Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wordsmith

You’ve heard the expression; it’s not what you say…it’s how you say it. Well, that’s not entirely true. WHAT YOU SAY matters. It reveals things about you, including your character, integrity and your beliefs.

What is it about words that you like? You know what I like? I like that you can use them to articulate something in specific and purposeful ways. I like how one word can mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to another person, but if you set two words together both people receive the same or a similar message.

~~~I’ve been thinking a lot about word usage lately and when I think about it, I’m reminded I want to cut back. I need to scythe my verbiage. I’ve named it the call for selective verbalization. I haven’t really named it anything; I’m just playin’ with you. But you see what I’m getting at, right? People talk too much and when I write people I’m quite aware I fall into that category.

So what is selective verbalization? It’s the ability to be quiet when quiet is called for and the art of speaking when your voice is needed. It’s learning the difference between the two.

Here’s one example of how just about every human alive (again including myself here) can utilize selective verbalization. Advice giving. Plain and simple—don’t give it unless someone is asking for it or unless you are in an obvious role or position in their life where you need to be the soothsayer or mentor. More often than not, more times than not, we shouldn’t be dishing out advice. Ha, that was advice right there!!!

Anyway, enough verbalization from me. If you want to know more of what I think about what we say, head over to Exemplify to read more.


Why do you think what we say can have such a potent impact?






*photos by flickr

Monday, June 29, 2009

Raindrops on Roses


I don’t know what prehistoric rock I just crawled out from under, but I’ve become enamored with a new website. My husband’s reply when he heard about my find, “Uh oh.”

Etsy.com is on online schmorgisboard of all things handmade. You might remember from earlier posts, one of my favorite things is delighting in what others have invested time and work into creating.




I spent over an hour yesterday looking for a gift for my college friend (read her story here) as a congratulations for the birth of her twins. The baby hats and booties are so irresistible. I actually had to stop and remind myself that we are “done” having children. Etsy.com is that powerful.


Next, I plan to look for some unique brown-colored earrings to match a dress I bought for a wedding we’re attending in August. Too much fun!


Just a note: I’m about the most frugal person you’ll come across, so while I drool over all the wonderfully made items (oh, that artwork!) I’m mainly doing just that, admiring the ingenuity that radiates throughout Etsy.com. It really is like raindrops on roses for me.


Have you visited? If so, what did you think? If not, why are you still reading this?

Check out what I wrote about lovable pets over
here later today.



*photos by flickr

Friday, June 26, 2009

One Question Friday

I’m going to try something new. Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you.


The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

Ready for One Question Friday?
Is it okay to break the rules?

After you’ve felt free to write your thoughts in the comments, stop by 5 Minutes for Faith to read what I wrote about God doing a new thing.



*photos by flickr

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Novel Cookies



Not only do you get my favorite cookie recipe today, but you are also getting an analogy. Wow, this must be some Thursday! :D

So get ready for me to cook up some parallels, but first the recipe:
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup shortening
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels



  • Preheat oven to 350

  • Place butter and shortening in mixing bowl and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugars, beating until blended. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.

  • Combine flour, soda, and salt in medium bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in chocolate morsels.

  • Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Now for the analogy ~

Every ingredient listed above is essential for the recipe to turn out right. If you are a writer you know the same holds true for how you write your novel. If you are reader you know when something has “been left out” or if there is something missing in a book, right?

I’m going to give you my thoughts on what each ingredient listed above represents when you are writing a novel.

The butter or margarine, softened = Appropriate POV. This can be such a sticking point, can’t it? First person? Third person omniscient? I so admire how Barbara Kingsolver pulled off shifting first person in The Poisonwood Bible. Like the butter for the dough, the POV will help determine how smooth the novel will be.

The shortening = Setting. Does the reader know where the story is taking place? Can they get a feel for the environment? It’s one of the kicker ingredients that isn’t always done right or is sometimes overdone, but when it’s done right it can make the whole novel better.

The firmly packed light brown sugar = Climax. A “firmly packed” scene that makes the reader audibly say, “Ah ha!” or “Ohhhh” in that soft knowing way.

The granulated sugar = Characters to care about. It’s all in the sugar! At least for me it is. I love character-driven novels, so it’s no wonder I chose sugar for the characters. They really make or break a book for me, sweeten me to keep reading or bland it out so much I simply put it down.

The large egg = Believable dialogue. You don’t just need a good egg and a bad egg (aka a protagonist and an antagonist) you also need dialogue that works. Conversations need to be included for a reason, to push the tension and plot forward, to ratchet up the reader’s excitement and urgency to know the characters. If the writer isn’t incorporating believable dialogue into the novel (the way people genuinely speak) it’s as if they left huge hunks of grainy shell in the recipe and it will be noticeable.

The vanilla extract = The hook. Don’t you just love the smell of vanilla extract? My mom used to lift that little brown bottle up to my nose when I was a child, eager to eat the cookie batter and I’d revel in the aroma. It makes you want more. Smelling the vanilla extract geared me up for licking the mixers and eventually tasting a cookie.

The all-purpose flour = Plot, original story. Everyone knows you can’t have a cookie without the flour. Same goes for a plot and even more important is that the story idea is creative and original or hasn't been done four hundred and seventy three times before?

The baking soda = Conflict. After all it's what makes the cookie rise.

The salt = Tension. Constant tension. Salt adds that little spice to the recipe. Could you omit it? Sure, but why when it keeps the reader reading and the cookie tasting perfect?

The semisweet chocolate morsels = Voice. Another favorite of mine. I love being able to recognize the voice of a certain author based on his/her ability to flavor the story with a certain taste. Most people would agree that the chocolate chips are the best part of a cookie. Voice is one of the reasons I love to write, finding my voice, testing it, risking things with it, and experimenting with it. It’s also why I am sure to pick up novel # 4 from an author who has a strong and irresistible voice.

Finally, you can throw in some symbolic nuts just for fun!

Okay, obviously this is a very skeletal, bare-boned example of the novel cookie, but I hope you were able to find it delectable. Let me know if you’d add in any ingredients or make substitutions. What goes into your cookie book?

*cookie recipe from Southern Living at Home
**photo by flickr

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It Happened In Italy By Elizabeth Bettina


When you think of the Holocaust, you are likely to conjure up horrific images of destruction of life and the genocide of the Jews. These are the images that come to my mind. In It Happened in Italy, Elizabeth Bettina creates a new quilted fabric to envision as she sews together chapter after chapter of stories of Jews who were treated with respect in small Italian towns during the war. While reading the book, I could feel her escalating excitement as she encountered more and more Holocaust survivors and surprisingly learned about how others risked punishment in order to do the “right thing” by treating Jews kindly.

Bettina writes succinct chapters, detailing her meetings with the survivors and even her arranged meeting of honor with the pope. It’s easy to comprehend her passion for Holocaust survivors. She admits, “If I have learned one thing, it is that one never knows when an event can completely change your life, or at least add a very unexpected twist.”

Though I sensed the thrill Bettina experienced on her journey to connect survivors, I didn’t fall in love with the writing style. I was however, deeply moved to study the dozens of photographs and documents in the book. Coupled with the accounts Bettina provided, the photographs enabled certain stories to come to life for me in a unique way. I was also grateful to read about something I’d not been privy to before, those who decided to act against Hitler’s wishes and by doing so, helped hundreds (194 mentioned in this book) of people live and have lives of impact.

I’ve enjoyed being able to select books to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I’m A Hydrangea…

Yesterday I chose items I would be if I were a…
Today I’m going to let you know why I chose what I did.

Why I am a hydrangea:
The miniature clusters of blossoms all come together to create a beautiful flower. It reminds me of the church, the body of Christ and I’d be honored to be one of the small blossoms. The vibrant fiery blue color makes me think of the word alive.

Why I am Fields of Gold:
This song is such a blend of looking back (reflection), being thankful at present and awaiting a future with someone.

Why I am Shadowlands & Shrek:
These two movies provide a unique combination of tragedy and humor. Experience as a teacher, the ever-changing Princess Fiona and Shrek as “an onion,” couldn’t be more telling of my own journey.

Why I am a windmill in a remote Dutch village:
Hint…my name and movement, of course. I’d be in a remote village because I think to really understand who I am and where I’ve been, you might have to walk awhile to find me off the beaten path.

Why I am The Ragamuffin Gospel & Blue Like Jazz:
Both of these books elevated my faith to a higher understanding and created my thirst for impacting others with what I know as truth. I also hope I live my life with the same degree of authenticity and transparency the authors displayed in these books. FYI: Other books that have done this include: The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey, Crazy Love by Francis Chan and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

Why I am Easter or July Fourth:
All about celebration, baby!

Why I am 7:48am:
There is something about the fresh start to a morning, filled with promise and potential. I enjoy the challenge of seeing people as God does, also full of promise and potential.

Why I am a chocolate milkshake:
Not sparing the fat or any of the good stuff. No skimping. Full of flavor.

Why I am fresh baked bread:
I hope to have this kind of inviting aroma, causing others to hunger for the one and only BREAD of LIFE.

Why I am house keys:
It is part of my mission here on earth to guide people home. Other reasons include, trustworthiness, good to have on hand and sometimes easily lost.

Why I am a flowing skirt:
Carefree and feminine without being overtly fashionable.

Why I am sandals:
Simple. Not needing much. Low maintenance. Willing to go anywhere.


Why are you what you are?


*photo by flickr

Sunday, June 21, 2009

If I Were...


If I were a flower, I would be a fiery blue hydrangea.


If I were a song, I would be Fields of Gold by Sting.


If I were a movie, I would be a cross between Shadowlands and Shrek.


If I were a place, I would be a windmill near a running stream in a remote Dutch village.


If I were a book, I would be The Ragamuffin Gospel or Blue Like Jazz.


If I were a holiday, I would be Easter or July Fourth.



If I were a time of day, I would be 7:48am.


If I were a drink, I would be a chocolate milkshake.



If I were a food, I would be fresh baked bread.


If I were a gadget, I would be house keys.



If I were a piece of clothing, I would be a flowing skirt.


If I were a pair of shoes, I would be sandals.

I'd love to know some of your answers!

Thanks to Kristen at Dancing in the Margins for this wonderful blog idea!


Swing on by here later today to see what I wrote!



*photos by flickr

Friday, June 19, 2009

Meet The Hostess For All In A Day’s Work

Me.

Calling all producers! I am your new hostess for the show, All in a Day’s Work.

I’d be more than happy to try my hand at the following jobs for a day:
Storm Chaser
Anthropologist

Bird Watcher
Ice Fisher
Park Ranger
Hot Air Balloon Operator
Horse Doctor (Equine something or other, my mind feels like Pop Rocks…I’m THAT tired)
&
Stunt Woman (I’m getting a little crazy here…I need some sleep)

You know the show Dirty Jobs? Someone was thinking on that one! How about taking a stay-at-home mom/writer like myself and dropping her right in the crux of some of these roles? I sure know I’d love it and what a show, eh? I'm up for the challenge. Oh, TV producers???

Some quick life updates and then I’ll be back with you on Monday ~
  • I’m being interviewed in a few hours by a local paper about my writing. What an honor! My favorite part of this meeting is that they contacted me!

  • I just spent several meaningful days with my sister. After we dropped her off, my girls got out all the tears so I didn’t have to cry.

  • Please check out Live Beautiful, 5 Minutes for Faith and Exemplify. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing for these sites and I know if you visit you’ll see why.

*storm and balloon photos by flickr

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Man—Part 2

Yesterday I asked if you could write a story about this man. I loved your thoughts and your creativity!

Today you get to read one of the stories I came up with...

Imprisoned for all the wrong reasons, released for all the right ones, Benjamin steps out into the whiteness of day, inhaling slowly. Gravel pops beneath the moving wheelchair. Benjamin’s uncle slumps over, hunchbacked and drooling in his chair, pushing the chair forward inch by inch. The ex-prisoner sees him and then spots another man with his back to him slamming the car door shut, his son. Everything inside Benjamin bursts forth and releases, like a freshly uncorked bottle. There stands his son, a man he hasn’t seen in over twenty years.

Have a wonderful Thursday. Run in the rain!

If you didn't have a go at it yesterday, go for it today! Remember 6 sentences or less.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Is This Man?

I have a special assignment for you today. I’m constantly bumping into people who would make excellent characters for a book or a short story. I saw this picture several weeks ago and I couldn’t stop thinking this man belongs in a story.

So today I want you to tell me in six sentences or less—what is his story?


Can’t wait to read your thoughts!





*photo by flickr

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grammar Nemesis & I'm 100!


I’m 100 today; I’m allowed to be a little cantankerous.

I don’t love grammar. Words, yes. Formatting sentences, yes. Creating believable dialogue, yes. Coming up with an irresistible original story, yes. I’m beginning to sound a little like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I love all the above things. Grammar, not so much. But, I want to be teachable in this. I learned a lot in my schooling and it certainly helped to major with an English degree, but I am not without fault and slip ups. Guess what? Neither are you. All of us have our grammatical strengths and weaknesses. I think the key if we want to improve our craft is that we be willing to learn. So I’m going to ask for something strange. If you notice my making a repeated grammar mistake in my blog posts, I’d like you to send me an email to tip me off. Short and sweet. And I will be ever grateful.

Now just for fun I wrote a little something:

I’m not writing affectively lately. Something is mising. I’m not sure its what I write about or who. It all comes back null and voy. Weather or not I include exhaustive quotes or not doesnt seem to matter. Noone or nothing seem to help. Is it just a loss cause or is their hope? I want my message to be recieved. With everything inside of myself I want to make an inpact with my words. I want to form sentences you can not forget. I care alot about the craft. I just don’t know why that isn’t coming a cross. Maybe its just a mute point.

What is your grammar nemesis?

Have a sunny day! I get to hang out with my sister. Ketchup with you later. :D
Go check out what I wrote about PRIDE at Exemplify!


*photo by flickr

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sitting At The Feet Of Rabbi Jesus


If you’ve ever wondered about what the world might have looked like to Jesus as he roamed the streets in sandals, celebrated the Feasts and ate with the lowly, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paints picture upon picture for you. The authors intentionally place readers back in Jesus’ day of teaching and interacting. This book educated me about Jewish phrases, traditions and teachings and how they impact my life as a Christian.

I am not currently in a Bible study, so I delighted in how this book fed my curiosity and answered questions about the rich history of Jewish beliefs and practices. I enjoyed discovering things like how Jesus and his disciples didn’t sit in chairs while dining, as portrayed in the famous Leonardo DaVinci painting, but instead reclined laying on their sides for meals. I grew to understand the importance of and our call as “talmidim” (disciples). I read how Jesus wore tzitziyot (tassels representative of a Jewish man trying to become obedient to the laws of God).

I don’t know about you, but I want to acquire every single piece of knowledge possible about who Jesus was and what life might have been like for him on earth. Not only does Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus provide insight and a window into his world, it also offers the significance of this knowledge. When we allow ourselves to go to greater depths and to attain understanding of something, we place ourselves in an optimal position to apply that knowledge. There are excellent questions listed at the end of each chapter that probe and encourage continued spiritual growth. I was grateful for the opportunity to review this book for Zondervan and would certainly suggest it to others.

The thought I’ll leave you with:
If you had an opportunity to read a book about your husband (or loved one), trying to understand more of where he is coming from, how he exists in the world around him and certain things he cares about deeply, would you read the book? Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus is your chance to learn similar things about Jesus.


Question:
What is the best book you’ve read about faith, Jesus or spirituality? And why?


*Don't forget to check out what I have to write about beauty over here later today.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Perspective



I'm not sure whether you've seen this yet, but please take a moment to notice the continued joy expressed. What a testimony to seeing life in perspective and trusting in God!

Then feel free to stop over at 5 Minutes for Faith to read what I wrote about love.

Have a meaningful day and weekend!

~ Wendy

*don't forget to stop my playlist so you can hear the video

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Like Myself More When...


Early this morning when I was thinking what I’d like to blog about the words, “I got nothin’” belched forth from my brain membranes. “Give it time,” I thought. I then ran a few quick errands (one being a trip to the post office to send out Julie’s new Daisy Chain) and treated myself to a hazelnut iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. And then, zam, whabap, shazing…my blog idea came to me. I’m going to give you a list of times when I like myself more.

I Like Myself More When:
I have coffee in my system
Just after a run on a major endorphin high
I’ve just prayed about forgiving someone
I’m not thinking of myself
I am creating something
I’ve had a good night of sleep
I give of my time
I’m swaying to worship songs in church
I’m encouraging a loved one
My desire to learn is great
I’m on a boat on the water
I’m reading my Bible not out of obligation, but out of thirst for relationship
I’m laughing or making others laugh
I am trying hard to love someone I find unlovable
I’m focusing on all there is to be grateful for (the movie Life is Beautiful is an excellent inspiration for this kind of thinking)
I’m edifying the church/God’s children
I’ve let go of old ways of thinking and past hurts
I retain what I read
I’m less and He is more


When do you like yourself more?
Also, way to go B.J. Anderson for getting the most T/F questions right about me!

*photo by flickr

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pop Quiz – Five True or False

Today you get to test your knowledge of me. Which of the following statements are true about me and which ones are false?


  1. I almost choked on a lemon drop, but my sister saved me by performing the Heimlich maneuver.


  2. While swimming with the dolphins, one unusually large dolphin slapped his fin on the top of my head with such force I flustered under water briefly.


  3. Growing up, we owned three dogs, two cats, two birds and two gerbils.


  4. In elementary school I got stuck up on the top of a Ferris wheel for over two hours.


  5. I have never broken a bone in my body.
Have fun and leave your guesses in the comments. I’m curious how you will answer!

Feel free to leave your own T/F question for me to respond to this evening.

See, at our age we can make pop quizzes fun!



*photos by flickr

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bully Bully

We are apparently going back to school this week. Testing yesterday and UGH, bullies today.
I’m reading two books that deal with the topic of bullies:

Wally Lamb’s, The Hour I First Believed

Elizabeth Bettina’s, It Happened in Italy (the Nazi regime demonstrated bullying in the worst way)

I also just heard about Laura Ling and Euna Lee sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp in North Korea…my mind is on bullies.

I had a bully. Every day in second grade I’d return home, bury my face into my mom’s shoulder and then armpit, soaking her shirts with my tears. Bullies bite! I find it humorous I’m now Facebook friends with my second grade bully.

Here’s why the topic is itching under my skin (kind of like the wasp that stung me the other day) ~
My girls are dealing with a subdued and mild case of bullying from some neighborhood kids. It’s typical “girl” stuff, but I have to admit, I don’t like it. I’ll take this moment to remind you I am a softie. I was the kid who turned away whenever someone was pelted with that memorable tongue-colored rubber ball, as a consequence for losing Four Square. I hated watching fights brewing in high school. When my husband switches the TV channel to boxing or wrestling, I snarl. It’s odd though, I will watch some shoot ‘em up, kill ‘em movies with him. Go figure.

My Back To School Questions Today:
How did you deal with bullies as a child? Did you stand up to them? Were you one?
How do you deal with it when your children are bullied?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Testing 123

I love when that happens. Oh, I guess I should probably explain. Yesterday at church our pastor spoke on the very same topic I’d been planning to blog about today – Testing!

Remember that feeling of dread that zinged through you whenever your teacher swished through the aisles slapping a test down on your desk face up? If I was in any kind of math or chemistry class, I was quick to flip my test over so no one could see all the red marks and the screaming D or F on the front. If I was in English class however and the teacher was handing back an essay test, then I’d check out my A or B+, and hold it up against the light so I could get a good look. Okay, I never was so obnoxious to do the latter, but you get my point.


Tests I liked = essay and oddly enough plane geometry
Tests I loathed = multiple choice, fill in the blank, SAT’s, GRE’s, anything that took analytical smarts


Back to church: yesterday our pastor explained that we all go through testing in life; that God tests us. Trials can be tests. Temptations can be tests. But here’s the deal, here’s what I took away from the message. Basically, no matter what, we are bound to get that red mark on the top of our paper. Many of us are just inclined to flip it over and pretend that no one will see or that it’s just one little test and it doesn’t mean much. One way to understand what Jesus did/does is to look at it this way. He takes the test for us (actually, he took the greatest test of all on the cross.) On our papers, Jesus writes in all the answers. He gets an A for us. You may want to call that cheating. You could call it that. Or you could be grateful that He did the work that needed to be done so that God can hand you an A.

Logic tells me we should respond to someone who does something like that for us. Our response plays out in how we take every other test in life. Are we studying? Are we blowing off life and acquired wisdom? Could we do what Abraham did, with faith that God would raise his son after he made the sacrifice? Do we live in gratitude and respect for the One who took the test for us, the One who gave the right answers?

Testing 123.

Question:
What kind of tests did you like or dislike in school? Multiple choice? Essay? What was it about them that you liked or didn’t like?

Come stop by here to see what I had to write about our colorful world.




*photos by flickr
**This blog is not condoning cheating. If for some reason you got that message, you missed the point. Go back and read it again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner


I’m preparing an elaborate meal in my mind, setting the table with classy linens, preparing the centerpieces just so. And now…now for the nameplates. I bet you want to know who’s coming to dinner. Well, in MY THOUGHTS, because you must remember that is where you are when you visit this blog, I’m going to provide you with the guest list and then I’m going to tell you why I invited that particular person.


~ Cordially Invited to My Home for an Agent/Author Dinner ~


Philip Yancey (His books on spirituality have greatly influenced my walk, besides I like his writing style)

Jodi Picoult (This woman can weave a story, keep you guessing and describe something simple as though it’s the Taj Mahal)

Sandra Bishop (Every single book she’s ever mentioned reading and loving on her blog, I too have loved)

Stephen King (I laughed so much while reading, On Writing, besides we all know he’s a master of the craft)

Beth Moore (Her Bible studies have encouraged me from being a tad bit parched to being downright thirsty for God)

Donald Miller (Not sure I’ve ever come across an author so believable and authentic in their work)

Leif Enger (His way of describing things in Peace Like a River blew me away. I’d want to see if he talks that way)

Elizabeth Berg (Her books are moving and she nails the women’s fiction thing perfectly. My mom and I love to pass her books back and forth so I’d be able to tell my mom all about her)

Nathan Bransford (Wit and knowledge of the publishing industry are my top reasons. He’d crack us all up as we chew our food. Not brownnosing here - he already rejected my MS, but w/ kindness—thanks, Nathan)

Anne Lamott (I’m not sure I even need to give a reason. Definition of Anne = cool)

Rachelle Gardner (As an agent she seems to balance compassion with integrity. I take her for a great conversationalist)

And me, of course (My husband wouldn’t care to be invited b/c reading just isn’t his thing, but I wouldn’t miss this dinner for the world)


I wonder who would say the blessing? What a dinner we’d have—conversations filled to the brim with book talk—what more do you need? It might be cool if some thoughts on spirituality were passed around the table too.

All I have left to say is pass the pepper (my new website tells you more about why not salt!)

Who would you invite to your Author/Agent fantasy dinner? And maybe even more important of a question—what would you serve?

*photo by flickr

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who Do You Hang With?

I plan to conduct a more thorough book review for Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, but today I want to share some essential things I’ve absorbed from the book so far…


Two Jewish terms:

Haverim: a group of students partnered together for the sake of enhancing learning, studying religious texts and growing closer to God.


Talmidim: A disciple or student, one who dedicated himself to learning a rabbi’s understanding of Scripture and his way of living it out.


Now, some quotes from the book and then I’ll give you my brief application:

“The overall goal of discipleship is not simply to grow in self-discipline, but to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.”

“A rabbi was to model how to live by using examples of his own life.”

“Rabbis believed that humility was an indispensable condition for learning.”

“None of us is so mature that we cannot be influenced.”

AND

“Someone once said that we should always be discipling at least one person, and being discipled by another. Who are you being discipled by? And who are you discipling?"


Application:

I interpret this to mean:


~~ I should look to have at least one mentor in my life, someone willing to hold me accountable, guide me along in my spiritual walk, someone excited to encourage me to grow. I look for this person to be at a deeper spiritual place than myself, though rich with humility. My goal is to learn, learn, learn from them. Thankfully, I have several women who fulfill this role in my life.


~~ I should have a “haverim,” or group of women “in this thing” with me. This group walks alongside me on this journey, learning with me and also nudging me to grow in my faith. Many of you have taken on aspects of a haverah in my life. I have dear friends in this role and find new ones as I attend different Bible studies.


~~ I should be discipling to others. I should be sharing what I’ve learned in a transparent and loving way to one or more people, urging them on in their faith. I’m touched and honored to say I’ve got my “Bible Babes.” I lead a small group of sharp young women, thirsty for God’s truth and light. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about them soon. We are studying one of the BEST books on faith I’ve ever read, Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I know the girls are going to be thrilled to have their picture featured with monkeys. :D

Question for you to think about:
Who are you being discipled by? And who are you discipling? Do you have a haverim (group) or a haverah (singular female) to grow with you?

*photo of three Bible Babes
**monkey photos by flickr

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dissecting The Blog


Today I thought I’d delve into some reasons why people blog. I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I knew little about the blogging world until I entered in. Now that I’m here in this cyber land of Wordless Wednesdays, Friday Funnies, Linky Love and the rest of the comment-crazed blogosphere; I must admit I think about why. I think about why I’m here and I wonder why you are here. Why do we spend our time doing this?

And so I came up with a list:

« Entertainment – I love laughing at different posts and noticing how creative others can be with how they format and “decorate” their blogs.

« Education—I’m not even sure I can begin to tell you how much I’ve learned about publishing, finding an agent, editing and countless other things in the writing world because of blogging.

« Connection—I’ve “met” some wonderfully inspirational people who feel like dear friends to me in the less than four months I’ve been blogging. We’ve developed a mutual understanding in our love of writing and leading others to God. I still find this connection to be a mystery, but I’m willing to excavate, to explore and to delve deeper into its hold on me.

« Curiosity—this may have been my number one reason for creating a blog and it remains one of the top reasons I keep up with mine. I love understanding people and am curious by nature, so I’m utterly hooked.

« Technology—I’ve found it to be an exciting challenge trying to teach myself about widgets, uploading, adding links and all else that goes into the creation of a blog. It helps me to be current and aware of technological advances and quite simply it stretches my mind and forces me to risk and move out of my comfort zone.

« Adventure—blogging is like rock climbing in some ways, knowing what to write about and figuring out how you want to write it. In rock climbing there is a precarious move that you can make in order to advance higher on the rocks. When there isn’t a visible hole or crevice for you to slide your hand/foot into to thrust yourself upward, you are positioned to decide whether or not you want to make what’s called a “commitment move”. It’s risky (you could fall.) It takes bravery. And for some reason, right now it reminds me of blogging.

« Exposure/Publicity—there is definitely an opportunity to “build a platform” or develop a community of people who are interested in what you have to say by blogging. Personally, as I blog, I hope not only to draw people into my words but I also hope to cause them to think more about their life and our God.

« Practice—what an opportunity it is to discipline yourself to write and post a set number of blogs per week. It forces you to be creative, develop grammar skills and assemble your ideas so that people can understand them.

« Fellowship—I’ve been blessed. I already mentioned that I’ve “met” some unbelievably precious people through blogging. This thing I’m experiencing isn’t just a feel good, make you smile, and tell you all nice things-type of bond. It’s honest, it’s challenging and it has inspired me to want to be closer to God. Now, that is fellowship!

« Bored with TV—I used to have my regular shows. I’d watch The Today Show for good chunks of the morning and I reserved certain hours in the afternoon for popular talk shows. Just the other day my daughter asked why we don’t watch Ellen and Oprah anymore. I told her I wanted more time to write and read. I’ve invested some of that time in blogging.

« Desire to Reach Others—this is my ongoing number one reason for sitting at the computer every day to post. There is just about nothing else as thrilling to me as the ability to stir a new thought in someone else. I get to do that here.

After reviewing the above reasons for blogging I want to know why you do it. Why are you here? I should say no matter your reason; I am glad you are here.


*photo by flickr

Daisy Chain Winner


I would like to do the honors of announcing Julie Gillies as the Daisy Chain contest winner. Julie, let's be in touch so I know where to send your new book.

My husband read through the comments and found Julie's answer to be "foundational and a nugget of wisdom." Well, actually at first he said, "I like this one." My master probing incited further explanation.

Thank you all for your wonderfully creative and inventive answers.

I hope to be back later today with a regular post & I will certainly be giving my responses to the comments in my own comment.

Hip Hip Hooray for Julie!


*photo by flickr

Monday, June 1, 2009

Daisy Chain Confession & Contest

First I need to confess something. I won Mary DeMuth’s novel, Daisy Chain in a contest Jaime held several weeks ago. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to begin reading it. Here’s where the confession comes in—I didn’t even get to the bottom of the second page before I stealthily whipped out my pen, looked left, looked right and then wrote MY NAME on the inside cover of the book. I wanted to claim it as mine right then and there. It might help to understand I had all intentions of passing THIS book along, of holding my own contest and sharing the Daisy Chain love…but I couldn’t. I wanted it. Mine, ALL MINE. Can’t you just hear Gollum? Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the creative descriptions, the unique characters and the storyline. BUT, a commitment is a commitment and I am going to buy a new Daisy Chain to send to the winner of the contest below:

And now for ~ THE DAISY CHAIN CONTEST ~

Within the first few pages of the book, Daisy Chance tries to convince her best friend, Jed Pepper that the name of her street indicates their destiny. Her street name is Love Street and she is certain she is to marry Jed.

Now it’s your turn ~ What was the name of your street where you grew up? Convince my husband that the street name has had some great significance in your life and means something symbolic or profound and is somehow tied into “your destiny” and you will be the winner of a brand new Daisy Chain!

Just for fun: I lived on Mountain Road growing up and I feel as though most of my life I’ve been climbing a mountain and as it is with hiking, some days are exhilarating and rejuvenating where I can look out from amazing peaks and other days are grueling, filled with sweaty effort to stay the course.

*As a side, in the novel there is a church called Crooked Creek Church. My parents, along with two or three other families had the opportunity to rename our street from Mountain Road to Cricket Creek for mapping purposes only…just one other thing about the book that made me smile.

**Check out what I have to say about beauty in numbers over here.




***photos by flickr

What is a Character Solar Eclipse?

I thought it might be timely to mention a character solar eclipse . We all know, and have read, the ins and outs of what’s going to happe...