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

 

Sunday Thoughts: Struggling

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I find myself questioning why things are not going the way I think they should or the way that seems like the best way. I need God to move in my life in a way that is specific, so I pray. I have been here before with God and I know that He always comes through. He keeps His promises and I am always blessed.

This time I am full of doubt that what I need to happen will happen. I keep hearing myself say to God, “Ok, I can do this or that, just let me help move things along, and see what happens.” I instantly know it is the wrong answer. I know that I am to wait, trust and pray. I hate that answer. I want to act…I want  to do something, to react..anything!

Hence the struggle. Sit, wait….listen. remain faithful. Trust that God is in control. When all I want to do is move and fidget with my own ideas that are no where near as good as what God has for me. God’s will for my life is perfect for me. All I have to do is be patient and hold on to faith.

Yeah, easier said than done.

~Lori O’Gara

James 1:2-4 (NRSV)
2 My brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Sunday Thoughts: Who is God?

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George Washington Carver once said, “Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there.”

I have never understood why people argue about who God is. It does not matter what religion you subscribe to or what name you pin on God. The creator and the universal greater power is the same, God is still God.

When Christians try to put God in a nice neat box and say this God, our God is the only God, they are limiting the very God they claim to be all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent.

How can an omnipresent God who speaks to each soul in a unique way for that soul go by one name or a name at all? He has no need for a name. God just is.

We Christians say, “God has a plan for your life in His perfect will.” He loves us as individuals. It only stands to reason that each of us will have a personal connection to that power of God and communicate with God in the only way our imperfect minds know how. Naming God is a human construct.

God just is. He exists. Even God himself  said to Moses, “I am” when Moses asked what His name is. The power of creation, spirit and love that is in the universe, in nature, in us is the One True God. What you call this God is insignificant to the fact that you believe in God and embrace love. The fact God exists and that we find a connection through love and we share that love with our fellow living creatures, that is what is important.

I choose Christianity to serve God. It is arrogant of me to assume that my God will not reveal Himself to a person who chooses a different way to connect with Him through their spirit. All connections to God are sacred. I will go as far to say that all other religions that worship one God are worshiping the same true God. The great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, the Goddess, and others are different connections to God, however, there is still only one God.

I have reconciled this truth with to the part of my faith that says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know  my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 6-7)  Want proof? The Quran mentions Jesus more often that Mohammad. It doesn’t stop there, I see in other religions that there are other stories of the Messiah. These facts and others appear to make the connections between one God and all religions as a simple truth, there is one God.

I believe that we Christians are making a big mistake by undermining the scope of who God is by saying God isn’t in the other religions and by the way, here is God’s name. We shall call him this. We are molding Him to our image of God, when we should be encouraging others to connect to God in whatever way the spirit is calling them as individuals.

I will continue to search for a closer relationship with God and I encourage you to do the same. Search for God with love and a sincere thirst for truth. The power of God’s Love will find you right where you are, no matter what you call Him.

~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

No Ants

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One thing you will hear me talk about monkey chatter. That endless, not always helpful monologue in my brain. We all have monkey chatter and the monkeys have friends. I have struggled for the past year with ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts. (I wish I had thought of that acronym. Not sure where it started.) These ANTS are mean little buggers that corrupt happiness with great efficiency. They cause worry and strife where none exist. I had to realize that the ANTs caused problems to appear that were not really there. The more time I spent obsessing over the ANTs the worse I felt.

There had to be a deliberate and purposeful shift in my brain. I took time to examine the ANTs. I dissected them to see what they were made of and it was not pretty. They were made of self-doubt, fear and anxiety. They said things like, “I am not good enough”, “What if…” and “I just know this isn’t going to work out.”

Once I knew what they were and how they operated, I shifted my brain to actively combat the negative thoughts. I would like to say that I did this all on my own; however, I did not. Being loved and being shown that I am beautiful, I am enough, pushed my mind to shift away from the negative thoughts.  It is not easy. It is a constant battle between me and the army of ANTs. I must stop them as soon as I see the first wiggle of a feeler antenna on its head. I splat them dead right then and do not give it a chance to advance. It takes a conscience effort to squash the ANTs and keep them away.

I know that I am loved, wanted and cherished. I also know I am no fool. The ANTs can return any second. I am at peace and I am ready for them. I will not allow the ANTS to infest me again.

Believe in the power of positive thought.

(Coming soon, more on positive thoughts next post.)

~Lori O’Gara

Photo Credit: BuzzFeed.com

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