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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ruined Also

I have been following Scribing the Journey, Duane Scott’s blog. He recently made a trip to Haiti. And, yes, his words are heart breaking.

Often we wonder, “What can we do?” And I’m not sure. But the other day I had an awakening—a moment that stopped me in my tracks.

We were watching a Christian movie that dealt with some serious issues, and I was bemoaning the fact that the plotline was full of holes. My son said, “Why don’t you write a better one?”

I answered my son that it would destroy me. Destroy the coldness

As I was writing in my journal the other day about my work in progress, I started to say “as I watched the scene” instead of “as I wrote the scene.” You see, when I write, I am living the scene. I am feeling the pain. I am an emotional wreck.

Can I write stories that delve into the darkest recesses of people’s minds, feeling the horror, the pain, the distress? I don’t know. I don’t know if I have the emotional strength or the talent or the clarity of mind to do so.

Duane Scott went to Haiti. He came back ruined.  Am I a true servant of God, willing to go through all to serve other? Listen to Paul: As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.~2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Perhaps I can say with Paul, Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.~2 Corinthians 4:1, even though I am simply a jar of clay, fragile, breakable. Perhaps it is my ministry to write the hard things. Perhaps I will be ruined also, but that may well be a good thing.

For it is only when we’re ruined in this life that we’re fit for the next.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And Still Working


Still Working on Book Cover

I said I didn't have time to work on the cover but I'm thinking over some of my revisions and decided to work it. I'm not sure if I'm 100% satisfied but this is better, I think. I'll probably shrink the horse and make Sarah Jane's picture bigger. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trailer for Clothed In Thunder

I had to reupload the trailer since the first version would not play to the end. Sorry!

Hopefully, this one will play correctly. Cool thing is that most of the pictures are of my family--my mother, aunts, brother, and my son. Of course, Sarah Jane is still a picture of my granddaughter!

Here it is:

Friday, October 26, 2012

I've been working on the book cover on the left. The book will be published on November 15th, Lord willing!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Being Wowed

It is so exciting to be writing something, and something pops into your head, seemingly out of nowhere. And it's not new with me--that's where this idea of a muse came from. Not sure what a muse is, but when you write something so...so different than your normal writing, that makes you step back and say, "Wow, where did that come from?",that is what makes writing exciting and interesting. Now, this is not to say that my writing is exciting or great. I'm only saying that sometimes it "wows" me because I know it is more than me. It may not wow you, and that's okay. As I've said before, I'm not sure how this Christian writing thing works. Just as we do not know how the Holy Spirit works. I do know I have to do my best and, somehow, these things happen that make me somehow write better than me. And that earns a wow even if "better than me" is not all that great.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our Educational System Is a Festering Wound

apple1Our educational system is badly in need of an overhaul. The “fixes” now being implemented are like putting a bandage on a festering wound.

Many wonder why intelligent people are not attracted to the educational field. We’ve all heard the saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” That, of course, is not entirely true. Some are called to teach by a desire to help others. And it is not by increasing teacher salaries that is the answer. I have a quote somewhere that says professions are not worth pursuing if money is the object. Higher salaries will not attract the best into teaching. Listen to this report (emphasis mine):

A professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota today buttressed previous findings that the most important determinant of job satisfaction is ''work autonomy,'' or the degree to which employees feel they can make their own decisions and influence what happens on the job.

But the researcher, Dr. Jeylan T. Mortimer, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said she had also found, in sharp contrast to most previous research, that income had no significant independent effect on job satisfaction. People earning high incomes typically enjoy the most autonomy on the job, she said, which tends to make them happy. But if one looks at individuals who have equally autonomous jobs, she said, then they appear equally happy with those jobs, regardless of any income disparities among them. ~Satisfaction on the Job

A higher purpose must pull people into teaching.

Unfortunately, the higher purpose or purposes have been, or, are being destroyed. The ability for teachers to make their own decisions, to be autonomous, has been taken away from them. This is going to lead to “burned out” teachers who will leave the profession in droves.

Teachers are now being forced to teach exactly the same. Yes, that saddens me and I see a future with creativity stomped into the ground.

Sadly, our schools have placed knowledge first, teaching so that students do well on standardized tests. And it is to our detriment. The wound continues to fester and the infection grows until one day it can no longer be ignored. By that time, will it be too late? Or, is it already too late?

Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Let’s fight to give teachers back the ability to use their imaginations. For it is only through imagination that teachers will be able to soar to new heights, and, in the process, allow students to soar also.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Here's a video I did for Readers' Realm November's Contest--Best Book Blurb. If you have 30 seconds, please check it out!




I'm learning a little about my writing style. I think I'm a little like Jack, becoming a little manic as I write.

Hopefully I'm accomplishing more than typing  "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" thousands of times.

Bipolar may describe me. Right now I'm in the manic stage, trying so desperately to get this book written. I yelled at my grandsons. (Note to self: Do not try to work when grandkids are visiting.) I've always wondered how people with children were able to write. Do they remain serene when others disturb them? Not me, I turn into Jack.

Okay--so, probably the best thing to do would be hole up in a hotel room for a few weeks until I get my book done.

Wait--isn't that what Jack did? On second thought, if anyone decides to give me a nice, quiet place to stay, please keep family and friends away. And small animals.

Otherwise, things may get ugly!

*Of course I'm trying to be funny. Just wanted to make that clear. It has nothing to do with the fact that Carl hid all the sharp things in the house...

**That too was an attempt at humor. I'll let you know if I start seeing twin girls.... 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Courage Angers Others

MP900438847Yes, it is sad, but true. When we are courageous, it makes others feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they see their own inadequacies. An example of this can be found in the story of David and Goliath.

Even young children are familiar with the story. As soon as David saw Goliath, he was ready to fight. He could not understand the reluctance of others and cajoled them.

His brother turns on him in anger. Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”        ~1 Samuel 17:28

People do not like to be told, whether directly or indirectly, that they are not trusting God.

Many times we let the naysayers win. We let our own fears manifest—and often it is simply the fear of ridicule. We turn our backs on our Goliaths, thinking  we are foolish to believe we can prevail.

Yet, who would ever have thought David would prevail? His brothers? The other soldiers? The Philistines? Goliath? Saul?

Picture Saul. He is desperate. He puts armor on David to prepare him for battle. David shrugs it off. Saul had to be thinking, “We’re sunk.”

However, David did not need the armor of Saul, just as we do not need the trappings of this world to succeed. We do not need beauty, or wealth, or education. God uses the weak, the common--in this case, a young teen who used a common stone in his common slingshot. Through our weaknesses, God shines all the brighter.

And what happens next? When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. ~1 Samuel 17:51-52

David’s courage routed the enemy and rallied the troops. Just as our courage can do. We must rely on God and know that it is God who gives us the victory. If we stand firm against the naysayers, if we trust God’s power, if we are unafraid to use the common, we can prevail. The courage to stand up for right gives others courage.

No matter who we anger, let’s be courageous. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Live Without Fear

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.~2 Timothy 1:6-7

I read an interesting quote from Neil Gaiman. He said: The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.)

Have you wondered how it is that some people get away or even applauded for outrageous fashion trends while others are ridiculed? Could Gaiman have pinpointed the reason? “Do it with enough assurance and confidence.” We, and especially teens, worry so much over what others think. They want to be accepted--sometimes to the point of squelching their own unique personalities.

I also recently read, and I don’t remember where, that school children were lined up and forced to conform as if they were prisoners. I can understand why since I taught for nineteen years. Some children would be so disruptive that you could not manage such a large group unless you forced them into conformity (or had the disruptive students removed).

As many know, I quit teaching because of health problems. What some may not know is that I taught for eighteen of those years in constant pain and also with fatigue as a companion. I could have continued teaching if I had “imprisoned” my students--not allowing so much as a peep from them. But that’s not what I wanted nor was it what they deserved. Each student deserved to be heard and acknowledged. I know I did not do that as well as I should have (and may I apologize to any of my former students).

Each child deserves to be the person God created them to be, without the stifling effects of peer pressure, parental pressure, or any authoritative pressure.

A quote I’m sure you’ve heard before:

“Dance as though no one is watching you,

Love as though you have never been hurt before,

Sing as though no one can hear you,

Live as though heaven is on earth.” 
~Alfred D. Souza

In other words, live without fear! May all children be allowed to do so!