Posts Tagged ‘Special Edition’




I’ve been doing a week long feature on the topic of shaming—and overcoming that shame. Varina Denman’s novel, Looking Glass Lies, is a profound look at shaming, specifically body image. This book impacted me more than perhaps any other work I’ve ever read.


And today, I go to the Source of our image, our identity, and our recovery from all the world’s affliction—the Word of God.



Let that sink in. We are created in the image of God Almighty. He made us like Himself. I am not God, we are not gods, but we are like Him.



That’s a line from my new novel, The Long Shadows of Summer. God sees us as royalty. The world tells us otherwise.


I remember vividly a counseling session with a pastor friend. The lies were so embedded in my mind, in every fiber of my being. Lies spoken through my mother’s voice. Mother. The one who is supposed to nurture us. The one voice we instinctively trust.



I posted that last week. Lies embedded in me for years, decades. But God. His Word, and only His Word uprooted and unseeded those lies.


And have replaced them with Truth.



I.am.wonderfully.made. Father didn’t just throw some old scraps together and say, “Yeah, that’s good enough. It’s just Robin. It doesn’t really matter…”

No, He made me with excellence and consideration, intention and purpose.



I am the work of Father’s hand, his handiwork, His masterpiece. Or as a tagline from years past, God don’t make no junk. Everything He creates is a masterpiece, done in excellence and perfection.


I can walk tall and proud because that’s who He made me to be. That’s who He created each one of us to be. The enemy will never quit trying to pull us away from Father, out of His hands. But the good news is, neither with our heavenly Father quit holding tight to us, even when we turn away from him. Even—perhaps especially—when we believe the lies.


Truth prevails. God’s Word prevails and triumphs. It always has, and it always will.


I leave you with this, which is part of my daily devotions and confessions.




#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Special Edition, In His Image, Looking Glass Lies, Varina Denman, #4Nina, #vulnerable, Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10

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1 – Make a list of things you like about yourself. Name at least five.

1 – My (warped) sense of humour. I love to bring a smile to someone when they’re having a rough day. Or when they’re not. Any time, basically.

2 – Piggy-backed on that is encouragement. I spent so many years depressed and in despair I can’t stand to see someone else there, even for a moment. I offer a kind word or a smile, or God’s Word when the opportunity is there. (by the way, bashing someone with Scripture is not encouragement.)

3 – I am tenacious and resilient. Watching a movie years ago, I thought if I found myself in the situation the character was in I’d give up. Even then, Holy Spirit whispered to me, “No you wouldn’t.” Okay then!

4 – I am kind and generous. I share what I have when I can. Funny thing about that, though. Father always gives more back to me.

5 – I am an empath. I’ve known this longer than I even knew what empath means—a person with the paranormal (I prefer supernatural as in Holy Spirit) ability to comprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual. I’ve said for years I can “read” other people, I “get” what others feel and why they think or feel as they do.

6 – I am talented. Wasn’t long ago I couldn’t have said that publicly. Of course I’m biased, but I love my writing. My design projects in college received recognition and accolades. (one is on the college website still) I’m a hella actress, and have the accents to prove it. (also the empath bit) I’m aces with the memes.

7 – Maybe my favourite—I am confident. I didn’t used to be. I didn’t used to like me, but I can say without conceit, I’m pretty cool.




2 – Write and tell yourself you are beautiful and amazing. Then tell yourself why.



3 – Write about a mistake you made and how it impacted your life in a positive way.

There is a plethora I could choose from but I’ll take the biggest and most notable: I got married. That in itself was not the mistake; the mistake was (at least) two-fold: I was too young and I married the wrong person. If that sounds simplistic, it’s not.

It wasn’t my age so much as my need to be liked—I thought it was love but didn’t have a clue what love truly is. And if I thought my self-esteem was low… let’s just say I married down, meaning my husband’s self-esteem was lower than mine. However veiled my vision, I did have faith and I did have some knowledge of God’s Word in my head if not my heart.

I ended my marriage after six and a half short years. But not before Father gave me the three most precious and priceless gifts I could ever have—my kids.


Do you remember the show, Fantasy Island? Visitors to the island were granted a visit to an alternate reality and at the end of the show, they had the option to keep the life they had, or step into the alternate. Of all the episodes, only one stuck with me. A young woman had married one of her two best guy friends, and was now a widow. Her fantasy was to see what life would have been like if she had chosen the other guy. (it had not been a love triangle, the three had all been friends) At the end, she was walking through the jungle from her cottage to tell Mr. Roarke she wanted to have the alternate life, in which her husband didn’t die, in which they had an exciting and exotic life together. As she walked along the path, she reached to idly fidget with the locket she always wore. But it wasn’t there. It wasn’t there because it held a photo of her daughter. A child she didn’t have, wouldn’t have had, if she had married the “other” guy. Her decision took on a new weight, and she chose to live with her grief as a widow because to do otherwise meant choosing not to have her daughter. (I’m weeping as I write this)

I have felt much the same way. For all the times I’ve wished I had been wiser, had waited—had been more mature, had been a different person entirely, not to mention my husband—all those wishes wished away my children. (and now my two beautiful granddaughters.) For all the hell I’ve lived with and been through, nothing—nothing—could make me wish my kids away. Nothing could make me regret being their mother. And nothing will make me give up fighting for them. (and no I don’t mean custody, they’re grown. I mean spiritually)

See, the insecurities I dealt with (or failed to deal with) transferred to my kids. I didn’t know communication, therefore I couldn’t teach communication. I didn’t have healthy self-image, therefore I couldn’t teach them to have a healthy self-image. I had no confidence, therefore I could not pass long any degree of confidence. Nor did I have the confidence to talk to them about things that matters: sex, drugs, faith, God. I didn’t have confidence to face conflict.

But God. He is and has always been by my side. And as I have come into identity in Him, not only has faith taken off to soaring heights, but so has confidence. And so, too, is my family being restored. Broken foundations beget broken, well, everything. For all the years I “patched” the brokenness, the dam finally broke and my family fell apart.

But God. Again. I am witnessing restoration, things I could never manufacture. Things that aren’t my job to manipulate. But God. He can and will and does. And I know that what He is knitting together, the patches and broken pieces renewed, is more beautiful than what I tried so hard to preserve under the guise and pretense of “I’m okay.”

See, now I am okay. And now I can let go and let God. And now, I know without a trace of doubt that the three most precious and priceless gifts I could ever have, are still mine. And nothing can take them away from me.




4 – Make a list of people who have committed offenses against you. Then forgive them.

NOTE: The first Scripture that spoke to me way back when I was 12 years old was Matthew 5:43-48, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

That’s kind of the epitome of forgiveness, and I have chosen to forgive each of these. Guess which one is the hardest?


My mother

My father

My ex husband



the guy who raped me


My second grade art teacher (see below)





5 – Write about a time in your childhood when you didn’t feel good about yourself.

A time in my childhood? How ‘bout all the time in my childhood? The first episode I remember was in second grade art class. It must have been December because we were making snowflakes, you know where you fold the paper then fold it again, and snip out bits. I was so excited I jumped up (raised my left hand) and told the teacher I knew how to make them. Her response cut me deeply and left a scar that took years to mend—she said, “Fine, do you want to come teach the class?” And it wasn’t an invitation. It was a “Sit down and be quiet, you’re bothering me.” So I sat, and be’d quiet… for years. I felt no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I felt that nothing I had to say was of value to anyone else.

Holy Spirit has healed that wound, and as I mentioned above, I now have confidence in who I am and what I do.


There’s this Cinderella moment—I was about 12 years old and it was my job to wash dishes after supper. Not so unusual, I was the oldest. And I’m a girl. But while I was in the kitchen up to my elbows in dishwater, my brother and sister were in the living room being silly with our parents. By the time the dishes were done it was time for our TV shows (in the days before cable) and then it was time to get ready for bed. One night, I had a hang nail and I deliberately cut my finger with a knife to get out of doing [the rest of] the dishes. Funny thing, now I like myself I’m okay doing the dishes!



6 – Close your eyes and think about self-esteem for a while. Write whatever comes to mind.

Confidence. It’s the first thing that comes to mind. Knowing my own worth sounds like a clinical definition, but it’s true. And for me that is wrapped up in knowing my identity which is only found in Christ. I can only explain self-esteem by sharing how I have come to love myself and that is in learning who He created me to be (a writer by the way.) As I grew in my identity as a writer, I have grown in confidence. And that goes beyond “just” my writing. I am not intimidated to speak to a stranger when I need to, I’m good to offer random words of kindness to people I don’t know. And I’m astoundingly comfortable talking about my stories—to complete strangers!

You see, as I grow in my spirit, my soul and flesh follow suit.

As Holy Spirit pours into me, all trace of self-doubt, self-recrimination, self-hatred dissipates and vanishes. It’s like the dark—it can’t exist in the Light.




7 – List things for which you are thankful. Keep going until you can’t think of any more.

My kids.

My grandgirls.

My friends

My kitties

Seafood, ‘specially scallops

Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes – my four basic food groups


My health, even with the RA and struggles

My new knee (February 2016)

My writing

My faith and my journey

My church

Irises, Shasta daisies, poppies

Trees and rivers and mountains

My dream house (that I designed)

The promises of God

The Word of God (which is basically the same thing)



Indoor plumbing!


Rain #amapluviophile



Also green



Basically all modern conveniences and technology

Long hot soaky baths

Grab bars so I can take long hot soaky baths (technically so I can get out of a long hot soaky bath… )

Essential oils and bath salts for the long hot soaky baths

Chocolate, did I mention chocolate

This list is infinitesimal…

8 – Jot down the names of three people who could use a hug today.

Maggie (my daughter)


Donna (BFF)


9 – Draw a picture of YOU, being as kind to yourself as you would to your best friend. (although I am an artist, words are my best “brush” and I chose to draw a word picture, like describing a character in one of my stories)

Joy radiates from her, and her smile lights up a room. It’s the first thing you see when you see Robin. Unless it’s her crazy purple-red hair. She says her hair is psycho, has a mind of its own, but it’s so cute. Short little bob that curls one way then the next, maybe it is a little psycho. She’s tall and while not skinny, she is not a cow as she sometimes claims. She has curves that are well earned with years and childbirth and no small bit of hell thrown at her. Her hands are crooked and bent (she says they’re ugly) but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing what she wants to do. She finds or makes a way—or something entirely new to Robin, she asks for help. Time was, she couldn’t do that. She stands tall and walks tall because she had learned, is learning, who she is; she walks with confidence. Also because she has a new knee—total knee replacement last year—and she can walk tall and not hunched over. (or in pain)

Confidence looks good on her, best dress ever!

10 – Write about something that made you happy in the past year.

Another from a long list—Father has just opened up those windows of heaven. But the most precious moment in the past year was when my son came to see me. As I mentioned above, my family has been broken; my sons have not spoken to me in over three years. #1 big guy has conceded some via Facebook, and primarily significant events, like when he moved and his new job. He doesn’t live far from me, maybe 20, 25 miles. So when he was out my way with a friend several weeks ago and #1 son mentioned how close they were to my house, said friend asked how to get here. I didn’t know until I saw the truck pull up outside. They didn’t stay long, but it was IS one of the most precious, priceless moments of my life.

Oh, and yes, I got a great bear hug from the man child.


I challenge each of you to take Shanty’s BE YOU Challenge. Share with me if you’d like, let me know you did it, and share any part of it you feel comfortable sharing.


My friend, Amber, gets pretty transparent over on her blog as well. Stop by and give her a shout out.




#Blogwords, Special Edition, Looking Glass Lies and Shaming, #BEYOUChallenge, #vulnerable, #4Nina, #ShameonShanty





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BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 21 June 2017 – SPECIAL EDITION – LOOKING GLASS LIES and SHAMING – PART II – the great clean up




Talk about vulnerable! Of all the things in my life, this is perhaps the one that embarrasses me the most—my messy house. For an Interior Designer, I sure do have a pitiful place to call home. I mean, it’s cute n all, as houses go. But it’s tiny, very little storage space, and needs some work. (I’m renting, and I give kudos to my landlord ‘cause they’ve been good to me.)


But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the Storage Locker Décor. I could say I come by “pack rat” honestly; my grandparents lived through the depression. I could say I’m an artist, I can use “that,” whatever it may be (and “that” could include literally anything) to make art… someday. I could say “a place for everything and everything in its place—if I had a place for everything. I could say it takes money to have nice things, like shelves and storage container type things.


I could say any / all of those, and they’re true. I could also say that the silent disease in my body saps my energy levels. Also true.


But that’s not the reason my house was languishing on the edge of disaster zone.


The reason was… it didn’t matter.


Remember the other day, when I mentioned I asked God a little question? Remember it took a few years to dig up the lies I had believed for so long? Remember I said sometimes they sometimes brush my conscience and [try to] taunt me?


Seems I missed one. Two years ago in January, near the anniversary of that epiphany, I sat in my office-nest (aka my sofa) and looked at the CRAP piled in my living room. My line of vision carried into the second bedroom, aka spare room, aka JUNK room. It was worse in there.


As I sat, looking at this accumulation of stuff, piles of things, papers, personal artifacts and mementos, I wondered when my house got so bad. Now, I confess I have never been Suzy Homemaker, and for my BFA in Interior Design, my house is not nor has it ever been House Beautiful photo op ready.


But it didn’t used to be THAT disgusting either.


And I asked myself, or God really, “When did it get so bad?”


The answer devastated me. It got “so bad” when my kids grew up and left home. There was no one here but me anymore so it didn’t matter what my house looked like. Never mind that I almost never have anyone come visit or stop by.


But it hit me with like a gale force wind, doubled me over inside—it didn’t matter because I DIDN’T MATTER!







I am loved and I am worthy.


I pulled it ALL out of that room. #vulnerablemoment



And that’s not the worst of it… What pics I may have had I’ve mostly deleted. I started sifting and sorting and culling through ALL | THAT | CRAP. That box front and center? Trash, junk. The polka dotted basket next to it, “shredables.”


Progress is hindered by my limited physical stamina. And limited space and options for what to do with what I keep. Last summer my neighbor got rid of two tables. I snagged them and put them to use in “the room.” Repacked my china—no china hutch, but someday… I got out a couple of the plates and I use them on Sundays.



Progress is stop-n-go, start-n-stop, but it’s progress. There’s a bed in the room now, so it’s officially a guest room. I’ve hauled a box and large bag of clothes to Goodwill. (that’s a biggie for me, ‘specially some of the favorites I don’t (ahem) fit it anymore. Several business-y type things that’s just.not.my.style.)



I’ve thrown out SOOOOOO MUCH ridiculous paperwork, junk mail, and crap—old grocery lists for crying out loud! The shredable pile is now enough for a small bon fire… :-O  I’ve sifted and sorted through kid stuff, things my grand girls [can] play with when they’re here, and I’ve given away or donated or tossed the rest.


It’s a slow process, but I’m making progress. I’m gradually switching from corrugated to plastic, so that what I do keep is a little more protected. It’s not all in glommed piles, but is in at least loosely organized clusters and piles now.  😉 Bins for scrapbooking supplies. A drawer for fabric and one for ribbon. Towels and blankets in the armoire (which I will also refinish eventually… )


I mentioned I’m an artist, right? I like eclectic and unusual. Same neighbor got rid of an old dresser and the kiddoes scored the drawers for me. Haven’t yet, but I’ll paint and/or refinish them to use for storage, some to hang on the wall as shelves for books and bric-a-brac. I have one picked out that will be for my books only.


Point is, I matter. I’m important. And if no one ever comes to my house again (hush, don’t even think that!) I’m here and I deserve a pretty place to be every day. I deserve to be able to find what I need when I look for it. And I deserve to have my pretties out and on display, whether my own artwork or store bought or gifts from someone else.


And one day, I will build my dream house. I’ve designed it, and there will be plenty of space for pretty things, and people. For family and friends to gather and hang out. Because I matter, and I’m worth it. And I deserve a pretty home to live in, wherever it may be.





#Blogwords, Special Edition, Looking Glass Lies and Shaming, The Great Clean Up, #vulnerable, #4Nina, #ShameonShanty, #BEYOUChallenge, #IMATTER, #IAMWORTHIT, #dreamhouse, #ONLYGOD


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“She looked so familiar to me, but I couldn’t place her… But she reminded me of someone…         It couldn’t be her, though. She was dead, we had all watched her die. Floating away like that in the swamp. Her lavender dress billowed up like a balloon, her dark hair fanning out on the black water. We had made a pact, Pearl and Scarlett and me, never to tell anyone what happened.”


I jumped back into Scarlett’s story without stopping to think how long I had been “away” from her—three or four weeks. I didn’t account for taking time to have a read through to catch up with her. At roughly 21K words and 60 pages it took me two day reading aloud to get through the MS.




So now I’m in the groove and managed a few words Saturday…

Still not on track but it’s a decent start. While I like to take Sunday as a “day of rest” (whatever that would look like) I do like to stay with my writing. Yesterday, however, was an exception, totally out of the norm for me…

… and as you can imagine I did not make my goal of 2000 words. I wrote a few words (185) and will jump back in today.

I’m excited about this story, this series, and look forward to spending time with Scarlett to discover her story and share it with you.



I exited the fading lushness of the little park, the leaves of golden and crimson holding tight to the only home they had ever known. Was I now doing the same? Holding tight to what was familiar to me, Bastille House, and Fontaine’s iron rule? Was Bastille to me as those branches were to the leaves? Was I destined to flutter away from Bastille as the leaves surely would flutter to the ground?


“I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”










“because the battle within is the greatest battle of all”





#Blogwords, Special Edition, #RemJuWriMo, Status Update, Seasons, The Long Shadows of Summer, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, The Silent Song of Winter, The Whispering Woods of Spring

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I’m seeing them like everybody else. The hate posts about Kathy Griffin.


I’m also seeing the ones in support of her.


And neither one is right.


I’m an artist. I totally get artistic license. But I also know protocol, and when and where. If I want to write edgy, I have to know—and be prepared for—the fallout from it.


I heard that yesterday, that as an artist, Ms. Griffin has the right to say—or post—whatever she wants. And yeah, that’s true to a degree.


But the fallout does not make her a victim. She’s blaming President Trump for cruelty? Claimed she was just acting out what he had said about her (if I understood that correctly.)


I’ve also seen those who say it’s no worse than images posted of President Obama in a noose, and other scenarios. Those were wrong too.


Whatever your politics, whoever you support or don’t support, the Office of President of the United States commands respect.


But as a Christian, I am ashamed of some of the posts I’ve seen from fellow believers. We are called to a higher standard.



I pray for this woman, who feels justified in such a hideous act. I pray for her as she turns everything to play for victim. I pray for Father’s love to penetrate the confusion and darkness, not just to Ms. Griffin, but to all of us.


That’s what He came for, after all. To penetrate the confusion and darkness of this world, myself and my own heart included.


He came to restore what was lost to Him in Eden, and to restore us to what we lost in Eden. It may have been Adam and Eve, but it not them, it could have / would have surely been another.


Father longs for nothing more than relationship with us. He longs to embrace us as His own, gather us under the feathers of His wing and shelter us from the confusion and darkness of this world.


I speak peace over Kathy Griffin, I speak blessings upon her. And I pray the Truth surround her in a way that only Holy Spirit can do. I pray for those who surround her and those who support her.


I bless those who curse me. I pray for those who despitefully use me. I do good to those who would do evil to me. I have the upper hand, I have the advantage. I have God on my side.


I love those who hate me because it’s what He asks of me, it’s what He expects of me. It’s what He expects of all of us.




#Blogwords, Special Edition, Kathy Griffin, Matthew 5:43-48

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“She looked so familiar to me, but I couldn’t place her… But she reminded me of someone…         It couldn’t be her, though. She was dead, we had all watched her die. Floating away like that in the swamp. Her lavender dress billowed up like a balloon, her dark hair fanning out on the black water. We had made a pact, Pearl and Scarlett and me, never to tell anyone what happened.”


I’mma give it another go, the personal 50K in 30 days challenge. RemJuWriMo. In April I thought if I did less on the blog I’d have more time to write my stories. And theoretically I should have. But the mind does strange things (and life does stranger things) and although I did get a bunch of words written—I did get a respectable 23K words—but the story needs to be 100K+ AND the third book needs to get started. See my dilemma???


Yes, it’s all self-imposed deadlines. And yes, I can always move it back. Thing is, if I did push it / them back, it would have to be a whole year—the series is Seasons, and Book 1 is Summer. Yeah, I did that to myself. Er, I mean, they—they—did this to me. The characters. At least it’s one ginormous story, split into four “installments!” All the same peeps (mostly), the same setting, same research. That helps.


So Seasons is a go. The Long Shadows of Summer (see?) is on target for August, and The Tilting Leaves of Autumn will be ready for November.



“I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”










“because the battle within is the greatest battle of all”



#Blogwords, Special Edition, #RemJuWriMo, Seasons, The Long Shadows of Summer, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, The Silent Song of Winter, The Whispering Woods of Spring


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In honor of our fallen soldiers. I think you for your service, and I pay tribute to your families.




#Blogwords, Special Edition, Memorial Day

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