Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving (repost)

Dear Readers,

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you rejoice this day as you count your blessings (maybe even discovering ones you hadn't considered). If you are with family, enjoy them. If your family lives far away, pray for them. If you are all alone, know that God loves you and has promised to never leave you or forsake you.

Many years ago, a young speaker named Ann Kiemel used to delight audiences by singing in her childlike voice, "God loves you and I love you and that's the way it should be." May that be our song today!

May God bless you. He loves you and I love you and that's the way it should be . . . .


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thanks for the Memories!

Hard to believe this year has drawn to an end. When I began blogging on September 4, 2009, I had no idea what to expect. Neither did I realize what a grand adventure this would be.

Cranking out an article every morning (except Sundays) is good discipline. Yes, some posts were better than others, I'll admit that. But it forced me to put BIC (butt in chair) and WRITE. Of course, my other writing slowed.

I didn't produce any novels this year--but I did spend time studying how to write better novels.Since deciding to write fiction, my learning curve has been high!! But let it never be said of me "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." I'm going to keep at it until I get it. And that's my final word on the subject--for now.

Until next time, thanks for the memories! And may God bless you!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thanks for Your Comments

When people blog, they sit in their "offices" and tap away at keys. Often, after sharing their inmost thoughts and fears, they preview what they've said (hopefully, deleting anything compromising) and hit "Send." And then their words are gone--off into cyberspace--to connect or not, to resonate or not, help or not, please or not.

Why do people blog? Why does anyone take the time . . . and the risk? Do they like to see themselves in print? To hear themselves talk? To influence? It could be all of those things. It could also be that God has given them something to say, some way to help, to encourage (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

For me, it began as a lark. I'd seen the movie Julie & Julia, and blogging for a year seemed like a good challenge. At first, I used it as a teaching tool and spent 2-3 months in the Selah passages of the Book of Psalms. But, as time went on, I began to see blogging as a way to connect with others.

In a day when people, either by choice or circumstance, have become isolated in their day-to-day interactions, social media has sprouted up to meet a need for interconnectedness. And blogging is part of that. When I would blog about life or death or pain or joy, I could generally expect a response in the comments section or on Facebook or in person.

Thank you for those comments and for the social connection you provided this writer--for writing, of necessity, involves many long hours of isolation. Your responses were an encouragement to me and are why I will, doubtless, continue to blog (though not daily) in the months ahead.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Still Missing My Mom

Three years ago this morning, Mother left this earth to join Jesus in Heaven. I know she's happy there, deliriously happy with Jesus and Dad and her parents and aunts and uncles. I know she's met saints and angels and that's she's learned things that would have eluded her finite mind on earth. I wouldn't wish her back. But I miss her.

We're leaving in a few minutes to visit the cemetery. She's not there--I know that. But it's something I can do to show I miss her.

As I pick the best roses I can find in my yard, I'm thinking about her and the joy she brought into my life all my life. I have no memory of a raised voice, no recollection of out-of-control actions. But I have plenty of memories of loving and giving, of cookies and milk, of "being there" whenever I needed her. And, did I mention I miss her?

I'm thankful for having had such a mother. I realize not everybody does--and I'm sorry for you if you didn't. But I sure do miss her.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When Jesus Takes the Wheel

Have you ever been in the middle of a project or on a career path when you felt Someone's hand on your shoulder? Maybe the hand has even taken the wheel and changed your life's direction.

That happened to me recently. At the Oregon Christian Writers Conference, I clearly felt God speaking to me through a number of voices and situations.
  • Agents I respect said my pro-life agenda continues to overpower my story lines--despite the fact that I have pointedly tried to keep that from happening. (FYI, agendas are expected and fine in non-fiction writing but not so fine in fiction.)
  • A highly-respected editor taught her coaching class that, in today's publishing world, authors must be entrepreneurial, meaning they must expect to market their books and to take a long-term businesslike approach to doing so. (I'm at a stage in my life where I'm looking at shorter-term projects.)
  • A young woman I love and admire has found a beautiful non-controversial way to promote the sanctity of human life in her compelling non-fiction picture gift book, and she is an effective and eager marketer of her book. (Karen Wells' The Miracle of You combines Scripture passages and faith statements with endearing illustrations to promote life.)
When the voices and situations aligned, I felt (as it were) the Spirit of God whispering a commendation to me. "You have been faithful to do what you could to affirm the sanctity of human life through your stories. But I am relieving you of the burden of carrying the pro-life message. I am placing that responsibility on Karen Wells' shoulder. Your responsibility is to encourage her and to pray for her."

And so I embrace my new responsibility. It's a joy to encourage Karen and to pray for her. It's a joy to endorse her wonderful book and to point you to Karen's website

And it's a joy to head on down the road, on the passenger side, with Jesus at the wheel. I'm wondering what new adventures He has in mind for me to write about--and I'm excited!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Emmy Awards

Every year television hosts an award show to honor professionals who have distinguished themselves in some fashion (acting, producing, writing, etc.) Because there are relatively few awards, it's a big deal to be nominated in your category, an even bigger deal to win!

There isn't an award for every actor who learns his lines and shows up day after day, or every producer who arranges finances and makes things happen so that his movie can be made. There isn't an award for every hairstylist who does her best to make actresses look good. Despite hard work and sleepless nights, no recognition is given to these hard-working souls.

The very good news is that there is One who notices all the uncelebrated acts of faithfulness that each and every one of us does day after weary day. We may not receive an award on this "success-oriented" planet, but  . . .  

one day, 
the Greatest Producer and Director of all time
will welcome into His presence 
those who belong to His cast of characters 
and delivered His lines
or worked on His sets
and He will say to them,

"Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master's happiness!"
~ Matthew 25:21

Doesn't that help put things in perspective for you? I know it does for me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Little Boy's Birthday Party

With unbridled joy he tore into his presents--shouting with particular joy when opening a Bak-u-gon or a Bionical or Legos. Most boys like to build things.

Made me think how something good can be taken to extremes, like man's desire to build the Tower of Babel.

"Come, let us build ourselves a city,
with a tower that reaches to the heavens,
so that we may make a name for ourselves
and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
~ Genesis 11:4

At first glance, one might wonder what's wrong with that building plan. Well, how about this? God's initial blessing to mankind (Adam and Eve) included these words:

"Be fruitful and increase in number;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air
and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
~ Genesis 1:28

From the very beginning, God intended man's role to be great--his was to be a  worldwide presence with dominion over all other creatures. God didn't intend for man to cluster together with the intent of making a name for himself. Rather, God intended for man to go into all the world and take with him the Redemption Story of Genesis 3. Man was to make a name for the coming Messiah who would crush the serpent's head.

Can you think of other worthwhile pursuits that, taken to extremes, eventually run counter to the will of God?