Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Different Isn't Bad - It's Amazing!

     I stood in a high school gymnasium today, watching as students were dismissed to find their parents amidst the mayhem.  Some were tall, others tiny, some smartly dressed, others obviously making a statement by their apparel.  I realized how difficult a time high school is as each person develops at different paces, not only physically but emotionally.  There are the typical groups that will form this year as any other year: the jocks, the class clowns, the nerds, the losers, the popular crowd and the list goes on.  It saddens me that humanity continues to try to categorize each other like shapes in a shape sorter.  We are so much more complex than that!     

     High school can bring a sense of excitement in some and dread in others.  Even years after attending, the thought can bring intense emotions to many of us.  It is because this shape sorting mentality has persisted for so long.  There are no two high school students alike and there never will be!  Yes, there will be similarities, but the wondrous reality is that when each of us was made, the mold was broken.  And yet, each and every year, there are students who don't fit neatly into the pre-determined holes and they are pounded down as society acts like toddlers trying to force a circle into a square.  This pounding creates scars that last a lifetime and unfortunately changes the person themself. 

     This year, may we as parents encourage our children, as well as ourselves, to celebrate the uniqueness of each and every soul.  Instead of laughing at someone who is dressed unlike everyone else, consider their bravery in being themselves.  Rather than ridicule those whose interests are not the same, realize we are all made differently.  What an absolutely boring world it would be if we were all the same.  Let's resolve this year to celebrate individuality, to embrace all of humanity and to treat each and every person with the dignity that they deserve.

     I hope the day will come when ridiculing others will be looked down on in disgust and disdain rather than as a passtime in which to join.  May we teach the generations to come to love and build others up in order to put an end to bullying which sadly has become the norm.  May we challenge the current generation to stand up for those who are hurting, to risk ridicule themselves in order to draw a line in the sand declaring the pricelessness of each human life.

     To those of you who have endured the cutting words, the cruel actions, the ostracism even of those living life alongside of you, I say how deeply sorry I am you had to face that.  Don't allow those labels to stick to you for life.  What others say of you is not what defines you.  Be true to yourself and love the person you were made to be.  Be the best YOU you can be and be content.  As my mother often says, "comparison is the first step to discontent."  We have had it all wrong for so long.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other.  We need to have the courage to BE.  Be the unique individual you were made to be and stop being afraid of not being like everyone else.  You were never meant to be a carbon copy.


Saturday, July 27, 2013


For those of you who are visiting thanks to @VoiceofIndie on twitter, I started this blog after beginning a blog for my husband's new fantasy series he had just published.  I have so many ideas in my head, I thought it would be a great place to share some of those thoughts with others who might take the ideas and run with it.  I am a mother of six and with Summer here, I've been very busy and focusing a lot on marketing my husband's books.  Perhaps in the future, I will dedicate more time to my personal blog but for now, I'm taking a bit of a break until the mood strikes.

If you are a reader and enjoy historical fantasy, I invite you to visit the blog for my husband's new series, The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo .  I know I am biased, being his wife, but he truly is an amazing writer and everyone who has read his book so far have loved it.  If you'd like to read some of the reviews, you can visit Amazon.  We have a giveaway going on now for four books signed by Marshall.  Why not try them for free?  And the first book is free on Smashwords until the end of July.

Thanks once again for visiting.  I hope you all have a wonderful day.  Although I haven't written in awhile, you may enjoy reading Something Good or Something Right - Which Do You Choose?.  It's something I wrote regarding priorities and choosing what to do with our time and efforts.

Once again, thanks for taking a few moments to visit.


Monday, April 29, 2013

An Idea Put Into Action Is Changing Lives

     Most of us are aware of kids in the foster care system.  I must admit I speak not as an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  In a perfect world, foster care wouldn't be necessary.  But we do not live in a perfect world.  The circumstances that land these children in foster care range from sad to horrific.  Many have faced circumstances that we as adults could not even imagine.  I'm sure that for those working every day to help children in the system, there have to be times of frustration. They may see problems in the system and things they would do differently.  So often our human nature is to complain, to wring our hands, to just move on as best we can.
    There are those among us that choose a different path.  When they see a problem and it weighs on their hearts, they do something about it.  Eric and Kara Gilmore are two such people.  After working with youth in foster care and seeing the struggles faced after the children turned 18, they knew something had to be done.  As a result, Immerse Arkansas was born in 2008.  As stated on the website, they have a "goal of walking alongside young adults who have aged out of the foster system, helping them to improve their economic, social and spiritual outcomes.  Immerse Arkansas accepted its first participants into a college-style residence in the University District of Little Rock in 2010.  Through the process of transitional coaching, youth are encouraged to set and achieve goals related to becoming self-sufficient and connected to people who love them.  They are challenged to rise above their circumstances and beat the odds by making healthy choices and moving from isolation to community.  The goal for these youth is not independence, but interdependence where they participate in a 'give and take' relationship with the community and supportive people in their lives."
     Deciding to tackle another problem in the foster care system, Immerse Arkansas is teaming up with The Call and Project Zero in the first annual Walk for the Waiting.  Their goal is to end the waiting time of so many children in the foster system who are available for adoption.  With an original goal of $80,000, Walk for the Waiting has already raised $90,000.  As a result, they have raised their goal, dreaming big, to $2,000,000.  Their hope is that this can be a model for other states around the country.  This is just one more story that shows that a few people who really care can make a difference.
     If you have a heart for these children, you may go to the The Walk for the Waiting website and donate to their cause.  Who knows, maybe you'll be the one to organize a similar event in your state.  This is one great example of how a "thought" turned into action is making a difference.

Thoughts from Tracey Best

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Something Good or Something Right....Which Do You Choose?

     I've rushed headlong into life for most of my 43 years, doing whatever seemed the right and good thing to do at the moment.  I haven't always stopped to think about whether it was the right thing.  It never occurred to me that doing a good thing could be the wrong thing.  I don't think anyone would argue that each of us is born with a distinct personality, traits, talents, bents, etc.  For me, one of the things I was born with, or which God put into me, however you choose to think of it, was an intense love of people.  Since I've been a young child, I have always wanted to do the right thing, often that involved helping people.  It's easy to become prideful when you are like that.  Whether consciously or unconsciously, you start feeling like you've got it all figured out pretty much.  I honestly don't remember a lot about my younger childhood.  I have snippets of memories.  I remember neatly ordering my clothes on hangers when I was pretty young.  Somewhere along the way, I became what we all know as a "people pleaser."  I not only wanted to please people, but I wanted to please God.  When I was in my twenties, someone shared with me the idea that we can't "earn" God's approval.  If we never did another thing for Him, He would still love us.  He loves us if we can never do anything for Him.  His gift of His Son was just that, a gift, nothing we need to or can earn.  In the Christian community and in the Bible, there is a lot of discussion about what is called "works", or what we do for God.   The Bible very clearly says that we are saved by our faith in God, not by our works.  It also says that faith without works is dead.  This tends to cause quite the conundrum for us people pleasers, or perfectionists which I guess would be another word for it.  So, I had the faith.  I believed God was real.  I accepted His gift of salvation.  But in my heart, I always felt like if I didn't do the "right" thing, then, well, something awful would happen.  I still struggle with this.

     I am coming to realize that all of this really isn't just a spiritual issue.  In my life, since I am a very spiritual person, it plays out in that arena; however, it's more of an issue of humanity, an issue of fearing failure, fearing letting others down.  I'm not sure where this started or where it starts for any of us.  The development of a child and how they view life is a complex thing.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Paradigm Shift Regarding Self-Discipline I the only one who really hates thinking about this?  Like so many things that are good for us, it's definitely not a natural bent in our nature.  Similar to changing from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one, going from a huge lack in self-discipline to an ordered, disciplined life is no small challenge.  It is a change, however, that I am attempting to make.  I believe one of the things that may help me is a paradigm shift regarding self-discipline.

     One of the things I hate the most is missing out on something.  I want to be a part of what is going on, to be involved, to be connected, in the know.  Learning that saying no to a good thing in order to say yes to a better thing has not been easy.  All our lives we have to make decisions on a daily basis that will affect us. Do I stay in and do my homework or do I go outside and play with the neighbor kids?  Do I go out with friends and have fun or do I stay in the dorm to study for a crucial test?  Do I go to a party I've been looking forward to for a very long time or do I stay home with my sick child who needs their mother?  Often when we are faced with those decisions, we feel we have to constantly say no to ourselves to do the "responsible" thing, the right thing; however, I have begun to realize that by doing the "responsible" thing we are actually doing the loving thing for ourselves.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Life @ the Speed of Thought

     I recently picked up a book by Bill Gates, "Business @ the Speed of Thought."  The title intrigued me.  I have a son who is incredibly inventive. He has so many ideas it's hard for him to communicate adequately all that is in his mind.  He thinks faster than he can talk, write and possibly type.  Oh to be able to think something and have it happen.  That of course is not our reality.  We all have many ideas, good intentions, dreams and plans, but making them a reality takes time, planning, resources and hard work.  My son often gets frustrated that he can't bring his ideas to fruition.  As a 15 year old, he doesn't have the tools, knowledge and resources needed to make his dreams a reality.  In time, I have no doubt that he'll accomplish much, but the waiting is a struggle.  Imagine a baby, not even able to crawl, who understands the concept of running.  He must wait for the day he is physically able to run.  There is no easy road.  It must be one day at a time.  My son must also bide his time and gain knowledge for the day when he can fulfill his dreams.
     Over the course of my life, I have often been frustrated in a different way.  I often have ideas for ways to improve lives and help those who are struggling or thoughts of businesses I think would succeed. So often if you are the one to bring up an idea, people have a tendency to say, "Great idea!  Why don't you do that?"  The reality of being a mother of six requires that my priority be my children for this season of my life.  It's not my time to start a business, a huge outreach to those who need help, or other such endeavor.  Even if it were, I would never be able to do all that comes to my mind.  Thus, the title for this post, borrowed somewhat from Bill Gates, is Life @ the Speed of Thought.  What if all the good we conceived in our minds could just happen?  What if we had the time, the resources, the energy to birth all that we could think of?