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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Journeys of the Empty Nest - Part One

He shielded him and cared for him;
    he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
    and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
    and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him.

Deuteronomy 32:10b-12a

It's been over two weeks since my son left for boot camp with the United States Navy, making myself and my husband officially empty nesters. The time up until the past day or so has been pretty full. I attended a writing conference and returned home to a flurry of activities that kept me busy each day, so much so that I hadn't had a whole lot of time to think beyond just that day's activities.

Now as things begin to calm down and I try and get used to a quiet house during the day, I find myself thinking about this next stage in my life. I know that God has great things in store for this era, even though I don't have a full idea what or how it will look like yet. Writing full time will definitely be a part of this new stage, but I can't help but feel God is prompting me to something else too. I have no clue what that is just yet, but I trust Him to reveal it when the time is right.

I just got back from a short walk around my neighborhood on this beautiful Fall day. I prayed as I enjoyed the splendor all around me. I prayed for wisdom and direction as I enter this whole new world of having an empty nest. After 22 years of stay at home mothering and homeschooling, I find myself a bit unsettled. As I sought the Lord, I felt Him prompting me to seek Him for just one goal to accomplish each day and to do it with all my heart. I'd love for Him to show me the big picture and have it all set before me to see, but for now He is asking me each day to look to Him for that 'one thing' He has for me to do.

What is He asking you to do?
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Sting

The sting of rejection. It's something that every writer faces at some point in their career, often multiple times. It comes in many forms - not achieving a position in a contest we entered, having an editor not interested in our work perhaps even after multiple revisions, rejection from the agent we were hoping to interest to represent us and our work, or a reader who didn't like the story we wrote, bad reviews, etc.

There are a myriad of ways that we face rejection as a writer. Each time we experience a situation where things don't go the way we had hoped, we experience that sting, pain and hurt. Satan would love for us to wallow in the pain and even contemplate why we are even writing in the first place.

Yesterday as I spoke with two writer friends who had just faced 'the sting', I was reminded of how this concept relates to our life in Christ. There are many times when we face pain, hurt, disappointments, something our Lord and Savior experienced while He lived on this earth too. I don't think we'll ever not deal with the initial 'sting', but the key is what we do with it from there. Do we choose to wallow in our hurt, or do we trust that God has something better in store for us and keep moving toward that goal? Do we walk in faith even when we can't see what is ahead?

My prayer is that I will walk by faith not by sight when I face tough times. How do you respond when disappointments come your way?


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stitches Thru Time

Launching in less than two days. - Thursday, August 1st at 12 AM.

Stitches Thru Time - a blog of 25 Christian writers.

http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Time to Rest

The past two months have been incredibly busy with writing my second novel in the current historical romance series I'm working on. The first draft is completed. I went back and added an additional 5,000 words to book one. Now it's time for a short time of rest.

There are always things that still need to be accomplished: my never ending 'to do' list with maintaining a home, keeping up with writing assignments - for my column with Home School Enrichment magazine as well as a writing course I'm taking, figuring out platform and marketing, etc.

For now, I'm enjoying the brief respite from writing. It is something I love doing, but it also takes a lot out of me too. The next few weeks I look forward to some special times with my son before he heads out for boot camp with the U. S. Navy.

What kinds of thing do you enjoy doing after a long day, week, month of working? How do you find rest in the midst of busy days?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Waves of Grace - A Single Act of Obedience Part Two

"And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." John 1:16

I read this verse on Monday, May 6th. I was struck by the waves of grace God continually pours upon us. Often we are too busy to notice them. Perhaps I'm a little more attune to it since I've been reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book, Choose Gratitude. I've been learning to be more sensitive to identifying what the Lord has been doing in and through my life - to look for His outpouring of grace and how I need to choose to be grateful.

Two things happened that Monday after I read this verse. I was going through emails that had accumulated in my inbox over the weekend. I'm a member of ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers and they have a loop where you can ask questions, make announcements, etc. I get them on digest mode, so it tends to be a long list of emails that came through. Most times I barely peruse them.

On this morning, I was scrolling through the loop email when I noticed one of the notices from the weekend. Linda S. Glaz was offering a contest on her blog to look at book pitches in preparation for upcoming writing conferences and the winner would receive a full proposal critique. (Funny I missed that at the time and thought it was only a first chapter critique). I read through the announcement and realized that the contest was over. My first initial thought was, "Oh well. Too bad I didn't see it sooner."

But I couldn't get away from thinking about it. I felt prompted to contact Linda even though the deadline was already over. I did and sure enough, it was too late. (It wasn't until after I sent that first email that I realized Linda wasn't just an author, she also was an agent.) She did offer to still look at my pitch. This was on Monday evening. I debated all the next day whether or not I should send it. Finally that afternoon I couldn't get past the overwhelming urge to send it.

Linda emailed back within 20 minutes and loved my pitch. She wanted to see more and asked for the first five pages of my book. I admit to starting to feel a bit panicked at this point. It's when the realization that Linda was an actual agent started to sink in a bit more. While she read I perused the site she represents - Hartline Literary Agency. Honestly, when I looked at all the requirements they had for submitting to them I was overwhelmed.

I prayed, "Lord there is no way I can do something like this. You'll just have to work it out and provide an agent when the time is right because it's not something I can do on my own." It was soon after my prayer that Linda corresponded again wanting to see more of my novel - the whole thing - providing I wasn't already represented by someone.

Again with much prayer I emailed her my whole manuscript, seeking God for His wisdom. His timing. She responded back hours later offering to represent me.

God opened a writing door when I wasn't even expecting it. Not only did He provide an agent when I wasn't looking for one, He also allowed me to make it to the semi-final round with the ACFW Genesis contest. Only He knows what the future holds.

A single act of obedience provided an open door.

Waves of grace - grace upon grace.

His will. His timing.

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Address

If you are looking for my blog at this address:

http://encouragingwordsforchristianwriters.blogspot.com

It has moved to this address:

http://shininggodslightthroughhistory.blogspot.com

Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you will stop by for a visit.

Blessings

It's been a week since I received the call telling me I am a semi-finalist with the 2013 ACFW Genesis contest. I am blessed beyond measure. God continues to send wave upon wave of His grace upon my life. He gets all the glory and praise.


In what ways has God blessed your life?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Learning in Colorado

As I write this I'm in the state of Colorado, in Manitou Springs, on a snowy, beautiful day. It's breathtaking to be up close with the snow covered mountains, and Pike's Peak in easy view. Well, Pike's Peak isn't exactly visible with the clouds hovering at the peaks right now. :) I prayed for it to snow while I was here.

I've been here since Wednesday and will be leaving tomorrow afternoon. I've had the opportunity for fellowship, learning and stretching through a writer's conference/residency. A good bit of the material I was already familiar with, but I've learned some exciting things this past day that will help my future writing career. I'm blessed by the opportunity I had to participate.

I love the many different ways that God provides opportunities for learning and growth each day. Sometimes we aren't as excited about the path He puts us on. It may be painful or riddled with complications and stress, but He always knows what is best for us.

When I return home I know there will be many things demanding my attention again. But I praise Him for the opportunity for growth and learning and a respite from things for a short time. I pray that God will use the things I've learned as He continues to guide me along this writing path.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stepping Past Fear

Writing can be a difficult thing. I think a lot of writers struggle with fear and insecurity from time to time. (Please don't tell me I'm the only one!) :) Fear of rejection, insecurity of knowing whether you'll be able to produce material as good/great as you wrote before.... The list can go on and on of ways that Satan tries to discourage us from succeeding in the areas where God has called us - to write for Him.

Each time I sit down at the keyboard to work on my current revisions, I have to remind myself yet again, to not give in to those fears. It's a struggle as I try to get back into my characters of a story I wrote over eight months ago. I have to refresh my memory as I try to craft new scenes to replace ones that need to be rewritten.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:13b-14

Lord, help me to focus on that one thing - straining toward what is ahead, to the goal, to the prize. May I rest in you as I strive toward what you have for me.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Interview Your Characters

I had an interesting writing assignment for a course I've been taking, and didn't think a whole lot about it at first. My lesson was on characterization, and getting to better know the people who will be playing out in the various scenes in my new book. One section of the assignment consisted of interviewing your characters to get them to talk so you get a better understanding of their 'voice' and what motivates them.

I like to write Christian historical romances set in the 1870's in the Midwest. So I pretended I was a reporter of a newly formed newspaper and set to work interviewing my characters. I sat my hero and heroine down at separate times :) and started firing questions at them. I've only written part of the second chapter, so my characters don't really know or like each other yet.

As I interviewed my duo, I was surprised by their answers and what motivates them. Some of it was part of the background that I already had been developing, but some parts surprised even me. If anything, now I have a better feel for my characters, and may even adopt some of what I used in the interview in my actual novel. Next time I get to a part of writing where I'm not sure which way to go, I'll have to pull out my reporter hat and start interrogating again. :)