"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

8/31/11

Camouflage?

I'm visiting at my dear friend Jennifer Slattery's blog today (she's the one I'm working on the tween biblical fiction devo book with) with a post about camouflage. Would love to have you stop by her place -- which is a wonderful blog, by the way - even, and maybe especially (hehe) when I'm not guest posting.

Have a great day!


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/30/11

O is for "Only"

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
Welcome to week FIFTEEN of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From  A 2 Z 4 U and me. We're working 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 on Tuesday or later to link up.
Thought about "O" for a while, and nothing really grabbed me, until I thought about the word ONLY. I figured I'd share several of the ways this word applies to me and my life.

All of us - plus Mom and Dad
  • I am the ONLY daughter in a family of five kids (natural, steps, and halfs). I did NOT like it. Not ONE bit. Though now that we're older, it's fine. I get a bunch of wonderful sisters-in-law, and I didn't have to share my room, clothes, or friends with them when I was little :)
  • As much as I can remember, I was the ONLY person in any of my elementary, junior high, or high school classes named "Joanne." I never had to be Joanne W(or worse!). I was never crazy about my name, though I thought "Joanna" was pretty nice. Nobody ever called me that, though.
  • I am probably the ONLY person who lives in Michigan who doesn't like apples. True, I'm not from here, but Michigan is one of the apple capitals of the world, and I would avoid them in just about every form (other than apple juice or totally covered with caramel).
  • Marc and I have been some of the ONLY Jewish converts at the three churches we have attended. It's a blessing to be able to share our experiences as God's chosen people. I love studying the Old Testament (where I see SO many reflections of Christ) and the New Testament (where I understand, more than many I think, how it fulfills the Old Testament).
  • There is ONLY one way to get into heaven--and I found it when I read Isaiah 53 in February of 1999. Jesus died for my sins. By His wounds I am healed.
I'm sure I have other ONLYs, but those are the ones that come to mind. Hope you enjoyed learning a few ways I'm unique. Be sure to stop by Patty's blog for more A2Z4U and Me. Fun stuff!


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/29/11

Desolations - 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:

Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. Psalm 46:8
This isn't something I generally strive to do. When I look to see "what the LORD has done," I'll tend to check out the beauty of a rainbow, the remarkable colors of a sunset, the amazing "mechanics" of the human body, or the unspoiled beauty of a rainforest. But here, we're told to look at the "desolations" He has brought on the earth. Why look at those?

Because He created them too. From hurricanes to earthquakes to tornadoes, the Lord is in charge of all of it. And He is in control. "Therefore  we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea (just a few verses earlier - verse 2 of that very same psalm)."

As Irene continues to make her way up the coast, we can watch, perhaps, with different eyes. It can lead to desolation and destruction, and in fact has. But He is in it. And we need not fear.

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

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/26/11

Finds for Fridays: August 26



 


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 Trickle Effect: Part I by Jennifer Slattery at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (about troubled children and our responsibility to them)

When There's Nothing Left To Give by Patty Wysong at Ordinary Lives (about refueling when you're dry)

The Fine Art Of Choosing A Pen Name by Jillian Kent at WordServe Water Cooler (about reasons to write under a different name)

Thoughtful About...Encouragement and Humility by Roseanna White at Writing Roseanna (about the balance we all need)


How Important is Moral Premise? By Jeannie Campbell at The Character Therapist (about what should be at the heart of every story)

Hope you enjoy these posts. Some wonderful thoughts and lessons. Have fun!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/23/11

N is for New


Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
Welcome to week FOURTEEN of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From i 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 on Tuesday or later to link up.
This is the season of NEW for me, in a lot of ways.

In two weeks, my kids will be starting a NEW school year, with NEW teachers, NEW responsibilities and likely NEW friends. My daughter's going into second grade and my son fifth. My lovely daughter will be a Brownie this year - that's definitely NEW for her (she's been a Daisy the past two years). And my son will be in band for the first time - playing the trumpet. Another NEW experience.

On that very same day, I'll be starting a NEW Bible study at my church with the ladies. It's a Juanita Purcell study, on Contentment. I've done three other Juanita Purcell studies, and they always bless me. And the topic? OHHH so timely and appropriate for me!

And with Fall comes the NEW schedule for me. No more sleeping in until 7:30 or 8 every day. No more occasional days where I don't have to get into the car. No more working around the kids' noise during the day. This season has the potential to bring my productivity to NEW levels.

And then there's another issue: my nonfiction manuscript (completed) that I may need to look at in a NEW way. Thanks to this friend, and this one, I'm considering different ways to rework Ailing Body, Nourished Soul to make it more sellable in today's market. What will that look like? Not sure. I could fictionalize it. I could make it more of a "how-to" book with my life experience as examples. Or maybe another option I haven't thought of yet. I'm not getting much response from agents I'm querying (though I'm not QUITE done querying as is - sent one yesterday and have one more I hope to get out before the end of the month), and God may be pushing me to re-evaluate this book of my heart.

Somehow September seems, to me anyway, like a better time to make a NEW start, especially when you have kids in school. And though all my project may not be NEW, I'm praying that the Lord will give me NEW eyes - eyes like His - to do all He has put in my path.

Be sure to stop by Ordinary Lives for more "N" posts - always fun!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/22/11

G.R.A.C.E. - 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.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:21
Looking forward to your thoughts. Mine are below.

**

Grace. I have several thoughts when I hear this word. One of them, believe it or not, is my daughter. She is a wonderful girl, but not more giving of grace than most. It's just that her name, Annika, means grace in Swedish (no - we're not Swedish. We just liked the name). I also think of the several kids I know and have known with that name.

Still, that is not the grace this verse talks about. Grace in this context is the Lord's unmerited favor on man, who deserves the exact opposite. I'm sure most, if not all, of you have seen the acronym GRACE - God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Those riches in today's verse refer to the righteousness of God. God gives us the gift of righteousness (faultlessness in morality--perfection in God's eyes) when we, of course are undeserving. Not one of us is faultless, but the Lord treats us as if we were.

And the cost? The death of His Son on the cross. Christ's death is His expense. And because of this His GRACE is sufficient. Righteousness is through Christ: not the law. Not good works. Not baptism. Not bringing other to Christ. Not reading (or not reading) the Bible. Not living a good life. Not attending church. Not giving to the poor.

For if these things could bring us righteousness, why did the Jews need a messiah? Why was Christ born as a baby? Why did He have to die on the cross? Why indeed.

God's riches at Christ's expense. The only way to be in the Lord's family. No matter your name.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out others' thoughts in the gadget below, and/or write up your own thoughts and link up yourself.



Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/19/11

Finds for Fridays: August 19 (and JoE)

I'm over at Jewels of Encouragement today, talking about being proactive about "The Golden Rule." Pop over and read what I have to say about Grabbing the Initiative!

AND...


 


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!


Conflict- the most frequently screwed up story element by Scott Eagan at Babbles from Scott Eagan

Relentless Noise by Joy Bach at Life Moments (about the consequences of quiet)

M is for Marshmallows by "Sawa" Harricharan at In Shades of Scarlet (about a great search - with silliness)

Spine-Out Titles by Andy Scheer at From the Heart (about the importance of a book title)

Kill Those Bugaboos by Janet Dean at Seekerville (about stuff in manuscripts to get rid of)


Be sure to stop by these blogs - and subscribe to them so you can be blessed every time they post. Great stuff. Enjoy!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/18/11

As of Late: August 2011

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 now it's my turn :)


Lately,  I have been loving being the daily blogger here.


Lately, I've missed quiet when I couldn't have it.


Lately, connections with people have moved to the forefront.


Lately, I've had the chance to spend facetime with some online friends at the FaithWriters Conference (it was WONDERFUL!)


Lately, my goals haven't been motivating me as much as they used to (i.e. - I haven't been achieving them as readily)


Lately, I've wondered what's next.


Lately, I'm trying to distinguish God's will from my own desires and the messages of others.


And so I have been wondering: what's been going on with YOU as of late?


(Check out Christy's blog and link up/read other folks' "As Of Lates." ALWAYS fun. Headed over there now!)


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

Monday Manna for August 22 - 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.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:21
Looking forward to your thoughts. See you back here on Monday!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/15/11

M is for...


Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me


Welcome to week THIRTEEN of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From i 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 on Tuesday or later to link up.



You MAY have noticed that I'm posting MY M post on MONDAY instead of Tuesday. You MIGHT think it was a MISTAKE. But it wasn't. I MEANT to do it. Because, here at MY blog, M stands for MY MARVELOUS MAN, MARC. And today is his birthday.


MARC is God's gift to ME. We've been MARRIED for just over 17 years, and I love him MORE each day. We are definitely a God MATCH. We truly balance each other out. I'm an optimist - he's a realist (though if it weren't his birthday, I MIGHT use the "p" word instead LOL). I'm a feeler - he's a thinker. Our childhood backgrounds are freakishly similar - both born the same year in the same MONTH, both lost our MOMS as kids, both our dads remarried women with two sons, both raised Jewih...need I go on?

He helps ME stay focused and on the right track. He is so very smart. He is, without a doubt, a MARVELOUS father - he just loves MONKEYING around with the kids. He certainly knows how to snap ME out of a bad MOOD. He loves ME way MORE than I deserve, and takes care of ME as MUCH as he is able. He is extremely compassionate, loving, and fun. And I'd gladly MARRY him all over again.

Has his life been easy? Absolutely not. He has MANY health issues that have made life difficult for him, especially over the past eight years or so. But MY MARVELOUS MAN, MARC has persevered, with the help of our Lord and those who have loved and come alongside us in the name of Him.

I love you, MARC. I can't possibly MENTION every way that you have improved MY life, and everything you MEAN to ME.

I love you, MARC. Happy Birthday!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Ordinary Lives starting on Tuesday for more posts on "M"

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/12/11

Finds for Fridays: August 12 (and other stuff)


Today, I'll be on the road, heading to Livonia (with my awesome friend Peejers and her two daughters) for the FaithWriters' Writing Conference. But I won't be driving.

And if you read my post at The Internet Cafe today, you probably think that is a good thing. Come on over and see what I think of Changing Lanes - and why I need to re-examine my thinking in that area.

And now for "the other stuff."


 


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!

What Does It Mean When an Agent Requests My Manuscript? by Wendy Lawton at Books and Such Literary (pretty self-explanatory, I think!)

Extreme Hupomone by Lori McMath at All You Have To Give (about waiting God's way)

Larry and the poor folk by Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today (about perspective)

On the Brick and Mortar Bookstore Closures- Who Is To Blame? By Scott Eagan at Babbles from Scott Eagan (another self-explanatory one)

Enjoy these posts - and follow the blogs for MORE wonderful reads. And I hope to see you at the FaithWriters Conference!


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/9/11

So, How Was My Kidless Week?

Marc and I'd been looking forward to it all summer - and before that. A week of "empty nest" - when our kids would be away at camp and WE would stay home. And enjoy each other's company. And not watch Disney Channel. And eat at restaurants the kids don't like.



The Barn Door


And it happened last week. What a great week for all of us. Stop by the Barn Door, where I give a bit of a lowdown on Camp and a Staycation. See you there!


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/8/11

How I'm Made: 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:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms. The imagery in it is beautiful and encouraging. He is ALWAYS there. He made me as I am for a reason.

I used to hate my hair. I thought I was too skinny. I hated my maiden name. I generally thought I was pretty useless.

In summary, I thought God had messed up when he threw me together. Of course, I never said it that way, or even thought of it in that manner, but that's what my attitude was saying to my Heavenly Father.

But I was deluding myself. Everything about me was made by God. He placed me in the family where he wanted me, no matter how much I disliked my last name. I don't know why I have dark curly hair rather than straight and blonde, but the Lord made me that way. And, with the Lord on my side and in my heart, I am anything but useless.

He made me - fearfully and wonderfully. I am His own unique creation. All of His works are wonderful. And since I'm one of His works...well, you come to your OWN conclusion.

**

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

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/5/11

Finds for Fridays: August 5 (and my friend :D)

I'm over at my dear, dear friend Patty's blog Ordinary Lives today (we share a brain, you know!) as part of her Friendly Friday feature. I shared a bit about a lesson I learned from my daughter on my birthday a couple years ago. Pop over and say hi!



 

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!


Designed for Each Other by Karen Fendick at Internet Cafe Devotions (about how we "fit.")

Cutting Dialogue Tags by Gail Gaymer Martin at Writing Fiction Right (about deepening POV)

On Noticing the Care-Givers by Elaine Olsen at Peace for the Journey (about a passion of mine)

Rain on Me by Brooke Keith at Internet Cafe Devotions (about embracing what God has for us)

Making a Memory by Billy Coffey at his blog (about introspection and saving good memories)

Some more WONDERFUL posts for you to look at. Hoping you get a chance to stop by!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

8/2/11

A SPECIAL Tech-Free Tuesday

Not only am I forgoing my computer and texting for the day, but I'm also kid-free! Both Andrew and Annika are off at Lincoln Lake Baptist Youth Camp. We took them up yesterday, and we pick them up Saturday. Of course I'll miss them, but a day with no puter and just the hubby (not counting an appointment with his endocrinologist) sounds LOVELY. And for those of you following along, K is for "Kicking back with the hubster." ;)
 See you Wednesday!


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

8/1/11

No Looking Back: A Goals/Progress Update

FIRST - I'm looking to make some changes here at the blog, and I'm seeking help/ suggestions. Check out my coNUNdrum over at Connecting Now. Would love your thoughts/feedback!
I usually write these posts a day before they go live, but it didn't work out that way today. This one I began writing just before 3pm on August 1 (we'll see when it goes live). And it might have looked a bit different if I HAD written it yesterday. But I'll get to that later.

I'd have to say, overall, that I did fairly well in the goals department this month (she says before she looks at the goals she set for herself! ;) ). So, let's check out what I wanted to have done by today.

As always, directly from last month's goals/progress post.
  1. Get my Handmaiden To A Princess plot and characterization straightened up and get to writing
  2. Write four biblical fiction devotionals for my project with Jennifer Slattery
  3. Send out four more queries for Ailing Body, Nourished Soul
  4. Keep up with my new responsibilities as blogger for the FaithWriters blog (check it out!)
  5. Three blog posts average a week
Well... I worked on plotting, though not as much as I'd like. I have the bare bones basics of a twelve-step plot (found it in the Seekerville archives - it's actually a Janice Thompson post - LOVE IT!) for Handmaiden to a Princess and have fleshed out seven of the steps.

I managed to write FIVE biblical fiction devos this month (woowoo!) - though I still have some work to do re: getting three of them critiqued through ACFW. Only six more to write! I also kept up with the FaithWriters blog (LOVING writing over there - hope you'll stop by!) and managed 19 blog posts this month, which is just over four a week. So, good there :)

And I sent out three queries (not four) - and all three have been rejected. Two of them today. Yeah, I'm a little down, but I know God's timing is perfect. I still have two more to send to, and I'm feeling more and more nudged by the Lord that this may not be my first published book. And that's okay.

Hope THAT isn't in MY rear-view mirror!
So, enough looking back (LOL that was a LOT of looking back, wasn't it? Oh well).

Here are my goals for August:
  1. Finish fleshing out my 12-step plotting and most of the rest of the "prewriting" stuff and get to writing Handmaiden to a Princess
  2. Write four biblical fiction devotionals for my project with Jennifer Slattery
  3. Send out two more queries for Ailing Body, Nourished Soul
  4.  Four blog posts average a week
I think I'll leave it at that. I have other goals, but they're not TECHNICALLY writing-related.

Thanks for reading and praying along with me. I really am making progress. (and don't forget to stop by Connecting Now and help me with my conundrum!)


Riding God's Grace On Rough Roads

Seeds to Sheaves - 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 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. Mine are below.
**

Hopelessness can come very easily. Circumstances can beat us down. Our own sins can make us feel like there is no way out. Helplessness will set in and overtake everything, until we are convinced it will always be this way.

So we weep, certain life will never be better. But His Word tells us that as long as we have the seeds of hope, all is not lost. And as long as we sow those seeds, they will grow. Our own tears of fear, anger and hopelessness can water those seeds until they bloom into a crop of blessing. God allows our struggles and hopelessness to strengthen us, to prepare us for what is to come. To make us more like Him.

And once those seeds of hope, planted in the midst of our hopelessness, watered by our tears and cultivated by our Heavenly Father, grow to their heavenly harvest, we will sing again, carrying the sheaves of blessing that grew from our sorrow.

**
Thanks for reading! Feel free to read the other posts on this topic and link up below if you have thoughts to contribute.




Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

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