how I write… a blog hop

So… I accepted an invitation to try something new – a blog hop! One of the best things about blogging is meeting and interacting with new people and this blog hop is an example of that…

vivian (2)An inspiring lady, impressive writer, and new-and-growing-deeper friend, Vivan Mabuni, introduced me to the idea. She has recently published her first book, Warrior in Pink, about her cancer battle. She is authentic and passionate and wise. You will want to read more from her!

For this blog hop, each person answers the four questions below for their readers about how they write, so here we go….

1) What am I writing or working on? 

I write posts on life and leadership. Sometimes work themes have the most influence on my thoughts and writing, sometimes M.A. studies trigger my brain; sometimes my personal life circumstances are what weigh most heavily. Many times topics are interwoven, because they are equally affected by character and growth. No matter what the context, those areas are important – hence my blog title “Maturitas Cafe”… maturitas means maturity in Latin. (I also like to add a post about coffee now and then!)

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I think that my experience of almost 20 years living in another country gives me a unique perspective on much of life. I have also traveled to many parts of the world, led in a multi-national organization, raised four children, been married for almost 30 years, and believe that my faith is integral to it all. I love the interaction of many ideas and points of view, and I want leaders from all walks of life to feel welcome in the community here.

3) Why do I write what I do? 

I verbally process my ideas, and my husband encouraged me to start a blog. I have since recognized that when I write, I connect with the life ideas, struggles, challenges, and joys of many others. I do not intentionally teach on my blog, because I am also learning. I do not lecture, because I am often writing from my pain or failures. And I do not preach, because we are all on the faith journey at our own pace. I do love to hear that I have encouraged someone or given them hope or that they are going to try a new idea. I write because it helps me – and others – learn and grow.

4) How does my writing process work?

I do not consider myself a “writer”, but I do understand “writer’s block”. Actually my block is usually my busyness. I write when I have time to think and process… and I feel inspired with an idea. Occasionally, I force myself to write something for the discipline of having a weekly post. I write after I have ranted on about something to my husband, and he says, “You could write a post about that”. I write when I have a new resource to share. When I sit down to write, I usually write fast and furiously, so I don’t lose the idea. Then, I often ask my husband to check it before I post, so I don’t say something I will regret later! 🙂

So now you know a bit more about me and my blog… maybe you will decide to start a blog sometime! I hope you will continue to visit and read and comment. That is a great encouragement to me!

The last step of the blog-hop is to pass the baton on to others… so I have the great privilege of introducing you to three more writers that I think you will enjoy. They will answer these same questions next week. Stop over to their blogs and say hello! 

dayle (2)Dayle Rogers is a gifted writer. She is vulnerable, honest, and hilarious at her blog, Tip of the Iceberg! She says of herself, “I’m a true foreigner in this world, a storyteller trying to make sense of the journey I’m on. I’m a Jesus follower, a passionate participant in the life I’ve been given, always looking for how the eternal impacts my temporal. Everyday life fascinates me because there is always more there than what I can see. And I want to learn to better celebrate what crosses my path daily. I’m a wife, mom, nana, sister, friend, daughter and aunt. Laughter makes sense to me because all of these relationships provide so much of it. I’ve been told I’ve got many words, so writing is a means to let some of them go.”

ilonaI have never met Ilona Hadinger personally. We became special on-line friends through our love of the Lord, writing, and living in Mexico. Ilona is a magnificant artist with words and photography and she shares them both on her blog: Calling and Creativity. She describes herself this way: “Wife, mom, missionary. In that order. An American born with Hungarian blood living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, I have four kids, one husband, a lot of interests and a few gray hairs. I blog at http://www.ikhadinger.com. I’m also a member of the Redbud Writers Guild (www.redbudwritersguild.com) and a Founding Member of LACWriters Guild (www.lacwriters.com).

Julie Sanders (2)I met Julie Sanders last year. She impressed me right away with her quick smile, full laughter, and sensitive spirit. She writes with her whole heart. Julie describes herself as “a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and friend of Jesus. She loves good food, a good book, and talking with good friends late into the night. She admits that she’s a huge fan of her husband and her three boys. Her house is filled with their music, legos, books, and artwork. So, if you ever stop by, you’re liable to experience all of it.” You can connect with Julie on her blog Along The Way or on Facebook.

truth matters

road sign for the town of Truth or Consequences, NM
© Alamy-Jonathan Larsen

Henry Cloud, in his book, Integrity, writes that many people lie… actually most of us do, in some form or another.

How about the little “white” lie answer to, “How are you doing?” Do I say “fine” when I’m not really fine? Or if someone asks me, “So… how did I do?”, do I give them honest feedback or do I respond with a generic, “Great”? What about when someone wants me to “fudge” on a recommendation letter, or a stats report, or a financial designation? Do I “help them out, or do I tell the truth?

Cloud states, “People of good character are people who can be trusted to tell the truth.”

  • Truth about myself – I’ve heard many times to consider reality as my friend. It doesn’t help to hide, avoid or deny reality – especially about myself. One powerful element of leadership is self-awareness, understanding my strengths and weaknesses. If I don’t contend with my weak areas, others will. I don’t want to be the fool who’s not really fooling anyone except myself. Although it is not easy for me, I am learning to seek out truth – ask others (husband, co-workers, boss, friends) for an evaluation, request feedback about my leadership, apply what they tell me, and seek help where I am weak.

      Will I pursue the truth?

  • Truth about others – I’ve written before about my desire to please others and be the “nice guy“. It is hard to tell people the truth when it may hurt them, but there is a big difference between a surgeon who causes pain while saving a life and a murderer who causes pain when taking a life. The pain itself is not bad – intent is what matters. I am learning that I sometimes have to tell someone a painful truth in order to help them mature, change, or make a wise decision. If I use tact, care, empathy, and respect when I speak, the truth pill is easier to swallow. The temporary pain is for their good; if I withhold the truth because of my fear of rejection or negative reaction, I have put my comfort ahead of their well-being.

      Do I care enough to tell the truth?

  • Truth about my world – In our ministry, we used to do an honest evaluation of our progress every school quarter. We would look at the stats numbers and consider the brutal-truth information they provided. We would celebrate where we were doing well, and we would prayerfully adjust our plans and activities wherever we were missing the mark. Cloud calls this assimilation and accommodation.

The world is changing at breakneck speed. If I am not willing to let go of the “way we’ve always done it”, or if I mislead investors with a sugar-coated story that conceals the real numbers, or if I intentionally tell my teammates only a partial truth about my actions, I – and the organization – will never be able to grow to meet the demands of our reality. No growth = death.

      Am I willing to respond to the truth?

___________

Do you struggle with telling the truth?

What helps you remember that the truth matters?

coffee as a way of life

Yum!

As I started research for this blog, I learned a bit about coffee… and I’ve decided that I want my life to resemble a strong, rich cup of coffee…

Getting the beans to the cup is a process. The coffee berries must ripen on the bush, just as I must “ripen” – mature (hence the name for the blog!). Since the coffee plant and berries are often attacked by numerous pests (over 900 beetles, mites, snails, etc), care is essential – special treatments, environment management and pruning. I, too, often experience attacks during my maturing process and need to protect, change, and “cut” in order to grow. It is an investment in the final product.

Workers harvest the seeds (picked – traditionally by hand, fermented to remove the flesh, and dried), and then roast them. This reminds me of God choosing me and taking me through my life’s trials and “fires”. Roasting is done using different methods at varying degrees depending on the desired flavor… Isn’t it interesting how God has individually designed each of our lives, since we are each a unique creation.

The berries are next ground (a burr mill uses revolving elements to shear the bean; an electric grinder smashes the beans with blunt blades moving at high-speed; and a mortar and pestle crushes the beans… sometimes I feel like I am in a burr mill or mortar!), and finally brewed. Don’t you find that the most authentic and attractive people have been “broken” and “washed” through the experiences of their lives?

Finally the coffee is prepared and enjoyed in a variety of ways – often together with others…bringing energy and pleasure to many. I, personally, like mine black and bold.

How do you like your coffee?

What is it that you want to represent your life?