Thursday, April 27, 2017


As a writer, it's often difficult to find time to write. When I do have that rare nugget of time to write, it's often completely devoid of inspiration. Sometimes I'll sit down with an empty notebook (one of my favorite things in the world) and just stare at the page and the pen, willing something to come of them. One time I wrote random words and then, on the corner of the page, "Inspiration WILL come. Anytime now, clown." There are days when I want to get that quote made into a t-shirt so I can hide under my covers wearing it and waiting.

I don't feel particularly inspired right now. The baby is napping (after a bottle, Curious George, singing, and a drive around three subdivisions in our area.) The little dog is incessantly scraping at the back door and barking to be let in, which I can't do because then he will bark inside and wake the baby and then I will have to murder the dog. (What is that, caninicide? Is that a thing?) I'm eating pistachios and looking around the room trying to force something that isn't there.

These are the times when I question EVERYTHING. I've never wanted to be anything other than a writer in my real, grown-up life. Sure, I wanted to be a Scarecrow when I was four, a Solid Gold Dancer, a lawyer, a radio DJ, a singer, an actress... but there was one point at which I knew, beyond all shadows of all doubts, exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. And then I grew up and realized that I had to do a hundred other jobs to pay the bills while I wrote as a 'hobby'. I ask myself, is this what you WANT to do, or what you're MEANT to do? Are those things the same, or different?

There is an ember inside of me, gradually charring its way out. The idea is one that will help people and that, I feel, is what my ultimate purpose in life is. Writing is the medium through which I will likely achieve that purpose, if I do indeed achieve it. It's the most fleshed out in relation to my other abilities and it's the thing I enjoy most out of everything I can do. To what end, however? How will I measure that success? It certainly won't be monetary. I can't imagine a life in which I don't have to weigh the pros and cons of Walmart versus Aldi when it comes to groceries because I've spent that much of my adulthood trying to save money and build a better life. All the while, the better life is around me just waiting to be grasped and it has nothing to do with how much money I can or cannot save for the future.

The success, in my opinion, will be measured in a life well-lived.

But what does that look like, exactly? Well, there is no precise picture. I imagine that helping people will be its own reward. Seeing a smile on the face of someone I care about or, especially, on the face of someone I don't even know. Having someone ask me to help them write something or to edit their work. Having someone come to me with a problem they feel safe talking with me about. Thinking about money as 'just money' and giving it when I have it to give.

A life well-lived is a life focused on others.
My husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, my friends.
Strangers. Prisoners. Homeless. Hungry. Violated. Addicts.
Anyone. Everyone.

I think it's time to get started.
Stephanie Jean

Friday, April 7, 2017

Life Without Fear

Without going into much detail (maddening, I know)... I'm going through something right now that could be the most fear-inducing experience of my entire existence. Yet, for the first time in my life, I am not freaking out. I am remaining calm, collected, and doing what I always tell other people in my situation to do: I'm trusting God.

I fully realize that I don't talk a lot about God on the ol' blog anymore. I don't hide my beliefs, I just don't typically flaunt them or attempt to force others to align themselves with mine. I have friends from a variety of spiritual and non-spiritual backgrounds, and my 'ministry' in using this forum is not to recruit others to my point of view; rather, it is to help everyone, regardless of their beliefs, along their own path. So this story is my current story and, leaving out details for now, I'm going to present it as-is.

Something scary happened to someone I love. Then something REALLY scary happened to compound the first scare. And right now, I'm in torpor -- waiting to find out whether the final outcome is going to be good or bad. You, faithful readers, know just how much I suffer from anxiety and fear, so when this kind of trigger pops up, I typically lose my ever-loving mind.

I've found, however, that absolutely nothing ever comes of my fear or my worrying. I'm not saying that the bad things that I dwell on don't ever happen. Of course they do. But living in the fear and the worry itself does not change the outcome of what will be; it simply makes me miserable while awaiting said outcome.

If I change my mindset to one of positivity and joy and living in the moment, and if I rely on God to take care of my circumstances, trusting that He will provide the best outcome, trusting that He is hearing my prayers, and trusting that He wants only good for me... I will not only cope with the waiting, I will be content. Happy, even. And who doesn't want to be happy?

I recite verses: "Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you." "The LORD is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me." "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy." "For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for harm, plans to give you hope in your final outcome." "For which of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to your life?" And so, so many more. And I declare that the good outcome I am looking for has already happened, and I live in the belief and trust that it HAS.

The outcome will be what the outcome will be. I choose to believe for good, without fear.

And I am happy while I wait.

Stephanie Jean

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Radio Silence

I find it interesting that, in the past 30+ days while I have been off of Facebook, I very rarely hear from people that I don't already talk to on a daily basis. What I mean by that is, with over 550 friends, you would think that people would call or text or email to check in. While I did receive a number of texts and calls from family members on my birthday, I can count on one hand the messages I have gotten from anyone else.

I'm not complaining, not at all. This actually solidifies my plan to disconnect from social media. I will be going back onto Facebook after Easter, as my original intent was to give it up for Lent. However, it will become a much lower priority for me. It will be more of a place for me to keep my photos and such, and less of a place for me to interact.

I have spent a great deal of time outdoors, even when it's been cold and wet, in the last few weeks. Morel mushroom season has already begun (and no, I'm still not telling you where my hunting spot is!) I've clocked at least 10,000 steps a day for over a week with the exception of one day in the midst of that time frame. I've had so much fun playing with the baby, visiting with family and seeing a friend or two, and trying to wrap my mind around the idea of going back to this 'virtual world' just seems... well, in a word, pointless.

Stephanie Jean