“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

This just MAY be sacreligious...

but I am actually PLEASED that the FW writing challenge quarter break was extended by a week. Now, instead of only having three days to accomplish my challenge break goals (including getting at least a chapter or two of my book on God's workings in my husband's health issues written), I have ten days.

I really, REALLY do need to focus on this, if I'm going to enter the NonFiction Page Turner Contest, since the deadline is only two months away, and the way the summer is going so far, it is clear I am NOT going to have the same kind of quiet, uninterrupted writing time I had during the school year.

Now, this is something I haven't even MENTIONED to anyone before - and I've only somewhat pondered it..so this is BREAKING NEWS LOL. I am beginning to wonder if I shouldn't at least try to take a break from the challenge for this next quarter (writing - not commenting/jeweling etc.) so I can focus on my book as my main writing focus.

Considering I have never missed a challenge in the TWO years I've been at FW (other than judging), this will probably be a bit like breaking a long-standing habit - or at least lessening it (I don't think I could POSSIBLY go cold turkey LOL). Maybe I could not "allow" myself to work on a challenge entry until I had a certain amount of work done on my book each week.

Or, maybe I'll toss this idea out the window entirely and go my merry way, writing challenges and squeezing book-writing in wherever it fits.

We'll see, anyway!

(0h, and for the curious, my first chapter is now about 600 words long - I'm guessing I'm about halfway to one-third of the way through it. Making progress!)

Friday Fiction: "Crystal Clear"

Here's my Friday Fiction story - one of my VERY early challenge entries, and an all-time favorite. This is definitely one I'm fairly certain I NEVER could have written without the experiences I had because of Marc's illness (yeah, I'm gonna TRY to tie my fiction in to the book I'm working on.)

Check out more Friday Fiction at Patterings.

Crystal Clear

The artistry of a sunset, with its deep reds, oranges and yellows, used to be my sustenance.

When I was depressed, I would go to the pond in my back yard and marvel at the beauty of the ripples on the water, the variety of wildflowers surrounding it, and the amazing diversity of the animals I saw. I would often see dragonflies, tadpoles, catfish, and even, occasionally, a deer enjoying an afternoon drink.

When I was bored, I would often drive up into the mountains, looking down with amazement at the city below, realizing what a small cog I was in this giant world. It always did wonders for my perspective.

Other times, I would pull out a book and engross myself in the imaginary world of the author. I found myself cheering for his heroes, crying and laughing along with them, and rejoicing at the injustices set right.

One of my greatest joys was looking into the eyes of my husband and telling him what a wonderful man he was, and how much I loved him. He has the deepest, most beautiful eyes I had ever seen.

I don’t do any of these things anymore, and haven’t for several years. And do you know what? I don’t miss them.

I have to admit, I used to. Who wouldn’t? After 35 years of being able to see, having your sight taken from you is quite a blow. But, I tell you, the good Lord has given me something better - MUCH better.

How did I lose my sight? To be honest, it’s really not important. The crucial question is: WHY did I lose it? Now, THAT question I will answer. I don’t know: at least not fully. I can tell you, however, that there is Someone who does know, and He has given me little glimpses over the past few years that have given me a peace I never had when these eyes were working.

People these days complain about being distracted by all the horrible images on television, and all those teenagers who walk around practically nude. I can say with confidence that, personally, I do not have any of those concerns.

I used to be one of the most independent people on this earth. I didn’t need anyone, and I could do anything. Now I am often dependent on others - which has helped me to learn to depend on the One who created me. There is nothing like needing someone to make you more aware of the needs of others, and how to meet them. I have become the servant that Christ had always wanted me to be, and all it took was the removal of one of my senses!

And, I know that I will be able to see again when I get to heaven (and I KNOW that’s where I’m going!), and it will be glorious. I don’t think there will be people more appreciative of the wonderful sights of our heavenly homes than those who could not see their earthly ones.

I often think of that wonderful hymn Amazing Grace and realize that it is true, in a very odd way, for me.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see.

You can see so much more clearly with heavenly eyes than you ever can with earthly ones. When I became blind, my world completely opened up to all I could, and will, see.

Instead of the colors of the sunset, I will see the sparkling glaze of the twelve foundations of the Holy City’s walls. (Revelation 21)

Rather than marveling at our pond and the foliage around it, I will sit by the River of Life and eat of its tree. (Revelation 22:1-2)

Instead of watching a city from above, I will live in the New Jerusalem, with streets of gold and gates of pearl. (Revelation 21)

Rather than reading books to be transported to new lands, I will be living the ultimate fantasy, one that no one can imagine or improve upon.

And, on those days when I miss looking into my husband’s eyes, I remember that, one day, I will be able to look directly into the most amazing eyes of all - the eyes of my savior, Jesus Christ.

I may have lost my sight, but, thanks to my wonderful Lord, my vision is crystal clear.

My audience

I had a dear, wise friend ask me a question the other day. I had asked her to read over my introduction and give me some "red ink." Now, I had an ulterior motive in asking this particular person. Firstly, she is an AMAZING writer, and is wonderful about giving positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. The OTHER reason is that, like me, she has been through a life-changing trial herself, and I definitely wanted the perspective of someone who had "been there."

Well, her "red ink" comments were absolutely helpful and incredibly insightful - she helped me see where some of my writing was falling into "Christianese" and triteness and "the usual."

But she also asked me who my audience was. She mentioned that, if she had been reading my introduction when she was at the beginning of her trial, that's she'd probably have tossed it aside, because she had "heard it all before," and because it might have made her feel the book would trivialize the difficulties she was going through.

I do NOT want to do that. I am writing this book to help those who will go through trials have the right mindset when the difficulties come; those who have gone through them to see the blessings they may have missed; AND for those in the midst to help see God's hope to hold onto and get them through. It would also be nice if it could be a testimony to the unbeliever of the power of my God.

But - can I do all this - in one book? Is my audience too broad? Can I write a book that reaches all these people without alienating or insulting the pain of the current sufferer? Perhaps I need to pick a couple of those "audiences" to focus on. Or maybe I should just WRITE the silly thing, as God leads, and worry about polishing for audience later. (and maybe I should WRITE the silly thing INSTEAD OF this blog ;))

That said, I have made a BIT of progress on chapter 1 - but it's much harder to work on the book than, say, this blog or other "minor" writing stuff with the kids under foot. Haven't had that "alone time" I was hoping for this week thus far, but I might tomorrow morning.

Hope so!

Details, details...

I wish I hadn't waited FIVE YEARS to start writing this book! So many of the details have escaped me (thank the Lord my husband seems to have a better memory - about some of the stuff anyway). I just got clarification as to who drove (between the two of us) to the ER that first time.

I am making VERY SLOW progress on my writing - if I'm getting 100 words done a day, it's good. I know it's partly because the kids are home all the time, and I'm trying to get into a routine, but I wonder if there isn't something else involved.

I SO want this book to be accurate, and to impact people who are struggling, that I think I am laboring over each word - perhaps too soon.

Maybe what I need is to just write - find somewhere quiet (LOL yeah right!) and set a timer and just let my pen "blabber" so to speak. Not worry about getting it exactly right (I can double check stuff later) or being sure I emphasize the stuff I want emphasized.

I may have an opportunity to do that today, since Andrew is at camp this morning. Maybe I can send Annika outside and do it.

Pray for me!

We'll see how long THIS lasts! ;)

I truly AM an optimist at heart (annoyingly so), and I REALLY love the idea of having a blog to "talk out" my writing process, but I just wanna go into this saying this may OR may not last long. I am not responsible for the expiration of anyone who chooses to hold their breath until my next post. ;)

I am planning (planning, I say!) to post once or twice a week some information on the non-fiction book I am currently in the process of writing about God's work in my family's life during my husband's serious health problems. I am planning on entering the Page Turner Contest at Faithwriters, so I have to have the first chapter and a synopsis done by September 1.

So far, I've got my introduction to the book (which I can also send as part of the first chapter) mostly polished, and the VERY beginning of my first chapter written (like 150 words). I also have "bits and pieces" of the middle written out - though not necessarily in the format I want them in the book.

Oh, I'm also planning (again, PLANNING) to participate in Fiction Fridays at Patterings.

So - stop by, but like I said, don't hold your breath.

My One Word: 2016 and 2017

Most who know me know I am a very goal-oriented person (in fact, I already shared my goal wrap-up for 2016 and my new ones for 2017 on this...