Monthly Archives: January 2014

I’m Published!

Well, I thought it about time that I should let folks know that A Tall Ship, A Star, And Plunder is out. This wonderful book is an anthology of stories about – Pirates. Yep, that’s right. Pirates. Not only is it wonderful (no, I haven’t read it yet, but I do know some of the authors) but it has one of my stories in it.

Dark Oak Media is the place to go to get it, http://www.darkoakpress.com/pirates.html

Robert Krog, the editor, is doing blog interviews with the authors of the stories. Mine can be found at
http://krogfiction.yolasite.com/blog-of-robert-j-krog/a-tall-ship-a-star-and-plunder-interview-with-melinda-lafevers

The other authors are being interviewed, as well, so go by Dark Oak and check it out, and go by Krog Fiction and read the interviews. Then buy the book!

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Are you an encourager?

OK, so I’m listening to Dave Ramsey – he is a financial guru, makes lots of sense, and I enjoy listening to his radio show and his common sense approach to getting out of debt.  In a break (I listen on-line, so I hear their seminar ads, rather than a radio ad) they had some other person speaking – I was busy, so I didn’t hear who it was. But he said something that really struck me.  “There are people out there who have never been given a word of encouragement.”  In my own life, I have found that a word of encouragement, properly given, made a world of difference, both in my attitude, and in my ability to get whatever I was working on done.  But while I was thinking about this, I found my thoughts running in several different directions.

1.  I believe it is true – many people do not have encouragement.  They go through life in a morass of self-determination or depression.  Either because of who they are, where they are, or the abuse that they have or are suffering, they have no one in their lives who give them encouragement.  Sometimes these people put on an incredible job of appearing that nothing is wrong, while inside, they are hardly able to put one foot in front of another.  They live in a world of doubt, low self-esteem, depression – and sometimes they block off those feelings from themselves, and present an appearance of cockiness and superiority.

2.  Some people are given “encouragements” that really aren’t encouragement at all. Have you ever been given a “compliment” or an “encouragement” that left you feeling worse than if they hadn’t said anything at all? “Oh, you have such a pretty face.  Too bad you are so overweight.”  “I know you wanted to play the lead in that production.  But remember, there are no small parts, just small actors.”  “Hey, this room looks great.  When is the rest of the house going to match it?”  “That’s a lovely dress.  It’s a knock-off, isn’t it?”  

3.  Some people can’t hear the encouragement that others give them, because the person they want most to support them does not.  In my own life, I did not remember the fact that my first music teacher offered to train me for free, just to have the joy of working with me.  I could not accept all the friends telling me that I had a wonderful voice; that hearing me at church uplifted their spirits.  I only heard my ex telling me that I wasn’t good enough and would never make it as a singer, and my kids telling me that they were embarrassed to hear me sing out.  

4.  Some people are encouraged by the ones that they need to hear it from – but the way they are encouraged is not in the words or the methods that they understand.  There is a book called “The 5 Love Languages”, by Gary Chapman.  In it, the author talks about the different ways that people feel love.  The five love languages, according to Chapman, are gifts, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and physical touch.  And the way that people feel love is often the way the show love.  So…in the process of falling in love, the rush of emotion sorta supersedes the love languages.  Then they get married.  And all of a sudden, the person who shows love by acts of service – working hard, taking care of the car, the odd jobs around the house, the yard, etc., doesn’t feel loved, because their spouse is always giving him these silly little presents that don’t mean anything to him – but to her, they are how she shows her love.  And she doesn’t feel loved because her husband stopped giving her the little presents that he had given her when they were courting…I believe encouragement is like that, too.  We try to encourage others in the same way that we feel encouraged – not realizing that it might not mean the same to the person we are talking to.

So, how can we encourage others?  First of all, we have to be willing to make the attempt.  If we aren’t willing to make the attempt, then we will never encourage someone else.  

Second, Smile – sometimes a simple smile can go a long way.  Smile at strangers.  A stranger changed my life once.  He sat on his front step and waved at people driving by.  Everyday that I saw him, I smiled, and my day was better.

Some simple words can help.  “I believe in you.”  “I know it is hard right now, but I know that you can and will make it.”  “What can I do to help?”

Sometimes just listening – really listening – can make a world of difference.  There is an old story about Indians having a pow wow – I don’t know if it is true or not, but I have heard it from different sources.  Supposedly, they had what was called a “talking feather.”  This feather would be passed around, and whoever had it was the person who was allowed to talk, and everyone else had to listen and not say anything.  But whoever got the feather – before he could speak, he had to state what the previous person had said.  This was to be sure that everyone was truly listening, not just thinking about what they wanted to say.  Too often, we don’t really listen to someone.  We are thinking of what we are going to say next.  Truly listening can be a major encouragement to someone.

There are a lot of ways we can encourage someone.  Each of us have our own unique methods.  Sometimes it is as quick as a smile.  Sometimes it is as long as a spa day or weekend.  Sometimes we need to take the time to find out what encourages our friend.  The most important thing, I think, is that we make the decision to be a person who encourages and builds up.  

Have you?

When you love…

When you love, the world can be a wonderful place.  When you love, the world can be a horrible place.

When you love, you feel like you can conquer the world – unless you feel like the world is conquering you.

When you love, you are strong.  But you are also vulnerable and weak.

If you are lucky, when you love, you will find someone who can be your strength when you need some help standing back up after a fall – and in turn, you can help that someone when he needs a hand.

When you love, you give someone else an immense power to hurt, wound, and rend.  And you trust him or her not to do that.

 Sometimes that trust is broken, and then you have to decide if you will remain vulnerable for the sake of love, or if you will build walls around your heart.  

Sometimes, if the person you love is abusive, you need those walls to survive.  

Sometimes the hurt is so great that walls go up, even if you don’t want them to.  

Sometimes walls from the past can interfere with the present, so much that a new opportunity for love is turned away or not recognized.

Love, real love, can make you both strong and vulnerable at the same time.  It is a hard place to be.  The more you love someone, the easier it is to be hurt.  The more hurt you get, the easier it is to build walls against the person who hurt you, or against other people who want to love you.  

Sometimes, if you are blessed, if you are fortunate, if you have the understanding, the love is so strong that it can out-wait the hurt, tower over the walls, and smash them down.

“I know the plans I have for you…”

I saw a post on Facebook today.  It was a scripture from Jeremiah.  “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  The last few days, I have been feeling hopeless, heart broken, and if I couldn’t have a future with a certain person in it, I couldn’t see a future at all.  Being the believer that I am, I have been doing a lot of praying about it.  A lot.  A whole lot.  And then, today, I saw that post.  That scripture.  “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I cried a little, because right now, I don’t feel any hope.  I don’t see much of a future.  But I believe.  “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  The hopes I had, the plans that I had made, had dreamed about and prayed about, was working towards – they have fallen into ashes at my feet.  Yet God has plans for me, to give me hope and a future.  I don’t feel that hope right now.  I don’t see that future.  But I believe that it is there.  And I believe that as I heal, I will feel hope again.  I will plan for a future again.  “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

“Go Make Something Of Yourself…”

So, I am having a conversation with someone whom I love dearly.  And in the course of the conversation, he said several things that really bothered me.  In thinking about why they bothered, I felt more and more hurt – not so much because of what he said, but more because of what seemed to be the assumptions he was making.  And I also found myself growing angry, as well.  Believe me, the fact that I was able to identify an emotion as anger, and not hurt or depression, is a major step for me.  Anyway, when I feel hurt, angry, whatever, I tend to write.  I also tend to write during the holiday season, regardless of how I feel.  So welcome to my first poem of 2014.

“Go Make Something…”
Melinda LaFevers
New Year’s, 2014

You really don’t know me, do you.
You told me “Go make something of yourself.”
You really don’t understand.
I am who I am.
I’ve gone through pain and struggles
and so many times I’ve hit the floor
but every time I’ve stood back up
and waded in for more.
“Go make something of yourself” you said.
It took me awhile, but now I’m seeing red.
I thought you thought I WAS someone.
I didn’t know I was so wrong.
It hurts to know
you have no respect
for the person I’ve become.
“Go make something of yourself.”
How could you be so blind?
I’ve gone through fires
and times of no hope
but somehow still,
I crawled on.
“Go make something of yourself.”
I already have.
Formed by pain and struggle
forced to my knees
time and again
and still, every time
I’ve grown.
Once more, I stand.
“Go make something of yourself.”
If you’re too blind to see it still,
Someday I’ll find the one who will.

New Year’s Resolutions – I will do more

Well, it is that time of year again.  Midnight of the new year.  The fireworks are going off.  Hubba, hubba.  I am alone, which is not what I expected this year.  I expected to share the new year with someone I care about a great deal.  It would have been long distance, via Skype, but it still would have been shared.  That didn’t happen, and he is sharing the new year with someone else.  Life goes on, and I – well, after shedding a few tears, I once more turn to words for solace.  It is a time for new beginnings.

So.  

New Year Resolutions.  A few years ago, I realized that I didn’t like resolutions.  The time of a new year is often a time of reflection, of promises to oneself.  This is the year I WILL lose that weight.  I WILL keep my house spotless.  I WILL write that book.  I WILL…I WILL…I always made those resolutions, those promises to myself, and I always failed.  So, pondering this two or three years back, I told myself that I wasn’t going to make any resolutions at all.  But, as I said, the new year tends to be a time for reflection, self analysis, renewal.  I decided that not making any resolution at all wasn’t going to cut it.  But what kind of resolution could I make that would not make me feel like a failure when I failed to keep it?  I pondered this.  Thought about it.  Then, it hit me.  I came up with a New Year’s Resolution that I have used ever since – and have managed to keep.  What is it?  Simple.

This year, I will do more.

More what?  whatever.  I am not an efficient housekeeper.  In fact, I and others term me as a hoarder.  Resolutions to clean my house and keep it clean have never worked.  But I can do more.  I have studied, pondered, prayed, and slowly, very slowly, am getting rid of stuff that I don’t need, don’t love,don’t use, and doesn’t make me smile.  Sometimes I feel like for every step forward, I slide five steps backwards and fall down.  But everytime, I eventually get back up.  I do more.

I am overweight.  I could stand to lose between 60 and 80 pounds.  Resolve to lose weight?  HAH!  But I can do more towards becoming healthy.  I can eat more fresh vegetables.  Last year, I bought an exercise machine.  It is in my bedroom.  I don’t use it often, but I have not turned it into a clothes horse, and I really do, occasionally, get on it and walk a little bit.  This year, I resolve to do more.  I don’t have to do it every day, or even every week.  Just a little more.

I am a writer.  I am a published writer.  In fact, I should be working on my magazine article, deadline of (WHOOPS!) today, instead of writing a blog post.  Not only do I write a column for a magazine, but I have 3 speculative fiction books started.  People who have read the first few chapters of each one tell me I need to finish them.  I need to write everyday – but I know myself far too well to make that a resolution.   So what will I resolve?  I will do more.

In the upcoming year, I will do more.  I will declutter.  I will exercise.  I will write. I will grow, I will learn, I will read, I will survive.  Who knows.  Maybe I will thrive.

I Will Do More.