Use What You Have

When I first got the idea for Ella’s Greatest Adventures, I asked myself so many questions. “Where can I find an illustrator?” “How can I afford this?” “How can I write a book and work on my other goals?” Everyday created a new question and I felt like I had to answer those nagging questions before I could start anything. On top of the questions I felt like I had to answer, I wasn’t overly excited about becoming an author because I knew it involved public speaking. I didn’t mind the writing part, I did that everyday in my journal but speaking to crowds gave me anxiety.

It reminds me of one of my favorite people in the bible that goes by the name of Moses. Moses had an assignment from God to go back to Egypt to lead his people out slavery. Like me, Moses was not excited about his assignment (Check out Exodus Ch 3 &4). Moses gave God so many excuses as to why he wasn’t qualified and yet received confirmation after confirmation he would not be alone. Moses was also reminded to use what he had in his hand, a staff.

Back to my story, I didn’t think I was qualified to write a children’s book because I thought I had to be well prepared. Like Moses and his staff, I used what I had available which was my pen and paper. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed and distracted by a long list of things to do when God just wants you to start with what’s in front of you.

If you ever felt how I felt, doing something out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to just start with the tools you have available and God will be with you every step of the way.

 

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Draw Near To God

 

I am excited for what’s happening in the month of June. My first children’s book will be published!! What started as an idea being in a comic-con convention to an actual illustrated book was an adventure and I cannot imagine doing it by myself.

Well, maybe that’s a lie. When I got my first idea for writing a book I thought I could do it myself. I knew the book would be dental related and drawing couldn’t be that hard…so I thought. I figured out quickly I needed an illustrator.

First, my husband went on forums  to find an illustrator for me. A lot of people responded but did not meet the criteria. People responded to my post that did not believe in my book idea so they would back out. There were people that responded with sketches that appeared as if they were rushing, missing important details. It was frustrating trying to find an illustrator.

When I exhausted my obvious options I decided to pray and ask God for my illustrator. I had an idea for how I wanted my characters to look but I needed someone to capture that on paper. I prayed for the illustrator’s personality to sync with mine since I was working with them. I was led to looking for an illustrator in a Facebook group and within a day or two later three people responded.

I asked God to narrow down my list of illustrators and give me the best one for my first book, the rest was history…

There were sooo many lessons I learned from working with an illustrator. Staying humble, being open for critique, patience, etc, etc. The biggest lesson was I couldn’t complete my book without God or my illustrator. As it starts off in Peter 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you..” I had to spend time in his presence and then spend time learning the way he wanted the book . Yes, I would’ve drawn the characters myself but at the same time I felt nudges from my heavenly father saying ‘I want yours done a certain way.’ Working with the illustrator taught me a lot and to trust God knows what’s best.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

 

In 600 Words or less

For those that may not know I have been working towards completing my first children’s book. I’m happy to confess I’m close to being finished … YAYYYY!!!!!!youth-active-jump-happy-40815.jpegThe journey had a few challenging moments however, when I needed encouragement one of the sources I plugged into was my husband, Marcus. He never leaves home without a notebook and pen, from working behind the scenes of newspapers and featured in comics, to publishing his first book From The Mind of Marcus E.T.: Freaky and Fantastical 500 Words or LessI wanted to share my inspiration with you all. Enjoy!

Q: At what age did you start writing?

A: I’ve been writing stories since I was 8. I won my first writing contest and spelling bee when I was 9 years old.

Q: Wow, what was the writing contest about?

A: It was a narrative poem about me creating a robot to replace the friends I was angry with, which was inspired by a real-life situation at the time.

Q: *Laughing* Interesting! What were some other stories you created during that time?

A: I wrote my first two books by hand and made the covers out of construction paper. One titled Animania, about a world where everyone in my 3rd grade class being their favorite animal and living in one community together. The other was called Catimorphs, about me and my closer friends being Power Ranger-type heroes who could also change into large cats and use special armor to fight aliens (based on Power Rangers and Animorphs).

Q: I can definitely see how Power Rangers and Animorphs played a role in those stories. Were there any other shows that inspired you growing up?

A: One of the most influential series for me when I was younger was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Q: True! I liked playing their game on Nintendo. So any-hoo I see the pattern of how you gravitate towards sci-fi/ action stories, why is that?

A: I’ve always enjoyed action/adventure stories,sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I appreciate thought-provoking stories, especially with good twist endings, and stories with a powerful message.

Q: Speaking of stories with good twist endings, you’ve recently published your first book less than a month ago, congrats! Where did the idea come from?

A: My book, Freaky and Fantastical 500 Words or Less, was a 6-month project where I recreated my dreams and nightmares, reinvented some of my favorite tales, and explored the all-important “what-if” question.

Q: Who would you say is your ideal reader for this book?

A: I thought of family, friends and associates who always said they could never find time to read for fun. So I created a flash fiction anthology with time restraints in mind, also challenging myself to limit my word count for each story to a multiple of 100.

Q: You know I’m definitely a fan already! As I work in the lab I mostly listen to podcasts and scroll through my phone so reading this book would entertain my time for sure especially since this book can be read via phone/ computer. I know you’re constantly writing and will be sharing more throughout the remaining of the year. How can people connect with you?

A: My website is Penandswordink.weebly.com . Twitter is @MarcusET3 and you could also check out my author page on Amazon Marcus E.T

Q: Sweet! Any last words of inspiration  you’d like to share?

A: The best thing about being a creator and fiction writer is that you don’t need to be an expert in anything. You only need to know what stories you enjoy reading and writing, and the only limiter is you.

 

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Love Your Enemies

At first I thought I would have a hard time coming up with a topic being that it’s an exciting week for me. Black Panther comes out this Friday, making progress with my children’s book, and going to have a romantic time at the ortho’s office on V-day, yayy me! Finally (like a few seconds ago) the topic came to me, Love Your Enemies.

It’s easy to love people that you get along with. The ones that support, encourage, and  strengthen you . Oh what’s not to love about that? Sure there’s moments where you can’t stand them but it’s only temporary because you both love each other unconditionally.pexels-photo-46024.jpeg I struggled with loving my enemies. It was bad enough I held grudges that could last from a few days to years but my enemies were unforgiven for life. I couldn’t avoid it , God wouldn’t let me , even now if /when I try. So what do I do ? How do I learn to love my enemies? Through pep talks (notes I take from church service) and scriptures:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”- Luke 6:27

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive ,if you have Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses”-Mark 11:25

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”-Proverbs 25:21-22

So for this valentine’s day I challenge you to serve your enemy with kindness whether it’s directly or indirectly with prayer , they deserve it and will appreciate you.

 

HAPPVALENTINE’DAY!!

 

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Have you ever walked on the sidewalk and noticed a flower growing through the cracks? I thought it was impossible but plant roots will grow anywhere there’s water and that includes being ‘oddly’ positioned between slabs of concrete.

When I accepted my position as a chemist I thought it was very odd. If anyone knew my background with chemistry they would know I struggled…ALOT! I took organic about 500 times and once I graduated I told myself ‘never again will I do chemistry’….untill 5 years later lol. I was shocked to get a callback but once I walked into the environment I felt like I was out of place. It only took a couple of weeks and I was ready to explore something else. I ended up addressing my concerns to God (even now) and he shared a few of his reasons to why I was placed there. I couldn’t understand why he would pick a place like that for me to grow. I already had plans for how I was going to grow… like a Hibiscus flower grown in the tropic environment, I was going to grow in my ideal career environment. Instead, this hard,dry- looking place was where I was supposed to grow.

So how do you bloom where you’re planted? Honestly, I fought this for a while lol but since the time I started I grown to appreciate all of the experiences I’ve had. I try to focus on the bigger picture to why he have me there including praying for others. Making the most of my time by helping others , learning new things , and pushing out of my comfort zone has been major keys to my growth, I believe.

Understand you may be positioned in a place that seem unlikely for you to grow but know that God has an awesome plan for you. So Bloom where you’re planted!

 

Dear 20’s

Dear 20’s,

We’ve been through so much together and It’s now coming to an end. I learned so much in our relationship and so before we depart I would like to share how awesome you were to me.

You taught me how to be independent especially when I decided going out of state for college would be best. I didn’t have any friends on campus and I didn’t have a car so you made sure I figured a way using the city bus.

I’m getting better at this but at the beginning it was ROUGH! I’m talking about speaking up for myself. I had a select few of roommates that were pretty awesome but the rest… WHYYY??! I learned what to tolerate and what not to tolerate, so thank you ladies 😉.

I got my first full time job with you! I learned how to prioritize in that season. You taught me it’s ok not being an open book to everyone I like. You taught me it’s ok to want more in my career and not get to a place where I feel stuck.

You taught me to think outside the 📦 box with my career goals. God tinkered with my vision so I could see a bigger picture of what he’s painting for me. I thought becoming a dentist was my final destination (you know how much I love dentistry😍). However, everything that I thought was random growing up actually served towards my purpose and now I’m actually going to publish a children’s book!

20’s , you were good to me. I got married to my best friend with you. Honestly, I didn’t think getting married would happen. I thought I’d be in my 30’s…

Speaking of 30’s, I’m looking forward to meeting them . I know we’re going to start our relationship on a good note this Friday but I hope they’re consistent like you with all the lessons I received.

I’m definitely going to miss you, but until then let’s make the last few days special .

Love you,

Ash

Acceptance

What is acceptance? It’s the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

Who would’ve thought that this word would be so powerful? Accepted into college, accepted a job offer, accepted into your spouse’s family, just accepted for who you are. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing what you have to offer someone is willing to accept just that. However, acceptance doesn’t come right away at least for me it didn’t.

It took a while to accept myself when I was younger. Rejection questioned everything about myself including the way I looked. I wore colored contacts because I thought I could stand out. I didn’t feel accepted so I started an account with Yahoo! To join their chat rooms. It didn’t solve anything but created bigger issues than before. The issue was within myself. Some time later before knowing my husband , I had a big renovation in my thought process.

I am beautiful inside and out. I started saying affirmations to myself out loud and I began to see myself differently.

Accepting the way things are. I realized I was trying to get everyone’s attention and it doesn’t work that way. If someone didn’t like me the way I wanted them to that was ok and I learned to accept that.

God doesn’t make any mistakes. Rejection built parts of my character and I learned that even though I was hurt in the process he had to keep me hidden for his timing. I learned he accepted me before I was born . I was and still am everything in his eyes.

If you’re in a place of wanting to be “accepted” know that you are and you don’t have to change anything beautiful!

The benefits of stretching

Dance class and cheering had this one thing in common I did not enjoy, called stretching. I hated stretching! While it was easy for some girls, it wasn’t for me. I knew stretching had its benefits but I thought it was better to skip and move on to practice or performing. I would stretch my legs as far as I could with all my strength, then my instructor would come and push against my back to go further. This was done on a weekly basis I couldn’t avoid it. Stretch,practice,perform, repeat. Stretch,practice, perform,repeat.

 

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The last quarter of this year for me gave me that same feeling. I felt an uncomfortable ‘pull’ especially at work and though it didn’t bring me to tears it made me ask the Lord ,”Why?” After asking why I remembered how important stretching was for my body. Stretching improves my performance, helps my body move effectively, and decrease my risk of getting hurt.  I believe the benefits of stretching in the natural applies in our relationship with the Lord. He stretch us out of our comfort zone so our faith can strengthen in him and to become more flexible…adapting to his ways. Similar to my cheer/dance days, I’m always hoping the Lord would skip the stretching part of the process however, it’s necessary in order to fully develop. Don’t worry if you need help stretching he’s always there to help: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Finding My Voice

I was about two months into my job when I heard God say “You’re going to find your voice.” Find my voice? I didn’t have a clue on what that meant but I had a STRONG idea it would involve me being uncomfortable. Finding your voice is finding a way to connect by expressing your ideas or discovering courage as you walk in your greatness. I thought I heard God wrong because with the role I had at my job , I didn’t see where I could use my voice. As things started to shift, opportunities came for me to speak up . Still to this day , I’m adjusting to vocalizing my opinions at work and am now faced with a new challenge.. Periscope.

Never would I ever THINK of being on Periscope in all the days of my life until I had the idea for a children’s book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures. A good friend mentioned the benefits of creating live content a few times but I kept shrugging it off. Eventually, I couldn’t shrug it off because I was surrounded with the idea at business workshops, books, and podcasts. I finally got the nerve to make a video and it was HARD! I looked at it as if I’m giving a presentation in an empty room and as people join it becomes overwhelming. I’m still working on getting better because its not about me.

Finding my voice was never about me, it’s all about God. Of all the things he could’ve gave me as a talent, expressing himself verbally and through writing, are some of the ways he sees best through  me. Everything we say or think he values and I think during this season he wanted to let me know that as well.

 

Write now not later

When I was a young girl I would write in my diary almost everyday. I wrote poems, short stories, but my favorite was journaling. I had friends and my mom to share things with but it was something about opening up to a blank sheet of paper. As an introvert I was considered the ‘listener’ so writing was my turn to vent. Overtime I wrote less and less because some of my experiences I didn’t want to remember the details of them if I ever were to reflect .

Time eventually revealed my love for dentistry. I was fascinated with it all and as I was planning to take the test for dental school my boyfriend (now husband) inspired me with the idea to share my story with others. I didn’t like the idea at first because blogging to me was like giving others access to your thoughts and I was scared. The name , IntrovertedFillings, came to me so clear I knew it was meant to be.

Last year, I went to a comic-con with my husband to be a supporter and we attended a children’s book workshop. I don’t remember a word they said but I left feeling inspired to do something. I played with the thought of writing a children’s book related to dentistry for a few days then asked myself,” why not?” The lord answered that question into a book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures.

Never would I have guessed that writing consistently as a young girl would lead into something bigger. So if you’re feeling prompted to do something , know that ‘write’ now is your best time!