A Word to the Wise–or the Wanna-Be Wise

Years ago, a pastor suggested reading through the Book of Proverbs every month. One chapter per day, 31 chapters in the book, seemed like a reasonable idea. Especially if you’re looking to be wise.

Wisdom isn’t a highly sought after commodity in many circles. People are content to “know enough” to do their jobs, take care of their family and have a good time.

We know I’m a recovering Type A perfectionist, so the thought of NOT being wise rubs me the wrong way. I mean, if it’s as simple as reading a chapter from the Bible every day, why not?

Nothing is ever that simple.

This month, I’m encouraging myself to reinstate this practice that has fallen into a slump lately. After all, there are YouVersion reading plans, so why do the same old, same old? (This month, why not do both? That’s my plan.)

Because God’s Word is a living book. Every month a different verse will stand out or stomp my toes.

I haven’t attained wisdom status yet. (I know that shocks all of you.)

So, I’m sharing the first week of daily reading memes here. Maybe you’re looking for some wisdom in a world gone crazy with blame and accusation. Why not give A Proverb a Day a test drive?

I know I’m a day behind for the week, but bear with me.

Monday: Read Proverbs chapter 2

Tuesday: Read Proverbs chapter 3

Wednesday: Read Proverbs chapter 4

Thursday: Read Proverbs chapter 5

Friday: Read Proverbs chapter 6

Saturday: Read Proverbs chapter 7

Look at that! One week of considering words of wisdom is in the bank. Don’t you feel wiser already?

What is your definition of wisdom? How do you cultivate it in your life?

Like reading this? You’re a click away from getting Hero Delivery, a bulletin with deals and new releases from Sharon Hughson.

Maybe you like romance or some of my other books. I’m sure there’s something worth reading on my page.

Already read one or more of my books? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. A review is the same as the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

What Makes a Woman Old?

I had a landmark birthday recently. And I totally expected to feel old. Which made me start to wonder: what does that even mean?

Old is a state of mind they say.

You’re only as old as you feel.

Don’t think of age as a number.

You’ve heard all the platitudes and sayings. But they are only words.

Wrong Thinking

I like Mark Twain. He had killer wit.

mindoverage-marktrwain

And in this case, I totally agree with him. Age, like enduring the pain in boot camp, is all about mind over matter.

As my birthday neared, I kept dreading the big five-zero.

But why?

Would I really be decrepit on my birthday when I was totally able-bodied the day before it?

In fact, since I was 23 and got my first gray hair (I thank my firstborn for this), I’ve had an interesting idea about age and getting old.

wisdom_highlights

Speaking of Which

While we’re on the subject of my firstborn, today is his birthday.

That’s right. Twenty-six years ago a cute little boy interrupted all the plans that went before him.

Because having kids does more than reshape your figure. And your finances. And your sleep schedule.

Suddenly the young couple becomes a young family. And family trumps all other things.

It’s hard to claim the age of 39 (which I found to be a perfect point in my life) when you’re standing beside a tall, handsome nearly-30-year-old to whom you gave birth.

Uh, yeah. I was still in middle school when I had him.

Not. (And even the thought of that is more terrifying than watching a scary movie marathon.)

My Body Has Other Ideas

The problem with this mind over matter thinking? Sometimes a body refuses to cooperate.

I’m not talking about those phantom aches and pains.

Imagine: You sit on the examining table and glance over at the ultrasound screen. Your name and date of birth are in bright characters at the top.

A neon sign blares “AGE: 50”

This test is in preparation for your first ever surgery the next week.

“Wow. You made it fifty years without ever needing anesthesia.” I didn’t imagine the hint of awe in the admission nurse’s voice.

Could someone stop reminding me of my age?

And my body—which refuses to act like the 30-year-old vessel I imagine– should be the engine of that train.

Let me say that when you’re recovering from a “minor procedure” you feel every second of your actual age. No matter what you claim, the 50-year-old cells don’t repair things at the rapid rate of 30-year-old ones.

Now back to the question posed in the title of this post. A woman is as old as the calendar says minus a decade or two if she’s taken care of her body.

Most people don’t look closely at the crow’s feet around my eyes or the brown spots on my jaw. They see the wide, white smile and twinkling eyes.

Those are the characteristics of someone whose age isn’t on her mind. She’s too busy living life to worry about some arbitrary number.

Ladies, the only thing that can make a woman old is her declaration that she is old.

What do you think makes a woman (or a man) old?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.

Already read one or more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.


		

How is that Year of Gratitude Coming Along?

If you follow my on social media, you know that I’ve been posting and tweeting everyday about gratitude. Some of those memes have gotten a little more toward the “refecting on life” side of things.

And since my brain is just as fried this week as it was last week, I thought I’d share some of this months memes. You know, for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

(The truth is, I’m so busy working on several writing projects at once that I don’t want to spend the time previewing videos I think you might enjoy. I just want to get this post written so I can get back to work on the novel, short story or nonfiction project).

Gift I’m Grateful for this Month

Day 275: Drinking coffee like a superhero.
Day 275: Drinking coffee like a superhero.

Something Small to Make me Smile

Day 275: Feeling super thrilled to have another fantasy story debuting this month.
Day 275: Feeling super thrilled to have another fantasy story debuting this month.

Words of Wisdom

Day 282: One of the motivating saying from my video trainer. What excuse is holding you back?
Day 282: One of the motivating saying from my video trainer. What excuse is holding you back?

Kit-Spiration

Day 286: Rain pattering on the glass makes me so so sleepy. No driving in the rain for this girl.
Day 286: Rain pattering on the glass makes me so so sleepy. No driving in the rain for this girl.

A Little Sunshine

Day 288: I am not ready to say goodbye to the sunshine.
Day 288: I am not ready to say goodbye to the sunshine.

Truth to Seize

Day 291: Everyone needs a hand up at some time or another.  Remember to pay the kindness forward.
Day 291: Everyone needs a hand up at some time or another. Remember to pay the kindness forward.

What are you feeling especially grateful for this month?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.

Already read one of more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

Seven Days of Smiles

Smile! It’s Friday. Your face can do this. I promise.

Some weeks are rougher than others. No matter what, Friday always looks better when we can regurgitate the good parts.

Still sounds gross?

Sorry. Here are the memes. I included last weekend because, hey, I didn’t want you to miss out on more reasons to be thankful.

You’re welcome.

Saturday

I was at the coast. No chance I touched the freezing Pacific Ocean.
I was at the coast. No chance I touched the freezing Pacific Ocean.

Sunday

D171

Monday

Wouldn't you like to lasso up the Presidential candidates and get some straight answers?
Wouldn’t you like to lasso up the Presidential candidates and get some straight answers?

Tuesday

Am I the only one who's directionally challenged? Or the only one whose GPS steers them wrong?
Am I the only one who’s directionally challenged? Or the only one whose GPS steers them wrong?

Wednesday

I shudder every time I see this photograph. Some pets are NOT for petting or cuddling.
I shudder every time I see this photograph. Some pets are NOT for petting or cuddling.

Thursday

D175

Friday

The irony? The day I made this meme wasn't sunny but I had a headache anyway.
The irony? The day I made this meme wasn’t sunny but I had a headache anyway.

And there you have it! Another week full of reasons to say thank you.

What do you think of the new memes? Too snarky? Not your style? (The change is a direct result of consultation with the Social Media Jedi Master. She’s sure you guys will share these ones.)

Attitude Update

#BePositivein2015 is my annual focus. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve been barraged with posts having this hashtag or something like #Positiveattitude.

Does that mean I haven’t said a negative word all year? Or that all my thoughts have been positive and uplifting?

I won’t dare God to send a lightning bolt my way by responding to those questions.

Obviously, I’ve had a few negative moments hours days. Who can live in the midst of this tumultuous world and not experience a few BB shots to their outlook?

Not-So-Positives

Overall, 2015 had offered many positive changes in my life. Of course, change isn’t easy, even when it’s expected and desirable.

If I could compartmentalize my life, it would fall into five loose categories: Physical Health, Spiritual Health, Family Life, Writing Career, and Social Outlets.

In every category, I have experienced change and growth in 2015.

positive-attitude quotespositiveWhen we’re talking Physical Health, growth isn’t necessarily a good thing. But I have – put on the pounds that is. Now that summer is here, my 30-year class reunion is mere weeks away and a special vacation is planned for January 2016, I need to cut myself down to size.

I work out because it sends endorphins into my system and works as an antidote to the depression that plagues me (especially during gray months). However, my eating habits have become horrible.

A plan for improving this is in place. Starting today. (So if I seem grouchier than usual, blame it on the lack of chocolate, which isn’t on my eating plan.)

My Spiritual Health always resembles a roller coaster ride. And we all know how I feel about roller coasters, so this isn’t a positive thing. I’m working on it.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know the Family Life compartment has been spewing into all the others. There are changes (and there will be more when my son gets married in January). I haven’t handled some of them with good grace. In fact, for many weeks this area has become nearly a negative in my world.

Finally, the Social Outlets have been nearly non-existent for several years. Since I started working from home, really. I am building relationships with other writers, but I’m in sad need of other friendships.

Positives

Wait! What about my Writing Career?

That has been the one bright spot in my world since my first acceptance letter in November 2014.

It isn’t all sunshine and sparkles, though. I’ve recently recieved two rejections for short stories I worked diligently to perfect before submitting. One of them, a YA sci-fi historical, really made me feel proud. I’ll be seeking a home for it elsewhere.

The YA romance wasn’t as polished, but the subject matter is gravely important. I intended to run a blog series about the antagonistic issue in the story – Non-Suicidal Self Injury (often called cutting) – to raise awareness – and prime my audience for the story.

How are rejections positive? They mean I’m finishing projects and putting them out into the world. That’s what professional writers do.

I also had a short story accepted. I’m not really free to talk about this until the official release comes from the publisher. You can expect an entire post dedicated to it once that happens.

Looking Forward

I’m still trying to focus on the positive. I hope it becomes a lifestyle for me.

At the moment, I need your help. I’ve exhausted the seemingly endless supply of upbeat quotes about having a positive attitude.

Do you have words of wisdom along these theme to share? Maybe you’ve been inspired to stay positive by someone else’s words?

Please share these in the comments below. I will make memes of all and share them via Twitter. If the words belong to someone else, please credit them.

If you don’t want your wisdom plastered around the Twitter-sphere, mention that in your comment. But please, PLEASE share the hope with me.

Two hours makes a difference in a morning run

AM Walk 7182013 017

Summer wanes. One sure sign is the later appearance of the sun each morning.

One of the things I enjoy about summer is the early morning runs. I’ll be outside at 6am, inhaling the sweet peace of a slumbering world.

Unless I want to blunder around in the dark, which defeats half the enjoyment, it is a 7am run come October. Some mornings, when things are especially lazy, I might not make it outside until 8am.

What a difference in the world that awaits me. Two hours and most of the peacefulness is overtaken by wakefulness. So little time yielding so many changes.

What I love about early morning

I’ve been asked many times, “What do you listen to when you’re writing? Or what’s your favorite thing to listen to?” My answer: the sound of silence.

AM Walk 7182013 008At 6am on a July morning, that is the prevailing voice on the wind: silence. It underscores the hum of traffic on the highway, twittering of birds in the trees and occasional barking of a dog.

In my mind, this silence is a major part of the peacefulness of my surroundings.

Watching the sun peek its head over Mount Hood and the Columbia River has an enormous appeal, as well. Summer sun seems to rise and set slowly.

A freshness permeates the air. Not many automobiles have sputtered their caustic fumes. Any wind refreshes the wandering soul.

It’s not that I don’t like people, but they tend to make so much noise. Did I mention that my favorite sound is silence? At 6am, not many people are out and about on the streets and walking path of my town.

How an 8am run is different

The first thing I noticed during an autumn run is the chill breeze. Not so much refreshing as invigorating. Can’t really complain about that.

Traffic noise is tripled. Vehicles zoom past on the highway. Even two streets and a tree break can’t dampen them.

Where there are automobiles, there is stench. Those carbon monoxide emissions appeal to some people (isn’t that why they run their car in a closed garage?) Me? I’d choose naturally scented air, thank you very much.

Because it isn’t unscented. You can smell the blackberries, flowers and fruit when the potent fumes aren’t overpowering everything. Nature’s fragrance.

I have to be watchful for cars backing out of driveways as I run past. They aren’t expecting me, so I must be vigilant of my surroundings. During the 8am run inspiring this post – only three vehicles tried to run me down. I gladly yielded the throughway to them.

Another thing never encountered on the 6am run: a county work crew. On the 8am run, the van from the corrections department drove down my running path like it was a highway. I’m sure the park along the trail will be better for the attention, but dodging trucks on a path not intended for motorized vehicles didn’t improve my outing.

Certain bits of wisdom come to you during an early morning run.

For example, a flatbed truck delivered shingles and other roofing material to a house as I jogged by. I marvel at the conveyer belt transporting the unwieldy stacks onto the roof (I remember my dad carrying them up a ladder on his shoulder).

The wisdom: I want to be the guy at the bottom of the conveyor. He gets to set the pace. The guy on the roof, aided by the gentle slope beneath his feet, must keep up or be swallowed by the influx of materials.

In my town, there aren’t very many morning people. Regardless of the time, I never pass more than four or five individuals. I’m grateful for this because it means I’m not required to share my morning peace with anyone else.

What sorts of things have you noticed are quite different depending on the time of day? Do my readers who live in larger cities find the same sort of emptiness on early morning streets?

What is Wisdom?

“Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences” – Norman Cousins

HPIM0596.JPG

Four months away from having a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature conferred upon me by a reputable institution of higher learning, I ponder the definition of wisdom.

Many of the quotations I found while searching for something that partnered well with my post inferred that wisdom was directly related to asking questions. I really thought that would be knowledge, so I went to the dictionary for a clear definition.

Dictionary.com says that wisdom is “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” In my own words, I’d say wisdom means knowing the right thing to do and doing it. Additionally, I believe wisdom understands there is a “best way” for these actions to be completed and performs them accordingly.

Several days ago, I posted on my church blog about a wise woman from the Bible named Abigail. Her life, filled with unpleasantness at the hands of her churl of a husband, wouldn’t seem one that would lend itself to finding wisdom. However, that wasn’t the case at all.

Some Americans in this era act as if higher education is the path to wisdom. If you don’t have a college degree, you’re doomed to mediocrity and probably believe everything you hear on TV.

Education is the path to knowledge. Wisdom is the path of experience. After eight weeks of reading Shakespeare, I can safely say I’m not an expert in anything having to do with The Bard. In fact, by increasing my knowledge and experiencing more of his writing first hand, my ignorance was illuminated. However, the path to wisdom isn’t by thorough knowledge of Shakespeare.

Wisdom graces our everyday life with enlightened decision making. Exercising problem solving skills and higher reasoning, anyone can live wisely. The key is to think before you act (or speak) and recognize when you don’t have enough information to accurately judge what the best course of action would be.

In that moment, a wise person asks questions. They seek knowledge to inform their decisions. So, I suppose all those quotes that saw a correlation between wisdom and asking questions were insightful, after all.

Wisdom: no college degree required. In fact, a college degree might give some people a false sense of confidence.

I hope and pray I’ll be wiser in four months. I’ll be exercising decision-making skills every day until then. In the meantime, I’ll remember that “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28).

I hope I’m wise enough to keep my mouth shut.