What’s Most Important to You?

When I start my day I tend to do one small thing and then another small thing which leads to one more. I look at the clock and it may be an hour or two later. Even though I use a planner, sometimes these small important or sometimes not so important things became a main springboard into my day.

Two days in a row, our loud doorbell rang and I jumped. I looked around the house to see what it looked like. I am not a visual person unless the doorbell rings and then my eyes become lasers. Thankfully I didn’t have to cringe with embarrassment, but whenever you choose one thing, another will suffer. When I spoke one on one with prolific author, Cec Murphey, at Montrose Christian Writers Conference, he asked me, “What are you willing to give up in order to spend more time writing?”

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Cec wrote twelve hours a day, he told the class I attended. That’s not even possible in my life since I’m the main cook, cleaner, and host more than one Bible study. I like spending time with people. At last year’s conference, one instructor asked how many of us were extroverts. I was the only person in the room with my hand up.

In the early 1990’s, I went to my first writers conference in Rochester, NY with Marlene Bagnull as the presenter. She , too, mentioned being an extrovert. So, I guess there are some out there. It was hard on her not seeing people when she was immersed in her work, she told us.

I love being outdoors and NYS is having a very unusual winter with lots of warm days. I’m mostly inside or running from the car to another place inside and barely noticing. So, one thing else I’ve given up is being aware of the great outdoors and taking advantage of this warm spell. We had a warm winter about four years ago, people prayed for no snow. I laughed at them. I shouldn’t have. The NYS apple crop suffered terribly. I’m praying the weather will right itself. I really like apples. I’m sure our local farmers like a great harvest.

Sometimes I wonder if God allows aberrations in weather so people will look up. I don’t see my housework results as well until the doorbell rings. Maybe others don’t think of God unless He gets their attention through the balmy winter in the Northeast United States. A relative told me once that she tended to ignore God unless she was in a crisis. I told her that’s a hard way to live. She’d be better off paying attention to God regularly so He didn’t have to wake her up.  

How do you start your day? Do you putter like I do until your schedule or the time grabs your attention? Or are you on automatic pilot with wonderful ingrained habits? I love how unique everyone is.

Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Montrose Bible Conference hosts Montrose Christian Writers Conference in July. This year I made my way there with the intent to seek God and then concentrate on writing. Last year, it was all about me. Am I a good writer or great writer, or not?

I asked Cec Murphey something about a piece I crafted and he said, “Oh, you’re looking for affirmation,” in an understanding tone. I nodded my head, almost ready to cry. I don’t remember what he said after that. He’s a nice guy. A best seller and a nice guy.

This year, Monday morning, the new director, Marsha Hubler read part of my essay to the assembled throng and told them to listen to this, it’s very good.

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I sat there very still and could almost feel the blood rushing through my veins. It’s amazing to me that when people who love God let go of stuff and agendas and people, God gives back more than they expect. I love God because He drew me to Him. 1 John 4:19 (KJV) says, ” We love him, because he first loved us.”

Patti Souder stepped away from the directorship at Montrose so she could have more time to write. She chose the order of the readers for the Thursday night theater presentation. She had me go first. I almost missed it, because I’m usually somewhere in the middle and I arrived less than ten minutes before the start. As my peers clapped after hearing the three hundred word essay on “Equipping Writers for Eternal Significance,” I felt humbled.

I often feel humbled after God blesses me in little ways and big ways. When I sing the lyrics to the song, “I am a Friend of God,” which starts out, “Who am I that You are mindful of me, that You love me, who am I?” I truly mean it. God is all powerful; all knowing; merciful; gracious; our healer; our provider; our protector; our creator; Jesus, God the Son is our intercessor when we’re in trouble, the perfect parent and so much more. He’s just and tells us to leave vengeance up to Him. He gives us peace beyond our comprehension.

I’ve experienced that lately, especially in the car during a severe rain storm with lightning so close, I felt a bit traumatized after the fact. During the drive I was enveloped in a bubble of calm and sat quietly, for me, as my friend drove the car.

If you think God is distant and uncaring, pick up the Word of God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in all His many facets. I think You’ll stand amazed at God as so many millions have over the centuries.

To Fear or Not to Fear, That is the Question

I am working on a novel proposal, and I told my primary physician that I would get it sent out by January 12. For those of you aware of the calendar, that is not very far away. 🙂 She wants to read it when it comes out, she tells me. An article comes out tomorrow in “Live” Magazine and that did not invoke near the fear that the proposal writing did this past week. Maybe because it’s smaller and a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. I’m thrilled, that’s for sure.

I’ve gone to the library twice this week, because I don’t get as sidetracked there. I noticed the last time I was there, when fear hit that I needed to acknowledge it, say a quick prayer and then ignore it. Then I typed on. So today I re-wrote my beginning of Chapter One four times. I will do it two more times when I’m done here, that’s the plan. I’ve been working through a book by David Fessenden entitled, Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract. He published it through SONFIRE MEDIA in 2011. That’s one piece of advice he gives for an essay, plus writing six different endings. I actually liked the fourth beginning the best, so far. I figure if it’s good for nonfiction, it’s good for fiction. He talks of re-writing as part of the process.

At Montrose Christian Writers Conference in the summer, Cec Murphey chose my first chapter to dissect ( a few sentences of it, I should say), along with other writers’ first sentences, and he found a few places he thought needed editing. He is an expert, as well. So, I am listening.

Fear may be a part of life, and sometimes it’s a necessary part of life. It may save our lives, if we take heed. It can also steal life from us if it overpowers us. My daughter told me Jesus says “Do not fear,” often. Although, God told people the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and the fear of God is the beginning of understanding in the book of Proverbs and in Psalms.

I choose to fear God and try my best not to fear change and opportunities and life. How do you conquer fear?