Book: The Humble Life Journal

The Humble Life Journal cover large subtitle

Here’s the new book of my friend Cara Iris Miller. I hope you enjoy it! If you have already read it, please leave us some comments at the bottom or go the whole way and leave her a review on Amazon. To purchase the book, just click here.

Book Blurb:

Are you overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities? Have you ever yearned for a more purposeful, yet simplified life? Are you uncertain of where to begin? Author Cara Iris Miller has spent the past few years doing just what you may be contemplating at this moment. With her faith as a cornerstone, she has learned and fashioned a rhythm of living that is more simplified than complicated, as she and her family thrive in their yurt (small round home), as sustainably and simply as life will allow. Now, in her book, The Humble Life Journal: Reflections on Simplicity and Stewardship, she shows how you can achieve the same desire for a more peace filled life, with logic, and faith based guidance on: – Simple health – Money-saving tips – Simple marriage – Stewardship of the home – Simple parenting – And lots more… Living a simple life doesn’t necessarily mean going without, but tends to focus more on being a good steward with what you do have. Complete with Bible verses and journal sections at the end of each chapter, you have plenty of space for your personal thoughts, prayers, and ideas. Incorporate each chapter’s insights into your life as you feel inspired! So, if you’ve been searching for a more grounded, yet abundant life, perhaps you’ve been looking in all the wrong places. It is time to reassess your priorities, refresh your world, and revive your faith in God!

trainer353A Little Bit about the Author:

I am a Writer (and chronic list maker).
I am a Natural Health Consultant.
I am a Therapeutic Body Worker.
I am a Certified Fitness Trainer, Yoga Instructor, and Sport’s Injury Therapist.
I am passionate about wellness and writing! It is wellness (and all its fascinating facets) mixed with a longing to evolve in my faith that drives me to write. I am moved and molded by…the Word, good stewardship, life long learning & gleaning from my elders, healing of the human body & soul, our home of an humble yurt & our land, abiding peace, the strong love of my husband, my precious sister, God sent friendships (you know who you are), a glass of deep red wine by an evening fire, dark organic coffee in the morning, hiking and exploring God’s glorious nature with my man, journaling, and serving others!

Blessings!!

 

 

 

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Change was the name of the game (2017)

As the hours of the clock wind down towards the end of this year and the beginning of 2018, I like to reflect on 2017.

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This was a busy and challenging year for me. Change and I are not friends, not even cordial acquaintances. I know it’s there and never going away like taxes and my birthmark, but it doesn’t mean that we have a good relationship. I also know that change is one of God’s favorite tools to grow us. Workouts are great for the body but not any less painful.

 

This has been the scripture of this year for me. Learning and re-learning that God is in control and not me

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The first six to seven months of the year, I spent back and forth from the hospital with my mom. Balancing work, ministry, life and her needs was quite challenging. Looking back, I don’t remember much, it’s all like a blur, but I know it happened. That was the beginning of some of the big changes, although she’s a lot better from what kept taking her to the hospital, her needs have changed, therefore my focus has changed.

work stressMy 9-6 had three reorganizations in 2017. This brought the anxiety of not knowing what that meant in terms of employment. It helped me exercise my faith in God’s provision regardless of the outcome. I’m very grateful that I’m still employed and basically within the same functions. Each reorganization brought a new leader, which meant an adjustment of expectations and leadership styles. I know that at the end my attitude was not of expectation but more of surrender. At the same time, I have to admit it has taken an emotional toll.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone this year, but it has been necessary time. I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of introspection. I’ve been able to process some life events that were still lingering in my soul. I’ve been able to find more acceptance of myself, which is not easy as I’m my most fearless judge.

I also lost a young man that meant a lot in my life. He’s the son of a friend. He came to my life when he was seven years old. He had a lot of challenges in life but he had a faith that was worth modeling. He was the smartest person I knew. Who else would call you in the middle of the day with a history trivia? Ivan would. He was the only child whose punishment was to take a way a book from him. He was about to finish his associate degree, but his health didn’t allow for that. God has now given him rest and for that I’m grateful.

As of November I’ve returned to writing. I had taken a two year hiatus to devote my time to “Celebrate Recovery” a wonderful ministry that gave me a lot and allowed me to serve. That season has now ended and I’m back to what I love to do: writing.

My jumpstart was the same as my first main start, NaNoWriMo and I finished it.

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Right after NaNo, I started a creative writing class. I’m currently studying short stories. I’m having a lot of fun with that.

Last night I had a dream, and woke up with a story inside. I propped my laptop on my bed and as I write this I’ve already written 1,500 words of that new story. I’m not sure what’s going to be :short story, novel or novella. I’ll let you know in due time.

I’m looking forward to 2018. 2017 was filled with challenges and changes. I’m sure the new year is going to bring it’s own, but I’m not the same person that ended 2016 and I like this one a little bit more.

Many blessings in 2018!

Naty

2018

Prompt: Stage Fright

As I relayed to you guys a few weeks ago, one of the exciting things going into 2018 is that I’m taking a creative writing course. From time to time I will share some of my exercises. Now, remember that’s all they are, writing exercises and not a finish product.

So here is my first one. The prompt was stage fright. To my fellow writers out there, you can use this to create your own writing exercise and I would love it if you would share them with us.

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Glen was ready for the performance of his lifetime. He had rehearsed endlessly for months to get to the theaters and finally present his monologue, “Glen: A Life Story” The day was finally here. The butterflies in his stomach were strong. He didn’t know if he was just nervous or about to get sick.

He was sitting on his dressing room reading the script one more time. He started feeling a cold shill down his spine and sweaty hands. He was no doubt suffering from an attack of stage fright. He started pacing in the dressing room. How could it be that he was so nervous? He had acted on stage before. That was true, but this was the first time that his own material would be portrayed.

There were so many questions on his mind: Will the audience like it? Will my friends be there? Will I’ll be laughed off the stage? Finally, will it really feel satisfying to fulfill my lifelong dream?

Someone knocked on the door, but Glen was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn’t hear it. Kathy, his producer opened the door and approached him. He was with his back towards her and she just wrapped her arms around him without saying a word. Finally, Glen stopped pacing and allowed himself to breath and released his soul into that warm embrace. He felt safe. He knew Kathy was a very particular producer and she wouldn’t have accepted to do his monologue if she didn’t think it was good.

The sound of clapping hands interrupted their embrace. It was the final call to the theater. The curtain was about to be lifted. It was time for Glen to walk out. He took a deep breath and walked behind the curtain. He knelt with his back to the audience as he had practice so many times. The applause became deafening. The lights went out, the curtains up and there was Glen.

I’m having so much fun with this I had to share.

Until next time

Naty

Saying Yes to Love: The Christmas Story

Christ xmas

We all have heard the story of Christmas. The baby born in a manger by a virgin. The wise men guided by a star. When you look at it closely it’s just a story of deciding to say yes to love. The main festivities related to Jesus are his birth and death. Both were celebrations of saying yes to love.

The first was Jesus’s decision to save humanity through becoming one of us to save us from ourselves.

That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. Hebrews 10:5

God said yes to Jesus and sent him to earth.

baby

He then chose a woman named Mary to carry that son and bring that son into the world.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

Mary said yes, despite knowing the consequences of being judged since her “fiance” was not the father of the baby, which would bring shame to them.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[c] quietly. Matthew 1:18

Although our redemption came later with Jesus’s resurrection, Christmas was the first step in the journey of him showing us how to live a life for God within our human condition. He said yes to dying to save us all.

I believe that the best way to celebrate this time is to reflect on this love that was given to us and freely give it to others. It’s not about money or presents, it’s about spending time with those we love, but also sharing ourselves with those who don’t have anyone to love them.

This is the real meaning of Christmas: saying yes to love.

How are you showing your love for others this Christmas? Share it with us!

merrychristmas

Blessings

Naty

Adventures in Snowcalypse 2017

Let me set the stage by explaining that although I was born in New York, I celebrated my PR2first birthday in Puerto Rico and the following 28 as well. If you don’t know this, Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean, where snow is only seen on television. I did see snow before I moved to Atlanta. I think my most vivid memory of snow was when I was eight or nine. My brother lived in Maine by a lake. My mother and I went to ring the New Year with his family and there was snow, oh there was snow!

Anyway, fast forward to the present time, snow is a treat for me. In Georgia snows for a couple of hours and it quickly melts, but I get to see snow and even walk in it for a few minutes. Back in 2014, Atlanta had a “big” snowstorm. Now, you north snowbirds can stop laughing right now. It was big for us, so stop it! The city had a real meltdown. Cars were in the highways for days, people were stranded for hours, it was a total mess!

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve always been home when snow comes. I haven’t had to deal with traffic or other kinds of issues. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know how to drive in the snow, therefore I leave the deed to the professionals.

snow1Meteorology in Atlanta is a game of Russian roulette. They will tell you that it will rain, and you find yourself with a pretty sunny day. They tell you that it will be beautiful outside, and you get soaked. So, when I saw that the forecast was announcing snow mixed with rain, I figured I would see a few paper towel dust flurries, rain and move on. To my surprise it started snowing. I ran outside to take a video of it to make sure that I captured the few flurries that were to come.

An hour went by and it started snowing; really snowing. That’s when I realized this one was for real. (Again folks, stop laughing). I was working from home, so I opened all my windows wide and enjoyed the scenery while working.snow2

The first thing that should have clued me that this was not like other times, was that when my dog tried to go out for her morning bathroom break, she seemed to be ice skating on the deck. I told a friend that I was going to take my lunch break to go to the store and get a few things. He asked me if I was planning to walk to the store. (He’s a comedian) When I stopped laughing, he asked me if my car was a four-wheel drive, that was a no as well. He recommended that I stay home unless it was an emergency; and it wasn’t.  After work, because I’m a big girl, I got bundled up and decided that if I drove very slow I could make it to the store, get my wants (because there were no needs) and come back. I opened the garage door and proceeded to try to get the car out.

I must clarify that even my realtor and his lovely wife described my driveway as a launching pad because it’s a steep hill. I finally got the car out of the garage and it started sliding in the ice, not something I’m used to. I have very good news, the breaks on my car are perfectly fine. I, still stubborn, tried to get the car a little lower on the driveway. The car was still dancing in the snow3ice. This is where a little bit of anxiety kicked in, forget the store, will I be able to get the car back up? I opened the garage door that was now closed. Between the gas pedal and my very good breaks, I was able to get the car back up the hill. I closed the garage door and said to myself, “You know what? I really didn’t want hot cocoa after all, what I really want is some tea and I have plenty inside”

A few hours later, looking out my kitchen window, the neighbor’s kids were building a snowman. I smiled and contemplated the idea of making a snowman until I remembered that required getting dressed and being out in the cold. I decided that watching the kids do it was more enjoyable at this point.

Finally, I woke up this morning with snow still falling hard. It is beautiful to see all the white fresh fallen snow on my yard and the streets. I’m writing this from my bed, my dog is curled up in her bed snoring. This is how snow days should be spent.

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I still pray for those who lost power and those who’ve had no choice but to be out on the streets.

Ok, laugh now as much as you want! 🙂

Stay safe and warm

Naty

 

Ending of the new beginning

NaNo-2017-Winner-Badge

Today is the last day for NaNoWriMo and I can count myself a winner. It’s a thrilling feeling, as I had paused my writing for longer than I expected. I’m also excited about feeling fulfilled like I do when I write a good story.

I have to admit that I’m not thrilled with “ Christmas in London”, my NaNo novel. I guess it will take a lot of rewrites. I know stories have lives of it’s own, but this one really went left from what I had planned.

Today I also started my writing course. It will take me about a year to complete. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but never thought I could. In a leap of faith and a friend who found the course, I’m really excited to be able to improve the talents that God gave me.

My first class is on short stories, which is ironically how I started my public writing career. I published the short story “The Janitor” as part of an anthology. The story of a troubled man seeking answers, stops at a local church. There he meets the church’s janitor who has some very wise words for him.

My favorite short story, which I’ve only publish within a writer’s website it’s “ Waffles and Coffee”. This is the story of a Christian family that loses perspective of life and each other because they’re lost in their routines and ministry commitments. They learn that the simple things in life can mean more than grand gestures. They also learned that those small gestures are what keep relationships healthy.

short stories

As part of my course I’m reading “ Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories” by Margaret Lucke. The first few pages were things that I already knew, but as I keep reading I’m getting more intrigued about the content. It’s going to be a good ride.

Share with me what new journey  you are about to embark, even if you have not made any steps towards it. Remember, everything starts with an idea.  (Yes, I got that from the book !)

Before I go, Happy Anniversary to The Rising Muse. On and off we’ve been at this for 8 years and God willing many more ahead.

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Until next time,

Be blessed.

Naty

ME TOO: Sharing Our Stories

This has been a rough couple of weeks for me. When #MeToo movement started I was

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glad that things were coming to the light. It is time that the abuse of women gets the attention it deserves. Those who follow this blog know that in October I usually talk about abuse, because it’s a cause very dear to my heart.

The flip side, and probably the draining part, has been seeing people still wanting to victimize the victims. I’ve been engaging in conversations attempting to explain to detractors that these thing DO happen. Making people understand that the fact that a disclosure happens 20,30,40 years later, doesn’t mean that they are not true.

I-SAD-NO.sexual-abuseI’ve experience several instances of sexual abuse in my life. When I thought of the premise of asking victims of evidence, I just shook my head. The first instance of sexual abuse that I remember was, I  was very young, and an adult male known to me cornered me in a bathroom. He pulled down his pants and forced me to touch him. This was before I was of school age, but I remember it like if it was yesterday. This male is no longer alive. But if I needed to prove this. How could I? But I do know that it happened. I didn’t tell anyone at the time because I was too young to understand what was going on. I just knew that I felt uneasy and wanted out of that bathroom. I didn’t take a picture or kept his DNA.

I also remember being in my teens, my family visiting a family friend. I think there were only adults, so I got bored and I went outside. A neighbor to the person we were visiting,  came over and started a conversation with me. Just a few silly questions, nothing that took long. He groped my breast and walked away. I felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t say anything. I knew what he had done was not right, but he left immediately. I figured all I had to do was go back inside to be safe again. I can’t prove it today, but it happened.

I’ve heard that if an incident happened years ago, why speak now? Because there’s healing in speaking up. The other question that I hear frequently is, If this happened so long ago, why are victims not over it by now? Because when someone violates your body it leaves a mark that lasts forever. You may heal but the scar remains.

When I give my testimony in recovery meetings, I speak of my other instances of sexual abuse (molestation, attempted rape and domestic violence). Some days are better than others. Some days I can get through my testimony totally calm. But to this day, there are times where I still choke and cry. To this day, after recovery and treatment, there are nights that I wake up with nightmares. The more I share the less I feel shame. The more I share I feel like I take more of my power back. When I started the process, the most healing thing for me was to know that I was not alone. I was able to speak, because someone told me her story and it was so similar to mine.

I write to bring light to truth. I write because God had given me a voice to express some things. Today I want to be YOUR voice.

Luke 8:17 says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

If you want to disclose your story, it’s time to be set free. It will help you and help others. Email me at therisingmuse@gmail.com I will NEVER publish your name. Just your current age and where you’re from (generally, like state or country) and your gender (yes, my brothers are welcome to share their stories too).

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Let’s start and continue this healing together. Let’s change this culture of abuse. We are better together. Let’s bring awareness that this happens way more than people think. It will be the only way to make change happen.

 

Be Blessed!

Naty

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