Up The Mountain

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I gripped the door handle as tightly as possible, while the truck continued up the mountain. There was no guard rail around the road that was leading us up the hill. This mountain was scary to me because I did not like heights. It was hard not to look out to the hundreds of trees in awe of all the things God had made.

 These tall, healthy trees surround us as we continued up the mountain. There were two other people in the car talking back and about various things. My mind was focused on both the beauty and fear that enveloped my world. I had never been to the mountains before and even though we were allowed to see the top of the tree we were longing to see in many ways words fall short when trying to describe this mystical place. 

Going up a mountain makes me think of the mountains we encounter in life. I think sometimes these places are hard to climb; sometimes our endurance has to be built up to continue to rise with God where ever he is taking us. I believe God stops us along our path from time to time so we can get used to the air around us. Most I have spoken with talk about mountains in a negative light, but after being on a real mountain and spiritual, I would say the climb and fear are worth it. 

It is a fantastic experience when God takes me up a spiritual mountain in my life. I become so consumed with my journey with God that there was nothing else happening in my life. The connection I had with God was so deep and real I couldn’t imagine ever wanting anything more in my life. 

I love these mountain experiences to me; it is like being on cloud 9 or something. I am just full of love, hope, and encouragement. I want to be walking every day all around on his mountain my whole life! Every minute standing on the cliff of God and feeling his presence. 

Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy! Psalms 99:9 

As exciting as it to be on the hill of God I find I do not always stay there. In fact, in the day to day life, I see sometimes I do not quite get the experience I was hoping for. 

My story was true about going up the mountain in the car, but the fact is we did not get to go to the top of the hill. We got to a higher point, and they needed us to put chains on the truck to go any further, and the chains were at home. 

I think honestly I live a lot of my chains at home and forget to take them when I meet with God. I leave them at home because frankly, I don’t want to carry them to God. I tell you what though God will call them out to you because you are not giving everything to him. He does not want you to even have chains, and God will clear the ice out of the way so you can go straight up to the mountain top with Him. He loves us that much every day, every minute, and all the time.

So, now when I climb the mountain to God, I sing this beautiful song.

Still In Process

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Where is the money is my constant thought whenever we get to this time of year, tax season. I realize I haven’t planned my finances well again as I am running short on my cash flow. How can I make it through this and salvage my not so great choices thus far? Yes, somehow the money lasts just long enough till the next set of bills appear.

 How many times do I have to do this to myself? I keep saying I am going to plan for a better budget next year. I do prepare the budget, and I figure out ways to pay off debt. I tell l myself I am going to save the truth is I do save. The savings ended up going to the car that broke down, the next appliance on the fritz, and the kid who has to have something to wear to school because they have grown again. Where is the money supposed to come from? There has never been a thing called alimony in my life because I am pretty sure you have to get married for that. At this point, I’m not sure anyone can stand me except me (insert laugh here). I have also never received a dime of child support. However, in many ways, though I thought I am blessed because I didn’t have to deal with any of it. 

 Last night, however, I was seriously trying to decide was more critical gas in the car, food that night, or food tomorrow. I decided gas has to be the most important because I can’t just call into work and say I don’t have the money to get there.  I can do without food for a few days. I’m driving home in tears which I don’t recommend to any of you. I couldn’t believe in a year I had gone from having enough money to being in the place of lack. 

What happened?

I really started to think about my mindset and because I know the way I see things can make all the difference.  What had happened this last year or even in the previous week that I had not been dealing with. I kept shoving my emotions in a drawer and just leaving them there. 

I have lost some family this last year and a friend I wish to see healed instead they die. Friendships have ended, pets have been killed, and my most recent relationship with someone special dissipated though I don’t even know why. I have been slapped multiple times by my emotions, but I have had worse years. 

What is the difference?

I am more isolated where I live now in the middle of nowhere. There is no one ever knocking at my door. 

I don’t invite people over because I have been moving forever and can’t seem to empty all the boxes. 

There has been no more hanging out with girlfriends and just venting about my life regularly to just get it out.

My responsibilities and the pressure of them have increased 10 fold this year as well. 

I decided this year I wanted to be more positive and apparently it has been a struggle. I’m really into books this year, so I was like most google what’s the most popular positive thinking book… The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I started to listen to it last night on the way to a meeting.  

I began to listen to a man that seemed a thousand lives away from me. It helped me to know that he was a believer because I have been struggling with trust and faith. 

In the section, I was listening to in the book was about confidence, and thought oh boy something I don’t want to hear about. I continue to listen anyway because it is dangerous to change a book while driving. Norman talked about this person he knew that was just so down in the dumps all the time. They always expected that something would go wrong and when he met with them a couple months later the person was completely changed. 

What did they do to change?

They read the Bible. (Not what you wanted to hear either, eh?) Yeah, I was like and your point? But he mentions they read the first books of the New Testament and underlined every passage that spoke of faith and courage. This is not something I had heard of before and then also committed them to memory. After that, I was like there is no way I have time to do that!

However, I have thought about this last year again and how much time I have wasted allowing these negative thoughts and pains to fill my head over and over. My views of myself, and finances right now are stressed. What would I lose by trying it?

There is not I am great, and everything is lovely right now, but I have some hope this is just a season of my life. I have some faith now that it will be okay and believe it. I am still praying, and still in process. 

Originally Posted at www.singlemomzrock.com

A Taste of My Book

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Hello everyone! I would just like to share with you an excerpt from my book. Many of you don’t know about my book, but the best way to describe it is a cross between X-Men, Shoah, and modern society. It is not edited nor complete, but I just thought I would share.

From the main character:

The end of my freedom did not enter with cannons and guns in a blaze of glory. In fact, it was just like any other day in my life. It was a chilly November night when the fog rose out of the valleys thick as smoke, and the cars glistened in the mist as I drove home. It was quiet when the end of my freedom came. 

My freedom ended with a vote, a vote I had made, and I did not know the outcome of. The end of my freedom came with a pen and piece of paper. The end of my freedom came knocking into my dreams, and into my nightmares, it crept in silently. 

The end of my freedom was in a camp with barbwire high as the eye could see. I was starved and beaten because of my belief.

I’m in a camp now because the people of social media decided it was time for survival of the fittest. 

We lost our compassion and empathy for one another because the agenda was more important.

The end of my freedom was in the hands of my friends, family, and millions of strangers. They all dictated when the end of my freedom would come. The beginning was the end of my freedom. 

This is from a young adult novel I am in the process of writing. It is the first of many books to come out of my hands and on to a screen. I think most of you will enjoy it when it is finished.

I hope all of you are following your creative dreams. I hope you are giving yourself a real chance to be the person you were born to be. 

Okay, that is all I am going to share today, sorry it is short as I need to get back to writing, but I will ensure it is not the end for this character or the faith she comes to find in later chapters.

Seeking Prefection

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I stared at blank pages and screens all around me, and suddenly I was overwhelmed. There were writing deadlines to be met, blogs to be updated, and social media posts set up. If I lingered in those thoughts much longer, my chest would tighten, and my skin would start to crawl and itch. 

Stress can be an ugly beast and expectations in my life have been uglier. I have been trying to be perfect since I was a child.

I can remember my second-grade class when I didn’t receive an A on everything I did I was devastated. I always tried to be as little trouble as possible. I remember my parents had a conference with my teacher. I was scared I was in trouble, but my teacher told my parents to stop being so hard on me. My parents were in shock, laughed, and said they had done so such thing. Truth be told they hadn’t done anything. I didn’t really understand how it all started.

Yes, I am the middle child. My older brother was a handful, and my younger was just a toddler at the time. 

After many years of being teased and called a cry baby, by classmates and so-called friends it changed me. The thoughts of perfection continued to eat away at me. I thought I had to be perfect to be wanted and happy.

When I failed to be the best at everything it was easy for the lies to get into my head. The lies went something like…

you are not good enough, 

you are never enough, 

no one loves you, you're a failure,

you are worthless. 

So, to be clear no one had actually spoken these words to me, but they were there all the same, and those thoughts took over my mind. By the time I was graduating high school I didn’t see one of my accomplishments as good enough. Even though I was president of this or that, got a scholarship from here and there it didn’t matter. I presented myself as happy to everyone the best way I could by making them laugh while I was crying on the inside. There were less than a handful of people I showed my true feelings to.

I had buried these thoughts and feelings throughout my life deep within my mind, and of course, they always pop up when I didn’t want them to. It wasn’t until I had my child I could let go of some of the perfections because I was in survival mode.

It was also then I got a lot of time with my own thoughts again. I realized I was not saying these things and others were not telling them to me so why would I accept them as true. I began to fill my mind and space with positive thoughts. It helped me retrain my thought process, but ultimately my mind did not become renewed until I knew who Jesus really was.

It was after I was introduced adequately to Him I could really begin to see who I had been all along. I was a child of the living God. I was a daughter of the King of Kings. My Father in heaven loved me in my mess more than anyone ever could. Jesus wanted to be my best friend forever. The more I read the Bible, the more my thoughts consistently began to alter. It was not the constant drilling of verses like I had affirmations previously, but it was deeper and quicken my spirit.  I even find myself at times starting to hear those ugly lies again. I know how it is when I am not reading my Bible consistently. The more I read the Bible, the faster my mind can root out the lies trying to get in.

So can I ask, whether you are a believer or not I challenge you to read your Bible daily. You will change whether you planned on it or not.

To Plan or Not To Plan

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I love planning now although I feel like a child doing it will all my sticker packs. As a kid growing up, I hated it didn’t see the point in planning, but I also had fewer responsibilities in life. I miss those carefree days of making sure my chores were done and being ready for dinner. Sometimes my imaginary friends made me late for those types of events. 

When I got to college is when I started planning more because I was taking more than full loads and trying to remember what assignments were due was not something I committed to memory. After I forgot I couple times, I started carrying around an organizer. However, when I got a job while going to school full time and was also in other organizations my planning became trickier. The limits of my memory were stretched with everything I was trying to contain for classes, work, and extracurricular events. 

When my baby was added to the mix of going to grad school, working, and keeping up with laundry I knew I needed to get serious about a calendar. So, I decided to try out a few different planners to see what I enjoyed the most. 

When I decided to become a serious planner, I didn’t know what would work for me. I liked to plan out most of my life with a paper calendar, and yes I still use a written one.  I was once told by a pastor I was doing research with, “Why remember things you can write down?” Her planner was large enough to take someone out. With my child growing, I really got into planners and was obsessed for a while. I would try all the new planners coming out. 

These are a few I checked out:

Passion Planner

Happy Planner

Franklin Covey Planner


Erin Condren

Day Designer

When I became a mother, I realized that my sleep-deprived mind could barely remember the way to work or how to do laundry. Planning became mandatory to keep my sanity and my small family running smoothly. Games, plays, and school events quickly filled up the spaces left between chores and work. 

I have found a planner I love and use one with stickers because it is relaxing to me. It makes me want to look at my planner and add things to it. It has taken me years to find a planner I like and stick to it. I am totally up a creek without a paddle if they stop making it. I do use my phone calendar as a reference point, but there is just nothing like writing it down for me.

One thing I have never done was plan out anything that I was writing after I came back to the writing life. Most would say, “Well Esme, this is why you don’t finish anything.” I would reply with, “Nope usually fear that keeps me from finishing.”

However, I primarily wrote short stories and poetry the majority of my life, and they for me didn’t require a lot of planning just a lot of revision. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I got a book idea. This book was massive and perhaps would have to be written in a series to do it justice. 

So, I started the piece much like anything else I had ever written I began with a character and gave them life. I like to write by just letting it fly out of my head on to paper, but it has left me with my character in a place I am not sure how to get them out of. After about a year of this on and off again I had a few good little stories, but it was still all over the place. 

It wasn’t until this year that I really started to plan out my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I had to scrap nearly everything I had written up to that point and do an outline of all the characters in my story as well as what they were going to do. I took a long to time to figure it out, and in fact, I have put my novel on hold until I can plan what is next in my story. 

I have been writing 4 stories at the moment they come together into one picture. Which honestly is how I feel like God writes my life out, but God also says I know the plans I have for you! So, I feel like planning my novel would be the best benefit in every way possible. In fact two months ago my mother told me the same thing. Yes, mom, you were right okay. (She is way too often and don’t tell her I said that.)

In other words, this woman who wasn’t a planner in the beginning soon ended up being one, and moral of the story is even when you get older your mother is right. 


Improve Your Year by Picking a Word

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I am starting the New Year late. It is the first week I have started to feel like myself again after the holidays. Every year I have been very precise about planning out my goals for the new year. However, after deep reflection of my life over the last six weeks I have decided to change some things. I went through this last year and saw everything I had not gotten done for the year and with deep sadness, I was at a loss of how to proceed. 

I put so much pressure on myself to accomplish great things that when I end the year no seemingly closer to my goal, I wanted to hide. 

I picked myself up I decided that instead of doing all of these crazy goals for this year that I would just do two. Writing has really been a focus of mine for the last six months. I have been moving back into this passion after years of trying to resist it. 

My two goals are to 

1. Finish the novel I have been working on 

2. Send out some other work for publishing. 

I am excited to just try to do these two things for a busy year I have ahead. 

I have also chosen a word to help me keep focused this year. I did this last year as well to keep me going through a very tough year. It took me a while to think about what this word would be. I took quizzes online and listened to podcasts trying to figure what my word should be. Last year it had come so naturally to me, but this year it was a battle to come across the right one. 

This year it is abound. 

Now you might be thinking why not flourish, and I am right there with you, but for me this year it is abound. I was reading a book by Max Lucado Unshakeable Hope. There is was a the end of the book, “He wants us to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) 

It jumped off the page at me abound. I had been struggling so much this year with hope. I hope that I would get to keep my home, that I would be able to care for my daughter, that I would find someone special for me, and that I would amount to anything as a writer. I had been so beaten down especially in the family losses over the last couple of months I didn’t even know how to stand up anymore to have faith in this moment of my world crashing in. 

Most would put it off as me worrying too much and that I needed to have faith.

 Let go, Let God. 

Someone is coming. 

God will never leave you homeless. 

These were all phrases coming from the right hearts, but it didn’t give me any comfort at night when I was already to the point I had lost my hope. When too many bad things where sturring up so much pain in my life.

Let me tell you something, for me, I could not have faith until I had some hope. I can even think of when I first came to be a Christian it was because I finally started to have confidence that God really did love me for me before I believed wholeheartedly in Him. I spent the better part of last week filling myself up with God’s hope for my life and what difference it has made for me on the inside. 

I have decided to make this word abound or my overflow focus on God. Last year it was about getting through the year and this year I want to be basking in the presence of God. 

The top three reasons I chose to do a word again this year.

1. Helps me have focus not just on steps to make a goal but a feeling I want for the year.

2. They are more fun to me than a goal because I can play around with the definitions. 

3. It is easy to pair it with a quote or scripture for the year. 

I found out too when it is the background of my phone or cover on social media I see it more often, and it helps me keep my focus. 

Is picking a word for your year what you should do?  

I will leave it up to you. 

Is it too late to choose a word?

Never but just so you know sometimes the word chooses you.

Walking Through the Valleys

I walked down by the creek across the bed of rocks in the valley down the hill an away from our house. The bed rocks have been pushed into a pile below in this ditch right next to the water. It was beautiful down there peaceful and a nice place to get away when you want to hear the waters moving.

The day I walked down there the water was lower, and it seemed to be getting lower every year. The dry air of suffocating in the 100-degree heat. I want to go play in the water a lot as a child like most children do. I kept walking with eyes on the rocks before me to keep watch for things that slither.  Snakes common in the area. Before I knew it a giant black snake slithered out of the grass in the field and was in my path on the rocks. 

I stopped frozen in fear, in a time before cell phones, and no one within shouting distance. Two more steps and I would have been stepping on it. The snake stopped looked at me and hissed I started to lunge toward me. I thought for sure I was done for and it would bite me, but I couldn’t move even if I wanted to. To my surprise, the snake continued on into the creek and started to swim in the direction I was head as well. I quickly turned and ran as hard as I could back to the road crying and shaking.

Fear had stopped me in a critical moment in my life while I stood in a valley. I was running in the opposite direction that I wanted to go because of fear.

I wonder how many times God has been with me in those moments when I ran out of fear in the opposite directions of the path He was leading me down. The truth was God was always there and still is. In that valley much like the rest of my life, I felt like I was alone. There was no bombing presence of God in my area at all, and everything was silent. In the valley, I was looking down at my circumstances instead of up to my Jesus. 

It was easy for me to get discouraged in the valleys of my life when God was not in my life.  Yes, I have had more the one, and I think we continue to have those moments no matter what the circumstances are in our lives. Perhaps a valley moment starts with a death, divorce, or destruction. It could even start with just a series of ordinary life events that seems to not be going right.

This last month was a valley moment for me many times. I had the goal of writing my novel and so many things started happening. I had headaches, rashes, nightmares, and I fell multiple times doing ordinary things. I lost members of my family. I was taken through a week of everyday things gone wrong. I did not despair, but I was still down.

How would I handle this valley? 

Would it better than before? 

Would I get mad and yell? 

Would I be quiet and cry? 

Would I turn to my Father in heaven? 

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I am sad to say I did get mad and yell sometimes. I was crying a lot too, but I also turned to my Father in the middle of my messy valley moment. It was easier to turn to God this time than the last time this happened to me. I am getting stronger in my faith and focus on Jesus. I kept praying even though each day did not seem to reach better results. I kept praying and pushing into God’s promises for me. I had to keep walking in my valley until I reached a new level of surrender to God. 

In the valley, there is still joy, peace, and forgiveness. A valley is a place to find God and to seek His face. It reminds me there is so much more work to be done in me. 

Keep walking through your valley.