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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Prayer for Troubled Days

Ii have yet to share my insight about myself as a writer, which I will do soon, I promise.

I just felt that, with all the bad news lately, it was time for another printed prayer. So many people are feeling harrassed, attacked, overwhelmed, etc., etc. Here is a prayer I wrote, based on Psalm 142:


A Prayer for Troubled Days

O Lord hear my cries
O Lord show me mercy
I ache to the depths of my soul
Guard my spirit
As I walk through this valley
Of traps and snares
This valley that feels like death
O Lord you see
There is no one beside me
No one holds my hand
Or protects me
Or encourages me
As if to them I have no soul

But I cry out to you O Lord
You are my hiding place
My shelter
My fortress
You are the core
The reason for my life
O Lord
You have heard my desperate cry
You will spare me from my pursuers
That they will not overpower me
You have freed my soul from its prison
And I will give glory to your name
O Lord
Gather your people around me
And I will declare
Your blessing
Your mercy
Your unfailing love to me
All of my days

Amen

(based on Psalm 142)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Author in Training - "Know Thyself"

If you  hadn't guessed, I've been in the doldrums lately with my writing. Sitting, staring at the computer screen. Lots of time to think. And if something's not working, I analyze it. I (figuratively) disassemble it. In the process this time, I've come up with a couple things.

The first one is about me, as a person. A while ago, someone did something that hurt me very deeply. They said they were sorry, but to me, they didn't really seem to "get it"—they weren't sorry enough to suit me. And I developed a lousy attitude toward them. It colored how I perceived everything they said or did. It was part hurt, part anger, and part fear that they would hurt me again.

Then, to top it off, we had a major disagreement. About something I consider important, and so do they. My attitude got so bad, I felt on edge whenever they were around. And they picked up on it, which influenced how all my words and actions got interpreted.

Then the other night, I had an insight. Me having that attitude is not pleasing to God. I needed to change. I looked at my old excuses. "They aren't sorry enough. They're wrong in what they believe about ________. They don't "get" how badly they hurt me. They have a lousy attitude." Then I took a long hard look at what was on the other side of the scale: God calls me to have a good attitude toward everyone.

 It doesn't matter if they have a bad attitude, if I believe they are wrong in our discussion, if they are just plain rude and don't "deserve" my kindness. The fact is, God is kind, and He calls me to be like Him. I can still disagree with the other person, even stand up for what I believe in the discussion, but it must be done with kindness and a good attitude. It isn't a question of whether or not the other person deserves my kindness. It is a question of whether or not I will obey God—and He "deserves" my obedience.

Well, that's it for the first insight. The second one is about my writing . . . and it will have to wait until tomorrow. Hey, that's the breaks! See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An Author in Training - Conspiracy Theory

(Pssst!)
Come here....
Yeah, you.
You''re a faithful reader, riiiiiiight?
I thought so.
This message is written in special ink, that can only be read by faithful readers.
I've got a secret message for you....
(Cue "Pink Panther" music)

A crack team of investigators have uncovered evidence that there may be forces, operating behind the scenes, which are attempting to squelch the publication of Serpentine. The leader of the group whose nefarious plans will be exposed in this tell-all book, is repotted to be "walking around, roaring like a lion," and making claims that he is a "perfect angel," but a spokesperson for the opposition has issued a statement saying, "our adversary was a liar from the beginning."

This writer is determined to see the project through to publication.

Check back for more details, as this story unfolds!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Long Time No See - Another Sample

Eva sat on the gentle slope of a small rise and munched a carrot. She wiggled her toes in the soft grass, trying to burrow them down to the cool, moist earth beneath. A curious rabbit hippetted closer to find out what was going on in his meadow, and Eva offered him a bite. The rabbit sniffed it carefully for ripeness, then took a dainty nibble. Eva wiggled her toes again, and caught the rabbit off guard. She couldn't help laughing when he stopped eating and sniffed at the toes. "Nope. Sorry, bunny, but those are not some rare wiggly carrots." She leaned forward and reached out caressing the rabbit's small, round head, smoothing his ears beneath her hand as she stroked down his back to his haunches. The rabbit sat quietly relaxing, carefully tucked in, his eyes closed, a twitching nose his only movement.

"You're so quiet, Rabbit." Eva was halfway talking to herself. "You're completely silent. Do you join the song of praise?"

The rabbit opened his eyes and looked directly into hers, as though issuing a friendly challenge. Eva quieted herself, growing as still as the rabbit. in the silence, she began to hear faint, distant-sounding music. Just as she picked up the melody and rhythm, the rabbit began to thump the ground with one of his fuzzy, oversized back feet. He started with a simple rhythm that obviously coordinated with the song that Eva heard, but as it went on,the rhythm he tapped out became more complex and beautiful, weaving itself like a rhythmic lace around and through the melody.

Abruptly, the rabbit was still no longer! As if suddenly propelled from his place by an unseen force, he raced from the spot where he had been sitting and began to perform a leaping, tumbling dance, incorporating the sounds of his thumping feet into the rhythm of the dance. He bounced and jumped in the vegetation of the meadow, dropping down into the tall grasses, only to pop into the air again, a little way from where he had disappeared. As Eva watched, it seemed the music grew stronger, and she began to hum along.

Suddenly, the rabbit wasn't dancing alone! There were at least a dozen other rabbits of all ages and shades, dancing with him. Eva sat mesmerized, watching the furry dance troupe popping in and out of view—jumping, flipping, and twirling, and all the while hearing the intricately patterned thump and rustle of furry feet, celebrating the life bestowed on them by their Creator.

Unexpectedly, in the midst of the dance the lead rabbit dropped to the ground, hunkering silent and still, his ears at the alert, listening for a repeat of the concerning sound. Immediately, all the rabbit clan dropped and huddled like their leader, ears twitching alertly.

Eva heard nothing, but it was clear the rabbits did. Their leader bolted from his shelter and shot across the meadow, heading for the forest, and in an instant the entire clan was hot on his heels, moving so quickly, they appeared to be competing in a race. In a moment's time, they had all disappeared, leaving Eva alone in an empty, silent meadow. Silent, except that somewhere off in the distance, she could hear a soft, melodic chiming.

She mentioned the incident to Shaddai later that day, when they were walking through the garden. "Something made them all want to run," she told him, "and it wasn't happy like the jumping and dancing was."

"I have been expecting this day. There is one who has come to the garden, who does not sing the song. It was from him that the rabbits hid."

Friday, July 05, 2013

Homeward Bound

My best friend is coming home today!

Before you ask, "What's her name?". . . It isn't a "she", it's a "he"! And before you get all worried, my best friend is also the father of my children, the love of my life, my husband. There! Now you've got something to talk about!

(gasp) "She said she's in love with her husband!"*
*Side note to all young(er) wives: It is possible to grow continually more in love with the man you love—for at least 34 years. (I'll let you know about 35 years next year.)
Knowing my baby's coming home today makes me want to straighten the house, cook dinner, get my hair done, play some of our songs, and wear a dress. Talking about a certain Hollywood star, one of my friends once said, "That's the kind of man I'd shave my legs and paint my toenails in winter for!" (Any woman who lives where the winters get cold knows how much that is saying!) Well, Lloyd Woodard, you're the kind of man I'd shave my legs and paint my toenails in winter for!

We've both had so many adventures in the past two and a half weeks, I can't wait to hold his hand, talk for hours, snuggle inside the curve of his arm, kiss him, . . . (fade to black).

And to anyone who's feeling a little "Victorian" at the moment—DEAL WITH IT!

Lucky I'm in love with my best friend 
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be comin' home again. 
Lucky we're in love in ev'ry way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be comin' home today. 
Welcome home, baby!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

An Author in Training - one more postcard




In the dark of night, the clouds had settled down into the valleys, and the travelers awoke to the trees veiled in fog and mist. The rising sun kissed the peaks and the rims of the clouds, gilding them with morning light. As the morning sun burned off the fog, a glacial lake came into view, glistening and sparkling in the brightening day.

The clouds rolled and curled in great sheets over the mountaintops, making threats of precipitation which remained unfulfilled, leaving the mountaintop remnants of snow to dwindle further.

The track cut through a stand of trees, and into the shade, then suddenly plunged into a tunnel, only to emerge a few seconds later into the brilliant daylight. Then into another tunnel, then back out into the light, where the track ran along the drop-off cliff bank of the turbulent, blue-green river.

An Author in Training - Spoon!

That's "Spoon!" as in "'Here's another sample—another spoon to lick!"



"You're so quiet, Rabbit." Eva was halfway talking to herself. "You're completely silent. Do you join the song of praise?" The rabbit opened his eyes and looked directly into hers, as though issuing a friendly challenge. Eva quieted herself, growing as still as the rabbit. in the silence, she began to hear faint, distant-sounding music. Just as she picked up the melody and rhythm, the rabbit began to thump the ground with one of his fuzzy, oversized back feet. He started with a simple rhythm that obviously coordinated with the song that Eva heard, but as it went on,the rhythm he tapped out became more complex and beautiful, weaving itself like a rhythmic lace around and through the melody.

Abruptly, the rabbit was still no longer! As if suddenly propelled from his place by an unseen force, he raced from the spot where he had been sitting and began to perform a leaping, tumbling dance, incorporating the sounds of his thumping feet into the rhythm of the dance. He bounced and jumped in the vegetation of the meadow, dropping down into the tall grasses, only to pop into the air again, a little way from where he had disappeared. As Eva watched, it seemed the music grew stronger, and she began to hum along.  

Suddenly, the rabbit wasn't dancing alone! There were at least a dozen other rabbits of all ages and shades, dancing with him. Eva sat mesmerized, watching the furry dance troupe popping in and out of view—jumping, flipping, and twirling, and all the while hearing the intricately patterned thump and rustle of furry feet, celebrating the life bestowed on them by their Creator.

Unexpectedly, in the midst of the dance the lead rabbit dropped to the ground, hunkering silent and still, his ears at the alert, listening for a repeat of the concerning sound. Immediately, all the rabbit clan dropped and huddled like their leader, ears twitching alertly.

Eva heard nothing, but it was clear the rabbits did. Their leader bolted from his shelter and shot across the meadow, heading for the forest, and in an instant the entire clan was hot on his heels, moving so quickly, they appeared to be competing in a race. In a moment's time, they had all disappeared, leaving Eva alone in an empty, silent meadow. Silent, except that somewhere off in the distance, she could hear a soft, melodic chiming.

She mentioned the incident to Shaddai later that day, when they were walking through the garden. "Something made them all want to run," she told him, "and it wasn't happy like the jumping and dancing was."

"I have been expecting this day. There is one who has come to the garden, who does not sing the song. It was from him that the rabbits hid." 



Monday, July 01, 2013

An Author in Training - another postcard

Smiling eyes shine in crinkled settings—living jewels in a face expressing experience, wisdom, friendship.

Man of battle...and peace.  Man of pride...and humility. Man of strength...and gentleness.

Understanding — that the way to stand tall is to stoop and help others...that creativity shared is a gift to both creator and recipient...that our uniqueness shines brightest in our unity.

Student's mind. Poet's spirit. Teacher's heart.

Keith Bear