Writing Books

 

I like reference books. When I buy a writers’ book, I often begin working the examples. One of James Scott Bell’s pieces of advice suggested to read through the book once and highlight what grabs you. Then, read through it again and underline the thoughts that really stand out in red. I’ve done that. I began with his book, Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.

 Front Cover

It was copyrighted in 2004, and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio. The photo is from: https://books.google.com/books/about/Write_Great_Fiction_Plot_Structure.html?id=0arFsgEACAAJ&sorce=kp_cover

 

 

 

Another of his books I like is The Art of War for Writers: fiction writing strategies, tactics and exercises.   

Front Cover

This photo is from: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Art_of_War_for_Writers.html?id=9vwzOJFKtc8C&source=kp_cover

 

 

He copyrighted it in 2009, and Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH published it.

 

Yesterday. I mentioned that we are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore, we are creative beings. I read and implement strategies from a variety of published authors that move from fiction to writing non-fiction about what helped them in the craft. Each book is unique because we are all individuals.

 

I’ve enjoyed learning from so many writers over the years, whether in person at writer’s conferences or through their expertise on the written page via paper or electronic devices. What a privilege. After the learning comes the doing, putting words on paper or screen.

 

Where we differ from God: He creates and it’s perfect. We attempt artistry and if we leave it alone for a few days, when we read it, our masterpiece doesn’t make sense or present the image we pictured in our mind. Then the editing begins.

 

Also, we may face fear of ridicule or rejection. God’s Word tells us that perfect love casts out fear. God’s love is perfect because He is love. 1 John 4 talks about His love.

 

Apostle Paul wrote the Colossian believers and in the following verses he talks about Jesus:

Col 2:6  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Col 2:7  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Col 2:8  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Col 2:9  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Col 2:10  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

 

From these verses and others in the Old Testament, I believe Jesus is God, the Son. I can’t say that He didn’t fear when He took off all His godly attributes and took on the form of man. Before the crucifixion, it says in the Gospels that He sweat blood because of the anguish He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane during prayer.

 

In the book of Hebrews, it tells us that Jesus understands us completely because He became a man, but He was completely filled with the Spirit of God. As humans, we can experience an infilling of the Holy Spirit at times, but we have to seek God for more of the Spirit. It takes work because we’re in a spiritual battle and our flesh wants to do what the body wants to do.

 

It’s the same with writing as a career. I find that I can’t give up trying to learn more and trying to face down a tired mind and a weary body when I need to get something done for a client or a deadline. Also, keeping up with technological changes and industry standards and marketing takes stamina and using more brain cells.

 

To me, staying the course in Christianity and keeping on track for writing are worth the effort and bring me joy. The latter is a lesser joy, but if I give up there’s something within me that urges me back to the creative endeavor.

 

For a while in college and then for another seven years, I pushed God aside and lived as I saw fit. As a newlywed and a new mom, it should have been the happiest years of my life. Things and people satisfied for a short amount of time; selfishness caused discontentment and frustration and sorrow.

 

When we moved to another town, God allowed me to run into Christian neighbors and at first, I resented them. Then, they were so stinking nice. One said to me after I started to argue about a Christian public figure whom I knew nothing about, but I’d been hearing newscasters bashing him, “I thought you said you were a Christian? Can’t we agree to disagree?”

 

What could I say to that?

 

More than thirty years later, I’m still following Jesus and even in the hard times, I’d never turn back.  That’s my fervent prayer and hope. I don’t trust myself, but I’ve prayed, “God keep me.”

 

When I first read the Scriptures where Jesus said if they persecuted Him they’ll persecute His followers, I stopped and pondered that a while. I’d rather be persecuted here on earth for a short time than to be in hell, tormented forever.

 

Christians are persecuted more now than ever before in history.

 

I heard the stars and planets are lined up exactly as they were when Jesus came to earth. Some folks believe Jesus is coming back for His church on Saturday. My daughter said when they start saying the day and time, then we know that won’t be the day or time, because Jesus said we won’t know the day or hour.

 

With all the earthquakes and hurricanes and tumult in the world, it seems closer than ever. I guess we’ll wait and see.

 

May God bless you. I’m grateful for the opportunity to write. Thanks for reading this if you stuck around for the whole thing. I didn’t expect to say so much.

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Independent or Not?

God Will Make a Way    -     By: Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend
https://www.christianbook.com/god-will-make-a-way/henry-cloud/9781591454298/pd/454298

Have you ever been bombarded with the same information over and over again? I remember hearing preachers on Christian radio years ago and they all had the same message. I really didn’t think they got together and decided to put their unique spin on the exact topic. These pastors were from California and Texas and New York and maybe a Mid-western state. I asked a college professor if she thought God gave these various men and women the same idea to speak on. She thought they all got together and decided to talk about the similar passages.

Really?

In my biased opinion, the Holy Spirit gently led them to identical concepts. So what do I keep running into lately? Dependence on God. I heard it twice from two different pastors in church on Sunday–part of their sermons.

Then I read about it in Celebrate Recovery materials. Also, in a book I’ve owned for years and somehow didn’t read until lately: God Will Make a Way: What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do. It’s written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Integrity Publishers, Nashville, TN published it in 2002 and the authors copyrighted it that year. Their dedication says, “TO ALL THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR GOD AND THE WAY THAT HE PROVIDES FOR US.”

I like to think that I depend on God, but when I look at my life I realize that sometimes I depend on God. Other times, I set my mind to do a certain task, start out with gusto, and then begin to slow down, falter and end up put-putting like a little car in a cartoon running out of gasoline. Completely stalled and occasionally bewildered.

So, I keep running into the advice and even give it out, “Spend time with God first and then make your plans.”

I noticed today that I had a stinky attitude and then I started reading in the book of Job. Even though it can be a downer to read all of what Job went through, I felt so much better just having spent some time in God’s word.

I’ve picked up some new habits and my husband helps around the house, so my organizing is going better and the meetings for support help, but I’m losing enthusiasm. I’ve decided I need to ask God wholeheartedly to help me with this like I’ve done over the years for other situations when I knew I couldn’t change on my own. I just couldn’t. I’m totally dependent on God even when I don’t realize it or when I don’t want to acknowledge it. I need to get over the idea that I have control over anything. I don’t. Sigh. 🙂

Well, that’s it for tonight. God is good and He’s in control. May He bless you big time. 🙂

Exercising for Good

 

A few weeks ago, I joined a group of elderly ladies to exercise using stretch bands, two Frisbees to clap overhead or by our sides, a chair for balance, two foam-like squishy balls, and a room to walk around in. It didn’t seem like much, but we got an amazing amount of stretching and resistance workouts in.

This week I needed to see an expert in body movement and I received an assignment to do stretch and resistant activities to work neglected muscle groups. It’s taking about two hours per day for these additional actions, so I told the neighbor that invited me to the group not to expect me for a while.

Family Fitness provides a friendly neighborhood environment, combined ...http://www.goodsearch.com/search-web?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=pictures+of+ladies+exercising+family+friendly&button=

She’s such a nice lady. “Join us again when you can,” she said.

So, it’s about time to call it a night and I just realized I neglected the second time to pull out the mat and the papers with the diagrams and instructions. So this is a short blog entry. I know my life is not my own, but I really feel it lately. J

“Keep leading me, Lord. Help me to follow You and not mess up. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

May God bless you, my friends.

Write Now!

 

Book & DVD   (these photos were copied from: http://www.theharbinger-jonathancahn.com)

I worked on the garden today adding perennials and watering because we’re headed for 90 degree days. One section of my body got hurting and I felt sure the Lord was saying to stop gardening. He wants me writing. So, I’ll have to hire someone or ask family to weed and water.

Tonight my husband and I listened to Jonathan Cahn on Right Now Media. He’s a Messianic Jewish author of Harbinger, published in 2011, copyrighted by Jonathan Cahn and published by Frontline, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group, Lake Mary, FL. More recently, The Book of Mysteries was written by Jonathan Cahn and copyrighted by him in 2016, published by Frontline, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group, Lake Mary, FL, www.charismahouse.com

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has a website: http://www.hopeoftheworld.org which looked intriguing. I started reading the Harbinger on

https://smile.amazon.com/Harbinger-Ancient-Mystery-Secret-Americas/dp/161638610X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497149720&sr=8-1&keywords=harbinger+by+jonathan+cahn

and it’s a story about prophecy and the future of America with reality in the prose.

On Right Now Media’s broadcast, Pastor Jonathan said if God is asking you to do something, do it now. Don’t wait! What might God be asking you to do?

May God bless you!

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” is a popular song written by Bob Merrill for the 1961 Broadway musical Carnival! (This is a quote from Wikipedia.)

This morning early in my day, I thought about life. Back in my childhood a saying got repeated, “Love makes the world go ’round.”

I didn’t know until a few moments ago that it was a song title. 🙂

My brother and sister-in-law uprooted themselves to help take care of her parents in their latter years. Love is not easy at times. They’re sacrificing for others, and yet they’re enjoying this precious time with family.

As a young mom, I learned to discipline my children in a consistent manner even when it broke my heart to see them cry. When they got older I wouldn’t let them watch violent movies or see R-rated or worse films. Sometimes my husband and I were too restrictive over other matters and we needed to learn to see things from their point of view.

Our children heard us say we’re sorry but I think they understood we were looking out for their best interests.

Love means saying no to the bad. My parents wouldn’t let us go see the 1961 movie, “West Side Story” when it came out in the theaters. I was maybe nine years old. Lots of the kids went. I stomped my foot and complained. “You’re too young,” my mom replied and that was that.West Side Story(photo from Wikipedia)

After more thoughts this morning, this came to mind, what shall I do today?

Part of the Scripture from Proverbs 6:6-8 (NASB), took root:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer, And gathers her provision in the harvest.

I, too, have no one barking commands at me. My husband gives suggestions occasionally and then he gets on with his day.

It’s not that I don’t like housework. I get bored. After lots of hours alone, I want to see people.

The point of cleaning and organizing beyond the removal of germs and bad smells and nerve-wracking messes is love. Love for others sharing the home, love of self, love for others stopping over, even love or respect for the neighbors shows up with a tidy place.

I thought, if that doesn’t motivate me to continue on with this organizing quest I’m on, nothing will.

When I start my day in God’s Word and in prayer, I’m centered and reminded that His love goes with me and upholds me.

When I feel I have too much to do I break it down to smaller steps. I’m trying to remember that I have time to continue and if people interrupt, people are more important.

Too much self-centeredness does not make the world go ‘round. When it’s all about me, joy and love get sucked away. I know. I’ve been there and done that and missed out on simple pleasures of life because of complaining and a stinking attitude.

God help me; I don’t want to go there.

May God bless you!

Meeting of the Minds

I went to a meeting today because a regular attendee couldn’t make it. I thought it would be good to be in the loop. The consultant asked who didn’t like a certain event and he told me that I should not be on that committee since I did like the event. He wants ways to improve it and if I’m happy with it, I won’t have ideas to change it for the better.

It occurs to me tonight that my reasons for attending were because of thoughts that my husband wanted me there, maybe I could be of help, and I’d enjoy it. He consistently said I was welcome if I chose to be there. He didn’t exactly want me there. I might have been of some help, but the leader needed to hear what we thought needed fixing. I probably did 50/50 of that and what was working. He only wanted a little of what was working. I enjoyed it, but a project I hoped to work on today got put aside until tonight when I was tired.

So, I’m going to attend the meetings I need to attend as a leader and pastor’s wife and leave the other meetings for the regular attendee to resume.

There are only so many hours in the day and the Lord did say in Ephesians  5:16, (KJV),

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Eph 5:17  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Image result for clock with pictures instead of numbers

(I reached this from Google by clicking on clock with pictures on their list of entries.)

I know the Lord has me doing a few things that require me to be in a quiet mode which is impossible in a group setting. So, I only got half of what I wanted to get done when my husband came home. Then I switched to a book and notebook to jot down some notes while he was busy doing his thing across the room from me.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you.

Bits and Pieces

Today, I needed to wait for my husband at an appointment, so I decided to read the Bible. As I was reading, I thought the Lord was directing me to Ephesians 4 & 5. Then I read chapter 6 while I was at it. In chapter 4 it reminds Christians to walk worthy of the calling that God has given them.

After that, we went to a large grocery store to buy our lunch and then I’ve been busy doing this or that. I want to ponder the writing path God has for me. I have such a broad interest range and I’ve heard for years that a writer should have a niche. Possibly ten years back I felt sure that God wanted me to purchase a book at a bookstore in a mall by Peter Bowerman entitled, The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less, copyrighted in 2000 and published by Fanove Publishing, Atlanta, GA.

The image is from http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ordertwfw.shtml  

I read about 75 pages and then gave it to my daughter for a while. I began an online course a couple of years ago on copywriting, again at God’s leading. I may need it someday, and I do work professionally as a writer and the things I’ve learned have come in handy. The niche writing that I’m contemplating is for magazines or novels or non-fiction books or writing for the internet.

So, the reason I entitled this blog as “Bits and Pieces” is because that’s where my thoughts and my actions have been today:

  • Driving to a city I rarely get to early in the day
  • Reading Proverbs and then in Ephesians
  • Stopping for one item at a large store – a rarity for me
  • Stopping at another grocery store and getting one item again
  • Stopping at church to hand off copies I made of sheets of goal steps in the morning to some ladies and hardly staying at all – another rarity
  • Cleaning dishes
  • Watching television
  • Going to the library and mostly working the new puzzle
  • Getting home so I could ponder the writing path
  • Watching more television
  • Reading two teenage magazines that I’ve been considering to write for, and then
  • Moving to a different room so I could blog
  • Yelling at my computer and then admitting that that was not helping and to repeatedly do the same thing was not helping either.
  • I tried a different thing and it worked. Yay!

I’ve been wanting to take time to be quiet and to think and to jot down any insights that hopefully alight in my brain, but I’ve been procrastinating. So, I think I have about ten minutes before my husband notes the time and asks the inevitable question – “What time are you going to bed, anyway?”

I hope your day has not been as filled with a scattering of responsibilities and stress and leisure and procrastination as my day has been.

May God bless you.

Wisdom Needed Now

 

I read the news that President Trump and former President Obama talked about health care. President Trump wants to make changes to the program now in place because it is expensive for the patients. I know my out of pocket costs sky rocketed after Obamacare came into being.

President Obama sounded glad that President Trump doesn’t want to scrap the program so all Americans can have health insurance, our new president wants to improve it. I am glad to hear that. I have a relative that didn’t take advantage of health insurance because she couldn’t afford it over the years. She fell in that gray area with her income. She made just enough to survive, but not enough to pay for health insurance. She earned too much money for government assistance but not enough to safeguard her health. So, in her fifties she began going to the doctors and found out some stuff that should have been treated earlier. Hopefully all will work out well for her. That is my prayer that circumstances will head towards improvement and ultimately complete reversal.

I read some information about Betsy DeVos and her crusade for a decent education for all American children. She and her husband have earned lots of money over the years and they’ve given millions to organizations to improve education. If Wikipedia can be trusted, their site said that the “New York Times” lied about the Charter schools in Detroit, MI.

Detroit charter school system

DeVos has been a defender of the Detroit charter school system. Douglas N. Harris, professor of Economics at Tulane University, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that DeVos was partly responsible for ‘what even charter advocates acknowledge is the biggest school reform disaster in the country.’ In the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Detroit had the lowest reading and mathematics scores ‘by far’ over any city participating in the evaluation. She designed a system with no oversight, said Harris, and where schools that do poorly can still continue to enroll students.[68]

“On the other hand, a study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that: ‘the typical student in Michigan charter schools gains more learning in a year than his TPS [traditional public schools] counterparts, amounting to about two months of additional gains in reading and math. These positive patterns are even more pronounced in Detroit, where historically student academic performance has been poor.’[69] Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review said that ‘some 47 percent of charter schools in Detroit significantly outperform[ed] traditional public schools in reading.’ Defending DeVos’ record in Michigan, Jay P. Greene, professor of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas argued Harris’ New York Times article misled readers on the evidence and ‘falsely claimed that Detroit has failed to close failing charter schools’, noting that Detroit has closed more charters than Louisiana, a state Harris cites as a model for charter school legislation.[70]

A blogger I follow on WordPress.com named “Endatymes” recently blogged about Americans being fed propaganda by the mainstream media. January 23, 2017’s entry was titled:

ARE YOU CATTLE? MEET YOUR OVERLORDS

She quotes Noam Chomsky and provides a very long YouTube video with his discourse on people doing their own research so as not to be led in false directions. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the point I took to heart.

When I was a child my dad, a WWII Army Air Force plane mechanic veteran used to tell me to believe half of what I saw and none of what I heard.

King Solomon was said to be the wisest man of all time and he was the richest man of his time. He wrote much of Proverbs.

Proverbs 1:1, (GNB):  The proverbs of Solomon, son of David and king of Israel.

Pro 1:2  Here are proverbs that will help you recognize wisdom and good advice, and understand sayings with deep meaning.

Pro 1:3  They can teach you how to live intelligently and how to be honest, just, and fair.

Pro 1:4  They can make an inexperienced person clever and teach young people how to be resourceful.

Pro 1:5  These proverbs can even add to the knowledge of the wise and give guidance to the educated,

Pro 1:6  so that they can understand the hidden meanings of proverbs and the problems that the wise raise.

Pro 1:7  To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the LORD. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn.

 

Some people I know believe that if the traditional public schools in America face competition, it will force them to come up with teachers and programs that will reach all the cultures in American schools. It will not be “same old, same old” with some students being pushed through the grades without learning the basics and beyond. It will take a lot of wisdom to fix our educational system and there are challenges in discipline and in differing learning styles, etc. Whoever gets to be the United States Secretary of Education will need stamina and passion and networking abilities and wisdom and a thick skin and lots of grace from on high. Would you agree?

May God bless you.

 

Flexible Moments

My daughter called today to see if I could head north to fill in for an unexpected childcare need.

I got ready to go and had half the stuff needed in the car for a sleep over when she called to say one of her appointments wasn’t going to work out. So I quickly backed out when she said I could still come up for a visit.

I had started to clear the pantry before leaving. I also wanted to grocery shop, so even though I was disappointed, I re-adjusted my plans back to the original.

Then, just before I left the house a second time, a good friend called to catch up and we spoke for almost an hour. I did some straightening while we visited, so that was a plus.

The weather forecasters said we were in for a big storm tonight and tomorrow, so I felt better about staying home after I heard that. Some of the store shelves were empty, especially in the produce section. The first time I saw empty shelves at our store I was startled. It’s a rare occurrence. People must have shopped earlier because the store wasn’t that busy.

Sometimes I thank God for His provision because I’m mindful that some people face hunger due to shortages where they live or because of a lack of money to buy food. It’s a wonderful thing when people help others out. Jesus spoke of helping the poor. Matthew 25:31, (KJV):  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Mat 25:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

Mat 25:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Mat 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Mat 25:35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Mat 25:36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Mat 25:37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

Mat 25:38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Mat 25:39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I hope you are having a great day. May God bless you.

 

Organizing the Writing Life

I’m reading James Scott Bell’s book Just Write: Unforgettable Fiction and a Rewarding Writing Life straight through and then I’ll go through it and do the exercises. By reading straight through, I mean 15 to 20 pages at a time and then picking it up again. It’s been a few days since I last read it but it’s right up there with library books with looming due dates. He got this one published by Writer’s Digest Books and it’s copyrighted in 2016. It’s got advice that entails work hints and dedication and using brain cells and encouraging oneself – to name a few things.Just Write: Creating Unforgettable Fiction and a Rewarding Writing Life

(photo from Christianwritersinstitute.com)

I like James Scott Bell’s fiction. I discovered his books while shelving returns from the circulation desk when I worked at the library. I bought his craft books, one from Barnes & Nobles, two from Writer’s Digest online. I recommend them all but this one is hitting me where I live and I’m glad I bought it.

We have a lady pastor at our church who’s told me that my husband’s preaching stepped on her toes. “I love it!”

The first time she spoke that way, my eyes widened and I said, “You loved it?”

“Oh yeah, I needed to hear that.”

James Scott Bell’s words to writers may step on my toes at times but I’m serious about improving. So, I appreciate the words of wisdom a published novelist passes along.

One of my goals this year is to finish Jerry Jenkins’ “Inspirational Market” writing course that I purchased as an online class.

As I get organized in my thinking and my environment I picture finishing projects and choosing pathways according to God’s direction. I do that now some of the time, but disorder affects me more than I’ve realized.

A friend of my husband’s and mine told me twenty years ago that he thought it was a spiritual battle and he may have been right. Anyway, God knows and I’m ready to organize the kitchen this week.

May God bless you!