August 19, 2022

Distracted?! by Tracy Krauss

Distracted? Me?

Ha!

This month's prompt seems especially appropriate right now. Writing has had to take a back burner due to the many other things going on in my life. Let me fill you in...

My husband has been SLOWLY renovating a house we bought about nine years ago. It is directly across the street from where we live now. At the time, the housing market was brisk, but we got a really good deal on the house, so we bought it. It was going to be our "ticket" to retirement...  A sudden crash in the market ended that plan, so we've been picking away at the substantial renovations ever since. This year, the housing market suddenly picked up again. Ever the optimist, my husband stuck a "For Sale" sign in the window of the house we currently live in, even though the "new" house wasn't ready yet. Guess what? Our house sold within three days! YIKES! That was at the end of June and we have to be out of our current house by the end of August. All well and good, except the other house still isn't habitable, despite a flurry of contractors and many late nights. (No bathroom installed yet, I'm afraid. Otherwise, I'd be up for camping in the house...) We may be living in a hotel for a while, but we are hoping there will at least be one room painted where we can store our belongings.

Enough about that! Two of my daughters were having babies this year, upping our grandchildren to nine. EXCEPT... my one daughter, who was planning to have her baby at home all along, went into labor and had TWO babies. SURPRISE!! Yes, she had twins and SHE DIDN'T KNOW SHE WAS HAVING TWINS.  She chose not to have an ultrasound, but four healthcare professionals did not catch the second heartbeat or any other signs. She literally did not know she was having a second baby until she was being born! She now has FIVE children under five. (And we now have TEN grandchildren!) Needless to say, I hurried on over to her farm, about an hour away, and spent several days there doing what I could. This happened at the end of July. 

Add to the mix quite a lot of company. A friend came and stayed for a few days right before the babies were born and then four of my siblings came for a week in early August. I love company, so I was glad to have them and their visits were planned before my husband put that "For Sale" sign in the window...

Did I mention that I am going to a four-day teacher's convention at the end of August and won't be home when we are actually supposed to be moving? And on it goes. 

I'm not sure if these count as "distractions". In fact, the writing prompt for this month mentioned "focusing on our writing and the important things in life... "  I'd say all of the above fit into the "important" category (especially those sweet twins!) so I wouldn't call them distractions. 

However, all of the above has definitely put a stop to my grandiose writing plans for the summer which included finishing two audiobooks I've been working on. The truth is, I don't usually get too distracted when it comes to my writing. (Okay, not true. I watch too much HGTV.) As Carol Harrison mentioned in her post, I find making lists and creating deadlines for myself works well to keep me on track. However, sometimes LIFE happens and those lists and deadlines have to go out the window. 

Hopefully, I'll see many of you at Fall Conference, where I plan to put my feet up and relax!


Tracy Krauss
writes, renovates, teaches, and loves on her grandchildren in Tumbler Ridge, BC. Visit her website for more: https://tracykrauss.com 


August 18, 2022

The Distractions of This World by Alan Anderson

 


There are many distractions in life these days. Everything from politicians and their misuse of power to all too many self-centered narratives that only keep people apart. Personally, I am done with these types of distractions that interfere with the things that matter in life, including my writing. People do not have to agree with me, of course, and that is their prerogative.

 

 

This past couple of years have taught me of my insignificance to most of the world. I also realize I cannot save or fix the world. I can hopefully influence people I meet by being an example of a child of God. I am not saying this to sound noble. I am saying this to remind myself of why I live.

 

When I hear of tragic things going on in the world like the war in Ukraine, or effects of the pandemic around the world, I realize my limitations. I also realize with these limitations and how distracting world events can be, I turn to prayer. The world is living according to its nature, and I must do the same.

 


As a Christian I pray to God about His love for people and ask His will to be done. Others may mock or chide, “You pray? You think that is doing something worthwhile? Is this the best you can do?” I do not allow the naysayer types to distract me. I realize the so-called wisdom, or even compassion of people, falls short, when God is left out of the picture.

 

 

One of our Orthodox Christian saints, Saint Paisios, said, “What I see around me would drive me insane, if I did not know that no matter what happens, God will have the last word.” As Christians we can rest in these words. The many distractions all around us do not go unnoticed by God.

 

 

A reduction in time spent on anti-social media platforms like Facebook is also a reminder of how much a distraction such platforms are. In an ironic twist a post on Facebook is what helped encourage me to do this. Here is what it said:

 

“If you knew how quickly people would forget about you after your death, you will not seek in your life to please anyone but God.”---Saint John Chrysostom

 

 

The past two, or so, years. here in Canada has been a time in history where I no longer have faith in politicians. For us to be true to how God’s people are to live in this world, we cannot afford to put our trust in the world.

 

 

Let us be mindful of a writing prompt for this month’s blog post. “Our world is filled with distractions—technological, commercial, and more—that keep us from focusing on our writing and the important things in life.”

 

 


Another writing prompt pushes us a little farther when it says, “How do the Lord’s nudgings propel your writing and life forward?” Here, again, is a statement to compel me as a follower of God to shake of the distractions of the world. Please know, I am not saying I have been a success in this endeavour. I am still a work in progress.

 

 

Please understand I do not advocate we look down upon the world. We must remember; however, we are in, but NOT of this world. Considering eternity these distractions, even if they attack us, or end our lives, do not last forever. Our lives with God do last forever.

 

May God help us keep our focus away from distractions!






Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents. Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca.


August 16, 2022

Dealing with Distraction by Lorilee Guenter

 


Games. Travel. Media. Reading. Even housework. 

My days are filled with distraction. Sometimes, the distractions distract me from one another, leaving a trail of unfinished projects and tasks. 

During some seasons, I deal with them well. My focus may wander but my routines, the rhythms of my  days, help me minimize them. In other seasons, the routines crumble and the rhythms change. It is these days and these times when it becomes difficult and even feels impossible to determine which things are important.

Some of the distractions are important and even necessary. These are opportunities for rest and refreshment. They are opportunities to connect with and to help people around me. The days offer experiences that add to the image well and become part of future creative projects from art to poetry and even essay or fiction. The days add character and build relationship.

It took years of frustration to embrace the change of opportunity and focus for each season. Even now I still struggle. I recognize quicker that the distractions are part of a season of rest and renewal. However, I can be a slow learner and, when I expect my routine will remain the same winter, spring, summer, and fall, I set myself up for frustration -- a frustration caused by stubbornness and pride. God gave us seasons as an example in nature. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us there is a season to plant and a season to harvest. There is a season for everything, including rest. I can not plant a garden in January nor can I harvest in March. Why then should I be surprised that in January the images and ideas bubble up and bloom while in July the images and ideas are planted as I hike, garden and explore the abundance of creation alive around me? Just as my houseplants may bloom in January, some writing happens in July. The balance between the two is reflected in the season.

Summer is one of my seasons of distraction - necessary and renewing distraction. This year spring was also a season of distraction, but not the same time of refreshment. It was a time of frustration and excuse. It began with mandated rest and recovery that opened the way for mental spinning as I tried to catch up on everything at once and did nothing at all. Except, as I look back, it wasn't nothing. Mixed in amongst the time wasters were lessons for now and in the future. As I reflect, I notice once again how God uses every circumstance for His glory, even the ones that come from us giving in to the easy way instead of following His nudges and promptings. He redeems our mistakes, our failures, and our lost time. We miss out on the best He had originally planned for us since we gave that up, however temporarily, for our own way.

As I write this, I am sitting surrounded by plants and soft music. It is the perfect space to reflect. Or is it? Outside this terrace the sounds of the city continue. The glass walls that surround this oasis do not block out the horns, the rumbles of large vehicle, or the general hum of distraction. I did not expect to be here. I have a choice to use this as a gift God provided in an unexpected way or to embrace the distraction provided by the bustle of so many people living and working in close proximity. Even that distraction is one of God's gifts. Tomorrow, I will venture out and embrace the images, people, and opportunities God has orchestrated. My writing and my life are improved when I remember to look for God's hand at work. It is only then that I can discern which distractions are time wasters, and which are gifts from God that He is waiting for me to recognize. 





Lorilee Guenter is a Saskatoon based writer and artist who is learning to embrace those descriptors. She has learned that if you keep your eyes open you will find nuggets of inspiration everywhere. They are God's gift to fuel her creativity.

August 15, 2022

Distractions Abound by Carol Harrison

 

Distractions lurk around every twist in the journey or some days they seem to be part of the underbrush that threatens to block my path forward. Other times the trail seems cleared of obstructions and things to distract my attention. 

There are several times when fighting off distractions is the most difficult for me to do. One is when I am uncertain of the project I’m working on. The other is when I’m trying to discern what the next project is supposed to be from my list of ideas.

Dealing with uncertainty in my life makes me very vulnerable to distractions even though not all distractions are bad in themselves. Some allow me to take a break which helps me regroup, recharge, and refresh my thoughts allowing me to notice those God nudges. These include getting lost in the pages of a good book or crafting, Paper crafting like making cards, junk journals or scrapbooking, is a great way of expressing creativity in another form and good for my mental health.

Reading is an activity that all writers should engage in and most find very enjoyable. It
can be a key to improving our writing skills, do market research, and provide enjoyment as well. At times I’ve read something that sparks an idea of my own which can be developed later into a story or book. When that happens, I take a moment to jot it down so I can revisit it later.

Other distractions are just that – something that pulls me away from what I should be doing. These take too much time – often wasted time which leave me feeling guilty about not following through on what I should be doing – writing. How do I combat falling into these distractions?

Deadlines help me focus my time and energy. I hate missing a deadline so it becomes much easier for me to push the distractions, even good ones, aside until I finish the project and hand it in. So I often set self-imposed deadlines to help me accomplish what I think needs to be done.

Lists also help me focus. At the beginning of each month I type up a list of what I know needs to be done that month. Then I add other things I would like to finish. The lists grow in length because I add many small steps to them. When I check them off, I feel like I am moving forward. Occasionally distractions get in the way and I let them push aside things on the list. At other times, events happen that I didn’t expect and the list needs to be reprioritized accordingly. No matter how many plans I make to help me avoid distractions, I’ve come to realize they need to be held loosely for God is the one to ultimately be the one to open doors and guide me to work on what He deems the most important at the moment. I want to be willing and able to obey.

After I make the lists and add in the deadlines, I send the list to my daughter to help keep me accountable. This seems to help as well. Accountability partners are a great resource in fighting distractions if you allow them to be. That can be easier said than done at times.

These ideas seem to work well for me. However, there are still many times I allow the distractions to win, especially those good ones like reading and paper crafting. I need to remember to enjoy each day, take breaks, and spend time in God’s Word so I am hearing His voice and not the distracting negative monkey voices. 

 

Carol Harrison writes, crafts, and finds other distractions from her home in Saskatoon. She


is trying to focus on editing book 4 in the Prairie Hope series and write book 5 as soon as she carves out a chunk of time. https://www.carolscorner.ca

August 12, 2022

The Farmer's Five by Sharon Heagy

 



    Distractions. When it comes to discussing things that distract me, I could probably write several volumes. When it comes to dealing with the distractions and getting back on track, I probably couldn’t compose a pamphlet. If I am honest with myself, I am more like the dog from the movie ‘Up’ than I care to admit. (“Squirrel!”) But I do want to share what has been a significant distraction for me for about the past 4 decades. I call it, the Farmer’s Five.

            When you find yourself blessed enough to be married to a fabulous guy who is also a farmer, like my husband, you may be subject at any moment to the Farmer’s Five. Gazing out of the kitchen window you may espy a handsome, overall clad fellow taking purposeful strides towards the house. You may gasp as the realization kicks in that you are about to be subject to the Farmer’s Five. (Dun dun dunn) 

            Time freezes for an instant and suddenly there he is, filling the back entry with his presence, and then, he speaks. “Hey there, good lookin’, do you think you could come and give me a hand for five minutes?”

            Everything you have been working on comes to a halt as your don the appropriate attire and follow the farmer out the back door. Steam rises from a pot of potatoes, half boiled, now turned off. Supper remains half made. A sentence you have been working on remains half written. Or the living room has a tell-tale pattern of the cleaned and uncleaned. The dog’s coat is glossy and smooth on one side and resembles the hair of Einstein on the other. The garden is half weeded; the grass half mowed. Such is the fallout from the Farmer’s Five.

            But the reality of the Farmer’s Five is it may only be 5 minutes but it is much more often multiples of 5 even up to 5 hours and can include a trip to town for parts. Though it is a non-entity it seems to have an unpredictable life of its own. You wonder if there is actually an end in sight then POW. Just as suddenly as it started it’s over and you must try and get your bearings and recall what on earth you were doing before the Farmer’s Five occurred. Sometimes the activity in progress is called on account of darkness or exhaustion and sometimes, every so often, the task you were working on gets completed.

            But the truth is that even though you have been distracted whatever jobs you were doing eventually get done once you return your focus, and I think that’s key. Often we need some assistance, at least I know I do, and the first place to find peace, focus and direction is in God’s presence. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2)

            There is another distraction that can occur in life, a Holy distraction if you will. A Father’s Five. When we are off track, following a path we should not go down, God our Father will distract us, break our focus and help us turn our eyes to Him. He will help us to turn around and walk in His way. Some of us are not always responsive to the first Father’s Five we receive as we are not all that spiritually smart or we have a high dose of stubborn or “we all, like sheep, have gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6) We are trying to accomplish ‘our will be done’ instead of His so it may take 5 minutes, 5 hours  or 5 years of His holy distractions to get us back on His holy path.

            Whether we need focus from distraction or distraction from wrong focus, our Source is still the same. If we are called for a purpose, He will enable us to complete it. He will give us the skills, the gifts – both natural and supernatural, the freedom and all that we need. We have but to ask. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Praise God.