Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Picture Book

Last week ended on an up-note writing-wise.  I had researched the information for an historical fiction picture book off and on for four months. Last week, I wrote the manuscript and then, thanks to my critique partner, did some heavy editing. It's exciting having a new project to submit for the April writer's conference.  I do wish the biography I've been working on for over two years would sell!

There's an old saying, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."  It will take more work on my part to finish the edits I need to do. Wishes won't get it done.

On another note: I helped my husband put up some of the inside pine siding in my writer's cabin.  We had to stop before finishing the ceiling because of fading daylight (the electrical isn't hooked up yet) and because of snow. Now, we will have to wait for this snow (4-6 inches predicted)  to melt and the ground to dry out again. Reason:  to hook up to the electricity and so the cabin isn't full of sawdust, my husband sets up the saw outside. We have to keep going in and out of the cabin to cut the boards. I don't want a bunch of mud in there.  After the ceiling will come the trim, then the flooring, the desktops/drawers, and the bookcases.. I'm hoping it can be finished before planting season. A woman can dream, can't she?!

Totally off-topic... is there ever just one topic in my blog? ... many people frequently say they have one word that describes their year. I've never thought about that for myself.  But this year, if I were to choose one word for myself, I would hope it would be "grounded."  I want to be grounded and purposeful in everything I do and say. It's easy to "go with the crowd" it's harder/challenging to be deliberate and focused on what your life goals are.

Hebrews 12:1-2  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Choices and Hope

For lack of a better word, I've been feeling gloomy for the last week or more. Perhaps it's the death or memories of loved ones. For instance, I missed my mom and dads at Christmas. This month, my mom would have been 90. Or perhaps it was the deaths of two members in my husband's family last week. Maybe it's the lack of sunshine or all the cold/snow. Perhaps it's because of my failure to accomplish my goal of reading through the Bible in a year. Or maybe, it's from having to re-edit my WIP for the umpteenth time - and now it looks like it will be closer to the first version. Or perhaps it's because I haven't been writing because I know I will get interrupted before I get very far.

Probably a combination of all of the above. There's a quote I love from the movie Facing the Giants. It's part of a prayer that Grant Taylor's character is praying: " Lord Jesus, would you help me? I need you. Lord, I feel that there are giants of fear and failure staring down at me, waiting to crush me. And I don't know how to beat 'em, Lord. I'm tired of being afraid. Lord, if you want me to do something else, show me. ... But You're my God. You're on the throne. You can have my hopes and my dreams. Lord, give me something. Show me something."

Then, I remember my blessings. I have a 5 y.o. with a vivid imagination - who makes me laugh and gives me joy. This morning I watched her play in the snow. She picked up two long branches that had broken off the lilac bush. She put them on her head as antlers and pranced around. Then she made a slide down one of the mountains of snow. Another blessing is my 19 y.o. It can be aggravating having to tell him the steps for a task a million times before he can do something. But he has such a loving spirit. He loves showing affection. He loves telling life stories to people or telling them about movies he's watched. While he annoys his little sister, he also loves to make her laugh. I have been blessed with two "bonus children." I am also blessed with a husband who loves me and provides well for our family. He loves spending time with his family.

It all comes down to choices. I can choose to say, "poor me, why can't I 'catch a break'." Or, I can realize how blessed I am and keep working toward my goals. It's up to me. My joy is not dependent on anyone or anything else but my relationship with the Lord - but that in turn will cycle around and make my relationships and life better. Selling a book won't make me happy, having the best marriage in the world won't make me happy, having the best kids in the won't make me happy. All those things are fleeting. Yes, I want those things and I hope I'm working hard at those things - but my hope is in things that are unseen. My joy is in my Savior.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." Psalm 42:1

Our church was blessed yesterday with the presence of four people from Central Christian College of the Bible (Moberly, MO). The students there can get degrees in many areas, but many of them will become missionaries. Am I doing enough for the mission field? Am I bold enough in my faith? Does my writing lift up the Lord? Perhaps my discontent for the last week is the Lord's way of having me reevaluate my priorities - or to focus more sharply on my goals.

As a writer, I hope I'm communicating effectively. I'm not at all saying the people and "things" in my life aren't important. I'm not saying I want to be so heavenly minded that I'll be no earthly good. I want there to be balance. I will take the joy with the pain. I will take the laughter with the sorrow. I will take the triumphs and the tragedies.

I am reading the book of Job this week. Here is a passage from Job 5:17 where Eliphaz is talking to Job: "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty."

Psalm 51:10 says: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Saturday morning, our niece's husband, Nathan Bryan Dunn, passed away from complications of cancer treatment. He would have been 26 years old yesterday.

Viewing the many tributes and comments about this young man is heart-touching. Everyone knew him for his smile, his kindness, his love for his wife, his passion for Christ - among many other things. What a blessing to have known him.

I prayed so hard for his recovery and don't understand why the Lord took him, other than the fact that none of us wanted Nathan to continue with the pain he was in. I saw him the day before he passed away. He was hooked up to a myriad of tubes and machines. His body looked nothing like the Nathan we knew. He has a new body now - and he is without pain or tears. He is surrounded by the love of God - in the presence of the Savior.

Jim Reeves sang a song that says in part, "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through..." It's how every Christian should feel. We won't be "at home" until we are in heaven. But the dilemma is that we leave our loved ones behind. Will they be okay without us? Will they remember how much we loved them?

I saw a link today for a Michael Buble song called "Home" (To hear it, click on the word, "home") While it made me cry, it also renewed the feeling that, "this world is not my home." How has your life affected those around you? Have you been a peacemaker? Are you a joy to be around? Would I want to be my own friend?

Rest in peace, Nathan. Heaven is richer for your presence and earth, duller without your smile.

Revelation 21:4 "‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”