"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

11/30/09

Kettle Club: November Quiet

The Kettle Club is a monthly meme from Exemplify Online. We are committed to spending time with the Lord BEFORE writing and blogging, and at the end of the month, we share our experiences. This month, our goal was to be silent before the Lord. Check out this post for some suggested questions to answer, and this one to read other folks' contributions to this meme. My thoughts are below

**

Twas the month before Christmas,
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse.



This little poem parody did NOT describe my month. But then again, I don't think that is what the Kettle Club's challenge for November was. Coming before the Lord in silence is not the same as being surrounded by quiet when coming to Him.


And it's a good thing, because my quiet time this month was rarely if ever auditorily quiet. It was filled with children playing and/or fighting, requests of many sorts from my kids, insistent meows, and even, on one occasion, the squealing of an actual mouse struggling to escape the jaws of our mighty feline hunter. Sure, there were some days when the noise wasn't there. But that was the exception.


No: for me, silence meant a hushing of my expectations, my preconceived notions, and my heart. I've discovered that I don't listen very well when I'm talking. And I was coming to my devotional time with lots of things to discuss, and ponder. I had my agenda: with God, even with my Bible reading. I was looking for something to tweet - or something to write a blog about. Or I was remembering the story I would read and skim for things I hadn't noticed before.


But this month, I tried to listen to God first - without expectation. I tried to read God's Word as if for the first time. 


And as I silenced myself, I heard God speak.


And it was GOOD.


**

Stop by November's Kettle Club meeting to see what others have to share about their month of silence before God.


 

11/25/09

Thanksgiving and Prayer - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by Susan at Forever His. Be sure to stop by her blog for more visual inspiration from scripture.

I'm guessing I won't be the only person focusing on Thanksgiving today. We have so many blessings, but there is little more precious than the ability to petition our Father, and to thank Him for all he has given us. Prayer is powerful.




Thanks for stopping by, and praying you have a blessed Thanksgiving (whether you are an American or not!). Be sure to stop by Susan's blog for more

11/24/09

Celebrating Another Step: "Ailing Body, Nourished Soul" Progress/Update

I know - it's NOT the end of the month quite yet, but I couldn't POSSIBLY wait to share the latest step in my "finishing my book" process.
Last night, I FINISHED my last read-through of Ailing Body, Nourished Soul before sending it off for its professional edit.
Now, the ball, for the moment, is no longer in my court. Just waiting (patiently - really!) for my editing estimate from the amazingly talented, beautiful, loving, and busy Deb Porter, and then the thing will be off my desk :). I can hardly believe it!

I'm buying donuts today to celebrate. Chocolate, of course! It's party time!!



So, what's next, you ask?

My plan for the rest of this month and all of next is to start researching agents and publishing houses and such. Once I get my beautiful manuscript back (hopefully torn to pieces by sweet Deb so I can make it better! LOL), I'll shine it up and get ready to send it to those scary people! Wow.

Thank you, Lord! And all of YOU!

Blessings!

11/23/09

Who's The Rose?

Would love for you to stop by the Family Channel at Exemplify today. I've got a post up there that exposes a bit more of the "real me" than I generally share - but God told me to do it. I'm sure (LOL or perhaps I hope!) many of you can relate. Pop over there and read about Motherly Insecurities.

I'm going to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday, as many of you, I assume, with family. In fact, at various times over that long weekend, there will be a total of nineteen of us together - some of which I haven't seen in months, others in years, and a couple in nearly a decade.

Out of those I will see, I am 99% certain of the spiritual condition of all but two of them. The have NOT accepted Christ as their Lord. So, it seems, I have a job to do.

I so want to be a good witness, to be salt and light, to my family. How I would LOVE God to use me and my family to bring them into a saving knowledge of Christ. But I am nervous.

I'm afraid I'll chicken out. I'm afraid I'll  say it wrong and turn them more against Christ than they already are. I'm afraid I'll compromise my convictions to keep the peace, or to avoid confrontation.

And sometimes, I wonder if they're beyond reaching--that they're so engrossed in their selfish lives that even the love of Christ can't break through.

Of course, I know that NOBODY is beyond reaching - but still, Satan allows that thought to occupy me occasionally.

And yesterday morning, in church, our pastor preached on the stewardship of the gospel of Christ. They were words I needed. He ended his message by sharing a powerful, four-minute video, which I am sharing with you.

There are so many messages in this, for so many people. But for me, it spoke to me, asking if, perhaps, my parents, or my brothers, or anyone else who will be with us for Thanksgiving, might be the rose. And if so, what must I do?



Click here if you can't view it on my blog.

Blessings!

11/20/09

Old Glory's Tears - Friday Fiction




Fiction Friday,button,karlene

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by Sherri at A Candid Thought. 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 Sherri's blog and check out the links there.
This is actually my most recent challenge entry and I wrote it for (gasp!) last week! Enjoyed writing it. Hope you like it too (I've been told to add a tissue warning - so here it is!). The topic was purple.


OLD GLORY'S TEARS

It was sideways. This just wouldn't work.

Daniel sighed. "Can I put it on the floor, Mama?"

"Put what on the floor, DJ?" Mrs. Harris looked up from the newspaper she was reading and turned toward her son.

"The paper." He pointed at the easel in frustration. "I have to paint it wideways, and it's hanging longways."

Mrs. Harris rose slowly and grabbed the pad of paper off the easel. She turned it ninety degrees and hung it back up.

"Does that work?"

DJ nodded, licking his lips and staring at the angle of the paper.

"Thanks," he mumbled.

He went digging through the art box, pulling out a paintbrush and two containers of paint: red and blue.

"What happens when you mix blue and red, Mama?" He held the paintbrush up in front of him and stared at the blank canvas.

"You get purple. Why?"

"There isn't purple on the flag, right? Isn't it Daddy's favorite color?"

"The American flag? No, there isn't, hun." She wiped her eyes. "And yes, it was Daddy's favorite."

"I shouldn't mix the colors, then. Or it won't be a real American flag." DJ chewed on the end of the paintbrush and furrowed his brow.

"I think a little bit of mixing would be okay, DJ." She rested her hand on the top of his head and tousled his hair. "Like you said, purple was his favorite color. I think he'd like it."

DJ whipped his head from side to side. "It needs to look like a real American flag, cuz daddy's a real American hero." He looked at her, eyes blazing. "That's what you said, right?"

Mrs. Harris nodded, her eyes shut tight. "That's what I said, DJ."

He nodded himself and turned back toward the easel. He uncovered the blue paint and dipped his brush in. He slowly and meticulously painted a large blue square in the upper left corner.

Dropping the brush in water, he looked up and licked his lips. He opened the red canister, picked up and shook off his brush, and dipped it into the paint. With careful yet childlike brushstrokes, he painted each of the seven red stripes, glancing occasionally at a picture on the table. As the paintbrush got closer to the blue field, DJ slowed his strokes and stared, his tongue peeking out from between his closed lips. Not once did the colors mix.

Finishing the last stripe, he put the brush down, stepped back, and looked over his creation. He picked up a pencil and wrote on the white stripe below the blue field "my daddy is a hero" in uneven block letters.

He grabbed a sheet of star stickers and carefully placed them, one by one, in the blue field, just dry enough to touch. As he placed the 50th star, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"We leave for the cemetery in about ten minutes. You about ready?"

DJ nodded.

"Why don't you go wash your hands and change into the outfit on your bed? I'll be up to help you in a minute." She kissed him on the head. "And that's a beautiful flag, Daniel. Your father would be honored to see what you made."

A few minutes later, Daniel entered the car. Once buckled up, he held the flag across his chest.

"I miss him so much, Mommy."

"I know, sweetie, I do too."

Tears dripped down his face and further, a few landing in the flag's blue field. He glanced down a moment later and sighed, his crying increasing.

"There's purple, mom. The red stripe under the blue part has a purple smudge. My crying ruined my real American flag!" DJ bowed his head.

Mrs. Harris pulled over to the side, turned her body, and shook her head. "No it isn't, Daniel." She lifted his chin with her hand. "It's perfect. It has your own tears of love on it. Daddy is looking down on it right now, so glad you made it for him."

Daniel sniffled and looked into his mother's eyes. "Really?"

She nodded. "I think your tears will remind people of the tears we all cry when a hero dies for our country. A crying flag makes sense to me. Don't you think?"

DJ cracked a smile. "Yeah, I guess you're right." He closed his eyes. "And purple tears are kinda special too."

"They sure are, sweetie. Especially when they come from a special boy and his special flag."

**
Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by A Candid Thought for more great fiction.

11/18/09

Sheltering Protection - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by the lovely Christy at Critty Joy. Be sure to stop by her blog for more visual inspiration from Scripture.

This isn't the EXACT picture I wanted for this verse, but it works. I love how unafraid these children look. If only we could feel this way when we are in the midst of "rough seas." And we should--because of Who is beside us.




Photobucket

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:1 NIV

 Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by Christy's blog for more



11/16/09

Ultimate Faith: Monday Manna

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.

This week's verses are from one of the greatest stories of faith in all of God's Word. I wonder sometimes if I would be able to say these same things in the face of difficulty and trial.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18
Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Link up below!

**

It's been a bit of a busy week/weekend for me. I have been thinking a lot sbout these verses, and my thoughts keep coming back to some "stuff" I've already written on this subject. So, I'm going to share two of them. 


First is a story I originally wrote over a year ago for the writing challenge. It is not Biblical fiction, but this character (who still haunts me a bit, by the way) is living the life of Daniel 3:16-18. Check out "The Pain of Gain," and let me know what you think.

Also, back in August of last year, I wrote a devotional on this very story. I'm sharing it here.

Each year, I read through the entire Bible, and I just finished the book of Daniel. In the early parts of this amazing book, I foun, once again, one of the most incredible statements of faith in God in the Bible—in my opinion, anyway.

Let me set the scene. Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, are in the service of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He has recently built a 50-foot statue, and demanded that every one of his subject bow down and worship it. These three men of God, high up in Nebuchadnezzar’s organization, refuse to worship anyone but their Lord.

The king approaches the three men and gives them one more chance to obey: "If you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" Daniel 3:15 NIV

Now, if I had been one of those men, I'm fairly certain my panic alarm would have gone off at maximum volume. Doubts, anxiety, and fear would have dominated my thoughts. I might have even bowed (with my body) just to save my life (admit it--you might have considered it too!).

But not these guys.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18 NIV
Now that, my friends, is faith. These men knew He could save them, but were willing to pay the ultimate price even if He chose not to do what they wanted. That is faith no matter the circumstances--faith despite circumstances.

There are many around the world who are faced with the same dilemma as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: men and women who risk their lives, families, finances, possessions and everything else every day just to share the Gospel, or to live it out. The persecuted church is huge, yet it is the fastest growing part of the body of Christ. These people are willing to look their oppressors in the face and say "but even if He does not." And in some cases, He does not. But they still say it.

That is the kind of faith I want.

Heavenly Father, I pray for all those who are suffering for their faith, for those who risk death daily because of their love for You. Give them the strength to say, and life "but even if He does not" each day. Strengthen them, and hold them close to You.

And Lord, I pray that you would give me that kind of faith. Help me to trust You enough to live for You no matter what the consequences. Make me an "but even if He does not" Christian.
In Jesus' name. Amen.

**
Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and check out other folks' thoughts on these verses.




11/13/09

Friday Fiction: "Litter Box Ministry"

Fiction Friday,button,karlene

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by Vonnie at My Back Door. 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 My Back Door and check out the links there.
AGAIN, I'm posting non-fiction. Hope you don't shoot me through the toes and hang me by the holes ;). Wrote this one a year and a half ago, when I was first working out how I was going to write/format my non-fiction book Ailing Body, Nourished Soul. This is in the style of my book (which is VERY close to ready for its professional edit!!!), but not an actual excerpt. Hope you enjoy it!

LITTER BOX MINISTRY

It felt like a completely ridiculous and uncomfortable request, but I had to make it.

Our needs at the time were wide and deep: money, day care, prayers, meals, transportation, companionship, clothing, groceries, yard work. Some we had graciously received from our church family without even a request on our part. Others had been granted after we made the need known.

Every person in our family had been blessed by the gracious and giving natures of the body of Christ. Whether it was a church member mowing our three-acre yard so my husband wouldn't have to, a ready-cooked meal so I could stay out of the kitchen, or a toy to keep my son occupied, each member of our household had been blessed abundantly by the giving of fellow Christians.

Well, almost every member. It seemed our two "feline children" needed ministering to as well.

Twix and Squeak were already getting food and water, and even a bit of love. Their needs were a bit more sanitary in nature.

You see, for the past several months, my husband had been taking care of the cats' "business" after they relieved themselves. Prior to this, cleaning up after the cats had always been my chore, as my husband's sense of smell was a bit more acute than mine. This was certainly not a job he enjoyed, but he had done it, nonetheless, because of the warning in my most consulted book (besides the Bible, of course): "What To Expect When You're Expecting."

My second child was on the way, you see. Every pregnancy book known to man, it seemed, discouraged expectant females from contact with cat poo (I can be straightforward, can't I?). It seems feline fecal matter can carry a disease called toxoplasmosis. This disorder, though having little effect on the mother-to-be, can be spread to the unborn child and cause serious complications, including blindness.

Well, my husband was now physically unable to take care of this, and cats will only put up with an unsanitary lavatory for so long. And, as much as I adored my kitties (and hated asking for yet another favor), I was unwilling to risk my newborn child's eyesight.

So, I called Barb, our pastor's wife and a dear friend, who had been coordinating our assistance (do you know what a Godsend it is to have someone coordinating your assistance?). Apparently attuned to my plans, our calico curled up on my lap, gazing up at me with that "rub me or else" look. I obliged, of course.

"Hi Barb."

"Hi, dear! How are you doing?"

"We're doing okay. Barb, thank you so much for all you've done. You don't know how much we appreciate it."

"I just thank the Lord that I can."

I sighed. "I have one more thing I need help with."

I could hear her shuffling papers. "What do you need, hun?"

"Well, I need someone to come and clean out the litter box." I paused. "Of course, my husband can't do it, and I'm not supposed to because I'm pregnant."

Barb went right to work, with a smile I'm sure. Within a day or two, she had found a cat lover (had to have been!) and sister in Christ willing to come to our home and take care of Squeak and Twix's "leavings."

Now if that doesn't require a selfless attitude, I don't know what does. And she performed her litter box ministry cheerfully and without complaint for three months.

The body of Christ blessed every living being in our home during our trial, it seemed. Some prayed. Some gave us rides. Some watched our son. And some cleaned up our cats' waste. Every one was a blessing.


Questions: Do you ever feel embarrassed to ask for help when you really need it? Do you let your pride get in the way of asking for, or performing, assistance that may seem "below you"? Do you feel like you need to do something important in order to really help someone?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to remember that Your Son was willing to do the lowliest of jobs when He was on earth. Help us not to be ashamed to ask for help, and not too prideful to do even the lowliest of tasks for Your sake. Thank You for hearing our prayers in Jesus' name. Amen.


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

11/12/09

Monday Manna for November 16 - Even if...


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.

In my Bible reading, I'm in the book of Daniel. There is so much to learn and study in this wonderful Book. One of my favorite, and most inspiring, verses is in this OT prophetic book. Every time I read it, it challenges me. How real IS my faith? How much am I willing to put on the line?

And so, for this week's Monday Manna, I ask you to ponder, and write on, the very same thing.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18
Look forward to YOUR thoughts on these verses. See you back here on Monday, I hope!
Blessings!

11/9/09

Exemplify: Moments to Spare

Be sure to stop by Exemplify today. I've got a post over there in the Family Channel about making time for YOU in the busyness of your hectic life. Check out Moments to Spare. Maybe you'll learn something from reading that I had to learn the hard way.
Speaking of Exemplify...
Have you been over there in the past week or so? If not, there are TONS of new features, with more to come in the next few weeks. This wonderful site is becoming a place for all Christian women in whatever stage they may be in. I am so excited to be even a small part of it!

Just last week, five new channels were introduced. Each has its own blog with its own feed. With several more writers added to the mix over the past few months, there truly is something for each of us, no matter where we are in life.

For those of you who are "spouseless," try the Singles channel. Wives, the Marriage channel may be just what you're looking for--or perhaps with kids underfoot, the Family channel may be more up your alley.

Are you in some type of Christian service (and who isn't these days?)? Our Ministry channel may be just what you need. And for a bit of God's message for all of us, you can't go wrong with the Devotional channel. And don't forget the Editor's Blog, hosted by our incredible, beautiful, and blessed cupcake in chief Kristen Schiffman.

Subscribe to the one that fits you best--or to all of them (I do!).

And what would Exemplify be without the wonderful monthly magazine, also available on the blog?

And that's not all! In the coming weeks, Exemplify will be unveiling a new design, interactive community features, a new flipbook style magazine and much more.

So, be sure to stop by this wonderful site (and not just to read my devo!). You won't be sorry!

11/6/09

Friday Fiction: "The 800-Pound Gorilla"

Fiction Friday,button,karlene

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by Rick "Hoomi" Higginson at Pod Tales and Ponderings. Make sure that you head over to his 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 Rick's blog and check out the links there.

I wrote this piece for the Faithwriters' Writing Challenge during the genre quarter more than two years ago (time has FLIED!). The topic was writing something appropriate for teens, and this was, in fact, my last entry in advanced. There was some confusion about the title (are YOU familiar with the phrase?), but I like it enough that I kept it.

The 800-Pound Gorilla

"Hey, look at this!" Daphne spotted a lime green envelope lying on the table. Emblazoned across the front, in hot pink lipstick, were the words: to the Junior class.

"So, who wants to read it?" Joe, the junior class president, sat at the table, brushing his wavy brown locks from his eyes. Soon, all eight chairs were taken, and another dozen teens, making up the rest of the junior class of the small high school, were standing around the table.

Daphne sighed. "I guess I will. Hand it here."

Taking the envelope from Joe, Daphne flipped it over and removed a folded up piece of paper, neatly torn from a spiral notebook. Glancing over the contents, she gulped, then placed the letter on the table in front of her. The room hushed.

**

Members of the class of 2009,

So, did I surprise you? Bet I did. I've gone to school with most of you since kindergarten, and some of you consider me a good friend. And I'll bet you all thought you knew me pretty well.

Pretty Jenna. Happy Jenna. Joker Jenna. Perky Jenna. No Troubles Jenna. I guess I put on quite a performance, because not a single one of you has asked how I was doing, or if I needed anything, for months.

Well, now's my chance to answer that question. I'm doing terrible - lousy. Have been for a year, ever since Billy died in Iraq. Do you really know what it is like to lose a brother? Your hero? Obviously not.

Sure, you guys were nice enough the first month or so. But after that, every time I brought it up, someone would change the subject, or go find something else to do. Guess I was too much of a downer for you and your plastic little lives.

So I went back to being the Jenna you wanted me to be. Sweet, fun, silly, fake Jenna. Jenna, who didn't care about anything that mattered. You all seemed to like her better anyway.

But, do you know what I really needed? I needed someone to let me cry on their shoulder. Someone who would ask how I was doing and actually want to know the real answer. Someone who cared about my heart and soul, not just my clothes, what I got on my last test, or what I thought of some stupid teen flick.

Did any of you even remember that yesterday was exactly a year since Billy was blown up by that IED? Not a single one of you said a thing to me all day. Guess I wasn't bubbly enough to be noticed.

Well, I can't take it anymore. I hope you all grow up and have your wonderful, perfect plastic lives just like you want. Just know that I won't be there.

Jenna

**

Nothing could be heard in that room but the sounds of heavy breathing, sobbing, and wailing. The students hugged one another, patted each other's backs, and bawled.

"I can't believe we were so insensitive," Daphne said between sobs, lifting her head off another girl's shoulder.

The others nodded.

Joe stood on his chair. The others turned and looked up toward him, despair and hopelessness in their eyes.

"We cannot let this happen again. We need to stop brushing off the tough stuff, and be there for one another. You guys are important to me. We've been through too much to lose anyone else this way. So, who's with me?"

A chorus of "me" echoed through the room, and hugs were abundant, like the tears falling from their faces.

"Hey guys."

The entire group turned toward the door, where Mr. Zach, the junior class advisor, stood with half a smile on his face.

"She's gonna make it, guys. The paramedics got here just in time, it seems. Jenna's on the way to the hospital now. She'll be in the hospital for a couple of days, but she's going to be ok."

A collective sigh echoed across the room as they walked toward their teacher. On their way, they passed the spot where they'd found their classmate not half an hour earlier, sprawled on the floor seemingly dead from a drug overdose.

"Guess we'll be practicing what we preached sooner than we thought," Joe quipped.

**

Thanks for reading. Be sure to stop by Pod Tales and Ponderings for more great fiction!

11/4/09

Numbered - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by Penny at Pennyraine. Be sure to stop by her blog for more visual inspiration from scripture.

I've always had this thing for red hair. Probably because I don't have it. My hair is brown, curly, and VERY coarse. You'd be surprised at all the "stuff" I have to put into it to make it look halfway decent in my eyes.

But God gave me my hair, and he knows every one of them. So why do I worry about it?

(yeah - I still snuck in this redhead. Can't help it! LOL)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31


Be sure to stop by Pennyraine for more

11/2/09

Not Just Optimism - Monday Manna

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.

This Monday's verse is a favorite of mine - and one I REALLY needed this weekend.
Finally, 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. Philippians 4:8
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts--link up below, and read others' ponderings. Mine are below.

**

Pollyanna isn't enough.

Looking at this verse from Paul's letter to the Philippians, one might think, at first glance, that this apostle to the gentiles is simply asking us to be optimistic - to find the "sunny side" of our situations. If we only think about what is lovely, excellent, admirable, and praiseworthy, everything will seem hearts and flowers. Right?

Wrong.

There is a lot more to this than optimism. We are being being told not to be naive and "happy," but to be God-centered and God-focused. For as I look at this list for things to think on, I see God, and His work.
I think you're getting the point. It is only by keeping our eyes and minds focused on these things of God, and off our circumstances, that they will make the kind of difference in our lives that they did for Paul, and many who have come after him.

So don't just keep your chin up. Keep your eyes on the Lord, and your thoughts on His works.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and check out other folks' thoughts on this verse.




11/1/09

Down to the Wire - "Ailing Body Nourished Soul" progress/goals update

I really, truly CANNOT believe it is the first day of November (of course, I'm writing this on the 31st of October, but that's STILL no excuse!). This year is going by WAY too fast!

And on THAT note, it's time, once again, to share my progress on my preparation of my NF manuscript "Ailing Body Nourished Soul" for its professional edit.

My goal has been, and continues to be, getting this manuscript completely ready to be sent to the lovely Deb Porter at Finesse Writing and Editing Service by the end of...(gasp)....wait for it....THIS MONTH. So, while many of you are writing your hearts out feeding your screaming muse during November, trying to spit out those 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, I'll be scouring my WIP with my friend Genghis Khan the editor, getting it polished into enough beauty that I'm not embarrassed to send it for its professional edit (hehe).

ANYhow - as far as October, I think I did pretty well. As usual, here are my goals from last month, straight from my last progress/goals post.
  • Finish my flow/repetition/names read-through of Ailing Body, Nourished Soul.
  • Start a third read-through.
  • Work on my read-through daily a minimum of 15 minutes a day, with a weekly minimum of 2 hours.
Well, I did finish that second read-through, and am well into my third (a bit more than halfway, I think!). For this one, I'm reading the manuscript aloud - WOW, what a difference it's making! If you don't do this, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it. HIGHLY. So many things I've caught that I haven't before!

As far as time, I'm not sure I've made two hours a week or not - but I can only think of one day the entire month I didn't spend AT LEAST 15 minutes on it. There were several days I went over that amount, so I'd say if I didn't make the two hours each week, it was pretty close. So, not bad :)

And how about November? Well, besides my overarching goal of getting this WIP off my desk, I have some more small, specific aims.
  • Finish my "read-aloud" read-through of Ailing Body Nourished Soul
  • Do one more "proofreading/whatever else I can find" read-through
  • Spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day, two hours a week on my book until I'm done
So, that's it...for now, anyway. I DO have plans for once/while my book is in the editor's hands, but I'm trying to keep focused on the now. I promise to fill you in on those details later!

So, in the meantime - no matter what those folks at NaNo say - "slow and steady wins the race!" (and yes, I am DUCKING! hehe)


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