Monday, July 30, 2012

Dream Big - Sacrifice Like An Olympian

Along with the rest of the world, I am thoroughly immersed in the Olympics. I mean...I record everything while I'm at work and watch to the point of exhaustion at night. Pathetic or inspired? I'll let you decide.

During these glorious moments of down time, couch-sitting, and knocking out my every-growing to-do list, I noticed a reoccurring theme among these athletes:

"You must sacrifice yourself in order to achieve greatness."

Wow! What in the world does that look like? Well, on a daily note, it means that I stop grabbing a few M&Ms every time I pass my coworker's office so I can develop the abs of Ryan Lochte. Scary thought, right? You get the point. I want to take care of my body, so I need to sacrifice the fleeting desire to accomplish the bigger goal at hand - be in shape and feel great.

What does this look like on an even more important level? What does sacrifice mean in terms of my dreams? My writing dream is no different than the Olympians. It just requires different tools and a different diet.

Less TV and more books that increase my skill and my creativity.
Get up earlier or stay up later to spend more time writing.
Take a shorter lunch break.
Say "no" to hanging out with friends a couple nights a week.
Maybe learn to like coffee to accomplish all these.
Take vitamins, work out, and eat right to feed my mind and body so I can write well.
Spend time out of my office to get an accurate feel for how people really react to things.

I could go on, but I'm getting overwhelmed. Dreams require sacrifice. Before sacrifice, you must determine that quitting is not an option and that your dreams are worth the price. Are you dreams as big as the Olympic athletes? Are you willing to train as they do to reach the finish line? Dream big with me!

What can you do TODAY to take a step closer to your dreams? Sacrifice starts NOW!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Time for 5 minute Friday where I join with other writers to write purely for the joy of the craft. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. Today's word is....
Every room is buzzing with thousands of stories. On any given day, in any given place, stories are taking place all around you. 

That young couple in the corner? They just found out they're pregnant. Eyes shine and smiles widen as they consider which family name they should use and how they will decorate the nursery.

That man in Chick-fil-A? He just found out he has cancer. Terminal. But, he smiles and nods with his kids, soaking in their smiles and laughter, praying that somehow the doctor's diagnosis is wrong. He sees you praying over your food with your friends and hopes that somehow, you're praying for him, too. 

In that same room, no one knows my story. Maybe the person sitting in front of me. But for a moment in time, we all sit in the same room at the same time, and our stories collide. I look around, and I don't just see faces. 

I look beyond. 

I see stories, histories, lives. I see people important to the God who created them. And, I pray that someone, somewhere during their story will tell them about Jesus. Beyond this room, beyond our stories lies eternity. It's far too important to miss.

Linking up with the Gypsy Mama

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Live Inspired - Dive In

I love the water. I literally can't get enough. I've been a fish-out-of-water since I was 4.

If you've read any of my posts the last few months, you know that I'm a world-class klutz. But in the water, grace truly defines me (well, unless I'm in a life vest, and then that's a different story).

The ocean is one of my many muses. It is so powerful, so scary, and so intriguing all at the same time. I could sit and watch the waves forever. In and out, in and out. They build and then tumble over, foamy and bubbly as they glide onto the sand.

In Haiti, it didn't matter how deep I swam, I could always see my feet. Clean, pure. Refreshing. Sunlight reflected off the glassy blue, heating my face. Jelly fish slowly pulsed by. I know what's in the ocean. I know it can be a dangerous monster. I know that the same waves that cocoon and refresh me could easily drown me. But, my fear is rooted in reality. It never cripples me. I embrace the waves.

I think the Lord is a lot like the ocean - powerful, a source of refreshment and beauty, unpredictable. But, He is also to be feared. If He breathed life into my lungs, He can take it away in His time.

So, I'm writing and dreaming of the ocean today. For some reason, God decided to place this fish-out-of-water in the middle of the iron jungle that is Dallas, Texas. I guess He has a plan for me here. I'll just pretend the waves are rolling outside my cozy, little office.

What inspires you today?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Created to Create

How cool is this picture? I love the color explosion, creativity, and passion! I guess that tells you where I fall. This is a great picture of the left and right brain. The left is classy, organized, and easily identified. The right is pulsing with creativity, exploration, and chaos.

But, I sometimes wonder where I fit. There are pieces of me on the left and right. So, which side is more me? In case you can't read the text, here's the break down...

I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am. 

I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.

I struggled with this idea over the course of the week until a coworker reminded me the source of my identity. This picture, our culture, our world attempts to identify and categorize people into boxes that we can understand. But the problem with this, is that the Lord didn't create cookie cutter people or predictable personalities.

I'm neither right nor left, but two parts of a whole, blended together in the perfect mix by the Master Creator. I've been stamped: bought and paid for, precious, created in His image, worthy, loved.
Ephesians 3:17-19 says that the Lord's love is deeper, higher, wider, and longer than I can imagine. (And my imagination is pretty active.) How amazing is that truth? The God who made me treasures me not as a work of art, but as something He cared enough about to design in His own image.

He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it (Romans 8:28) using the traits from both sides of this crazy brain of mine. Even this is a testament to analyzing and creativity, left and right working in perfect harmony.

By nature, I'm a creative, so it's time to start identifying where my inspiration comes from for my thoughts, stories, and daily life. So, for the foreseeable future, I'll start identifying what inspires me. Care to join in? Which side of the brain do you identify with more - the left or right? Or are you like me - a blend of both?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Story Time

Time for 5 minute Friday where I join with other writers to write purely for the joy of the craft. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. Today's word is one of my favorites....


I remember when it first clicked, that moment I realized that my story was important. And that it wasn't mine. Three friends sat in my 1998 Honda Accord as we wound up a dusty one-lane road to the Pike's Peak trail head. My friend wanted to know my story. We'd only known one another 6 weeks, after all.

I've always been pretty private, my heart coming out more on paper and with those I love than with total strangers, but on that quiet trail in the dead of night, with nothing but dust in my headlights and the faint red of my friend's brake lights in front of me, it all became so clear.

My story is not mine to tell. It's not mine to withhold. I didn't write it. In fact, I can't take one bit of credit for it. Well, maybe the really flawed parts. But the rest of it, the daring heroic rescues, close calls, happy endings, and beautiful outcomes? Total God-moments.

As a writer, you would think that I would have grasped this concept long ago, but it's funny how life becomes more clear in our darkest moments on a narrow road to somewhere. My hesitation to share my story - every messy, beautiful bit - became an understanding that it is really His story. May every ugly moment that He has made beautiful cut through the dust and shine brighter for His glory.

So this is my story...I'm a wanna be writer, saved by grace, and failing every day. I'm loyal to a fault and a little over protective. I treasure my time to sleep and have a craving for hot chocolate in the fall. I struggle with pride and the need to be affirmed. I struggle to know where and how to spend my time. I worry that I am ineffective and won't live up to my potential or purpose.

But every day, I grow closer to the God who made me, and every day He reminds me of my worth. He holds the pen, and I enjoy the journey of His premeditated scribbles.

Linking up with the Gypsy Mama.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dream Big - Are You a Workaholic?

It was market day. Canvas draped poles in the crowded street. Farmers, bakers, artists, and vendors displayed their wares. I walked by slowly, inhaling the scent of warm baked bread with golden crust and the impending rain that is a familiar friend in this country. A couple more blocks and I had arrived at Harriets, a quaint tea house.

I wasted little time in ordering the famous afternoon tea and scone. An overcast sky, an English village, the tones of a British clip echoing around me and a yummy treat on the way - perfect. Only one thing missing. I pulled out my lap top and got to work.

As soon as the waiter brought my tea, I knew I was breaking some unknown rule. He scanned me, smirking at my open lap top, and without a word, sat the tea and scone on my tiny, round table and left, surely to make me the laughing stock of his fellow servers. As I glanced around Harriets, I noticed other amused looks, a few disgusted. I was breaking the time honored tradition of tea time. My crime?

I was working.

Everyone around me chatted with friends or read the paper. A pianist played in the corner, caught up in his fingers tickling the ivories and the sound of content people taking a short time out of their day to stop. A red sign blinking on my forehead couldn't have been more obvious - stupid American.

Hi, my name is Kariss Lynch, and I'm a workaholic. Or I used to be. Or I struggle not to be. On a daily basis. 

In the last couple of years, I have realized how much value I place in work and in my work ethic. I magnified it so much that it became an idol in my life.

In an article studying work trends in America, this writer made this statement: "What makes workaholism such a difficult issue to address is the fact that it's one of the only addictions where sufferers receive rewards and validation. Being perceived as a "go-getter" and financial compensation both legitimize such behavior in a way denied alcoholics and drug addicts, though the effects of workaholism might very well prove almost (or just) as physiologically and psychologically destructive."

Wow! That's a punch in the gut. Don't get me is a good thing! It shapes us, makes us better, builds character and provides. But it should never be EVERYTHING. It should never be our source of dependence.

Since starting this new job a few months ago, I have really wrestled to balance work. I want to work to live and not live to work. During work hours, I will work my butt off to do my best and get the job done. When the work day is done, I want to leave the stress and to do list at my desk and focus on whatever activity or person I'm with next. Many days, I feel like my real job starts when I leave my office.

"Love God and Love People"- the most important things in life. How are you doing in those arenas? I can do both in my job, but there is more left when the job is over. The Lord will never ask how many hours I worked, but I what I did with the time I had.

In pursuit of my dreams, I want to work hard, but I want to have the right perspective about work. I want to invest in people and autograph anything and everything I do with excellence, both at work and away. And no matter what, I want this to be said of me: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23. All for His glory!

Are you a workaholic? Take a "tea time" today, and then jump back on the job refreshed.