Sunday Thoughts: Choose Your Battles

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Choose your battles. Sometimes peace is more important than being right.

I have tried to be as transparent as I can. What you see here on this site and on my Facbook page is my digital fingerprint. I am who I am. I am not much of a mystery. What you see is what you get. I am not a drama queen. You won’t see me degrading someone in a comment section of any social media outlet. Even if I totally disagree with the opinion. I will try to express the truth in the situation without confrontation. There is so much negativity in the world these days and I am doing my best to keep it away from me.

I have decided to focus more on my inner being than looking at what is happening on the outside. I am writing everyday, which is challenging. There is this thing called life that gets in the way all the time. Oh and I have this other thing called a job that is necessary for other things like food and a roof.

I think that the battles we choose speak to who we are in our soul. What we fight for and about is what we value. If we value people we fight for them. If we value money we will fight for that. If we value love we will fight for love.

The question is how to balance what we value in our souls with what we need in our life to survive. Sometimes those two things do not match and are not compatible. I think peace is found when we make the important stuff in our being and the needed stuff for our survival the same things.

Something to think about during this time of year when the focus is on material things not always the important things.

~Lori O’Gara

 

Is this Weird? : Facebook

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I was looking at Facebook (the greatest time suck ever invented) I was scrolling through the ribbon of people in the “People you may know” section when I realized I do not know about 95% of the smiling faces. I was saying, “I don’t know you, I don’t know you, I don’t know you, cute hair, oh I like that outfit, nice, still don’t know you….” on and on. Then it was “Oh, you look fun.” I click the picture and read the person’s profile. I see we read the same sorts of books and like the same sorts of movies. It struck me that, no I don’t know the person, but maybe they would like to know me. I mean we have a mutual friend and she likes me. I am amazing and all.

Is it weird to send a message to a stranger and say “You don’t know me but I think you would like me since so-&-so likes me”….?

Then I ask myself, what would you do if you got a message like that?

It would go something like, oh a message…..no..nope… I do not know you, stalker! Delete.

I think I will keep scrolling down the timeline on the off chance that the 5% of people I actually know may still want to talk to me.

Like I said, biggest time suck EVER invented.

I think it is time for a vacation from Facebook again.

~Lori O’Gara

Foundation of Belief

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This past week I explained my foundation of belief so what does this have to do with my writing and my novels? I use this foundation, my life foundation, for all my stories and characters. I think all creative people use their values as a starting point for making art. The most authentic art comes from being true to oneself.

I write from love, humanity, respect, peace,and home with an under current of Christianity. I tackle the things that some Christian authors avoid. I address the gritty and ugly that comes with being a human. Then I show how these things in the light of love, respect, peace, and dignity. I have characters who live in such a way that the reader can see the person’s values.

The reason my novels are not classified as Christian Fiction despite the fact that I have Christian themes and strong characters is that I don’t force Christianity out through the words. I let it evolve in the lives of my characters just as it does in the lives of real people. The Perdido Key novels are full of people who learn and grow as they move through life’s chaos and deal with very real situations. My writings have something for everyone and are enjoyed by Christians and non Christians regardless of their beliefs. 

Let me know what you think.

~Lori O’Gara

Control

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FullSizeRender[700]Life is simple really. It is just a matter of moments and decisions that get you from one moment to the next. Simple. No mystery about it. Just one moment then another and another. You decide what to do in the next moment. You can get brave and plan future moments, most of us do. Then there are the moments that are planned for us one after another after another. Work, school, responsibilities and obligations are just preplanned moments.

Who or what is in control for your moments and thus your life is entirely up to you.

What about God? Will you let God control your next moment?

Each life is nothing but a series of moments that come and go. We live one moment at a time. How we choose to live the next moment is in our control.

What? You don’t believe that? What about obligations when you must do things you do not want to do? Yes, that is in your control too. You choose to participate in what is expected of you or not. You choose what happens. Don’t give me that, you are not in control, life makes you do certain things whether you want to or not.

Wrong!

Did you get up this morning? Yes? You could have stayed in bed. You control what you do, always.

So, stop with the he made you mad and the you have to do this or that. Don’t let me hear you say your boss, parent, spouse, friend made you do……..No, you are in control of every moment of everything in your life.

The only two things you are not in control of are other people’s actions and acts of God. Your reaction to those two things are still in your control.

Say it with me, “I control my reactions to the actions of others and I am in charge of moments in my life one moment at a time.”

Yes you will have to contend with the consequences of your actions; however you choose the action. Rolling the D20 is optional.

Believe in living your life your way.

~Lori O’Gara

Power of One

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As of 10 p.m. tonight, I have written three complete novels. One is published and two have release dates. It is a miracle that I accomplished in less than two years what I was unable to accomplish for many years before. There is one difference. I have the mental support that everyone tells you that you should have but you think you can do it on your own.  Well let me tell you I am proof that with the right person in your corner you can do amazing things.

All it really takes is that one person to have your back. That one person to make sure you eat and get enough rest. That one person to let you cry when the words won’t come. That one person to slap you (figuratively) back into your right mind when you feel sorry for yourself.  That one person who will tolerate your tantrums. That one person to celebrate with you when you reach your goals. That one person to be the strength when you are weak. That one person to be your voice when you have none. That one person to keep the faith. That one person to be proud of you and who lets the world know it. That one person to love you through it all.

Believe in the power of one.

~Lori O’Gara

 

Inspiration

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8c62fdfb94b70ed519b2ac5eaa01a446When I was in my teens and twenties my generation got our inspiration from bumper stickers, t shirts, and posters. The same Hang In There kitten hanging from a tree type quotes are now all over social media. Personally I think they are wonderful. Now, if people reading them would try to implement the positive ones into their lives and ignore the negative ones that would be better.  Inspiration can come from any where. There always seems to be the right words right there at the right time when you need it. If you scroll and you can’t find what you speaks to your inner peace, keep looking it will pop up in a second.

The problem with inspiration is it can be very persuasive and not always in a positive way. For instance, if you find out that your significant other is cheating, you may be inspired by one if the many artistic quotes to give him a Bobbit make over or the groovy Stella silent treatment. Have a little fire scarecrow. (For you whipper snappers, google….it is your friend.) None of those inspirations are very positive and may get you 5-20 in the state’s best accommodations. My advice, leave the vengeance to God and keep scrolling.

Seek inspiration that is positive. Save the quotes that inspire you to be a better person. If you read one and think, wow that is so very true and I can (choose one be/do/aspire to)  that then it is a keeper. If you read one and think, Damn sister I wouldn’t have shared that….then move along Sally.  Either way, use what the good Lord gave you for common sense and be selective. Share the positive…..oh c’mon…..just do it.

Believe in positive inspiration.

Peace out.

~Lori O’Gara

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connections

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The invention of Facebook and other networking sites are a marvelous thing. I think about why people are drawn to such places to begin with. Is it the ambiguous nature about them? We can, if we choose,  hide behind fake names and locations. At first I thought that must be it, the ability to hide from the real world who we are and change to what we want the world to believe we are. Fantasy and smoke screens. The more I observed what was going on with social media and looked at who was using it, it seems that staying anonymous is not why we flock to them.

More and more people are being true to their identities on these sites. Posting real pictures and real parts of their life for all to see. There is a shift from hiding to openness, but controlling who sees the inside of our lives. If someone hurts our feelings we simply delete them from our friend list. If someone is nice to us we add them. We share what we want them to know and keep our secrets to ourselves. I have 300 plus friends on Facebook and know about that many more. I feel emotionally connected to about 1/4 of them and the other 3/4 of them I feel happy to know. I use a real picture of me, but screen what I share very carefully. If  we can still make up things and control what we share, but the big question is why? Why do we find it easy to post who we are, what we really think and feel on a screen?

For me as a Christian and a writer, I love the concept of captive audience. I can share my words and maybe reach someone who I couldn’t actually speak to in real life. That is one reasons I keep a Facebook account. The other reason is the connection to family out-of-town. It’s good for that too.

Let’s not forget that Facebook is public. What we post on there is just as if we said it in a crowded room. If you won’t say it out loud in a room full of 300 people don’t post it…..really, think about it.  It is easy to think that somehow the screen shields us when in reality your friends are more apt to read what you post than to listen to what you say. So remember, if you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face don’t write it on a wall in cyber space where the world can read it.

Believe in connection.

~Lori O’Gara

Write, Write, and Write

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“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

Like many writers I have pieces and parts of stories,  novels, and  poetry. I have scraps of characters, plots and settings all over the place. They are written on scraps of paper and in notes on my computer and in my phone.  Most of which are complete ideas but not completely written. As I work through actually completing a novel I have learned just as much if not more about myself as I am about writing. For instance, did you know that you can procrastinate for several minutes just by staring inside the refrigerator even when you aren’t hungry? Or that If you snuggle your loved one taking a nap is easier than forming sentences?

I have discovered that I am an expert at not writing . I can find other things to do very easily. Not that writing is hard, it isn’t. Writing is the easy part. Writing and still living a normal life is not so easy. You still have to eat, sleep, spend time with family, and work (unless you’re independently wealthy). I like to eat and play. I am not wealthy so I have a job that I love. When I sit down to write writing happens. I manage to consume wine and get words down. The hardest part is getting the time to sit down in the first place.

I found that just making myself sit and write when I have time will get words out and stories will come to fruition. Even if I don’t want to write,  the sitting and writing something, even nonsense, is the best way to start. Once I start writing the stopping is not as difficult.

Believe to do something productive, even if you don’t fee like it.

~Lori O’Gara

Light

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Create what sets your heart on fire, and it will illuminate the path ahead.~Unknown

Light is what allows us to understand the world we live in. The detection of light is powerful tool for probing the universe. It is through the study of light that we can understand the composition stars light years away or the living cells in us. It is no accident that humans can ‘see’ light. Our language reflects our fascination with light. Isn’t it said in scripture somewhere that after groping in the dark, we see the light and understanding dawns.

To me light is almost a living thing. It embraces us on the outside with visible light and on the inside with knowledge. God is the source of all light. He put the sun and stars in the universe. He gave man the knowledge to create light. He gave us fire and later man harnessed electricity. I know scientists can explain to me that light is a form of radiation. God made the radiation. We can trace all light to Him.

Create what sets your heart on fire. Create your light. Make a difference in this world of shadows. Even when we see shadows in our lives we should be encouraged. Shadows can not exist without light.

Believe in the light of good.

~Lori O’Gara

Listen to Your Heart

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Recently I gave a thirteen-year-old girl the some of best advice I had received. I did not know at the time when I got the advice that I would one day pass it along to someone else, but I did. She needed to hear it. It was perfect timing for what is going on in her life at the exact moment that she needed it. Just as it was perfect advice that I received at the very moment that I needed it. It is the kind of advice that once you hear it is seems so simple you wonder why you didn’t think of it for yourself.

I want to believe that it is a biblical truth and that it is from God. He sent this truth to someone and that someone sent it to me. Now I have passed it on like a mantel of truth to the next generation. I will pass it on again and again as it is needed, because it will be needed again. That is how this advice of truth works.

Here is the catch. Just because someone hears this truth does not mean that they will receive it and will use it. It must be followed exactly for it to work. Like an exact recipe. If you deviate from the truth it will not turn out right. It will fall like a cake with not enough flour in the mix. This truth will fix a multitude of problems. It isn’t a miracle cure. It is not easy to do sometimes, often not. Often it is where the rubber meets the road and the difficult decisions must be made. It is the difference between moving forward and standing still in your pain. It is healing or not.

It sometimes requires you to break before you can bend. If you follow this advice and trust it, it will work out right. It is the cross roads of survival. It is where things happen, good or bad.

What is the truth? What is this advice that will be there when you need it? If I tell you will you promise to use it correctly and share it when the moment presents itself again?
If you said yes, if you agree keep reading if you said no, you do not want that kind of responsibility, stop reading now.

Here it is, here is the advice.

“Listen to your heart. Trust your heart. Your mind will lie to you but your heart will always tell you the truth. It will always tell you what you need. Your heart is always right.”

Easy yet not. Simple yet complicated. Predictable however unfathomable.
Listen to your heart. Always.

Believe what your heart tells you. It will never  steer you wrong.

~ Lori O’Gara