Joy in Writing

 

Monday night I searched files to see what I would bring to a new writers group I got invited to earlier this year. I chose a devotional I sent out in 2016. I’d been tracking it for quite a while and then I got busy with other things and let it go. I thought: if I bring a devotional that is already published, it probably won’t need much critiquing. So, I got online to check e-mail and sure enough, an announcement from the publisher said they’d accepted the devotional and the tentative date was for September 25, 2016. If you want to check it out I’ve included the link here: http://www.christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/833

It’s called “For the Love of a Daughter.”

That made my night and then when I found the tucked away home of the writer who invited me, I prayed that it would go well. The last critique group I attended had a writer who criticized my Bible study, Chapter One so harshly, I left wondering if I was delusional and if any talent I thought I had really belonged in the land of dreams. I looked to the leader of the group for a suggestion to lighten up or to be kind, but she remained mute. As I headed home, I thought God said in His still small voice, “I didn’t call you to this group.”

This past year I ran into the leader of the group at a library gathering to hear a poet, and she invited me to attend the writers meeting they host there. I told her “Thank you for asking me,” as I pocketed the slip of paper with the time and day they meet. A Christian friend saw the exchange and encouraged me to join them; she had recently started to attend. I told her I’d pray about it, and I did. I didn’t sense any leading to be a part of their meetings and then this opportunity arose.Writing Groups(photo from http://www.goodsearch.com/search-web?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=writers+group+photos&button=)

The members of the home town gathering may be different by now. Maybe that particular author didn’t feel well that day and so she got cranky over my offering. I don’t know. What I do know is that the group on Monday night was gracious and did line-by-line critiquing where necessary, grammatical editing and gave suggestions on the flow of the work. One lady is beginning a novel and I told her I wanted more description, less telling and more showing without actually using those words. What I did tell her was that I wanted to see what her interaction with her grandmother was like. I wanted her to set the scene.

One of the writers asked me what type of article was I writing, where did I picture it being published? I wrote an essay on health for mature readers, but the market I thought I’d send it to seems to be out of business now.

Then the published author thanked me for making it out and for the contributions I added. She and the others blessed me and I hoped I could bless them. Now that I’ve met them, I’m going to bring a more substantial project. We each had fifteen minutes for the reading of the piece and then the comments from the other wordsmiths. I hope we’re able to continue for a long while. We’ll see what the Lord has in mind for us. I’ve wanted a writer’s group for a number of months. I’ve learned that God’s timing is best. Isaiah_40:31, (KJV) says:  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

May God bless you.

Words Easily Spoken

I called my introvert daughter by accident today and she called me back. I got talking to her about writing to build up marriages and mentioned a friend, Elaine Miller who writes for that purpose and she got asked to speak in Russia where the divorce rate at that time was 90%. What a shame.

Then talked about some people I know that are battling sicknesses. She sounded upbeat when I first called and then she got quiet.

I got thinking that what I’ve heard about and prayed about is news to others and they may leave the conversation feeling down when we’re done. Rats! I know that introverts process things deeply.

Wednesday morning at our Ladies’ Bible Study a woman spoke up about hearing some teachers on television admonishing people to be careful of their words. Don’t speak negatively about others and about yourself. Don’t gossip. Don’t put other people down as you’re talking to them.

I agreed with her wholeheartedly, yet I did caution her that if a person is kind of obsessive-compulsive, they may get so wrapped up in being careful that it could play with their brain. “Is this okay, is that okay? Did I speak something that is calling a negative consequence into being?”

My husband had to remind me that I don’t have to carry it to extremes. God has more power than I do and if I say something that He doesn’t want to happen it won’t happen. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tonight I went to a writers’ group for critiquing and I decided to be careful as I exchanged ideas. I hoped to be helpful and not too critical. I was blessed by the feedback I got back. The hostess thanked me for coming.

After all, King Solomon wrote in Eccl 3:7, (KJV) that there is “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”

When my daughter called me later, she sounded like her day went well. Phew. 🙂

May God bless your day!

 

Writing of God

 

I went to the library despite the biting cold wind. I ran into a friend and we got talking about writing. She’s beginning to attend a local writer’s group and invited me to attend. She purchased “Writer’s Digest Magazine,” which is a good idea and some DVD’s on writing from a group proclaiming themselves as experts.

I told her she’s starting to sound like a writer because she loves the way a great sentence flows. She’s hungry to express ideas well.

I told her I’d taken a book out of the library written by a humorous author I thought I’d enjoy. I said I’d like to create like she does.

Then I read more and the person incorporated dialogue by “God” saying he wasn’t perfect! Then she has “God” asking questions of a character as if he didn’t know. The more she described her god, I thought, Why am I wasting my time with this book?

One time one of our librarian clerks gushed over an author famous for her expertise of the Pilgrims. She highly recommended her book to me. Quite a bit of the book was an explanation of why she couldn’t believe in the faith of the Pilgrims. We didn’t get to talk about it, but I’m sure the clerk knows I didn’t appreciate it once I saw her again. She looked at me and then ducked her head.

When I read the book, I thought it was all the same inane thinking the media and the education system uses to try and debunk faith in people. Did she honestly think I’m not aware of opposing viewpoints? I went to a secular college with a course in Satanism available, plus all the other philosophies that were acceptable. The only faith not pushed for us to consider, back in the day was the faith our parents taught us, which was primarily the Judeo-Christian faith. If Judeo-Christianity has no power or truth, why are Jews being persecuted more in America lately? Why are Christians being killed for their faith at over 800/day according to statistics given by an executive pastor from our denomination’s state headquarters?

To return to the book by the humorous author, she never said she was a Christian on the back cover or on the inner flap. I thought she was from a previous book she’d written that got made into a movie. I just wish I hadn’t recommended it in a library that echoes.

I do like the way she writes and her sense of humor, but I can’t help thinking if I were God and she’s misrepresenting God that I would not be happy about it and she’s in trouble. (I’m so glad that I’m not God since I’m incapable of being God.)

Anyway, I read Isaiah chapters 6-12 today and God is not always a jolly fellow. We’re made in His image and if we get mad, it makes sense to me that He gets mad.

If you believe the Bible, God is holy and when the angels proclaimed it, the sound was enough to shake the foundations. Isaiah saw this and he cried out, “Woe is me, I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips.”

I’ve heard it preached that Isaiah was probably a more righteous man than most of us, but somehow he got to have a vision of God, high and lifted up and God’s train filled the temple. That’s where he saw the angels crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.”

I’ve read Isaiah chapter six many times and I never noticed that their loud voices shook the door posts in heaven, (KJV).

God is merciful and kind and loving, but He’s also truthful. He never says mankind is basically good. The good news of the Gospel is that mankind is evil but God made a plan. He wants to change us from behaving like the devil sometimes and becoming more like His Son, Jesus if we’re willing to. Believing in Jesus Christ as God the Son is the work we have to do to enter heaven:

John 6:28, (KJV):  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Joh 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

 

Once we believe, then we repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us – which He does, (1 John 1:9, King James Version:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1Jn 1:10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us),

and then allow Him to make changes in our character.

We cooperate with His plan for our life, which is not easy at times, plus Satan then hates us because he hates God. So we engage in spiritual warfare with God’s help and He tells us how in the Bible: [Ephesians 6:10, (KJV):  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Eph 6:15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Eph 6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Eph 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; ]

and then we end up in an amazing unimaginable paradise with God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit at the end of our lives. One God made up of three persons. Deuteronomy 6:4, (KJV) says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”

I’ve heard that some Jewish teachers don’t allow Isaiah 53, because that’s the suffering Messiah chapter. But in Isaiah 6-12 I read descriptions of Jesus that He fulfilled as the Messiah.

There are many mysteries in the Bible and the Apostle Paul said that God was allowing people to understand them now if they were willing to be teachable and to seek God for the answers:

Ephesians 3:2, (KJV):  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Eph 3:3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Eph 3:4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Eph 3:5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

Eph 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Eph 3:7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Eph 3:8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Eph 3:10  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Eph 3:11  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

 

One of the reasons I want to write is because people in the world give their opinions of God  or their philosophies without a second thought. As a Christian, I want to write what the Bible says. Why should a Christian’s voice be silenced when all others have the right to speak?

This beginning writer asked why I would bother blogging? “Isn’t it just talking about yourself?”

I told her that lately I wrote about marriage, it’s not all about me. I hope to give something of value to people.

If readers don’t want to read about Christianity when that is my topic, they can always stop reading, as I chose to do with the humorist’s novel.

May God bless you!

 

 

Changes on the Way

 

I don’t get afraid to face a blank page as a writer, but I do have moments when I wonder what I can say that I haven’t said before in this blog. 🙂

My husband had a headache yesterday so he didn’t feel like talking. I tried to keep quiet but when we watched television, if I had a question I’d bring it up. He said, “You like to talk.”

Not mean-spirited, not jesting, just clarifying. I smiled at him; “Yes, I do.”

I like to talk and I like to write. There are times when I don’t get to write and it’s like the times when I don’t get into the Scriptures, I get grumpy. God wired me to write, I suppose.

I’ve been going through The Productive Writer to set up a notebook filled with categories. I read the book through a while ago and began reading it again to underscore in red the highlighted sections that really stood out- a tip I read from one of James Scott Bell’s books on the craft of writing.

The Productive WriterThis image is from: https://sagecohen.com/books/the-productive-writer/ 

Sage Cohen wrote the book, The Productive Writer and copyrighted it in 2010. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH published it.

On page 189, she talks about social media: “A daily rhythm of just fifteen minutes a day can create a momentum of communication that grows your visibility and reputation.”

I’ve heard that said before, “just 15 minutes a day…” at writers’ conferences.

I need to go back to her Chapter 13 so I can understand the balance between social media and writing time. It almost looks unread. By the way, I recommend her book.

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.

Writing Coach

 

 

Having taken coaching classes a number of times, occasionally I coach myself through a situation. Usually, I ask my husband or pray about things I’m not certain about. Lately, I ordered The Christian Writers Market Guide 2017: Your Comprehensive Resource for Getting Published, by Steve Laube and edited by Lin Johnson, published and copyrighted by The Christian Writers Institute, 2017.

While I was at it I ordered two smaller writers guides by F & W publishing, the name of the publishers for Writer’s Digest Market Guides. In addition to the market guides I ordered a book by Jurgen Wolff entitled YOUR Writing COACH: From Concept to Character, from Pitch to Publication – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING NOVELS, NON-FICTION, NEW MEDIA, SCRIPTS AND SHORT STORIES. It was published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London · Boston, copyrighted by Jurgen Wolff in 2007.

I intended to write today but I got reading the book. Many reasons why people are afraid to carry through with their writing and ways to overcome the fear show up in Chapter One: “No More Fear, No More Excuses”. Mr. Wolff gives examples from successful writers and exercises after each chapter for the endeavoring author.

This is a picture of the newer edition copyrighted in 2012. I wish I’d realized there was a newer edition. This picture is from Amazon.com and I purchased my copy from Amazon but somehow I didn’t see the more recent example. I’ve already started marking the old one, so hopefully there’s not a ton of changes. Oh, well. I’m really enjoying it and finding it helpful, even though some of the content I’ve read before. Every author has unique contributions to help with the writing craft and some items can’t be unique because “they are what they are,” to use a cliché and they’re not likely to change.

I watched the Superbowl LI on Sunday with my husband and I felt like I understood the game so much better this year. I’ve been watching football for years and hearing the terminology over and over again. I had two boys that played football and my youngest sat in the stands with me to watch his older brother. He patiently explained so many of the rules and the positions of the players and their various responsibilities. Sometimes I felt like I was catching about ten per cent of what he was saying. Sunday night, it just clicked. I hardly asked my husband any questions, which he probably appreciated. It was fun.

This book is presenting writing tips I’ve read before, but just like Sunday night’s game, I feel like some of the information is clicking and I’m seeing things clearly. That’s why writers like Jerry Jenkins and James Scott Bell tell less experienced writers to keep working to learn the craft of writing. There’s so much to it, which I’ve said before in this blog.

I was at the library today to read my Bible and to do some writing. I’d just settled in to write a bit when I felt as though the Lord said to “Go home”.

So, I did and I got the mail and in it came this book on writing with plans for succeeding and suggestions for taking time to think before you write. So, I’ll wrap this up and prayerfully consider my next project. It’s amazing how much smoother my life goes when I include God in the details.

When I was organizing the other day I felt certain the Lord spoke to my thoughts, “Do your work heartily as unto Me,” which is from the third chapter of the book of Colossians. God knows that I sometimes get weary doing dishes and clearing counters, etc. That verse will motivate me to keep going when I’d rather be doing something like reading or writing or not doing arithmetic.

May God bless you.

 

Writing Lessons at the Library

I got invited to the library for tonight’s visiting lecturers twice. A friend called to invite me today and a librarian asked me to join them a few days ago.

I remember once when I lived with my family with my father-in-law, his local library had a screen writer present a class. I attended but I began to see that if I ever wanted to be a screen writer, I’d have to learn to bounce ideas off others. I did that but when they veered off in another direction, when it came to my turn I went back to the original idea and the lady frowned over my resistance to change. This was years ago, when my kids were young. Hopefully I learned my lesson.

I remember wondering if I lost an opportunity. I also remember being mad at an older fellow sitting next to a teenager. He kept encouraging the younger guy to swear in his writing. The kid was uncomfortable but the man kept urging him on. I frowned at the elderly fellow from way at the end of the table. He either didn’t see me or he didn’t care. I think the lady presenting the screen writing pointers ignored him. Someone I know says people that swear are showing their lack of vocabulary.

Years ago, men used to swear more than women, and they stopped when a lady entered the room. If I’m shopping in a store and young men are flinging the worst swear words around in their everyday conversation, they don’t bother looking around to see if kids or women are nearby.

Anyway, tonight we learned prompts to get us thinking creatively and then we started writing stories. I wrote two stories in a short period of time using words from the dictionary as one of our prompts. I think that’s from blogging regularly.

I appreciate the libraries budgeting in money to pay for writing instructors to come to the area. He also showed up due to a grant from Poets & Writers out of New York City. He lives many miles away from New York State.

Another friend showed up at the class. She feels God is calling her to write and my daughter said a pastor friend feels the same way.

This presenter thanked the attending librarian more than once for having him there.

I hope you had an eventful day today in a good way. May God bless you.

Life Choices

About a month ago, I got The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammet by Nathan Ward out of the library. It’s published by Bloomsbury, New York, NY and copyrighted in 2015.

Media of The Lost DetectiveThis image is copied from http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-lost-detective-9780802776402/

Being Christmas and with all else that went on at that time, I didn’t get to read it until lately. Dashiell Hammet wrote hard-boiled detective stories based on his time as a private eye with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1915 through the middle of 1917. One of his famous characters is Sam Spade.

I’m intrigued with decisions people make and the course their lives take. I have been since my childhood days when my mom encouraged me to visit the elderly next door neighbor women.

After starting Mr. Ward’s book I decided to read James Scott Bell’s book, Just Write: Creating Unforgettable Fiction and a Rewarding Writing Life, copyrighted in 2016 and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH.This image is copied from  http://www.writersdigestshop.com/just-write-paperback

I read James Scott Bell’s fiction and own a few of his books on the craft of writing. I’ve been praying about whether to write another novel and his book, Just Write is sparking my imagination.

May God bless you.

Hungry, but Not Sure for What?

Once a year, a ministry borrows our church for their annual Christmas party. They invite us since we know them and it’s our building, kind of.

We sing Christmas carols, eat a catered meal and hear an inspirational message. I always want to support them because they care about reaching people for Jesus.

I read a quote yesterday about Christianity being great for a pluralistic society because God allows people to accept His gift of salvation, ignore it, or refuse it. He honors their intelligence, their feelings and their boundaries.

As a Christian, when I’m praying for my loved ones to receive Christ so they’re not suffering for eternity in a loveless place where there is “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” as found in Matthew 13 near the end of the chapter, where Jesus is speaking in parables, I wonder if God presents more opportunities for them to understand the message.

My dad used to tell my diabetic sister to drink water instead of diet soda pop because it wasn’t good for her. Eventually, I became aware of all the sodium in it. The salt causes the drinker to thirst, so the customer buys more soda pop and sales go up. Our local store often does a buy 2/ get 3 free sale of soda pop hoping to get more customers to start their product.

I’m hoping God will cause my relatives, friends and many others to hunger and thirst for His righteousness so they’ll want God in their life. That’s why I pray.

I try not to grow weary in prayer because I figure someone prayed me into the kingdom of God. Some people think it’s arrogant to say you know you’re going to heaven, but I say it only because Jesus said it.

Luke 6:17, (KJV):  And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

Luk 6:18  And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.

Luk 6:19  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

Luk 6:20  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luk 6:21  Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

Luk 6:22  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luk 6:23  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

 

Earlier tonight, I spent almost an hour online looking to find the quote about Christians living side by side with others that worship other gods in a pluralistic society. I found T.S. Eliot and it might have come from him, but if it did, it wasn’t in the form I read. I have heard of his name, but have been unfamiliar with him and his thoughts.

He is a famous poet and playwright and educator from America with his ancestry from England. He returned to England and gave up his American citizenship for an English citizenship. He watched Europe grapple with their re-structuring after WWI and sensed society moving more towards mankind relying on themselves and becoming more materialistic. He prophesied, in my opinion, on the falling away of the believers in the Christian faith and that society would suffer from turning their backs on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Even in his day, professors in college and prominent writers turned from Christianity. He became a sole conservative voice in his close circle of influence. People respected him, even if they disagreed with his religious viewpoint.

I hope you are enjoying the season of life you find yourself in. May God bless you.

 

 

 

Writing and Life

This morning I picked up a book from a shelf in the living room that I dedicate to writing books. A year ago or so I went into an area at the library where they sell used books as a fund raiser. I bought The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, published by Harper & Row, Publishers; New York, NY. Annie Dillard copyrighted it in 1989. I bought it because it looked interesting. Later, it was listed in another writing book as a book writers should read.  So, I was glad I bought it. It’s a fun, serious book. Her wordplay delights the wordsmith in me. 🙂

The Writing Life

Inside the front book cover on the leaf it starts out, “In a surprising narrative, Annie Dillard describes the working life of a writer. These are vivid and ironic encounters at a desk.”

Those sentences made me want to look inside. The day before Thanksgiving, I had pies to bake and beds to make. My husband sat in his recliner chair eating brunch and watching a comedy sitcom. So, I joined him in the living room, eating my brunch, reading this book and watching television. I felt so relieved when he turned it off. I told him it was sucking me in and I had stuff I needed to get to.

My pie crusts are like puzzle pieces straining to connect. My youngest daughter said, “Mom, they always look like that. The insides taste great though, and that’s what counts.”

I smiled and then as my husband turned to YouTube for yet another kitchen appliance tip, I got reminded by him that if I wanted to improve my pie crusts, I could always find a demonstration on YouTube. His turkey is prepped for the morning, with all the fresh spices and a lemon and onions in the interior. Butter everywhere. We’ll see if we like it.

I listened to the Bible while preparing the pies since I didn’t get an early start to my day, as I mentioned above. 1 Thessalonians is where I started, and I might have finished at Hebrews. I listened to Paul admonishing believers to work or they shouldn’t eat. He made mention of refraining from arguments. Then he talked about being hospitable. A lot of points got mentioned, but I thought the few that got highlighted to me really hit home on the eve of a holiday. My daughter invited a single mom and her two young boys to our full house tomorrow. Then she said something about inviting another single mom and her little toddler boy.

She said, “It’s funny, when I lived here, I didn’t feel so free to have people over. Now, I just tell them that we’re eating at mom and dad’s, come on over.”

When we talked about the difference, part of it is because God has changed me, I told her. If things weren’t completely tidy, I was embarrassed. One afternoon listening to Dr. James Dobson on Focus on the Family some years back, he said the reason people don’t open their homes to their neighbors and friends is because of pride. That resonated with me. Pride is a downfall. I’m not perfect by any means, but when she told me she’d already invited the families, I checked with my husband, and he was okay with it, and then I gave my okay. Avoiding having people over because my furniture is getting old or I have some clutter on the kitchen table made for some lonely days in my younger years.

If you’re alone for the holidays, maybe you can bless someone else who is alone or participate at a food center. One year in the city, our young family helped the church we attended provide Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of people. My kids said that was the best Thanksgiving they’d ever had. Our church does a Christmas meal for anyone who wants to show up. If the attendees can bring a side dish, that’s great. If not, come along anyway.

May God bless you this November day.