Writing to Impact Others

Following Jesus Christ gives me chances to hear His still small voice or sense an action I might want to take.

For the last few weeks I’ve felt like I needed to place an ad in one of those free weekly advertisement newspapers that come in the mail. I didn’t because I’ve been beyond busy. In the past, I’ve placed a small business ad in that local paper, offering my writing services for people that may need some assistance.

So this light pressure with a hint of excitement hovers in and around my consciousness, but I put off any action.

My grandchildren and family members are safely home for a couple of days now. Four days before they leave, I get a telephone call from a lady that needs help with some bulleted information for a presentation she hopes to make. She called this newspaper office to see if they’ll find my name and telephone number so she can contact me and they go all the way back to their Spring issues to find my ads. They give her my contact info. We exchange ideas and rates that I charge and now we’re in the middle of a project.

I love how God will get my attention if I don’t carry through on something He’s pointing me towards. Something that He knows I’ll enjoy and something that will aid the client. Now, to trim the words and make them story-like so they make an impact, yet business-like enough so this person won’t cry through her very personal vignette. Hopefully her experiences will stimulate positive results.

I write on my own time to entertain, but there are times when i write to voice an opinion for an issue I’m passionate about, or to write an editorial for a client. Do you write? If so, what results are you hoping for?

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Jane Eyre

I started reading Jane Eyre in earnest this week. Sometimes I get too many books out of the library, and near their due date I read like crazy to get them done. 🙂 My son took a course in a SUNY college on Women’s Literature, it might have had a feminist bent in the course title. He bought the book, Jane Eyre for the course and I told him I’d never read it. So, it is now in my possession.

I either caught a bug or ate contaminated food, but I thought I’d never been so sick in my life. Two years ago, after a too strong antibiotic I contracted C-Diff and through series of miscommunications, I couldn’t seem to get the counter-medication to reverse the effects. I thought I was going to die. This bug seemed worse than that for severity. After asking friends for prayer and begging my husband to come home for support, which I don’t like to do, I felt like a healthy switch turned on and I improved speedily. 🙂

But, in my weakened state, I was forced to lay around. What better way to lay around than with a book that became more and more interesting, the longer I read it? I got hooked right away, but in my busy world, I would read a page or two and reluctantly put it aside. I am in what would have been Part 3, if the book was formatted as it was in the past. So, please don’t spoil the ending for me. If I were Charlotte Bronte, I would say, “Gentle Reader, …”

I don’t care for that intrusion from the author and have been warned against the author inserting themselves into the story. Now I see why.

She makes me want to go to northern England to see what heath looks like. I had that desire after reading Wuthering Heights, perhaps. I never finished it, maybe I never started it. I saw the movie years and years ago. It was too dark and melancholy for my tastes, so I left it.

My children and a handful of grandchildren are about to descend from Northern climes to our fair town. So I intend to take a week and play hide and go seek, wash dishes, change diapers, go to playgrounds and ignore writing of any kind, if I can stand it. I will continue to read. How can a writer not read?

I chose some easy readers, level one, for one of the children.

Savoring the Magic

Today started like any day might, but it turned into a day of joyful encounters with unexpected friends at a family reunion picnic. My sister invited a good friend and her daughter to the event but didn’t let me know. What a delight!

Then within a half hour or so, my daughter and her four children arrived. She drove her brother, my second son, to the picnic as well. More joy. Seeing extended family and family-like friends, plus my sister, Barb, made my day.

My husband and I drove on a newly paved highway through the valleys of upstate New York. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend accompanied us and we discussed the hilly terrain. Are they small mountains or high hills? I tried to find out on the internet, but it was inconclusive, in my opinion. So, I’ll do more research. That’s what writers do. We care about details that others may find boring or a waste of time. Then we ponder the wonder of it all. Give it our perspective and possibly turn it into a poem or a children’s story or consider it for a setting in a novel. Sometimes I have to remember to live in the moment because my mind starts fashioning new worlds and pretend people and I realize I missed what someone was saying, or I didn’t glance at the stars when I went from the car to the house.

If I live in a fantasy land, the important can be neglected. I remembered saying I was going to read the book I bought at Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference, entitled, “The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am,” by Kolleen Lucariello. So, I read chapter one this week. I thought of the vulnerability she displayed as she described an incident in her high school years. Marlene Bagnull taught at a writers’ conference in Rochester, NY, possibly in 1991. My first writers’ conference. She told us that vulnerability in an author is a key component in good writing.

I look forward to reading more of Kolleen Lucariello’s book. It made me think. I left its pages feeling encouraged.

If you get a chance to spend time with family and friends, savoring their smiles and the sunshine on a creek, hoisting little ones to view the seaweed and the black and jade-colored dragonflies, do it. Live in the present, and if you’re a writer, capture the magic of life.

When the reality of life gets hard, a story can catapult me into another time and place. I return with renewed vigor and hopefully some nugget of truth I never appreciated or understood before. Life needs balance.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to go to church and sing songs that remind me of the goodness of God. I expect it’ll be as most of the Sundays that have come and gone, but one never knows what God may orchestrate. 🙂

Love

“Love covers a multitude of sins,” is from James 5:20 and a similar verse is in Proverbs 10:12b.

We had a Bible study last night with a foursome. My husband likes to have each person read a verse and then we discuss the verses. In Ephesians 1:18 (NASB) it says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”

In thinking of the last part of that verse, we thought, Jesus’ inheritance is the saints. His glorious inheritance is the saints, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are in a righteous relationship with Him. It blew us away. God loves us so much that He considers us part of His inheritance.

In that light, I guess that explains the gospel. Jesus gave up His existence in heaven to come to earth to take the punishment for our sins upon Himself to restore for whosoever would, (John 3:16), the conditions of the Garden of Eden or possibly way better, since I wasn’t there, and then people can experience an eternity with God. They’ll have a new name, a new body, a new heart/soul, all perfect or complete, to live forever, in an environment that is all love, no evil.

They will have a purposeful life for all of time with a creative, loving, brilliant God. I’m paraphrasing the verses about heaven. Jesus spoke of heaven in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Heaven is mentioned in the last chapters of Revelation and elsewhere in the Word of God.

Jesus’ love covers a multitude of sin for a multitude of sinners. Perfect, unconditional love.

Change Hinderers

I have to admit, I like change. Yet, at a conference where my husband and I, as leaders, were being coached to change, I didn’t like it. Anxiety sat on my shoulder, what would this change do to the flow of things back at the building?

Who am I? Why did I resist the ideas for change. When did I, um, change?

After I looked at the resistance to change at that meeting, I decided to take a deep breath, get over the idea that I might not want to look at new techniques, and became more open. I’m sure the instructor appreciated that. If leadership won’t consider anything new, forget implementing anything after the training.

As some may know, I’ve started keeping a time-log. I’m on week two. It amazes me how quickly time flows and how hard it is for me to keep an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper with me at all times so I can keep track of the fleeing half hours. So, I’ve cheated and tried to remember. Where did that half hour go between eating lunch and finishing a note to my neighbor, now living in assisted-living quarters hours away? How is it that she’s gone and I rarely made it over to sit and chat? How is it that I didn’t know she was lonely until after she moved away and her daughter told me? And surely, it didn’t take me half an hour to say hi, how are you, I miss you.

The other day, I intended to clean for three hours and write for five. The phone rang. “What time did you say you were coming over today?” After setting up an appointment for the afternoon, I called my friend. “Remember our walk, can you make it this morning?” Oh, man. How many hours are there in the day? Overbooking when I’m actually keeping track shows the tendencies that have sabotaged me in the past, which is what this exercise is all about.

Today, a friend needed a ride to see some people. Her close friend called me to see if I could accommodate her, because she was too upset to drive. A friend looking out for another friend, and I agreed. I wouldn’t want emotional duress to cause an accident. So I packed my computer in a bag with a Bible and a writing book and money for lunch. I’m glad I was available, but as soon as I find my time paper, I’ll have to block out three hours of time for a sandwich and the drive and maybe two verses read.

Sometimes when people know you are trying to diet, or to be less available, or kicking the addictive behavior you enjoyed with them, they’ll give you little hints as to why you shouldn’t even bother. “You’ve tried that before and it didn’t work, don’t worry about it.” Or, “I’ll miss you. Surely you don’t have to skip time with me.” Or “What kind of a friend are you? We always go to the ice cream stand after class? One hot fudge sundae a week won’t kill you?” Etc. Etc.

I’m reminded of what Cecil Murphey said to me, “What are you willing to give up?”

For a person who likes change, I can see that I have some routines that I like. I read a book for a resource for a marriage book I’m working on. The man had Asperger’s Syndrome. If I remember correctly, his wife pointed out that he spent forty-five minutes looking in the mirror in the morning while she got their children fed, bathed, dressed, and then got herself ready for work. I think people can fall into time-wasting habits and not even be aware. This man wanted to help his wife and improve his marriage. His book is: “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband,” by David Finch.

He altered behaviors for the benefit of his wife, himself and his children. He didn’t allow others to hinder his progress. As I change and grow, I’ll continue to note hindrances of my own making and maybe see some from others. Then I’ll have to decide, “What am I willing to give up so I can stay seated at the keyboard or to avoid a trip to the dr.s office or hospital, etc.?”

Life Up On the Hill

A friend of mine lives up on a hill. Sometimes she’ll say, “What is the weather doing down there? I’m in the middle of a blizzard.”

I’ll respond, “It’s sunny and clear down here, a bit nippy.”

We don’t live far apart, but in some ways we’re in radically different parts of the world. As I drove up a roadway, on the way to her home, I saw a lady with a mid-blue cap covering all her hair, wearing a long lighter-blue dress with a cinched waistline. Beside her, a much younger version strode with matching clothes and cap, holding her hand, both walking barefoot on the side of the road over the sharp stones with nary a glance down at their soles.

I wish I had their permission to take a picture.

Later, I sat on her front porch and listened to the whir of a hummingbird, louder than the playing card attached to the spokes of my bicycle zooming down the street many years ago, or so my memory tells me. She said sometimes there’s more than one and they get competing or playing, and sometimes they dive-bomb whoever’s on the porch, so Watch Out. 🙂

A bee shared the sugar-water at the feeder when the minuscule bomber flew away. As soon as the pointed beak headed our way, the bee would float out of range and wait until the tiny bird fled. The bee mosied back and suddenly retreated. Our blindingly fast flyer was back to sip again. “They must have an understanding,” my friend said.

We walked her unpaved street and avoided the horse droppings. We turned our backs to the dust clouds from a fast-moving truck. The driver stopped and talked to an Amish farmer a piece up the road. Her neighbors help her when she needs some service for her horse or when she needs a newly milled plank for her barn.

I stayed by her side. I felt a little like a visitor in a foreign land. What a rich life she leads. Would I like to live there? Would you, with dust billowing many times a day? With stores and friends many miles away?