"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

9/30/10

Brothers-Yet Strangers (Monday Manna for October 4)

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 Linky Tools gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.

Had a bit of fun picking a verse for this Monday - sought the help of some of my Facebook friends. (Click here if you wanna see). I had some great ones to choose from, but ended up with this one I KNOW I never would have chosen if it hadn't been sent that way (thanks, Rita!)
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 3 John 5
 Looking forward to your thoughts on this. See you Monday! :)

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/29/10

Shout for Joy: Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted at The Internet Cafe. Be sure to click above for more visual inspiration from scripture.

Was glancing through the pics saved on my computer, and this particular one made me smile. This was taken over a year ago, at DisneyWorld. The big guy is my baby brother (not a baby to very many people, but ALWAYS to me), and he's loving on my sweet son.  There's no doubt that these guys are enjoying themselves, is there?

And THAT, my friends, is the kind of relationship the Lord wants us to have with Him.


Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy. Psalm 33:3

If that isn't a shout of joy coming from my boy's mouth, I dunno what is :)

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit The Internet Cafe for more


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/28/10

With His (or her) Own Eyes (aka POV)

One of the things I struggle with some in my writing is point of view (aka POV).  I've definitely gotten better (and I've even been told that I explain it pretty well), but it's definitely a concept I don't QUITE get correctly without some serious thought.


In essence, POV is the perspective from which the story is told. It's based from whose eyes the story is seen through. Most commonly, novels are told from the main character's (or characters') point of view.

Sounds easy, eh? Think again.

Here's a snippet from my current draft of Handmaiden to A Princess. This novel has two POVs: Michal and Amal (but not at the same time, of course!) As I was looking it through, I found a POV issue. See if you can spot it as you read...
“Amal!” Dodi groused. “Dinner!”

He waved her off. “I’m almost done, Mama. Just give me a moment.”

She looked at Rivka and both shrugged their shoulders. “If you want cold stew,” his sister said, “then take your time.”

“Just a few more moments,” he said, annoyed, “and I’ll be there. No time for the stew to get cold.”

Rivka and Dodi sat and enjoyed, their stew bowls in their hands, dipping some flat bread into it and savoring the flavor. Within a few minutes, Amal had joined them, but not before storing the bow in a box beside Rivka’s feet.
Did you catch it? If this scene is from Rivka's point of view, then she shares some information she can't possibly have. Rivka does not and cannot know, through her observations, that Amal is annoyed. That either needs to be conveyed in a different way, or dropped - otherwise it's a POV shift.

But what if it's from Amal's point of view? Then there are even more issues. He's busy with his bow, so not only would he not see Dodi and Rivka shrug their shoulders, but he would have no idea what, or how, they were eating as he worked.

In this case, it was the latter, so to fix it, I took out the sentence about the ladies looking at each other, and rephrased the last paragraph so it was told from Amal's eyes.
Within a few minutes, Amal had joined them, but not before storing the bow in a box beside Rivka’s feet. Both Dodi and Rivka’s flat breads were nearly gone, bits of stew dripping from the remaining chunks.
Problem fixed :D (I think! hehe). Now I'm seeing the action only from Amal's eyes.


For more extensive information on point of view, check out this awesome post from Pix-N-Pens on just that topic: Editing Tip #46: Point of View

 DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH POV? DO YOU UNDERSTAND IT? HOW WOULD YOU HAVE CHANGED THIS MISTAKE?
 
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/27/10

All Who Come Behind Us

Some Christian songs grab me more than others. Sometimes it's the tune, but 99% of the time it's the words.

One of the songs that got my attention yesterday was "Find Us Faithful." I've heard it, and sung it, several times before, but on this particular morning, it got me thinking. The chorus particularly.


Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Note - they're behind us. We can't see them. They can see us. We're not being faithful for them - we don't even necessarily know they are watching. There are ALWAYS people behind us: watching us, especially if they know we're Christians.

May the fire of our devotion light their way
Our devotion should be VISIBLE. We are to be the light of the world. We can be the light that leads others out of the darkness and into the arms of Jesus.

May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
Our footprints are there when we are gone. Often we don't know what impact our past actions may have on others. Our acts from the past can be exactly what someone else needs to turn to Christ.

And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Not the words we say, or the blog posts we write - but the lives we live. "Actions speak louder than words." It's not a Bible quote - but that doesn't make it incorrect. Do you live a life that could inspire someone to obey?

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/24/10

Finds for Fridays - September 24



Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following about 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And now...the posts for this week

The Contests at a Writing Conference by Chip MacGregor at Chip's blog (about the right - and wrong - reasons to enter a writing contest)

The Handicap By Alisa Hope Wagner at Faith Imagined (about righteousness by faith - and the lack thereof)

Deep Waters... By Elaine Olson at Peace For The Journey (about the depth of God - and our ability to dig into it)

Perchance To Dream... By Kenn Allan at Kenn Allan, Writer and Poet (About our dreams and aspirations)

Welcome... by Lori MacMath at All You Have To Give (about feeling like an outsider)

My Cats Are Out To Get Me by Timmy Boyle at Inside Timmy's Mind (about the great cat conspiracy)


Thanks for stopping by. Hope you check out these posts, and maybe even become a follower of the blogs. Some great reading out there.

Have a great weekend.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/22/10

Hands: Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted at The Internet Cafe. Be sure to click above for more visual inspiration from scripture.

I love to walk with my daughter (or son), especially when she reaches out her hand and we walk hand in hand. It's such a special thing to feel her hand in mine and to have that special connection.

It got me thinking how much more special it must be to walk hand in hand with our Heavenly Father. I picture His hands as huge. But what comfort there must be to be enveloped in His palm!


Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. Psalm 73:23


Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit The Internet Cafe for more


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/21/10

Plots and Typing (not in that order)

It's writing day at my blog today :)

First of all, I wanna share my latest accomplishment :). Remember those 96 (actually 95 when I counted with my head attached LOL) pages of handwritten words from Handmaiden To A Princess? Well, they are only handwritten no longer! Yup - got all of them typed in and somewhat in place. They still need lots of work, and there are many more words yet to be written, but I'm making progress. As of now, my word count is 48,476. And onward! (by the way, onward for me means entering part of what I have in ACFW Ohio's Hook Me contest and Houston RWA's Emily Both deadlines are in October - one the 7th and one the 31st).

And now back to business.

I'm currently reading a book that EVERYONE and their dog have recommended I read for about as long as I've been writing: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I am THRILLED I gave in to the pressure. I've only read the first three chapters (out of 14) and I have already learned SO much (and even found out I'm on the right track with my novel!).


If you have not read this book, I cannot recommend it more highly. It's not often I can say that about a book I've barely started, but I've already gotten tips and help that are well worth the price, and then some. Click here to find the best prices on this gem of a book.


So, I thought I'd share some of the great stuff I've learned already from this book for those of you who are working on a novel and either haven't read this book, forgot the info from it, or just need a refresher.


Today, I'll start with what Bell calls "The LOCK System." This is, in his opinion, the basis of any good plot. Once you have this in place, you have it in place you have the basis for a good plot (the very BASIC basics, but still). Remember - these are just teasers. I REALLY want you to buy the book.


L is for LEAD: "...A strong plot starts with an interesting Lead character. In the best plots, the lead is compelling, someone we have to watch throughout the course of the novel." page 10


O is for OBJECTIVE: "Objective is the driving force of fiction. It generates a forward motion and keeps the Lead from just sitting around....Solid plots have one and only one dominant objective for the Lead character. This forms the "story question"--will the Lead realize her objective?" p. 11


C is for CONFRONTATION: "Opposition from characters and outside forces brings your story fully to life. If your Lead moves toward his objective without anything in his way, we deprive readers of what they secretly want: worry. Readers want to fret about the Lead, keeping an intense emotional involvement all the way through the novel." p. 12


K is for KNOCKOUT: "A great ending can leave the reader satisfied, even if the rest of the book is somewhat weak (assuming the reader decides to stick out until the end). But a weak ending will leave the reader with a feeling of disappointment, even if the book up to that point is strong. So take your Lead throughout the journey toward her objective, and then send the opposition to the mat." p. 13


Good stuff, eh? And there's lots more. Hope this is helpful to you. Go buy the book, okay??(this is not a paid endorsement LOL)


So, was this helpful to you? Do you think the LOCK system is accurate? What is your favorite writing book?


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/20/10

Thoughts: 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 Linky Tools gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.
This Monday's passage is from one of my top 50+ books of the Bible (LOL yeah - my favorite changes so much depending on my circumstances that I'm no longer committing to a "fave"). So much to think about.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
       neither are your ways my ways,"
       declares the LORD.
 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
       so are my ways higher than your ways
       and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Looking forward to hearing your impressions. Mine are below.

**
Not a bit of sense. I couldn't understand the absolutely backward logic. It couldn't be right.

I had always been taught to try to do things the easy way. I hated conflict of any kind, and would do just about anything to avoid it.

One of the most important things to me was to be liked and appreciated. I would go out of my way to make myself well liked--to be accepted by others.

And then I opened His Word.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds (James 1:2)

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:10)

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:30)

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
Who in their right mind would accept this backward logic? Who celebrates in trials? Who believes a persecuted person is blessed?

Nobody - in THEIR right mind, anyway. Only those with the mind of Christ can begin to understand and grasp the thoughts of God - and even they won't fully grasp it this side of heaven.

Why does my husband have a brain tumor?

Why is my son autistic?

Why can't I talk to some of my relatives about the Thing that matters most to me?

Why do dear friends suffer with diseases, prodigals, life-altering decisions, and despair?

Why are so many suffering for what appears to be no good reason?

These questions - these thoughts - plague me. Sometimes I think I have part of an answer, and that definitely encourages me. But even when I don't, I have the faith and trust to know that there IS an answer, and it actually makes sense- not to my mind, but to the higher mind of my Lord.

Here on earth, it may not make a lick of sense, but God can see the whole picture. His thoughts are NOT mine, nor are His ways.  His ways are higher - and from "up there," He can see the whole picture. And that picture is marvelous and 100% in line with His perfect will.

And that should be enough for me.

**

Thanks for reading my thoughts. Hope you'll share your own on these verses and link up below, or just read what others have contributed. You will be blessed :)



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/17/10

Finds for Fridays: September 17, 2010


Finds for Fridays" is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following about 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And now - without further ado - this week's finds.

This is the Day by Yvonne Blake at My Back Door (about 9/11 and the day the Lord has made)

Serving God Leftovers by Marvin Williams at Our Daily Journey (about giving God your best - or not)

In Defense of Old Books by Michael Hyatt at Michael Hyatt's blog (about the value of old books)

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week by Laury Hubrich at Between the Storms (about living with, and being the daughter of someone living with, chronic illness)

Pity Party by Lori McMath at Internet Cafe Devotions (about self-pity)

Why I Don't Begrudge Atheists by Kathy Richards at Katdish.net (about belief as a choice)

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you check out these posts, and maybe even become a follower of the blogs. Some great reading out there.

Have a great weekend.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/16/10

Been Thinkin...(Monday Manna for September 20)

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 Linky Tools gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.

I'm in the book of Isaiah for my daily Bible reading. Just started, in fact. So much amazing stuff in here. Here are a couple verse I've appreciated and pondered for a while--not to it yet in my reading, but I will be soon enough.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
       neither are your ways my ways,"
       declares the LORD.
 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
       so are my ways higher than your ways
       and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Looking forward to your thoughts on this. See you Monday! :)

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/15/10

As Of Late (September)

One of my VERY favorite websites, Exemplify Online, started a monthly meme on the 15th of each month that is an absolute FAVORITE of mine.  Click here for details.

Check out Kristen's post for more "As Of Lates" and join in there. (doesn't appear to be up yet - soon, perhaps?)


And now it's my turn.

Lately, I've been trying to find the balance between waiting for others and doing what I can/should

Lately, I've found joy in teaching an old dog new tricks

Lately, I've enjoyed more "quiet time" than I have in months

Lately, messes have been bothering me (this is HUGE, by the way)

Lately, I've been reminded how much I enjoy working with kids

Lately, I've been wondering where some of my "second tier" priorities should be

Lately, I've marveled at how I once got through life JUST FINE without a computer, a cell phone, twitter, facebook, and FaithWriters

Lately, I've been focusing more on asking God for others rather than myself

Lately, I've felt blessed


And I've been wondering, what have YOU been doing as of late?

To read more, or link up your own "as of late" post, click here!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

Quenching The Fire: Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted at The Internet Cafe. Be sure to click above for more visual inspiration from scripture.

Got to thinking about fire recently. When there's a huge one, like the fireball in San Bruno, getting it under control is a huge issue. Quenching it is actually the goal - and just keeping it contained is good news.

But other fires are different. To stop the fire of a candle, all you need is two fingers. Or for a contained campfire, a bucket of water and maybe some sand.

The Holy Spirit's fire can be any of those. Perhaps the best way to keep ourselves from quenching it is to keep it burning hot. It's much easier to put out a small fire than a large one, isn't it?


Do not put out the Spirit's fire. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit The Internet Cafe for more



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/14/10

Writing to Inspire Your Writing

I love a good quote. It's amazing what just the right words can do: make you smile, laugh, think, cry, or even change your life.

Of course, many of my favorite "quotes" are from the Bible, but there are other folks who have good stuff to say too. So, I thought I'd share some of them with you today. And, as I'm aiming to do a blog post on writing each Tuesday, I'll focus on quotations specifically about that topic.

Firstly - the quotation I chose as my motivational writing quote a few months ago (which some, apparently, find depressing LOL - different strokes, apparently!).
"A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway." Junot Diaz
And a few others (found most of them here):

"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."  Toni Morrison

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." Mark Twain
 
"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you.  And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke." Arthur Polotnik

"No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published."  Russell Lynes

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." G.K. Chesterton

"Having imagination, it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that, if you were unimaginative, would take you only a minute.  Or you might not write the paragraph at all."  Franklin P. Adams

So, which of these quotes did you like/appreciate/relate to most? Do you have another you'd like to share?
 

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/13/10

A Plundered Soul

I know I'm not the only one who feels dry sometimes, like I'm missing the refreshment the Lord promises us. We know it's there--for God promises that if we only taste, we will see that He is good (Psalm 34:8). And sometimes, it's as easy as heartfelt prayer, or a journey into His precious Word.

But that's not always the case. Sometimes, it seems nothing will work. And I've wondered about times like this. And as I was reading my Bible last week, I came across a possible, intriguing, answer.

Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate;
for the LORD will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them. Proverbs 22:22-23
The Lord, if he is displeased with us (in this particular instance, about our treatment of the less fortunate), will  sometimes plunder a person's soul. And I certainly know what that feels like. Empty. Hopeless. Powerless.

But I also know that the Lord does NOT want His children to stay that way. He wants us  to live our lives to the fullest. He wants our souls to be filled with Him. And nothing can bring us closer to Him than realizing the depth of our need. And, perhaps a plundered soul is what we need.

So, we turn to Him and repent. We turn it all around. And again, He refills our spirit with what He took. And again we can taste how good He is.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/10/10

Finds For Friday - 9/10/10

If you're here for Friday Fiction, which I'm hosting, just scroll to the bottom of this post - it's right below. Or you can click here to go right to it. :)

Finds for Fridays" is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following about 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And now, without further ado: this week's finds.



Sweet P's by Wanda at The Watered Soul (a wonderful prayer)

Let Him Do The Math by LauraLee Shaw at LauraLeeShaw.com (about turning it over to God)

Whatever happened to labor? by Seth Godin at Seth Godin's Blog (about creativity in the workforce)

The Mysterious Path of a Generous Grace By Elaine Olsen at Peace For The Journey (about living the lives God has given us)

Calling Home by Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today (about connecting with our kids - and our Heavenly Father)

Presumptuous Sin by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about pride and Qur'an  burning)

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you check out these posts, and maybe even become a follower of these blogs. You'll certainly be blessed!

Have a great weekend.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

"Handmaiden To A Princess" (rough draft excerpt): Friday Fiction

Fiction Friday,button,karlene

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by ME! Make sure that you  link up with your own fiction below. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!),  check out the links below.
I'm working on the rough draft of my first novel (NOT my first novel-length manuscript - not the same thing :D). Tentatively titled Handmaiden To A Princess, it's Biblical fiction set during the time of King Saul. The main characters are twins - both Gibeonites. The sister is Princess Michal's handmaiden, and the brother is a servant of Jonathan's. For the past several days, I've been typing in some of my handwritten notes (96 pages worth need to be done). I've decided, for this Friday, to post an excerpt - actually, what is right now the very beginning of my manuscript. This will likely change, but here's what I've got! Hope you enjoy it - and, of course, I'd love any feedback you're willing to give.

HANDMAIDEN TO A PRINCESS

She was a servant – relegated to her role by ancestry. She was also a child – required to obey and not be obeyed. Her wishes didn’t matter. They had already made the decision. Nothing could change it.

She could do nothing. She knew it. No matter how hard she pleaded, how badly she wished things would change, it wouldn’t happen.

But it didn’t mean she had to like it.

“But Mama – I’ll hardly ever see you. And what if I spill a basin? Or pick out the wrong dress? Or what if I don’t know what to do? Who will I go to?”

Dodi chuckled and shook her head. “You will do fine, Rivka. You’ve been watching and helping me for eight years. It’s time that you took on this responsibility yourself.” She rested her hand under her daughter’s cheek. “You know I must go where I am told, and so must you.”

Rivka sighed and rolled her eyes. “I know, but must I be alone?”

“We’ve been talking about this for moons, since Amal became Prince Jonathan’s servant. You’re ten years old, Rivka. It’s time for you to have your own responsibilities.” She raised her eyebrows. “Be thankful you’re staying with a place you know. It could be you, not me, who is sent to serve the queen.”

“Yes, Mama. Of course you’re right.” The corners of her mouth turned up slightly. She did like working under Michal. They were practically friends – as much as a Gibeonite slave and a Hebrew princess could be, anyhow. The two of them had been together for as long as she could remember. It was a comfortable place.

Rivka nodded. Mama was right. Everything would work out.

Somehow.

* * *

Rivka’s sandals flip-flopped on the dirt. Her steps were brisk and light. As she came nearer, the scents of the lilies of the valley and hyacinths slowed her pace. The grass before her, fresh with dew, slapped against the sides of her sandals. She stopped, closed her eyes, and took in a long, slow whiff.

Aroma fit for royalty. And she was among them, and permitted to transport a bit of it indoors.

This was one of her favorite parts of her duties. Each day, Michal requested fresh flowers for a vase on her dressing table. And, each morning, Rivka ventured out onto the palace grounds to the royal gardens to find something beautiful and aromatic to please her mistress’ eyes and nose.

She sat on a rock and looked out at the array of colors before her. So many choices. Her eyes surveyed the gardens half a dozen times before they locked on a patch of purple and white blooms just to her left.

Rivka rose, strolled toward them, and squatted down. She pawed at the soil a bit, allowing it to envelop her fingers. The gritty, cold firmament put a smile on her face. She tipped back until she was on her bottom. Inspecting the flowers, she found a few with an especially pungent aroma. Finding no insect bites or other irregularities, she pulled up two bright ones from the center of the plant.

She inched to a standing position, the small bouquet in her hands. Eyes closed, she breathed in the aroma and smiled.

“And back to my mistress.”

As she strolled from the garden, she glanced at the rock she had risen from only minutes before. A tanned lad, perhaps three to four years older than she, was sitting upon it, a piece of papyrus and a stick in his hand. She didn’t recognize him – surprising because of her familiarity with nearly every one of the servants, at least by face.

She resisted her urge to walk toward him and peek over his shoulder. What if he was a royal emissary? Instead, she turned back toward the garden’s exit. As she stepped once again on the soil of the land outside the garden, she slipped her feet from her sandals and wriggled them until they were half-buried in the soil. The coolness on the soles of her feet and between her toes made her tingle.

She shook off each foot in turn and slipped them back into her sandals. Eyes ahead, she strode toward the palace and her mistress’ quarters.

* * *

“What took you so long? Mother said I must be dressed before noon.” Michal flipped her thick, curly hair from her face. “I mustn’t be late.”

Rivka lowered her head, then scurried to the vase. She plopped the new flowers in and tossed yesterday’s out the back window onto the field below.

“So sorry. Should I start with your hair or with your dress?”

Michal pointed toward her wardrobe. “Dress first.”

Rivka opened the closet door, revealing a half dozen finely embroidered gowns in various colors. Her everyday clothing was tucked away in drawers, Rivka knew. But Michal wouldn’t be this anxious if she were simply wearing her “normal” clothing.”

“Which one, princess?”

Michal rolled her sparkling eyes. “Well, mother said the blue, but I think the red is much prettier. Don’t you?”

Rivka closed her eyes and gulped in air. She had seen this countless times, and Rivka’s mother had always set the princess straight, getting Michal to do what Queen Ahinoam wanted with minimal fuss.

But mama wasn’t here. And what made Rivka think Michal – a princess, and only two years younger than she – would listen to her?

Rivka opened her eyes and bit her lip, grabbing both dresses from the wardrobe.

“Actually,” the handmaiden muttered, “I think the blue brings out the blue flecks in your eyes so much better, and lets your features stand out. The red is so bright, I would scarcely notice your hair.”

Rivka put the red dress back in the wardrobe and turned toward the princess, her eyes lowered.” So…um…the blue, right?”

Michal went to the wardrobe herself and took the red dress out. She held it up in front of her, peering in the mirror, looking especially closely at her face.

“I don’t know. I still like the red best.”

Rivka clenched her teeth. “Mistress, if your mother said blue, you know that is what she expects. I can’t force you, like my mother could, but I can plead with you. I do not wish to displease you, but even more I do not want the king and queen upset with me. I have no desire to be transferred elsewhere, or worse, for disobeying.” Rivka lay the blue dress down on the bed and knelt before her mistress. “Please let me dress you in the blue.”

Michal, sighing, gestured for Rivka to rise. “Very well.” She returned the red dress to the wardrobe and turned back to her servant. “You may begin.”

Rivka allowed her shoulders to relax and the corners of her mouth to turn up slightly. One crisis averted—at least for now. But her pleading wouldn’t work every time, she knew. I’ll have to speak with Mama about it.
**

Thanks for reading. Be sure to link up below, and read the wonderful fiction selections in the linky tool.


 

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/8/10

Unlocked to God: Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted at The Internet Cafe. Be sure to click above for more visual inspiration from scripture.

I'm not one that keeps a lot of secrets about myself. But even I have places that I am loathe to share with anyone - even those closest to me. I think we all have places in our hearts we have locked tight and shared with few or no people--even ourselves sometimes. But even we can't lock those secrets from the Lord.


You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. Psalm 90:8

He knows all - even the most secret of secrets - and died for, and loves, us anyway.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit The Internet Cafe for more




Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/7/10

The Three R's

Firstly, I'm this week's Family Counter Barista over at Internet Cafe' Devotions. Stop over at that wonderful blog and see what I have to say about "What's On Your Schedule This School Year." While you're there, look around. Their daily devotionals are always a blessing, and don't miss the pieces in the marriage and ministry counters as well.
I have always loved to read and 'rite. And I've been told that I'm quite good at 'rithmetic as well, though I'm not exactly fond of it. But it's always been around me. That's what comes from spending much of your childhood years with two CPA parents. Apparently, all three are in my blood.
But one of them has been neglected for much of the summer. And it's likely not the one you think.
Writing has not been my problem. And, if you have been keeping track of my monthly goals/progress posts, you probably realize that I've been "doing the math" - counting words written, pages edited, words typed in. I'll even sit down and figure out how many words I need to do a day to finish my goal by the end of each month (that's DIVISION, folks - not for the faint of heart!).

It's the READING that has been lacking. Sure, I read blogs, my Bible, and even the weekend newspaper. But BOOKS are another issue. And if there's one bit of advice I've heard over and over it's that one of the best ways to become a better writer is to read.

So, with the kids in school (yeah - today is their first day), I'm going to make a concerted effort to read actual books. Not only will I no doubt enjoy it, but it will improve my craft. I have tons of books in my house (you should see my library! - and no - that is NOT it up there, but it's not TOO much of an exaggeration), but I would also love to find some great ones that are not already in my possession. Sooo, feel free to leave me a suggestion or two in the comments. I might even check one out.

But in the meantime - I guess I'll get back to that 'ritin' and 'rithmetic ;)

So...any book suggestions for me?


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

9/6/10

Readiness - 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 Linky Tools gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.

This Monday, our verses are from the end of Ephesians, and speak of God's armor.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:14-18
There's so much here to ponder. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Mine are below.

**

Summer is a lazy time for me: especially as it comes to an end. My kids start school tomorrow, and I am quite unmotivated. I keep putting my projects off until "the kids are back in school." It will be much easier to get these things done without the distraction of my kids in my hair. Once we get into a normal schedule, I figure, it will be easier to work those things into my day.

But will it really happen? Is it really so easy to turn on and off this laziness? Unfortunately, it is not.

Of course, I'm not saying we should never take a break. But we always need to watch letting our guard down, and our life go.We must always be ready for what is crucial, and must be willing to jump out of our lazy/distracted/otherwise occupied states and into what we value.
And there is NOTHING we should value more than God and His Word. 
Paul tells us that we should have our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). We must be prepared to go, at a moment's notice, to serve Him. For we have the assurance that His way is best. We know His gospel--His good news--will sustain us and that we have nothing to fear when He is on our side.

So, the next time you kick up your feet, don't forget that, even in rest, they need to be ready to go and serve their, and your, Master.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to share your own thoughts and link up, and read the thoughts of others!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009. Design expanded and personalized by PattyWysong.com 2011.

Back to TOP