Parenting TBI, book update, and a confession

Anna and toys promoAnyone else out there feel like parenting gave them a TBI?

According to www.traumaticbraininjury.com, mild TBI includes symptoms such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings, and frustration. Hello? I lost my train of thought three times just writing that list. Ask anyone in my family and they will testify that my mood swings are d.a.n.g.e.r.o.u.s. y’all.

Kidding aside, parenting is traumatic. We live in a society and an age where our kiddos are perpetually bombarded with images, voices, and influences that threaten to drag them off the course we want to set for them. Maybe that’s been the scenario for decades, but I do believe as the days shorten (Matthew 24:22), the threat intensifies. Marijuana shops abound in my city; family television regularly carries messages that fly in the face of biblical Christianity; the internet is a ready distraction with pit holes seemingly at the end of every dot com. Parents have to be on guard and extremely proactive in helping their children choose wisely at all times. A tough calling, no?

WHAT’S HAPPENING

My current project is the second Psalms for Moms devotional. I have the cover mock-up and the psalms written, but my goal is to format this one for kindle as well as print. Lots of moms indicated that print was the only format they would choose in spite of the higher price. Still, I want to offer the kindle version at a lower price with the option of downloading coloring pages from my website. If you have an opinion on that subject, please let me know! Email me at shelley [at] shelleyring dot org.

A few of you have asked: will I EVER write fiction again? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” I’m excited to add to Rebecca and Micah’s story, which started in Ransomed. Of course there are many other stories bouncing around in my ADD brain (including a yummy hero with a true brain injury and his heroine, a brokenhearted woman who has to risk her emotional detachment to save him from an unknown enemy), and if I can figure out how to keep my kiddos velcroed to the wall I will have time and energy to tackle them all. (It’s that littlest one. She’s smart and determined!) Before I can turn my attention to those, though, I must complete the Psalms devotionals. My (somewhat flexible) timeline aims to have them all completed by mid-December.

I’m also working to iron out my web presence. For now, you will still see me here on a WordPress blog, but one of these days your updates will come from a dedicated website. One thing at a time, right?

CONFESSION

What am I confessing these days? Pretty much any biblical promise I can pinpoint, but Isaiah 41:10 sits on my mirror and I’ve begun to see it with new eyes. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

It’s that line, “For I am your God,” that continues to draw my attention. We don’t serve a god of wood or stone, gang. We don’t tell our God what to do. We don’t depend on His good humor or favor or the weather before we can come to Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and He invites us into His presence. Our every concern is His priority. We serve the God who neither sleeps nor slumbers. So when He says, “Be not dismayed for I am your God,” that carries great weight. We can count on Him to strengthen us, to help us, to uphold us, to do what is absolutely right for us to His great glory. I hope that confession carries you through whatever challenges you’re facing today.

I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with me through Facebook (www.facebook.com/shelleyringauthor) or email (shelley [at] shelleyring dot org) or here. Until then –

Friends,

Shelley

The story behind #psalmsformoms

IMG_1632How is it that the thing causing us extreme hardship is the thing we cherish most? That’s the story behind my Psalms for Moms devotionals.

When I became pregnant with my youngest, the sky seemed to literally crash down around my head. Every day. For two years.

Every parent experiences the pendulum swing of outrageous joy and consuming fear where their kids are involved. For some it starts when that pink line on the test becomes visible, or when the doctor confirms the suspicion. For others, it starts at birth or potty-training or walking or the first day of school. We rejoice in their success! We take crazy pride in the smallest thing, even when our children didn’t actually do anything. And we sometimes fall headlong into the deepest pit of despair when we recognize the vast treasure we could lose. Regardless of when it happens, we know the beautiful struggle of a new life does not stop when the baby is born. If anything, the struggle intensifies.

As an older mom, my difficulty had several levels. Health risks, finances, time, my short-circuiting brain, and more, all kept me from feeling the exuberant joy of pregnancy. I regret it now, but as I confess the truth I know God causes all things to work together for good for those that love Him. And He has indeed worked exceeding, abundant good in our lives!

Baby A’s pregnancy was a healthy one, but not without common issues. I slept sitting up for most of the nine months because I couldn’t breathe when I laid down. My legs swelled to twice their normal size, which made walking painful and difficult. Contractions started early in my second trimester, but they were not productive. My husband traveled for work, so I felt like a solo parent a lot. Fatigue and depression were constant companions. Fear threatened to take over – and indeed, anxiety had its dark way with me too often. The only relief I felt was in writing my prayers, reminding myself of His truth, confessing belief in His goodness no matter what I felt like.

And Psalms for Moms was conceived.

Herb and the kids at PaneraMy goal with this series is two-fold. Honestly, I’m publishing these very intimate writings in an effort to bring my husband home more often. His kids miss him. I miss him. He is uber-gifted and determined in his field of work, but he is also exhausted. So, allowing God to use these psalms to bless my family is one reason, but definitely not the only reason. Maybe not even the biggest reason.

I pray it blesses other moms and helps them know they are not alone. The Creator of the universe sees us in our daily tasks, in our doubts, in our celebrations. He wants to walk beside us as we teach, discipline, and love on the precious little people in our lives. He also gives us each other to encourage and strengthen and enjoy. Our blessings abound!

The story (at least in part) behind my #psalmsformoms is one of joy, sacrifice, hardship, and tremendous love. What would your psalm say?

How do you start fresh – again?

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Another new year means another new start. Thankfully, according to Scripture, we don’t have to wait for a new year to get a fresh start. In the Lord’s mercy, we are granted a fresh start every day.

In all honesty, I have no idea how many times I’ve restarted blogging. And maybe it’s not about restarting, but about continuing. As in everything, there are hiccups in the road. We come up against obstacles. Perhaps discouragement, distraction, even a feeling of defeat. But as Paul wrote to the church in 2 Corinthians, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed (4:8-9 NLT)

With that in mind, I pray we all endure in the calling God places on our lives.

Coming soon: an author newsletter and two new novels. (‘Soon’ is a relative term, right?) This is the year of bold prayers in my life, and it feels like I’m pressing the boundaries with this one. Still, God grants us fresh mercy every day. I’m taking that and continuing on. I hope you will too. If you do decide to take the plunge into faith and fearlessness, let me know how it’s going for you!

Love in Christ,

Shelley

We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us!

Yowza, it’s been ages since I posted a confession. Is anyone still out there? 😉

While I find my blogging voice again, and as I continue to bumble my way through motherhood and life in general, lapses are bound to happen. Being transparent is one of my trademarks (I can’t quite figure out *how* to look like I’ve got it all together), so I pray my hiccups and stumbles encourage someone in the way you never think clumsiness can be a blessing but it becomes one to the person who needs it most.

Yes, I do plan on getting better about the run-on sentences. As in, they will likely still happen, but perhaps not as often and maybe they’ll be more clear when they do make an appearance. I’m a work in progress, people.

In any case, as I walk this mothering/wife-ing/writing path, I’ll be confessing my ability to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Will you confess the truth with me?

‘Fraidy Cat Confessions is moving!

Hello again, faithful confessers! It’s been a long time since I posted an affirmation, and I’m sorry for the lag. But I want to let you all know that I’ve moved ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions to a dedicated website. I’m still feeling my way around – HTML is not yet my friend – so I ask your patience with the changing layout. But the content is the same!

Please go sign up for new posts and encouragement to live outside of fear. Leave comments, prayer requests, and confessions at shelleyring.com. I look forward to seeing you there!

Keep confessing the truth!

With God all things are possible. And an award!

http://learningtobeblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/versatile-blogger-award.jpg

Thanks to Chrystal at Learning To Be for nominating me for this award! I confess, I’ve been nominated for an award a couple of other times and because life has been so crazy the last three months, I haven’t taken time to respond or repost. If you nominated me, know that I’m thankful and I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you!

Okay, on to the award rules.

The Rules for this award are as follows:

  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging (or whose blogs you enjoy most). I’ll nominate as many as I can before my littles scream or throw something breakable.
  2. Let them know that you have nominated them
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself. I’ll do this so you can get to know me better. I can’t remember if I did this on another blog post…
  4. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your blog post.

Seven random facts… Well, I’m a fairly random person anyway, so this should be easy.

  1. Rottweilers are my favorite breed of dog. I love their strength, their personality, and their loyalty. They truly are gentle giants if they’re trained right from the beginning.
  2. Not a breakfast person. Give me a glass of water early and protein bar around 10am and I’ll be good until about 2pm.
  3. I really (I mean REALLY) like to sleep. Haven’t gotten much of that in four years. Makes for a grumpy momma.
  4. My favorite singer is Harry Connick, jr.
  5. I’m the youngest of four children.
  6. I’ve heard we only use about 10% of our brains. I’m functioning with about 5% on a good day. Today I’d say I’m working with 2%.
  7. I love crafts. All kinds of crafts. Wood, paint, yarn, paper. Scrapbooking and crochet are my faves.

Okay, nominating as many other bloggers as I can.

  1. Wordsmith’s Desk He has a way with words that I really appreciate. Also love his shorter style.
  2. 5 G’s and a Cup of Joe His blog is a kind of daily devotional and he makes me think without hurting my brain. Remember, 2-5% here, people.
  3. Veracity Woman This blog is so affirming and powerful!
  4. Bird Martin Bird has a lot to say, and she’s funny. She shows a vulnerability in her posts that allows Jesus to shine through.
  5. Mad Mad me This is crafting blog. Just love everything about it!
  6. Monica Shaughnessy This is one of the writing blogs I follow. She’s down to earth and encouraging at the same time. No sensationalism, which is good for this drama queen.
  7. Writing While the Rice Boils Another writing blog that is amazing for resources and tips! Plus, Debbie is a good friend of mine and she really knows her writing stuff.
  8. Get up. This is another brief, but very powerful blog. Especially loved her post on breaking the approval addiction.
  9. The Red Pen of Doom. This guy totally cracks me up. Doesn’t hurt that he has dynamite thoughts on marketing, writing, and editing.
  10. Terry1954 Her love for her brother just bowls me over. She is such a heartfelt and warm person in her blog, and she genuinely interacts with her readers. Love this blog because it gives me a view of true love.
  11. Growing in Jesus Jennifer’s blog points me right to the Source. It’s another one for powerful affirmations from the Bible.

There are so many more blogs I’d list if I could, but the littles have screamed several times now. Thrown things too, but nothing breakable fortunately. And my 2% is pretty much used up for the day.

On that note, I will leave with a confession. No this isn’t cheating because it still applies. If you feel short on attention or time or any necessary element in your life, confess this truth with me today:

With God, all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26 tells us that men can be saved from death because all things are possible with God. Today I will approach life knowing that all things are possible with God. Even accessing more brain power.

What do you need to be possible today?

Practice living in the now

It is really easy to get caught up in all the things we need to do tomorrow or the next day or week or whatever.

God says in His word, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough worries of its own.” (Matt. 6:34) Focus on what’s in front of you; right now. Be all there and don’t put things off. Create goals, but work through them each day rather than constantly looking ahead.


It is wise to look at the big picture and attempt to foresee any coming obstacles and do what you can to prevent them in the first place. Ask God to help you if you are having trouble with determining what could be a possible obstacle. Do it NOW! Don’t put things off. We aren’t promised tomorrow. God will work through you to accomplish all that you ask, in accordance with His will, as long as you make yourself available to Him. We all want more time to do the things on our lists, but we must give our first fruits to Him in order to give the rest of our tasks life-giving, eternal purpose.

How does this relate to homemaking? Simple. When creating your micro-goals for each season consider home maintenance that may need to be done. Prevention is a key to fulfilling goals. Overall upkeep of the home contributes to the longevity of its strength and endurance as well as its value. You will want to train your children to do the same. If you want peace in the family then you should set micro-goals for eliminating clutter. The family mission statement and goals are your shield or umbrella for all of
these things.

If you need direction, don’t hesitate to pray and ask God to reveal to you what your children need. He is faithful! Seek Him and you will find Him.

If you’ve ever wanted to tear the 31st chapter of Proverbs out of your bible this book is for you.

She is a wife, mom, business owner, seamstress, she serves the needy, speaks life and wisdom, and seems to be quite the major overachiever, perfectionist type.

Except that…she’s not.


Come along and journey with Amy and take a look at the real woman of Proverbs 31. She isn’t as perfect as she seems. In fact, I think she is a lot like you and me.


If you want the Kindle version, get it here: Pursuit of Proverbs 31 for Kindle. You can also download the free Kindle app on your PC, iPad, iPhone, or many other devices.

For the downloadable, printable PDF version, get it here: Pursuit of Proverbs 31

 

Amy Bayliss

Amy is a small town Cajun girl living life in the big city. She and her husband Ryan have four children, all boys, ranging in age from toddler to teen! Amy is a full-time blogger and WP designer at My Southern Media. You can visit her at her personal blog, Cajun Joie de Vivre or you can follow her ramblings on Twitter and keep up with her mischief on Facebook.

 

Special Post: I need your help!

It’s not often you see a post twice in one 24-hour stretch, so this must be something special, right? (It’s becoming uncommon that you see a post twice in one week, but I digress…)

Many of you know that I published my debut novel, Forsaken, a couple of months ago. It is available in digital format only, and I’d love to offer it in paperback. So I began a project on kickstarter.com to raise funds. These funds will help me purchase the software to design my book covers and get books printed.

But I need your help.

I have until May 30 to raise $800. Would you consider supporting me in this project? You will receive rewards for the amount you pledge, and you won’t be charged until the project is completed. If I don’t raise the full amount, you get charged nothing. But if I do raise the full amount, you’ll get a paperback or two, and you might even get to contribute to a character name.

Full details are available on my project page at Kickstarter. There’s also a video where I explain my goals a little, and my biggest little tells you he wants everything so his little sister can have nothing. That’s a bonus for you.

Thanks for reading, and keep confessing the truth!

P.S. Tomorrow will be another special post. A guest blog by Amy Bayliss, author of Pursuit of Proverbs 31. Hope you enjoy that!

He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” We used to say it together before bed when my sister and I spent the night.

Those formal words from the King James version still bring me comfort and peace.

Many years later, 20 weeks pregnant with my youngest child, I began memorizing Psalm 23. I needed an extra avenue for comfort and peace. Together, they served me well in very trying times, and I meditate on Psalm 23 almost every day now. One of the things I love most is its all-encompassing nature. It truly tells of God’s sovereignty, love, power, protection, and generosity.

As we move into the future, I know more than ever that I must rely on the Lord for my every need. When I am hungry, He provides. When I am afraid, He strengthens. When I am hurting, He comforts. When I am confused, lost, or overwhelmed, He restores.

And when I trust Him, He anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows. So today’s confession is a reminder to trust Him with everything.

He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Oil in the Bible is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Power, peace, and protection. This line gives me a visual of tipping my head back and allowing Him to pour thick, amber colored oil over my head. It seeps down to my skin and saturates me. It affects everything I do and think. Just as the Holy Spirit should affect me.

When I move in this anointing, I don’t have room to fear. I view people and life through His filter. The world is not a frightening place. Instead every interaction becomes an opportunity to point back to Him. I will confess this today and I will live in His power, peace, and protection.

What is your favorite part of Psalm 23?