30 November 2012

Another November ends...

I have missed you this month.
I have missed me this month.
I chose once again to dive into the madness that is NaNoWriMo.
I sat, I typed, I drank too much coffee.
I kept my schedule free of lunch dates with friends.
I spent many evening hours apart from my beloved husband.
But I have broken the surface victorious with 50,000 new words.
I will take time now to inhale and celebrate.

Here's a tiny little clip I posted on my NaNoWriMo profile:

Linda’s father was a man of few words and what words he did use were harsh and cold. She learned to stay out of his way whenever possible, afraid of the steel freeze of his eyes. It seemed to the young girl that her mother did the same, slipping in and out of rooms like a shadow.

Laughter in the house rarely rang out and only when her father was away, then and only then would Linda catch the faint edges of a smile from her mother. The turn of her father’s key in the front door lock always chased the smiles away.

Linda, her older sister and her little brother walked nervous through their own house, never certain when the eerie stillness would be shattered by the next storm.

It might be the meat on his dinner plate was too well done, or his favourite white shirt was not folded perfectly square, or a toy happened to not get put away before he got home. The air cracked as his voice cut through like a whip, accusing and condemning.

Plates were thrown, glasses smashed and flesh bruised. The children and their mother were given names like labels branded on their hearts. Stupid. Useless. In the way. They were idiots, pains in the ass, good for nothing and failures. Time and again they were reminded that they really were not worth his time.

“I could do so much better than all of you” he would announce. “I should just walk away and start over.”

Linda never told anyone about the small hope she kept burning in her heart that he would live up to his threats and leave. But day followed day, week after week, and the years piled up one after the other.


 

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

The back cover of the short novel Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot teases:
Celia Anderson doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a travelling carpenter finds lodging at her boardinghouse, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle, though, to find roses during a harsh Wyoming winter.  But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .
I found this, my first book by Cabot to be a charming start to my Christmas season.  The characters are well developed and the pacing is quick even if somewhat predictable in outcome.

If you're looking for a bit of Christmas cheer, you will enjoy this winter tale.

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

23 November 2012

Wait with expectation


Waiting patiently for God 
always includes joyful expectation.  
Without expectation 
our waiting can get bogged down in the present.  
When we wait in expectation 
our whole beings are open to be surprised by joy.

It is this joyful expectation of God's coming 
that offers vitality to our lives. 
The expectation of the fulfilment 
of God's promises to us 
is what allows us to pay full attention 
to the road on which we are walking.
Henri Nouwen

being still with Sandy

 

16 November 2012

Not little at all

Living a spiritual life makes our little, fearful hearts 
as wide as the universe, 
because the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within us 
embraces the whole of creation.
Henri Nouwen

 
Needing the still point with Sandy today

 

14 November 2012

Show Off edited by Joe Bunting


Joe Bunting has served up a tasty sampler plate in his new volume Show Off.

With short stories by ten different writers there is a flavour to please anyone.

These are not fluffy, feel good tales, they are raw and real. Each voice has a different way of dealing with emotions brought to the surface by things like death, or dementia or loss of faith.

As a writer of fiction and poetry I read the work of others not only for content but for the play of words one against the other. A compilation like this tickles my tongue.

If I have any complaint at all it is that I wanted more.


 

Welcome email - High Calling Newsletters



I just finished working my way through The High Calling's weekly e-newsletter from September 5, 2012.

I started by both reading and listening to a short devotional by Howard E. Butt, Jr. about a young couple who both battled cancer but chose to live out what time they had with joy. I enjoyed listening to the compassion and wisdom in Butt’s voice.

Next, I was drawn to an article titled Next in Line at the Food Stamp Window about someone who never expected to be dealing with food stamps, and unemployment.  Keri Anguiano writes:  “But what happens when you do exactly what you’re supposed to do, and things still don’t turn out right?” and goes on to explain the worries and uncertainties that come from working as teacher. She writes: “My faith doesn’t immunize me against hardship. Oftentimes I wonder if it invites hardship. I wonder if Christians endure more challenging lives than the rest of the population.”

I continued reading, Jennifer Dukes Lee wrote about the mother she is and the mother she isn’t and learning to accept our limitations.  There were also links to excellent articles from others that are part of High Callings Community.

The last link I clicked was to a video and story, again by Howard E. Butt, Jr. about integrity in business.  This short but true piece was amusing but a clear warning at the same time.

Of the many newsletters I receive in my email inbox, this is the only one that I read through consistently, at least scanning each and every article.  Yes, it’s that good and well worth my time and yours.

I completed this review for Handlebar – Directions for Publishing in exchange for a gift card from Amazon dot com.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.


 

11 November 2012

Journey to Peru

Follow the Compassion Bloggers in Peru

In just two days a team of Compassion Bloggers will travel to Peru to witness firsthand Compassion International’s ministry to children in the highlands near Lima.

Why not take a moment now to visit and bookmark their blogs so that they can take you along on the journey.

Angela Smith of Bring the Rain
Jennifer Schmidt of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Kevin & Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage
will be lead as always by the ever faithful and often road weary Shaun Groves

 

Snow Day


 No one can mistake that voice—
His word thundering so wondrously,
    his mighty acts staggering our understanding.
He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’
    and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’
No one can escape the weather—it’s there.
    And no one can escape from God.


 
Shouting out praise with Deidra and the Sunday chorus

 

10 November 2012

Letters To Me edited by Don Schmidt

My life is much different
than it could have been
should have been
if God in His mercy had not intervened

Hindsight is a gift
the present cannot hold
we can not know
what we will know

We watch
aware
that pain will explode
roads will twist
feet will slip
aching to redirect
from our wiser positioning in time
desiring what is not
possible

Letters To Me Conversations With A Younger Self edited by Don Schmidt, is a remarkable new volume, where nineteen writers reach back in time with letters to their themselves.

Their words will make you laugh, cry and recognize yourself between the lines, current, former and future versions.  These are more than simple stories but reflections of lives fully lived.  You will not be disappointed if you choose to go along for the ride. I suspect you may even find a pen in your hand, writing a letter of your own.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

The in-betweens

Snow has left the world outside my window clean, fresh and silent.
The flakes fall so fast and fierce it is hard to see.
As I opened my journal, 
the Lord reminded me to trust His lead
not my own vision.

When you feel you are going in circles, trust that I Am leading you.
Even those places you return to again and again are seen in a different way each time 
for I have changed you in the "in-betweens".
I have a plan and a purpose for all things.
Why should you think this would not include all parts of your life?
Circles, lines, uphill or down --
Listen, follow My lead.

Seeking the secret place with Cheryl

 
and the silence of stillness with Sandy

 

07 November 2012

Be that light

I know I'm not alone in my desire to walk in the perfect will of God.
We ask.  We pray.  We beg at times.
"Lord, what would you like from me?"

This morning  as I opened my journal He answered in simple words that He has used before:

Just as the night can not hold back the morning
darkness can not hold back the light

Where light is 
darkness splinters, cracks and shatters

I call you to be that light

Remembering and reminding others 
that no matter how deep or long the night
morning always comes

 
Loving how His hand moves with Jennifer


 

Taken by beauty


I am taken
by beauty
choosing awareness
in each moment
awe
and so 
breathless



WordCandy Wednesday 
Biting into something sweet with with L. L. Barkat

 

02 November 2012

Pour out

I sat in the quiet of the morning before sunrise, surrendering my day, yet uncertain about how much of my self remains in control.

I opened my journal to record what He would share:

Trust that I Am leading you.

Remain open and aware of all I place in front of you.  
What appears to be an obstacle may be your greatest opportunity.

Poverty shows up with many faces.  
Be sensitive to the poor in spirit for their needs are great.

Pour out grace.
Pour out patience.
Pour out love.

I did.  I do.   I always will.

Abiding with Cheryl


Seeking quiet with Sandy

 

01 November 2012

Knocking...

 

Poetry has been knocking on my doors for most of my fifty-six years.
There were times that I locked tight the latches
but I am throwing myself wide open
allowing words to have their way

I am searching too

 
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