Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fun? in Phoenix part 2

Continued from previous post:
Friday morning, I woke up at 5 am.  My roommates were still asleep so I crept into the bathroom and put on my work-out clothes and went down to the gym.  My key didn't work.  No surprise there, par for the course so far I suppose.  I called the front desk and they sent someone right away to let me in.  I ran for about 45 minutes before anyone else showed up. I enjoyed the solitude.  When I returned to the room, my roommates were up and dressed.  I was not in a huge hurry to get to the convention hall.  The women I had met up with the night before planned on being there at 6:30 to get good seats.  My roommates and I arrived at 7:30.  The large hallway was just beginning to fill up, but it wasn't overly crowded and we found our group near the front of the line.  Next to us was a woman with a service dog.  Not just any service dog - a great dane.  

Service dog at convention.

Because of what happened next, I may need him.  I stood with my group near the front and by the wall.
As the crowds got heavier, I moved closer to the wall where it was a little more open.  Several minutes later, I begin feeling agitated.  I'm looking around, shifting my weight from foot to foot, backing up, turning around. My heart is pounding and I start breathing heavy.  Basically, I'm in fight or flight mode and I'm starting to shake.  Mentally, I know I'm safe, not in any danger.  Physically, my body is rejecting all intellectual thought.  Suddenly my eyes begin to tear up and one of the ladies in our group turns around and looks me in the face, "All you okay?" she asks with a very concerned tone.  I shake my head no and tell her I'm going to the bathroom and I'll be out when the crowds go away. Fortunately, the bathroom is only about three yards away but I have to push through the crowd to get there.   Inside the converted men's room, I find and empty stall, lock myself in and start crying my eyes out.  I texted my husband, "I wanna come home!"  I did at that point.  I could have left with no regrets.  Being the wonderful man he is, he assured me I was fine and to take a breather and go back in when I was ready.  Which I did.  I was embarrassed.  This was the second time this had happened.  The first was at a race when I couldn't find my husband after crossing the finish line.  I sat on a curb and cried for 20 minutes (after running around in a panic thinking he had left me).  

About 10 minutes or so later, I left the sanctuary of the men's room and found my group.  Fortunately, they were near the front and I was able to relax - sort of.  

The main session was really good.  The shadow dance group performed and Bell (the founder) sang.  Several videos were shown.  One was about the trip to Europe and the new Swarovski crystal line of jewelry (yippies) and the Origami Owl story.  If your kids want a car for their birthday, have them watch this video.  If you've ever wanted to own your own business, watch it.  Also, we learned something that I thought was really exciting.  Origami Owl will begin offering health insurance through Agentra beginning August 1st to qualified designers (meeting minimum volumes).  Read more about it here.

Near 12:30 I was ready to climb the walls. Plus, I was starving.  12:30 Phoenix is 3:30 Orlando so way past my lunch time.   I excused myself and found some food and a free massage!!!  I so needed that massage.  It was free but I tipped the woman well.  I went to two breakout classes and then I broke out and went back to the hotel.  Around 5 pm just as we were all leaving for our group dinner, a sandstorm warning set off alarms on everyone's phones.  We didn't get caught in the storm, but could see it in the distance.  

Dinner went well, I had dairy-free options to eat.  It was a little stressful at first because I had to find a waiter, in the crowd, to ask about food.  I'm always stressed when eating out and this was no different, worse even.  One of the women, Christina, made the evening and really the whole week-end bearable and even a little fun. 

There was a photo booth in the restaurant and she was the first person to pull me in.  Normally, I don't like having my picture taken, however, with the hats and funny glasses and mustaches it was fun.  She, Christina, always answered my texts right away and checked in with me often throughout the week-end.  My roommates were great, too.  In fact, they decorated our hotel room door.  The pictures of me they pulled off the internet. 
I love this quote from Chrissy Weems:  The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our "behind the scenes" with everyone else's "highlight reel".   You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you took the time to water your own grass, your's would be just as green.

 My husband often says the same thing, referring mainly to Facebook.  People's lives aren't that perfect and we tend to compare our meager life to what is portrayed on FB as a perfect, happy life.  

All you need is within you, right now.  Search for it, find it, water it, and let your light shine.  If you are having a bad day, skip!

Overall, this was an experience that I needed as much as I did not want it.  I needed to get out of my comfort zone.  I can't say that I'm afraid of crowds.  Otherwise, I would not have gone at all.  For me it's a physical reaction that I, thus far, have little control over.  Praying definitely helped.  I know my limits.  I push myself out of the box a little at a time and next time, if there is a next time, I will do more, enjoy it more, engage more, socialize more.  

I returned home exhausted, yet excited at all the possibilities that lay before me.  I leave you with this:




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Phobias and fun? in Phoenix

If you read my last post, this is a followup to the "thing" looming over my head that I didn't want to do.  If you haven't, go back and read it and then make the recipe and relax while reading this post.

This is actually the journal I kept in the days leading up to and during the convention/conference spanning over a month's time.

The first thing that popped in my head when I heard about the Origami Owl convention was, "No thanks!"  I'm not comfortable in crowds, especially crows of women, hyped up on caffeine, all excited hootin' and a hollering .  I've had bad experiences in crowds (specifically in New Orleans and Manhattan).  When an outdoor vendor event became available during the time of the convention, I signed up.  I thought it would be great, no competition because everyone would be at convention and I'd be cozy in my little box.  Well, the post I put on our FB group site set off a firestorm.  Two of the people on my team jumped on and posted, 'you've got to go to convention!"  They gave me every reason in the book why I should go.  They were valid reasons, but I wasn't so sure.  Would I have to fly alone?  I don't like to fly.  Period.  Alone was out of the question.  How much would it cost?  Where would I stay? How would I get to the hotel?  Where and what could I eat?  Could I bring food?  "Don't worry about it," they said.  "We will get you the details later, just go sign up."  Right, me not worry - Hah!.  So, I prayed about it.  Gave it to God, took it back, gave it back to Him, found something else to stress over and took it back again.  

I signed up, then traveled to S. Korea with my husband and youngest daughter.  After six airplanes and two different hotels, I'm a little more relaxed.  I can do this, I thought.  Upon our return to the US I booked the shuttle to and from the airport then a few weeks later realized I had booked it for the wrong month!  Ugh!.  Called the shuttle and got it fixed, at least I hoped.

I didn't buy the team t-shirt.  My apologies, I thought it looked like something my mother wore bedazzled in the 1980s.  I'm sure the designer worked very hard on it, just not my taste.

I wanted to keep my food issues private, however with two pre-paid dinners, I had to let those in charge know.  I did check the hotel restaurant menu and figured out what to bring with me, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't starve - or get sick.

Someone posted a YouTube video about how to pack a carry-on that was helpful.  It worked quite well.  Clothes didn't wrinkle much and I had plenty of room for my purchases and freebies.  

A week away from conference and my nerves began to get to me.  I went to my first American Christian Fiction Writers meeting and was underwhelmed.  I was nervous to be in a group of "peers" and strangers who might tell me my writing stinks and I should go back to my day job.  At the meeting, there were nine of us.  Still, I was nervous.  I could just imagine how I would feel in a group of thousands.  

Fear paralyzes you and keeps you from doing things you want to do and things God wants you to do.  That is so true.  On Monday I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide.  I thought, "If my husband was going with me and my son wasn't waiting on test results, I'd feel a whole lot better."

Wednesday, the 23rd was my birthday.  I had a great time hanging out with my husband and our oldest daughter.  Lunch at downtown Disney, House of blues.  It was a great distraction.  While there, my friend who encouraged me to sign up called to check on me and give me encouragement.  It was much appreciated.  She then gave my info to the two women I'm to room with (whom I had only met once).  They, in turn, contacted me and encouraged me.  It soothed my nerves even more.  It was nice to know people are looking out for me. 

I tried to go to sleep early the night before my trip, but not even two melatonin could put me in sleepy land.  I got up at 5 am, stretched, exercised for a few minutes, showered, hung out with my husband until he had to leave for work.  Nicest thing - when we hugged goodbye, he didn't want to let go!  Usually, he stops hugging first.  My flight was scheduled to leave at 10:30, board at 9:50.  Of course, even though the airport is only 45 minutes away, I left at 6:30.  I made a smoothie, made sure I had everything, started praying, and got in the car.  Traffic was light, thank God.  I missed the blue lot where I was supposed to park and ended up in the garage by the terminal.  It cost more, but I wasn't going to circle the airport until I found it.  

My boarding pass was on my phone, but since I hadn't used the app before, I printed out a pass at the kiosk.  Went to the wrong airline kiosk the first time. Then, I almost forgot to empty my water bottle before going through security.  A guard said I could dump it in a nearby planter, so I did.  The passbook barcode worked!  Woo hop!  I was then shuttled down the security line to a man swiping hands.  I didn't know what that was all about, but wasn't about to argue.  Apparently, if your hands are clean, you get to be expedited, meaning you don't have to take off your shoes or empty your bags.  My necklace did set off the metal detector, though.  Not surprised since it did last trip.  Overall, I made it from car to gate in about 30 minutes.  Then, I sat and waited to board.  Facebook was all lit up from other Origami Owl designers posting about traveling and their excitement.  I wasn't excited, but I hoped to meet up with at least one person before arrival at the hotel.   

The flight from Orlando to Atlanta went smoothly. No bumps, no air sickness, no familiar t-shirts to identify comrades in convention.  On the walk to the next flight, I met up with a woman from Clemson, and then several more from all parts of the country when we reached the gate.  The young woman who ended up sitting next to me was a younger version of me.  She hadn't flow in over ten years.  She has motion sickness.  She was separated with a 2-year-old son.  I felt bad for her, I was in her shoes not long ago.  She got nervous at take-off.  I tried to keep her (and me) distracted by talking, but she threw up anyway.  Luckily, she hadn't eat all day.  On the descent, the ride became very bumpy, apparently due to hot air pockets, and we both got sick to our stomachs.  Neither of us threw up.  Whew!  Most of the passengers were green by the time we landed.  

I got off the plane and found the Super Shuttle with no problems.  The ride was only about 10-15 minutes to the hotel.  The star greeted me with a bottle of water and were friendly and helpful.  When I reached my room, the key didn't work.  Fortunately, hotel cleaning staff and a supervisor were on the floor and they quickly brought me two keys, which was good because my roommates were delayed.  I let them know I had an extra key so they wouldn't have to go to the registration desk.  I ate my packed lunch/dinner then met up with several ladies from my team who had arrived earlier in the day.  We went over to the convention center to check in and do a little shopping at the O2 store.  We got some great freebies and I bought an IPad cover and a t-shirt.  After standing in line for several hours both to get in to the very crowded store and for check-out, I quickly excused myself and went back to the hotel and tried to go to sleep.  My roommates finally arrived at 2:30 am.

The day had been long and exhausting and a bit overwhelming.  I hoped to be able to relax the next day and enjoy myself.  At this point, I was still a bit nervous and anxious and not at all having fun. The people I was with were familiar, but not "friends" or family.  I think had I been totally alone to wander as I pleased I would have felt better, but being thrust into a throng of strangers all hustling and bustling and trying to be "first" in everything was just a little....the word escapes me but angst comes to mind.  I can only take crowds in bits and pieces, small chunks at a time, then let me out - I need to escape.  

...more next time

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recipe for a fear-less day

I have a very full to-do list today  I'm not doing it.  Why?  Because there is this 'THING' looming over me that makes me very afraid.  Paniky even.  I know about fear.  I know about worry.  I know what the Bible says about both.  Did you know, "Be strong and courageous" is in the Bible 365 times?  That's one for every day.  I need it today and tomorrow, and all week in fact.  Here's another:  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7.  

That's all well and good, but right now fear is paralyzing me.  I want to crawl under a rock and cry.  You see, Thursday I'm getting on an airplane - by myself- and flying to Phoenix, AZ for a conference.  Thousands of happy, rah rah women packed in a giant room.  I won't be alone but I sure will feel alone.  I'm bringing my running shoes in case I need to bolt.  

It wouldn't be so bad if my husband were coming.  It wouldn't be so bad if I was not concerned about my son's test results.  It wouldn't be so bad if my daughter wasn't moving out next month. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have a birthday coming up.  One of those, "wow you're old" ones.

You may say, "So don't go."  

I have to.  

"Why?", you ask.  

Because it terrifies me, that's why.

If I sat here at my desk all day and didn't do the things that terrified me I would whither and die.  I wouldn't be useful to God, my husband, or my family.  I would never have traveled to S. Korea and climbed a mountain and a volcano.  I would never have run a marathon or three.  I would never have left a toxic marriage and found a man I love so much it hurts to be away from him for four days in Phoenix.  I could go on, but right now, I'm trying to talk myself out of the fear the looms ahead.

So, I bake.  I bake because it gives me something to do that doesn't take too much brain power. I bake because I need to take food with me when I travel because of my allergy.  I bake because I can do it while listening to music at full blast.  That relaxes me.  (Oh, don't worry, I already did my run today.  That was relaxing, too, even though it was 90 degrees and 100% humidity).  

Here is what I baked today:

Whole wheat and oat bread. The recipe is on another post.

Zucchini and blueberry muffins:

3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup all natural applesauce
1 cup unprocessed, local honey
1 large zucchini, grated. (i put mine in the food processor)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries, frozen(thawed) or fresh
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Quaker oats, old fashioned, ground fine
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped raw almonds
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease mini loaf pans or large muffin tins. Mix in order of recipe, wet then dry.  Let sit for a few minutes.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Don't over bake or they will dry out.  Take out of tins quickly. The blueberries will stick if you wait too long.  

Refrigerate when cool.  These can be frozen, wrapped individually.

Zuchhini/blueberry muffins

Dairy-free and delicious

I ate this one. It was really good.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:25-27

Deuteronomy 31:The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.

God tells his people over and over again in the New Testament - be strong and courageous.  If they can. I can, too.

After posting this, a friend posted Philippians 4:6 on Facebook.  God knows what I needed to hear.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apple/Banana muffins

I've been baking almost all day today.  I started with my Energy Bites (see previous post) and this one is a variation of my banana bread.  If it's too sweet, cut the honey by a tablespoon.  It came out very moist and yummy!  

2 eggs
3/4 cups unprocessed, local honey
1 apple, chopped fine
2 bananas, mashed (they don't have to be super soft/overripe)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/4 cup Quaker old fashioned oats (put 1/2 to 3/4 in a food processor and coarse grind)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
1 cup chopped, raw almonds

Stir in wet ingredients, then oats, then the rest of dry.  I put mine in mini loaf pans, made 12. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes-30 minutes.  Slightly underdone is fine, they are very moist.  

Apple/Banana muffin.

Top with all-natural peanut butter for a perfect breakfast.


I concocted this recipe a few weeks ago because energy gels were making me gag and cough.  Two or more made me nauseous.  I am training for a marathon, again, so I needed on the go nutrition.  I started with one per run with a gel then gradually increased the homemade energy and eliminated the gels.  My last run, I ate two bites (twice the size of the ones pictured) and no gels!  I had plenty of energy and no upset stomach.  Woo Hoo!  

Here is the recipe:

1 cup local, unprocessed honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups Quaker, old fashioned oats.  Puree 1 cup
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped, dairy-free dark chocolate chips.  (I use Enjoy Life brand)

Add ingredients in order listed, stirring well after each.

Spoon a teaspoon-sized portion onto parchment sprayed with cooking Spray

Bake honey energy bites 5 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Cool well then freeze in air-tight container.

As an energy bar during exercise over one hour, eat two every 45-60 minutes.  Start with one to make sure it does not upset your stomach - especially if you are not used to eating real food during a work out.

There are only approximately 34 calories per bite.  To increase the calories, add finely chopped raw almonds (buy in bulk and puree in food chopper yourself), dried fruit, or add more chocolate chips.

Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

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This YouTube channel was created to add video to my blog.  Read it here:  www.colleenwaitwrites.blogspot.com.  I write about my life, my books, my family, my cats and kids, and of course travel.