30 November 2011

Hello???

Is anyone still here?

I will soon be back, up to my usual poetical ramblings.

NaNoWriMo has been conquered for another year, and even a day early (she says puffing up her chest)

My time down here with Mom  comes to an end in mere hours and I fly home to my love and my life.

Tomorrow is a day of road travel and reconnecting....

but Friday....

who knows what will pour out here

I've missed you

 

29 November 2011

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

With Christmas drawing ever closer I was happy to be able to read and review Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh.  The cover notes hint at the riches within:
Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant. What was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store. The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day.

As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve.
Walsh seems to have a way of making even unfamiliar characters feel at home in your life as you meet them through his words.  The twists and turns in these pages seem to make perfect sense in God's world.  Old ways of life fall to make way for the new, the "better than you ever expected".

This is the first of Dan Walsh's novels I have read.  It will not be the last.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The opinions I have expressed are my own.


28 November 2011

I'm still here

I seem to have been away.  I miss wandering in this space.  November will soon come to a close and my time here will return.  Here's another little taste of what i have been working on:

Jessie went back upstairs with her legs feeling shaky and weak. “I don’t know if I’m ready for this yet” she thought.

“You are ready indeed” said the steady voice. “Look for the words I speak about truth in your Bible. It’s time.”

She hung her new coat in the closet and flopped into the armchair, picking up her Bible as she was told.

“How do I find the words about truth” she thought and then remembered there was a kind of index in the back, not a dictionary, she thought, more like a table of contents. She looked for the word “truth”. There was a long list of page numbers and places where truth was mentioned with the beginnings of the passages listed too. She didn’t really know where to start, but as her eyes moved down the list they noticed these words in John:

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

“It is freedom that the calm voice keeps talking about” she thought and though there were many other things on the list, she thought that this is what He really wanted her to know.

“Free from what?” she pondered.

“Free from the lies. Truth will silence the voices. You have already seen a bit of this.”

“Yes, I think I have. When I listen to you, they have no more words to say” Jessie answered out loud.

“Truth is light. This is why I tell you to bring everything into the light. Lies cannot live there.”

Jessie was comforted by His words, yet once again the voices rose.

“You think you’re hearing from God? You silly girl, you’re making it all up.”

“No!” Jessie answered loudly. She held up the Bible in her hand. “I didn’t make this up, did I?”

There was no reply.

Jessie snorted, boldly saying “No answer to that huh?”

Closing her eyes she slipped into a place of dreams.

She found herself walking into an old house. The floor creaked with each step and she could hear the sounds of crying and voices arguing. She walked from room to room and each time she flipped a switch and turned on the lights there was silence in that room and the noise moved to another room. Over and over again, the voices scattered away when the light was turned on, only to move to a room that was still dark. Only when she had turned on a light in every room of the house was there silence and a sense of peace.

“This is what You have been trying to tell me” Jessie said, waking suddenly. “I have to turn the lights on everywhere so that the lies have nowhere left to hide.”

“Yes. You are letting Me teach you”

“But I am still afraid” Jessie thought aloud. “There is so much that no one knows.”

“I know. I know all of it. And I will be with you.”

“And if I don’t tell? Then the secrets will still have power over me, right?” Jessie asked.

“You already know the answer to that” replied the calm and steady voice.

“The truth will set me free
The truth will set me free
And then I can be
Who I was meant to be
Maybe everything before
Was really just a lie
And when I turn the lights on
You can teach me how to fly”


 

20 November 2011

Coming and going


The last minutes before leaving my country home behind
traveling from gravel to ten days of concrete
I say goodbye and hello
leaving home and going home

Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. 



 

19 November 2011

Knowing Your Master

The air has taken on the chill of late autumn and we know that it is time to begin making preparations for the winter that is soon to come. With leaves crackling underfoot, my husband Rick moves back and forth around the yard, putting away tools, covering the most fragile plants with straw and cultivating the gardens before the snow falls.

Each time I catch a glimpse of him I notice he has a shadow: our dog Faith....

to read the rest of the story, click over to Internet Cafe Devotions where I'm sharing today.

 

18 November 2011

From snow to grow

Snow again covers the ground
birds have returned to the feeders
how can a year have passed so quickly
what lessons have been learned
and have I grown from then to now?

Has my heart expanded?

Is there fruit to not only display but feed
to those who need a taste of Him?

Are there fewer spots, more wrinkles pressed away
as He calls His bride to prepare?

He provides all the nourishment
I could ever need
to grow
to look less like the world that surrounds me
and every day reflect more of Him.

And so the snow
in silence drifts.

While all around me
begins to freeze
may my spirit thaw
and grow.



Joining Lisa-Jo, the Gypsy Mama - writing for five minutes about the word grow

17 November 2011

Thankful for choice

Sharing a bit of a snip from my work-in-progress:

“That was a big dinner” she thought “and I’m so full. But I still want to try to eat more of God.” She sank into the sofa and opened her bible, continuing on where she left off.

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  Matthew 7:16-17 NLT

“You know what kind of tree you are” the voices sneered.

“Are you going to listen to them?” asked the calm One.

“No, I am not” thought Jessie. “Help me to not hear them.”

“Choose to not listen. Choose.”

“Okay” Jessie whispered aloud. “I only want to listen to you.” She closed her eyes and breathing deeply, drifted into a dream.

She was in surrounded by trees. Everywhere she looked she saw lush green leaves and more types of fruit than she had ever seen before in one place. There were apples of every colour, peaches, pears and every sort of citrus fruit. She wandered from tree to tree and noticed that there was not a single blemish or spot on any of the fruits. Each one looked perfect. She couldn’t resist tasting them, and found each one rich and sweet, totally ripe and ready to eat. The juices dribbled down her chin.

The sound of a car starting in the street below woke her. She laughed when she realized she had been drooling. Not juice, just a dream, a very nice, bright dream.

“Thank you God” she said as she rose to prepare for bed. “Thank you for showing me the good trees and not the rotten trees.”

“You can choose what you want to see” she thought she heard Him answer.

“Choices?” she smiled. “I never thought I had any choices. Might take some getting used to.”


FaithBarista_FreshJamBadgeG
Jamming with
Bonnie about gratitude


Sharing with Emily and the others imperfect but loved.

 

15 November 2011

Helping a miracle

In his new book What's the Best That Could Happen,  Jason Stasyszen shares insights and encouragement in the same way he shares on his blog Connecting to Impact.

I have always been challenged and spurred on by Jason's words, for example, in Chapter 15 - A Life of Obedience and Trust he writes:

There is a blessing in obedience that cannot be understated. It's a blessing of heart, mind, soul, and spirit. It proves we are who we say we are. If we confess to be followers of Jesus, obedience proves we follow Jesus. If there's not obedience to what He taught (and how He leads) then we aren't living in truth.
This strikes deep into my spirit, for my greatest desire is indeed to walk in radical obedience.  It is in fact obedience to the Lord's voice that calls me to share this book and help both a friend and a child.

If you've never read Jason's blog, this book is  a great way to catch up. 

For regular followers, you likely already know that Jason and his family are believing a miracle will unfold around them as they raise funds to go to Japan to bring home the adopted son they have dreamed of for years.

Your purchase of this wonderful E-Book will help support their cause.  Find out more about the book and how you can help by clicking HERE.  If you don't want to purchase the book you can donate directly, and if you can't donate, you can pray.  Follow the journey at Jason's blog Connecting to Impact.


 

Looking up

Skies darken fast
once November comes
glory streaks rose
gold and hot
but doesn’t linger
the plunge into winter
complete

Look up into black
watch the sky
shatter
drift down
a billion silver
sparkling bits

Snow covers
fault lines
cracks
the daily dirt
what was broken
makes all things new

He sends the snow like white wool; he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes
Psalm 147:16 NLT

Taking a moment away from fiction writing for National Novel Writing Month to dive back into a random act of poetry with the prompt look up.

 

12 November 2011

The Jesus Calling Devotional Bible

The promotional material for Sarah Young's book Jesus Calling says:
After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever she believed He was saying to her.  It was awkward at first, but gradually her journaling changed from monologue to dialogue.  She knew her writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but journaling helped her grow closer to God .   Others were blessed as she shared her writings, until people all over the world were using her messages.  They are written from Jesus’ point of view, thus the title Jesus Calling.
Now Thomas Nelson Publishers have released the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible and I have been blessed to receive a sample to explore and review.

This New King James edition includes beautifully highlighted verses throughout, showing where God has spoken to His people through His Word.

There are intimate prayers written from the viewpoint of average people struggling to make sense of the world and on the facing page devotionals from one of Young's books that could be Jesus Himself answering the prayers with words of His own.

There is a topical index and an index titled When Your Heart Long For Help that directs you to the prayers and stories of people dealing with the same issues.

All this, surrounded by the truth and beauty of God's Word in New King James translation.

This is a Bible one can turn to in sorrow or joy, to find answers, comfort and truth and an edition you will surely want to add to your own colleciton or bless someone else with as a gift.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

11 November 2011

His plans

I have been scarce around here lately due to NaNoWriMo and I miss taking time to ponder blog posts and poetry.  It is a struggle to stay away, when I would prefer to be here instead of waiting on God's words for my novel-in-progress.

But while I may be taking time away from many things, I have not taken a break from my morning time with the Lord.  Here is what He shared with me yesterday:

For I know the plans I have for you and they are good plans and they will unfold just as morning unfolds in the Eastern sky.

Walk beside Me.  Allow My light to fall upon you, not so that you have light, no, so that you reflect that light so that more would see Me.

Keep not the glory that is due My name.

As you shine, shine for Me.
As you speak, speak for Me.
As you have breath and live,
live and breathe for Me alone.

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 The Message


 

09 November 2011

Paper Angels by Billy Coffey

I was blessed to receive an Advanced Readers Copy of Billy’s Coffey’s novel Paper Angels which releases today from Faith Words - Hachette Book Group.

I’ve been waiting excitedly to tell you about it.

Andy Sommerville might not have had the very best life one could imagine, but it was a life. When an unexpected turn left him the victim of a violent crime his quiet community was shaken. So was Andy.

When Elizabeth, a woman he assumes to be a counselor appears in his hospital room he finds himself forced to face significant memories and events of his life.

As he revisits these memories, we not only learn more about Andy but are invited to dig deeper into the journeys of those around him.

In the same way Snow Day wove the stories of many into one complete tale, in Paper Angels Billy Coffey shows us how many parts add up to more than the whole.

I felt as if I was sitting next to Billy, in a rocking chair, on his favorite spot on the porch, listening to him spin words into stories of truth.

This is a novel not to be missed. And while you’re at it, if you’ve never read Billy’s first novel Snow Day, pick up a copy and read it too! In fact, pick up extra copies of both to give away for Christmas.

You can follow Billy as he weaves truth and God’s love into tales of ordinary life on his blog at http://www.billycoffey.com/ and find more infor about his books at Faith Words.


 

08 November 2011

Not far

I am not far from here
though it may seem I've been away

in the hush of new snow
I am waiting to hear
not His thunder
but His thin voice
the words too easily missed

the voice
that beckons me
"listen"

 

07 November 2011

Believe?

A few weeks ago I was asked to preach at our church yesterday.  We have been working our way through the Gospel of John the last littel while, and I was given the John 4:43-54 to focus upon.  Here I share a bit from my notes:

After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

he man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
John 4:43-54 NIV

It was probably not easy for this man to leave Jesus and go back home with only Jesus word that his son would be healed. I’m sure he wished that Jesus would have come to his home and touched his dying child but he was forced to simply believe in Jesus and take him at his word without doubt or hesitation. He was ready to return home and face ridicule and laughter because he trusted in Jesus' word.

I can only imagine the worry that must have remained in his mind. Have you ever received a promise from God yet couldn’t quite reason how He was going to make it come true?

Most of us can quote the famous scripture defining faith from Hebrews 11:1. The NIV version reads:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I like the wording of the New Living Translation:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Even so, while you continued on in your journey where there times that doubt began to settle in?

We are told that this man’s measure of faith was rewarded during the trip back to Capernaum. While he was on his way, his slaves met him, telling him that his son was alive and well. In response to his inquiry about when his son’s health improved, the slaves said, “Yesterday, in the seventh hour [about 1:00 PM] the fever left him.” That was the very time that Jesus had said to him, “Your son lives.”

Can you imagine the wonder that must have struck his heart, to think that his son began to recover as soon as Jesus spoke health over him? We’re told that therefore, he “believed” and so did his household.

I want to share a story about struggling to believe a promise I felt God had given to Rick and I.


It was October or November 2006 when we first received an email from Watoto Childcare. We were expecting mail filled with news and prayer requests, but this was a letter asking us to consider joining a Global Team going to Kampala, Uganda to build houses in November 2007.

We prayed and talked and talked and prayed and asked people we trusted for advice and counsel, and then we prayed some more. We sensed that we were to send in an application and if God wanted us to participate, the applications would be accepted.

It was hard to keep our mind on other things while we waited. In only a matter of weeks we received another mail that began “Welcome Global Team Members” !!

God had given us our answer. We were going to Uganda. We began talking, and praying, and writing letters seeking support, and praying, and speaking in churches doing presentations about our mission. We knew that when God calls you to missions He makes sure the funding is secured, even if you have to wait until the last moments…

We investigated flight arrangements. The travel agents quoted a price and said no deposit needed to be made until a month before we were travelling. What a wonderful escape hatch. If funds didn’t come in, we didn’t have to worry about paying for flights.

Then oil prices rose. The travel agent sent notice that if we wanted to freeze the rate we would have to pay within the next month. I remember saying to Rick “This is where the rubber meets the road. This is when we prove whether or not we really believe God will send us.”

We paid for the plane tickets.

We began charting our donations and mailing funds in to the Watoto Canadian office. We booked appointments for our required yellow fever, typhoid and other vaccinations.

Were we really going? It seemed hard to believe, and harder still when we were receiving no news from Watoto. We carried on, in faith, much the same as the nobleman returned home with just a promise.

When we finally received our next email, it included a detailed itinerary and asked for our arrival times. We found out later that they considered us firmly part of the team from the moment they sent the welcome letter, the very same time we knew that God had said “Go”

God had been true to His Word, but as we looked for signs in the natural world around us, we began to doubt.

So this morning I ask myself and I ask you:

Do we really trust in Jesus' word. Do we need signs and wonders before we can trust and believe?

 
 
Sharing today with Michelle and others who listen and act on what they hear...



 

06 November 2011

First snow

Overnight the world changes
and for the first time this season
we waken to white

May it be a reminder
of His cleansing love

wash and cover me Lord

glorify Your name.

 

02 November 2011

Word Filled Wednesday - Children

Jesus said,
“Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven
belongs to such as these.” 




Visit Internet Cafe Devotions for more stunning combos of pictures and the Word

 

01 November 2011

Strategy? What strategy?

Image found at http://www.dreamstime.com/nib-pen-and-inkwell-thumb2029268.jpg
I should have a plan
that's surely what the world would say
what writing logic would say
50,000 words in 30 days
there must be a strategy to accomplish such a task
and yet

the only plan I can follow
is His
the only words I wish to write
are those He supplies

my only strategy
is surrender
to be a pen in His hand
leaking Jesus onto every page


joining Peter Pollock and others talking about strategy

 
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