Hope Goes to School

As a life-long learner, nothing is more exciting to me than a couple of how-to books. Combine those books with the topics I like to pursue, and I am ready for school.

A recent visit to Half-Price Books resulted in some pay-back monies for books read and de-cluttered. Then I used my earnings on two books I “needed” to further my education as a writing coach.

The first book, “Co-Active Coaching” contains a Table of Contents with numerous topics I want to review. As I help my clients move toward their publishing dreams, I also want to keep learning and growing, to help more clients, to see more of my books in print.

Heads up for those of my clients who read this blog. I’ll be learning more about these topics:

  • Listening
  • Intuition
  • Curiosity
  • Self-Management
  • Balance
  • How-to Define Professional Coaching
  • Putting It All Together

The other book seemed like a stretch – at first. But as I scanned through it, I saw the possibilities. “Words That Sell” contains info about writing:

  • Teasers
  • Headers
  • Slogans
  • Authentic Descriptions
  • Clinchers
  • How to Persuade Your Audience
  • Selling Your Ideas

It is focused on tips for copywriting which is another form of writing I may pursue. Creating the back blurbs of my books has taught me the value of a credible pitch and how to convince readers to buy my words.

But the other direction for this book is to help my clients improve their marketing skills. If I can teach them how to devise paragraphs, blog posts and promotional information — they can be more successful selling their own words.

So part of my summer days will be spent in the library, going to school. I’ll spread out these how-to books with my highlighters and notepads, then immerse myself in a personal education project. The goal is to bring positive results for my clients and eventually also — to me.

Now that’s what I call a hope-filled summer.

©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Learning how to write and share your personal experience article is a valuable tool. For practical tips on how to move toward your publishing dreams, check out my newest writing craft book: Write and Share Your Story: Creating Your Personal Experience Article.

Hope Within Calendar Pages

As we approach the holidays, this year draws to a close. What happened to move us so quickly through 2014?

This week, I drove to an office supply store to buy a refill for my planner – new calendar pages for 2015. As I sorted and refilled my planner, I glanced back at the activities of 2014:book w- confetti

  • Speaking events
  • Visits to Mom in assisted living, trying to endure the Alzheimer’s journey
  • Writing ideas
  • Meetings at work – GateWay of Hope
  • Grocery lists
  • Meetings with Coaching Clients
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and special dates for family and friends
  • More prayer requests

With all the lists and all the activities, I wondered – did I faithfully follow God this year or was I just busy? Did I make the most of every opportunity to show the love of God to others? Did my work make a difference in the lives of the people I met? How did God answer my prayers?

Then I noticed a gap in my list of activities. Except for a few meetings with friends and the week of family vacation, what did I do for fun? Plenty of activities involved work, but precious few included days of joy.

How can I change that pattern in 2015?

I’m always telling my clients to not put undo pressure on themselves but to relax and find some time for fun.

Author and Coach RJ Thesman, heal thyself.

Fun activities make us better writers, more able to deal with the stresses of life when we encounter and nurture creative joy. We all need a few moments to decompress and just be.

My old calendar pages disappeared in the trash while the new pages took their place. Yes, I already have events scheduled for 2015, so I carefully penciled them in along with birthdays, anniversaries and important dates for family and friends.

I also vowed to make each calendar day something for good, but for Pete’s sake – to have more fun!

What are you doing for fun?

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

Finding Hope While in Limbo

Hope wordIt is not an easy place to be – this no man’s land of unanswered prayers and constantly asked questions. For almost a year now, I have lived in a sort of limbo – questioning whether my role in life has somehow messed with my soul.

It is not a question of what I do, but of who I have become within this waiting period. I like my jobs. I love writing and I find coaching to be stimulating and fun. I love encouraging other writers and helping hurting women and putting the same 26 letters together to create different words and sentences.

Perhaps it is the age thing, edging closer to Medicare and not sure exactly how that happened when just yesterday I was 29.

Maybe it is because I am observing my wonderful son as he steps into a new job and moves forward to reach some of the goals of his life. I am so proud of him yet knowing that as he steps forward, I will be left behind. That emotional umbilical cord originates in the mother and stays connected. Only the child can truly cut it.

Perhaps this place of questioning comes from observing the changes in my mother’s condition, watching the Alzheimer’s steal her away piece by fragile piece. Scripture speaks the truth. Our lives are only a vapor…”a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Have I completed the tasks God designed for me to do before the foundation of the world? Can I still write more words, complete my goal of a book each year and yet find time to build relationships with the people I hope to reach?

Is God moving puzzle pieces around, fashioning the last pieces of this life on Earth so that he can sound that trumpet and bring his family home?

What is my role in these desperate days and am I taking as much care of my soul as I am of my role?

Trying to figure out the next stages of life can drive me crazy, so I travel back to the place where hope finds seeds of truth – that faith foundation that leaves the details in God’s hands.

My role is to persevere, to keep writing and coaching and serving, even as I wait for God to complete his sanctifying work in me.

And even if he calls me to live in this place of limbo, I seek hope within the waiting because I know he has a good plan and eventually – in the timing of his eternal clock – he’ll make it clear.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

God Winks

For several years, I have wanted an umbrella over my deck table. My plan was to sit on my deck to write or pray and not worry about the Kansas sun beating down on me.

But every year – no matter how determined I was to save the money, I could not find enough extra cash to buy an umbrella.

Finally, this summer – not only did I save the money, but I also earned enough bonus bucks to save an additional ten dollars. As I drove to the store, I was so excited. I hoped they had the color of umbrella I wanted.

Through the trials and errors of life, I have learned not to settle for anything I don’t really want. So when I visualize something I have saved for – I want that exact item. No substitutions!

I wanted a yellow umbrella.20140708_182756_1

At the store, I was excited to see 50+ boxes of umbrellas – all stacked in the sale aisle. But when I started to look at the colors, they included only black, forest green or a boring beige. No yellows.

Armed with my coupon and my bonus bucks, I almost drove to another store when I noticed another pile of umbrella boxes over in the corner. Again, I checked the colors imprinted on the boxes. Brown…forest green…beige…black.

But then – glory be – one box – at the bottom of the pile – “Yellow.” Just to be sure, I tore open the box and checked it. Yep. Bright, cheery, miraculous yellow – the only one in the store and it was MINE!

I smiled all the way to the register, then all the way home. My son helped me set it up and immediately, I sat under my umbrella and wrote this blog post. Occasionally, I looked upward and smiled. My cheery yellow umbrella shaded me.

When I coach women, we often talk about Godwinks – those special gifts we pray for, or more often, keep locked within the secret vaults of our hearts.

Then one day, something special happens and we realize God has winked. He cares about the details of our lives, and he hands us a prized possession – something that proves his love and gladdens his heart because he is able to give it to us.

Every time I sit under my yellow umbrella, I thank God for this special wink, and I’m grateful again to be His.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

Long Distance Caregiving – Emotional Dynamics

Living with Alzheimers and/or dementia causes a host of emotions—especially for caregivers.hands heart

Mom’s emotions aren’t that difficult. She lives in a contented land where all she has to worry about is where she put her teeth during the night and can she find her underwear the next day. Even then, somebody helps her with those questions.

But for the rest of us—whew boy! Until I entered this journey with my siblings, I had no idea of the emotions that might swirl around us.

As the LDC, there is of course, the emotion of guilt. But it is a false guilt, a self-condemnation because I can’t be in Oklahoma all the time, helping with Mom.

At the same time, I’m glad for my life in Kansas and the work I do. I’m proud of the ministry and the incredible women I help as well as my growing coaching practice and my writing life.

Guilt raises its ugly head whenever something happens, and I’m too far away to help. Then when I visit Mom, guilt rides home with me because I can drive away and my siblings can’t.

Another emotion that affects us is grief. One possible advantage of dealing with Alzheimers is that we grieve little by little rather than in one traumatic explosion. With each change and every increase in confusion, with each memory lapse, we grieve a little more.

We understand that these lapses will grow in frequency until Mom no longer knows who we are.

We also know that some day, Mom will stop breathing and this horrid journey will be over. So we don’t have to deal with a terrible shock of a tragic death. Mom dies a little bit every day, right in front of us.

Each time I drive to Oklahoma and then back to Kansas, it takes about 10 days to process my emotions, journal about them and return to some place of normalcy. I can only imagine the emotional toll on my siblings.

I don’t know if the emotions will ever ease, or if we’ll just grow in the need for more grace.

But that’s why it’s important that caregivers take care of ourselves—whether we’re right in the thick of it or dealing with it long distance.

Emotions can tear us apart or make us stronger. I hope to finish well.