Slow Down and Learn to Love

Slowing down has given me time to read. I’ve enjoyed reading a couple of good books lately. Haven’t done that in a while.

I’ve also had time to take advantage of some great online courses via the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

I took part in the conference and contrary to my preconceived notions about online conferences, enjoyed it very much. I recognized familiar faces. I heard every moment of each session. If I missed something, I knew I could go back and listen to it again.

So, in the last few days, I’ve been writing again. I have to confess, I had almost lost heart.

There is so much going on in the world right now to distract me.

Then I discovered a beautiful truth buried among all the distractions. A TV remote with a red “off” button. I pressed it. Voila!

Peace. Tranquility.

However, I also found that my heart and soul had been injured by what my eyes had seen and my ears had heard, so I took refuge in the Word of God. I studied the first epistle of John, so pertinent right now.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. – 1 John 3:11

Was I playing the ostrich, head-in-the-sand, avoiding the world’s troubles?

I think not. I was giving myself the chance to grow stronger so that whatever lies ahead, I can face it from a position of strength.

And maybe I can do something to help.

Sometimes the best way I can help is to be kind. Show love. I have to confess, I am not colorblind, neither do I want to be. I love all the different shades. Each one has beauty and purpose (Read Acts 17:26-28). We won’t always understand. We can’t possibly walk in someone else’s skin. What we can do is acknowledge, appreciate, and love them for who they are.

This is the message of 1 John: Perfect love originates with the Creator, Who asks only that we believe and love what He has created.

Times are changing, so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Many of us are fearful and wondering what the future holds. Trust, in times like these, is difficult but not impossible. John talked about that, too. There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.

The only perfect love comes from God. He loved us so much, he gave the greatest gift of all—His Son. He laid down His life for us.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18

 

A Writer Writes

Hello Thursday Mornings memeIn my world, everyone is a writer. Or so it seems. My life before writing…hmm, I’m not sure I remember that.

A writer’s life can easily become consumed by writing. Real-life beckons. I raise my bloodshot eyes from the computer screen as my child wails about something.

“No milk for your cereal? Sorry, mommy has a deadline. Eat it dry.”

“What? Charlie’s mom cooks breakfast every morning?” For a moment, I hesitate, my fingers poised above the keyboard. “Ah, that would make a great addition to this story–a supermom character who becomes the victim of a serial killer. Thanks, love. Now, eat your dry cereal.”

I’m being silly, but if you’re a writer, you may recognize this scene. We do tend to get lost in our stories, whether we’re writing true life or making stuff up. Life is what happens all around us and those experiences end up in our prose. We hope our readers will love it. If they don’t, oh well. Can’t stop writing!

I don’t have children at home anymore, so I’m not ignoring anyone as I write. I’m following the muse in my head and trying to stay somewhere close to my original plot. My little interruptions tend to be the dryer buzzer or the oven timer or a bird hitting the window (that one happens more often than I’d like).

flower-2989995_1280These days, sunshine streaming through the window teases me until I give it my total attention and wander out into the beautiful day. You have to experience it because summer ends, the flowers fade and winter descends. All too soon.

Outside, birds sing a jubilant song. That warm summer breeze plays with a tendril of my hair, inviting me to remember the long summer days of my childhood. Days spent on adventures, discovering creeks filled with pollywogs and crawdad holes, and salamanders.

These fleeting memories add color to my story world but they also make me wonder. What would it be like to live a life free of creating stories? No more typing for hours, or laboring over proper word use or straightening out crooked storylines.

I toy with the idea for a moment. And then I chuckle because I know that a writer must write. Stories must be told. sunflower-field-blooms

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadows. – Helen Keller

All in the Brew

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Once again, the weather has given us a big surprise. After an absolutely beautiful non-Derby Day, winter has returned to the Ohio Valley. Is anyone else underwhelmed?

There is a bright side, however. The cooler temps mean I can have another cup of coffee. I’ve received a second shipment of my favorite local beans, so it’s gonna be good!

This has been a week of exits for me. I resigned one of my jobs, effective end of June, and a multi-author blog I’d co-created and co-developed, is slated to close at the end of May.

Though goodbyes are coming in on both fronts, I’m at peace. I trust in God’s timing for everything. He knows what lies ahead and He is never taken by surprise. Don’t you love that? I suppose that’s the reason for my peace.

And just in case you’re wondering, I live in the Louisville area, so the first Saturday in May is BIG. Except for this year. The Derby has been postponed. So, we had a non-Derby Day for only the second time in history.

Getting back to my work downgrade, what will I do with all those spare hours? Writers can always use more time. In fact, there’s no such thing as “spare time” for the writer. Each empty moment is an opportunity for either writing or thinking about writing.

A story is always brewing in my mind. Even the not so empty moments can be filled with stories. I often work through story elements as I garden, or while I walk.

Right now, I’m working on a suspense novel. The main characters are vying for my attention throughout the day. I was about a third of the way through this one when I realized the timing was off. So, I had to go back and rework many of the scenes to blend them together.

It was as if I’d written them all separately as free-standing stories. I’m not sure how that happened, except that I’d been extremely busy and was trying to fit writing moments into my day.

My lead male character is Jake Bradley, a struggling reporter. He stumbles on what he believes will be his best story yet, but there are many roadblocks. I like Jake. He’s a country boy at heart, but he has ambition.

Since it was Friday morning, I’d expected more activity at police headquarters, where I had that ten o’clock meeting with Detective Scott. The boss had insisted I turn over any information I’d dug up on those two goons in the black LTD.

“That girl’s life could be in danger,” he’d said.

I ran a comb through my unruly locks before I headed inside. I was no dummy, but I figured if they wanted her, they’d had their shot. I grimaced. Maybe that was a bad choice of words.

In appearance, Jake looks a little like a young Tom Wopat (circa Dukes of Hazzard). He tends to swagger and drives a muscle car. Fun!

I’m looking forward to writing this story, so having more time to write is definitely a good thing. Will it be any good? It’s kind of like brewing the perfect pot of coffee.

Sometimes it’s the beans, and sometimes it’s all in the brew.

Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. My writing desk is feeling a bit neglected, so I sat down this morning with my cup of steaming coffee, intent on doing a little writing.

I was outside for a short time today, and though there is a definite chill in the air, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Birds are chirping and singing like it’s springtime already. I love to hear them. I don’t take their song for granted. Only a short few months ago, I couldn’t hear it. What a difference hearing aids make to those with genetic hearing loss.

Small blessings fill my life these days and I’m doing my best to take time to appreciate them. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, because today holds enough trouble of its own. Truth. And I’m finding that even in the midst of those daily challenges, joy is still a choice you can make. The old-fashioned idea of counting your blessings has become, “focus on the positive.” Same principle.

I choose joy.

Just in case you’re interested, I #amwriting. I’m working on a new series set in the early seventies. The genre is suspense, so it’s a bit of a challenge. I’m enjoying the work. I remember the seventies, but I’d forgotten a few things, so I’m having to make notes for research a lot more often than I’d expected.

Okay, I have more than one reader, but this one won’t mind me using her picture. Hi, Deb!

In the next few months, I’ll be able to give you more details, but for now, just know that I write with my readers in mind. I’m personally acquainted with many of my readers and they are so encouraging. I love receiving notes from them when they’ve finished one of my books.

You know that feeling you get when you’ve worked hard to prepare a meal for your family, and they enjoy the food and compliment the meal? Yes, that’s the same kind of feeling I get when a reader lets me know they loved one of my stories. So, don’t hesitate to send a note to an author, or better yet, leave a short review of their book. Recommend it on Facebook and/or GoodReads.

Enough about business! Another thing I’ve really come to appreciate is you. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to visit me here.

And thanks for your comments and encouragement regarding my mother’s health. She’s doing well at the time of this post. We visited her this past weekend and were able to take her out for a few hours. She absolutely loves Joseph-Beth Bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. So, that’s where we headed and lunched at Bronte’s Bistro! If you’re ever in Lexington, it’s a must-stop-in and plan to stay a while.

Photo by Jill Wellington, Pixabay Image

A Day in the Life

Hello, Thursday Morning! I usually say a word about the weather here. Like many of my readers, we’ve had an abnormally wet beginning to summer. This week has been a bit drier, but all this sunshine after all that dampness, creates humidity. I’m not complaining but I am staying inside (mostly).

My day begins early, since hubby leaves the house before six a.m. I have two part-time bookkeeping jobs, so a couple of days a week, I’m away from home. The rest of the week, I’m home, but working. And summer brings grandkids, at least once a week. So, the days seem to fly by at the speed of sound. I’m so amazed that we’re already halfway through July.

I spend about eight hours a day at least three days a week, working on the bookkeeping chores for two companies. Factor in my position as treasurer of a good-sized writers conference, and you have another few hours a week. I feel a little like a juggler at times. I confess, sometimes I worry, lest I fumble and drop everything.

Oh, and by the way, I write in my “spare” time. Such is the life of a writer. Sometimes I envy those who have entire days to dedicate to their craft, especially when a story is bubbling in my imagination and my fingers itch to write it. But I’m being real here. If I had that entire day to write, I’d be dawdling. I’d be chasing my thoughts amid myriad distractions, kind of like the flitting path of a butterfly.

Those who have an artistic bent can definitely identify. If you’re highly disciplined, you can take a day like that and create a masterpiece. I’m not saying I’m undisciplined, but I am sometimes unfocused. That’s putting it nicely. When I finally get a day “off” I have so many things I want to accomplish, I end up finishing—nothing.

So, you may be surprised that I’m ever able to finish a book at all. I continue to surprise myself by doing just that. I’ve finished two different series in the last five or six years, and I’m as amazed as anyone.

I’m sponsoring a contest with some of my fellow Write-Integrity authors:

Click the Meme to enter (ends July 27, 2019)