Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Brain Fry

Ever had one of those brain-fry moments when nothing new can be learned or decided upon and nothing old can be recalled? I'm having one of those episodes right now. This week I've been in training to be a new publicist for Christian novelists with a PR firm. So much new information to learn. Formats, policies, names, locations, deadlines, personalities, campaigns, etc. Lord, I'm 44 and I know you can teach an old dog new tricks, but I do need a little extra assistance!

What do you do when you feel like you've hit the wall and you can't focus on any more tasks? Do you allow yourself time for a diversion? Watch mindless television? Take a walk or a bath and zone out? How do you free some space in your mind's hard drive so you can function with greater speed and ability?

I am doing all the tips the magazines suggest in those "Top 7 Ways to Improve Brain Power" articles. I'm getting plenty of sleep and eating healthy. I'm dealing with stress in positive ways. I have surrounded myself with a good support system. I've deleted negative distracters from my life and delegated tasks to others. I've even discovered which hours are my "brain surge" hours, and I work my most difficult mental tasks during that time period.

Right now I'm taking a breather from some assignments to write this article. Sometimes just changing gears like this helps. But I've also taken the time to pray and ask God to assist me. I know I can't do it on my own. The Bible says if any lacks wisdom, we just need to ask for it. Ask for it I will! The best part is, this isn't just for any old wisdom, but godly wisdom-even wisdom to read and understand the Bible-God's Word.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed and can't focus any more, take a five minute mini-vacation and visit the throne room of God. There's nothing like talking to Royalty to put things in perspective.

Then, get back to work! And with those words...I will too.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gratitude List

May gratitude keep me anchored in my faith and hopeful in my journey. (Kathy Carlton Willis)

1. I'm doing well from my recent surgery. Thanks for those of you who asked about it. There were a couple of little glitches, but nothing that surprised the Lord! I'm already doing so much better than I was Monday night. Thanks for praying! Please keep it up. I have a road trip in a little over a week and hope to be fully recovered by then.

2. I am still rejoicing about the new job I have! If you haven't heard, I will be working as a publicist for Glass Road Public Relations. I'm already getting my feet wet some, but my official training will begin on 2-19. Russ and I made a faith-raising decision at 1:00 p.m. Friday, which involved not knowing from where some money would come, and not 6 hours later God plopped this publicist job into my lap! We are still pinching ourselves! I had applied in October, and if I had gotten the job back then, it wouldn't have been nearly as noticeable of a "God-incident" as it is now. This way, it all points to God-His provision, His timing, His goodness!

3. Russ's birthday was this week. I'm married to HIM? I'm a girl most blessed!

4. Little Jazzy (our 1 year old Boston Terrier fur-child) is having some potential health problems. She's losing her hair, and it doesn't appear to be an allergy or itch. If it were just cosmetic, we would live with it, but the vet is concerned it could be a thyroid problem. She had some bloodwork done a couple of weeks ago, showing a low white blood cell count, a high cholesterol level, and elevated liver function tests as well. They are still waiting on the thyroid testing to come back from the University of Michigan. The vet is waiting on the final results to know how to diagnose her problem. If it is just a thyroid condition, it would mean an inexpensive pill every day. But if it is a bone marrow disease or Cushing's Disease or something else, then we will have to decide whether to have her treated or not. She is such a big part of my day-to-day life that I can't imagine if she wasn't around. Makes me appreciate what I have!

5. I was asked by my surgeon to be available to talk to young girls born with MRKH, their families, and their spouses. He said I have a healthy outlook coupled with a good grasp of the medical information available and I can reach out to these hurting individuals in their times of need in a way a "white-coat professional" can't. He said these families often find the doctors too clinical and cold and distant. He is going to give my name to the specialists at Children's Hospital where most of these girls are sent. How neat is that?! Also, I'll be taking in the articles I've written about MRKH for him to see when I go on Wednesday. Perhaps he will help me see these published in medical journals. Who knows? If nothing else, he is interested in the research I have done. My biggest prayer has always been that God can use my circumstances for His glory and for the good of others. This is just one more way He is making this possible. I was just so surprised for the doctor to ask me if I'd be willing to do this-I didn't realize he "knew" my heart like that. I guess you don't have to perform open-heart surgery to see someone's heart, huh?

God is certainly blessing!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

"The following school districts are closed today, due to snow: Bowling Green, Clarksville, Louisiana..." Anytime snow fell, we huddled around Dad's radio to listen to KPCR's school closing listings. I grew up in Louisiana, Missouri, and it took quite a few inches to have a snow day. We loved having these free days off. No homework. No cares in the world. Just glorious snow calling our names.

First we bundled up in our winter clothes to enjoy the imaginary land of Eskimos and Snow Angels. When ice crystals hardened our gloves into crunchy wool, we stomped inside for a warm-up. With hot chocolate in our systems, we wanted to go back into the cold white snowy paradise. Before Mom allowed us to go outdoors again, we had to strip out of our cold, wet garments, and into dry warm ones. Often we would cover our cold digits with socks to shield them from the frigid temperatures, while our first generation of winter garments stayed inside without us, draped near the gas heater to dry out.

Winter holds many mysteries for young children brave enough to venture into the cold. Now I'm old enough to enjoy the sights from inside my warm home. I'm nostalgic when the children have a snow day, like today. My mind goes back to the fun of those days, many years past. A little cold weather didn't deter our zeal or our stamina.

I pray my spiritual stamina will not be slowed down by the Winter Season of my life. My desire is for God to renew my zeal and my passion, even if I must rest a little more between trips into the chilly world.

The pure white snow reminds me of the Savior's sinless heart and the beautiful icicles point me to His grandeur. The pealing sounds of children's laughter alerts me to a new generation ready to embrace the creator of this Winter Wonderland.

Winter becomes HIM.

(c) Kathy Carlton Willis

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Blessings

I want to praise the Lord for His goodness to me. I don't acknowledge Him enough for all His wondrous works and ways.

Here's a partial blessing list for the week:

1. I have the best Invisible Friend in the world-the Holy Spirit indwelling me and whispering to me sweet somethings (because surely they aren't "nothings").

2. I received in the mail a magazine called ByLine magazine where my very first NATIONAL column appears. I'm their grammar guru and will have a full page column every other month. Russ was tickled when he saw my name, not just on my page, but on the inside cover, as a "columnist." I'm still pinching myself!

3. My husband's birthday is coming up-February 8th. I can't say enough about how God has blessed me with him. He is my anchor when I want to rush ahead!

4. My mother-in-love's birthday is today. She passed away 10 years ago. Hard to believe it has been that long. She made a huge impact in my life, for the GOOD. She also set the standard for being such an awesome homemaker so high that I don't even TRY to measure up to her. :o) Sure takes the pressure off! ~whew~

5. The snow coming down right now looks like God has broken open some feather pillows. It's so beautiful as it floats to the ground. The view from my French Doors is amazing as I look across our countryside.

See how God blesses? In little and big things. In people and in nature. In memories and in hopes for what is yet to come. In all these things and more, He blesses His children.

(c) Kathy Carlton Willis