"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

6/28/11

F is for...

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Welcome to week six of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From A 2 Z 4 U and me. We're work through the alphabet - one letter each Tuesday. No rules, other than your post has to relate to the letter of the week. Link up at Ordinary Lives and check out everyone else's post. Click on the graphic above for more details, and stop by Patty's blog to link up.

In what will likely be a complete surprise to NONE of you, here at An Open Book, F is for FaithWriters. I've written about my love of this site several times before (click here and here), but today I want to focus on two specific things about this wonderful site: the upcoming conference, and the FaithWriters' blog. A significant thing will be happening with BOTH of these aspects of the "FaithWriters' family within the next several days.

Games until all hours
Book table isn't just for books!
FIRST: I want to recommend, heartily, that if it is at all possible, you attend the FaithWriters' Conference - coming up in just a month and a half. It will be held in Livonia, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), August 12 and 13, and it promises to be a WONDERFUL time. I've been to all three of the past ones, and have written about the wonderful experiences several times (if you need convincing, check out this post. and this one, and this one). The information. The fellowship. The silliness. The games. The giggles. The books (YES - I'm the book table QUEEN). And there are going to be some WONDERFUL sessions on blogging, different genres of writing, interviews, dealing with agents and editors, inspiration, organization, and several others. And don't forget the bonuses - a bit of comedy with Timmy Boyle, a chance to get a professional headshot with Cari Weber, speed critiquing with Jan Ackerson and Deb Porter, One on One with Deb Porter, and a chance to pitch your manuscript to HEARTLINE LITERARY AGENT Linda  Glaz.

And the big news? The early bird pricing has been extended until this Thursday! You have until the end of this month to get this incredible conference at an especially incredible value. Click here for more info and/or to sign up. You won't be sorry :)

SECOND: The FaithWriters' blog. This wonderful spot in the blogosphere has been around for nearly a year and a half now, featuring FaithWriters news, devotional, writing tips, and so much more. And the queen of that blog: the lovely, talented, and contracted writer Lynda Schab. Every one of the posts you've seen there in the past 15+ months has been lovingly collected/written/posted by that lovely lady.

Well, as of July 4, that's going to change. NO--Lynda is NOT going to stop being lovely, talented OR contracted! She is, in fact, going to put some of her focus on other freelancing jobs, her writing, and her lovely family (and maybe even find time for a life). And someone else is going to be taking over producing content for the FaithWriters' blog.
Yeah. ME.
 It is with excitement AND a touch of fear that I take on the responsibility of being "the FaithWriters' blog lady." (I made up the title - take it or leave it) I've got some big shoes to fill (though I'm guessing my size 10's are probably larger than anything Lynda wears!), but I'm excited about, and I believe up to, the challenge. Hope to see you there - and if you have any suggestions for the FW blog, don't be afraid to toss them my way.

Sooo - there's F! Be sure to stop by Ordinary Lives for more F posts. Fun stuff!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/27/11

I'm Clashing!

(and it's a good thing :))

FIRST - if you're looking for Monday Manna, either scroll down or click here.

This week (and last, to be honest), I'm participating in a competition of sorts. Clash of the Titles is a VERY cool blog where two authors (usually published) put their writing against each other. Two anonymous excerpts go head to head for most of the first week. After voting closes, you get to find out who wrote the pieces, and the following Friday, we find out who wins the clash.


Clash of The Titles


Well, last and this week was an unpublished clash - and the topic was setting description. Well, I was one of those authors! Click here to see the excerpts (I'm excerpt A), here to see me and Mary Hall (my SO worthy competition) "revealed," and here for my spotlight (Mary's will be Wednesday).

It's scary to put your writing out there for everyone to see (especially when you know a professional hasn't "fixed it" yet), but it's been awful fun so far. And whether I win or lose (guessing you know my preference LOL), it's been a great experience. Check the site out on Friday to see who reigns triumphant!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

A New Person: 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 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 the verse.
 The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  1 Samuel 10:6
The Holy Spirit is a part of the Trinity, and has existed in eternity past, and will continue to exist into eternity future. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always have been, are, and always will be. That's one of the bases of our faith.

But the third Person of the Trinity functioned differently on either side of the Cross. Yet, He is the same Spirit.

Before Christ's death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit came upon specific people for specific tasks. It wasn't a permanent thing. Baalam received God's Spirit to  prophecy (Numbers 24), Gideon to lead men into battle (Judges 6), Samson to tear apart a lion with his bare hands (Judges 14), Saul to prophecy twice (1 Samuel 10 and 19), and Bezalel to perform artistic work for the tabernacle (Exodus 31). And these are just a few examples.

holy spirit Pictures, Images and Photos
Now that Christ has been resurrected and has returned to the Father, His Spirit lives forever in the hearts of each of God's children. We don't receive His Spirit to simply perform a task. It is there to comfort, lead, and guide us through all our circumstances--not just a specific project the Lord has chosen to give us.

But some things never change. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you cannot remain the same. Even Saul, who would later greatly disappoint the Lord and His people, was "changed into a different person" when the Spirit came upon him. And so it happened to every person, on either side of the cross, who received/s God's Spirit.

And the biggest blessing of the New Testament is that, with the Spirit in us permanently, our change is also permanent. We are His children, and always will be.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and read the other folks' entries. I'm sure it will be a blessing.




Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/24/11

Finds for Fridays: June 24


 

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 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?

I should mention that the blogosphere was FULL of amazing posts this week. It was hard to choose just a few. This list easily could have been twice - or even three times - as long.

And here they are!

They Aren't All Winners by Linda Glaz at her blog (about reading disappointments - and who the book is for)

Market Mondays - Part Two of Nuke the Slush-Pile by James H. Pence at Reflections in Hindsight (hints about getting your MS in an editor's hands)

No Retiring in T-Ball by Kristi Peifer at Jewels of Encouragement (about sticking with it)

The Makings of a Character by Pepper Basham at The Writers Alley (about developing your characters)

Make Friends, Not Converts by Jennifer Slattery at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (about REAL brothers and sisters in Christ)


Where Art Thou? by Wanda at The Watered Soul (about where we are, and where I AM)

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have time to stop by and read these wonderful posts.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/23/11

Monday Manna for June 27 - New Verse


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.

I've spent a good amount of time in the book of 1 Samuel lately. Just the other day, this verse jumped out at me.
The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  1 Samuel 10:6
Looking forward to your thoughts, and mine :) See you back here on Monday!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/21/11

What "E" is For!!! (and WWJD - at the Cafe)


Hope you'll stop by The Internet Cafe today - I'm there talking about the WWJD craze, and what I think Peter actually MEANT by the verse expanded upon in Charles Sheldon's classic book. I'd love your thoughts on In His (Not So Pleasant) Steps.

And now, it's time for everyone's favorite alphabetical meme.


Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Welcome to week five of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From A 2 Z 4 U and me. We're work through the alphabet - one letter each Tuesday. No rules, other than your post has to relate to the letter of the week. Link up at Ordinary Lives and check out everyone else's post. Click on the graphic above for more details, and stop by Patty's blog to link up.
Dancing exclamation mark animated gif Pictures, Images and PhotosCurious, eh? Well, here at An Open Book, E is for exclamation points: and several other words that go along with them, like enthusiastic, energetic, and excited.

There is no doubt that I have an effervescent personality. Ask just about anyone I know (and likely just about anyone who has even SEEN me). I am more likely to be energetic and enthusiastic than not. It doesn't take much to get me excited about a project. And trust me - it's evident to anyone who sees me.

exclamation mark Pictures, Images and PhotosMy body is ever in motion, and if anyone were to document my everyday dialogue on paper or computer screen, she would likely need to use an excessive number of exclamation points.

And I use them. A lot. In fact I use an almost endless supply just about every week on the FaithWriters message boards. If any of you have ever placed in the FaithWriters' writing challenge, you likely have seen my wooowoos, which include me celebrating the writing accomplishments of my dear writing friends, with many, many letters of their names, and many, many exclamation points. It's just the way I celebrate. (click here one example - just for the uninitiated - scroll down a couple posts to see)

exclamation mark Pictures, Images and PhotosAnd how about Facebook? Twitter?  Emails? Oh yeah, my exclamation points are evident there as well. It's the way I am - and the way I choose to show my enthusiasm, energy, and excitement.

But not all my writing is like that. Though it has been an effort, my more formal writing (articles, essays, non-fiction and novels - and even often blog posts) has a lot fewer exclamation points in existence. They are, to be blunt, frowned upon in most published work. And there are certainly better ways (in formal writing anyway) to show a character's enthusiasm, energy, and/or excitement than tossing an exclamation point at the end of the thought. Body language cues, word choice, and other descriptions communicate the emotions much more vividly.

But don't expect me to cut down on them in my casual writing. I love em. They're fun, and seem to match my enthusiasm for life. (and aren't those animated gifs especially adorable?) And what would my woowoos be without them?

(please note: no exclamation points were used in the writing of this blog. Until now!)

Be sure to stop by Patty's blog for more E fun.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/20/11

Wide or Narrow? 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 this week's verse:
You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. Psalm 18:36
There is a narrow path to salvation. We know there is only one way to heaven. "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Photo from sxc.hu/burnin_dog
But our other paths are not necessarily as narrow. God has given us free will. We can make choices on what job to take, where to go to school, what to have for dinner, without fear that only one way is "the right way."

Sure - some of our decisions are black and white. There's only one way to decide when considering whether to commit adultery, for example, or to cheat on your taxes.

But as long as you are in His Word, seeking His face and listening for His voice, you aren't stuck with looking for the one perfect option in several non-morally-based choices. God can work through and in us whether we choose a career as a writer or an accountant - and whether we have steak or hamburgers for dinner.

He makes our paths wide enough that we can use our strengths, gifts, and talents in the way we feel led. And it's wonderful to have that "wiggle room."

**

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


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/19/11

I'm at JoE Today


Would love to have you stop by Jewels of Encouragement today. I'm over there talking about a favorite childhood toy, the mess my kids made of it, and the lesson God taught me. Go check out Slinky With A Soul!

And Happy Father's Day, all you dads out there!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/17/11

Finds for Fridays: June 17


 

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 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 here they are!

The Opposite of "What Not To Wear" by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about the righteousness of Christ)

Adapting to Writing Under Contract by Jennifer Hudson Taylor at her blog (about the need for a schedule when you're contracted)

Trust the Catcher by Laura Lee Groves at Outnumbered Mom (about misplaced trust)

Starting the Story Too Soon by Suzanne Hartman at FaithWriters Blog (about a common newbie novelist mistake)

On Quality in Christian Fiction by Katherine B. Hyde at From The Heart (about the centrality of the story vs. the message)

Hope you'll stop by these posts - I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I did. Have a great weekend!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/16/11

As Of Late: June 16

Photobucket
This monthly meme (:::note to self - rhymes with "cream":::) shows up on the third Thursday of the month. It's an opportunity to look back on the past month and see what you've been up to lately - and share it with blogdom. Stop by Christy's blog and check out her post, link up at the bottom, and read others' posts as well. Just plain fun!


And now it's my turn :)


Lately, I've been working to finish reading this book so I can start this one.


Lately, I've learned things about my biblical fiction main character that surprise me - and will make her story MUCH better.


Lately, I've spent some quality time with the kids individually -and it's been nice.


Lately, I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia to my kids - and we've all loved it.


Lately, I've learned ten billion things in a Margie Lawson online class. SO worth it!

Lately,  I've seen some positive results from persistence.


Lately, I've thoroughly enjoyed taking walks in my neighborhood.


Lately, my cat has developed a new nickname: Braticus the Caticus.


Lately, I've been loving our adult Sunday School class on Israel and God's relationship with its people.


Lately, I've appreciated my husband more and more.

So, tell me: what have YOU been doing as of late?

Link up at Christy's blog to participate - or just stop by to read other folks' posts.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/14/11

D is for... (A2Z meme)

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me


Welcome to week four of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's alphabetical weekly meme (rhymes with cream ;)). From A 2 Z 4 U and me will work through the alphabet - one letter each Tuesday. No rules, other than your post has to relate to the letter of the week. Link up at Ordinary Lives and check out everyone else's post. Click on the graphic above for more details, and stop by Patty's blog to link up.
I had quite a tough time settling on a topic for this fourth letter of the alphabet. But finally, a friend of mine helped me settle on one that had been popping in my head off and on.

At MY blog, D is for DESSERT.

Like many of you, I really like desserts. And though my metabolism is such that they rarely cause problems with my weight (don't hate me please), they're not exactly healthy, nor are they beneficial to my complexion (in other words, I look like a pimply-faced teenager if I indulge too much). So I TRY to eat in moderation. But looking will NOT bring out the zits, so here's a picture montage of some of my favorites.
Macaroons Pictures, Images and Photos
Macaroons
My love of macaroons started when I was little. As a Jew during Passover, there were very few dessert options without leaven. Macaroons can be one. And I've grown do ADORE them.Yum.
Thin mint Cookie Pictures, Images and Photos
Thin Mints

Yup - I was a Girl Scout as a kid (my daughter is following in my footsteps!). I was a Brownie for a couple of years, and went on and did one year of Junior girl scouts. And there is no doubt that Thin Mints, were, and are, my fave of the cookie options.
root beer float Pictures, Images and Photos
Root Beer Float
The root beer float, to me, is the ideal dessert on a summer's day. I was an adult the first time I had one, and I can still remember my first taste of ice cream mixed with root beer. :)
cheesecake
Ohhh, cheesecake. Decadence on a plate. Rich and creamy. Need I say more?
chocolate-covered strawberries
Deeeeeelicious. And if you REALLY stretch it, you can squeeze it onto that food pyramid/plate thing. And just in case you REALLY need a reason that I like these things - here's one. Strawberries are my all-time favorite, fruit, and chocolate (milk chocolate, to be exact) is high on my list of favorite tastes.
S'mores
Another one back to my Girl Scout days. Of course, I tried my very first s'more over a campfire with some Girl Scouts. And they taste just as good now. I've done the microwave thing, and those aren't bad, but NOTHING compares to a real one, over a fire.

So, there's some decadence for you. Desserts (thanks Christy!) are certainly a delightful topic of discussion. Don't you think?

For more D posts, stop by Ordinary Lives for this awesome A2Z meme!

So, what is YOUR favorite dessert?

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/13/11

Already Won: 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 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 the verse.
Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
Looking forward to your thoughts. Mine are below.

**

It all starts with faith. That mustard-seed-sized belief in the God who created us and sent His Son to die for us.Belief in His love for us.

That's it. We don't need anything else.

Nothing we can do--nothing from our past, present, or future--will change our faith. And our faith equals victory. Victory over the world.

In this world, there is trouble. Famine. Illness. Accidents. Financial issues. Deceit. Selfishness. Greed. Death. And as long as we're not to heaven yet, there will be. We can't obliterate it. We can't make it disappear. No matter how we try, we cannot turn our planet into a trouble-free one.

But we're not asked to. That's not what overcoming the world is. When we overcome the world, we survive - thrive even - in the midst of the world's difficulties.

Because we have faith in God and His Son, we know that our trouble is temporary, and is being used for His glory. Jesus has already won. And since we are His, so have we. The world is overcome.

**
Thanks for reading. Link up below with your own thoughts on this verse below, and read others' who have done the same.





Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/10/11

Finds for Fridays: June 10




 

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 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 here they are!

How to Win Writing Contests By Clarissa Southwick at Seekerville (about what you think)

No Connection...Searching by Joy Bach at Life Moments (about internet, and Godly, connections)

The Difference Between a Sin And a Mistake by Michael Hyatt at his blog (about just what the title says)

This Moment is Your Life by Christy McGraw at Critty Joy (about where we live - and where we should)

Time Management for the Harried Home-Writer by Casey Herringshaw at The Writer's Alley (tips to get writing done during a hectic time)

Be sure to stop by these blogs/posts. Great stuff!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/9/11

The Barn Door - and Monday Manna for June 13

The Barn Door

I took a trip to the local zoo with my hubby a couple weeks ago. It was lots of fun, and I was reminded of one more thing I like about where I live. Stop by and see what I have to say(not to mention a few pictures): It's A Zoo Over Here!

And now for the OTHER order of business for the day :)




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.

I wasn't sure what verse to pick, but when I read "Streams in the Desert" yesterday, I found "the one."
Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
Looking forward to your thoughts! Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see ya Monday :)

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/7/11

Love That First Tuesday of the Month

I'm honestly surprised, but every month, I look more and more forward to my Tech-Free Tuesday - which, as you probably guessed, is today. It does wonders for my sanity (whatever is left of it, anyway).

And by the way - if you're keeping up with my bud's A2Z meme, C is for  "Can't: I'm on a tech fast." ;) )

Today's agenda includes a trip to the dentist for part two of my crown, a quick stop by at church, and hopefully some good think time (especially on my current WIP). Also planning to work on a devo - and take a walk. Sounds heavenly :)


Enjoy your day - and I'll catch ya tomorrow!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/6/11

A Teachable Spirit - 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 this week's verse:
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9
Ever tried to train a know-it-all? Ever had to teach a lesson to someone who thought she already knew all she needed to know?

Intelligent Pictures, Images and PhotosIt is not an easy task: trust me. Often, the smarter we think we are, the thicker our skulls become, and the harder it is for new knowledge to squeeze its way into our brains.

And why not? We know what needs to be done. We have the answers. What's the point in listening to someone else? All they'll do is either give us the same information we have or lead us down the wrong path. Even if things aren't going as we like, someone else certainly isn't going to be able to improve on our own masterful plan.
Sound like anyone you know? I sure hope not.
But it's confession time. Sometimes, his is me: especially when it comes to the Lord's instruction.

I wanna do it my way. And if anyone knows my way, it's me. It's worked okay in the past. I know what I'm doing. What's the point in listening to others' ideas?

The point is that GOD KNOWS MORE THAN I DO. He knows what is best for me, and for His kingdom. But He also knows that if I keep my superior attitude, I'm not going to learn a thing.

My spirit needs to be teachable before I learn. If I want His guidance, I need to be humble. Because if I'm not, He can guide and teach me from now until eternity, and it won't do me a bit of good. Because I won't listen. I won't take His advice.

BUT...God guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 

Heavenly Father, give me a humble heart and a teachable spirit, so I can learn from You and Your people. Help me to remember that nobody but You knows it all, and that pleasing You is all about doing Your will, and learning how to serve You from You. Help the knowledge You have given me to help me, but to not puff me up. I want to be humble, and teachable, to You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

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


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

6/3/11

Finds For Fridays: June 3



 

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 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 here they are!

8 Reasons Sexual Predators Prey on Kids by Mary DeMuth at her blog (a must-read - about just what you think it's about)

Question from a Writer: Off of Twitter by Scott Eagan at Babbles from Scott Eagan (about an agent's dilemma on taking on a client whose manuscript needs serious work)

Memorial Day from My Point of View by Tricia Goyer at It's Real Life (about Tricia's experience with WWII vets)

Write Your Truth by Rachelle Gardner at Rants And Ramblings (about how we should write)

When Not To Blog By Guest Blogger Kathryn B. Hyde at From The Heart (about when a blog can hurt your platform)

Be sure to stop by these blogs and check out the posts. Great stuff!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

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