"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

1/31/10

Gumby in February

I am VERY fond of routine. LOVE being in a predictable pattern. I'm NOT big on change. But, that is not always best for me.

I'm feeling like God is telling me that I need a challenge. I need to get out of my comfort zone and try something I've never tried before - something I am fairly confident I CANNOT do without God's strength, support, and miraculous ways.

So, in February 2010, I'm gonna be Gumby:

Yup - I expect to be especially stretched in my writing this month. I am trying something I have thought about several times, but never had the guts to try.





Over the month of February, I am going to attempt to write a MINIMUM of 35,000 words of my WIP.



Now, for you NaNoWriMo folks, this is probably a piece of cake. But I'm not like that. Remember me? Slow and steady wins the race? Remember the turtle? Write in those spare minutes?

I am fairly confident that I will NOT be able to write an average of 1,250 words a day in five- and ten-minute increments. I am going to have to MAKE TIME to buckle down and make some REAL progress on my novel.

Praise the Lord, I am not alone. A few of my dear friends will be joining me in this little project (including a BFF, who shall remain nameless unless she wishes to share, who is probably as nervous about it as I am). We will be cheering each other on throughout the month, using a wet noodle when necessary.

If any of you would like to participate, you are, of course, more than welcome. I'm hoping to have a word count meter on my blog - though I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update. I'll certainly appreciate the encouragement!

Looking forward to seeing what God accomplishes through this--and hoping that I will stretch - but will NOT turn green! ;)





Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/29/10

"Making the Pieces Fit" - Friday Fiction






Fiction Friday,button,karlene


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, which Julie Arduini is hosting this week! Be sure to check out McKlinky at the bottom of her post for some wonderful fiction! I promise you won't be disappointed!
I wrote this piece quite a while ago, for possible publication. They couldn't use it, but I still really like it - and the lesson it teaches. I've actually posted this before for Friday Fiction; but, seeing as it was more than a year and a half ago, I didn't figure you'd mind (or even remember LOL).


Making The Pieces Fit

Phyllis examined the puzzle piece in her hand. The blue shading seemed to match the sky in the right corner of the puzzle before her. Rotating the piece several times, she tried it in a few different spots in the upper portion. She was frustrated until she realized the tinge of white in one corner of the puzzle, which she had thought was cloud, was actually foam from the sea's surf. She found the spot right away, slipping the piece into place in the lower left.

"Almost done," she announced to no one. Phyllis had been working on this puzzle for a good week, any time she had a break in her schedule. It looked like she'd be able to complete it before she had to get back to work. She grabbed another piece as her telephone rang.  Phyllis placed the piece back on the table and picked up the receiver on the second ring.

"Hello."

"Hello. Is this Phyllis?"

"Yes, it is. How can I help you?"

"Hi, Phyllis. My name is Brenda Soren. We met at church on Sunday - my husband and I were sitting behind you during Sunday School."

"Oh yes - you used to teach at my alma mater, right? What can I do for you?"

"Well, I'm trying to put together a little presentation for the city's Winterfest - for the church, you know - and a couple of people mentioned that you used to write scripts. I was hoping you'd be willing to put something simple together for us."

Phyllis' face flushed remembering some of the plays she'd helped put together. "That was a long time ago, Brenda, and they were definitely not appropriate for a church setting." They had a bit more innuendo than any of her new friends would appreciate - or Phyllis herself, for that matter.
One of the first changes Phyllis noticed when she became a believer about six months earlier was her new aversion to the foul language that used to pepper her speech. And to Phyllis, writing a script without foul language seemed impossible. The two, to her, were inseparable.  She didn't think she could ever get beyond that to write another.

"I don't know, Brenda.  Just the thought of writing one brings back some pretty bad memories. Still, when do you need to know?"

"By the weekend is fine - and don't feel pressured, Phyllis. I just figured it was a good way to get you plugged in here."

"I do appreciate that, Brenda." Phyllis bit her lip. "Okay - what if I pray about it, chat with my husband, and get back to you in a couple days?"

"That would be fine. Don't be afraid to call if you need more details. Do you have my number?"

"I think so. Is it in the directory?"

"Sure is. Anyhow, I won't take up any more of your time. Have a good day, and I'll talk to you soon."

"You, too." Phyllis turned the phone off and put it back on the wall.

Phyllis plodded to the kitchen and started working on dinner, but couldn't concentrate.

"I dunno, God. What should I do?"

"Do about what?"

Phyllis turned with a start and smiled. "When did you come in, handsome?" She kissed her husband John on the cheek.

"Just a minute or so ago. You were enraptured in that ground beef, I believe."

Phyllis rolled her eyes. "You're nuts. Anyhow, how was your day, sweetheart?"

"Not bad. Sounds like yours was at least eventful."

"That's a good word for it." Phyllis put the beef mixture in a meatloaf pan and spread ketchup over the top. "Do you remember Brenda Soren? She sat behind us in Sunday School."

"I think so."

"Well, she called, and asked me if I'd be willing to write up a simple script for the church's part in the Winterfest."

"That sounds great." John smiled and grabbed the meatloaf pan off the counter and put it in the preheated oven. "So what's the problem?"

Phyllis set the oven timer for 45 minutes. "You know how crude my plays were. Do you really think I can write one without going back to that foul mouth of mine?"

"Yes, in fact I do." John raised his eyebrows. "And weren't you just saying yesterday how you wanted to start helping out at church?"

"Yeah, but couldn't I just do something else to help? Like folding napkins, or passing out tracts or something?"

"I suppose - but that's not your talent, darlin."

"Yeah, but, I could still do it, right?"

John chuckled. "Come here, Phyllis." He led her back into the living room. "Have you ever tried to put a puzzle together upside down?"

Phyllis tilted her head. "Excuse me?"

"Humor me a minute here, hun."

She nodded, shrugging her shoulders.

John grabbed a dozen unplaced pieces from her puzzle and put them down on the coffee table picture-side down.

"Theoretically, it could still be done, right?"

She nodded.

John took two pieces and attempted to join them. After several false tries, he found two that fit.

"It would definitely take longer, but it could be done -- except..." John raised his eyebrows and smiled.

He turned the two pieces over. One was clearly part of the sky, while the other appeared to belong in a portion of a flower patch.

"They don't go together," Phyllis observed.

"Right. They may look like a match from the back, but when you look at the big picture, you see that they aren't."

"Fascinating - but what does this have to do with me writing a play for the church?"

John smiled. "The body of Christ is kind of like a puzzle. Each believer is a piece of the puzzle, and we all have a place in the big picture. If we end up in the wrong place, the job may still get done, but not as easily - and the puzzle won't look quite right. If we look at each piece, however, we can be sure to put it in the right place.

"You, my dear Phyllis, have a very specific talent." John put her hands in his. "Our church needs someone with your talent to complete the 'Winterfest puzzle.' Do you think God can't help you get over your writing hurdles? He gave you that talent for a reason, you know. And I'll be here to support you besides."

Phyllis smiled. "You're right. Glad I didn't say 'no' right off the bat."

John winked. "So, you'll do it?"

"You bet. I'll call her right after dinner."

John grabbed the puzzle pieces off the coffee table and put them back with the others. "While dinner's cooking, how about I help you with this?"

"Sounds good." She kissed him gently on the cheek. "You seem to have a thing for puzzles today."

**
Thanks for reading! Be sure check out The Surrendered Scribe for more great fiction.



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/25/10

Watch out - here I come!

I just updated my book progress page here on my blog - click on my tab - or on book progress page here in this very post for details on my works in progress!

Well, I've been pretty busy so far this month - mostly in preparation-related stuff. I've done some good  agent research for Ailing Body Nourished Soul (got my query list down to about five) - and once I get my manuscript back from the professional editor, I'll do some more work in that area (after I FIX the manuscript, of course!)

But the majority of my writing-related time this month has been focused on "prewriting" stuff for my Michal novel. I've determined the POV (Michal's handmaiden), given the handmaiden a family, done several character sketches, a bit of plot brainstorming, and even got myself a working title (Handmaiden to a Princess). This is my first novel, and I'm shaking in my shoes.

But, for now, I'm ready to dive in. Starting TODAY, I'm planning to work on WRITING this book--at least a first draft. I really don't have any word count goals for the next week or so. I sorta wanna see how it goes - but watch my blog  in the next several for another SCARY announcement about my plans for the month of February.

So on I go (with Gideon by my side, giving me the needed kick in the rear as I need it!)!

2010 Theme Verse: I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13


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Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/23/10

"Delivered" will be delivered to...




Thanks to EVERYONE who participated in my giveaway of Delivered, a Peculiar People Collaboration. It was a pleasure to pray for you on Tuesday and following, and an honor for you to read an excerpt yesterday.

I put each name on a piece of paper and placed them in a bag. My amazing, energetic son shook all the names up, and my beautiful, sweet daughter reached in and picked out a name.

I put each name on a piece of paper and placed them in a bag. My amazing, energetic son shook all the names up, and my beautiful, sweet daughter reached in and picked out a name.

And the winner is:

RUTH
 Send me your snail mail address, Ruth, and I'll get the book out to you (and I'm DEFINITELY praying about your job interview!).

And for the rest of you? It really IS a wonderful book. Click on the book cover at the top to be magically transported to a place where you can order your OWN copy. (or keep watching my blog - I'll be doing ANOTHER  giveaway of this book - as well as a couple others - in the middle of next month!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/22/10

"Delivered" excerpt (and giveaway!): Friday Fiction


I'm in the middle of (or, more accurately, at the tail end of) a giveaway of a novel collaboration I'm a contributor to. Delivered, a Peculiar People Collaboration, was released earlier this month, and it is a wonderful book on the power of prayer, and the power of Christ in the life of a new believer. Click here to order a copy!

The giveaway ends Saturday at 6am - and you can enter TWICE. First, you can comment on my blog post from Tuesday with a prayer request (that's one entry). Second, you can leave a comment on THIS post (that's another entry!). I'll announce the winner on my blog some time tomorrow.


Anyhow, being as it's Fiction Friday, I'm posting an excerpt from MY chapter in this wonderful book. Hoping it piques your curiosity--it really is an amazing read. Oh - and stop by Lynn Squire's blog for MORE great fiction.


A Child Will Lead Them
(from Delivered)
by
Joanne Sher

Engrossed in paperwork, Phillip Hansen almost missed the tinkle of the bell on his shop door. He looked up and forced a smile, a speck of irritation in his eyes.

“Can I help you, ma’am?”

“No thanks.” The well-dressed blonde flipped her hair from her eyes. “Just browsing.”

Phillip snickered under his breath. He couldn’t remember if he’d ever had a woman “browse” his hardware store before. Men, sure – but women always had questions or at least a particular item in mind.

He watched his customer with interest. She appeared to be heading toward lighting, in the back. Her steps were firm and her stride assured. As she walked out of his line of sight, Phillip briefly pondered restocking light bulbs, but decided against it. Instead, he returned to his bookkeeping.

“Hi, Mrs. Williams.”

Phillip’s ears perked up as he heard his son’s voice from the rear corner of the store. “Whatcha doing here?”

“Hello, PJ.” It dawned on Phillip why the woman’s face had been vaguely familiar. “Actually, I’m looking for you.”

Phillip put his pencil behind his ear, closed up his ledger and sauntered toward the back. He found PJ sitting at his desk in the rear corner, Mrs. Williams standing beside him.

“For me?” PJ smiled.

Mrs. Williams nodded and returned the grin. “Oh, and I also need to pick up some cork board, a box of nails, and maybe a couple other things for my classroom.”

“Hello there.” Phillip extended his hand toward the woman. “I’m PJ’s dad, Phillip Hansen.”

Mrs. Williams shook his hand firmly. “I remember you from Back-To-School Night. I’m Marion Williams.”

Phillip looked at her quizzically. “Don’t know many teachers who make house calls. Is there a problem with PJ?”

Her smile was wide. “Oh, not at all.” She patted the boy on the head. “PJ is a wonderful student: one of the friendliest, and hardest workers I’ve had since I started teaching third grade a couple years ago.”

PJ blushed.

“Anyhow, I had to pick up a few things for my room, and I remembered PJ mentioning he spent Saturdays in the hardware store with his dad.” She winked. “Just figured I’d kill two birds with one stone.”

Giggling, the boy looked up at his teacher. “That’s a good one, Mrs. Williams.”

Phillip scrunched his face in confusion.

“We’re learning about idioms in school,” PJ commented.

Phillip smiled and nodded, unwilling to admit he had no idea what an idiom was.

“So, PJ, I wanted to talk to you about your postcard idea.” Mrs. Williams pursed her lips. “I’m afraid it’s against school policy.”

Phillip raised his eyebrows. “Now, what kind of illegal idea did my son come up with?”

Mrs. Williams smiled. “Oh, it’s nothing like that.” She tapped PJ on the head and looked at Phillip. “It’s only that assigning kids to write a prayer request is frowned upon by the separation of church and state folks.”

Oh. THOSE postcards. PJ had mentioned the cards. The boy had found some when he was unpacking some boxes for his father last week. Phillip had told him to just toss them in the trash; that prayer wouldn’t do a bit of good, and that he wasn’t going to waste the cost of postage to England on some scheme that wouldn’t do anything but get their hopes up. Besides, since his wife Jordan had died, Phillip had sworn off God, and he wasn’t ready to forgive Him for ripping the most important, precious thing he had away from him for good.

***

Want to hear more? Buy the book! ;) (or win it - remember you can enter on this  post, and this one.)

Oh - and stop by Lynn's blog for more great fiction!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/20/10

Hindrances: Word-Filled Wednesday

First of all, be sure to stop by yesterday's post for a chance to enter my book giveaway - AND get prayed for! You've got 'til Saturday morning early to enter!

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.

When I saw this picture, several verses went through my head, but somehow the one I chose really made me think. Lots to ponder.



When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14

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



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/19/10

"Let Me Pray For You" - A Giveaway!!

As I mentioned here about a week ago, a book to which I am a contributing author is now available for purchase. :)


Delivered is a special book, by a very special group of authors, most of whom are, or were at some time, regulars at FaithWriters. It is a collaboration of 25 different authors from all over the world, and I can honestly say that every chapter is a blessing.

The premise of the book, in a nutshell, is that a Muslim woman in England, recently converted to Christianity, reaches out to America by sending out postcards with a simple phrase on them: "let me pray for you." The story of this woman, and the folks who received the postcards, is quite an inspirational one. And believe me - there's a lot more to the story than this (but you don't want me to give it away, do you?).

You are more than welcome (and encouraged!) to purchase this book through the Peculiar People (the organization that put the project together) website. But, I'm ALSO doing a giveaway here of one of my copies (signed on my particular story, if you'd like).

This contest opens RIGHT NOW, and will close at 6am ET Saturday morning. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post WITH SOME SORT OF PRAYER REQUEST (Yanno? The whole "Let Me Pray For You" thing?).  If I don't have a way of contacting you, please leave me your email address. The winner will be posted some time on Saturday.

But WAIT - that's not all! You will actually have TWO chances to enter. On Friday, I will post a short excerpt from my chapter of Delivered on my blog, as part of the incredible and wonderful meme Friday Fiction.You can ALSO enter by leaving a comment on that post when it's up. SO - one prayer on this post, and one comment on Friday's post for your chance to receive a super book. Sound good?
(Oh - and, of course, I WILL lift up your requests to the Father. That's the bonus, right!

Don't forget to enter your request for a chance to win! Have a blessed day!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/18/10

Funhouse Mirror: 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 one that I'm sure most folks are familiar with, but that perhaps not as many have actually contemplated. But there is definitely much to ponder here.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Looking forward to reading your thoughts (link up at the bottom of this post!). Mine are below.

**

In the image of God.

Sometimes I have a hard enough time thinking of myself having ANYTHING in common with God - but being created in His image? Unfathomable.

When I look at my image--a photo of me, my reflection in the mirror, whatever--I can't help but wonder what about me is a reflection of Him. What I see is so opposed to everything He is.

Selfishness
Stubbornness
Vanity
Anger
Impatience
Pettiness
Pride

I think I'll stop here before I take up all my space. God's image, in my view, is pretty distorted in my life.

But the amazing thing is, no matter how warped and distorted that image may be, it's still there. It is implanted within us. It is the basis of our creation - in our DNA, so to speak (or perhaps even literally). We are image-bearers for God.

Every one of us is--no matter how hidden it might be beneath the sinful exterior--beneath the layers of humanity that cover up His imprint on our lives. He IS there.

And it is only through God's Spirit indwelling the believer, His message penetrating the heart, and acceptance of His Son's sacrifice on the cross, that the image becomes clear to the world.

For it is only when we are the eyes and hands of Jesus--when we are right in the center of God's will and acting only with His power--that the distortion is decreased and we are true image bearers. Only then are we fittingly seen as a reflection of our Heavenly Father.

**

Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts - please feel free to link up below, and check out the posts there. I'm sure you'll be blessed!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence


1/15/10

"Patience" - Friday Fiction


Fiction Friday,button,karlene


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Sharlyn Guthrie at Dancin on Rainbows. 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 Dancin' on Rainbows and check out the links there.
As usual, I wrote this story for the Writing Challenge almost two years ago now. It has a LOT of truth in it (and a bit of fibbing too LOL). I threw it together SUPER QUICK, cuz the event that inspired me to write it happened, if I recall, on a Wednesday afternoon. Hope you enjoy it.

PATIENCE
Samantha breathed in a roomful of air and let it out slowly.

"Angela, sweetie? It goes in the hamper. Remember?"

A three-year-old blonde with bouncy ringlets batted her eyes and smiled sheepishly. "Oh, yeah." She grabbed the sock off the floor and placed it in the hamper, then went back to the suitcase, full of dirty clothes from their recent trip. She picked a shirt out of the bag and made a beeline for her dresser.

"Angie! The hamper. They all go in the hamper." Samantha shook her head.

"All of them?"

Samantha clenched her fists, closed her eyes, and nodded.

"Okay, mommy."

Keeping an eye on Angie, she slowly backed her way out of the room. Must I repeat myself 250 million times? I can't believe we just got back from vacation. I feel like I need one all over again.

Angie continued to place the clothing, piece by piece, in the hamper. Samantha looked into Jonah's room down the hall to find him sitting at his desk, staring down.

"Um, Mom?"

Samantha didn't like the tone of his voice. "Yes, Jonah?"

"I forgot to take this tiny book with me on our vacation. I have to read it by tomorrow."

Samantha sighed. "Then let's read it. At least it isn't long."

She knelt beside his desk chair as he opened the photocopied eight-page beginning reader. He had been reading one a night every weekday since a month or so into first grade. He needed to read it fluently to go on to the next one, and he only had a few books left.

The first few pages seemed to go smoothly. It was clear the "lesson" of this particular book was the "tion" ending. Each of the pages had one or two words with that letter combination on it.

"Steve and Don toook a vacation," Jonah read.

"Nice job, hun." It was clear Jonah knew "vacation" by sight. Not surprising, I suppose, since we just got back from one.

Jonah struggled in a few other spots, but worked his way through to the fourth page.

"Actieng?"

"Sound it out, sweetie."

"Aycityon?"

'Jonah-what sound does 't-i-o-n' make?"

Jonah sighed. "Tieon?"

Samantha sighed and gritted her teeth. She turned back to the first page and pointed to a word. "What is that word?"

Jonah smiled. "Vacation."

She covered up the first four letters. "What does that say?"

He stared intently. "Tye on?"

She sighed and turned to the second page, pointing to a word there.

"Station."

And another.

"Nation."

Again, she covered up all but the ending.

"Tin."

Samantha grumbled, then felt a light touch on her arm. "Can I give it a try, dear?"

Jonah turned around. "Hi, Grandma."

"Please." Samantha stepped back, breathed in deeply, and let it out slowly. "Thanks."

I'm so glad she came to help me get resettled. Samantha leaned on the side of the desk and watched with interest.

Grandma rubbed Jonah's back and grabbed a blank piece of paper off his desk with her wrinkled hands. "Hi there, Jonah. Do you have a pencil?"

Jonah nodded and opened his desk drawer. He grabbed one and gave it to her.
She wrote slowly and deliberately on the paper. t i o n = s h u n

"Whenever you see those four letters in a word, Jonah, they actually sound like 'shun.'" Grandma smiled. "Shall we try reading again?"

Jonah's smile was wide, and his eyes sparkled. "Yup."

He read it through without a glitch.

"Action: a-c-t-i-o-n. Nation: n-a-t-i-o-n,..." Jonah walked down the hall spelling excitedly.

"Thanks, Mom."

"My pleasure, Samantha," the older woman said. "Sometimes a bit of age, and a new perspective, is all you need."

"Patience helps too, doesn't it?" Samantha laughed.

"No doubt," she snickered. "But that often comes with age."

The two wandered into Angela's room, where Samantha again took a deep breath as she spotted her daughter placing a pair of socks-in her dresser.

"Angie, darling, can I show you what you need to do?" Samantha took the socks out of the drawer. She put them in Angela's hands and walked her to the hamper. "This is where they go. Each one goes in here. Would you like me to stay and watch?"

Angie nodded.

Samantha and her mother sat on Angie's bed and watched, giving her gentle reminders when Angie started walking in the wrong direction.

"Patience comes with age, eh?" Samantha winked. "I guess I'm getting older."

Grandma giggled.

**

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


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/14/10

Image: Monday Manna for January 18


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.

Since it's the beginning of the year, I thought a verse from "the beginning" would be a good one for this Monday. And besides, there's LOTS to think - and write - about with this one!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
So...do I pick 'em, or what? ;)

Looking forward to your thoughts (and mine!) on this verse. See you back here on Monday. And don't be afraid to tell your friends. The more the merrier!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/13/10

Clap - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by Lori at All You Have To Give. Be sure to check out her blog, and the links below it, for more visual inspiration from Scripture.

Sometimes, all you can do is applaud. His blessings are incredible, aren't they?



Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth! Psalm 47:1-2


Thanks for checking out my post! Don't forget to stop by Photobucket for more


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/11/10

A new book by some Peculiar People (me included!)

Firstly, be sure to stop by Exemplify today. Not only does that amazing site have a WHOLE NEW LOOK, but I've got a post there, on the family channel, about what us moms can learn from a very well-know mother of the Bible. Be sure to check out my thoughts on Mary: A Mother to Model. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14


I'm jazzed. Quite so, in fact. Why, you ask? Because I am now officially a Peculiar Person. (Oh - no jokes from the peanut gallery, please!)

My dear sweet and amazingly talented writer friend Amy Michelle Wiley founded an organization back in 2005 called Peculiar People - PeP for short. The goal of PeP is to bring together Christian writers so they can have fellowship while combining their skills to make a strong whole. The result? Group writing projects that are fun to write, clean,and a DELIGHT to read. The first book, Struggle Creek, was super creative and lots of fun to dive into. And now, the second PeP book is published, and I am PROUD to say I am a contributing author.

Here's a picture of the front, and the back cover blurb.

An immigrant and her young daughter, struggling to reach their dream…a special needs child, searching for hope…a girl, desperate to escape a drug gang…a newly released ex-con, seeking forgiveness. They have one thing in common—they’re about to be touched by God in a way they never imagined.

All through a simple postcard.

Brought up in a strict Muslim home in London, Sulafa has recently experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Now, despite fear of discovery and its consequences, she knows she has to spread the good news. In an act of bravery, she sends out postcards with a single message: Let me pray for you. Her simple postcard request impacts lives and brings hope in the midst of hopelessness.

The second of many anticipated books from Peculiar People, Delivered is a collection of short stories that intertwine to deliver a single message. It is the work of twenty-five authors with one united voice, proclaiming the power of God to transform lives, and His ability to do the miraculous in the most ordinary of circumstances.

My copies of this book are on the way into my hot little hands - and I plan to give away at least a couple on my blog within the next month. BUT, you can also order it - right now - through the founder of PeP. Click here for more info, and info on how to place your order.(And, if you're interested in possibly being involved in the next PeP project, there is plenty of information on PeP at this same site)

(and by the way, I'm not the ONLY person you may know who contributed to this book. A few of the other authors are Helen Paynter, Julie Arduini, Laury Hubrich, Glenn Hascall, Jan Ross, Rita Garcia, and several others)

Watch for a giveaway once I have this book - I have read every page and it is TRULY a wonderful book.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/8/10

Smile: Friday Fiction


Fiction Friday,button,karlene


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Sara "Sawa" Harricharan 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 Fiction Fusion and check out the links there.
Those of you who follow me at Faithwriters know I have a passion for the Biblical character of Michal, son of King Saul and first wife of King David. I have written several challenge entries about her, and this is one of them. I am currently starting my research on a Biblical Fiction novel about her and her time period (though I have JUST discovered that she will NOT be the main character! More details later - I promise!). ANYhow - hope you enjoy this piece.

SMILE

"His bravery knows no bounds, it seems," Jonathan muttered. "It seems I was right about him."

"He has certainly caught the king's eye." Ahiram helped his master remove his armor and hang it on the proper hooks in the armory. "First a musician, then an armor bearer for the king, and now a giant slayer."

Jonathan nodded. "He has caught my eye as well." He bit his lip. "God is surely with him."

Ahiram nodded. "From what I have seen, his faith in the Lord never falters. He is quite an example to the other armor bearers."

Jonathan nodded, leaning against the armory wall. "David is certainly a courageous and Godly man. He is a man to befriend for certain. I have no doubt he will play a crucial role in the growth of my father's kingdom, and I would like to be beside him in this. It seems he can only do good for Israel."

The two men heard shuffling outside the armory door. Jonathan looked out to see his younger sister walking--no, skipping--away down the hall. He almost called after her, but turned back to Ahiram instead.

"The next time you see him, Ahiram, send him to me."

**

"Oh, Rivka. Did you hear? He did it. It was David, Rivka!" Michal sank into her bed, cheeks flushed and a broad smile overtaking her entire face. "I'd heard the giant was killed and the awful Philistines defeated, but he did it, Rivka." She sighed. "David--my David--killed him."

She snickered. "Your David, child? Have you spoken to him even once since Jonathan introduced you that day?" Rivka winked. "I don't think he's yours, dear, and he may never be."

Michal's face turned a deep crimson. "But Father said whoever killed the giant would get his daughter's hand in marriage. And I am the king's daughter, after all."

Rivka sat on the bed and put her hand on Michal's back. "This is true, dear. However, Merab is yet unmarried, and you know that traditionally she must be married off first."

Michal gasped, and buried her head in her hands. "But Merab couldn't care less about him. Father wouldn't do that, would he?" Michal looked into her servant's eyes and knew exactly what Rivka thought about that proposition. She began to weep softly.

"Now, now, Michal. One never knows." Rivka rubbed Michal's back. "Don't lose hope, dear. God works in surprising ways."

She leaned into Rivka. "Jonathan did say he would put in a good word with father, didn't he? And Merab is already being courted. Perhaps it will happen."

Rivka smiled. "Yes. Perhaps it will. But it will not likely happen on this day. So today, Princess Michal, you must prepare for the women's victory banquet. Your mother will be expecting you and Merab to look your best."

Michal popped out of bed and opened her wardrobe, rifling through the dresses hanging there. She pulled out a ruffled blue gown and placed it against her front side.

"How about this?" Michal's eyes sparkled. "David smiled at me when he saw me in it at Father's throne room a fortnight ago."

Rivka raised her eyebrows. "It's a lovely dress. But you likely won't see David, I'm sure you realize. You know as well as I that the men's banquet and the women's banquet are separate."

"Perhaps not." Michal gazed out her window. "But one never knows, does one?"

"I suppose not, Michal. I suppose not."

**

Michal glided through the palace toward the women's banquet hall, stopping in the garden when she noticed her brother Jonathan standing beside a sycamore tree.

"Congratulations, Brother. God was with us once again."

It was only once she was standing right beside him that she saw he was not alone. Just to the other side of the tree was another of her father's fighting men.

Michal willed her face from reddening as she gazed at the giant slayer, then dropped her eyes quickly.

But not before she saw him smile.

***

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Fiction Fusion for more great fiction!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/6/10

Who To Look After: 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.

As soon as I saw this picture (about ten minutes ago LOL), I KNEW I had to use it for Word-Filled Wednesday - and, of course, I knew just what verse to pick.

Praying it blesses, and convicts, you. I know it has me.



 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit Pennyraine for more
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/4/10

What I Can't Do - 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.

The verse I chose for our first Monday Manna of 2010 is also my theme verse for this year. I've heard it a lot since I was saved a decade ago, but truly pondering it over the past week or so has definitely given me some different perspectives on it. I hope you have had the same privilege, and plan to share your perceptions with us here.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
Looking forward to your thoughts. Mine are below.

**
Christ is the one who strengthens me for my tasks. It is His power that allows me to accomplish great things for Him. Without Him, I can do nothing.

Then why can't I, for instance, fly? Heal my husband physically? Travel at warp speed? Find gas for less than $2 a gallon? Write an exceptional, bestselling book in 24 hours? (Or even one month?)
Because God has not strengthened me for those particular tasks.
If I go out on my own and decide what I will accomplish this year - or this month, or this day - I may or may not succeed. Because God does not strengthen me for what I want. He strengthens me for what He wants.


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You see, "all things" can be a bit misleading. It is only through Christ that I will be empowered - and He will not strengthen me for any old task. It is only those things that are in His will where He will  work in my life this way.
So, perhaps, if you are not achieving "all things," it is because He has not strengthened you for the task.
And if He has not strengthened you, you probably need to re-examine your goals, and your direction. Perhaps you are reaching for the wrong things. Maybe you can't do it (whatever "it" may be) because you aren't supposed to; because Christ wants to put His strength in you for another, more God-honoring task.

And who wants to work without His strength?

**

Thanks for reading. Be sure to link up with your thoughts on Philippians 4:13, and read other folks' contributions. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!



Paving Rough Roads with God's Presence

1/3/10

What I Learned on Christmas: Gratitude

Check out my two other posts in this series on Love and Service. This is the last in the series.

Despite what every good preacher (and Christian!) says, for many, Christmas is a holiday about the joy of getting. Sure, we're supposed to be thankful for the gift of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection. Our true joy should be in giving gifts to others, and to God. But, much of the time, it's not that way.


It's often most notable in children - mostly because they haven't been taught to restrain their enthusiasm. But adults can be just as bad. We compare - in our minds, anyway - our gifts to others. Just like our kids, we may need to be reminded to say "thank you" - and even then, we may not be sincere. Our anticipation of our "stash" has a much longer shelf-life than our gratitude for what we have.
But it isn't always that way, and it certainly doesn't please God. And my son reminded me of just this fact on Christmas Day.
My parents live a few thousand miles away from us, so they shipped our gifts to us. Once we got back from my husband's parents, we sat down to open their presents.

The kids, of course, were anxious to get the presents open, and they enjoyed all the wonderful things my folks sent. They were clearly engrossed in their play.

Or maybe not so much.

As soon as I mentioned calling my parents, my son was, literally, on my heels.
"I love my Christmas presents so much, Mommy. I really want to say thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Weiner."
 I'm not exaggerating when I say his enthusiasm for expressing his gratitude nearly matched his excitement about opening his presents a few minutes before. He was actually IMPATIENT to thank them (he barely allowed me to have a word in edgewise before he tried to grab the phone from my hand).

And I got to thinking how often I am eager and impatient for the blessings God pours on me, and how apathetic and forgetful I can be about thanking Him for them. And, of course, how much that simple fact must displease my Heavenly  Father.

And again, I look to the attitude of my child to help me be more and more like my Savior--on Christmas, the day of His birth.

Heavenly Father, help me to praise and thank You for the wonderful gifts You give me as enthusiastically as I ask for them - as enthusiastically as my son sought to thank his grandparents. Help me to express my gratitude naturally, spontaneously, and authentically. Help me, Father, to continue to learn from You, and those You put before me - especially my children lately - how You want me to be. In the precious Name of Your Son I pray. Amen

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/1/10

A NEW DIRECTION FOR 2010: Bye Bye Turtle, Hello Gideon

Another year gone by - and another just starting fresh. It's time for looking back AND forward.

About a year ago, I adopted a theme quote AND a theme Bible verse for 2009. I tried to make them the center of my blog AND general thoughts throughout the year.

In case you were unaware, here they are:

Quote and Verse for 2009
Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day's failures, but of success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will have a joy in overcoming obstacles—a delight in climbing rugged paths which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometimes slip backward, if the road were always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.
—Helen Keller.  
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12
 And, for the most part, I pressed on. I persevered. I accomplished things - large and small.

Yet, they were just what I was expecting to do. Sure, there were a few curve balls thrown in - but not many. And that was fine with me.
But, apparently, it wasn't fine with God.
Because, just as I had settled on keeping the same Philippians verse, the Lord impressed on me a totally different verse from that book. And it has made me think 2010 is going to be one heck of a year. And so I now must retire my turtle (pout) and introduce you to my new friend Gideon.

2010 Theme Verse: I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13


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And with HIM in mind: my writing goals for 2010:
  • Submit POINTED, specific queries to several agents for "Ailing Body, Nourished Soul."(unless, of course, one is enough )
  • Start and FINISH a Biblical fiction novel on Michal (at least the rough draft!)
  • Enter the first chapter of said Michal novel in the ACFW Genesis Contest (deadline March 31)
  • Post a MINIMUM of three times a week on my blog
  • Work on my book(s) EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR - even if only for ten minutes (this includes agent and other research, editing, and, of course, writing - whether the book itself or a query, proposal, or whatever)
  • Spend a MINIMUM of thirty minutes a day on book stuff five days out of each week
  • Take at least one online writing class (preferably more)
  • Explore and take full advantage of my (brand new!) ACFW membership
  • Step ahead in faith regarding WHATEVER God puts in my writing life

Well, there ya go! I know I generally post monthly goals - but with all this, I think I'll hold off until February to do that.

So - what are YOUR goals - writing or otherwise--for this new year? Would love to see them. Blessings to all, and thanks for your support and prayers! What a year this could be!

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