"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

7/31/09

Fiction Fridays: Not In The Catalog


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Laury at In My Daddy's Arms . Make sure that you head over to her blog and link up with your own fiction. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), head over to Laury's blog and check out the links there.
I wrote this piece a couple of years ago for the Faithwriters' writing challenge. It was the "church" quarter, and the topic was "Home Groups." Personally, I had never heard of this term before (I wasn't the only one), and there were a few jokes on the message boards about exactly what a home group might be. This story was, in a way, a product of that. Hope you enjoy it. It was fun to write!


Not In The Catalog

"Oh, Madge, have I mentioned how marvelous you look in that scarf?" Harriet's eyes bulged and her mouth gaped open as her face stretched to twice its normal length. "Wherever did you get it?"

Madge tossed her head, tilting it ever-so-slightly to the left. "This? Oh, I picked it up at Saks the other day. Charming, isn't it?"

"Divine, Madge, divine. What I wouldn't give for your sense of style, your panache."

"It truly is a learned skill, dear Harriet." Madge raised her eyebrows. "I'd be thrilled to give you some pointers."

The ladies quieted down and shifted in their seats as their hostess, Amelia, tapped her water glass with a pen.

"Thanks so much for coming, ladies, and welcome to my home. Maybe we should start by introducing ourselves. Just share your name, perhaps a bit about your family, and why you've decided to come."

The ladies looked from person to person awkwardly.

"I guess I'll start." Amelia cleared her throat. "I'm Amelia Barson. My husband Greg is a deacon at church, and we have two boys, 8 and 12. I'm here to develop closer friendships with the women of the church, to grow closer to God, and, well, because I'm leading this group." She giggled at her joke, but stopped quickly when nobody else joined her.

Amelia tapped the woman to her right. "Why don't you go next, Janet?"

The mousy-haired lady, who appeared to be in her mid-20's, kept her head down. "I'm Jan Smith. I don't really have family or friends around here. That's basically why I came: I want to meet people."

Madge was sitting to Jan's right. "My turn, it seems. I'm Madge Steiner. Frank and I have been at First Community since we were married 40 years ago, and my Wednesday afternoon literary society was cancelled this week, so I needed something to keep me busy, and out of Frank's hair."

Harriet giggled, covering her mouth. She poked Madge in the side with her elbow.

Amelia pursed her lips. "So glad to have you here."

Six eyes focused on Harriet for a good 30 seconds.

"Oh - my turn, right?" Harriet blushed. "I'm Harriet, and I'm here for the throw pillows."

"Excuse me?" Amelia glanced at her guest as if she'd just stepped off a spaceship.

"The throw pillows. You know, the lacy ones on page 16 of the catalog. They would look perfect on my loveseat in the living room."

Madge turned toward Harriet. "Oh, darling, don't you think they're a bit too loud? I do believe the orange quilt I saw toward the front would look just right on that loveseat."

"Perhaps you're right." Harriet opened her handbag and pulled out a booklet. "Now, which one were you talking about?"

"Um, excuse me, ladies," Amelia offered shyly. "You do realize this is a home group, right?"

Harriet nodded vigorously. "I got your 'home show' invitation in the mail last week, and the catalog looked just lovely. I just had to come and buy some of those wonderful items." Harriet pulled out her checkbook and waved it about. "By the way, Andrea, where's the sales rep?"

"Harriet, I think there's been a mistake." Amelia stuttered. "Andrea Billon's home decorating party is next Thursday, I think. You must have, um, gotten the dates mixed up."

Harriet looked straight at Amelia, crestfallen. "You mean no throw pillows?"

"The quilt, Harriet, the quilt. Trust me," Madge insisted.

Amelia tittered. "I have neither, ladies. I do, however, have some fellowship, a bit of God's word, some prayer...oh, and cookies. That's what a home group is all about. I do hope you'll stay."

Madge and Harriet glanced at each other.

"Cookies, you say?" Madge licked her upper lip discreetly.

"It should be a lovely afternoon," Amelia encouraged.

"There is a sale at Saks that we're missing, you know," Harriet offered, picking up her handbag.

Madge glanced at Harriet discouragingly, causing her to put her purse back on the couch.

"Why don't we just stay, Harriet? We'll certainly shock our husbands." Madge rested her hand on Harriet's shoulder. "Have we ever gone out with the checkbook and not spent money?"

"Better yet," Harriet said, a gleam in her eye, "why don't we stop at Saks when this is over? That way we can get in our share of praying and paying."

Amelia smiled. "Wonderful. So glad you are joining us, ladies. Shall we get started?"

Amelia bowed her head.

"Sounds great," Harriet boomed. "So, where are the cookies?"

**

Thanks for reading along! Be sure to stop by In My Daddy's Arms for more great fiction.

7/30/09

Monday Manna for August 3 - Joy, Thanks, Thoughts

I'm over at Exemplify today, with my Ponderings on the Pentateuch series. Check out Keeping Kosher, to see one one thing the Old Testament dietary laws can teach us about obedience on this side of the Cross.


Monday Manna

The purpose of Monday Manna is to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word.

On the first and third Mondays of each month, anyone who wants to participate can post their thoughts on a specific verse--posted here at my blog on the Thursday before, to allow you to chew on it over the weekend. It doesn't have to be long -- just a few thoughts, a picture you feel helps express it, a poem, a short story, a devotional. Just post it on your blog on Mondayish (early OR late is fine, by the way!), then come back here and link up in the MckLinky gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.

The very first Bible study I participated in as a Christian was on the book of Philippians. Since then, this epistle has become a favorite, often referred to portion of His Word. There are gems on every page. I have favorite verses in every chapter.

My favorite part of this incredible book, without a doubt, can be found in its fourth chapter. Verses four through nine are each rich in meaning, guidance, and hope.

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
For Monday, feel free to pick a verse or two out of this passage, or comment on the whole section if you feel so led. I look forward to a wonderful birthday present (yes, that's a hint!) of insight, conviction, and guidance from all of you on the third. And maybe I'll even teach myself something (through God, of course!).
See you back here on Monday!

7/29/09

Word-Filled Wednesday: The Moon

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted today by the lovely AmyDeanne at The 160 Acre Woods. Be sure to stop by her blog for more visual inspiration from Scripture. Make your own and link up there too, if you feel so led!

I've been feeling a bit harried lately, so I needed a bit of something to calm me down. I found this picture, and remembered these verses, so I'm hoping it helps you too.

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Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David- that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun;it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky. Selah Psalm 89:35-37

Aren't His promises wonderful? Jesus will reign forever--and He is returning. Selah.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by for more

7/25/09

Time is Running Out! (Nurturing The Whole Writer--part 7)




Will you have a look at that ticker?!? Less than two weeks! Excitement is rising big time at the Faithwriters' message boards, at Facebook, and probably several other places I'm not thinking of. And, of course, in my brain. If you haven't registered yet, you REALLY need to get at it! (and it's not just me talking - click here to check out an important message)

Again - here are the basics. Click on the conference button on the top of my sidebar or at the bottom of this post to get even more information and to register.
FAITHWRITERS' 2009 WRITING CONFERENCE
Nurturing the Whole Writer
Friday and Saturday, August 7 and 8, 2009
Radisson Hotel, Livonia, MI
Cost: $72 for FW 500 members
$82 for others
And now for a bit of info on the workshop blocks (these are the times when we break into smaller groups during the conference for instruction - where you actually have to CHOOSE between two incredible options for learning). There are actually four times during the conference where this will be happening, with two sessions to choose from for each.

WORKSHOP BLOCK ONE (choose one of two)
The Reticent ClientTechniques to Get Even the Mute to Speak
The lovely and multi-talented Cori Smelker (winner of the 2008 Faithwriters and Finesse Writing and Editing Services' Page Turner Writing Contest) will share her knowledge of how to get your client or interview subject talking. And who doesn't need this information!
Thoughts that Breathe, Words that BurnHow to Bring Your Poetry to Life
Are you a poet? Do you want to be? Then this is the session for you! Incredible writer/editor and the 2008 Faithwriters' Best of the Best winner Jan Ackerson will lead a hands-on workshop, with tips, tricks and exercises to unleash your inner poet and create poetry that will impact your reader.

WORKSHOP BLOCK TWO (choose one of two)
It’s a Risky BusinessOr How Not to End Up in a Thai Jail
The amazing Deb Porter--Faithwriters' writing challenge coordinator, editor, writer, speaker, and overall incredible lady-- will not only look at the responsibilities of the writer in this modern world of instant communication, but also highlight some of the risks and pitfalls writers may face if they let enthusiasm and passion run rampant over caution and wisdom.
Creating Characters Who are Strong in Their Faith
Linore Rose Burkard, inspirational regency romance author, will show us how to walk the delicate line between including spiritual content and coming across as preachy or offensive in your characterization

WORKSHOP BLOCK THREE (choose one of two)
Catch and ReleaseThe All Important Start and Finish
It's the dear Jan Ackerson again, showing you how to hook your reader from the start, and then release them with style. This one is for fiction or non-fiction writers.
Story TellingGetting the Most Bang for the Buck
Let David Ian (writer, playwright, director, actor, and all around cool dude) take you on a journey through all the elements of a well crafted story. From exposition to denouement, discover how to turn those elusive ideas into stories that will give your reader more bang for their buck.

WORKSHOP BLOCK FOUR (choose one of two)
The Fig Tree Shall Not BlossomHow to Handle a Writer’s Worst Nightmare
It's the wonderful Cori Smelker once again, sharing how to break through writer’s block and bring forth a bountiful harvest of inspiration to get you writing again.
Critiquing for the Fainthearted and the FearlessIt Doesn’t Have to Leave Scars
For some, the thought of being critiqued or critiquing is enough to send them running for cover. For others, it's a blood sport – shoot from the hip and take no captives. Join Deb Porter as she finds the balance and shows that critiquing can be fun – for all involved. Not only that, but you’ll also discover how critiquing others can actually help improve your own writing.

Very tough choices, eh? But SO worth attending. .
Are you coming? HAVE YOU REGISTERED? Can't delay much longer! Hope to see you there!

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7/24/09

Friday Fiction: Moving Days


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Dee at My Heart's Dee-Light. Make sure that you head over to her blog and link up with your own fiction. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), head over to Dee's blog and check out the links there.
Hope you don't mind, but I'm featuring another Biblical fiction this week. (I'm missing writing them, I think!) Wrote it for the Faithwriters' challenge, and the topic was "A Man Is Known By the Company He Keeps." Hope it gives you another perspective on this story, and maybe even teaches you a lesson.

Moving Days

"It's not going to work." Exhausted from another day in the pasture, he plopped onto his mat beside his wife.

Judith began scratching his back. "What's the matter?"

"We're going to have to leave."

Judith looked into her husband's eyes. "Again?"

He nodded. "And this time, without the family."

"You're kidding."

"Wish I were."

She sighed. "He's been like a father to you. We've prospered since you started working alongside him. How can you even consider leaving?"

"The land can't support us both. It's practically decimated already. If we travel together again, in no time we'll be in the same situation. My uncle will bring it up in a day or so, and if he doesn't, I will."

Judith leaned into her husband's chest and he wrapped his arms around her.

"It will be hard on the girls especially."

Judith nodded. "Being around their grandparents has been good for them."

He bit his lip. "But it can't be helped. Now, don't worry yourself, Judith. It will all work out."

Judith walked toward the tent flap. "Have you thought about where we'd go?"

He turned toward her. "Not really. Probably should, eh?"

"Might be good."

He walked toward her, took her hand, and escorted her from the tent. The sun was disappearing beyond the horizon. While her husband watched the sunset, Judith's eyes were fixed eastward.

"What if we relocated near Zoar? The land is lush, and the cities quite lavish."

He shifted his gaze toward the plains of Jordan. "The land certainly is thriving. I worry about the people in that region, though." He rubbed his chin.

"Oh, they wouldn't dare harm us, with all your wealth and power." Judith grinned, batting her eyelashes. "And think how much richer we could be with all that grazing land."

"What about the girls? Not sure that kind of influence would be good for them."

Judith snickered. "You let me worry about the children. I'll make sure no harm is done. Think about our lives, our comfort, if we settled there."

"Maybe you're right." He smiled. "It would certainly be a good life."

**
So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.*
**

"But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it."*

Lot knew the angel meant business. He and his companion had practically dragged him, Judith and the girls (ladies, really; though they were still his little girls) out of their homes, out the city gates of Sodom, and toward Zoar - to save them from destruction, they'd said.

Lot was certainly glad Judith had kept her promise. Despite the city's evil and corruption, his daughters had remained pure and obedient. Their betrothed husbands, on the other hand, wouldn't come along, choosing to distrust their father-in-law's doomsday warning.

Perhaps my daughters will be virgins forever. Lot sighed.

Upon reflection, he was glad to be getting out. The profits had been tremendous financially, but the corruption was starting to get to him - especially that incident earlier in the day with the angels. Yes, getting away would be economically devastating, but at least he had his family. He wasn't sure how Judith would adjust, however. He doubted her heart would ever leave the city, no matter its state, or where her physical body might be.

**
But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.*
**

"We have to go, girls. It's no longer safe in Zoar. We must go to the mountains."

The youngest sobbed. "How will we live, father?"

Lot rubbed her back lovingly. "We'll be fine in the caves. They will keep us dry and protected."

"Father, where will we find husbands?" Lot's older daughter's eyes pierced his. "How will we preserve our family line?"

"I don't know, girls." Lot bit his lip. "I really don't know."

The girls both slowed and walked together, their father a few paces ahead. The older put her mouth to her sister's ear.

"Perhaps we'll have to take things into our own hands."

**
So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.*

Scripture references, in order:
Genesis 13:11-12
Genesis 19:22
Genesis 19:26
Genesis 19:36-38


Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Dee's blog for more great fiction.

7/22/09

Blue Jeans Buddies (WFW)

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesdays, hosted today by the lovely AmyDeanne at her blog the 160 Acre Woods. Be sure to stop there for more visual inspiration from Scripture.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

I'm a very social person. There are very few people I won't talk to, share with. But only a select few are what I (now, to myself ;)) call my "blue jeans buddies."

These are friends who I let see the real me--warts, insecurites, jean rips, lunacy and all. I don't hide my struggles, my faults, my stupidity from these folks--because they are my sisters (LOL for the most part - there's at least one guy in there). They aren't gonna run if I do something stupid. In fact, they'll probably tell me how stupid it is and try to get me back on the right track. They pray for me, laugh with me, cry with me, and rejoice with me--and I do the same things with them.

And the more I think about this, the more I realize I should have one more "blue jeans buddy." My Heavenly Father. He loves me more than any of them do--and he knows me better, can give me wiser counsel, and WANTS to be this kind of friend to me. All I need to do is talk to Him the same way I do my blue jeans buddies.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by for more

7/20/09

Monday Manna - Leave

Welcome to Monday Manna. The purpose of this meme is to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. On the first and third Monday of each month, anyone who wishes can post their thoughts on a verse I introduced at my blog the Thursday before. It doesn't have to be a long post -- just a few thoughts, a picture you feel helps express it, a poem, a short story, a devotional.

Anyone is welcome to participate. Just put a link to your Monday Manna blog entry in the MckLinky gadget below, and check out others' thoughts.

And the verse is...
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." Genesis 12:1
Looking forward to hearing what you have to share--don't forget to link up! My thoughts are below.

**

I'm a planner. I love to have my life organized (unlike my physical environment - but that's beside the point). I'm a creature of habit--a schedule-keeper. On Mondays and Thursdays I do laundry. I grocery shop on the same day each week--with a list, drawn from our needs and the weekly grocery store ad. I turn off my computer, for the most part, at about 9 or 9:30 each night, watch Jeopardy! with my husband, and say the very same thing to him before I close my eyes each night. Needless to say, I like to know what is gonna happen next.
But life doesn't always work that way.
Sometimes, I plan to spend a week potty training my son, but instead spend several days in and out of the hospital as a neurosurgeon attempts to remove a tumor from my husband's brain. Sometimes, I figure I'll get my whole to-do list done, but instead help my son in his sudden obsession with origami for hours.

And sometimes, I feel perfectly comfortable in my home of twelve years, but then hubby and I feel called to sell and look for something smaller. With no income except disability. In the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country.

The reasons, really, are immaterial. I could certainly justify this freakish decision with many different facts, from a lawn we can't mow, to no kids nearby for the children. But the only thing that should matter is God's call.
Look at Abraham. He was told to leave it all behind, and follow his God to only-God-knew-where. And he did.
There's no discussion of Abraham justifying the trip, or looking for "real-life" reasons why this move would be best for him. He heard God's Word, grabbed his stuff, and went.

She Took A Step She Will Walk In No Time 4/28/07 Pictures, Images and Photos

When God speaks to you, how easy is it for you to step out in faith? Do you need the "logical" rationale? Do you wait until it's comfortable?

Or do You follow the only One who will always lead you in the right direction, no matter how much out of your comfort zone it may be?

**

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out the other participants below, and link up yourself!



7/18/09

R & R at the R (Nurturing the Whole Writer, Part 6)





Less than THREE WEEKS. I can hardly believe it. The Faithwriters' Christian Writing Conference will be absolutely wonderful. Can't wait for food, fun, fellowship, relaxation, and tons and tons of learning about my craft.

Again - here are the basics. Click on the conference button on the top of my sidebar or at the bottom of this post to get even more information and to register.
FAITHWRITERS' 2009 CONFERENCE
Nurturing the Whole Writer
Friday and Saturday, August 7 and 8, 2009
Radisson Hotel, Livonia, MI
Cost: $72 for FW 500 members
$82 for others
Today, I'm talking especially to you folks who need some rest and relaxation (and restoration!)--who feel like they need to get away from the rat race and get some "chill time." Today, I'm gonna talk a bit about the hotel accommodations.

The conference, just like two years ago, will be held at the Radisson in Livonia, Michigan. Those of us who attended the conference a couple years ago may remember the "dust" of this place--which was under renovation. The pool and most of the other amenities were closed.

Thankfully, the restoration has been completed, and all the amenities are accessible. Each room has high-speed wireless internet access (and as computer folks, who DOESN'T look for that?), a spacious work desk for those bits of writing inspiration that might hit at any time, and a Sleep Number(r) bed (which from what my friends tell me, is worth the cost in and of itself!).

And then, of course, there's the hotel itself. The swimming pool is available, as well as a hot tub (I'll be there - trust me!!). There's even a fitness center for those of you who want to get a bit of exercise in. Oh - and I haven't even mentioned the pool tables (used to LOVE that game when I was in college! Looking forward to seeing how rusty I am).

And the BEST part? It's reasonably priced! Just call the Radisson and you can get a room in the Faithwriters' block for only $93 a night. Personally, I'm staying with three incredible writing friends, so will be paying less than $25 a night!

But there is a disclaimer: to get your room in this block, for this price, you need to call the Radisson by July 24 (which just happens to be this coming Friday!). So don't be late. Either number below will work!
1-888-201-1718 or
734-464-1300
And don't forget to register for the conference yourself. Are you coming?? Have you registered?


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7/17/09

Friday Fiction: "Five Hundred and Fifty Animals Richer"

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Sara/Sawa at Fiction Fusion. Make sure that you head over to her blog and link up with your own fiction. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), head over to fictionfusion.blogspot.com and check out the links there.
I wrote this during the homespun wisdom quarter (which, if you recall, means it's Biblical fiction - my own challenge to myself!) for the Faithwriters Writing Challenge. The topic was "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine." I definitely enjoyed telling this familiar story from a different point of view.


Five Hundred and Fifty Animals Richer

I'm sure, at the time, he thought he was taking the easy path. It was at my expense of course, but that's certainly no surprise. He's been grasping at my heel since before I can remember.

What I can tell you, however, is that it took every bit of livestock he gave me to appease my anger. Years of bitterness are not easy to remedy. I have to admit, though, that the menagerie he sent did the trick. All's good with us again - after twenty years of bad blood.

Since my brother was a child, he'd been a mama's boy. He was no lightweight, though. That deceiver tricked me into selling him my birthright for a hot meal. He was always one to try to get something for nothing.

You see, I was the hard worker in the family, and dad's favorite for sure. I'm a hands-on guy: working in the fields, hunting game, the outdoorsy type. I work hard and generally reap the rewards of my labor. Sure, I'm impulsive sometimes, but who isn't?

My brother, on the other hand, is a schemer, an "intellectual," who only works as hard as necessary, using trickery to get more than he deserves. When I lost my birthright, I was mad, but after a few weeks, I was over it. After all, I sold it to him of my own free will. I should have known to watch out for him. Anyway, it's not like he stole it from under my nose.

The blessing, though, was another story. I couldn't have stopped him if I tried. That brother of mine waited until I was doing some real work, then he cut corners, convinced Dad he was me, and stole what was rightfully mine, with the help of my mother. All I can say is Mom was wise to send him away. I probably would have strung him up if he'd as much as come near me.

Of course, if she thought I was mad when Jacob left, she was clueless how much that anger would build inside me over the years. Every time I looked at my mother, my hatred for my brother intensified. By the time Jacob's messengers arrived in Seir and told me he was on his way to see me after twenty years, murder was all I had on my mind. I gathered up 400 of my closest friends (well, my closest angry friends, anyway) and started marching his way. "Favor in my eyes,*" indeed!

Anyhow, as we marched, a servant approached us - with 220 goats! Now this was something I didn't see every day. I asked the man to whom he belonged and where he was going. He told me, and I quote, "they belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.*"

Well, who in their right mind would refuse 220 goats? So, I took them, as at least a partial payment for what that deceiver had done to me. I was still planning to tear him limb from limb, mind you - but at least I now had some livestock to show for it.

What do you know, but a few minutes later another servant showed up, this time with 220 sheep. I took those too - who can't use a nice big herd of sheep? I have to admit these gifts were softening me a bit. I might have only injured him severely if he'd shown up then.

This went on for at least an hour. Next, it was thirty camels and their young, followed by forty cows and ten bulls. That Jacob sure knew how to break down a man's anger. I was only mildly peeved (as I drank a nice cup of fresh milk). I still wanted to do that boy bodily harm, but a few slaps in the face likely would have satisfied my wrath.

It was the next delivery, however, that removed that last bit of animosity. When I saw those thirty donkeys braying and strutting toward me, I suddenly realized how ridiculous I had been acting. Here I was, a wealthy fulfilled man, fuming over a grudge twenty years old.

As Jacob and his family approached, I ran up and embraced him. All was forgiven. Like I said, those gifts did the trick.

You know what, though? If he'd just apologized sincerely and maybe made me a nice dinner all those years ago, Jacob could have been 550 animals richer today.

* Scripture references, in order: Genesis 32:5, 32:18 NIV


Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Sawa's blog for more great fiction!

7/16/09

Names - and Monday Manna for July 20, 2009

I know lots of you are more than just bloggers. You're networking on the 'net, on different sites like Facebook and Twitter (and probably others). But whose name are you really trying to get out there? Check out my post at Exemplify today, in my Ponderings on the Pentateuch series. Learn a bit about how we often fall into "Tower of Babel Syndrome" in Make WHOSE Name?


Monday Manna

The purpose of Monday Manna is to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word.

For those of you unfamiliar, on the first and third Mondays of each month, anyone who wants to participate can post their thoughts on a specific verse. The verse is posted here at my blog on the Thursday before, to allow you to chew on it over the weekend. It doesn't have to be a long post -- just a few thoughts, a picture you feel helps express it, a poem, a short story, a devotional. Just post it on your blog on Mondayish (early OR late is fine, by the way!), then come back here and link up in the MckLinky gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.

I've been blogging (and thinking) a lot about stepping out in faith lately. This verse, in particular, has been in the forefront of my mind with many of the things I'm tackling right now. So, I figured it would be a good one for us all to ponder over the weekend.
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. Genesis 12:1
Look forward to seeing what you come up with! See you back here on Monday!

7/15/09

Word-Filled Wednesday: Taste

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by eLisa at Extravagant Grace. Be sure to stop by there for more visual inspiration from Scripture.

I was hopping about Photobucket, trying to find inspiration for some writing I was wanting to do, and I found this picture. All I can say is that I love it, and it has clearly been an inspiration--for more than one project! Isn't it great?

Photobucket

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 NIV

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by Extravagant Grace for more

7/13/09

Yup...

twitter bird Pictures, Images and PhotosI closed my eyes, plugged my nose, and dove in. Yesterday.

And the water is...well...cold.

Part of me wants to high-tail out of there right now. It's not comfortable. It's overwhelming. It's foreign to me. I don't think I have time. It's making my stomach hurt. (really. It is)

Yet, I feel called. What does that mean, you ask? I'm not 100% sure. I know that I've been praying about it. I know that I said I probably would never do it. And I know that when I had that page open, I felt that I needed to sign up. So I did.

I know that the Lord is teaching me to manage my time more effectively. He is showing me that if HE wants it done, it will get done, if I only focus on Him and His priorities. I also know that just because something makes me feel uneasy, it doesn't mean I'm not supposed to be doing it.

I know that this thing can be a great tool for communication, connection, and encouragement. It can help me get God's message, through me, out to many more people than I am right now. I'm also pretty sure that it has uses I haven't even scratched the surface about. I also know it can be a huge, HUGE time waster.

In all honesty, I can't tell you why, exactly, this is a big deal to me. But it is. So I'm bloggin' about it. I'm sharing my heart.

There must be SOMEONE out there who needs to read this. Who needs to remember that shaking in your boots doesn't mean you're supposed to run. That getting out of your comfort zone is good for you. That you'll never grow if you just do what comes easy.

That sometimes, it's perfectly okay to be a twit. (yeah - THAT'S what this is all about!)
By TwitterButtons.net

7/11/09

books, Books, BOOKS! (Nurturing the Whole Writer, part 5)

books Pictures, Images and PhotosBooks Pictures, Images and Photosbooks Pictures, Images and Photos



Four weeks from TODAY, we'll all be gathering in the Radisson in Livonia, Michigan for a FULL day of fellowship, food, and excellent information on writing, publishing, interviewing, and more.

Again - here are the basics. Click on the conference button on the top of my sidebar or at the bottom of this post to get even more information and to register.
FAITHWRITERS' 2009 CONFERENCE
Nurturing the Whole Writer
Friday and Saturday, August 7 and 8, 2009
Radisson Hotel, Livonia, MI
Cost: $72 for FW 500 members
$82 for others
Today I'm going to talk to you about one of my favorite aspects of the conference in 2007, which will be there again next month: the book table.

If you're anything like most writers I know, you LOVE to read. (and I've been told SEVERAL times that one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read) There nothing quite like reading a great book, is there? And who doesn't need books to improve their craft? Or, maybe you've written a book, or have a piece in an anthology that you'd love to sell to other writers.

So, be sure to head on over to the conference book table and check out all the wonderful offerings there, many by or featuring writers attending the conference itself!

In addition to a good selection of the Faithwriters' anthologies, (which include winners of past writing challenges) the much-anticipated book from Amy Michelle Wiley's Peculiar People Books, Delivered, is expected to make its debut there. Featuring more than two dozen authors (including yours truly!), this story of intrigue and hope is sure to keep you reading from beginning to end.

I guarantee there will be AT LEAST one book there (probably more!) that will strike your fancy - and you may even be able to get it autographed in person!

OH - and if you're attending the conference and have written a book (or contributed to one) that you would like to have available at the book table, just fill out this simple form and get it off in the mail. And what a great reason to attend in the first place!

So, be sure to stop by the book table while you're there (and say hi--I'll be working there, just like last time). You won't be disappointed.

So...are you coming? I sure hope so!


FW Button 09

7/10/09

Friday Fiction: "Noisy Quiet"

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Cat at A Work In Progress. Make sure that you head over to her blog and link up with your own fiction. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), head over to catrinabradley.blogspot.com and check out the links there.
I wrote this entry for the Faithwriters Writing challenge earlier this year. It was the geography quarter, and the topic was South America. It is based on an actual experience I had about ten years ago. Hope you enjoy it!

NOISY QUIET

"What are you doing up there?"

My husband, three inches taller than I am, is looking up at me, probably convinced I'm insane. And maybe he's right.

"It's beautiful from up here."

He chuckles. "It had quite an impact on you, didn't it?"

I nod. "Come on up."

**

I've never known quiet to be so noisy before. It's a good thing I'm exhausted.

The mattress looks inviting, but I suppose I should get out of these clothes first. It certainly can't hurt, with the sweat dripping down my body.

I peel off my boots, knee socks, pants, long-sleeved shirt, and, of course, my hat. I slip into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt--an outfit much more fitting for the air temperature.

I examine the bed for creepy crawly things. Finding none, I smile. I stretch out on my cot and look straight up. At least I can't see the sky.

Don't get me wrong--I like a star-studded view as well as, if not better than, the average person. But if I had to choose between protection from the elements and those beautiful twinklers, there's no contest. Dry is definitely my preference.

You see, it's supposed to rain tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. You get the picture. Walking around in it is one thing. But trying to sleep? Can't imagine it's doable: at least not for me.

It's not like I'm a victim of false advertising. This is the rainforest, for goodness sake. It's not like I was expecting five-star accommodations or bright, cloudless skies. When I offered to pay my own way to go on an Amazon rainforest adventure with three dozen middle schoolers, just so I could write a story for my local paper, and maybe get published in a national magazine, I knew I wouldn't be ordering room service. But somehow, the ruggedness--the roughness--of it, didn't hit me, until now.

Oh well. Part of the adventure, I suppose. I close my eyes and listen to that noisy quiet.

My ears are practically overloaded. There are at least a dozen different sounds, none of which seem to be man-made. The croak of frogs sounds familiar, but the other noises are completely foreign. Birds, perhaps? Maybe a monkey? Some animal I've never seen? Most likely. But perhaps, before the end of the week, I will.

I don't think I have ever been this enveloped in God's creation: certainly not since I acknowledged Him just five months ago. Nearly everything around me is evidence of His handiwork. How could I have ever believed this was an accident: a series of random scientific processes?

I think back over the day. The airports were a madhouse: especially O'Hare. The tween chatter didn't help much either. However, the beauty of the Andes as we soared above them did. And what a contrast between where we'd spent the first part of the day and the sparseness and primitivity of the Iquitos, Peru airport. I laugh, remembering the monkey on the shoulder of the elderly woman, and the fact that it almost grabbed the hat off my head. Then there was the hour-plus canoe ride up the Yarapa river, and the incredible view of the native people and wildlife along the shorelines.

Once we arrived at our home for the next week, we were all quite eager to get our legs moving. The plants were so vibrant. Even the insects were more brilliant in color. I was so engrossed; I didn't even notice the heat.

I focus again on the many noises of the wildlife around me, trying to guess what each animal sound is in turn. I may never know if I'm right, but it doesn't hurt to guess.

I have a feeling this is going to be quite a trip.

**

"Come up there? No thanks." He sits on the ground and looks up at me perched in our tree. "You just enjoy it yourself."

"I will." I close my eyes and listen to this different noisy quiet. Sure, I hear cars zooming past our house. But my ears, perhaps sensitized over the past week, pick up at least two different birds, the wind rustling through the leaves, and the movement of the grass as my husband shifts on the ground. For a moment, I forget I'm in my own front yard.

It was here waiting for me. Too bad I had to go all the way to the Amazon to realize it.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Cat's blog for more great fiction.

7/8/09

Word-Filled Wednesday: Ever-Present

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by the lovely AmyDeanne at The 160 Acre Woods. Be sure to stop by there for more visual inspiration from scripture.

I was browsing at Photobucket and came across this picture. The caption said it is a picture of Hurricane Katrina. My jaw dropped, realizing the incredible power.

But then I remembered that the One who loves me, and who sent His Son to die for me, is even more powerful, and can save out of even worse circumstances.

Photobucket

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by for more

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