I Am A…

Recently, in conversation, I said the words, “I’m a blogger.”

I understand that what you’re about to read seems ridiculous. Stay with me.

My own words caught me off guard. I mean, I AM a blogger; I’ve been blogging for years here and on my previous site. Regardless, after saying those words out loud, I had the same epiphany I did when I realized that I not only wrote but was, in fact, an author. It was a bit of a delightful shock.

“And you are sharing this today because…?” you ask? I will answer happily!

Frankly, this is the perfect opportunity to remind you to own what you are. Do you write? Then you are a writer! True, you may not be a published author yet, but that has no bearing on the fact that you are a genuine, bona fide writer.

Do you create art? You are an artist! Whether or not you’ve ever sold anything means nothing. Even if you’ve never shown a single piece of your art to another human being, you are an artist. Own that you are an artist! Delight in it! Enjoy being what you are.

Yes, I realize skill is a measurable thing and many judge “what we are” by the skills we currently possess. Many believe that unless you’ve been published, you’re not a writer. Many are convinced that if your creations aren’t art by their definition, you are not an artist. I get it. I’ve said myself that I’m not an artist even though many have tried to call me one. I have the skills required to copy a picture, but not to create one; by my definition, that makes me a copyist, not an artist.

But I’ve been a blogger since I published my very first blog post. It wouldn’t matter if no one read what I wrote, I would still be a blogger. I just had to be reminded of this fact, because I’d fallen into judging myself as a blogger by the number of people my blog reaches. My blog community is growing, so I’ve felt more like a blogger lately than I have in a while…which is absurd.

God has planted within each of us the potential to be many things, and we get to choose which of those things we will be. Do some have more innate talent than others in certain areas? Of course, I’m not belittling this fact. I’m just saying that we all have potential. As believers, we should be actively drawing out that potential and using it to His glory, and we should believe in ourselves as we do.

But even if you don’t believe in God, those gifts, those desires, those drives to BE, are still there waiting for you to act on and own them. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t allow doubt, either your own or someone else’s, to drag you down.

I’ve noticed it’s become a thing to ask people what advice you would give your younger self. Often you hear such things as, “Don’t give up on your dreams,” and “Never stop believing in yourself.” I think it’s time to flip the script and let your younger self talk to you. If blogging were a thing when I was young, as soon as child Tammy hit publish on her first blog post, no matter how good or bad anyone else thought it was, she would have grinned and said, “I’m a blogger!” And, though she had only just taken her very first step, she would have been right.

So, with this in mind, I urge you to invite your inner child, that preschooler who knew without a doubt he or she could accomplish anything they wanted, to come out and have a chat. Let that younger you give today’s you the courage to own what you already are, to declare with confidence, “I am a…!”

Once you convince yourself, there’s no telling what you can do.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 1: The Dream

I’ve been fascinated by tiny houses since I first learned about them and I’ve always felt that, if I were alone, I could live in one and enjoy it. I loved the idea of getting rid of the unnecessary and paring my life down to what really matters.

Through the years, my conviction grew, especially as life with my husband became increasingly challenging. I pretty much ended up living in our bedroom until after his passing when I was able to “move back into” the rest of the apartment. Living in the whole house was amazing at first, but eventually it began to feel like too much. I didn’t need almost 1,000 square feet and, frankly, I grew uncomfortable with that much space.

When he passed on October 1 of last year, I lost his income, so I knew immediately that when my lease was up I would have to move out of our two-bedroom, one bath apartment. The challenge was that rents in our town have increased astronomically in recent years and my options were extremely limited. I knew that, if nothing else, my kids would welcome me into their home, but no one wants to do that to their children. Well, I didn’t.

I must pause to give glory to God here. Losing my husband’s income left me literally unable to pay the full rent. He’d been sick for nearly ten years, and life with him had been expensive. Our savings was gone, and the credit cards were maxed out. And no, as I imagine is true of many narcissists, he had no life insurance. No matter how tightly I ran the budget, how much I went without, I was consistently hundreds of dollars short of having enough to last a month. The money simply wasn’t there. BUT GOD WAS.

God provided faithfully. Every. Single. Month. For months on end, people gave me money without knowing why they were giving it. It was always exactly what I needed to make up for the shortfall. I did eventually start receiving my widow’s benefits, which made things worlds easier, but that was months later. God made sure my rent was paid one way or another in the meantime.

Eventually, after months of housing research and lots of prayer, not knowing what I was going to do, a beautiful offer was made to me. I was invited over and shown a small area inside a big building. “If we built this out, could you live here?”

“YES! I definitely could!”

And so, we jumped in. They started work on putting things together at their place, and I began taking things apart at mine. Some parameters were already set. The area they’d selected had originally been intended as a sort of pool house: It had three walls in place, one window, and an area that was already partially plumbed and would become my bathroom. The footprint was 22′ by 10′. Yes, I was moving into 220 square feet. My tiny home dream was going to become a reality at the same time my financial burden would be greatly reduced. Double win! (Well, triple win, because I was going to live only yards away from my very best friend.)

Within days of the decision being made, I’d gotten my hands on a pad of graph paper, mapped out what I thought would be the final footprint of my efficiency/studio/tiny home, and started reality checking. What were the necessities? What was possible? What was doable?

It was time to start working out a plan.

And this is the first in a series that will cover my tiny home life!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Back in the Saddle?

I wish I didn’t have to put a question mark on this title, but life is an odd thing. It can throw you.

In many ways, things have been intense since Jack passed away and I entered widowhood. I spent weeks working on the apartment, adapting it to me-only living, and then I spent weeks going through decades worth of records and papers and…stuff. Losing my husband made me acutely aware of what my kids would be dealing with if something were to happen to me, so I set about ensuring that transition would be as easy as possible. Just today I put the finish to the last piece of the puzzle: The Book. It contains pretty much every legal and informational paper they might need at my passing. Except all my passwords. I do need to work on that.

All that to say this. As of now, with that last task complete, I feel like my brain is my own again. (Happy Birthday to me!) Starting today, Son #2 (Owner of pixeldripstudio.com) has begun planning a new website for me, one that will help me do so much more than simply blog, and it’s got me excited and fired up all over again. We’ve been talking style and options and possibilities, and I’m thinking in terms of articles and blog posts and freebies…

I’m also working on converting Experiencing the Bible to ebook format. It’s a challenge for two reasons.
1. While I read ebooks all the time I’ve never learned about their formatting. (I am now!)
2. Part of the print book’s power is the built-in journal. I have to do a bit of rewriting and adjusting to compensate. It won’t be a huge deal for the reader; they’ll just want to invest in a journal to write in. Maybe I’ll even create a matching one myself? Maybe.

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’m back in the saddle and back at work. And it feels GOOD.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Door Opening Dreams

“Dreams open doors.”

God spoke these words to me, and then explained further. Whether for good or evil, our dreams open doors.

I’m obviously not talking about what we dream while we sleep, but rather the thoughts we think while awake. We know from II Cor. 5:10 that we are to cast down “imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” These are the evil dreams He spoke of, those imaginations that inspire fear and, once they get hold of us, create feelings that can completely overpower our faith.

The thing is, dreams – godly dreams – are some of the very things God created the imagination for. By creating pictures with our imaginations, daydreaming if you will, of the things we know God wants us to do, or be, or have, we are building up our faith – and our faith opens doors to our future.

Consider what happens when you hear someone give their testimony, how it inspires you to think, “Well, if He did that for them He can do what I need too!” This builds your faith. Take it further and imagine God actually DOING IT and your faith is built more.

The world got hold of this truth long ago. They use fancy phrases and scientific labels, but the bottom line message is that if you can see yourself doing something, if you dream of it long enough, imagine clearly enough, you have a much better chance of actually DOING it. Athletes have used this “technique.” Business tycoons use this “principle.” It’s time for the church to wake up and use what God designed for His purposes from the very beginning. It’s time for us to open doors with our dreams.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C