"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

7/29/11

Finds for Fridays: July 29



 

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!

In the No by Cristy McGraw at Critty Joy (about answering)

Succeeding with a Project 365 by Maddie McMath at Internet Cafe Devotions (about a VERY COOL project I may just do some year)

Black Hole Peace by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about peace in trials)

The Dark Side of Christian Reviews by Linda Yezak at 777 Peppermint Place (about honesty, and lack of it, in Christian book reviews)

A Tale of Water by Sandra Heska King at The Barn Door (just READ it. Wow)

Thoughtful about...Criticism by Roseanna White at Writing Roseanna (about how we do, and should, take criticism)

Hope these posts bless you. I know they did me!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/28/11

Monday Manna for August 1 - 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 came across this verse in my daily Bible reading. The moment I read it, I KNEW it would be my next Monday Manna verse.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Psalm 126:6
Looking forward to your thoughts. See you back here on Monday!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/26/11

J is for...

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me


Welcome to week TEN 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.
And now we're up to J - the letter that begins my name. If I hadn't introduced myself in my last post, I might have done it today. But I did. So, instead, J at my blog stands for Jewish Joanne finds Jesus.

Now, there are a couple versions of my salvation testimony at FaithWriters (where, by the way, you can find a LOT of my writing). The first was a challenge entry, which gave me a bit of space to tell the "whole story." The second was, well, not as lengthy. In fact, I was challenged to write a complete story in 50 words or less. And I did. Five of them, actually - one of which was my testimony.

So: for your reading enjoyment, may I present BOTH.

JEWISH JOANNE

Jewish Joanne, unbiased reporter, covers a Christian women's conference. The attendees' peace and joy moves her to read the Bible through - in three weeks. She has many questions, so she gets churched and mentored.

After several months, Joanne rereads "by His wounds we are healed."

Jewish Joanne is healed.
49 words

In Old Testament Black and White

I didn’t have much experience with Christianity as a kid. I was Jewish, Bat Mitzvahed at 13, born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. Though my high school wasn’t closed for Jewish holidays, a quarter of the students were absent for the High Holy Days.

My father was raised an orthodox Jew; my maternal grandfather was a former cantor; my great aunt still kept kosher. My Jewish roots ran deep, and were important to me.

I do remember, however, my first church service. I was eight or so, and we were visiting my aunt and her family. I don’t remember the service, but I recall the pastor saying something disparaging about Jews, causing me to run out, quite upset. I still don’t remember what he said, but I did not enter a church again for 10 years.

The next one was Catholic. I was in college, dating a Catholic who brought me to Mass. I remember looking up at the front of the church, seeing the crucifix, and feeling more uncomfortable than I ever had before. I kept my eyes down for the rest of the service. That cross haunted me for quite a while.

I had other minor "encounters" with Christianity, but it wasn’t until I was married and living in the Midwest twelve years later that that cross grabbed my attention again.

My husband was nominally Jewish and we both followed our faith for a while. We soon stopped attending synagogue, however, neither of the local ones being to our liking. We still celebrated the major holidays, but nothing more.

I was working as a freelance writer for the local daily paper, and the religion editor had taken a liking to me, so I was writing for him. One day, he called and asked if I would cover a Christian women’s conference the following Saturday. I agreed skeptically, assuming it would be a bunch of fake, mushy women screaming "Hallelujah" and praising God for their wonderful lives.

Was I ever wrong.

The moment I walked into the arena, I felt a camaraderie among the women there, and a peace I simply couldn’t explain. The speakers, who I normally would have dismissed as hokey, resonated with me, and I felt myself filled with the same camaraderie and peace as those around me. I didn’t want to leave.

Unfortunately, I had no choice - I had a deadline to meet! And, as I left the building to walk the three blocks to the newspaper office, I felt that peace leave me just as suddenly as it arrived.

A myriad of questions ran through my mind.

What did those women have that I didn’t?

Could I find that kind of peace in Judaism if I was more devout, or was this a Christian phenomenon?

I decided I needed to start this quest of mine with my own faith. I found my copy of the Hebrew Bible and read the entire Old Testament from beginning to end in two weeks. I also typed out about 20 pages of notes.

Those two weeks brought several things to light, including my lack of obedience to God’s laws, and the emphasis throughout the Old Testament on vengeance and justice.

I knew what I had to do next. I began reading the New Testament. And there, it seemed, were answers to all my questions, comfort from all my fears. I finished the NT in another week, and added another dozen pages of notes to my collection.

Yet, I had some serious misgivings. I saw Jesus as a wonderful man, someone to emulate, but as God? As Messiah? My Jewish background and teachings were digging at me - "God is One," "Christ was a Jew-hater," and other mantras reverberated in my mind. I MIGHT be able to accept Jesus as Lord, but Savior?

PhotobucketStill, I started attending a bible-believing church, and began reading the bible through again. I got many new revelations on the Old Testament the second time through, but none as monumental as the one I received about 5 months after the women’s conference, from Isaiah.

But he was wounded because of our sins,
Crushed because of our iniquities.
He bore the chastisement that made us whole,
And by his bruises we were healed.
Isaiah 53:5 JPS


There it was, in black and while - in the Hebrew Scriptures: Christ’s death on the cross as payment for my sins. At this point, I had no choice. I embraced the cross, and have never turned back.
 **

Sooo, there it is! JEWISH JOANNE finds JESUS! Be sure to stop by Patty's blog for more J posts. And join us!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/25/11

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:
Compared to the Lord all the nations are worth nothing; to him they are less than nothing. Isaiah 40:17 NCV
We're in the middle of what I call the "Patriotic Season." With July 4 just a few weeks ago, and Patriot Day coming up in just over a month, including the 10-year anniversary of the World Trade Center/Pentagon bombings, American flags are flying and love of country is high.

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE my country. I've lived here all my life, and have never even considered living anywhere else. I love the freedom we have here, and the American spirit, and I so appreciate those who have fought, and who continue fighting, to allow me and my fellow Americans to keep that freedom.

But sometimes, we put that love of country above everything else--even above our love of the Lord. The United States is powerful - perhaps the most powerful nation on earth - but our devotion to it, our love of it, should never eclipse that of our love of God.

He is more powerful than any nation - even the most powerful one on earth. And he deserves our devotion--hundreds of times more of it than we have to our countries - even during "patriotic season."

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by Vonnie's blog for more Monday Manna. And join us if you'd like!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/22/11

Finds for Fridays: July 22



 

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!

Positively Biographical by Lisa Lickel at Reflections in Hindsight (about putting together a writing bio when you're "nobody.")

Pitching Your Novel by Rachelle Gardner at her blog (about theme vs. plot in pitching)

Don't Throw In The Towel: E-pub/Self-Pub is Not The Easy Fix by Scott Eagan at Babbles from Scott Eagan (about taking the "easy way" out - thought-provoking)

Amazing Race Video! by the MikChiks at Connecting Now (cuz I want to watch it again and again - and you might too)

It's Him! By Barb Culler at Ms. Barbie's Blog (about a wonderful life-saving encounter ;) )

The Peanut Butter Jar by Joy Bach at Life Moments (about being a vessel for God)

(just a note - LOTS of great posts at several agent/agency blogs this week besides these - just didn't want to make this list too long. Check out, especially, more of Rachelle Gardener's and Scott Eagan's posts - links above - as well as this whole past week at Books and Such Literary - a series on unpublished writer assumptions by agent Rachel Kent)

Enjoy the reads!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/21/11

As Of Late: July 21

Photobucket
This monthly meme 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 here I go!


Lately, I've been enjoying some great books (are you following me at GoodReads?).


Lately, my computer has not been QUITE as glued to my legs.


Lately, I've been querying one book, writing another, and plotting yet another.


Lately, I've been having fun with a red pen (okay, track changes - but it's the same thing, right?).


Lately, I've been SO looking forward to the first week AND the second weekend in August - for two completely different reasons.


Lately, I've actually made some money from this "computer thing." (Can I get an "Amen," Marc??)


Lately, I've been getting psyched about being able to hear Nancy Leigh DeMoss AND Gracia Burnham speak on Tuesday.


Lately, it's been HOT outside (so I've been staying inside).


Lately, I haven't taken much time to just "be." And that's NOT a good thing.

Lately, my daughter has become more inquisitive, and contemplative.


So, what have you been doing as of late?
Don't forget to pop over to Christy's blog, read others' posts, and link up your own.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/19/11

Pop over to JoE - AND what I is for


A while back, Marc and I took the kids on a surprise trip, and this taught me a bit about following the Lord. Would love to have you stop by Jewels of Encouragement today and read about "Going Out."



Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Welcome to week nine 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.
This week's letter is "I," and I decided to go along with Patty's suggestion for this particular letter. So, here at my blog, I is for "introduction" - to me, that is.

Since you had the privilege (LOL maybe?) of seeing several pictures of me last week, this post isn't going to be quite as, um, pictureful as the last. And I've decided to do it in the form or an acrostic (since we're ALL about letters of the alphabet here, yanno?). Soooo here I go:


ALPHABET Pictures, Images and Photosis for JEWISH, the religion in which I was born and raised. It also stands for JESUS - who entered my life when I was 32, and who has controlled it ever since. And, perhaps for obvious reasons, it also stands for JOANNE. Cuz, well, that's my name (don't wear it out) ;). J also stands for JEWELERS - my heart friends that started as a way to encourage FWer challenge "enterers" and has morphed into so much more, including the OTHER blog I'm posting at today.




O Pictures, Images and
Photos
is for OUTGOING, a word most people associate with yours truly. I am most definitely a people person. Any arguments? Hmmmmm?It's also for OLD. As in the Old Testament. Which I LOVE having a lot of knowledge of because of being raised Jewish.



a Pictures, Images and
Photos
is for ANDREW and ANNIKA, my beautiful children. And I already wrote a post about them, so check it out if you want more info. It's also for AILING BODY, NOURISHED SOUL, the nonfiction book I'm currently pitching.



alphabet N Pictures,
Images and Photos

is for NEW TESTAMENT. Which I've only been reading since 1998. And which gives me goosebumps just about every time I dig in. And which I see reflections of throughout the Old Testament.



ALPHABET Pictures,
Images and Photos

is ALSO for NOTEBOOK . I LOVE my laptop (just ask anyone in my family), but sometimes, I just need to write longhand in my red spiral notebook - or my greenish one with a pen holder. It seems, sometimes anyhow, that I write better there. (Though typing it all in later is NOT my favorite part.)


E Pictures, Images and Photosis for EDITING. When I was in college, I used to go around the dorms looking for papers to proofread on study breaks, because it helped me relax (TRUE STORY). It's something I truly enjoy, and that I've been told I'm good at. And now I'm doing it, at least sometimes, for income. LOVE being able to help my house financially - and I get to help writers. How awesome is that?

Now, I wouldn't exactly say this was me in a nutshell, but it's a bit of an INTRODUCTION to some important things in my life. (and of course, I just realized I could have done this post for NEXT week too - but oh well! I'll think of something, I suppose)

(and if you're curious, I found all my little graphics on Photobucket)

Be sure to stop by Ordinary Lives for more A2Z4UandMe posts.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/18/11

Obedience Through Suffering - 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.
Though He [Christ] was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Hebrews 5:8, NKJV
Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Mine are below.
**

Photo courtesy of dreamstime
We don't understand why it's so hard to obey. Of course, we notice it more in those who are supposed to be obeying us, but if we're honest, we'll admit that doing what we're told isn't as easy as it sounds.

We speed. We covet. We keep the extra change the cashier gave us.We use the work computer for personal matters. We cheat on a test - or our spouse.

And sometimes, we seem to get away with it. And we think that's when we have it made. But it isn't.

It is when we DON'T get away with it--that is when things are looking good, in God's eyes anyway. Because the best way to really learn obedience to God is often to suffer the consequences of our disobedience. Or even just to suffer.

Because our Savior, Jesus Christ, who never disobeyed the Lord, "learned obedience by the things which he suffered." How much more can we learn about obedience from our own suffering (whether caused by sin or anything else).

The Lord allows suffering in our lives to make us more like Him. And allowing ourselves to learn from us will help us be obedient, just as it did for Christ.

**
Thanks for reading. Be sure to link up below with your own thoughts, and read other's posts as well.



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/15/11

Finds for Fridays: July 15



 

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!

Acting Out-- Instead of Telling by Mary Conneally at Seekerville (one of the BEST posts on show vs. tell I've seen in a LONG time)

Tips on Snagging the Right Literary Agent by Jennifer Hudson Taylor at her blog (how to choose the right agent)

The God of Food by Mary DeMuth at her blog (about taking care of our bodies, but not going overboard)

Public Speaking for Newbies II: You're On! by Linda Yezak at 777 Peppermint Place (hints to speaking well before a crowd)

By Way of a Cross by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about what it really means to follow Him)


Hope you enjoy these reads. Some great stuff here :)

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/14/11

Monday Manna for July 18 - 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.

Not sure what exactly drew me to this verse, but it's one I've pondered before.
Though He (Christ) was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Hebrews 5:8, NKJV
Looking forward to your thoughts. See you back here on Monday!

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/12/11

What "H" is for (and a post at the Cafe)




My daughter gave me a lesson in anxiety the other day--and she didn't even realize it. And, being a writer, I (gasp!) wrote about it. Stop by the Internet Cafe today, and see what she (and the Lord) taught me, and what it has to do with Flip Flops on the Welcome Mat.


And NOW, on to the OTHER stuff.


Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Welcome to week eight 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.
I grew up in sunny Southern California. I was surrounded by lots of blue-eyed blondes. And I wanted to be just like them. But I wasn't.

And because of that, here at this blog, H is for HAIR. Mine, to be exact.

Me and my mamma. LOOK at those curls!
I've heard of babies being born bald. I've heard of kids not needing a haircut until they were five years old. That was NOT me. I was born with a full head of curly dark hair. And it only got curlier. And thicker. And harder to manage. And I got my first haircut before I turned one.

Six WEEKS old!
I was SO hoping I could find my school picture from tenth grade, but I searched and searched, and couldn't locate it. I often affectionately refer to it as my "more hair than face picture." I look like I have an afro. Ooooooy.

But these will have to suffice.
Age five - look how thick it is

I hated my hair for years. I felt like it was absolutely EVERYWHERE, and so tough to control. Brushing it was a total pain (literally and figuratively, of course).
Maybe 7 - THAT's lots of hair!
More curls - and in a mumu, yet!
a year or two?
And the curls? Believe it or not, I despised them. I thought they were so...limiting! My philosophy? "If your hair is straight, you can always curl it, but with curly hair, it's so hard to straighten."

The glasses, the gold jacket, the awful hair. WHAT a combo!

Fifteen years ago, can you say "poof?"

I use ALL that stuff (sigh)
And now, I've grown to really like my hair, thanks at least in part to the "product" I now use to tame it (to an extent, anyway). And I love my curls. And my wonderful hairstylist and dear friend, Ann Hair (was she MADE for the job, or what?).

So, there's everything you could possibly want to know about Joanne's hair, but were afraid to ask. Be sure to stop by Patty's blog for more "H" posts - which will NOT be about my hair. Can pretty much guarantee that one.

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/11/11

Near and Far (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.
Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law. Psalm 119:150
I'm also opening this up to ANY verses from Psalm 119 - an absolute favorite of mine, and all about His Holy Word.

Looking forward to your thoughts. Mine are below.
.
**
 Sometimes, it feels like I'm surrounded by evil - like I can't hide from it. Wherever I turn, something awful is going on.

I grew up in the Los Angeles area. Violence was an everyday occurrence on the news, and not completely foreign in my own middle-class neighborhood. I was held up at gunpoint working in the local mall. OJ Simpson's slow-speed chase came within a mile or two of my childhood home.

When I moved to Grand Rapids, I assumed that, though it was no paradise, violence would be greatly decreased. And, for the most part, I was right. Until last Thursday, when Rodrick Dantzler went on a shooting rampage, killing seven people - two children, one of them his own daughter - in two different homes on Grand Rapids' northeast side. This afternoon to night craziness included a police chase, shots fired on a major Grand Rapids street (right near a CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, for goodness sake!), and a hostage situation, and concluded with Dantzler killing himself. More info here.

The events haunted me as I heard about them - in some ways, they still do. And they likely will for a long time. I have no idea what was going through this man's head as he committed these crimes, but it's likely safe to say he was not meditating on God's Word, or His promises. Though Grand Rapids has an abundance of churches, "these things" still happened within its borders.

But, no matter how near that evil is, His Word can get us through. Sin is "far from" the law of the Lord--but if we are close to it, He will help us through.

**

Thanks for reading. Please link up in the gadget below with your own thoughts on the verse, and read the other contributions.




Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/9/11

Hanging Out At The Barn Door

The Barn Door


Went to a very fun local festival last month with the family. We all had a great time, and I actually took lots of pictures (surprising, cuz I usually forget LOL). If you want to see some details, check out my post today at The Barn Door. And Chalk it Up To a Good Time.


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

7/8/11

Finds for Fridays: July 8



 

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!

Don't Mess With Children by Joy Bach at Life Moments (some great laughs)

Writing Rules by Rachel Hauck at Rachelle Gardner's blog (guest post - about craft "stuff" every writer should know)

Writing When It Hurts by Pepper Basham at The Writers Alley (about emotional writing and "bad stuff")

I've Had Enough by Lori McMath at All You Have To Give (about where to go when you're fed up)

You Have To Hook Us by Scott Eagan at Babbles from Scott Eagan (about the need for that great first chapter)

The Church Should Not Be a Shark Tank By Nikki Turner at In Truer Ink (about judgmental Christians)

Some wonderful stuff this week. Enjoy/learn from/be blessed by these posts!



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

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