"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Story of Your Heart

You know that story, the one that’s sat in the back of your mind for months, maybe years? The one that you have no trouble summoning up passion for, the one you’re excited to write, the one you are determined to breathe life into before you die?

The one that you’ve been told will be a hard sell. Not marketable. The one no one will want to take on.

And so the timeless question arises: write what’s on your heart, or write what sells? I’ve read many articles and blog posts discussing this very question. Most of the answers revolve around the idea that writers can only write well when they write what they’re passionate about—when they write what’s on their heart.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Why then, am I hesitating?

 As I begin to write my third manuscript, I’m tempted to write what others may consider an “easier sell.” But I can’t get excited about any such ideas. It’s that story, again. The one that’s begging to be written.

And yet if I were any kind of a skilled writer, wouldn’t I be able to suck it up and get passionate about an easy sell? Come up with some grand new ideas that are more marketable?

Can you tell I’m confused? Please, I’d love to know about your past experiences regarding this matter. Advice welcome!

photo credit: flickr

Friday, February 24, 2012

Short and Sweet Friday: CHRIST, MESSIAH

The kids are on vacation this week and I'm running around like crazy. I even found myself in the X-ray room at the local children's hospital this week! Thanking God that everything is fine and that I found time to meditate on this week's study in Ann Spangler's Praying the Names of Jesus.

This week brought my attention to two names. CHRIST and MESSIAH. They both mean the same thing. "Anointed one." Someone set apart for a special purpose.

In this week's study, Ann Spangler writes that the first Christians thought of Jesus "as Israel's Messiah, he was the greatest of all kings, the one called and empowered to destroy God's enemies and extend his kingdom throughout the earth. His mission was to put an end to our deepest troubles--to rebellion, sin, and death."

The study had me reading many prophecies from Psalms and Isaiah that I haven't read in some time. Wow! How quickly I forget how Jesus' fingerprint is on every book of the Bible, how God's amazing plan points to the One who gives, and is, all-encompassing grace. Jesus.

If your curious or you just want that precious reminder, read Psalm 22, Isaiah 52, 53. I pray that God refreshes your spirit this weekend!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Last Embrace

Do you remember the last time you picked up your child and hugged them? For my seven-year-old, James, these types of embraces are coming to an end. After supper last night I picked him up to give him a hug and—oops—I couldn’t…quite…lift him…up there. It hit me then. Soon he’s going to be too big for me to scoop up and cuddle in a smothering hug. Soon he may not even want me to. Soon we’ll have our last embrace of this sort.

But not yet.

Summoning up my muscle strength and coaxing James to jump up to give us some momentum, I clutched him tightly and closed my eyes, commanding all my five senses to memorize the moment, to etch it forever on the tablet of my heart. For soon there will be no more of these.

Author Karen Kingsbury writes of “lasts” in her book Let Me Hold You Longer. We always celebrate “firsts” because they’re easily marked. First birthdays, first t-ball games, first day of school, first time a son brings his mother wildflowers, and so on. But what of the lasts? They usually end up blurring somewhere in the business of life. A last in a rocking chair with a blanket, a last pb&j sandwich cut in tiny squares, a last midday nap, a last pitter-patter of feet to see that exciting trash truck, a last pillow fight…a last embrace.

No one can stop the progression of life, but we can enjoy these times a bit more. As Karen suggests, hold them longer. And so that’s what I did last night in the middle of my kitchen. Held James longer.

Do you have any favorite “lasts” with your children or loved ones?

And for Karen Kingsbury’s Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage, click here.

*photos by flickr

Friday, February 17, 2012

Short and Sweet Friday: PRINCE OF PEACE

This week, Ann Spangler walked me through some scriptures regarding Jesus as our ultimate peace.

Ann writes, "Peace is meant to be a shield, guarding us against the onslaught of anxiety and fear that stands ready to attack our faith and erode our confidence in God."

This peace is independent of our circumstances. In fact, one of the themes of my current manuscript centers on intimacy and peace with God in the midst of suffering. Yet this doesn't always come easy, especially in real life. When I find that I'm putting other things, other desires, before God, I am almost always robbed of true peace. That's when I need to remember and rest in this fact: Jesus does not want to just grant my deepest wish, he wants to become my deepest wish...my deepest peace.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Doubly Sweet

I'm happy to announce that this blog was doubly nominated for The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award by Sandra Ardoin and Jennifer Fromke. Thanks so much to both these ladies, whose blogs are indeed very sweet!

So, rules for this award are: 1) Put The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award badge up on your blog. 2) Thank the person who nominated me. (Thanks again Sandy and Jennifer!) 3) Nominate ten other blogs and let them know. 4) Share seven random things about myself.

Here’s ten sweet blogs:

Melanie Brasher’s Our Journey Home
Cindy R. Wilson’s Blog
Sarah Forgrave’s Blog
Wendy Paine Miller’s Thoughts that Move
Bonnie Doran’s Prose from the Pros
Nicole Miller’s To the Heart of History
Edwina Cowgil’s Musings of Edwina
Christina Suzann Nelson’s Blog

Now for seven randoms:
      I love onions, but wish I didn’t.
      I love a good game of UNO with my family.
      I try SO hard to sleep on my back every night (heard that’s good wrinkle-prevention) but I just can’t do it!
      I ran my first (and most likely, last) marathon in 2010.
      I enjoy teaching Sunday School to preschoolers.
      I love chocolate, particularly if it comes in the form of ice cream.
   My house is a mess now, thanks to a huge renovation.

Hope you all have a sweet day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Short and Sweet Friday: KING OF KINGS

Please join me as I continue to study Ann Spangler's book, Praying the Names of Jesus. This week's name of Christ, King of Kings, called me to meditate on God's ultimate mastery over every aspect of creation, even death itself.

There are so many ways to rule a kingdom--or anyone. Often this is accomplished by control. But Ann writes that "God's kingdom, presided over by the most powerful ruler in the universe, operates on entirely different principles. Its integrity depends not on external force but on the internal, indestructible power of Christ's love."

How amazing that our king doesn't force, but invite. He doesn't compel, he loves. And when we allow him to, he transforms us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Saying Goodbye

With each new story we write or read, there comes a time for goodbye. If the characters in a novel are engrossing, saying farewell can be sorrowful. If the characters are those you breathed life into yourself, the goodbye is often particularly painful.

As I finish up the edits and proposal for my second manuscript and begin pondering the characters for my next, I find myself reluctant to leave. The ending is tied up, but I don't want to let go. It's time to move on to fresh ideas, but I don't want to.

Has this ever happened to you? How do you get past this type of writer's block?