“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Family Fun Far From Home

 This post is part of Patty Wysong's
  A to Z meme. This week's letter is "F."
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Last week was a very fun time for my family. We took a weeklong vacation to a beautiful resort in Redmond, Oregon. We were there with my side of the family, who I hadn't seen in four years!

The flight was fine - though the drive from Eugene to Redmond was quite frightening at times - with more hairpin turns than I'd ever seen on a road. By the time we made it up and down those mountains, I was, in a word, frazzled.
Certainly pretty - but WHAT a drive!

But once we got there, it was absolutely lovely. I got to see my folks, two of my four brothers (both younger than I), my baby brother's wife, and their three kids. The resort was fabulous. The weather was lovely. The activities were delightful.
My daughter and her cousin enjoying a jump into the pool

We went horseback riding (fun, even though both both my daughter and I fell off - no injuries except our pride ;)), swimming, biking, and, of course, just plain visiting with the family. The females even got pedicures.
Hubby and son in the "Deuce Coupe"

We also took a drive to Crater Lake,
Beautiful, isn't it?
then most of us hiked down to it (a mile walk!), took a dip in that crystal clean water, then hoofed it back up. A tiring but TOTALLY worth it fun adventure.

The kids taking a break during our hike to the lake
My kids and my baby brother's oldest enjoying the lake

I have to say, though, the most unique, and perhaps surprising, part of our "furlough" (yeah - I'm stretching it - but this IS an F post, right?? giggle), were the furry friends who hung around the resort - and were much more forward than you would expect.
Three FAWNS, a doe, and a buck - at our back door!
They walked up to our porch without fear. We fed them (even the five-year-old) from our hands. We didn't freak them out even a little. And, perhaps most amazing, my daughter and her cousin/friend pet a  female one - for close to thirty-five minutes without fuss.
The dear loved bread - and my kids loved feeding it to them!
How often do you see - or get to do - this??
Such a fun, and special vacation. How was YOUR summer?

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths
 Read more "F" posts here, and/or add your own!



 This post is part of Patty Wysong's
  A to Z meme. This week's letter is "E."
 A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
I post at several different blogs in addition to this one. With few exceptions, every post I write, whether it is on my blog or one of the others where I contribute, is meant to be encouraging to the reader. In fact, I've been told by several people that encouragement is my spiritual gift. And, well, I believe it.

It just so happens that one of the places I blog is a devotional blog called Jewels of Encouragement. And I've got a post over there today that is meant to, well, encourage you. In your fears. In remembering that God will NOT give you more than you can handle.

Hope you'll stop by and check my post out - and be encouraged.

Sometimes, you see, God will just leave your flip flops on the welcome mat.

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths
 Read more "E" posts here, and/or add your own!


A Watchman

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. Ezekiel 3:17 NIV

The book of Ezekiel  has probably the most unusual imagery of any book in the Old Testament, if not the Bible (Revelation, of course, being its stiffest competition). With figures with wheels, eyes, and four different faces, it certainly stretches the imagination.

Graphic courtesy of Ochristian.com
But those odd creatures are not the only word pictures in this prophetic book. In fact, one of the more "ordinary" ones always gets me thinking.

In the third chapter of what I sometimes refer to as "Freaky Ezeky," the Lord gives Ezekiel a new title - a new responsibility, if you will. He tells the prophet he is now Israel's watchman - and he is responsible, and accountable, for spreading the Lord's messages to His people.
"When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. Ezekiel 3:18 NIV
Similar explanations of Ezekiel's accountability and responsibility for God's messages continue in Ezekiel 3:19-21. Basically, if he keeps his mouth shut, he will be responsible for the sins of the children of Israel. If he doesn't, even if they don't follow Ezekiel's admonition, the prophet is off the proverbial hook.

Ezekiel isn't the only one who has truth to share with the world. We all have been given the Great Commission (Matthew 26:18-20). And though He doesn't say it in so many words, we are His watchmen to the unbeliever. If God impresses on you the need to give His message to someone, you are as much as watchman as Ezekiel was. If you keep your mouth shut, you are accountable.

Of course, we can only speak His truth. If nobody listens, it isn't our fault. But if there is nothing to listen to, then perhaps we ARE at fault.

Are YOU being God's watchman?
We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us? 

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Queen for A Day

Check out my post at the Internet Cafe today - Learn about when I was Queen Mother - for a day!
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Dad's "Day" is Done...

 This post is part of Patty Wysong's
  A to Z meme. This week's letter is "D."

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.Yesterday was a special day in our house. It was my husband's birthday (but since husband AND his name don't start with a "D," I had to use one of his other designations - namely, dad to our two adorable children.).

And I could have done a post about him then. On his birthday. I've done that before. More than once. But he might have expected that. THIS way (I think), I get to surprise him.

Marc Stephen Sher is a wonderful, loving, godly man. A fabulous, fun, dedicated dad. A super-wonderful husband. I never doubt that he loves me. Ever.
With the kids, digging in the sand at Sleeping Bear Dunes
He completes me in so many ways. God's ideal match for me.

He's been through a lot in the past decade, but he's held onto his faith - and his sense of humor - throughout. He is stronger than he will admit - but I see it every day.

I love you, Marc. I hope your birthday this year was a special one!
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Read more "D" posts below, or add your own! 


What is Love?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 NIV

The apostle John talks about love a lot - both in his gospel and the three letters that bear his name. In fact, in just the verse above, he mentions that word three times. In the chapter where that verse occurs? Over two dozen times. That's an average of more than one reference in each of its twenty-one verses.
Photo Credit

In that way, John is a lot like our culture. Because we talk about love a lot too. We love our cars. Our favorite band. Our electronic devices. Our friends. Our family. Our clothes. Our Krispy Kreme donuts.

But frequency is where the similarity ends. Because the kind of love John is talking about and the kind of love our culture refers to have almost nothing in common.

Our pastor is preaching through the book of 1 John on Sunday mornings, and yesterday's topic was love. And he gave what I consider an excellent definition of the word as far as Christian love: God's love - the kind the apostle John is talking about - is concerned. He got it from Pastor Mark Driscoll, who used it in a mesage a few years ago. Tell me what YOU think.
Love is passion that compels you to do what is in the best interest of another person. Pastor Brian Cederquist (by way of Mark Driscoll)
Photo credit

I don't know many people who love their vehicles that way. Or their favorite desert. Or even their friends.  But that's the kind of love John - and Jesus - talked about. The kind we're commanded to express toward others. Toward our family. Our friends. And yes, even our enemies.

God did it when He sent His Son to die on the cross. And when He did, we didn't love Him. In fact, we were spending our days grieving Him, disobeying every bit of wise counsel He had given to us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NKJV
God loves us more than we love our Starbucks, our Facebook, or our iPhone. More than we love our bff, our mother, or even our spouse. Shouldn't we love Him? One another? Because of His great love and sacrifice for man, shouldn't we feel compelled to do what is in the best interest of someone besides ourselves?

Shouldn't we love as He does?

Can we love with the intensity God does? I'm not sure. Probably not. But we can love in the WAY He does - with His help. Ask Him for it.

We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us? 
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Writing for Children

 This post is part of Patty Wysong's
  A to Z meme. This week's letter is "C."
A to Z blog hop at Patterings. 
 I've always had this thing for kids. Anyone younger than I am, it seemed, has a special place in my heart. Sometimes I think I can relate better to children than adults.

Even when I was a child myself, most of my friends were a few years younger than I was.The next door neighbor boy was just my age when I was growing up. But I played with his sister - three years younger. I can think of at least two other families I grew up with/around/near where this was the case. I even taught at the elementary school level briefly (high school and junior high too, but that was even MORE briefly).

My son last year. He's NOT reading on that Kindle!
Maybe that's why, after close to three dozen years enjoying writing, and close to two dozen trying to do it for publication of some sort, I'm finding my writing focus turning to youngsters - whether they be picture-book age, on the cusp of the teen years, or somewhere in between.

My daughter reading to a therapy dog at the library
Maybe it's because both of my children are in that age range (though my son will be escaping into "teenhood" in a few short months), and their opinions about reading are so different. My nearly-ten-year-old daughter LOVES to read. My son? Not so much. Who can help me from wanting to write something my daughter will savor, and my son willl at least tolerate? (wink)

Some people think writing for kids (especially young ones) is easier than writing for adults. They're wrong. I think it's HARDER to write for little ones - to keep their attention AND that of their parents, to teach,
delight, entertain, engage - especially in this modern world of instant gratification, sound bytes, and the lure of screens.

So, while I'm still working on a few projects for other, "older" age groups, my writing passion - at least for now - is toward children. They, and I, have so much to learn. :)


Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Read more "C" posts, or link up with one of your own!

A Trip North

We took a quick trip up north late last month, and we all had a great time (despite my son leaving approximaly 37% of his stuff in the hotel room :::r::: ).
The Barn Door

Where did we go? What did we do? Well, stop by The Barn Door, and check out some pictures (more here in my Facebook album) and a bit of detail on our overnight Midwest mini-trip. And here's a hint - it was full of  Drive-in and legos and bears...oh my ;)

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Worthy Words

Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. Jeremiah 15:19 NIV

I love words.

By LissaRhys (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This probably isn't earth-shattering news to most of you. I imagine most writers are at least mildly fond of them. It's rather difficult to write without them, and though much can be communicated with grunts, body language and other such methods, words certainly make life easier when trying to get a precise message across.

Because I love words so much, I use them. A lot. I'm what many call talkative (the polite ones, anyway). And it's amazing what comes out of my mouth. Good, bad, indifferent. Things I wish I could engrave in stone. Words I would do anything take back. Lies. Half-truths. Insults. Words meant to hurt. Those meant to heal. Wonderful words. Worthless ones.

Yet, I am God's child: a witness to and for Him on earth. And what I say to some folks is exactly how they will perceive my God. Someone once said something like this: "You are the only Bible some people will ever read."

God wants me--all of His children, actually--to be His spokesman. But what kind of an advertisement are we for Him when we speak words that harm, when we lie, when our words are worthless?  I would rather NOT be God's spokesman if my words aren't worthy.
Yet, those who know I am His--especially skeptics--will see me that way.
So I must speak worthy words so I can be a worthy spokesman for the One who has done all for me.

And so I pray...
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV
I hope this is your prayer as well.


We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us? 
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Better Late Than Never: A Goals/Progress Update

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
Yeah - so, it's the 3rd. It's summer. Was away a couple days last week. My brain is in vacation mode.

But enough apologizing.

Time to look over my goals for July, and see how I did. And here they are, straight from my last goals/progress post:
  • Post at least nine times on my blog - not including teaser posts (aiming for twice a week - Mondays and Thursdays. Wanting to go on record with that)
  • Write at least three more chapters of  Ailing Body, Nourished Soul (aka be done with chapter 5)
  • Have a polished version of the honeybee picture book I started in my picture book practicum at Blue Ridge.
  • Research SCWBI and other organizations that might help me with my new children's book focus.
I DID post nine times on my blog (though one of them is thanks to my beautiful daughter having a story posted on Polliwog Pages - and she's over there again today...this time with a poem!). They weren't necessarily Monday and Thursday - partly because I decided to join Patty Wysong's a to z meme, which has a Friday posting date (you're welcome to do the same!) So, one down.

I finished chapter 4 of ABNS, so about a chapter behind. But again. It's SUMMER. NO progress on the honeybee picture book, and though I did do some research on SCWBI, I decided that, at least until ABNS is done, my money is better spent elsewhere. May join for Christmas.

So, now it's August. Visiting my family for about a week later this month, plus, again, IT'S SUMMER. So I'm going light on goals.
  • Post at least eight times on my blog - not including teaser posts, or this post - and including yesterday's a to z post.
  • Write 2-3 more chapters of Ailing Body, Nourished Soul (putting me at the end of chapter six or seven)
  • Work on my honeybee picture book.
So, we'll see how it goes.

OH - before you leave. A couple things.
  1. I'm considering no longer doing my goals/progess update as a post - just putting my goals each month on my sidebar. Thoughts?
  2. Go check out my daughter's poem (about a unicycle!) at Polliwog Pages!

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

Buggy Books!

 This post is part of Patty Wysong's
 A to Z meme. This week's letter is "B."

A to Z blog hop at Patterings. So, if you read my first a to z post last week, you know my writing focus is currenty children's books. Lately, my passion/interest have leaned toward picture books, and it seems that I have some sort of leaning toward...well...insects as protagonists.

Yup - my books are buggy!

The two stories I'm currently working on are both about insects. The themes are different. The lessons are different. Even the settings are different (other than "outside" LOL). And the bugs are different. But still.

The one I've been working on the longest is a butterfly named Flitter. Some of you may be familiar with her.
I first wrote about her several years ago, as a FaithWriters Writing Challenge entry. She's changed some from that original story, but she's still my Flitter, who I adore (along with her best friend, Maggie the monkey - though she's not a bug, of course :)).

My second picture-book-in-progress is one I started in a picture book writing practicum at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May, under the instruction of multi-published sweetheart Pam Zollman. The star of that story is Helen the honeybee (the original name was Buzzy the bee, but after a bit of research, I realized that my character needed to be a female). Obviously, I haven't know her as long,but she's flown her way into my heart as well. She's tougher than Flitter, but still endearing.

I didn't purposely choose an insect to write about for my second book - truly! I was looking at several pictures Pam gave us for inspiration, and a bee with a suitcase called my name. But somehow, it seems that, at least so far, bugs and I have a good relationship - at least in my stories!

I am not a huge fan of insects in real life (though I'm not deathly afraid of them or anything), but my muse is quite fond of them, it seems. Or something. I wonder what will be next. Cockroaches? Ants? Pillbugs?

Ohh - just thought of an idea... ;)

Do you get onto "rolls" like this, or is it just me?

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths
Graphics courtesy of free-clipart.net
(p.s. - If you're wondering about my usual goals/progress post around the first of the month, watch for it soon - hopefully tomorrow)
Read more "B" posts, or link to one of your own below!

My One Word: 2016 and 2017

Most who know me know I am a very goal-oriented person (in fact, I already shared my goal wrap-up for 2016 and my new ones for 2017 on this...