Commentary #88: “Make Your Own MAGIC and Manifest Your DREAM LIFE”

The quoted words in the title of this blog post comes from a relatively recent episode of the That Smart Hustle podcast by author Kristen Martin. I haven’t read any of her books yet, though I plan to change that sooner rather than later. I discovered her Facebook page, and then stumbled upon to her podcast. I subscribed, went all the way back to Episode 1, and just fell in love.

That Smart Hustle - Soundcloud

Image Credit: Soundcloud

I love her voice, her style, and her podcast format. They’re short, sweet, and simple.

Granted, she does things very differently than I do. But, what she shares in her podcast episodes are always encouraging and inspiring to me.

I’m not “into” or “practice” certain things such as the phases of the moon, crystals, tarot, and so on. I know people who do a combination of things like this, and I’m not arguing against any of it. As a Christian, I pray. However, I really like the idea of manifestation. And, I think I’m already doing it, and didn’t even realize it.

In this episode, Kristen expands upon manifesting, and how she does it in her life. It’s based on the law of attraction. Focus on something to bring it into your reality. There are several ways to accomplish this: Meditation, visualization, or using your conscious and subconsicous to focus on this thing, or goal, or whatever it may be.

Once you’ve pick the thing or goal to manifest, then you have to take action. As an example, if you want to get a new job or a promotion, then you focus on that job or promotion, visualize it, and then clean up your resume, submit the applications, or climb the ladder toward that promotion. It takes effort, and hard work, but it pays off.

For me, I “accidentally” manifested the completion of the first draft of my first novel. I was tired of struggling with the ending of the book, and I decided I just needed to finish it, no matter what it took. When I saved the draft on March 30th, the feelings of elation, pride, and joy I had were remarkable. I practically jumped up and down in my living room. I posted about it on Facebook, and the response and feedback I received was absolutely incredible. I realized how many people were cheering for me, how proud they were, and how many are looking forward to the book when it’s ready to be published. I’m still blown away by it all, and here we are nearly three weeks after I finished it.

Am I manifesting anything new, you may ask?

Yes, I am!

  1. Being debt-free
  2. Completing the first draft of my second novel

These two things are huge in my universe right now. I just took major action on #1 today, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction after a lot of negative thoughts, and a huge emotional breakdown between yesterday and this morning.

I’ve been actively participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month for #2, and I feel so good with the progress I’ve made thus far. And we’re only 11 days into the month!

As I write this post, I just realized the Monthly Goals posts I make here on the blog are also forms of manifestation. I set those goals, and having them in writing on the first day of every month allows me to take action on them immediately, or work on them throughout that month. And, I’m able to look back on them whenever I want, to remind myself of the goals, and invest more time, energy, or whatever it is to accomplish those goals.

Now, why is “dream life” capitalized in the title?

Well, Kristen says in the podcast that you can use manifestation to help you build your actual dream life. I love this idea. She talks about making a list of everything you dream about that you want in life: What job do you have, what car are you driving, what are you wearing, what house do you live in, what state or country do you live in, and so on.

I will be working on this in my personal journal, and I’m pretty stinking excited about it already. If you’re interested in doing this yourself, think of it as your “vision board,” but those visions are achievable. Making this list, using techniques like this, will help me make those dreams a reality.

All that said, I still pray to God. As a Christian, that’s a given for me every day. That won’t change a bit.

And something special has been happening at my church that I haven’t talked about very much. As a congregation, we have a Breakthrough Prayer we are challenged to pray every day at either 5:17 a.m. or 5:17 p.m. The reason 5:17 is significant is that’s our Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, for the Next Level Innovations (NLI) process we are embarking upon for the next three years.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

How fitting that our church is New Creation United Methodist Church.

In a way, NLI is another form of manifestation. The three-year process has a series of goals and visualizations, and it takes effort and action from everyone involved to make it successful. I love the mantra: Going from good to GREAT.

I know, for me, since we started this process, I’ve already experienced a few breakthroughs, and I can only imagine there are many more to come.

Here’s the Breakthrough Prayer:

Almighty God, today breakthrough in our lives and in our church. Make us a new creation. Transform us by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit. Show us how to make a difference in our community and the world. Give us boldness to follow where You lead. Amen.


Resources


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #164: Happy Birthday, Uncle Richard

Happy Birthday, Uncle Richard. This is your first one in Heaven. We know you are celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa! We miss you so much here on Earth. You are loved!

I think back to this day last year. It was the first Saturday in April, which is always a blood drive day, I kept telling Al to remind me to call Uncle Richard, to tell him Happy Birthday, before we went out to dinner with our friends Casey and Beth. I had such a wonderful 20-minute conversation with him, and I could hear his smile in his voice. I was so thrilled to have remembered to take the time to do that. Little did I know what would happen next.

My Uncle was a life-long bachelor, never married, no kids. He went to Vanderbilt. He was a flight attendant for National Airlines, and then they merged with PanAm. He lived 15 minutes from my grandparents for decades. He loved history, movies, food, and laughter.

He selflessly took care of Grandma Grace and moved her in with him from 2010 until she died peacefully in July 2013.

He always called me his favorite niece. I always laughed, since I was his only niece.

We worried about him for several years, but he persevered through happy times and challenging times.

I called him on Saturday. On Tuesday, the world as my family knew it came crashing down. He’d been in a car accident, four blocks from his house. We found out later he’d suffered a massive stroke. My parents, bless them both, literally dropped everything here in Virginia and got to Miami as fast as possible. My mom, Richard’s kid sister, took charge, and my dad bent over backwards. I stayed put, checking on their house and getting their mail.

Everyone in Florida were wonderful. The church community gathered together and offered everything, especially prayer.

After several weeks, the difficult decision was made to bring in hospice care. He’d fought hard, but his body was failing. He was coherent until the very end, saluting my dad, as he always had since my dad had served in the Coast Guard for more than 23 years. One of them brought the wedding photo of us to his room, and he knew who I was. I was able to call one last time. He wasn’t able to speak or respond to me, but my mom said he was nodding and recognized my voice. I told him I loved him, and then I couldn’t talk any more. I’d said my piece. I felt at peace.

He died peacefully on April 25th. It was the hardest four weeks my parents had been through, and many more months of challenges would follow, making sure his estate was taken care of. Months later, my mom gave an incredible presentation at a church fellowship dinner, dubbed “The Miracles in Miami,” where so many amazing God Things happened during this horrible, tragic, trying time.

Here’s to you, Uncle Richard, from your favorite niece.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #80: “What’s On Your Heart Tag”

February - What's On Your Heart Tag

PHOTO BY FREESTOCKS.ORG ON UNSPLASH

Thank you to Stuart, author of Something To Stu Over, for tagging me!

I realize now that I should have done this tag in February, but better late than never, right?

Here’s the link to Stuart’s post, where I was tagged:


Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you to participate.
  • Link back to the original post (Purple Rose’s & Dollfaced Writer’s)
  • Attach an image that inspires you regarding the month’s theme (or use the original).
  • Talk about what this month’s theme means to you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Nominate 3 people to participate.
  • Enjoy the rest of your month 🙂

What’s On My Heart

  • How blessed I am! I’ve been wrestling with a significant financial burden recently, but I feel like I have some direction now. I trust God to lead me in the right direction. He knows everything!

Here are the questions for this month’s tag:

1. Do you believe in love at first sight?

  • Yes, definitely. ❤

2. Do you believe in soulmates?

  • I do now. I truly believe Al is my soulmate, and so many amazing things happened to bring us together.

3. What’s the first thing you notice about a person?

  • Their eyes, and their personality.

4. What’s your ideal date?

  • A wonderful meal together, and either a movie out or a movie at home. Al and I have had, and continue to do so now, dates like this, and all of them have been great.

5. What traits do you look for in a friend / significant others?

  • Honesty, humor, treating others with respect, willingness to discuss things deeply, and enjoying time with me.

6. What are your thoughts on being friends with an ex?

  • I’m Facebook friends with the first two guys I dated in high school. We’re not as close anymore, but that’s fine with me. One is happily married. The other is in an amazing relationship, and I hope they do get married someday. In a way, I’m actually closer to their parents, since we all met through church years ago.
  • However, there’s a significant difference when comes to the long-term relationship ex, and an ex-friend / acquaintance. The long-term relationship ex wanted to remain friends with me, but I said absolutely not due to the abuse and manipulation I went through from 2007 through 2010.
  • The ex-friend / acquaintance was a male friend and classmate of mine in college, and we developed an online friendship in 2014. I failed to recognize so many warning signs and red flags. He wanted me to chat with him on Facebook all day and all night, so much so that I was reprimanded once at my job, which was incredibly mortifying. In addition, he wanted more from me, although we were both in committed relationships during that period of nearly two years. He eventually told his girlfriend everything he wanted from me – Kissing me, and hints of more than that – and both of them ended up blocking me on Facebook in 2016. It’s been so much better since then! I now realize how toxic the entire thing was, and I’m still healing from it today.

7. If you’re a believer, when did you give your heart to the Lord? If not, what in life keeps a bounce in your step?

  • I truly gave my heart to God in sixth grade, at my first-ever youth retreat. I’ve been raised United Methodist my whole life, but I truly accepted Christ at age 12.
  • I was actually baptized / christened twice. Once in New York, where we were living at the time, and then in Florida at my grandparents’ church.
  • I continue to attend New Creation United Methodist Church – The church I grew up in. It will always be Aldersgate to me, since the name change happened when I was in high school. We became members in 1993, and my parents are dynamic members, for lack of a better term. I’ve scaled back my involvement significantly, but it will always be “home.” We’re excited to be celebrating the church’s 50th Anniversary in October!
  • I lost my faith a bit in college. I realize now this was mainly due to the manipulation of my ex-boyfriend, John, who didn’t want to be involved with the United Methodist Church as much, and he led me away in the process. It makes me sad occasionally, but I know things happen for a reason. After four long years, I finally recognized I was not happy, that I was a different person, and needed to leave. I ended the relationship on July 17, 2010, and I truly felt freedom. After ending it, I immediately prayed to God, and asked for forgiveness. I found out later he was planning to propose to me on August 8th, roughly three weeks later. We were seniors in college, attending the same university, but he wisely chose to keep his distance from me, despite being on a small campus.
  • Fun fact: Al and I were asked to be Mary and Joseph in the church Christmas celebration in 2010, about three months after we started dating. Everyone got a huge kick out of it. We were pretty embarrassed, but we went along with it.
  • I became involved with New Creation again after my college graduation, and I’m so happy I have continued the relationship. I help my dad with the blood drives at the church, serve on the media team, and serve on the Communications Team. It’s a great balance of service and involvement.
  • Al and I married in New Creation’s sanctuary on November 14, 2015.
  • Although Al does not participate in worship services or other church activities, aside from donating blood regularly at the church, he’s 100 percent supportive of my involvement and my service. He always has been, and that’s a HUGE deal for me.

Here’s a few photos from our wedding day! You can read more here: Getting Personal #18: Best. Day. Ever.

Disclaimer: All photos in this post, unless otherwise stated, were taken by Amanda MacDiarmid, or her second shooter, Cathy. Amanda owns and operates Stellar Exposures.

All credit goes to them.

The sanctuary.

Beautiful shot.

Pastor Eric Song playing his guitar during the groomsmen entrance.

Married!!

Standing in front of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass piece.


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #135: Reflections, On My Birthday

Birthday Quote 2018

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

This is the third birthday reflection post I’ve written. I wrote the first in 2016, and enjoyed it so much, that I did it again in 2017.

Now, here we are in August 2018. For those who don’t know, I turn 30 today. It’s kind of crazy, but so exciting!


We’ve owned our house for two years now. We continue to have stable jobs, with a few much-appreciated raises and bonuses thrown in. Last year, we celebrated seven years together, added two new members to our family with Savy and Mia, and toasted to two years of marriage. We spent a week with Al’s family during Thanksgiving, and then a quiet Christmas here at home. It was definitely a cold winter – Lots of blizzards!

This year, we finally did our HVAC overhaul, and we’re so happy we did. We’ve seen a ton of movies, and tried several new recipes. Thanks to my awesome father-in-law, I now have a beautiful custom display case and wardrobe for my American Girl dolls. We’re getting better at going to the gym during the weekday mornings, and riding our bikes around the neighborhood at night.

As the summer is starting to wind down, we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of our greyhound! Look for the first blog post about him in mid-September!


Reflecting on my long birthday weekend celebration, I’m immensely grateful for all the time I’ve been able to spend with so many people – Al, my parents, my church family, my office family, Al’s co-workers, wonderful family friends, Al’s parents, Nick and Savy, and their new puppy! There has been an abundance of food, hugs, warm wishes, thoughts, appreciation, cards, and love! I saw two wonderful movies as well, Christopher Robin and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, surrounded by family and friends.

I can’t wait to see what this new decade has to offer!!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #58: “Prez: A Story of Love”

Prez: A Story of Love

Image Credit: Amazon

I learned about this book through my P.E.O. sisterhood. The author, Margaret Garrison, is the sister-in-law of one of my chapter sisters, Cathy W.

Since our chapter typically plans our programs about a year in advance, I knew I definitely wanted to be there when Margaret was discussing her book. I had my money ready, because I was pretty sure I was going to buy the book on the spot. She even signed all books that were sold!

During her talk, she enveloped us in the often-mysterious world of college and university administration, having worked in the higher education arena for much of her adult life. She’s also a professor.

Her book, although a work of fiction, combines several of her real-life experiences and passions.


Although this book is Garrison’s first novel, you wouldn’t know it. It’s a hefty book, but a lovely and solid read!

I love all the characters she created for the book, but Katherine Embright shines as the protagonist. She’s breaking new ground in the small university town of Hurley, North Carolina – She’s the chancellor of Wickfield University during the 1989-1990 academic year. You could say she’s breaking the proverbial glass ceiling.

She’s tested multiple times throughout this watershed year – In her chancellor duties, her love life, and reacting to both current and world events.

Reading Prez gave me impressive insight into the challenges that higher education officials and administrators go through. I laughed a lot, and definitely shed my share of tears, I found myself thinking back to my days at Longwood University, where I covered the Board of Visitors (BOV) for The Rotunda student newspaper for several years. Longwood had an impressive female president, Dr. Patricia Cormier, for nearly 15 years. She proudly served from 1996 through 2010.

I thought of her life as I was reading about Katherine’s.

Although it took me more than a month to finish the book, I can only think positive thoughts about this book. It’s a wonderful story, especially for it being the author’s first novel.

The story certainly has its share of controversy – No spoilers. But, in spite of several characters’ transgressions, the book gives an incredible message of hope and faith, among other positive qualities.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a feel-good love story. One that, at the time that I bought it, I didn’t know that I needed.

The book came into my life at a time where, when I was more than halfway through it, my family was experiencing several losses – Three uncles passed away in a matter of two weeks.

This book helped me renew my faith, and helped me recognize the true importance of family.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

Commentary #67: “God Hears His Children” – A Music Review

Pinterest 2

Image Credit: Pinterest

I have an amazing friend, Chloe, who lives in Tennessee. We’ve struck up a friendship because of our shared love of American Girl dolls. We’re involved in multiple AG groups on Facebook, and we message each other several times a week. Chloe has autism, but nothing is stopping her! She has competed in several pageants, including Miss Shining Star, several online Facebook photo pageants, and Tennessee Miss Amazing!

Recently, she shared on Facebook that she had written a poem, titled “God Hears His Children.” Well, a family member helped her put music to the words. The iTunes release of the “God Hears His Children” single happened today!

To purchase, go to iTunes and search for “God Hears His Children – Single.” The thumbnail image is yellow lights with a microphone. Chloe’s name is in the upper right-hand corner, and the title is in the bottom right-hand corner.

eBay

Image Credit: eBay

When Chloe gave me a sneak preview of the single, I loved it!

I’ve already downloaded it, and I anticipate listening to it often.

It’s a good first start for her, and I’m thrilled that she took such an awesome leap of faith. First, she wrote the poem. Then, she asked her family member to help her set it to music. And, she wanted to get it submitted to iTunes!

I’m so proud of her!


Her passion, drive, and determination has blown me away from the day I met her on the American (AG) Girl Doll Obsessed BST Facebook group!

In addition, she’s a faithful member of the American (AG) Girl Dolls Obsessed: His Rock Facebook group. She also recently created the Amazingly Ag free online doll pageants Facebook group!

I hope she continues writing poems, and maybe creating more music in the future!

Congratulations, Chloe!!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #57: “Victory in the Valley”

Victory in the Valley

Image Credit: Amazon

I’m incredibly excited to say that Victory in the Valley is authored by someone I know and respect. Domeka Kelley is a courier at Riverside, and I love seeing his smiling face as often as possible. He is well-respected in the Riverside community, as well as our local communities here in Virginia. He is a pastor, and has left a lasting influence on everyone he meets.


Kelley has written a really good memoir. It’s part memoir, part testimony, and part Bible study. For this being his first book, it’s really a good effort. I respect his attention to detail, and including so many Bible verses. He has inspired me in so many ways with this book!

The main message he’s trying to get at is “valleys” are not bad things. Valleys are preparing you for climbing the mountains. What a powerful message!

Victory in the Valley is roughly 100 pages long, but I found myself taking my time to digest every single page. I love how he incorporated so many Bible verses throughout the book! It took me three full reading nights to finish the book, and I have a greater appreciation now for books that make me stop, pause, and think!

Like I mentioned, Kelley shares his powerful testimony. He gives glory to God, his wife, his children, and quite the amazing group of people who have encouraged him along his journey. He takes the time and effort to share multiple definitions of words, and connect the Bible to his own experiences. However, he remains humble in saying that his life experiences hardly compare/relate to the experiences that people in the Bible went through. How awesome is that!

With all the praise and positivity I wanted to proclaim, there were just a few places where I had issues/problems.

There were some continuity issues, but I think that’s only because I’m using to seeing memoirs that are more chronological. So, that’s not a major issue.

One big problem I did have was at the very end of the book, Kelley writes that he has a sequel in the works. That’s great! Woohoo! I did a happy dance!

However, I didn’t really appreciate the multiple mentions of the sequel at the very end. One mention at the very end of the book, like the very last page, separate from the text, would have been enough for me. It’s like he wanted to set up a cliffhanger, but made it come off as a drawn-out “To Be Continued …” moment, spread out among several pages. That didn’t make me feel so awesome at the very end.

I really don’t like giving a lot of criticism, but I try to make it as constructive as possible. I realize that writing a book, no matter how long, is NOT EASY. It isn’t! Kelley even admits toward the end that he struggled immensely with how to end the book, and it wrapped up beautifully (except for the multiple mentions of the sequel).

I’m all for self-promotion. Do it, don’t shy away from it. But, just don’t force it down your readers’ throats, that’s all. There’s a need for balance.

I’m eagerly looking forward to the sequel. I waited several weeks to get my copy of Victory in the Valley from Amazon in my hands – It was out of stock for quite a while (Not a bad thing!), so I’m hoping that when the sequel is released, I can get my hands on a copy a little bit faster!

I definitely recommend that everyone read Victory in the Valley. Even if you’re not religious, everyone can learn something from this book. But, if you are religious, it’s a powerful example of how God moves in someone’s life, and affects every aspect of their being. Kelley has had the opportunity to be a motivational speaker in several instances, and I believe that this is one of his callings, along with being a pastor.

He is incredibly inspiring, motivating, and just has a great story to tell. Reading his book has reaffirmed my faith, and motivated me to buckle down and finish writing my own books!

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂