The Noise of the World

When the world gets noisy, listen for that still, small voice that makes sense.

For me, that “voice” is Jesus.

I wish I would listen for that voice all the time. But, sadly, I can get sucked up into the mayhem as easily as the next guy.

I find myself searching for answers, asking for advice when all I really need to do is get down on my knees and listen. The answers are there, I just can’t hear them for the noise.

Sometimes the noise is internal, but most often the noise comes in the form of distractions. The roof is falling in, the bills are overwhelming, the kids aren’t cooperating, the car is broken down, the toilet’s over-flowing…whatever it is, I get caught up in the “crisis” instead of the solution.

Watching the news will do that to me too. If the media had their way, I would be convinced that the world was falling apart, coming to an end, or banging down my front door.

But if I turn off the “noise” then I can hear. If I look around, then I can see. If I take a walk, and breathe in deep, then I can feel. The loving warmth of Jesus is just waiting patiently for me to settle down, to stop spinning my wheels, to stop running in circles. He never left, I just wasn’t seeking.

The world sets traps, and I get caught in its snare.

And after struggling, it finally hits me, usually like a brick in the head, to just stop the noise and be quiet…and listen.

What noise distracts you from your peace?

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I Choose Hope

I posted this graphic to my Instagram yesterday. I’m not sure why.

I’ve been avoiding the news like the plague lately. It seems it’s never anything good.

I’ve tried to steer clear of the debacle that’s happening in Washington right now (not that today is any different than any other day in Washington).

And when I looked at Facebook today and saw New York’s heartbreaking decision that caused them to light up the Empire State Building in pink, I wanted to cry.

Add to that the Covington students’ controversy, and I just can’t stomach it any more. Any of it.

It isn’t healthy, and I feel powerless to change any of it. Truly, I do.

The only recourse I have for my own well-being, and that of my family’s, is to hope and to pray for something better.

As a human race, I know we can do better. I know we have it in us to reach out instead of push back.

There is so much to hope for, so much good in the world that goes un-noticed because we’re too busy screaming at one another and standing our ground. Forgiveness has been thrown out the window completely.

So, here’s a list if you’d like to join me with some good news for a change:

  1. Watch an episode of Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor on Facebook. There’s a new episode every Tuesday and it will lift your heart and give you back some hope for humanity.
  2. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  3. Pick up that piece of trash on the sidewalk that’s been there for the last three days.
  4. Say “thank you” to the salesperson who may be having a bad day.
  5. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  6. Pay it forward – pay for the cup of coffee or fast food of the person in the drive-thru line behind you.
  7. Turn off the news when you feel yourself getting angry…especially if your kids are in the room. If it angers you, think of what it does to them.
  8. Put down your phone and be present with the person you’re with.
  9. Call your friend instead of sending a text.
  10. Look around and see what you can do to make a difference in someone else’s life, even if it’s a small thing.

Choose hope instead of despair, love instead of hate, words that lift up instead of tear down.

It starts with the person in the mirror. I know we can do it, because we are better than the media wants us to think we are.

Best wishes and blessings to you all.

What are you going to do today to make this world a better place?

There’s Nothing Wrong with “Happily Ever After”

In certain writer’s circles, “happily ever after” is frowned upon. It’s “predictable,” it “isn’t real life,” things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

I may get thrown out of the Indie Writer’s Club (not a real thing) but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there is nothing wrong with “happily ever after.” Hallmark has made a million dollar industry off predictable, simple, and formulaic scripts. Do you know why? Because people like happily ever after. That’s it. It’s just that simple.

Spoiler alert: my novels have happily ever after endings. Why? Because I like happily ever after. I was one of those girls who believed my prince would come (and he did). Sure, he was a D&D playing nerd in a bar, but he’s my prince nonetheless.

I have to tell you that I loathe stories that don’t resolve themselves, or movies that I invest two or more hours of my time in, only to find out that the hero dies senselessly, or worse, to find out the murderer gets away with it. Can I tell you that the end of “Gone Girl” (the movie) made me absolutely insane?!

Happily ever after offers the reader hope and then delivers. Happily ever after promises a smile from the reader as they read “The End.” Happily ever after doesn’t necessarily mean “romance” either. Happily ever after just means that all the characters find what they’re looking for, or at least get where they want to go.

So, if you’re a writer of sweet romance or family saga or just contemporary fiction that has happily ever after…embrace it. Write the story you want to write. There’s enough trouble in the real world, sometimes people want to escape for a while.

And if you’re a reader of contemporary fiction and like a story with happily ever after, check out Hope for Haley or Understanding Kasey. Spoiler alert – they end happily ever after.

Here’s to “Happily Ever After”…may you continue to give readers all the hope and joy they can stand.

Mom Therapy

Mom Therapy

When my first born was about six months old, I went a little crazy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I definitely had cabin fever. I felt like a shut-in, like I had lost contact with any adults other than my husband. He’s the love of my life, and my best friend, but he isn’t a woman. There’s something about “sisterhood” that women need, especially when they’re short on sleep and buried in diapers.

Come to think of it, now that my kids are teens, I STILL need that “sisterhood.” There aren’t diapers or crying fits anymore (unless you count mine – LOL), but there is a certain need for a sharing of our lives.

I call it Mom Therapy.

It comes in many forms. Years ago, when the kids were babies, it meant stealing a couple of hours (if we were lucky) at Starbucks with babies in strollers. When they got to toddler age, we took our coffee to the park and pushed the kids in swings while we chatted. Shhhh…don’t tell the kids that the park is really for you too.

And then partial day preschool and kindergarten kicked in, and it was back to Starbucks, sans strollers, for coffee and maybe a quick trip to the mall or Walmart. We never bought clothes for ourselves, mind you, it was always for the kids. But we still managed to talk about life and laugh about how ridiculous it could be at times.

Now my kids are teens, and most of my friends, like myself, have gone back to work, ruining our Mom Therapy time. Oh, how I long for those days of strollers and Starbucks.

Some Moms forego the Coffee Therapy in exchange for Gym Therapy (I assume…I’ve never been to a gym), or PTA gatherings, or Church Functions (ie Bible studies), or Book Clubs.

But however Moms get their “therapy,” we need it. It’s essential to our survival.

I’m sure Dads have their own version of Dad Therapy, but I’m not a Dad, so I wouldn’t know what they do.

To my “Mom Therapists,” you know who you are, and thank you for your time.

What do you do for your Mom Therapy? Do you have a group of “therapists” that meet regularly?

Women’s Fiction ebook – On Sale!

womens fiction

On Sale NOW

for a Limited Time!

Women’s fiction novel, Hope for Haley is On Sale for $0.99! Get your copy now and tell a friend!

https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Haley-Lisa-Volz-ebook/dp/B07D5JT5JD/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537129708&sr=1-1&keywords=hope+for+haley

 

When Haley and her mother, Mara, move to Helen’s quiet neighborhood, life for all three women will never be the same.

Fourteen-year-old Haley has lost hope that her mother, Mara, will ever be the doting mother she’s dreamed of having. Mara simply doesn’t have it in her. But Helen is different than any adult Haley has ever met. She’s kind and caring and seems to enjoy spending time with Haley. Helen’s garage is filled with rusted and broken treasures, and she begins teaching Haley how to re-purpose things others would have thrown away. Helen’s motto is that everything can be fixed, including people.

But she’s put to the test when Mara and Haley bring their dysfunctional soap opera to her for repair. Find out if Helen is ready for the biggest restoration project she’s ever had, or if some repairs are even too big for her to fix.

When Your Teen Doesn’t Share Your Beliefs Anymore

 

The following post is a reminder to myself in this season of my life and my teen’s life. But I thought someone else might benefit from it as well. I hope you can find some comfort in the following words if you’re experiencing growing pains of your own.

My child’s “unbelief” was pre-ordained. It’s only a surprise to me, not to God. He knew this was coming, and He knows the outcome.

It’s not my job to “convert” my child. It’s my job to guide and let God do the “converting.”

Forgive myself. It’s nothing I did wrong. Sometimes when your child is coming to their own conclusions, it means they are acting on their own. They are doing exactly what you taught them – to think on their own. They are maturing and thinking about what life means to them.

Don’t take it personally. Sometimes their unbelief is out of rebellion, but more often it’s out of discovery. Sometimes I think it can even be out of sheer laziness – they don’t want to be accountable to God, so they are taking the easy way out. It’s the “because I don’t want to” reasoning.

It’s a growing pain. Both my teen’s and my own. Just like growing out of dolls or playing with legos, they’re maturing and deciding what works for them. For me, it means learning to let go. They’re getting closer to adulthood, and my belief will not always be their belief.

The best thing I can do in this time of their life is to love them. It should be a time of “show” and not “tell.” Lecturing will only push them away. They need to know I love them. They need to know that my love for them doesn’t come with conditions like sharing a belief in God.

Let them experience Grace – mine and God’s. Forgive when they don’t deserve it, be kind to them just because. Really show them God’s love with how I respond to them.

Most importantly, this is God’s battle, not mine. I don’t have the ammunition or the army or the stamina to run the race with them, but God does. He’ll be there when they choose Him. And even if they don’t choose Him, God will love them in spite of themselves.

God tumbled down the walls of Jericho by having men walk around, time and time again He brought people out of despair and raised them up when they didn’t even know He existed. He waited while his followers groaned and walked through the wilderness for 40 years, and He was there every step of the way.

What makes me think He will not do the same for my child?

Take a breath and say a prayer and love your child. There is a time for everything under the sun. And now is a time to wait.

New Women’s Fiction – Understanding Kasey

Now available on amazon.com

Understanding Kasey

Kasey Hunter has lived a lifetime and she’s only 25 years old. She’s been caregiver to her mother with early-onset Alzheimer’s, she’s never known her father, and her only friends are her customers at the Rusty Anchor and her co-worker at Summer’s Coffee Shop. And then there’s the annoying older woman named Willow, who keeps trying to push her way into Kasey’s business.

When Kasey’s life is turned upside down, Willow may be the only one she can rely on to stand by her side, but Kasey’s not going to give in that easily.

Getting to know Kasey is a challenge under regular circumstances. But when she’s faced with an opportunity that changes everything she’s known about her past, Kasey will have to decide if it’s worth holding on to her bitterness or if she can leave her past and embrace whatever her future holds.

Available on amazon.com, kindle, smashwords and more!