Whatchya Readin’?

Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by Judith P. Abrahamsen
Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by Judith P. Abrahamsen

As I think about the books in my TBR pile, I am overwhelmed. So many books, so little time!! I enjoy an array of books. Everything from romance to self help. Some of the books I really am looking forward to reading are not new releases, but books that are in my TBP (to be purchased) pile as I have not purchased a fiction book in a really long time. I think I’m going through withdrawal! So here’s my TBP and TBR list:

 

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd -TBP

The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah Ladd -TBP

Mark of the Lion Series (3) by Francine Rivers -TBR

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers -TBP

Song of Acadia Series (5) by Janette Oke -TBR

Jaded by Varina Denman -TBP

Justified by Varina Denman -TBP

It’s not long but certainly gives me enough to get me through the rest of the summer! As you can see I’ve got a total of about 12 books and that’s just scratching the surface!

 

Question: What are you reading this summer?

Summer!

 

Summer. It’s a time of love, laughter and fun. For me it is a nostalgic time in my childhood. Being military we traveled so much and that was great. I wouldn’t change it for anything. But what made all the moving great was the summers. Because every summer we would come home to grandma’s. And we’d stay for three months. We’d play in the rice field, ride the four-wheeler (it was actually a three-wheeler back then), play hide and seek in the farm machinery (it’s a wonder we never got hurt) and spend our days outside in the hot Arkansas sun.

Then we’d come inside for some of grandma’s good home cooking straight from the garden. I remember creamed corn, green beans, fresh sliced tomatoes with a juicy roast. She’d top our bellies off with a homemade strawberry shortcake and coffee (I know, I started drinking young ;).

Then our family cleared the dinner table, helped mom with the dishes (begrudgingly) and pulled out the cards. Spades, Hand and Foot (similar to canasta), Nerts, etc. We would even throw in some dominoes or yahtzee now and again.

While it isn’t anything spectacular, it’s what summer means to me.

3P’s of Writing

3P's of Writing

Writing. It’s so easy yet so hard. My writing process is a bit of a mix. I call it the 3P’s of Writing. Praying, Pantsing, and Plotting.

Prayer is an essential part of the writing process for me. I’m a left brain thinker. Which means I’m organized, structured, keep good notes, don’t over commit and don’t under commit. This is a great way to live life, but as a writer it stunts the artistic side. I easily get caught up in editing, structure and social media more than the writing.

So before I write I pray.

I’m so left brained, God has to activate the right side when He needs me to use it 😉

When the good Lord puts a book on my heart He gives me the basic concept of the book, ie: Transformation, Loving Like Jesus, Prayer, etc. Each day I read in whatever spiritual growth book I’m currently reading, I check out the daily Jesus Calling devotion and I journal my prayer. As I meditate, listen to podcasts and pray throughout my days, the Lord puts the book on my heart. One chapter at a time. Most often He gives me a new chapter heading and the rest stems from that one title. This is the pantsing part of my process.

Just today I felt stuck. I needed an example of someone is scripture to visually provide the concept I was trying to get across. A real life example of what the concept looks like. I’ve been struggling with this particular part of my book for a while now. I woke up this morning and went through my routine. Then the Lord gave me exactly the example I needed. While I’ve yet to write it out, I make my notes and keep trekking along, one chapter at a time.

Since I’ve lately been writing non-fiction this works for me.

I just let God lead.

While I don’t know how or when the book will be finished, God does and His story I’m telling anyway, right? So while there are times this particular process is frustrating it works and it’s all to His glory.

The plotting comes at the end. As I generate my table of contents based on my chapter headings, I look at all of the them and determine the order in which they should go. Looking for a beginning, middle and end to bring about a full life cycle concept of the book I’m writing. Then I go back through the finished product and rearrange it to fit my table of contents and proposal outlines.

It sounds a bit backwards, but it works for me and that’s all that counts. If you are stuck in your writing journey try using the 3P’s of writing and see how it works for you!

 

Question: Can you relate to the 3P’s of writing or does it bring about more confusion?

Joy Among Circumstance


Joy. It’s a small simple word. As one living with chronic illness and pain it is hard to come by. Paul tells us to have joy in tribulations, but it just isn’t that simple. Everything I do causes physical and often times emotional pain. Cooking lunch, grocery shopping, cleaning house, washing laundry, pretty much any physical activity causes me pain. And it is hard to see the good in pain, especially when the pain is constant.

I have to look for the silver lining.

As I journey through life, I do the things that are necessary for survival and pray for God to help me find that silver lining.

Joy can be stolen, squandered or overlooked.

I have to choose to see it. Many times bitterness takes root in my heart instead of joy. When that first bit of resentment sets in, my red flags go off and I have to pray for a willing heart. One that will find the joy. Otherwise resentment takes root and produces bitterness.

As you journey through this week regardless of your circumstances, I pray you can find joy in the chaos.

 

Question: How do you find joy in the pain?

Pets…Say What?

Pets...Say What 06-04-15

I gotta be honest, I am SO not an animal person. I don’t get warm fuzzies when I see them. I don’t start talking in a baby voice when I interact with them. And for me, they are simply one more thing to take care of.

One of the few animals I do have an affinity for are chickenS! They pretty much do their own thing. They are nature’s garbage disposal, lay eggs and provide meat. While I must feed them and clean out the coop I can see purpose in it because they provide the eggs and meat for my family.

I love to live off the land and it takes animals to do that well. I grow my own vegetables and raise my own eggs and meat. Ideally, I’d love to get a horse as an alternate means of transportation. So while I don’t really understand the reason for pets, I can get on board with animals that work well in the cycle of life.

I believe God designed animals to meet our needs and for us to meet theirs. While I don’t have an affinity for dogs or cats I can appreciate that they provide companionship for many people. I believe all the animals were made for a purpose and God is magnificent in His grand design.

People and animals meet each others needs in different ways and that’s the beauty and perfection of our Creator.

Question: What animals do you have an affinity for?

Missing the Beat

Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by waider
Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by waider

I am a music virgin. Ask any of my family. When a great song comes on the radio I’m oblivious to it. If an old classic song comes on the radio I won’t know what song it is until the chorus. My family knows the song, the artist and what year it came out after the first note.

Don’t get me wrong, I like music. I listen to contemporary Christian, some early to mid 90’s and even some hit 80’s, but very few songs resonate with me. My daughter claims a line from Dirty Dancing (though she’s never seen it), “You’ve got to feel the music.”

“What? I don’t know what that means.”

Yep. That’s me. My body doesn’t want to move to the music. My heart doesn’t want to sing along. I have very little emotional reaction to songs. I think I’m broken.

The only way I truly have a connection to music is if it’s been in a movie. When I can associate it with the moment in Dirty Dancing when “nobody puts Baby in a corner” or that moment when Jenny from 13 going on 30 realizes “love is a battlefield” then I’m all in. Even instrumental music I like if it’s that moment when Harry Potter kills Voldemort or Jurassic Park has finally closed.

Should I be shocked that when I looked through my music 75% of them were soundtracks?

I’ve never been to a concert because they seem to loud. I don’t like “live” versions of music because the crowd ruins the original song. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I’m sure something is…Tell me what I’m missing!

The Simple Life

I often tell people I was born in the wrong era. At my core, I want to live a simple life. In this fast paced world of technology I often think back to life prior to the 1900’s. I know I’d have to function without the modern conveniences of air conditioning, washers and dryers and even cars, but simple living speaks to my soul. What was it like reading by candlelight? What was it like driving a horse and buggy?

The thought of working and living off what we build feeds my soul. And so does gardening. It is as close as I can come to living the life I want, in the era God placed me in. A couple of years ago my husband and I moved to the country. While it’s only three acres, it’s plenty for me to maintain.

We have been working the land gradually. Just this year we planted a strawberry patch,

Strawberry Plant

a couple of bluebBlueberry Busherry bushes,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuji Apple Tree

 

 

even planted an apple tree!

 

 

 

 

 

Garden

My husband tilled the garden up and thanks to my father-in-law, I planted more vegetables than I intended.

 

I’ve yet to see the fruits of my labor and probably won’t for several more years as I’ve learned much about pruning for optimal fruit production, but every time I see the growth, I’m reminded of how good God is. Now I can’t wait to bite into a good homegrown tomato and can the rest for winter!

In the next few months we are going a step further and getting chickenS! I’m SUPER excited about that!

 

Interview of a Lifetime

Photo Credit by: www.freeimages.com
Photo Credit by: www.freeimages.com

If I could interview one person about the book they wrote I’d shoot for the stars. In my opinion there’s only one BEST SELLING AUTHOR of all time. I’d like to talk to the maker of this universe and ask Him a few things about the book He wrote. Some parts of the Bible are so cryptic while other parts are simply stated. My questions to the Almighty are these:

Lowly Me: Many times in scripture You tell us what to do, but not necessarily how to do it. Why didn’t you just tell us how?

Heavenly Lord:  Because I want you to trust me. I told you what to do, but you must lean on me daily to receive my instruction. Once you trust me with your heart, I will guide your steps each and every day. I just want you to obey. Once you obey I’ll give you next step.

Lowly Me:  Why did you write through so many different people?

Heavenly Lord:  Everyone has a different story with much pain and hardship. All cannot relate to one. So I chose humble willing spirits, like Moses, Luke, and Paul to write their journeys and the journeys of others, so those that read, know they are not alone. Others understand their pain and their struggle, especially my son. I chose people who could tell His story as I couldn’t bear to be apart from Him any longer than necessary, so once He accomplished my will, I brought Him home.

Lowly Me:  I know how this story ends, but can you give me a little bit of a spoiler as to when Jesus will return?

Heavenly Lord:  (Chuckling) Nice try 😉

Perhaps it is audacious for me to anticipate the Lord’s replies, but I felt it was all in good fun!

 

Question: What questions would ask the good Lord Almighty if given the chance?

The Scar Jesus Bore

Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by SCapture
Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by SCapture

Scars. They no longer hurt, but remind of us the pain we once endured. Some are thin and shallow, others thick and deep. The deeper the pain the more prevalent the scar. While Jesus has three major scars, one on each hand and one on his feet, I have many. Most of mine run deep and a couple was life threatening, but I can’t imagine how deep the scars of Christ run.

His scars carry the pain of everyone in the world. His scars have a name for each and every person his sacrifice bore.

His scars carry my name. And yours.

As I think about the scars and pain Jesus endured for you and me I can’t help but think about finally seeing Him face to face. I imagine a quiet cove somewhere in Heaven where He and I just sit and talk.

The cool breeze ruffles our hair and the sun’s rays warm our skin. He shows me the scars on his back and points to the one with my name. My eyes gaze upon the surface of his skin as I follow the length of the scar with my finger. Tears stream from my face as the reality of my sin becomes clear.

He reaches up and wipes away my tears and says, “You were worth it.”

I can’t imagine a more tender loving conversation with my father, my friend and savior. Remember the scars He bore for you as you walk through life. Remember we each have a scar with our name on it. Remember He loves you…no matter what.

 

Question: Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you accepted His scar for you?

Lessons from The Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings 03-25-15

The Lord of the Rings is a classic. So many life lessons can be learned from examining just one of the many characters in these novels.

The greatest lesson I have learned is that through Jesus, I’m capable of more than I thought. Just like Frodo, God calls us to take many journeys. Journeys full of danger, pain, sorrow, and maybe even death. Most often we don’t feel qualified or capable. Like Frodo, parts of the journey become too hard to bear and we contemplate bailing.

The sacrifice is too much and sorrow surrounds us immobilizing our efforts. We cry, we ask God why He chose us for such a task. We ask Him to pass this cup from us because we can’t possibly see the outcome as favorable. We realize we may not survive. But He speaks across our hearts whispering to do His will and go with Him. He promises to be with us and carry our burden when it’s too much to bear.

He is our Samwise Gamgee.

And though we cannot see it, this journey will create hope and healing for the great many people. Many will come to Christ through Jesus if we accept the journey from Him. So don’t be afraid to be used. Be honored and know that whatever journey God calls you take, He will make you capable through Jesus.

Question: Has God sent you on a journey you’ve been reluctant to accept?