Stressing Over Books-What’s Up with That?

I’m writing in the library lately to help avoid distractions at home. Because I’m working on a children’s project, I’ve been taking out research materials; too many actually and it’s causing me stress. So, I returned an armful of children’s books, and a writers’ market guide. Then, I checked out picture books that came in from other libraries that were recommended by Ann Whitford Paul in her Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication, copyrighted 2009. Writer’s Digest Books published her book; they are an imprint of F & W Media, Inc., of Cincinnati, OH.

I ended up with six less than I started with, so it’s a beginning. I needed about six of them renewed last week including two young adult novels and the man gave me one week. One week! I thought, he obviously doesn’t realize the library director likes people to take out books to boost her circulation numbers.

So, I scanned two young adult novels and returned them. I read one as soon as I could and returned it four days early. I will be returning magazines today and on the seventh, so that will help as well.

I don’t know why I overdo with books and food and chocolate on occasion, but now I’m reigning them all in. I don’t need self-induced stress. I hope this finds you well!

May God bless you!

Hindrances or Appointments

 

I’ve been north helping with my grandchildren. They all contracted fevers days apart from each other, so time stretched out.

Two nights ago, I asked my daughter if I could borrow her computer so I could blog. It wouldn’t work.

Then, I used my old computer which she has for a back up for her job. That didn’t work either. So much for blogging while I was away.

When I got home, I went straight to a meeting. In the morning, I arose early so my sister could get to the hospital for an operation which got delayed for three hours.

I’ve been reading a book on and off for over a year now. Today worked perfectly to finish it up. Now, I’m highlighting the significant parts of this non-fiction book and working the exercises.

One suggestion the motivational writer said that I read today, “Take care of yourself.”

I’ve noticed that the older I get, when I’m busy writing or babysitting or cleaning, whatever I’m doing, I may not pay attention to changing my position, or using correct posture, drinking enough water, exercising, or grabbing a healthy meal. I appreciated the reminder.

(I found this photo at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/thinking-for-a-change-john-c-maxwell with more letters and symbols for the address on Google.)

Years ago, I read a John Maxwell book entitled, Thinking for a Change, copyrighted in 2003, which I bought. Warner Books, Inc., New York, NY published it.

I thought my husband may like it as well, because he’s studied management principles and applied them to his life for years.

I don’t know if he read it, but I remember John Maxwell saying that he worked hard to achieve goals throughout his life so he neglected taking care of himself.

At that time, he realized he needed to work on his well-being or he’d be sorry. So, he too, recommended paying attention to one’s health.

I love spending time with my grandchildren and my children, but after almost twelve full days together I told my son I hadn’t done any writing and sometimes I feel like time is slipping away. He asked me, “Don’t you think this week with the kids is the best use of your time?”

That stopped me longing for working computers. I began the first book I mentioned while the children slept. So, I did do something else besides cooking, washing dishes, babysitting and laundry. Also, we played games and read books and I got to understand the rhythms of their lives in a way I didn’t comprehend before.

Plus, extended time with my grown children is a rarity, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.

It’s amazing how a well framed question can turn my thoughts in another direction.

My sister’s surgery went well today and she is recovering for a day here unless New York weather gets so bad that the roads get closed down tomorrow. Then she’ll be here for two days. I don’t remember such crazy weather. February had been so warm. I wonder if that’s why so many folks have been sick. Warm spells and then a few days of cold and back to balmy weather. A few years back, we had a warm winter, but it was consistent.

Well, God knows what He’s doing in regards to the climate. He knows what He’s doing in regards to my schedule. I’d been feeling like I needed to play some games and relax. I got to do that with the children.

May God bless you and watch over you and protect you.

A Plan Set in Motion

The rain drops sit on my husband’s windshield as if they’re glued droplets of glass.

I’m in the car waiting for him so we can catch a new action movie at the theater. Of course, I just made a cup of Rooibos tea, so I put it in a travel mug and I’m determined to wait long enough so I don’t burn myself on it.

Even the side windows’ rain drops are defying gravity. Hmm.

Anyway, I set my Life Plan from Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy’s book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want on paper today. The tome is published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI and copyrighted by the authors in 2016.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want  -     By: Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy

(photo from https://www.christianbook.com/living-forward-proven-drifting-life-want/michael-hyatt/9780801018824/pd/018820?product_redirect=1&Ntt=9780801018824&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCG )

I copied the author’s empty ideal week template with Monday – Sunday across the top and time from 5:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. on the left column. I looked in their book at an executive’s schedule which didn’t match my lifestyle. He started about that early. I’ve heard my husband say I don’t even know there’s a 5:30 in the morning. Which I deny vigorously. I’ve been on vacation or headed to a meeting that required me to be in the car by 5:30 a.m. probably three times in my life. 🙂

I digress.

I copied the light green weekly sheet and started to put in my meetings and schedule for work and exercise, etc. My Sunday ended up on a second page and I just realized I never filled that one out, so after I blog I’ll go back to that sheet of paper.

The evening hours suggested family time, reading, planning and I grabbed that idea for me. I’m tired of blogging at 11:00 p.m. and then reading others’ blogs which gets my brain charged up and then I get to bed at 1:00 a.m.

So today, I figured 5:00 p.m. to start preparing a meal, then eating, and then cleanup. Time with family & reading & an early bedtime sounded great. When my husband asked if I wanted to go to a movie, I looked at my plan. Family time, etc. beginning at 5:00. So I said, “Sure.”

I read my Bible earlier in the day, ran some errands. I usually mark my calendar for shopping and stuff on Friday but today I realized that I really do my running around on Tuesdays. So, my ideal week reflected that.

I want more time to write than I planned, but if I’m consistent with what I chose, the words should add up. If my husband has meetings, I can grab pen and legal pad or sit at the computer when he’s away during family time.

I’m looking forward to a more structured life. Even if curveballs come my way, I have a reference point for decision making.

I forgot to schedule hobbies in, my lowest priority. I may have to sneak some time on the weekend.

I’ve been praying for wisdom and today I felt as if God’s Spirit whispered to me, Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, and knock and the door will be opened for you.

What a wonderful God He is!

May God bless you.

What’s Going On?

 

It amazes me what God does for me and for others. I’ve seen so many answers to prayer.

Yet, sometimes it’s the little things that capture my attention and appreciation. There are times when I write or sew at night because I’ve been busy throughout the day. Last night I started to put the stitching across the top of a curtain. I added extra stitches to the end to reinforce it on one side. As I continued, the thread broke. No matter what I tried, the thread kept breaking.

Finally I remembered how I’d had manuscript submissions get stuck because the e-mail account wouldn’t send. After trying everything I knew to do, including getting help from others, I’d give up. Then, I’d notice a typo or realize the article was missing pertinent information. Once I fixed it, I’d attach the piece and then hit send. Off it went to the editor!

So last night I looked closely at the second section of the curtain set. I needed to flip the curtain over to sew the top on the other side. I tore out the stitches that had made it half way across. Then I pinned the fabric the correct way and decided to quit for the night. Somehow I knew my machine would work perfectly today. And so it did.

I moved on to the next window’s fabric and worked on it until I started losing energy. My husband asked a good question, “Isn’t it when you’re tired that you start making mistakes?”

I’d been debating over doing one inch side hems around the circle of the valance and then sewing the top seams for the ruffle and the rod pocket. I may need to remove a few stitches so it lays flat, now that I think about it. Anyway, I decided tomorrow is another day.

If someone doesn’t believe in God, they may think good things happening are only a coincidence. I believe it’s God because in the book of James it says all good things and perfect things come from heaven above, from the Father of lights. (James 1:17)

I believe in God because as a young girl when I first learned of God, it resonated deep within.

Some people believe Jesus was God because others walked and talked with Him and saw Him perform miracles. These “others” went to their deaths instead of recanting their eye witness accounts. Why would anyone die to support a lie?

More Christians are being persecuted for their faith today than ever before.

I believe Satan knows his time is short and he’s fulfilling what Jesus said about him in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come to give life and that abundantly.”

When life gets hard on earth, I find comfort in the Bible with its many promises. My mother-in-law’s favorite Bible verses were in Psalm 91 and I have a friend that tells me she prayed Psalm 91 over me today. That always makes me smile.

Psalm 91 (Webster):

Psa 91:1  He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psa 91:2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Psa 91:3  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

Psa 91:4  He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psa 91:5  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Psa 91:6  Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day.

Psa 91:7  A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Psa 91:8  Only with thy eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Psa 91:9  Because thou hast made the LORD who is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation;

Psa 91:10  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

Psa 91:11  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Psa 91:12  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Psa 91:13  Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Psa 91:14  Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

Psa 91:15  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.

Psa 91:16  With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

May God bless you!

Read a Book or Watch a Game

To Darkness Fled

I finished reading the second book in The Blood of Kings trilogy by Jill Williamson entitled To Darkness Fled. Enclave Publishing, Phoenix, AZ published it in 2010, and Jill Williamson copyrighted it in 2010.

 

Our family got together for Memorial Day Weekend, so I really didn’t get started until Monday night.

 

The twists and turns in that book kept my interest to the very end. Now I’m awaiting Book Three, From Darkness Won.

From Darkness Won

I’ve been doing dishes, getting rid of unimportant papers, doing laundry and making meals.

 

I’m working on a short story for the fiction writing contest “The Christian Communicator” is providing. The June 15 deadline approaches and two stories missed the mark so far. So I brainstormed as I waited for an appointment this morning.

 

Kind of hard to do with the television blaring. America was quieter when I was a kid. In my early years, all television shows were black & white. Offices provided magazines and sometimes a Bible, but never a television set.

 

In eighth grade I went to baseball games with a friend and her family often. Other than the announcer giving facts about the teams and the game, and an occasional organ music song, we sat and listened to the players chatter or a fan may have had the radio tuned to the sports channel and we heard snippets of the same game played out before us.

 

I got so bored sometimes, waiting for some action. We looked at the scoreboard and bought peanuts from the vendor. Sometimes we climbed high up in the bleachers or went to the concession stands. That was the only place televisions showed the game, away from the actual grassy diamond.

 

In recent times I attended a ball game. If there stood any chance of a lull in the game, songs blared from the sound system. Advertisements flashed from the huge digital screens.

 

I don’t remember any stretches of quiet. Not any. It’s almost as if people are afraid to be quiet and to think.

 

Sitting in the midst of all that stimulation rattled me. Maybe because I wasn’t expecting it or maybe it’s because I’m no longer a teenager.

 

Anyway, I’d rather read a book than sit in a crowd of people with all my senses on overload, hoping the decibels aren’t ruining my hearing.

 

Some changes bring joy and convenience. Other changes promise benefits but fail to deliver; it turns into empty noise. I want to be a person that embraces new things and ideas, but discerns the wrong changes for change sake that erodes the quality of life.

 

God bless.

Does TV Make Your Mind Mush?

I visited my son this week and he said he thought he might have lived life a little fuller if he hadn’t watched so many tv shows. I reminded him that I limited his viewing. Then he spouted some statistics which went right over my head.

My husband and I took coaching classes. At one of our first
classes the instructor told us that the brain gets stimulated by the shows and sucks the person right into the viewing mode.

Have you ever thought, “I’ll just watch one more show and then I’ll do the dishes or write for two hours or whatever
pressing need you have to accomplish and then you realize you’ve watched two more programs than you ever intended to do.

What do you do then? Do you rush back to your previous plans? Or do you find yourself all relaxed and find your creativity or work ethic is put on hold?

Any thoughts?

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.

Image result for Marsha Hubler, author

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.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: an Unforgettable American

I’m reading a book called, “Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers” by Jean Fritz, copyright 1994 by Jean Fritz, and published by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s always liked to write. So she started as a young girl. Later in life, when her best friend died, she decided to console the grief-stricken husband. His looks didn’t appeal to her, but she thought highly of him. He was a professor of Biblical Literature.

After many months of trying to get him out of his despondency, they began to enjoy each other’s company. Friendship turned to romance and then they got married without much fuss.

I like to read stories of writers and to read of their choices as they become wordsmiths.  She wrote because she felt a compulsion to write. She wrote to become published when her family needed the money to survive. It’s interesting to note that she was an adept marketer. She sent essays to every magazine she could think of, and she found success enough that she hired a housekeeper for three hours a day so she could write.

When her passion for ending slavery arose, she wrote to influence the nation. People accused her of never having seen slavery, but she knew many people because of her famous father, Lyman Beecher. He preached to thousands of people about their need for a Savior to get into heaven and to avoid the torments of hell. So many people sought their family out, and she would listen to conversations from politicians, Southerners, New Englanders, people from Ohio, New York State, preachers and teachers.

When she heard of slaves being mistreated, her compassion stirred up her emotions, which found release in her pen. She met families that opened their homes to the “Underground Railroad.”

She wanted the country to wake up and see that there were no rights for slaves. She felt outrage. Women didn’t have much influence in her life time. So, writing a novel was the only way she could get her point across. She never expected her book to sell like it did.

I sat with a renowned pastor/teacher at a conference I attended one year for our church body. He wrote a book because he looked for one on his topic of interest and there wasn’t one. So he did a ton of research on the subject and wrote it himself. 🙂

It’s amazing how life can turn around with the right incentives, in a way that a person may never anticipate. I’ll bet if anyone told Harriet Beecher Stowe at age sixteen that some day she would write a book that impacted the world, she probably would have marveled at the idea. She was often overlooked at home and bossed around by her older sister. Yet, the fire in her spirit and the joy of writing, combined to create a life beyond her imagination.

 

Goals and Life Choices

Two days ago, on the demo exercise page, I checked off the blog twice a week box as if it were done. Then for two days I couldn’t seem to get to the computer. I hate writing out goals and then watching them sit, and then writing them over and over again each day. It causes me to begin or delete. Which is not a bad thing, I suppose. It’s just if the delete thing keeps happening, it can get discouraging. So I try to delete in moderation.

Ya know, do all things in moderation. 🙂

I’m reading and writing answers in a Bible study book, “Philippians: Experiencing God’s Peace,” by Elizabeth George. I think I’ve had it for years, but I think the timing is always a God-thing with my books. So I’m learning more about Paul’s life and his admonitions. Follow him as He follows Christ. Jesus Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice for others. Paul did the same. It’s heavy stuff. Given the opportunity, would I lay down my life for another? I hope so.

I’ve also read a few books that I didn’t care for. They were recommended in writing improvement books. Read this book, it’ll help you with characterization. Read that book, it’ll help you with dialogue. In Philippians 4:8 it talks about choosing what to think about. Here’s the American Standard Version: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

One book went back to the library at chapter three. The others were good until the very end, and then I was disappointed.One of the two actually made me mad. It was based in Victorian times, but the moral at the end was very much our times. One of the characters went insane because of controlling their passions. Please.

I’m trying to decide how to live according to Phil 4: 8. Also, Jesus said to be in the world, but not of the world. So, this evening, I got out two library books, one by Davis Bunn and one by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I figure reading Christian authors is not a bad start. I’m not sure I’ll give up secular authors, but tonight I decided to. I guess I’ll research secular authors before I grab their books.

What are you reading lately, anything you want to talk about?

 

September – a Month of Beginnings

I have a five-year old grandson that lives too far away from me. He started kindergarten this Fall. A new beginning for him and his mom. He’s her oldest.

I found an empty DEMO Exercise sheet of paper that asks you to rate everything you want to be, to do, and to have with boxes for a rating from one to ten. There is a spot to rate the benefit to myself and to others, again with a one to ten rating. The items that add up to forty are the ones you’re supposed to do first. Ten for desire, ten for enjoy, ten for benefiting me, ten for benefiting others. The problem is, I tend to have more than one forty, maybe ten or twelve of them. So then I rank them by alphabet with a number to follow. A1 is my first priority, A2 second, etc. I go as far as D and then I quit. So if I’m on a to-be item number twenty-eight and realize that it’s really important to me, I’ll make it an A1.5. It can get confusing. 🙂

The good news is that it works for me. I may not stick to it perfectly. I cleaned my refrigerator the other day, which was my A1. Yes, because I’d been avoiding that chore. The next thing I know I’m mopping floors, which was an A7, because all my life, when I clean the refrigerator, I mop the floors because I always spill water or get crumbs on the floor. I’m happy to note that blog two times a week is an A2.5, and so far so good, I think.

My husband has a hard time with goal setting he tells me. My DEMO Exercise list has thirty-six items on it and covers all of my life, although I think I missed one. Something is niggling at the back of my mind. I include vacation ideas, writing ideas, hobbies, etc. I notice I’m getting more done than I have in a while, because I forgot about these DEMO sheets, which are no longer being manufactured in Rochester, NY. Probably because everyone uses far less paper. Now that I remembered, I decided to fill one out and voila’, it’s helping me focus. Yay! So I decided to make my version on my computer.

I missed out on some fun on Saturday because I was mopping feverishly, trying to be on time. I told one of the ladies that I may not make it because I had a long list of things to do. A few of my friends never would have made plans in the first place if the house needed attention. We’re such individuals, aren’t we? This mopping instead of joining friends is a real answer to prayer. I have too many opportunities to visit with people or to set my own hours, and if I always choose the fun, things get left undone. Then I suffer, my husband suffers, and it impacts others. I’m only there half-halfheartedly, with a weight around my spirit.   It’s taken me a long time to realize this; sad but true. So September is an eye opener for me practically speaking and spiritually. I feel God wants me to take some time and sit quietly with Him to do some introspection. He wants me to make some changes for good that may not be easy, but definitely worth the effort. Whatever I do that lines up with His word always enriches my life. It may stretch me like crazy, but if I feel He’s telling me to do something, He always helps me.

When my husband became a pastor and we moved to another town, a friend gave me a plaque that reads, “The Grace of God will enable you to be what He made you to be and do what He has called you to do.” There’s a Scripture quotation on the bottom, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Do you sense God calling you to step out of your comfort zone? How are you doing with that? Has September brought you beginnings you want to write about?