Writer’s Desk: Creation Station

Ever feel like Eeyore looks on that mug? A while back, I was bursting with ideas for a new novel. But in the midst of nailing down thoughts and plots and opening lines, it was giving me a ton of trouble.☺

From enthusiasm to confusion to resignation, came rhyming words that matched my feelings. This is what emerged.

So, grab your choice of “libation” and enjoy a glimpse into my writing life! 

  • Libation                                         Monster mug of Earl Grey tea
  • Ideation                                Heavy plotting, brain-busting thoughts
  • Celebration                                                    Yesss! Got it!

Large cute mug shaped like Eeyore, Mainly blue, pink, and black

  • Destination                          Hmm, exactly where do I go from here?
  • Elation                                      Aha! There’s where I go from here
  • Creation                         Mad-crazy typing, wondrous ideas—ah, purrrfect

brown striped kitten on laptop keyboard pawing at the screen, green, blue and white background, table & windows

  • Evolution                                       Well—maybe not so perfect
  • Agitation                                                     Downright awful
  • Frustration                                    Did this really come from me
  • Hesitation                         Well, surely I can make something out of it
  • Procrastination                              But, maybe not right now
  • Perpetration                           Hatch a plot to get rid of the evidence

humorous pic of young man in mustache and beard with magnifying glass, dressed in brown plaid hayt and jacket

  • Assassination                               Just dispatch the whole thing
  • Conflagration                                Delete, delete, delete, poof!
  • Desolation                                        Oh no, now I’ve done it
  • Deforestation                                      Pulling my hair out

awful hair day for adorable strawberry blonde blue-eyed toddler, pastels and print in background

  • Resignation                                      I really did just do that?
  • Aberration                                            Yup, you really did
  • Prostration                                     On my face in fervent prayer
  • Re-creation                                 It just might rise from the ashes
  • Vacation                                             But not until I get back!

young woman sitting on a rocky tor, gazing at mountain vista with vivid blue sky and white clouds

“Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.” ― Thomas Mann

Sometimes in life we need a break to simply laugh . . . with others and at ourselves.

God created us with the capacity to do just that. So laugh, then turn around and DO the thing!

Even frustration can become something to share, and it was fun to have this little piece end up published in a writers’ magazine.

“And He said to me, ’“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV).

Anybody relate to this poetic saga?

I’d love for you to leave a comment.☺

Love,

Sally

Sally’s Amazon Author Page  http://amzn.to/1MzgXNb

 

Try Again

“I was that far from pitching the whole thing right straight into the fireplace!”

She was that far from tears, too.

My friend was so frustrated after her first book proposal was rejected that she wanted to burn her manuscript and wondered if she really should even be a writer.

And, her passion and determination to make a decision whether to give up or keep writing as she talked to me,

woke up my poetry gene.

I remember those feelings.

Bright leaping flames in the fireplace
A red-yellow study of arson and lace
Beckon me feed it these papers I hold
Truly, I want to, if the truth be told.

The pages engulfed in the frenzied inferno
Would satisfy something so deeply internal
To see them consumed in the hot conflagration
To see them destroyed would soothe agitation.

But what if God asks me to try once again
To review and pursue and pick up my pen
To steel all my shakiness, regroup and pray
It might be for my soul, a much better day.

So, Lord, if I turn my back on the fire
And stare at these pages with fresh new desire
Will you kindle in me your sparks, and renew
The dream you placed in my heart so to do?

Please lead me and guide me—stay by my side
O, Lord, inspire me as you change the tide.

+ + +

My friend and I are both thankful we decided to never, ever give up!

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).

“But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (2 Chronicles 15:7 NKJV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV)

Have you ever been tempted to give up on a dream of your own?

I’d for you to leave a comment!

Love,

Sally

About the Norman Rockwell painting photo by Cliff via Flickr CC

Jo Seated on the Old Sofa from “The Most Beloved American Writer”, Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937, oil on canvas, 32 x 25 in.

Rockwell traveled to Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, before beginning illustrations for a serialized biography of her life. Alcott’s book, Little Women, became an immediate classic when it was published in 1868, and was a hit again in 1933 when George Cukor’s film adaptation won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Its message—that family counts more than wealth, and happiness comes to those who help the less fortunate—was an apt revival subject in Depression-era America.

americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/tellingstories/

Listen!

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:32

Years ago I used to  love the times of solitude while riding my chestnut mare, Cindy, through the nearby desert. They were wonderful times to enjoy silence and sunshine, to relax and think.

Most times, the rides were uneventful. But there was one day as I slowed Cindy’s spirited gallop to descend the sandy slope of a dune, that she suddenly stopped.

She stood perfectly still, her ears poised to catch every sound. No amount of coaxing encouraged her to move.

I was impatient with Cindy’s apparent stubbornness.

I didn’t hear the sound she was hearing.

I didn’t sense the rock-hardness of her tensed muscles beneath me.

Leaning forward, I was ready to scold her. But the sight before me took my breath instead. I finally understood.

There before us, coiled and ready to strike, was the reason Cindy was not moving. I finally heard the distinctive, dry warning sounds of a desert rattlesnake.

My ears were opened and my senses set on fire with understanding. Prayers of thankfulness flooded my heart.

I felt God’s protective presence that day as we remained quiet and the danger left its undulating pattern across the sandy dune and out of sight.

I was reminded then as I am today of how vitally important it is to be aware of how God chooses to speak to us.

He speaks to us in countless ways, but sometimes to hear His warnings or guidance we must be still and listen, and we’re wise to listen with patience.

The choices we make, our well-being, and occasionally our safety can depend upon how well we listen.

“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’” Luke 9:35 NIV

I am a whisper in time. Down through the corridor of the ages my whisper echoes with feathery sweeps into the age to come.  An excerpt from my journal.

Has there been a time when you’ve listened and avoided danger?

Love,

Sally

Reflecting the Writer

Ann Cooper McCauley is my guest today, and from the archives of her wonderful blog, she’s given me permission to use this beautiful and thoughtful post.

Here’s Ann with her inspired thoughts on what it’s like to be a writer.

Ever wonder how much we mirror God our Creator?                                 And from the get go? Born again, yes, we are continually transformed into His image, but do we realize how each of us—individual as we are—mirror different aspects of His nature? Our God DNA is grafted deep inside us.

Allow me to camp on the writer.

Who is God, but the Writer of the story? Not only did He leave us His bestseller, but it is a work in progress—alive and current.

So who are writers—really? People who yearn to be heard, write to be a voice, hunger to express thought, and seek to deliver timely messages. Not unlike our Creator at all.

Who discovered the plot outline?

The Writer of our story. He demonstrated to us the nature of construction when He wired everything on the planet in a perfect order and with a specific purpose. He tells us Himself that He knows the beginning from the end. Every good writer knows the general ending of their work, whether they write by the seat of their pants or not. From the beginning of the manuscript until the end, it makes sense, and a theme will whisper through its pages.

Who understands the web of characters more than the Writer?

He generates us. He makes plans for us. And like any good Writer—though He knows the ending of the story—He allows His characters to develop over time. He allows them to repeat mistakes, grow, and evolve. He intertwines his characters at just the right time and in just the right genre, setting and scene different to each character, yet similar to all.

And let us not forget dialog.The Writer is an open channel, a river on the page taking us where He is active and involved, unlike narration which tells the story rather than showing the action. God the Writer speaks intimately to His own and demonstrates to all. Why? Because He wishes His characters to know and understand Him and be complete. He desires them to hear. His purpose is to reveal—not conceal.

Does this pattern of seeing God in our vocation or giftings solely benefit the writing profession?

I think not.

Are you a musician, a welder, an administrative assistant, or a teacher? Explore how your work is patterned after the One, whose very nature, you reflect.

I’d then love to hear your analogies!

Me, too, Ann!

Analogies anyone?

“See, I have called by name Bezalel . . . and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 31:2-3)

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/ Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. A songwriter for many years, Ann has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising actvities. She’s has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences through many venues and has been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Her motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. Having written three historical novels, Ann looks forward to finding a publisher for her novels, working through her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

Thank you Ann, I’ve loved having you as my guest!

Love,

Sally

P.S. Don’t forget to join Peggy Blann Phifer and me at her blog, Whispers in Purple on Wednesday, June 24th.

Peg’s doing an author interview with me, and I’ll be giving away a copy of my new novel, The Stonekeepers. Stop in and leave a comment. We’d love to see you there!

And if you’d like a Sneak Peek, go here to check it all out: http://wp.me/p5BLdw-Ac

Crossroads

It’s early. I hop out of bed feeling great after of a good night’s rest. A whole fresh new day is ready to walk into.

All is well,

until . . .

What mess?

I walk into the kitchen and find the mess . . . again. How many times . . .?

And no, the pup didn’t do it.

How quick and easy the glowery dark cloud descends with its storm of anger and frustration. So much for the higher functions of my cerebral cortex. They nosedive into a worse mess than the small, irritating one in the kitchen.

I should go back to bed! I need a do-over.

I don’t get angry often and when I do, it’s a quiet, internalized “mad.” I’m not the confronting, haranguing type. Maybe I should be.

I go outside. In my PJs. Pace the concrete sidewalk. Complain a while, then pull in breaths of the cool morning air and pray.

It helps, but when I go inside and settle into a devotional time, the Lord opens His Word. I pray and open my Bible at random (but in this Hand-in-hand walk we’re on, there’s no such thing as “random”). It falls open to Jonah, chapter four, verse four.

My eyes land on this “Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah’s answer was to go make himself a shelter, sit in its shade, and watch to see what would happen to the city. My answer is to ask, Why shouldn’t I be? But He makes me think.

To shorten Jonah’s story, the great city of Nineveh had devolved into a wickedness that the Lord could no longer tolerate. As His prophet, Jonah was to go and warn that city to repent, or be thrown down. And Jonah didn’t want to obey—he ran.

Jonah ended up having a whale of an adventure, literally, and doing exactly what the Lord told him to do. But when the people of Nineveh ended up being sorry and humbled themselves, God saw and relented. Jonah was not happy and wanted the city punished . . . which was why he was angry. Plus, he was probably tired, a little chewed up from being in a whale belly and all. Not to mention being worn out since it took him three days to walk through the huge city with the warnings. This time Jonah sat under a shady plant that the Lord provided.

So, I’m a little like Jonah sitting under the shade-giving plant that dies, only I pace the sidewalk and grumble, a lot.

There are many more comparisons and angles in Jonah’s story. We all have different levels of how we express anger and how we deal with it.

I’m reminded of my relationship not only with God, but to God.

In Genesis 1:26a it’s written “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”

We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made . . . in God’s image, according to His likeness.

Yes, things anger me—but like Him, I can be slow to anger, allow for compassion, give myself time to think, and try not to “sweat the small stuff” as my brother likes to say.

God created Jonah with the capacity for compassion for the plant that shaded Jonah. God created us with the same capacity.

The Lord had compassion for Nineveh. He knows every detail of my “mess,” and I can use some compassion and love and understanding. With the Lord’s help, I can talk with the mess-perpetrator again. Maybe things will change . . . or maybe I’ll just get better about not sweating the small stuff.

“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19 NKJV

How do you handle your anger?

Love,

Sally

Amazon Author Page for The Stonekeepers

 

Joy Undiminished

Someone once said:

“In Christ we have a love that can never be fathomed,

a life that can never die,

a peace that can never be understood,

a rest that can never be disturbed,

a joy that can never be diminished,

a hope that can never be disappointed,

a glory that can never be clouded,

a light that can never be darkened,

and a spiritual resource that can never be exhausted.”

Surrounded by all the familiar scents and sounds of a busy Thanksgiving morning, I stand in the midst my hectic kitchen with joy spilling over my edges and just breathe. The table is ready, laden with a bounty of all the traditional feast of foods we enjoy every year on this day. Family is all over the house talking, laughing, sharing photos, catching up. It feels wonderful and I’m bathed in blessings.

I glance at the stove with its pan full of steaming, now-smooth gravy, and grin. (You need to know that gravy and I have a battle history!) Moments ago, I’d grumbled over that pan. Not now! “Where is joy in lumpy gravy?” I’d asked the Lord.

I should know by now that no detail of the lives of God’s children is outside His purview. Words that God spoke to the prophet, Jeremiah, pop into my head. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?”

I ask and trust that my nemesis, gravy, will behave itself  and deliciously grace our turkey, stuffing, and potatoes—and that this day will be full of joy.

Looking back later, I’m thankful about how the lumps smoothed out of more than just the gravy throughout that day.

I have to smile a little and agree with the prophet’s words, “Ah, Lord God! You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.”

Traditions have changed in my family in the last few years. Jerry and I join the rest of the family at my daughter and son-in-law’s home on Thanksgiving Day. Now I’m beside them in their bright, warm (yes, hectic) kitchen to help with dinner—and would you believe, I’m still assigned to fight with the gravy?

Are your Thanksgiving traditions the same or have they changed over time?      Do you have a favorite blessing you use?      Have you a favorite handed-down recipe?
I’d love for you to share a story or two about traditions you enjoy (kitchen adventures welcome)!

I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30 NKJV).

Praying that you have a Joy-Filled Thanksgiving Day!

Love, Sally

The verses from Jeremiah 32:27; 17 are from TLB

 

Feeling Invisible?

“Am I invisible? Am I inaudible? Do I merely festoon the room with my presence?” as Christopher Fry was to ask in The Lady’s Not for Burning.

I love that quote! It flat out made me giggle when I first read it with its reminder of how invisible I feel sometimes. You know—those days when you just want to wave your arms and yell, “I’m right here and I have a name!”

Life holds such a clamor of people and things. We’re pulled in a dozen directions at once. We feel both invisible and inaudible and we wonder . . .

Who sees who I really am? Who truly listens to what I have to say?

Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom. Has your other half ever sauntered into the house much later than he’d said he’d be, and before you can say a word, he says “Man what a day! What’s to eat?” [After the day you’ve had, you barely hold back a slightly snarky “Um, it’s all curled up in the oven waiting for you, sweetie!”]

Or maybe you’ve been bolted to your desk, jammed up against deadlines when your boss pokes his head into your office to deliver a veiled sing-song request, “Copier”s out of paper!” [You grit your teeth against blurting out something a notch less than ladylike!]

Even a doting grandmother, without receiving so much as a welcoming hug, might sometimes hear “Did you bring me a present?” [Ouch! Just maybe I shouldn’t have?]

Ever think, What! Am I a nonentity?

No matter what your circumstances, do you seem to fade into invisibility and feel taken for granted when you live out scenes like those?

And as if all that isn’t enough stress, what about the things that constantly beckon us wherever we are, like ticking timers, buzzers, bells, phones, and chimes, all demanding us to race to them for attention?

Of course, we don’t “merely festoon” our homes or where we work,with our presence. ☺ We’re loved by our family, appreciated by our bosses, colleagues, and co-workers, (no, not all the time) but we catch glimpses.

But when the only warmth and welcome seems to come from a pot full of fresh-perked coffee or the brisk scent of brewing tea or the comforting aroma of hot chocolate, just maybe it’s time to take a break.

So what do you do when you feel invisible?

You can stop, pull in a breath, and turn things around. You can lift something more than a cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate.

Lift up your eyes: Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens” (Psalm 123:1).

Lift up a friend: “For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Lift up your voice: “Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together . . .” (Isaiah 52:8a)

Lift up your soul: “Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul” (Psalm 86:4).

Lift up your hands: “Lift up your hands in His Name: Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (Psalm 63:4).

 ♥

“They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea” (Isaiah 24:14).

And there’s One to whom you are never invisible or inaudible.

Dance! Your heavenly Father adores you!

Allow God to lift you up:
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

“. . . I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).

I like this breath prayer too: “More of you, Lord. Less of me.”

And I’m sure you have your own stress relievers. I’d love for you to share some.

Love,

Sally

 All scripture is from New King James Version of the Holy Bible