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.

What If?

In Mary Higgins Clark’s book, Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir, she wrote that her Fordham University professor advised her to, “Take a true situation, one that intrigues you, that stays in your mind, ask yourself two questions, ‘Suppose’ and ‘What if,’ and turn them into fiction.”

I wrote that on an eraser board which hangs in my office, so I don’t know what page it’s on. It’s published by Pocket Books, New York, NY, copyrighted in 2002, and I enjoyed her book.

I’ve noticed with all that’s going on with my daughter’s wedding, my mind is not at peak performance. My husband is watching a television show with an actress I’ve liked for years and I cannot remember her name. I’m about to Google it because it’s driving me crazy.

She reminded me of a best friend from my high school days, so it surprises me that I can’t remember her name. Candice Bergen, unbelievable. Oh well, not high on my list of priorities. If you’re a Candice Bergen fan, please don’t take offense. I’ve enjoyed her acting many times over the years.

So, to get back to writing. I’ve been doing some deeper cleaning in preparation for company for the upcoming wedding. I ran across a paper that said, “A word from the Lord” on it, which I perceived to be from God. One of the items was to blog every day. The other was to send out a devotional I wrote months ago.

I realized I started the blogging, but never sent out the devotional because when I checked the guidelines it asked for at least fifty more words. It also asked for a current picture. The picture I have on Gravatar is not representative of my looks right now. I just have casual photos and some days I feel like a hamster on a wheel, so I haven’t asked any good photographers to capture my image. I’ve hired a photographer in the past and that was too long ago to look current.

Time to get past excuses and get on with editing the devotional and taking time earlier in my day to work on the novel. I looked at the file folder I have the latest edition of my novel in and I haven’t written since January 4, 2016 on it. Not cool.

I need to up the stakes on my protagonist, I think I’ve mentioned that before. I got the idea while blogging that I should take Mary Higgins Clark’s professor’s advice and ponder “What if…” and “Suppose this happened?”

I love to write, most of the time. How about you?

Daniel for Today

My husband and I are invited out to dinner with some other couples and I said I’d do the devotional. I love the book of Daniel. There’s no better way to learn than to have to delve into the subject matter in order to teach on it.

I discovered today that the Bible app on my phone has a play button on the Scripture page so I can do dishes and listen to the Bible being read as I work. So nice! So I’m off to do dishes and to listen to Daniel and to think about the questions and insights I want to present at the meeting this evening.

I’m choosing Daniel 1 and 2. My husband said, “Do you know how much detail there is in those two chapters? It’s too much.”

I’m not planning on doing a lot of in-depth stuff. I want to talk about who the countries are that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about. People try to say that Daniel was written after the fact because the dream interpretation came true exactly as foretold. If God is as all-powerful and as all-knowing as He’s portrayed to be, foretelling the future is nothing for Him. Some people don’t want God to be real because then they’d be forced to consider that His ways may be the way to go, and that doesn’t please their desires.

So, we’ll talk about Daniel tonight, a true historical person, subject to the
king of Babylon as a teenager to conform mostly to Babylonian ways and to serve directly under the king. I love reading the book of Daniel, he was an amazing guy.

He and his friends stayed committed to their culture and to their God despite any hardships that came their way. Often, God gave them miraculous deliveries, but in respectful attitudes they told the king that they knew God could deliver them from the fiery furnace or the lion, but even if He didn’t, they would not obey the king’s edict to defect from their faith.

I intend to learn more about the prophecies concerning the last days in Daniel.

Cancer Shaking Faith

I have a friend that lost her thirty-six year old daughter to cancer in January. My friend has been reading in Hebrews 12, verses 26 through 28 about things being shaken that can be shaken and things which cannot be shaken shall remain. As we reel from the shock of losing this loved one that we’ve been praying for incessantly for months, and who was proclaimed healed in December of 2011, only to pass away in mid-January, we’ve felt shaken to our very core. This mom holds on to the promise of God that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and God will not let His believers go. Even so, we are hurting.

My faith feels like a wet towel slapping against the inside of a dryer, with the heat blasting, scorching, daring my faith to fluff and spring back and recover. The young lady is not related to me, but I knew her and her children and her siblings and her newlywed husband; and her mom is dear to my heart and it hurts to see her suffer and lose weight and battle some kind of respiratory illness for two months, made worse by stress, I presume.

So I cry out to God and pray for the remaining loved ones and for God’s protection and move along. I mailed out a devotional the other day that I wrote twenty years ago. It’s been sitting in a file cabinet. I’m sending out stuff that’s been sitting, thank You, Jesus. This devotional tells of my preteen’s daughter’s faith in me to buy her a certain Christmas gift that I thoroughly intended not to get her. Writing the article opened my heart to a fuller understanding of faith. God allowed me to see this faith building devo when I needed it these many years later.

We are not the only ones being shaken on this planet earth. God tells us to hold on to the end. Revelation repeats this often, “He who overcomes…” will receive a promise listed in each of the messages to the churches in chapters 2 and 3. Shaking happened 2,000 years ago. It will happen tomorrow. It’s a part of life on earth. We get tossed around.

God does His part, we have to do our part, even when our prayers don’t get the answer we’re looking for. Because God is sovereign, He knows all things, He understands all things, He is loving and kind. We are strangers here and our home is not here. So I’m following God and doing what my heartbroken friend is doing, trusting that God will work all things together for good to those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes, as stated in Romans 8:28. God gives me free choice. I choose to follow Him and not the enemy of my soul, whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy. Spiritual realities are beyond my full understanding, but what I’ve been able to grasp keeps me holding on to God and intending to overcome to the end. I hope you will join me in this journey called life, following Jesus Christ, God the Son, the Savior offered to everyone in the world. God bless you, fellow sojourners.

Dinner with Friends

Have you ever been overwhelmed with life? Sometimes I get down because of hearing of trials others are going through, along with my own stresses. Some months ago my husband committed to attending a dinner function with friends of ours one night per month. I balked. One requirement was to bring a dish to pass, sometimes the main entree, and I felt exhausted from all that I do already. He told me fine, I could stay home and he would go.

He knows me well. I am an extrovert. There’s no way I am going to want to miss out on a gathering of friends and time with him in a fun atmosphere. Besides that he told me he needed it and he thought it would be good for me, too. So I reluctantly agreed. After we got there, they asked me to start bringing my guitar. Oh brother, another responsibility. I found it hard to say no.

The last two months, I’ve felt stretched almost to the breaking point. After composing myself at home and praying like crazy, I’ve gone. Once there, we pray for dinner and eat good food. We talk and laugh. A couple of the men kid around with such good natured fun, I can’t help but join in with the jokes and the story telling. Then another guy and I play guitar so everybody can sing to the Lord. We then have a devotional from one of the attendees. It is amazing how much better I feel emotionally and spiritually after these few hours of camaraderie. Plus I’m learning new songs and to play guitar better since he’s at a higher level of proficiency.

After one of the evenings, I told my husband what a blessing it is to attend these dinners. “I knew it would be good for you.”

He’s right so many times when we have disagreements. Whenever he reminds me that he was right, there’s always a twinkle of play and love in his eyes. All I know is that I thank God that He directs my paths, and sometimes it’s with a little push from my husband.