"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

3/31/11

Monday Manna for April 4



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 Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

I'm hosting this week. This verse grabbed me several days ago as I was reading the devotional Streams In The Desert (an absolute favorite of mine!).
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
Lots to think about, eh? Looking forward to seeing you back here Monday!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/29/11

Watching Spring...Out the Barn Door

The Barn Door
I'm at the Barn Door today, talking about signs of Spring in my own back (and front) yard. Can't wait to watch the colors show up, one by one. Stop by to see what's "Sneaking Up On Us."


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/28/11

Forgetful? 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.

Here's today's verse.
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17 KJV
My ladies' Bible study group is doing a study on forgiveness this year. It has been challenging, healing, and a blessing. The author of the study, Juanita Purcell, references a true story to help us see the importance of not dwelling on the wrongs others have done.
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded by a friend about a vicious deed someone had done to her years before. Clara acted as if she was unaware of the attack. Her friend asked,"Don't you remember it?" "No," Clara replied. "I distinctively remember forgetting it." (Juanita Purcell: Forgiveness, A Prescription for Peace.  Regular Baptist Press, 2010, p. 47)
Thinking about this helped me understand our Heavenly Father's perspective on sin.

After all, God is perfect. How can he possibly forget anything? He knows all - the past, present, AND future. Is his "rememberer" broken?

Mrs. Purcell helped me realize that the Lord chooses not to remember our sin (because of Christ's paying its price on the cross). He sees us as if we never committed them not because he can't remember what we did, but because he chooses not to recall it.

And if He can do that, I'd say He wants us to do the same.

How can we NOT forgive (and forget) those who sin against us? If Christ's death on the cross is enough for the Lord, it should be enough for us.
**
Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Vonnie's blog for more Monday Manna.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/25/11

Finds for Fridays: March 25



 

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following over 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 the Crocuses Taught Me by Dakota at A Look at Life from a Deerstand (about blooming no matter the circumstances)

Notches in Your Belt by Joy Bach at Life Moments (about shoving Christianity down someone's throat)

Not Quite Born This Way by Matt Appling at The Church of No People (about lots of very fascinating stuff I can't compress into a short blurb)

Introduction to Lessons from the Lathe by Scott Steiner at Lessons from the Lathe (about suffering and how God uses it)

Are You Making Something? By Seth Godin at Seth's Blog (about work vs. distraction)

Be sure to stop by these blogs and read the posts - and even subscribe to the blog feeds. You won't be sorry.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/24/11

Barn Door Giggles

The Barn Door

Have a post over at the Barn Door today (also have another coming up next week - but I'll tell ya about that when it comes!). I put one of my favorite humorous short stories over there, so if you need a laugh, pop over and find out about when Mrs. Chillsome Chills Out. It will make you smile on this spring day. :)

Also,  Vonnie is hosting Monday Manna this coming Monday. And she's picked a SUPER verse to ponder.

"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 10:17 KJV

Thanks!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/23/11

Everything: 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 so glad spring is here - on the calendar, anyhow. We're supposed to get snow today here in West Michigan. But spring WILL come - and it will even feel like it.

But no matter the weather, and how long it might take for the flowers to bloom or the butterflies to come out, He is worthy to be praised. Don't you forget it.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

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


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/21/11

Staying Dead: Monday Manna


I'm hosting Monday Manna this week :)

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 gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

Here's this week' verse:
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.  Isaiah 53:10 NIV
Looking forward to your thoughts. Mine are below.

**

Whenever I read through the books of Moses, I start to think about the population of the land of Israel. No--not the human population. The animal population.

They must have had a whole lot of sheep! And how about those cows and goats? Daily offerings at the temple required lots of livestock--not to mention the Sabbath and holy day offerings. And then, of course, there were the sin and guilt offerings. In a word: LOTS of animals to kill.

And why were they killed? For various reasons, but many were the payment of sin.When you displeased the Lord in those times, the blood of an animal (without defect) was required. But it wasn't enough. 
How do I know, you ask? Because the animal stayed dead.
If the atonement for sin had been complete and sufficient, the animal would have come back to life--and there wouldn't have been a need for all those sacrifices. But, because the blood of rams and goats was not sufficient to atone for our sin, something else needed to be done.

So God came to earth Himself, and "made his life an offering for sin." And he died. But this was different.
He didn't stay dead.
Because He was completely sinless, completely God, AND completely man (don't ask how that can be - at least don't ask ME!), he saw "his offspring [that would be US!] and prolong(ed) his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand."

And because He is alive, we are done with sacrifices. And we are forgiven. Hallelujah!


**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and read others' thoughts on this verse.



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/19/11

Sparkly Encouragement ;)

Please stop by this wonderful blog (every day - NOT just today!). I'm over there today talking about my Strong Redeemer. Come be encouraged!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/18/11

Find for Fridays: March 18



 
If you're looking for Friday Fiction, scroll down one post, or just click 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!

Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse is So Important by Michael Hyatt at his blog (about the benefits of a positive attitude about your spouse)

The Garbageman by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about hidden sins)


A Bacon Celebration by Elaine Cooper at The Barn Door (Something you probably didn't know about Iowa - fun!)

Even if It's 50 by Patty Wysong at Ordinary Lives (about perspective)

Social Media: There's No Such Thing As Too Early by Nathan Bransford at Nathan Bransford's blog (about social vs promotion, among other things)

Hope you stop by and read these posts. Following the blogs would also be a good move, I think - always wonderful reads! Thanks for stopping by.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

Misplaced Musician: Friday Fiction

Fiction Friday,button,karlene

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by YOURS TRULY! Make sure that you link up here with your own fiction below. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), just scroll down and check out the links.

I am totally in biblical fiction mode lately - not only because my current WIP is set during biblical times, but my newest project, with the lovely Jennifer Slattery, is also in that genre. So, I thought that I'd share one of my favorites from the FaithWriters' Challenge. The topic was "music." I wrote this, by the way, four years ago this past Monday

Don't forget to link up below the and read the other entries!

MISPLACED MUSICIAN
By Joanne Sher 
"What are we doing here? Why have we been abandoned like this?"

The middle-aged man sighed and lowered his body until he was sitting against a poplar tree, staring out into the Kebar River of Babylon, the land of his captivity.

It had been at least a dozen years since Ollam had felt like singing God's praises. Yet, he hadn't stopped completely. Partly out of habit, and partly due to demand from his captors, he'd played his songs on occasion, the wonderful songs of praise his ancestors had composed. He could hardly help it. He was a temple musician, and though the temple was out of his reach, the songs still haunted him.

How he loved those songs, those psalms of praise of the homeland he hadn't seen in years, and of the God who had sent them to this terrible place. The wonderful songs written by great men of his faith: Moses, David, Asaph, the sons of Korah. But whenever he sang them, his heart ached. Each year, he would sing them less and less.

Singing songs of the temple, of Zion, of his Lord, was like being dragged from Judah all over again. The pain, twelve years old, returned fresh, and any wounds that may have been partially healed opened once again.

Just the other day, a Babylonian official had ordered him to play his harp and sing one of the songs of ascents. He knew the official was mocking him, but he also knew the punishment for disobeying. The words, and the melody, were still burned in his memory.

Harp Pictures, Images and PhotosMay the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.


It had taken all of Ollam's willpower to keep his composure during the performance. When the official started harassing him, however, he could handle it no longer. Turning his head, he'd cried like a baby. The official had laughed and dismissed him.

Ollam looked out at the Kebar. The river was at flood stage and was rushing by violently, hitting the rocks along it with fervor. Such a contrast to the waters of his favorite psalm, as much as Babylon was to Judah. He opened the knapsack beside him and pulled out his harp. His voice and fingers joined in harmony.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.

Throwing down his harp, he buried his head in his hands and wept.

"Where are they, Lord? Where are the still waters, the green pastures? Where is my restored soul?"

Leaning against the tree, Ollam slowly rose. He reached down for his harp and examined it.

"I just can't do it anymore, Lord."

Raising the harp over his head, he felt it hit a branch of the tree he'd been leaning on. He gently maneuvered the branch through the harp's strings until it was a good half-cubit down. Letting go, he looked out on the river and wept.

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?

**

References in order, from NIV:
Psalm 128:5-6
Psalm 23:1-2
Psalm 137:1-4

Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and add your own fiction to the list!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/17/11

Monday Manna for March 21

If you're looking for my contribution to "As Of Late," click here, or just go the the post right below this one.



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 Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

I'm hosting this week. And here's our verse.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.  Isaiah 53:10 NIV
This one gives me goosebumps. :) Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say. See you back here on Monday!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

As of Late: March 17

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.

Lately, I've been wondering what I'm doing wrong

Lately, I've been so busy I've (almost) forgotten I'm waiting for big news

Lately, my kids have been perplexing me

Lately, I've been trying to reexamine my priorities

Lately, I've been entirely too lazy in the kitchen

Lately, I've been devouring the spiritual food in my adult Sunday School class

Lately, I've come to depend on my friends (local and not) more and more

Lately, I've been reading (rather than writing) my WIP - and getting all kinds of ideas on how to improve it!



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

3/14/11

Taking Credit: 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.
"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13, NKJV)
***

The good stuff I do? It isn't me who's doing it. My specialty is messing up, defying God's will, and acting in my own self interest. That's the stuff I can take credit for (though, in all honesty, I'd LOVE to blame it on someone else.). Because, deep down, that's me.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans. 7:19 NIV

And you may not like to admit it, but you're the same way. When Adam fell from grace, he dragged the whole human race with him. Every human being born (save one - but we'll get to that later) comes fresh from the womb with a propensity to shake his fist at God. We're born with it. It's in our nature.

And because God is holy, He can't tolerate that propensity of ours. So He made a way for that sin nature to be conquered. He sent His Son Jesus (that "one" from the paragraph before) to be the perfect sacrifice allowing us to be seen as good in His eyes. And if you accept it, He will come in and "work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

So the next time you feel like you wanna take credit for what you've done--remember, it is God who gives you even the propensity to do good. That stuff YOU do? Not something to be proud of. Give HIM the glory!

**


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

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/11/11

Finds for Fridays: March 11



 


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!

Vanilla Wafers of the World: Thank You! By Dee Yoder at My Heart's Dee-Light (about those who serve behind the scenes)

I Don't Want to Be Glad About Today, Lord by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about  hard days, and rejoicing anyway)

Clutter Cutter by Tricia Goyer at It's Real Life (about priorities and finding the joy)

Flask or Horn? by Alisa Hope Wagner at Faith Imagined (about Saul, David, and flesh vs. spirit)

Dear Future Mark by Kathy Richards at Katdish.net (about teasing and changing)

Welcome to Deadwood by Myra Johnson at Seekerville (about tightening your manuscript)

It's Going to Be Okay by Holley Gerth at Heart to Heart With Holley (just what it says)

A GREAT group of posts this week, don't you think? Be sure to stop by and check them out - and follow the blogs. You won't be disappointed!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/10/11

Junk Food, Manna, and Burdens

How's that for a menagerie of ideas?

This is another one of those posts where I'm sending you all around the Internet to read stuff I've written, or something else. I've got TWO "off-site" posts today, plus an arrow to a verse for next week.

I'm at the Internet Cafe today, talking about burdens heavy on my shoulders, and God's willingness to help me with them. Why don't you stop by My Burden? His Yoke! and see what new revelation bopped me in the head about that.




The Barn Door


And of course, there's my post at The Barn Door too. :) With the greatly varying weather of a Midwestern March, it's nice to have something that doesn't change. Check out The Sweet Month Of March to see what that might be - for me, anyway. :)





OH - My dear friend Vonnie is hosting Monday Manna this coming Monday, and since it's Thursday, it's time for a new verse to pondera. Stop on over to Vonnie's blog if you'd like - but here's the verse she picked. (Definitely go back there Monday for the link!)
"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13, NKJV)


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/7/11

Wordless - Monday Manna


I'm hosting Monday Manna this week :)

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 gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

Here's this week's verse.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26 NIV
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Mine are below.

**

Sometimes when I pray, I feel like I'm sitting on the Almighty's lap, sharing my deepest desires. His answers seem so clear, and our fellowship is so very sweet. All my anxieties, fears and troubles melt away in His everlasting arms.

But not always.

Other times, He feels distant. I have no idea what to pray. All I know is I need Him. I don't know if it is a change of situation, a change of attitude, or some other change that is needed. I just know things can't stay how they are. God needs to do something. What? I haven't a clue. But He knows.

So I pray to the Spirit. And He communicates to the Father exactly what I want.

Did you notice how my request - the request that I can't even verbalize myself - is presented? Through wordless groans.

Perhaps my own inability to express my prayers in words is nothing to be distraught about. Even the Trinity doesn't use human language to intercede.

The prayers of my heart are heard, no matter how I express them.

**

Thanks for reading. Be sure to link up below and read others' thoughts on this verse.



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/5/11

Get Some Jewels of Encouragement

I'm over at the wonderful encouragement blog Jewels of Encouragement- stop by and find out what I'm glad I'm in today :)


Come by today - and every day!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/4/11

Finds for Fridays: March 4



 


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!

Perfectly Perfect by Sarah at Writing (about your worth)

Getting Published, Part one by Kathy Ide at Kathy Ide's blog (about things to know about getting published)

My First Cartoon. Don't Laugh by Mary DeMuth at Mary DeMuth's blog (a giggle about published authors)

Today's Menu: Humble Pie by Linda Crawford at Internet Cafe Devotions  (about pride that disguises itself as humility)

Be sure to stop by and read these posts - and maybe subscribe to the blogs. You won't be disappointed :)


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/3/11

Monday Manna for March 7



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 Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

I'm hosting this week. And here's our verse.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

See you back here on Monday!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/2/11

Marching Into March (a goals/progress update)

Okiedoke. Firstly, this month was NOTHING like I expected. Not that I have a clue WHAT I expected. All I know is it wasn't this :)

But regardless, it's time to look back at the month and see how I did on my goals, and set some new ones. Also wanna see how I'm progressing on my goals for 2011.

Let's start with the annual ones. I'm still doing well with the "getting an agent for Ailing Body, Nourished Soul" thing. Not much progress on Handmaiden to a Princess - but I'll share more about that below. In the platform building deal, I definitely have taken a step forward by helping put together and being a contributing blogger to Jewels of Encouragement, a new blog that was just launched almost two weeks ago (Stop by if you haven't!). Plus my facebook and twitter and other such stuff. :). Not EVEN gonna mention more "family time."

Okay - now that I'm done with that, how about my February goals? Here they are, direct from last month's post.

1. 7,000 words in Handmaiden to a Princess (that works out to 250 words a day, every day)
2. Three blog posts a week minimum.
3. Do whatever is needed for Ailing Body, Nourished Soul (including looking out for contests to enter it in!)
4. Keep up on my house so I don't have to spend most of my "tech free day" cleaning (by the way, did NOT make this one for January :::blush:::)

Well...not so good. I DID accomplish #s 2 and 3 (20 blog posts this past month, and I found a contest or two I could enter Ailing Body, Nourished Soul in.).

And then there's the other two. Because of another project I'm now involved in (more info below!), I put Handmaiden to a Princess on hold a few weeks ago. My word count for February? 889 words. And that "keeping up on the house" thing? Um...I'd rather not comment. Hoping it will look better after my Tech-Free Tuesday, which will NOT be a  cleaning-free Tuesday. I PROMISE.

And now - a quick blurb on my "other project." A couple writing friends of mine and I are working together to put together the book proposal for a Biblical fiction devotional for tweens. The amazing Jennifer Slattery has received proposal requests from a few publishers, and she,the lovely Elaine Cooper, and I are working on getting that put together. I am SO excited about this project -and working with these awesome ladies :)

And NOW, time for my goals for March!
  1. Whatever needs to be done for Ailing Body, Nourished Soul
  2. Finish "my part" of the tween devo proposal, plus whatever else needs to be done on that project
  3. Three blog posts a week minimum
  4. SOME progress on Handmaiden to a Princess
So, here I go. Hut, hut hut!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

3/1/11

Another Tech-Free Tuesday


Yup, it's that time again. The first Tuesday of the month is my monthly "tech fast." No computer, no texting. Hope to get some writing and reading done, but my day will mostly be dedicated to cleaning (yeah, I've been AWFUL about keeping the house up. My loss--my fault!)

See you on Wednesday! (with my goals and progress post!)


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

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