I’m Begging You!

High drama here, to be sure.

ImageThere are any number of things that affect my ability to distribute announcements about my blog. Most of them are totally within my control.

This one is not.

Due to technical difficulties over at WordPress, my subscriber base has not been transferred to the new blog. Yet. There is, literally, nothing I can do about this. (Believe me, I’ve looked into it, and am continuing to do so.)

So, at the risk of sounding desperately self-serving, I am asking you, dear readers, to visit the new blog and just click on the sidebar to become an email subscriber. I know, I know, this is something you think you might already do. Please, do it again. If you’re receiving this notice, it’s coming from the OLD blog. I don’t really know what’s bogging things down over at headquarters, but I’m sure it will soon be resolved.

Click HERE to go to the new blog! Yay!

Thank You for your time.

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Check out After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

Honestly, I have almost no idea how this happened, but I’m going to take advantage of it.

This is the Facebook page for the new and improved version of this blog, which you can find HERE:

 

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Five Minute Friday: Write

Welcome to med school! Today’s class will focus on the dissection of cadavers.

Except they’re not dead yet.

That’s exactly what it feels like to have you peering into my brain case every week. This is exactly what the open heart surgery sans anesthesia is likefor me. This is what writing is. Me, writhing around on the floor. Probably crying. Maybe laughing. And you get to see this.

This is probably why more people aren’t writers. Or, at least, not the kind that I am.

Yes, slice me open with any dull knife. These veins? Why, yes, They most certainly do bleed. All. Over. The. Floor.

Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to clean any of this up. And what’s even better is that is happens again and again. Rather like an episode of The Walking Dead, only without the special effects makeup.

I think I’m still too attractive to make a good zombie. Then again…

*****

Five Minute FridayI’m joining the flash mob of writers over at LisaJo Baker’s place, which you can find here (for today’s offering), or by clicking on the picture to the right (for the general gist). The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing like your hair’s on fire, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides on Thursday just after ten p.m. via a tweet. Interested? Write something. Link up. Love on.

*****

Also: See the post BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! for details on why you won’t be able to read this blog starting next Monday.

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

goldfish jumping out of the water Its been in the works for a couple of weeks now, but there’s no point in holding back.

I’m changing the blog to a professional site!

I actually registered my domain name, and am working with the software, and it’s a HUGE investment in time. This is definitely MUCH more complicated than I ever would have imagined. I didn’t want to keep everyone in the dark for the MONTHS it might take me to get everything just where I want it to be in my perfect-blog-world. It’s just going to take time, and I ask you for your patience. You might show up and things will look the same, or they’ll be lime green, and I’ll be busily trying to figure out how to change the background color.

What this means for you, dear reader:

If you’re a reader who subscribes to my posts via email, this probably means nothing. WordPress assures me that they will transfer your subscription over to the new site (http://aftertheecstasythelaundry.com) with, allegedly, no action on your part. This will happen next Monday, 10 February 2014. I am making every attempt to post an article that very day, so you can see for yourself what happens. I’ll be watching too!

If you’re a reader who subscribes to my blog through the “Follow” button on the top of the WordPress site, this means that you will have to subscribe “for real.” Please, do this now. Go to the sidebar, where it says “Email subscription,” and do that. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure you won’t be seeing any updates. This change will begin next Monday, 10 February 2014. I’m posting that day, so you can see for yourself. If you don’t see a post here, this is exactly why. If you don’t make this change before Monday, you’ll be out of the loop all together. I’m expecting that I’ll lose some people. I hope it’s not too many. Please, subscribe.

For all my readers: I am really hoping to make this work. I’ve made an investment in real cash money to be able to take this blog to the next level. I hope and pray you’ll accompany me. I’ve relished your comments, and I’ve grown to expect them. I don’t want to lose you now.

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Make No Mistake About It: You’re Loved!

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

I laid on my bed and bawled. My pillowcase was damp on the edge, and I was desperately trying to muffle my sobs because I knew, I just knew, If I didn’t, that my mother would hear me, and then she would walk in and gently ask, “What’s the matter, honey?”

That always makes it so much worse.

And the pain. It would never end. Because… He… [choking]… He didn’t like me!

That, my friend, is junior high. I don’t even remember that guy’s name. His face, yes. His name, no.

*****

You’ve probably doubted it. At least once in a while. You might even doubt it right now.

Everyone has that feeling from time to time. “Nobody loves me.” Sometimes, we even question whether someone likes us.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Except for Abraham Lincoln. Man, everybody loved that guy, right?” Wrong.

“Well, except for Mother Teresa. She was certainly someone everyone loved.” Wrong.

“Okay. Fine. Jesus. Everyone loved Jesus.” Wrong.

I think you get my point. Everyone has feelings of being unloved. But most of the time, those feelings are based on things we do (/or don’t do).

People didn’t get angry at Lincoln because he was a big jerk, but because he did something jerky. Or, as this example illustrates, he said something jerky:

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,”1

People didn’t think Mother Teresa was a big jerk. Probably ever. But they did (and some still do) think she was misguided (or worse, which you can see here), and some even think she’s in hell (some balderdash to that account is here—I don’t want people to think I make up everything on this blog).

As for Jesus, I think the crucifixion is all the example I need. (You can Google that, if you need to, here.)

When someone doesn’t like people don’t like someone, it’s generally because of what they do. (Cheats at poker, for example.) Not because of who they are. (Left-handed brunette.) God’s not like that. God loves us in spite of who we are.

Let’s anthropomorphize a bit here. (It makes things easier.) God never has a moment when, looking down, God says, “That Cynthia, she thinks she’s doing okay, but I’ve got news for her. She’s really quite a loser. In fact, by My standards, she does some pretty nasty things. That’s just wrong. I don’t even like her.” Guess what? That never happens. Nope. (God didn’t even say that about Hitler. I know, I wasn’t going to bring up Hitler. I hate bringing up Hitler. But, you’ll have to admit, in this case, it’s pretty useful. Because… Hitler.)

I, as a Christian, can point to various Biblical passages when I talk about how God loves me (and you).

But other faith traditions also believe this. Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener writes poignantly of this in his article, “Does God Love Me?” For a Muslim perspective, there is this lovely piece by Quthrun Nada Djamil,  “Allah loves His servant more than a mother who loved children.”

I can feel confident that God loves me. So can you. Rest assured, you are loved.

_____

1That nonsense was uttered on September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, at the fourth debate with Stephen Douglas, the transcript of which you can read here. Obviously, Lincoln’s position evolved over time.

*****

I’m joining up with the delightful Holley Gerth for her series, “Coffee for Your Heart.” You can read about it by clicking on the illustration at the top, and read more entries (or link up yourself) here.

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Five Minute Friday: See

Can you see what I see?I don’t just want to use my eyes. I want to see. I want to get beyond the surface, beneath the skin.

“Open the eyes of my heart; I want to see You.” ~ Paul Baloche

I want to see.

I appreciate beauty. I do. I am deeply appreciative of the loveliness of the world around me.

I take many pictures of things that move me. Most of them never make it past the phone or the computer. I am only just learning to see as a photographer.

But there is so much more to see than what I can compose in the viewfinder. There is so much more to see beyond even what I can perceive with my heavily corrected vision. There is so much more to see than what I am already seeing.

“On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” (It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.) ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I want to see with the heart. I want to see the essentials. I want to see rightly.

*****

Five Minute FridayI’m joining the flash mob of writers over at LisaJo Baker’s place, which you can find here (for today’s offering), or by clicking on the picture to the right (for the general gist). The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides on Thursday just after ten p.m. via a tweet. Interested? Write something. Link up. Spread the word.

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Have a cuppa: Encouragement

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150“What encouraging words do you want the people you care about to hear as they begin a new year?”

That was the prompt that Holley Gerth gave on January 1 to begin her new series: Coffee for Your Heart. (You can read about it by clicking on the illustration at left, and read more entries, or link up yourself here.)

If there’s one thing I learned in the past year (and something I should’ve learned a long time ago, that’s for sure), it’s that life is full of hard things. It’s not easy. But that doesn’t mean give up.

I know, it’s very tempting.

We see videos on YouTube, we watch movies, we see television shows, maybe even a person demonstrating something at our local library. They all have one thing in common: they make it look easy. Effortless. Piece of cake.

But we all know it’s not really like that. So why do we give up? Because it’s haaaaard…

Vintage PianoI know I got into this rut (and it was years in the making, believe you me) where I got to the point where if I couldn’t figure something out in about fifteen minutes of honest effort, I believed I wasn’t meant to do it. I mean, obviously, God didn’t give me a special talent for intuitively mastering Gimp, or learning HTML (let alone cascading style sheets), so, clearly, these things must not be something I need to master.

And it’s true, I don’t really need to master Gimp or cascading style sheets to make my life meaningful. But there were a lot of other things that this “it’s too hard” attitude trickled into. Learning how to budget my money. Returning to playing the piano. Understanding the design theory behind becoming a better photographer. Singing in a church choir. I was no longer learning almost anything, because…haaaaard. I wasn’t even participating in a great many things I already knew how to do (at least a little) because…hard.

My life got dull, tedious, and so very sad.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Allison Vesterfelt, in her book, Packing Light, says:

“I think sometimes when things get hard, too many of us assume we’re moving in the wrong direction. … Like if we’re doing life right, it’s supposed to be easy.”

When I read this book last summer, this hit me like a ton of bricks. I distinctly remember looking up from the page and staring for a long time out the window in stupefaction. When had I stopped understanding this? Me, a pianist? A person who had spent weeks learning a single piece of classical music. What was I thinking?

It might be hard. But it will be worth it.

Yes. Yes it will.

And, oh, let me tell you. You will feel the most sublime sense of satisfaction when you accomplish that hard thing.

Relish that. Dance around to that music. Roll around in that sensation. Feel that good feeling of accomplishment. Because that feeling of satisfaction will carry you through the next hard thing. And the next.

Oh, things will probably never get easy. Really worthwhile things are never easy.

But they are worth it.

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