Category Archives: ideas

My 2014 One Word

My One Word, Changing Your Life

My One WordHave you heard of this? Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen wrote a book in which they explain how choosing one word to focus on for an entire year can change your life. The concept involves praying about what God wants to teach you, and that can be both scary and enlightening. Often the word you pick turns out to show you something you hadn’t considered before or you end up needing that message more than you could have ever imagined. You can read more about the book and the whole movement on this website.

My Words

PEACE

Photo: Muff McElfresh

In past years my words have been: Listen, Kindness, Peace, and Focus. Each year I have learned something new about myself and about where God is leading me by meditating on these words, seeking them out in the Bible, and praying over them. Sometimes they are a slap to the head. I’ll just let you imagine what that could mean! ūüėČ

Often women who choose a word will buy something with that word on it to help encourage them along the way. Usually, yeah, it’s jewelry. But also ornaments, coffee mugs…

I admit I’ve ordered something with my word on it. I’ve even created my own little pictures. They are reminders because I forget easily. The more reminders, the better. I made this little image to place on my desk because in 2014, I really needed to focus.

Cindy Thomson FOCUS

There have been so many distractions keeping me from making as much progress on my writing as I should. Some of them I created. Others have been beyond my control, but overall I just needed to focus and plow through.

How Is That Working?

Slowly. I am so happy God is patient with me. I would like to report that these words have changed me in spectacular ways, but the truth is, I have a long way to go. It’s a journey, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. I should not expect to have arrived. Because of that I’m a little reluctant to let my words go at the end of the year. I haven’t learned everything yet! That is why I’ve been keeping some of them together like this:

Cindy Thomson's My One Word

One thing I have learned from concentrating on one word for an entire year is that there is always something I have indeed learned. Maybe not perfectly, but it’s progress I might have missed had I not chosen to do this.

My 2015 Word

This came to me in church one Sunday, and then I heard the word somewhere right after. And I felt it in my heart.

SHARE

I realize that this word could have several meanings (as is the case with a lot of words) and I am not entirely sure what it means for me. My first thought had to do with mentoring since I’ve been seeing some changes in the way I’ve mentored in the past. My next thought was that I need to give away some of my writing, which feels just a bit painful right now because my writing income is virtually nil. Another thought is that if I don’t FOCUS in 2014 and get the current novel I’m working on finished, I won’t be able to SHARE in 2015.

But there are other things it could mean, such as speaking up, sharing my heart, my passion, the Gospel. I don’t know where it will lead in 2015, but I am sure God has a reason for asking me to focus on this word.

Have you chosen a word to focus on for a year? Are you considering doing so?

What Was Here Before?

Getting a Historical Perspective

History geeks like me are always thinking about what a place looked like a hundred or two hundred years ago. For example, ever since I heard that the area around Plain City, Ohio, had been a hunting ground for Indians because it was where the buffalo roamed, I think about that when I’m driving past on I70. It’s so flat there, and I can just imagine it.

I discovered a children’s book years ago when I went to hear the author speak at a library that gives perspective. Perhaps it’s just how writers think, I’m not sure. It’s called Who Came Down That Road by George Ella Lyon. It explores the fact that a road or path has probably been used by people and animals for centuries.

51vgWM6qnXLHistorical Novelists Are Rightful Daydreamers

We live in the past, yet we’re writing for today’s readers. Can you see how that can make us a little bit…conflicted? (You thought I was going to say crazy, didn’t you?) This is why many novelists have “Do Not Disturb the Writer” signs on their doors. It’s a delicate state of sanity requiring much concentration!

Nobody Gets in to See the Wizard Sign

Similar to the sign Jerry Jenkins has outside his office.

Why You Too Should Envision the Past

We’ve all heard the adage, those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat its mistakes–or some version of it. I believe it is usually attributed to Edmund Burke. But whoever said it was correct. We need to know what came before so we can move forward with wisdom and thoughtfulness.

So if you’re convinced, here’s a video I think you’ll enjoy. I have this kind of thing going on in my head every day. Let me know if this makes sense to you. ūüėČ

We’re Connected by Stories

Defining Our Attachment

“…it‚Äôs our stories that tell us who we are. Our parents‚Äô and grandparents‚Äô stories are unique to each of us, to which we have an irrefutable attachment.”

This quote came from this blog post. It speaks the truth, I believe. ¬†This is the sum of why I started researching my roots. We are all searching, I believe, for a connection to each other and to God. Stories connect us. Even hearing the stories of someone not blood-related to you brings you closer to that person and that person’s struggles and triumphs.

How Stories are Collected

The post I linked to above is about a family business in Manhattan. There is another story about a family Clarke's photo by Cindy Thomsonbusiness that I have not stopped thinking about since I heard it. This one takes place on the other side of the pond, in the west of Ireland in a town called Ballina. The town, on the River Moy, is known for salmon. Clarke’s Salmon Smokery in downtown Ballina, which Jackie Clarke opened in 1945, is now run by his sons. The story about Jackie Clarke met my attention because I’ve visited Ballina and even eaten smoked salmon in one of the pubs there. (Truth be told my husband and I ate smoked salmon almost everywhere we went in Ireland and even had it in the airport before we flew home because you’re not allowed to take it with you!)

A Collector of History

Jackie Clarke, apparently, was a collector of items of historical significance. When he died in 2000 he left a floor of his house stuffed with items:

It is the most important private collection of Irish history material in public hands, comprising over 100,000 items spanning 400 years. It includes artefacts associated with Theobald Wolfe Tone; letters from Michael Collins, Douglas Hyde, Michael Davitt and O‚ÄôDonovan Rossa. It also contains rare books, proclamations, posters, political cartoons, pamphlets, handbills, works by Sir John Lavery, maps, hunger strike material and personal items from Leaders of the 1916 Rising.–www.clarkecollection.ie

From the Jackie Clarke Collection

from http://www.clarkecollection.ie/Collection/

His wife donated the collection in 2005, and much of it is on display in a former bank building in town. This museum opened after my visit so I didn’t get to see it, but it started me thinking about the importance one man collecting history can have. How much of what he kept might have been lost had he not done it? I imagine a good bit. Lots of people keep mementoes, pictures, and items related to their own¬†personal histories. But Jackie Clarke must have felt connected to his community and his country when he stowed away all the stuff he did. I can’t imagine why he didn’t share it in his lifetime. Apparently even his family didn’t know the extent of his collection. Perhaps he thought he was the only interested, but of course that wasn’t true.

My mother has stashed away items, particularly newspaper articles, when she felt they would be of historical significance in the future. She has nothing like the Clarke Collection, but she probably shares Jackie Clarke’s convictions. So much is digital now that there is little need to keep everything, but organizing it is still important so future generations can feel connected to their past. What do you think? Are you a collector?

The past connects us in important ways but only if we are able to hear the stories.