"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

1/31/11

So I May Obey It: Monday Manna


This week, Vonnie is hosting Monday Manna, so be sure to pop over to My Back Door and read the other entries, and link up if you want to participate.

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.  Deuteronomy 30:14

**

I read through my Bible every year. It's something I have done every year but one since I got saved in 1999. I generally use one of those "Bible in a year" schedules - usually three to four chapters a day will do it. I tend to change Bible versions every year or so, to keep it different and to give me different perspectives on the message.

During several years of the past dozen, I have helped out in AWANA, a Bible club that encourages kids to memorize scripture. In fact, I worked my way through a couple of the elementary-level books myself, so I have quite a few verses memorized. And, of course, helping my kids memorize their sections for AWANA is helping plant more verses in my own heart. I'd say I have decent amount of God's Word in my memory.

But that isn't enough. Reading God's Word, and memorizing it, are wonderful disciplines, but they are worthless in and of themselves. We are not to memorize and read his Word to impress our friends and neighbors, or to brag about on our blogs, but THAT WE MAY OBEY IT.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24

Yes, it is important to have the word near us - in our mouths and in our hearts. But if we do not take the next step and obey it, we might as well have not read it at all.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Vonnie's blog for more Monday Manna.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/28/11

Finds for Fridays: January 28

I know I sent you to the Barn Door yesterday--but I'm doing it again! :) Today, Lisa Lickel is interviewing ME about my impressions of Michigan, as well as my feelings about my home state of California. There are pictures too! Check it out here!


 
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...here they are!

What NOT to do if the Cops show up at your door by LauraLee Shaw at LauraleeShaw.com (just READ it :)

Handling Rejections by Kathy Ide at Kathy Ide: Writer, Editor, Mentor, Speaker (techniques for overcoming writing-related rejections)

What's Holding You Back? Part 1: FEAR by Glynna Kaye at Seekerville (about fears of publishing)

Hope you stop by these blogs, and maybe even follow them. You won't be disappointed!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/27/11

Everywhere...But Here!

The Barn DoorI had a great time interviewing my friend, author and fellow Midwesterner Lisa Lickel, about her visit to my home state of California. It's always fun to hear about others' perceptions of where I grew up. Check out the post today at The Barn Door (which just happens to be her brainchild!) - and be sure to stop by there again tomorrow for HER interview of ME (and yeah, I'll remind you again tomorrow. Promise!).


And if that isn't enough excitement, I'm also guest posting at my dear friend Melissa Mashburn's blog today: Mel's World. (A definite must-follow blog. What a fabulous lady) She graciously invited me to be one of her "Godly Gals." I shared a bit of my background, and a passion I have that I don't think I've shared much, if at all, here on my blog. That will likely change, though.  Would love to have you stop by there too!

AND, if that doesn't keep you busy, some time today (may even be up already!) my dear friend Vonnie will have the next Bible verse up for next week's Monday Manna, which will be hosted at her blog My Back Door. Check that out too!



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/26/11

With 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.

A couple weeks ago, I had some potentially bad news hovering over me, and I was, in a word, grumpy. And in another word, depressed. I was getting ready to help my 4th grade son's class edit their "snowman stories." This is something I love to do (click here if you wanna know how much i love it!), but I was still in a lousy mood.

And then I saw this unique red pen I could use to make my corrections. How can you NOT smile when holding that pen? (Thanks, Mrs. Maxted) Doesn't God give us fabulous little gifts when we need them?



A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Be sure to stop by the Cafe for more Word-Filled Wednesday.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/24/11

Faith and Miracles: Monday Manna


The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog, My Back Door. The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse at their own blogs and link up at the bottom of the post in the Linky Tools gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

Today's verse is sure to have some interesting thoughts related to it :).
And he [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58
Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Mine are below.

**

I'm a firm believer that miracles happen every day. God's work is everywhere. The fact that the sun rises daily, and that the grass under the snow in our front yard will be green again in four months or so is a miracle. That my husband survived four brain surgeries is a miracle. It's miraculous that I haven't hauled off and clobbered my children (trust me - that self-control did NOT come from me!).

Yet other people see these same things and view them as "the power of nature" or random acts of probability. Or even as something they did. Why is that? Because of my faith in God, and my knowledge of him. Maybe my perceptions are wrong. Perhaps I shouldn't see these things as miracles.

This week's verse tells us that, because of their lack of faith, Jesus did not do many miracles there. Does that mean the sun didn't rise every day? Or that rainbows didn't come after the storm? Or that people stopped holding it together when they were under stress?

Jesus Heals Pictures, Images and PhotosNow, I'm probably stretching this verse a bit, but sometimes I wonder if the issue was less about miracles occurring and more the people not noticing them. The people, blinded by their lack of faith, saw none of God's work in their lives. If they didn't recognize the Lord in the sunrise or His provision, why would Christ bother to heal the sick or raise the dead?

Faith isn't brought about by miracles. Miracles, instead, are acknowledged because of faith. So Jesus knew he wouldn't convince the faithless by performing miracles. Like the rich man and Lazarus, he saved his miracles for those who would appreciate it, and who would grow closer to Him from seeing them.

Miracles are everywhere. Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they're not there.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to link your own post up below, and read others' contributions.





Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/21/11

Finds for Fridays: January 21



 
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...here they are!

How to Stop Worry from Winning by Holley Gerth at Heart to Heart with Holley (about conquering worry with wonder)

The Inside Track: Prepared for the Long Haul by Wendy Lawton at Books & Such Literary Blog (about what this agent looks for in a new client)

The Book by Kenn Allan at Kenn Allan, Writer and Poet (about the life in a book)

Snowments in Time By Lynda Schab at The Barn Door (about our kids growing up too fast)

Hope you'll stop by these blog posts, and maybe even follow the blogs. You won't be sorry!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/20/11

As Of Late: January

Photobucket


I know at least some of you are familiar with this monthly meme, started by my dear friend Kristen, and now picked up again by my OTHER dear friend Christy. :) I love how introspective it makes me. All you have to do is post what you've been doing/thinking/??ing lately, then link up at Christy/Critty Joy's blog - and read other folks' thoughts as well. The linkup is on the third Thursday of the month, but Christy said she'll keep it open for a week - so don't feel like you need to do it RIGHT NOW. You're always welcome.

Go ahead! Join in. :)

But first...it's my turn

Lately, I've become more and more aware of my own selfishness.

Lately, I've been especially pleased with "getting things off my plate."

Lately, my life has felt somehow more balanced.

Lately, I've treasured the prayers of others.

Lately, I've realized how precarious my faith and trust can be.

Lately, I've been reminded once again of the power of laughter.

Lately, I've been amazed at how grown up my kids are acting.

Lately, I've found I'm not as big a fan of romance fiction as I thought I might be.

Lately, I've been learning, by necessity, patience.

Lately, I've been striving to find the balance between reminding and nagging.

Lately,  I've been looking forward to "As of Late."



And so I have been wondering: what has been going on with you as of late?

And don't forget to check out Christy's blog, and link up there with your own list!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

Monday Manna verse for January 24


The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog, My Back Door. The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse at their own blogs and link up at the bottom of the post in the Linky Tools gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

And this week's verse is:
And he [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58
Looking forward to pondering this one, and hearing what the rest of you have to say! See you back here on Monday!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/18/11

Eventful events

The past seven days have been pretty eventful for me "writing-career-wise." I've taken some pretty big steps (to me, anyway), and I figured I'd share them with you.

A week ago today, the professional edit of my non-fiction manuscript Ailing Body Nourished Soul was finished, and the manuscript returned to me. I've been waiting for this for a LONG time. Woowoo. :)

On Thursday, after reading it all the way through one more time (and yes, I still really like it LOL), I emailed it to a literary agent's assistant who requested the full manuscript a bit ago. Yeah, I'm shaking.

And then on Sunday, I entered the first 15 pages, and a one page synopsis, of my Biblical fiction Handmaiden to a Princess, in one of the, if not THE, most prestigious unpublished Christian fiction contests around: The American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis contest. (By the way, the deadline to enter this one isn't until March 4, so it isn't too late to get yours in as well! I highly recommend it!)

Now, I need to get back to actually writing Handmaiden to a Princess. For whatever reason, I seem to be avoiding working on this manuscript. NOT a good thing. I know better than anyone how easy it is to get out of the habit of writing. I've probably got half the words of this book written, and I'd LOVE to have it mostly, if not completely, done by the time Genesis winners are announced in September (not that I think I'll win - but I do SO much better with a deadline!). So I guess I need to get back in the habit again. It's a great story, and I SO want to tell it. Just have to get my rear in gear!

How do you get yourself back into a habit you've dropped?


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/17/11

The Return of Monday Manna -- with a change or two

And I'll bet several of you didn't even know it had been gone! ;)

Well, for the past several months, I've thought about dropping Monday Manna altogether because of low participation. But after prayer and talk with some dear friends, they've encouraged me to keep it going, and in fact have it MORE often. SO, starting NEXT WEEK, Monday Manna, instead of happening only the first and third Monday of the month, will be happening every week. Of course, some of you have no idea what I'm talking about. So, here we go!
The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here at An Open Book, or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog My Back Door (we will be alternating weeks hosting). The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse and link up at the bottom of the post in the Linky Tools gadget.

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. Remember feel free to post whatever creative post suits your fancy!

The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.
Sound good? Look forward to seeing you. I'll post the first verse of Monday Manna 2011 here at my blog this Thursday, January 20, and the linkup will also be here Monday, January 24. The following week will be Vonnie's turn :).

In the meantime, grab our new, beautiful button (designed by Vonnie, by the way!).


See you soon!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/14/11

Finds for Fridays: January 14



 
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...here they are!

A Heart That Bleeds by Jennifer Slattery at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (about sharing the hope within us)

Shattered by Kathy Richards at Katdish.net (about brokenness)

Where I've Been by Andrea Mitchell at Under Grace and Over Coffee (about breaking free of strongholds)

The Bottom Line by Rachel Martin at Finding Joy (about our worth)

The Tuscon Shootings, Huckleberry Finn, and the Power of Words by Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today (about powerful words)

Hope you stop by these blogs and read the posts - and maybe even subscribe to the blogs. You won't be sorry. :)


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence


The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

1/13/11

Asking About The Weather

Asking about the weather in my extended family is an interesting prospect. List a set of atmospheric conditions, and you'll likely get a different answer from nearly every single person. Maybe that's common among families. All I know is it's par for the course where I come from.

Today I'm over at the Barn Door, talking a little about it. Would love to have you pop over and check out So...How's the Weather? I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it.

And speaking of The Barn Door - their sister site, the Barn Door Book Loft, is doing a week-long feature on writer, agent, and all-around amazing guy Jeff Gerke this week - and you have a chance to win his book "Plot vs. Character." Don't miss this chance to learn a bunch from him, and possibly win this valuable resource (if I don't win it, of course LOL)



The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.




Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/11/11

How I Survived My Tech Fast

One of my 2011 goals is to take one day a month off from computers and texting-- it's part of my aim to bring more balance to my life. Well, last Tuesday was my very first "technology fast."

I didn't do it on purpose (really), but I had quite a few "out of the house" things to do that day, so I didn't have as much "dead time" to fill as a normal day. But I did spend the time I did have relatively effectively, I think.

Sorry - no before picture
I did a bit of longhand writing, some extra novel reading (a blessing!), and I completely reorganized my pantry (which was SADLY in need of it!). Though I missed it (texting mostly, to be honest), I know it was good for me. I truly realized that it's okay to step away for a bit and work on other things. I've found I've been more thoughtful about how I spend my time the past week. Apparently, I've learned that I actually have a choice how to allocate the hours in my day.

Wednesday was interesting. I found it took me much longer to "catch up" from being gone Tuesday than I expected, but I'm hoping I can figure out a way to lessen this as the months go on.

So, for those of you who asked (and those who didn't!), a report on my tech fast. I'm actually looking forward to my next one on February 1 (not enough to take another before then, though. I'm only human, yanno?)

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence


The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

1/10/11

Struggling Toward Perfection

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  Romans 8:18

It's been a few years since I used L. B. Cowman's Streams in the Desert as my daily devotional. But I'm back to it again in 2011. If you have never used this incredible resource, I can't recommend it more highly. Each daily reading gets me thinking and blesses me. And yesterday's was no exception.

January 9's reading was about God's workings in us to make us more like Him. Mostly, the fact that it isn't an easy road. She shares the story of an emperor moth's cocoon (click here to read the whole thing) and the animals need to fight its way out to develop the strength to survive.

Photo by Samlevan at sxcv,hu
Sometimes, I wish God would just give me the strength, fortitude, peace,and patience I need to surmount any obstacle. But that's not the way it works. We become stronger Christians by struggling. We grow closer to the Lord by needing Him. We develop compassion for others by suffering and needing compassion ourselves.

The seven-plus years of my husband's health struggles aren't anything I would wish on anyone. They were, and are, hard. We wondered more than once if it was all worth it, if we could handle one more turn in the road. But I have no doubt we are closer to, and more like, our Lord and Savior than we were before it all started. Just like the moth fighting to get out of that cocoon, we are struggling toward perfection--toward becoming the children of God our Father wants us to be.

And that's all that should matter.

Heavenly Father, it is so easy to want the easy way out--to try to avoid suffering, trials, and temptations--but that is not the way You work. Our strength comes in our trials, and it is only through them that we become more like You. Help us to see our struggles from Your perspective--to use them as opportunities to grow more into Your image. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.



1/7/11

Finds for Fridays: January 7 (and Joy in Service)

They say if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life. And, of course, if you love the service God has given you to perform, it will never feel like work. Sometimes, we need to do things for the Lord that are hard and unpleasant, and we might even feel like we're struggling through them. But that is certainly not often the case.

I'm over at The Internet Cafe today, talking about a new opportunity for service that I have that has me jumping for joy - and that many of you would run from with all your might. But that's the way God made us. Check out Joy in Service today and let me know what you think. How can YOU serve the Lord in a way that brings you joy?
And NOW, back to my regular Friday feature! :)


 
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...here they are!

Maybe next year... by Seth Godin at Seth Godin's blog (about going ahead)

A Shade of God by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about coming closer to perfection)

entrusted (word for 2011) by Elaine Olsen at Peace for the Journey (about what we're entrusted with)

Kids Don't Know Anything by Matt Appling at The Church With No People (about my generation's dying cultural referencees)

How To Avoid Getting An Agent by Rachelle Gardner at Rants and Ramblings (title is self-explanatory)

Hope you stop by these posts (and MINE) and check them out--and perhaps even follow the blogs. You won't be disappointed!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/5/11

Open Mouths: Word-Filled Wednesday

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

Our pastor preached on this verse from this psalm of Asaph this past Sunday. He reminded us that we must have great expectations for what the Lord will give us. We must be ready to be filled, with our mouths opened wide, as a newborn bird for its first meal. So how could I resist NOT making it a post for Word-Filled Wednesday?

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out Internet Cafe Devotions for more Word-Filled Wednesday.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/4/11

Where is she, you ask?


One of my goals for 2011 is to take something of a "technology fast" once a month--generally on the first Tuesday of the month. Well, that would be today. I'm planning to leave my computer OFF all day, and refrain from texting (I know, that's not ALL technology, but for now, that's what I'm going for. I also do NOT have a smart phone, so I will be quite disconnected) until I get up Wednesday morning.

So, if you're wondering why I haven't replied to your email, played my round in Scrabble, or commented on your blog, now you know. See you tomorrow! (and yes, this post was prescheduled!)


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/3/11

Hope You're Not Sick of Goals Yet

I KNOW I just posted - and discussed - my goals for 2011 but that doesn't mean I don't have short-term goals as well. And since I set goals in December, I figure I might as well report on how I did, and tell you what my January ones are.

As usual - here are the goals I set for December:
  1.  Keep up with fixes on my Ailing Body, Nourished Soul edit, with the hope of having it ready to submit to the agent's assistant as soon as humanly possible
  2. Submit the first 25 pages of Handmaiden to a Princess to the Great Expectations contest.
  3. Add 5,000 words to Handmaiden to a Princess
  4. Three blog posts minimum a week
  5. Enter the FaithWriters' Writing Challenge in December
I am pleased to announce that I accomplished all but ONE of these goals. Still waiting on my final FINAL edit for Ailing Body, Nourished Soul, but I have it on good authority this COULD be the week I either get it back or have HUGE progress. I also submitted to Great Expectations, entered the Challenge (gasp!), and blogged about four times a week on average. As far as words? Well, I'm gonna be honest. I wrote EIGHTY FOUR. Better than nothing (but not by much, eh?? LOL)

ANYhow - on to the new month - okay??

My goals for January 2011

1. Keep up on Ailing Body, Nourished Soul and if at all possible, get it to the agent's assistant
2. Either enter, or be prepared to enter, the ACFW Genesis contest with Handmaiden to a Princess (deadline is in March)
3. Three blog posts minimum a week
4. Write 5k more in Handmaiden to a Princess
5. Enter an idea or two in the Peculiar People Orphan Plane project (I highlighted this project a couple of months ago here

So there ya go :) I'll also be reporting briefly on any progress I've made on my 2011 goals, but since I just made them two days ago, there's nothing to report yet. Tomorrow IS my  technology fast day for the month, though. We'll see how it goes!

Thanks for reading, and blessings to you!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

1/1/11

Two Thousand Eleven - Turning the Page

Well, yesterday was "last year." Weird to think about, don't you think? It's just another day, I know - but January 1, in my view, is a good time to make a few changes and set some goals for the year.

First: the changes.

Introducing - my new blog button!




Joanne Sher An Open Book


Nice, eh? Was pretty sick of my old one (way too busy) - this one, I think, is a lot sharper. Don't be shy about grabbing one. The code is over on my sidebar.  :) -->


clipart
Free Gifs and Animations
Also introducing: My theme verse and graphic for 2011 (yeah - I know I introduced it in a post earlier this week, but in case you missed it)

Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever  situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. 1 Corinthians 7:17 NIV (emphasis mine)
So, now that you know my focus, it's time for goals.

If you read my post at the cafe this week, you know I set WAY too many goals last year (check them out here if you REALLY wanna see what they were). So this year I'm gonna make my list shorter, but MUCH more meaningful.

Sooo...here I go.

My goals for 2011 are
  • Get an agent for my nonfiction MS Ailing Body, Nourished Soul (the professional edit for it is 99.9% done--once it's complete, it's heading to the agent's assistant who requested it. If that isn't enough, I query others)
  • Complete AT LEAST THE SECOND DRAFT of my Biblical fiction, Handmaiden to a Princess
  • Keep my name "out there" - keep building my platform (facebook, twitter, blogging, reading blogs, guest blogging, writing for group blogs, etc.)
  • Keep my "life priorities" in order (spending time with the family, keeping the house clean(er), being more attentive, etc.)
  • Once a month (generally on the first Tuesday of each month), have a technology fast day. No computer. No email. No internet. No texting. (this scares me, but I am SO feeling called to do it, and I probably need MORE than that.)
(just FYI - I have more specific "mini-goals" for three and four - but I didn't wanna bore you)

So, there are my goals and proposed direction for 2011, pending the Lord's approval, of course. :)

Thanks for reading, and cheering/praying me along on this journey!

Have you set goals for 2011? What are they?


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

Back to TOP