Sunday's Best: Set Apart

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My life verse
When you hang around Christians one thing that may come up frequently is the concept of having a life verse. A life verse is a piece of Scripture that you commit to memory and share with others. A life verse is one that has some significant meaning for you and helps guide you many life situations.

For years I never had a life verse. In college, when someone would ask me mine I'd just say "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13." But I only picked that verse because it was the only one I knew by heart.

These days, though, things have changed. I have a life verse (and a very long story as to why it was chosen as such). My life verse is: "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you," which is Joshua 3:5.

Perhaps this verse has never meant more to me than it does today on the eve of the launch of my new online magazine.

But how shall I consecrate myself? What does that even mean?

To consecrate something is to set it apart, to dedicate it to a particular service or goal. So today, on the eve of what I pray will be an amazing thing, I dedicate myself to God's service. My prayer is that this new website and all the projects related to it will somehow help others because we serve God by serving people.

I also want this blog to help even more people which is why instead of posting less after the magazine launches, I'll be posting more.

You can check my new editorial calendar here.

Let's enjoy the amazing blessings of God together.

Hard-core Blogging and My New Editorial Calendar

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm hard-core.

But I don't say that to brag.

Honestly, it's probably a plea for help.

What I've realized about myself over the past several months is that the only way for me to do something well is to take it to extreme levels. Moderation and I just don't mix.

Let's take exercise for example. When I attempted Jillian Michaels' Six-Week Six Pack DVD I didn't really stick with the program, which recommended that you do the exercises five days a week. This month, however, I've been doing Jillian's 30 Day Shred. For this program you are to do the exercises every day. So far I've stuck with this for 27 days so I'm pretty confident I'll successfully complete this program. On many of these days I did the DVD and went to a spinning class or went running. On some of these days I've been doing the workouts at 10 p.m., determined not to miss a day.

When it comes to blogging my story is the same. When I decided to post new content here three days a week, I failed, sometimes only updating my blog once a week or a few times per month. But back in November when I decided to blog like crazy and update my blog daily I did it and had a blast in the process.

All of this means there's probably some part of my personality that makes me prone to addiction, but I'm going to just go with it.

Beginning June 30 I will be blogging here daily. Here's my new editorial calendar:

Sunday's Best: The faith-based posts I normally share as Monday Motivation will move to Sundays.

Monday: Writeous Woman of the Week. This new series will allow me to highlight one of the women featured in See Jane Write Magazine, which launches July 1.

Tweeps Tuesday: Each Tuesday I'll highlight three to five people that I follow on Twitter and explain why I love their tweets. Think of this as Follow Friday (#FF) but with more substance.

Wednesday: Wisdom for Writers

Thursday Thoughts: These posts will be on whatever random thoughts are wandering through my mind at the time. You've been warned.

Friday Feminist Links: On Fridays I'll share links to some of the best online articles and blog posts related to feminist issues.

Selfie Saturday: Posting self portraits each Saturday may seem very vain, but it's actually my attempt to get over my self-image issues and the absolute dread and trepidation I feel when someone takes my picture.

Let the hard-core blogging begin!

Monday Motivation: Pray Write Now

Monday, June 17, 2013

Don't leave your writing success to chance. Pray about it!
(And, yes, I do have Hello Kitty fuzzy dice in my car.)

Do you pray before you write?

I don't.

I pray before I travel, I pray before I teach, and I always pray before I run a 5K or half-marathon. But I don't pray before I write. 

I don't pray before I write because I'm cocky. While I recognize that my writing talent is a gift from God, because writing is so natural to me I tend to think I don't need any extra help. I feel as if God has given me the gift of writing so I can take it from here. But I couldn't be more wrong. 

I may be a good writer, but I'm not a great one, and I could certainly use some supernatural assistance to get me there. Plus, there's so much even beyond the quality of work that a writer should pray about when it comes to her craft. We need to pray for inspiration and we need to pray that our writing will somehow touch the lives of others. 

Chances are, however, you're not the arrogant jerk that I am. Chances are, you don't pray before you write because you feel as if you shouldn't bother God with such things. You believe that prayers of supplication should be reserved for times of dire need or times when you're concerned about the well-being of a loved one. But we are told over and over in Scripture to go to God about everything. 

This is something I've struggled with myself and, believe it or not, God used my car bumper to teach me to pray about all things. Less than one week after I bought the car I'm currently driving I hit a huge gas container that was sitting in the middle of the highway. The result was an unsightly dent in my fender. For weeks I terribly upset about this. I knew it was silly to be so distraught. I should have been happy that no serious damage had been done and thankful to have a car at all. So I prayed and simply asked God to help me get over it. Ironically, I was driving when I decided to pray this prayer and as soon as I said "Amen" Francesca Battistelli's song "Free To Be Me" came on the radio. In case you're unfamiliar with the song, check out the chorus:

'Cause I got a couple dents in my fender 
Got a couple rips in my jeans 
Try to fit the pieces together 
But perfection is my enemy 
On my own I'm so clumsy 
But on your shoulders I can see 
I'm free to be me

As the song played all I could do was laugh. I think I was even wearing ripped jeans that day. Needless to say, I got over the dent in my fender. In fact, I completely forgot it was there. But imagine my surprise (and the one-woman praise party that ensued) when one day later that summer I was washing my car and discovered the dent was gone! 

If God cares about a stupid dent in the bumper of my Mazda 3, certainly He cares about your writing, certainly He cares about you effectively using the gifts He gave you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "pray continually." 

Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And in John 14:14 Jesus told his disciples, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." 

So before you write your next blog post, your next article, your next short story or poem, or the next section of your book, pray about the words you will write and pray for the people who will read them. 

She Blogs Truth

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This is how I begin each day. 

Oftentimes when things are difficult, when things don't work out the way we had hoped or planned we
Christians tend to believe that this is God punishing us or giving us a sign we should just give up on our goal. Or maybe it's just me and you never have this problem. Either way, hear me out.

When life led me away from my career in journalism and back to my hometown to a new career in education, I thought this meant God wanted me to give up writing. When the print media industry tanked I thought this meant God wanted me to abandon my dream of starting a magazine. And when my blog didn't become the overnight success I just I knew it would be, I thought this was God's way of saying, "Javacia, blogging just isn't for you."

But I was wrong.

And I began to realize how wrong I was when I discovered

Not only did I grow closer to God and begin to understand his will more from the devotionals that I read on this site, but through She Reads Truth I saw a perfect example of how blogging could be used to serve God. I saw that blogging was about people, not pageviews.

Then, after I began to focus my writing more and more on serving others instead of serving myself, I was blessed with opportunities to write exciting stories and compelling essays for a number of publications. And these were opportunities I wouldn't have been able to pursue or take advantage of had I still been working as a full-time reporter.

Furthermore, my blogging helped me build an amazing community of women writers that have given me the support and encouragement to start an online magazine. And I truly believe this couldn't have happened the way it did in any city other than my hometown of Birmingham, Ala.

God has truly shown me that his ways are not my ways and that's a good thing.

I now know that challenges and obstacles aren't a stop sign; they're simply a speed bump.

And I know that when God takes me down a road that seems to be leading to the middle of nowhere I need to just trust him. He will always lead me right where I belong.

My Summer Intentions

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hey! Guess what...


This means it's time to set a few goals for the summer months. But first, let''s see how I did with my May Intentions.

Once again I failed to exercise daily, but I did exercise a lot. And I can't exactly say I remained completely calm during end-of-the-school-year chaos, but I didn't go completely crazy either. And hubs and I still need to get better about spending more quality time together.

I was successful with my goal of cleaning and reorganizing my apartment while my husband was out of town. When  he returned and saw all my hard work he said our bedroom and our home office were nearly "unrecognizable." Ha!

And I have made morning devotions a daily habit, so that's another accomplishment for the month of May.

My aspirations for summer are lofty ones, but I am confident I can accomplish them all.

1. Launch See Jane Write Magazine. My new online magazine is set to launch July 1, with a launch party scheduled for July 18. I'm still seeking sponsors for our debut issue and launch party, so be sure to contact me if you're interested.

2. Love God, love people. I plan to continue my daily morning devotions and I hope to have deeper worship experiences at church. Additionally, I really want to make time to serve other people and to show my family and friends how much they mean to me.

3. Be my husband's girlfriend. I've mentioned hubs and I need to spend more quality time together, but this summer I really want to take our relationship to a higher evel. I want him to fall in love with me all over again. I want us to be as giddy for each other as we were when we were dating. I want my husband to be my boyfriend.

4. Lose 20 pounds, maybe. I went to the doctor last week and nearly fainted when I saw the numbers staring back at me. But I'm actually not talking about my weight. The number that caused me heart palpitations was my body fat percentage. So this summer I'm going to change my diet and step up my workout plan in hopes of losing weight, but my true focus is reducing my body fat percentage. For the month of June I'll be doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred daily, spinning once or twice a week, and running three days a week.

And I leave you with this: