It's a blessing to be able to stay home with either of my boys if they are sick; to meet the needs of friend or help someone out with taking one of the kid's friends home after school. I realize not everyone gets to do that.

I know that being 40 means I'm getting older, but you know, I'm okay with that. I don't know that I'd want to be 20 again even if I could. There is great freedom in getting older and embracing the greater wisdom that age brings (don't laugh!).

So, today - as I head to yet another basketball game which is also something I didn't see myself doing at the age of 40, never mind enjoying it - instead of mourning that my skin isn't quite as elastic and my waist isn't nearly as trim, I'm choosing to embrace a new decade as a brand new adventure.

Seriously - I can't WAIT to see what God has in store. I have a good feeling! :)

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, February 15, 2013


I love these 5 minute Fridays. They remind me of college when my professor would have free write. I LOVE free writing - no pressure, just a pen scratching across paper, or in this case fingers flying on a keyboard. You can head over to to check it out, but basically, she gives us a word - today's is Beloved - and then you write for 5 minutes. So, here I go.

Beloved - today, I was doing my Bible study. It's a look at the Gospels through 1st century Jewish eyes. I love it because it has opened up those four books in a way I've never really seen before - and I've been attending Sunday school since I was about a month old.

I started last fall and God, in His perfect timing, has set it up that as I started studying the last four days that lead up to Jesus's crucifixion, death and resurrection as the season of Lent started. I don't normally "do" Lent, being a Baptist and all, but I do like the idea of preparing for Easter, of walking that road with Jesus. I'm looking forward to these last weeks of the study and hope to finish the week of Easter.

Today, as I was reading in my study, one sentence leaped out at me. "Revelation of the deepest truths of God can never come without intimacy."

To be completely honest, I've been feeling rather blah about things lately and that includes my time with God. I've just felt sort of like He's there but He's been rather quiet. It's my fault though.

I've let my quiet times slide a bit. I've cut them short. I've skipped days in a row. It's no wonder I feel blah. The real truth is I've been a little put out with Him. There, I said it.

I've not felt thankful - mostly because this month it seems every bill has come due, and on top of that we've had a plumbing problem, too. And not just once, but twice! I've been focusing on the circumstances and not on Him.

Today as I read my Psalm of the day, it was Psalm 15. It says in there that "I set the Lord continually before me and because He was at my right hand, I was not shaken."

I am my Lord's beloved. He loves me more than I can ever fathom, but lately, I've not been viewing Him as MY beloved. I have not been setting Him continually before me. Without that intimacy, there can be no deeper revelations.

Has God seemed silent to you lately? Maybe it's because you are not intimately seeking your Beloved. Run to Him - He is always waiting with open arms.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


It's Tuesday again - the day when we link up with Holley Gerth's blog to share our journey to our God-sized Promised Lands. Each week she gives us something to post about. Our assignment for this week was to post about one thing you are choosing to decrease so you can help your dream grow.

My thing I am decreasing is my to do list.

I know this may sound a bit counter-productive, but if you saw my to do list, you'd see the problem. First let me start with a little explanation of my personality. Have you ever seen the Pixar movie Up? Remember the dog - he'd be talking and suddenly his head would whip around and he'd yell, "Squirrel!"

Well, that's me without a to do list.

I tend to be easily distracted if I don't have that list in front of me. My days seem to slip away if I don't have my weekly goals written in ink somewhere - preferably right at eye level.

The other problem is, I do not have very realistic view of time. Ask my husband - I'm not sure how many times I've stopped after church to talk to someone "for a minute" and the next thing I know, my husband is tapping me on my shoulder letting me know 30 minutes have gone by and the kids are expiring in the car from lack of sustenance. I've been known to go into a book store and not emerge until several HOURS later. I often stay up WAY TOO LATE reading "just one more chapter."

So, I regularly overestimate what I can get done in a day. I have grandiose ideas of cleaning the entire house, doing the big grocery store shop, grooming the dog AND writing two chapters in my novel in progress. Then, I wonder why I get frustrated and feel guilty when I don't get 48 hours worth of work done in 24.

The light bulb moment came for me about a year ago. At the time, I was working three regular part time jobs with a couple little extra things like pet sitting on the side. I was really busy and I packed a lot into each day just out of necessity.

I was in the midst of cleaning the house and realized I felt horribly guilty. Why? Because I wasn't doing something else. I had packed my to do list so full, there was no way I could get it all done. In addition to that, I was putting pressure on myself to try to take on too much. When you are working three part time jobs, there isn't a lot else you can do besides take running the household and taking care of your family.

I expected myself to be superwoman, and when I wasn't, I wasted a lot of time and energy feeling guilty. I rushed from one thing to another and never really got anything truly done - or at least didn't get it done effectively - which added to my stress. My mind was never at rest because I was always thinking about what I should be doing.

I never lived in the moment and it was exhausting and defeating.

So, as hard as it is, I have learned that I can only do so many things at one time be that in a given day or in a certain season of my life. There are certain things that always have to be done like cleaning the bathroom, making dinner and washing clothes. I am not wasting time taking care of my family. I'm not squelching on my God-sized dream because being a mom and a wife is part of who I am, too.

At the same time, when I am in the midst of trying to launch my freelance writing career - that may not be the time to indulge in a deep cleaning of the house, including reorganizing all the kitchen cupboards and alphabetizing the spices.

Different times will come with different priorities. Saying not now, does NOT mean that not ever. It just means it might have to wait for a little bit.

Right now, I am working on launching my freelancing career with a focus on pets (I love animals). That means that I probably can't simultaneously write a novel and a Bible study, plus overhaul this blog and expand readership while still taking care of my family, implementing a new exercise regime and renovating my home.

Unless, of course, you all want to visit me in a padded room!

So, I am learning that in my life, at this moment, less is more. Less on my to do list gives me the freedom and room to move toward my God-given dreams. It gives my life margin.

And when we are trying to find our way to our God-sized Promised Land, don't we all need a little more margin?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, February 8, 2013


For the first time in a long time - well, maybe ever - I watched the Super Bowl. My pick, the Ravens won, but I'll admit here, the only reason I picked them is I think the 49er's colors are ugly. I know - I'm such a girl! lol

Maybe it's because I don't really watch a lot of television, or maybe it's because I don't know that I've ever seen a Super Bowl halftime show, but I got quite a jolt when Beyonce came out to sing.

My two sons and husband immediately got up and went into the other room. I, on the other hand, sat there staring at the tv in a bit of shock.

I'm probably going to get tomatoes for this, but to me, the halftime show resembled something you'd see in a strip joint - well, with good singing, but still. It wasn't just the outfits, either. The dance moves were pretty raw, as well. I kept thinking, "Aren't there kids all over the U.S. that are watching this?"

It's not like I don't know this is the way of the world. I really don't live in that small of a bubble, but it was like when you dive into a pool. You know it's going to be cold. You are very aware of that fact, but it still sort of jolts your system when you dive in. I knew that this is a lot of what entertainment is like, but I was still somehow surprised.

And saddened.

Beyonce is a beautiful, talented woman, but her talent wasn't on display on that stage. Her body was, and to me, with all the opportunities and advantages that are available to women today, that is sad.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm better than Beyonce or any entertainer. I'm not here to tear her down as a person, but I'm disappointed. She's better than that. She has the position and fame to choose to be a great role model to young girls, but instead of showing that her talent is valuable, she is sending the message that your value is equal to your sex appeal.

I thought we'd come farther than that.

While I am not a feminist by any stretch, doing a study on the women of the Bible over the past few months has given me a new appreciation for the fact that I have control over many of the things in my life. I might not always make the best choices, but at least I have a choice which is more than I can say for the women back then!

Back then, your appeal to the opposite sex really did make or break you. That and your ability to have multiple sons are the only things that gave a woman any kind of leverage in her own life.

On Facebook, there were a lot of posts on the sex trafficking that happens at the Super Bowl. There was much outcry about how awful and bad that was, and I agree. It's a travesty that this even happens in this country at all.

But I couldn't help thinking - is the halftime show much different? After all, wasn't Beyonce trading on her sex appeal for money? Wasn't she giving her body visually to the crowd? The worst part, to me, is that unlike many women, she had a choice.

We may have come a long way, but apparently, not far enough.

Monday, February 4, 2013


When I was a kid, my parents and I went to this place called Word of Life up in New York. They had a day camp for the littles and I loved it! I met another little girl there named June. For some reason, I was absolutely fascinated that her name was the same as the very month we were at camp. I couldn't get over the wonder of that coincidence.

One day, we went to the beach. The memory isn't very clear anymore, and I'm sure the folks watching us were being careful, but as I waded out in the shallows, I slipped. For some reason, I just couldn't seem to get my feet underneath me to stand up. We were in a lake, so maybe the rocks covering the bottom were slippery. Or maybe the current was strong. Or, most likely, I was just klutzy and uncoordinated. Whatever the reason, I just couldn't stand up and in my little five year old mind, it seemed like I was going to drown. For some reason, as I struggled in the murky water, the picture of Jonah flashed into my head. I wondered fleetingly if God would send a whale to swallow me.

Before I could decide if this would be cool or horrible, June reached down her pudgy hand and yanked me to my feet. I coughed and gasped. I think I probably cried a little bit. When my mom came to get me, I ran to her and told her I almost drowned.

The workers pooh-poohed this idea. "Hehe, doesn't little Rosanne have an active imagination? No, of course, your little darling didn't almost drown," they assured my somewhat alarmed mother as they patted me on the head. Very enthusiastically.

They were probably telling the truth - in their eyes at least. It was shallow water. I was probably under a total of 10 seconds (but it seemed like 10 minutes). It probably was one of those things that scared me in much greater proportion to the actual danger I was in.

But it was enough to instill in me a great fear.

My mom, who also is not all that fond of the water, really tried. She took me to swim lessons. It didn't help that I had ear problems and had to wear this really dorky swimming cap. Hey, if you can't swim, at least you can look cute, right?

If you remember my post from a few weeks ago, these lessons were not a huge success. The only thing I succeeded in doing was making the swim instructor not very happy with me when I shoved her in the deep end from the diving board. It wasn't an act of defiance - it was an act of preservation.

Over the years, I would go to the pool or the beach or parties, and watch in envy as other kids seemed to have a blast. They would hurl themselves from diving boards, shrieking with delight. They'd zip through the water, playing Marco Polo or tag.

All the while, I would cling to the side of the pool, paddling my feet, pretending I was swimming.

But I wasn't. I would never really swim, never experience the unique freedom of being in the water until I let go of the side of the pool.

But I was afraid - a fear that went bone deep to a kind of terror. The water in the deep end glistened in the sun, but it didn't seem inviting. It seemed malevolent. One wrong move and I'd be back underwater, fighting to surface, fighting to breathe.

In case you are wondering, I can swim now. I'm not a strong swimmer, but I do a mean doggy paddle. How did I get over this fear and finally let go of the side of the pool, you might ask?

The answer was my dad. My dad was an awesome swimmer. He could walk across the bottom of the pool on his hands which I thought was the coolest thing in the world - and it definitely gave me street cred with my little friends, too.After all, none of THEIR dads could do that.

Instead of making me climb up on a diving board and jump into the deep end, my dad spent many hours with me in the shallow end of the pool. At first, he would keep his arms underneath me as I kicked away. With him holding onto me, the water held no fear for me.

Then he used one arm. Then he used one hand. Then, I was swimming across the shallow end and he only had one finger under my chin. When he finally took that one finger away, I panicked. I started thrashing around. Immediately, his hands reached out to hold me and my panic went away.

We went back to one finger under the chin for a few minutes until he told me he was going to take his finger off. I protested, but he told me to just watch him. He assured me he was right there and he could reach out to me at any moment. He would not let me sink, much less drowned.

So, keeping my eyes trained on my dad's eyes, I swam the length of the shallow end. You would have thought I had just won an Olympic gold in freestyle when I finally reached the other side - all by myself.

Suddenly, the pool didn't seem so scary because I could swim. Pool parties became fun because I could join in instead of clinging to the side of the pool. All because I kept my eyes trained on my dad.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know that one thing I struggle with is fear and worry. Many times I've clung to those fears, enviously watching as others glide seemingly effortlessly toward their goals or fling themselves into the unknown without a backward glance. I would wonder why I don't have that joy, that courage.

I've learned over the years that my fears - whether they are real or imagined - don't have power over me when I keep my eyes firmly fixed on my heavenly Father, though. Just like my dad, my heavenly Father will not let me sink. He won't let me drown. His loving arms are there to rescue me at any time.

Sometimes, it's hard though, to follow and obey. It feels a lot like letting go of the side of the pool and kicking out to that scary place - the no man's land of the middle of the pool where there are no sides to cling to - but I will never know the freedom that obedience brings without doing that. Without letting go, you can't glide through the water, you can't experience the wonder of flying through the air to land with a splash and then shoot back to the surface. You miss the joy an exhilaration that comes from just letting go.

These days, my fears go along the lines of "Who will want to read what you write? What if you are actually not all that good? What if you are good, but nobody wants to publish you? What if I do it all wrong or pick the wrong area to write in?" (I told you I was somewhat neurotic!)

But I have a choice to make - I can continue to cling to those fears or I can fix my eyes on my Father's face, let go and finally, swim. I'm choosing to swim. How about you?

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, February 1, 2013


I should be disappointed and down. I didn't get another job that I interviewed for - once again getting just edged out of the running. To be honest, I should feel really down because this job was basically alphabetizing books - I'm an English major. Not exactly rocket science.

But, after being in the interviewer's top four, she went with someone else - someone with specific library experience. Almost chosen - the story of my life, at least in the job market.

I'm not disappointed though. For one thing, the interviewer was very kind and called me to let me know she'd passed on my name and application to another person at the library for a different opening. Since she sent out a mass email to those that didn't get the job, I thought it was really nice and encouraging of her to call to tell me this little tidbit of information.

The other reason I am not overly disappointed is because despite not getting the job, God answered my prayers. After coming home and feeling really upbeat because the interview seemed to go really well, my dear husband - ever the realist - started asking me questions. These questions made me stop and think about whether I really did want this job.

Gripped in indecision and feeling totally conflicted, I prayed that God would show me - very specifically - if He wanted me to have the job. In fact, I prayed that if I wasn't supposed to have the job, for them to just not offer it.

I don't know about you, but I hate making decisions like that - I'd rather have it cut and dried. I think being told you didn't get the job is pretty cut and dried! lol

To be completely honest, lately I have not been enjoying writing articles for our local paper. It's not that I don't appreciate the opportunity. It's not that I don't enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories, or that I don't get a sense of satisfaction from feeling like I've helped someone get the word out or perhaps given readers information that can help them.

The truth is I feel kind of guilty that I don't enjoy my job. I mean, I'm a writer and I'm making money writing. I work from home. I can do my work in my pajamas or write out an article at midnight if I want to. What's not to love? How ungrateful can I be?

So, I asked God - why do I feel so burnt out with this job? On the surface, I should be enjoying it.

God's answer was a bit uncomfortable.

For one thing, I live in fear - fear that I will misspell someone's name or mess up some pertinent fact; fear that I won't be able to come up with another idea; fear that something will go wrong.

You see, the first year I wrote for the paper, it was like I was sabotaged. I could swear I had fixed an error in the article during the editing process, but when I sent it in, the error would still be there. I could swear I had double checked my notes but when I went back, it said something different. I sort of felt like I was losing my mind or maybe I had early onset Alzheimer's. Granted, most of the mistakes the average reader wouldn't even notice - they were mostly style mistakes or small misspellings. (AP style is a weird thing - for instance, you abbreviate the word street in an address but not road).

Then there were the times when the mistake happened AFTER I turned it in, but it still LOOKED like my mistake. Those were even tougher to swallow. As someone who had always prided myself on my writing skills and my accuracy, either kind of mistake was upsetting and deeply humbling.

As someone who hates to disappoint and make people upset with me, it was incredibly hard to listen to my editor get on me about my mistakes. It was hard not to try to justify or defend myself, but even I knew it sounded crazy to say I DID fix that, when it turned up in the editor's inbox not fixed. I almost quit on the spot innumerable times.

As someone who expects perfection from myself in my writing, I had a hard time learning not to beat myself up ad nauseam over my mistakes, especially those that really mattered - like the time I said Belize was in South America instead of Central America and the person I wrote the article about sent me a detailed, scathing email telling me about the many, many things she hated about the article. It was hard not to wake up in the middle of the night and not castigate myself over "what if" or "if only." It was a blow to my pride to know someone thought I was a terrible writer. I had to learn to figure out what I did wrong and then let it go.

At times, I felt under deep spiritual attack. It was hard.

Then the second year, the writing part seemed to go pretty well, but suddenly the pictures became a problem - photographers failed to show up, subjects failed to show up and one memorable time, the photos were actually stolen when the photographer's house was broken into and someone took his laptop. It was like a comedy of errors but I wasn't laughing.

So, I had to learn to extend grace. I had to learn to be patient, think on my feet and come up with a Plan B. I had to learn not to go into panic mode when pictures didn't happen the way they were supposed to. Did I mention usually my reaction to any emergency is to just stand in one spot and shriek? Yeah, calm and cool in a crisis is pretty much not me!

Looking back, I learned a lot from this humble, little job, but my last lesson didn't come to me until the other day. It's when God showed me one reason I'm so tired is my continued fear of messing up.

The truth is, if you write articles long enough, eventually you'll have a mistake. It happens because - gasp - nobody is perfect. I have become sort of paranoid though because of previous experience. I go over my articles at least three times after writing them. I double check every name, every number and every fact. Should I do this? Probably. Do I need to constantly stress over "what if I missed something???" No. Have I ever NOT turned in an article? No. Didn't it always turn out okay, even if a story died or a photographer didn't show up? Yes, God always worked it out somehow.

I'll continue to do my best and double check those pesky details, but I can relax and leave the results in God's hands. I don't have to worry over making a mistake - mostly because I probably will and God's got that covered too.

The other thing God showed me is that this has been a training ground for me. He has other things - bigger things - for me, but no matter how much I thought I was ready before, I really wasn't. I was too soft, too idealistic, and (ouch!) too prideful in my own abilities.

But now, I felt Him showing me that He's ready to take me to the next level. I'm not even really sure, 100%, what that will look but I know He's got it under control. I don't need to worry. I also know I'll probably make mistakes and disappoint people - and that's okay too.

Failures are often where the deepest life lessons can be found. Without failures of our own, our empathy can ring hollow. God can use us when we give Him all of us - even the ugly and messy parts.

~ Blessings, Bronte