Growth in Gradual Steps

Growth can be hard especially when it means realizing that you can’t do all of the things you were once able to do. My ambition does not always match my physical abilities and that frustrates me to no end. I keep setting goals that, if I take into account my new found physical limitations which oftentimes weigh on my mental state as well, are not realistic goals for the person that I am now. I set them as if I hadn’t been in life changing accidents and as if I haven’t put on more weight due to those life changing accidents curbing my physical capabilities. I set them as if I were the me that I was 5 or 6 years ago and that just isn’t who I am anymore, regardless of how much I wish I was still that person.

In some ways I have grown into a better version of myself and in others, the one’s that I’m more limited in, let’s just say the wisdom did not follow with the age. I still keep thinking I can do things at the same pace, with the same veracity, and the same stamina that I could when I was in my late twenties, or even early thirties. How foolish is it of me to still hold myself to that standard?

I suppose adequate growth would be me adjusting my goals to something manageable that I know I can get accomplished. Here recently I have been working on tailoring my goals to be more in line with what I know I can actually get done not what I think in my head (because in my mind I can do a lot of things that I can’t actually do in reality lol). So far it has been working really well for me and has allowed me to feel less pressure to get things done. But I still have the problem where I still feel like I’m not being productive enough.

I think people who are overly ambitious have this constant need to feel as if every second of the day if productive in some way. When you think about it, that sounds completely irrational because there are things like sleep and taking care of yourself in some way that doesn’t involve doing anything. Sometimes taking care of yourself is simply doing nothing at all. It’s the doing nothing at all part that I would like to get to a place where it doesn’t make me feel guilty. I’m not quite there yet but I’m working on it. I hope that in being as productive as you possibly can you find time to do nothing and simply just be.

Until next time… #BeKindtoYourself #BePatient #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are We Going To Just Stare At the Wall or Find A Way To Climb Over It?

I’ve been staring at a wall lately and that wall has time written all over it. Time is not my friend. There is never enough of it and yet it feels like the time I do have can’t be adequately balanced in a satisfactory manner. I’ve been struggling lately with this balancing time thing with taking on something non-creative in order to pay the bills and having the creative side of me, that being writing which is like air to me, suffer drastically.

I mean I won’t say that I’m not able to write ever, but it’s a far cry from the amount of time I was once able to put into my writing and as I said, writing is like air to me so right now I quite literally feel like I am not able to breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating and all I can think about is writing but it’s the one thing I’m unable to do as freely as I need to. But I think that I’m looking at this the wrong way.

I’m staring at the wall and instead of figuring out a way over or around that wall I am just stuck, looking up at this massive road block, and wondering what the hell am I going to do. I’m not going to pretend I have the answer for this problem at this exact moment but I do know that giving up is not an option. We spend so much time staring at the wall rather than climbing over that wall and that is tantamount to giving up. I say we because I can’t be the only one who gets stuck at the road blocks that you come across.

Your wall may not be writing. It could be whatever you’re most passionate about and have been struggling to weave it into your schedule. If you are struggling too then I want you to know that you’re not alone and that we are going to climb this wall together because quitting is never an option when your dreams are waiting for you beyond that wall. We may need some time to assess the wall, to make a plan of action on how we are going to get over or around that wall, but one way or another, we will overcome the wall that is blocking our way.

Until next time… #BePatient #BePersistent #BeDetermined

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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We Can’t Always Be In Bloom

It is impossible to be continually productive, every single minute, of every single day, in every single year. With that knowledge, I’m wondering why I keep beating myself up when a few minutes go by without me being productive on something. I haven’t been doing so great with my writing these last few weeks, mostly because my schedule changed due to taking on things to better provide financially for me and my daughter who has just entered college. The problem with doing things you have to do to survive is that the things that feed your soul (in my case, writing) fall by the wayside and that is literally killing me.

I’ve said it here many times before, but writing is like breathing for me. If I can’t write, then I am not a very happy person and probably not pleasant to be around. Writing makes me happy; it helps me think, it allows me to expel emotions that I would otherwise hold onto, and it just centers me. I have not found the balance yet and it is making me depressed and anxious and extremely overwhelmed and unhappy.

I shared some more about these struggles in a video I posted on my YouTube channel last week for Mental Health Awareness Month and I go more in detail about what I’ve been struggling with and just how much it’s been affecting me. It did make me realize (along with a really good friend of mine) that I am not a machine, and I cannot always be in the doing phase. Sometimes I just have to be in the phase of simply being and I have to be okay with that. It’s hard for me because so much of my identity is tied into my writing. I mean I’ve been writing since I was little (like 8 or 9) to get all of the emotions I could never verbalize out so to not be able to find the balance to do what I love is hurting.

I am going to try and work out a schedule to see if I can figure out a way to balance it all out without losing sleep (which was my initial plan) and have even crafted a schedule that I am crossing my fingers and praying it works but even in saying that I know that to protect my mental health I am going to have to be okay even if I don’t figure it out. It’s okay if everything I want doesn’t happen all at once.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeReflective #BePatient

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Plans Change and We Must Adapt

 

Okay so I had every intention of starting the year off strong last week. That was the plan anyway. However, that is not how things went. I think that it is becoming a tradition with me that the year starts off with nothing but good intentions but almost always the slowest ever start. I was not feeling well last week at all. It was a really bad pain week (I have chronic pain- some days are good and some, not so good) and I had a cold that I thought (in a panic) could have possibly been COVID for a few days (thankfully it wasn’t) so the combination of being sick with a cold and in a lot of pain made for a disaster of a start to the New Year.

Nevertheless, I still managed to complete a few of my scheduled tasks last week and am trying not to kick myself too much for the things that I didn’t get accomplished. There’s nothing more that makes me feel inadequate then when I plan things to go a certain way and they don’t even come close. Logically I know that almost nothing ever goes according to the way we plan them but with so many things that are out of our control, our plans are essentially one of the few things that we can actually feel like we have some sense of control over.

I think a part of what makes it so hard to learn from lessons of our past is the fact that we keep repeating the same mistakes and the same misguided ways of thinking. We instinctively know the things that we shouldn’t do and that the plans that we make for ourselves could fall by the wayside at any moment because, well God’s plans and our plans might not line up with one another, and yet we continue to plan and to make the same misguided mistakes anyway.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, mind you.  After all, we do need a plan for things (even in the Bible God had his chosen few make plans). We just have to make sure that we are not so dead set on OUR plan that we somehow miss the instructions that God gives us a long the way for how HE wants us to change the plan.

There are going to be curves in the road and almost certainly some sharp turns that come out of the blue and we have to be ready, and we have to be prepared to make the right decision on the which direction to go. And since we can’t always count on there being a U-turn in the road for us to course correct, the best way is to take things a little slower and a little steadier so that we don’t miss those curves and those sharp turns. Don’t be so upset at your plan not coming to fruition that you miss the joy of knowing that God’s plan is still working.

Until next time…#BeVigilant #BePatient #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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It is Now Planning Season

So today is the last day of NaNoWriMo and I know that I’ve been MIA for the last two weeks. I realized that I had to put my total focus on writing my novel for NaNo these last few weeks. I actually put quite a few things on the back burner but it all paid off because I did it! I won NaNoWriMo!

Now while that does not mean that the book is finished because it is most certainly not (I’m not sure a book would ever be completed for me in 50,000 words lol)  but the pressure of finishing those first chunk of words of my novel is over and now I can relax a bit. I say relax but really relaxing is the last thing that’s really going to happen in the month of December.

December is the month of planning for me (and a lot of other writers frankly) in which I start taking a hard look at the year of 2021 and what I want to happen over the course of that year, the goals, the vision board, the reading lists, the books I plan to write and publish, the merchandise I am releasing, the new things for the magazine, my YouTube channel, my newsletter, and other things. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it?

Yeah it’s overwhelming when I lay it all out like that but I am a planner and a person who needs goals to strive to reach and while I may not reach all of them (Lord knows I did not reach my goals in 2020—but who did lol) I will definitely feel better about myself if I know that I am at least giving it a try. So what do all of you do to get prepared for the New Year? Are you feeling a little shy about planning for 2021 given the year that was 2020? Share your planning methods with me if you’d like! Until next time… #BeMotivated #BePrepared #BeFearless

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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So About This Thing Called Writing

Writing is hard! Oh I’m not complaining mind you but I just needed to get that out real quick because I think that some people who don’t write for a living believe that writing is super easy. I know this because I get comments from people such as “you don’t have anything to do because all you do is write”, or “oh that’s not so hard, all you have to do is put words on a page”, or possibly the most frustrating of them all specifically in terms of being an editor, “oh you’re only correcting people’s spelling and grammar mistakes which is something you love to do anyway so it shouldn’t be that hard”.  Let me say this! Just because I love to do something and am passionate about doing said thing does not mean that it is easy once that thing then becomes the way that I make my living.

Don’t get me wrong, I chose this (well really, writing chose me but I digress) so I am completely okay with the hard work and dedication that it takes to be a writer and freelance editor and to write full length novels in the effort to have them published.  I am not just aware but rather I take pride in that hard work and dedication. What I take issue with is those who don’t understand that it is in fact hard work and dedication that goes into being a writer, especially a full time writer.

I have people who don’t understand that during November (the month of NaNoWriMo, and really October as well (Prep-Tober) I will not be quite as available for idle chit chat or random nothingness of conversation. It’s not that I don’t love them and perhaps want to talk or catch up but I am serious about my writing and November is one of the only months where I can solely (or mostly anyway) focus on writing my novel and not just on editing other people’s work.

Then I also have people who want me to lower my rates for editing a project for them and then proceed to tell me that the person who edited the first project they had did it for a considerable amount less.  Maybe they charged in a different way (flat rate and not hourly as I charge) but regardless my time is equally as important as theirs and to tell me that it should only take a couple of hours or maybe four to edit something is presumptuous of them as if they are the only project I have and as if I don’t take care in my work and don’t just rush through it. 

So that is my Monday rant for this week and I’m sorry but it was something that I really needed to get off my chest. I hope all of you (well those who are not writers) out there truly understand that writing and/or editing is not easy nor is it something that can be rushed through and the writers and editors that you work with and hire deserve to be paid for their hard work and effort that they put into your project. Now if you are also a writer then I hope that you don’t also find yourself having to explain the time that you spend on your writing and having to rationalize how much your writing services may be worth.  I wish you all well today and everyday.  Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeMindful #BeAppreciative

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Are You Headed In the Wrong Direction?

You are never going to get to the right place if you are headed in the wrong direction. It’s something my Pastor said in the message on Sunday’s live stream in talking about repairing the breaches in your life that are holding you back from accomplishing your goals and your purpose. Imagine you’re driving somewhere and you’re taking one route to get there but it’s in the complete opposite direction of your destination. How can you expect to end up in the place you need to be if you continue to stay on the wrong path, especially if you’re too proud to ask for directions.

We’re not going to get everything right, I think that’s obvious. But what hurts us most is when we’re unable to admit or acknowledge when we’ve gotten it wrong. In order to get all that we want out of this life, all that we’re placed here to do, there’s a level of sacrifice that is going to be necessary. I hear a lot of times people make declarations about clinging to their pride, their pride won’t let them ask for help (I definitely fall into this category), or their pride won’t allow them to ask for the right directions. If we can’t even sacrifice our pride to get to the place that we need to go then we’re not going to get very far.

Sometimes the person you need to go to most to help get you turned around and going in the right direction is God and I know the feeling of thinking that maybe you’re problems are too big for God’s help or even worse, thinking that you’ve asked for God’s help too much and thinking that he’ll grow tired of coming to your aide. I’ve come to realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth. What would be worse is having God to go to, knowing that you’re heading the wrong way, and because you’re too proud to go to him you continue going in the wrong direction. That not only hinders your journey and short changes the people who you were placed on this earth to be a blessing to, but it also underestimates the unconditional love God has for us and it undermines his purpose for your life.

Look we’re in crazy times right now and some of us will be in isolation for longer than others. This is the perfect time to correct the course you’re on if you were headed in the wrong direction. It’s the perfect time to go to HIM if you have been reluctant to go to HIM before. It’s the time to not worry about what you might have to give up in order to get where it is you need to go. None of us are perfect and none of us are without pride but is your pride really worth holding onto if you end up having nothing to show for it? Now is the time to turn things around. Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeOpen #BeofService

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Use This Time Wisely: A New Season is Coming

It has definitely been a crazy time for this world in the last several weeks, or is it months now (I’m losing track of time), and it’s safe to say a new normal is on the way. I will admit that I don’t follow the news of what’s going on minute by minute like a lot of people I know are doing. As a person who is prone to suffering serious heavy bouts of depression and who also has severe anxiety on top of that, anxiety which has drastically increased in the last 4 years (you know why), I just can’t feed my mind with the news on a constant loop. I stay informed, I get the notifications that are specific to my state, or the state my sister lives in (Oklahoma) and I may catch a Cuomo briefing here or there but I don’t watch the daily stats or that daily circus that happens on a grand stage. It’s not good for my mental health and I have to take care of that if I am going to survive this thing and come out better than I was when it started.

What I have tried to do is find the positive in all of this mess and I know there is nothing positive about anyone dying but there are lessons and things that you can take away from any tragic situation in order to make it all mean something. Back when the social distancing was implemented and we couldn’t got to church services anymore, for our very first live stream church service my Pastor said that he believed that this pandemic was going to be a reset for a lot of people and for a lot of communities. I think that he was right. I see a lot of people spending time with their families now, time that they claimed they didn’t have before. I see a whole lot of communities actually acting like a community and helping each other, helping out the small businesses in their communities, buying small items from people who are just starting their business because they want to be supportive.

I see people taking the time to be more kind and decent to their neighbors and actually asking the people around them are they okay, do they need anything from the store, do they just need someone to vent to so they can get their feelings out. There are also people going through financial hardships who are getting a major reset in terms of maybe they are having a debt that was interfering with their credit history forgiven, or maybe their getting a reprieve from the expectation of being evicted from their home and not having to deal with the possibility of being homeless while all of this is going on. I’ve also seen a lot of people taking the time get back on track spiritually and working on their relationship with God during this time.

I know that there are a lot of bad things that we can pluck out this pandemic that’s happening and we could allow ourselves to get stuck and dwell on them. But why do that? Why not allow ourselves to rest in the good that is coming out of this tragic situation. Again, as I stated earlier, I know that there’s nothing good about anyone dying, of course not. But doesn’t it make you want to make your life mean that much more. Doesn’t it make you want to treasure the time that you do have and do what you were placed on this earth to do. Whether you know what it is or not, we all have a purpose that God put you here for and if you weren’t sure what that purpose was before then now is as good a time as any to figure it out.

Don’t waste this time worrying about things that you simply can’t control. Of course you have to be cautious and make sure that you and your family are staying safe but don’t forget to cherish the quality time that you are getting with your loved ones and spend time on being productive and fulfilling your purpose as well. Also, last but certainly not least, don’t forget to take care of yourself both physically, and mentally. The time for a new season is shifting into place so, in every way you can, get ready! Until next time… #BeSafe #BeProductive #BeGrateful

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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When Time Can No Longer Be Your Excuse

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:10

So a few weeks ago my Pastor, in our newly formatted virtually streamed church services, began a new series about “Repairing our Breaches” which is very timely for the chaos that we are currently dealing with in the world. So this Sunday the subtopic of the message was developing a mind to work. He mostly talked about us using this time to work on the things that God has set before us to get done, to not get complacent in this time of what he best described as a reset, and to essentially not let the grass grow under your feet while you’re waiting for everything to get back to ‘normal’. Here’s the thing. I think that this may just be our new normal and oddly enough a lot of this chaos has gotten us back to the basics but I supposed they say everything that was once old becomes new again for a reason.

So are you going to spend this time wishing that things could go back to what you’re used to and then you’ll get started working on that project you were finishing up again or are you going to take this precious time that the universe has given you, where you can’t make any excuses as to why you’re not finishing, and actually get the work done. I’m not just speaking to all of you out there; I’m speaking to myself as well. I’ve been having plans for this, that, and the other, that I have put off for far too long, some out of not having the time, some out of not being properly equipped (at least I didn’t think I was), and some out of sheer fear that likes to rear it’s ugly little head every time I get the nerve to do something that I wouldn’t ordinarily do. Hearing this message on Sunday I had to come to terms with the fact that I am people. I have to develop, or better yet redevelop my mind to get this work done.

One of the things that my Pastor said on the live stream service that really struck a chord with me also and that I hope helps someone else out there is that you have to stop comparing how things are now with how things used to be. I know we tend to use how far we’ve come as a measuring stick to see and rationalize with ourselves just how much work we have actually done and doing it that way can lead us to believe that we’ve come a long way and that we can stop and rest for a bit. However, my Pastor suggested that we measure whether we are truly doing the work that we are supposed to be doing by measuring how things are now in relation to how things should be. In other words, you may be in a good place now but what place should you be in?

Are you doing just enough to say you’ve accomplished something or could you be doing more? If you are doing everything that God has instructed you to do then the task would be completed and there would be no more in that particular goal left to achieve and you can then move onto the next goal because God’s work that he’s placed on you is never truly done. I know this time that we are in right now is chaotic and it’s stressful and can be hard to navigate but you’re not in it alone and I am right here with you. Let’s use this time to get some of those things we didn’t have to time to do before completed and let’s put some good back out into this world. It sure could use it! Until next time… #BeMindful #BeProductive #BeofService

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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The Social Distance Between

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  ~Philippians 4:6

With what’s been going on in the world the last couple of weeks (or months depending on where you’re located) it’s hard to think that there can be any good in this scenario. One of the things that disappointed me the most about the quarantined methods that have been enforced was having to miss church this past Sunday (and next Sunday as well) because I haven’t missed church one single time since I’ve been working on strengthening my relationship with God and I love every aspect of being at church from the message that always seems to be designed just for me (although I know it’s not), down to the fellowship that takes place when I’m there and the bonds that I have begun to form with some of the members there. So this past Sunday as with most of the world we were forced to live stream our service and the message was so timely.

One main point that the pastor made was that while the circumstances that have forced everyone to have to take a step back are not ideal at all, it is still somehow God getting us to slow down and maybe take stock of what we have and for some of us, it’s him answering prayers in as unplanned a way as one can think of. The pastor touched on how there are some people who hadn’t been able to make time to get their life balanced, to get their families on track, or to even spend time with their families because life always has us in such a hurry that we often don’t appreciate the little things that so many other people are not blessed with.

So at this time when schools are closed and some are forced to telecommute, or just not work at all, this would be a moment in which you can spend more time with your spouse and your kids at home, to check in with them and to make sure everything is on track and where you want it to be. You can take some time to call and check on friends or distant family members that you hadn’t had the time to check on or catch up with before because life had you so busy. This is an excellent time to strengthen your relationship with God and talk to him.

There are those of us who were in a struggling situation where you were praying to God for some more time to have to work that problem out and suddenly God has granted you more time so work on fixing the problem. The point is, when time is the one thing we can never get back and we so often complain that there’s not enough of it, during these weeks or however long this event lasts, use that time wisely and cherish it. Until next time… #BeFaithful #BeMindful #BeVigilant  

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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