Tag Archives: writing

God Glimpses # 50 ~ Dead Wood

hydrangea 1st leavesGod Glimpses # 50 ~ Dead Wood
It’s easy to look at the mess we’ve made as dead wood. Every year I have to cut the dead wood out of my Hydrangea. Every year there’s more. It’s a natural part of the life cycle of many woody shrubs and all trees. A certain percentage of the limbs and branches die off, and more grow in their place. Think of them as the equivalent of human hair. It doesn’t mean there is rot or disease, it’s just part of the process.
Now take that thought and apply it to the mess you’ve made of your attempts. Is your life (and possibly your home and office) filled with the clutter and refuse of attempts that went awry or projects that didn’t make it past the planning stage? Don’t beat yourself up! This is a normal part of the process of growth.
Rather than agonize over the failures, look at your mess as proof that you’re alive, trying new things, attempting to be and do more. Then get out the pruning shears and get rid of those things holding you back, reminding you of failure, and taking up valuable space in your life. Learn from God’s natural process. If you don’t cut out the dead wood, then the new can’t grow. There is no space, or light or air.
Breathe in those wonderful life-affirming verses that you love, and then tackle just one pruning job today. Nothing brings hope for the future like new spring green growth. Make room for it in your life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB
“The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.
I’ve come that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 ISV

God Glimpses #24 – Am I an Artist, or a Cow?

Leather Jackets

God made me with artistic talent. God made me to write.

I am not a plumber. I am not an electrician. I cannot repair cars.

I am not a cow. Cows have a multitude of uses, and most of those uses come after the cow stops giving milk. Dog food, glue, belts and gloves and purses and shoes and jackets.

Book covers.

I am not a cow. I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to be useful. I may never look at a leather book cover the same way. God made me to fulfill a purpose.

I’m so glad I get to do it while I’m alive!

No more guilt because God made me to be something awesome, something I enjoy. Whoever heard of a car mechanic complaining that he hates working on cars, that it takes up his every thought? Who ever heard of a car mechanic caring whether people thought he should be paid to do his job? Really, where does this guilt come from?

Do people need leather book covers? Leather jackets? Leather gloves or purses? No, they want.

My job is to be so good at what God called me to be that people think they need what I have to offer. Because what I have to offer is a glimpse into what God can do with someone with a little talent and a lot of baggage, someone who is submitted to the process of God’s refinery. Someone who’s not going to let what I’m not stop me from becoming what He IS.

Because He’s called me into His likeness.


God Glimpses #23 – Indecision vs. God’s Design

coffee table apron

my coffee table

Do you love design? I know I do. No mid-century modern for me. No thanks! Oh, I know those of you who love those sleek lines will claim that is what makes it design.

To me that’s like saying a single note is the equivalent of a symphony.

Give me ornate carvings, layered paintings, embellished quilts. Oh, yes, I agree that the eye needs a place to rest. I understand that, and plan for that. Even my walls have blank expanses, and I’m an artist.

The point of sensory overload is different for everyone.

At this moment, I’m so overwhelmed I’m not capable of much more than running screaming into the sunset. When I’m overwhelmed, I’m incapable of making good decisions, incapable of true creativity, incapable of being the person I want people to see, or hear. I seek a hole to hide in until the input stops. And that doesn’t work all that well, because I take me in there. Never mind all the outside influences, I’m too complex.

I’m so grateful that the God who created everything–in layers, with ornate design, with embellishments that serve no purpose but to delight the eye–is not overwhelmed, does not suffer from sensory overload.

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways. ”   James 1:5-8

These are perhaps the most complex verses in the Bible. An intertwining mass of circular reasoning to those who don’t get it. Most of us don’t get it. I don’t get it. Too often.

The verses before make it clear that the topic is the testing of our faith through trials, and that testing leads to endurance, maturity, completeness. I suppose it’s no wonder that God doesn’t make that wisdom we’re asking for clear every time. Would it be a test of faith if we knew the answer for sure?

So the test is this–can we believe that he’s given us wisdom–have the guts to act on what we think is the answer? Sometimes that still, small voice is teeny. Sometimes we know we’re hearing God say, “You know what to do” but we doubt ourselves and our ability to hear God, because we’ve ignored him too often, hidden in our holes too easily, delayed the inevitable.

So we don’t trust ourselves, and we float on the sea of indecision, in a boat named “Unanswered Prayers.”

I don’t know about you, but I suffer from motion-sickness.


God Glimpses #21 – Why can’t Artists Read?

The-Raising-of-Lazarus-xx-Benjamin-Gerritsz-Cuyp

How many of you hate it when the book cover is all wrong? Two pages into the book and the main character is described as freckled with brown hair. You flip back to the cover and she’s blonde, What’s with that?

The children’s lesson today was on Lazarus. You know, the guy Jesus raised from the dead by shouting–from outside the tomb. And Lazarus came out. He was bound hand and feet, wrapped in grave clothes and had a napkin over his face. Says it right there in the Bible.

Could I find one correct picture out of hundreds that artists have painted over the centuries? Noooooo. Apparently, they all thought that the comedic thought of Lazarus doing the bunny hop out of that tomb was a tad too lighthearted for their serious talent.

I dunno, I suppose the correct cartoon versions were thrown in the trash by overzealous moms.

So, what’s a teacher to do? We played “What’s wrong with this picture” after reading the story. The kids got it right.

Those of us old enough to know better keep wanting to change God’s story, to make it meld with our sensibilities. We don’t want to think about the maggots in the grave clothes. We don’t want to let the Word stand on its own.


God Glimpses #19 – Seeds of Hope

sycamore seed balls

Yesterday’s post dealt with hope deferred. When I took this photo, the sky was a beautiful blue, just begging me to look up.

Sycamore seeds. Fascinating textured globes of promise. In my minds eye they are broken all over the driveway, as they will be soon. They’re smashed from the impact of falling, squashed by tires, blown into fluff bits, and floating in the wind in tiny segments. They’re everywhere! They’re landing in my flower beds, in the lawn, heading for the soccer field across the street . . . if they make it past the hedge of trees.

“Just DO it” reverberates from yesterday.

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed, whether one or the other, or if both of them will be equally good.”  Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)

 


God Glimpses #14 – Lined paper

lined paper sideways

Ray Bradbury used this as the epigraph at the beginning of Fahrenheit 451: “When they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

That is one reason I love the creative life. It allows me a glimpse of the One who created it all. Knowing the Creator of Life allows me to ignore stupid man-made rules . . . while I hold onto my true identity without fear.


Here I go a NaNo’ing . . .

Writing a book in a month . . . I highly recommend it! Especially when the month starts out with a hurricane and no internet access for days on end now. There’s nothing like a good challenge to help you know what kind of stuff you’re made of.

I’m pleased so far. The writing is going well, the plot is thickening in all the right places, and I’m learning just how fast I really can write. Finishing my first book helped me come to grips with the idea that I can no longer think of myself as a quitter, but now have to consider myself a winner (so difficult for the phlegmatic/melancholy fractions of my personality.) Writing this well and fast at the same time is changing my perception of my capabilities. Now I know, in just one short week so far, that I can indeed sit my behind in the chair and come up with something that’s not half bad. For the half that is bad, there’s EditMo in January, when I get to throw out the bad and keep the good. What a great way to start a year!


You’re invited to a Write-In!

nanowrimo.org

We’re hosting NaNoWriMo Write-Ins every Wednesday in November at The Foundry Church, in Delaware County. If you’re nearby, come and join us! We’ll be there at 6:00 PM and run until approx 10:00. You’re welcome to bring snacks to share or for yourself. We’ll have coffee and hot water and tea bags, and at least some form of snack.

If you don’t know what this is, it’s National Novel Writing Month when authors and wanna be’s all over the nation join together to write 50,000 words of a novel in just 30 days.

For directions, click on the ‘contact us’ tab at the church website for a direct link to the Google map. http://www.thefoundrychurch.org/ The parking lot is around the corner at Walnut and Blakely.


Break the Rules, Please!

Ray Bradbury used this as the epigraph at the beginning of Fahrenheit 451: “When they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

And that is why I love the creative life. It allows me to break the rules while I hold onto my true identity as a child of the Creator of Life.


Why writers write

It’s been just a two weeks since the writer’s conference, and a few things have happened in this writer’s world, besides working diligently to submit requests from editors and agents.

Namely:

  • Living through an earthquake, hurricane Irene and several tornadoes.
  • Two deaths; a good friend and my uncle.
  • Both daughters were sick–twice, and both have poison ivy.

Ah, the agonies of bodies out of sync and the excitement of weather events as seen through drama-teen eyes–the whine of the hurricane was nothing by comparison! And they had no real connection to the people who passed away, both named Jim, both on the same day. My grief was nothing compared to their agony.

So, why do writers write? Escapism is a big factor. It takes solitude to be a writer, certainly. For some this is a necessary evil, for others it is solace. I fall into the latter group. Let me escape from the voices and the activity and I will turn events into words. Which means I should be overwhelmed with possible stories to make out of the past few weeks experiences.

Right now, I’m just overwhelmed.

I need to escape.