Monday, January 16, 2017

Serving Two Masters

One of my favorite quotes is from John Green. He said:

Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.
Most authors write their first book in relative isolation. No one has yet read their work and they are (usually) not writing to an audience. Also, at this point, while some may dream of becoming best-selling authors, the first book is not written with that in mind. The writer usually writes because he/she has a story to tell.

Neither the hope of success nor the fear of failure guides their first writings. 

Yet what if they fail? Since you have heard the stories, there’s no need to tell of those who never succeeded in their lives and died in poverty only to have their books read and revered after their passing. 

Geniuses are often overlooked by their own generation. Folks during their lives probably saw, or see, them as a little bonkers. It’s only after their deaths that perspective can be gained.

Many geniuses, feeling rejected, give up and quit writing or painting or preaching. They often feel misunderstood—but perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for their gift.

Sometimes it’s a good thing when the world rejects you—as long as you continue working on your gift. 

For success changes you, sometimes making you arrogant, sometimes making you afraid (how can I repeat that success?), and sometimes forcing you into isolation (think Harper Lee). Rarely does success actually make you better. It is our struggles and trials that shape and form us. If all was easy, we would have no stories.

 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~Matthew 6:24

Serving God means using our talents to the fullest without focusing on either success or failure.

It's difficult to do until we realize our responsibility is to our gift and making it the best.

Always, no matter the outcome.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Year(s) and Words

This past year, 2016, has been a very difficult year. With each new difficulty, the seed of bitterness has grown until I've reached the point of morphing into the old man who yells at the kids,

"Get off my lawn." 

Only it's not kids but others in my life.

When I first became a Christian, I took Ephesians 4 to heart. It begins with these three verses:

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

(You know, do the adulting thing all of us should be striving for.) And it ends with:

 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Yes, it says let all bitterness be put away. The bitterness has not developed overnight and not all during this year. It's insidious, creeping and growing like poison ivy, until your heart is entangled, and you're not sure how to begin the removal process.

But begin I must. And I have. I am especially focusing on this verse: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

It's a work in progress and will not be completed until I'm called home. 

And as I struggle with my talk, please remember to bear with me in love, as I will with you!  May we all be kind to one another!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My Work in Progress--Title Change

I haven't made much progress since my last post. However, I did decide to change the title of the book. The original title was Rootless. It didn't have the right sound, perhaps because it sounds a little like "ruthless." 

After pondering a bit, I changed the title to Uprooted. This, of course, led to a new book cover, and that in turn, led me to tweaking the first cover of the series. 

This is what I've come up with: 

The tweaked cover for Frail Branch...

And the cover for book 2 of the series...

I've written the first chapter and plan to begin chapter two tomorrow, Lord willing.