Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Final week of NaNoWriMo

As of the twentieth, National Novel Writing Month is open for validation of our fifty thousand words. I had such great plans to be done by this time this year. I'm still in the running, but I'm lacking words. Big sigh here.
Once again, I've learned so much. I learn about discipline first, then about story structure, not theoretical story structure, but my story structure. 
This year I boldly started a new project before finishing the last project, and, since this new WIP depends on the previous WIP, I am fast digging myself a huge hole. It's a great hole, but it's truly large and in charge.
Never mind all of that. I'm still laughing and gaily typing. It's not like cooking where once you've added you can't remove. Since I like to play and test various hypotheses, cooking isn't often one of my strengths unless I have time and ingredients to start over again, or tart over again, as the case may be. With NaNoWriMo, I'm not so fussed. I just leave the scene in, highlight it and head in a different direction. It helps me learn not to be such a perfectionist and to rely on my abilities in creating scene, character and plot and then re-creating all of them through editing after November.
There's the fabulously exciting first week. I started a novel. This is me typing on MY NOVEL. This is my word count growing. It's so cool and so odd. Voices in my head come out to play. All those imaginary friends I had when I was young, they live again, and I always want to hold that first week for a few extra days, to savor the breathtaking freedom of it. It's like getting a new little red wagon; like the shiny happy days filling it and carting stuff around, building worlds and carrying treasure, oh, and did I mention, playing, absolute tumbling, laughing, flying, rolling, playing.
The second week inevitably brings panic. I have a slim structure (not me, my story). I've enjoyed the first week. I've donated and purchased my t-shirt, but I need more scenes. The characters want more action. Questions set in. Is it good enough? Is there enough tension? Does the setting work? Is it a novel or a short story? Are the stakes high enough? I have to force myself to keep writing without editing.
The third week is resignation, but I keep chugging. This story will need so much work when I'm done. I won't even be able to finish the first draft before I fix a few things.
So how am I now? Glad you asked. Still learning and gearing up for camp NaNo. I never think I've done the thing correctly. Probably because I haven't.
This brings me to my point, yes my end point. 😟It's a silly thing, really. I pre-purchased a winner shirt this year and last year. I think I've always purchased one, but up until last year, the great NaNo folks didn't send a shirt until I validated my novel. I figured it was just expedience or a glitch last year. I won last year, but not really, because my fifty thousand words were on two separate projects. I wear the shirt anyway. I love NaNo. I simply can't resist.
This year, I had just decided I needed to suspend work on this project and spend some time planning and return to my original project, when, what to my wandering eyes did appear, my winner's t-shirt. Yikes. Do I wear it knowing I've gone rogue? Probably I will, because, I simply can't resit NaNoWriMo. Now, back to my fifty K, rogue or not.
Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving. Bev 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blog « Gabby Care

Blog « Gabby Care

Thanksgiving and Wonder in the Maze of Being a New Author

Ghost Story Night 
As many of you know, we lost our local bookstore and local authors have scrambled to find ways to get the word out about our new releases. Here is what I've done so far to get the word out about my new book, Gabby Care along with other local authors, Barbara Patterson, Marilyn W. LathropJoyce McCollaum, and Eva McCollaum who has a wonderful new book out also. 
We had a great Ghost Story night at Pecos Flavors, but it wasn't a book signing. We invited local authors to come and tell tall tales and spread the word that many of us had new books out and others that needed to be  read. Thank you to Pecos Flavors for being willing to try something new. We read from favorites and enjoyed opening night at a new location for the winery. I told one of my favorite tales about Stingy Jack mixing several versions and having some fun with the great crowd. All of us were pleased with the turn out and hope to do it again next year. 
Next, hat in hand, I approached a dear friend who had offered to have a small book party in her home. It morphed into a wonderful event held at my sister's house who lives next door to my friend. Thank you to Mary Lynn Bogle and June Bible. Because of their
generous hosting I had the best first book signing ever and a fabulous time with so many supportive friends from our Hagerman Bible study, my family and our women's circle at the church. Who knew people would be so kind and generous? Even notes of encouragement and fabulous gifts came my way. I don't think my feet have touched the ground since yesterday morning. Thank you all so much and the cookies were amazing.
Earlier in the fall, I partnered with Marilyn Lathrop to do several workshops in Artesia at their fabulous new library. This is a series of three workshops for beginning writers. Each of us take forty-five minutes to cover a topic an hour and a half before the library opens. It is quick and energizing and reminds me why I write. At our first workshop we met many new faces and talented people, and we thoroughly enjoyed talking about one of our favorite subjects. Our next workshop is on November the 16th.
Before the end of the year, I hope to do a few public book signings, readings and some other wonderfully wacky event that I haven't quite dreamed up.
Authors, let me know what you are doing, especially in rural areas. Thank you for reading.
Up next Nano, week two.

Monday, October 31, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Ready, Set, Write

I love this time of year, the crisp morning air, the late garden pumpkins and green tomatoes, even the last roses with their perfectly soft petals of spring colors wrong and right against the fall sky. I like turning my thoughts to Christmas and the time of advent. But more often lately, I enjoy the whimsy of Halloween which leads into joyous thanksgiving and prepares the heart for searching and kneading of Advent. There is so much wonder in the fall. Sunlight dances on autumn leaves. A moonlight stroll beckons me to take time in reflection even as the moon reflects the sun.  Where I live the harvest is mostly done and next year's crops planted by Halloween. Food is on the table and football parties, school games and sidewalk art take center stage.Tiny tricksters are followed by Veteran's Day Parades and generous hearts, feast days and lights, Christmas parties and finally Candlelight Services. And like whipped-cream, chocolate icing, served so cold it shears, there's National Novel Writing Month.
This year, thanks to K.M. Weiland and Janice Hardy, Larry Brooks and a few others, I haven't worried as much as in previous lead ups to November one. I'm doing one page sheets for each week of nano. The sheets have scenes on them mostly, scenes that provide a hook, an unaccepted call, turning point, rising action, second turning point more action, character layering, character nearly giving up ... If I get that far in fifty thousand words well yeah me.
I think I will like this method. I hope to transfer my notes as I go into journals and then into Scrivener for the first time, unless I am swayed by the fun poster-board grids I really enjoy making. I plan to work at my desk (photo above), my computer pictured below, but also my car, the library, my office at the farm and even the church as necessary
This is my fourth year, but the first year I had no idea what the plan was. I just kept working on a work in progress. I had fifty thousand new words, but I didn't realize until the second year that I was a NaNo rule breaker, a rebel in disguise. Oh the shame. Well, I moved on and attempted to "do it right" with my first stab at Gabby Care which came out the fall. I did the second book in the series last fall and now I'm on the third.

So I'm posting and looking forward to tomorrow's sunrise. Ready, Set, Write, Right? How's your sunrises NaNos?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

National Day of Writing, Fantasy Fiction at Goddard High School

National Day of Writing 10/20/16
Goddard High School, Roswell NM
Fantasy Fiction
Many consider George MacDonald’s, Phantastes written in 1857 as the first work of modern fantasy fiction, not least because it was a tale for adults. It greatly influenced many writers including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Our rich history of literature has always included tales and verbal tellings of the wondrous, unimaginable, and horrific. Often these tales were crafted to instruct and warn, sometimes based on visions of afterlife or another world.
If you study the roots of fantasy, you will find deeply spiritual men and women, and often you will find clues to sustained inspiration.
For instance, MacDonald was said to be influenced by the French fairy tale Undine. C.S. Lewis was influenced by MacDonald, but also by Norse myth and spent some time with his peer J.R.R. Tolkien unraveling and relearning Old English to better understand and engage with the epic poem. Beowulf.

William Morris was a textile designer and a contemporary of MacDonald and G.K. Chesteron. He was an artist with a strong interest in Icelandic literature, and is responsible for translating and keeping much of the Norse myth alive in English today. But what drew me to Morris was his illustrations and textiles. They are richly detailed and inspiring.
In today's fiction market, Fantasy covers everything from high fantasy and faery to science-fiction, horror, paranormal, dystopian, and a few things which defy definition. These are sometimes called speculative fiction. 

So, I have some questions for you. What makes you want to write fantasy, or are you here because you needed a place to land?
What are your favorite stories, movies included?
Who inspires you, truly, not just the coolest answer? 
What I find most fascinating in the world of other worlds is inspiration. Where do we get it? What is it made of? How do we sustain it?
That is where I’ll leave off talking for discussion. These are questions for you to answer.
Your assignment: pick two of the following, but one has to be the monster/villain
Create a monster, an enemy, or a villain. Give him or her an element of charm and style. Give him or her a weakness. Give Him or her a power. Give him or her a powerful desire.
Create a hapless hero or heroine. Give him or her a weakness. Give him or her an ugliness, a seedy underside. Give him or her a quest that has to do with the villain.
Create a setting or world. Give it a currency. Give it a wonder. Give it a horror.

Play further here on this blog or, talk to us at writingrogues@live.com

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Children's Church, What is God's Call on My Life

Our songs today are Beautiful Savior and They'll Know we are Christians by our Love

This week we look at God's call, in other words, what is it that God wants us to do. He created this world, He put us here, we love Him, but what are we to do?
Our questions direct up to Psalm 24. It opens with these words: The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord. This Psalm tells us that we belong to God. We are His. That means our lives are His as well.
The Believe Series in chapter nine, talks a bout Hannah and Samuel from 1 Samuel 1:1-28;3:1-11. Hannah desperately wants a son and finally prays to God that she will give her son back to God's service if He would only favor her. A year later, Hannah's prayer is answered and Samuel is born. She cares for her son until he is old enough to go to the priests and dedicate his life to God. While Samuel is with the priests, God calls him three times and Samuel at first thinks it is Eli, the Chief Priest. Eli finally understands that God is calling Samuel. Eli tells Samuel to listen and answer God's call. Samuel dedicates his life to God and serves Him from that day forth.
In the New Testament Mark 12:38-44, the widow gives all that she has to the temple. Jesus uses her as an example of dedication and trust in God.
We will close in prayer asking God to help us be examples of dedication and love for Him.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Children's Church, Believe 6, God's Plan

Children’s Church
September 18, 2016
Believe Lesson Six, God’s Plan
Genesis 15:1-7, 17:15-22, 18:10-15, 21:1-7, Acts 2:1-41
The Bible begins with the book of Genesis. The word ‘genesis’ means beginning or new creation. We’ve seen in this study that God created the world and everything in it, and the Bible also tells us that He had a plan from the very beginning. In our Old Testament studies today, we learn that God’s plan established His people, the Israelites. The Bible tells us about the descendants of Abraham and his son Isaac and how these people became the Israelite's, we say Jews today or Jewish.
Exodus 19:5-6 tells us about a kingdom of priests and holy nation that God's plan for Israel was to make of them such a nation.
Let's sing a song, Beautiful Savior

1. Beautiful Savior,
King of Creation,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I'd love Thee,
Truly I'd serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.
2. Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.
3. Fair is the sunshine,
Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in the sky.
4. Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

Here’s my question, if Israel was God’s nation, where do we fit in?
We are grafted in because of the love of God. Jesus says He is the vine and we are the branches. Paul tells us that we are saved because of our faith. He likens it to being grafted onto a branch supported by the roots of the vine. Now that we are God’s saved children through the work of Jesus, we are part of God’s church. We say we are part of the church family.
Let us pray

Father in Heaven, we love You. Thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for making us part of Your family. Please be with us and our parents, caregivers and teachers this week. We pray as Jesus taught us to pray, saying, our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts and we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Five Thoughts, coming to you live from Denver Colorado

View from my room at RMFW
So I haven't been posting--unsure what I should be doing now that my book will be released soon. So this is just me and a few crazy thoughts.
Crazy thought 1) The back cover of my book is terrible. I didn't finish writing the little why-you-want-to-read-this-book-blurb and while the publisher sent me a review copy, I was so gob-smacked to see my name in print and how beautiful Konii's artwork was, I just approved it without much thought. DumbDumbDumb. That was me, not engaging the grey cells. I had a great ten minute session with an editor, Jeff Seymour, while I attending the Colorado Gold Conference for RMFW (which has been another great year, go RMFW) anyway, Jeff said that authors edit their own back cover copy, emphasis on authors not editors. Just a thought, there should be a field of editors around to help challenged author's like me with this single task.
Crazy thought 2) My book is soon to be out, some say dropped, some say live. They probably all mean different things and I'm using the lingo incorrectly. Either way, a cow drops a calf, a broadcast goes or is live, but a book? I'm not certain I want anymore livestock metaphors in my world. Branding was bad enough. What is my brand--the family owns several. We use the fleur-de-lis, which we pronounce flower de luz (I know, bad, right?) but it's hard for me to get my head around branding at all. I don't want to be branded. Wasn't that a TV show?
Crazy thought 3) I finally made the jump into blogging and trying to add color to my blogs with photos and images. Yikes. I thought I was using free stuff, but I find out, maybe I'm stealing images, albeit, unwittingly. Bad bad juju, or is it joojoo. Whatever it is, I apologize to my huge readership and thank you for not sending me to the gallows.
Crazy thought 4) Can authors actually make enough money to consider it a career? People keep telling me it's a great time to be publishing, but mostly it's a great time if you're a freelance editor or if you offer independent publishing services or if you're Amazon.
Crazy thought 5) because there just needed to be five, four is too clean. I missed the RHS game Friday night and that means I missed my son in the band in their new uniforms. I never thought I'd be so gooey about a football game.
Enough for now, laughter and joy and, if not, strength to bear. Thank you for reading. BEV

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books | Writers and Authors

The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books | Writers and Authors

Writing and ... not Writing, just a Little Reflection

Today's Google Doodle is a reference to The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende. I haven't read this book though I've long had it on my 'soon,' list. While reading about the book I was fascinated by the original cover, and I tried to piece the story from the rich illustration of the lion. Was it another Narnia? Was Ende writing about redemption?
I floated to Wikipedia and found this about Ende's writing process. It was a perfect description of what many of us call a pants-er and a successful one. (A pants-er (seat of the pants person) is anyone who doesn't outline their story or know the end before they begin to write, antithetic to plotter.) I was taken-aback. I constantly push myself to do a better job of outlining, thinking that I'll never finish a book if I don't. I found a little shade and rest in this quote from Ende.
‘I sat down at my desk and wrote: “The country in which the engine-driver, Luke, lived was called Morrowland. It was a rather small country.” Once I’d written the two lines, I hadn’t a clue how the third line might go. I didn’t start out with a concept or a plan - I just left myself drift from one sentence and one thought to the next. That’s how I discovered that writing could be an adventure. The story carried on growing, new characters started appearing, and to my astonishment different plotlines began to weave together. The manuscript was getting longer all the time and was already much more than a picture book. I finally wrote the last sentence ten months later, and a great stack of paper had accumulated on the desk.’ Michael Ende always said that ideas only came to him when the logic of the story required them. On some occasions he waited a long time for inspiration to arrive. At one point during the writing of Jim Button the plot reached a dead end. Jim and Luke were stuck among black rocks and their tank engine couldn’t go any further. Ende was at a loss to think of a way out of the adventure, but cutting the episode struck him as disingenuous. Three weeks later he was about to shelve the novel when suddenly he had an idea - the steam from the tank engine could freeze and cover the rocks in snow, thus saving his characters from their scrape. ‘In my case, writing is primarily a question of patience,’ he once commented.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. Happy Thursday. BEV

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Children's Church A relationship with God

How do I have a relationship with God? Our book asks an important question, but first let's summarize.
In week one we looked at who God is. Besides being Almighty-powerful, Creator and King, He has three faces, God the father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, Genesis 1-2 and Luke 3.
Last week we studied the question does God care? You remember that He cares enough to die for us, Romans 5:8 and John 3:16.
So we know God is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit rolled into one. We know He cares enough to send His Son.

How do we have a relationship with God? What's the third party of the trinity? The Holy Spirit. John 14 says in verse 26, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit--The Father will send Him in My name--will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you."
See also Luke 24:49,John 14:16,John 15:26,John 16:7,Acts 2:33
Let's sing a song What a friend we have in Jesus

What is a relationship to you?
Do we have relationships with friends? How about with teachers? Brothers and sister? Parents? God? What are some of the things we do in a relationship? Do we talk to each other? do we spend time with each other? Do we go places together? How might we do all of those things with God?

Let's go to God in prayer:
Father in Heaven, hear our prayer. Thank you for sending Jesus, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit, thank You for this day and for our churches this Sunday, that we may come to You with our joys and troubles. Father we lift the people of Your church throughout the world today, especially the children. Be with them this week, with their parents, teachers and care-givers also. Thank You. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sunday's Message Thursday, Who is God

Citing 1 Kings 18:21, Stephen began Sunday's prayer of confession, calling us to look at our false gods. I thought again how some of us consider God as an option. Like the Israelites in Kings, we don't always realize our choices have consequences. We chose according to whim and appetite. "If the Lord is God follow Him, but if Ba'al is God, follow him." Glancing at my phone for the fifteenth time this morning, I wonder who or what I worship, who or what is my god. Am I following my phone? Really? Sigh.
Stephen spoke from Joshua 24 echoing 1 Kings. Choose, Joshua exhorts. God is a jealous God. Stephen went on to mention Hosea 11, that not only is God a jealous God but He leads us with cords of human kindness and ties of love. It is a treasured passage that shows a father leading a child, teaching them to walk. I imagine my own son looking up at me in delight as he takes his first steps. Did I look at my earthly father that way? How soon did I stray? How often do I stray from the path God sets before me? The example of Gomer in Hosea sharpens my hunger to do better.
But God doesn't stop with cords of kindness and love, He sent His Son, our Redeemer. He sent His Holy Spirit, our Counselor.
When we notice these things, oh, and when, when will I notice, but when we do, when I do notice, I must put aside all other gods including self-absorption, affectation, disinterest and scorn. Psalm 19 ends with a petition that asks God to forgive the Psalmist's hidden faults and to keep the Psalmist from willful sin. This is my petition, my prayer for today.
I will post more on this tomorrow as it is the same topic for Monday evening Bible Study.
Thanks for reading. BEV

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Children's Church August 14, Who is God?

We begin a new study today. It is the Believe Series from Randy Frazee.
In the first lesson we ask the question, who is God.
The Bible answers this question, but before we get there let's go over some ideas.
The picture is from a painting by Michael Angelo. It is over five-hundred years old and forms part of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
It is and amazing work of art. But it is of man. What is of God? We are of God. He created us and that's what to painting shows, at least it shows us Michael Angelo's vision of what the creation of man looks like.
Our study today points us to Genesis 1-2. The Bible tells us here about God creating the heavens and earth and all that fills it, including mankind. The study asks us to consider God the Father when we study this section of Scripture. Here's a song to help us remember creation.

Day On Night and Day
Day Two Sky and Water
Day Three Plants and Land
Day Four Sun, Moon and Stars
Day Five Birds and Fish
Day Six Animals and Man
Day Seven God Rested.
That's How the world began.
Thanks DLTK

Let's also sing All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Who else is God? That's right, He's one God in three persons. He's Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our study next points us to Jesus' Baptism by John from Luke 3.  We see Jesus and the Son in whom God is well pleased and we see the Holy Spirit descending like a dove.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, thank You that we know You. You are in our hearts and thoughts, be with us this week. Thank You for our families and care givers. Be with our teachers as school starts. We lift our church up to You for guidance and protection, love and mercy. We pray these things Jesus' sweet holy name. Amen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

8th day Bible Challenge Thank you Judy Harshey

Remnants of the Broad Wall of biblical Jerusalem, built during Hezekiah's days against Sennacherib's siege, Wikipedia
For the Bible challenge today I chose Hezekiah's prayer from Isaiah 37.

Hezekiah's Prayer for Deliverance

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lordthe kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”
In the modern world many mock God. May the faithful continue in prayer. 

Book Review, Light in August

So a tiny brag, I usually stick to fun, light, genre fiction, the penny dreadful, but I try to read a bit of the hard stuff from time to time. Last month I listened to Light in August, read by Will Patton. Those of you who listen to James Lee Burke will know Will Patton's talent for southern voice. So, yay me.
As I read through a few reviews and notes about the book I saw many wordy entries as if reviewers in their great respect for Faulkner's work were trying to mimic him, some successfully but others, not so much. I'll try to keep this brief.
Yes, it is Faulkner and even the title is poetic. In his Nobel acceptance speech, Faulkner ends by saying, "The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail." With this book, Faulkner achieves a quality of poetic prose that surely goes beyond simple record to speak to beauty and creation.
As a novel, rather than narrative poetry, Light in August is a multi-headed beast, partially sketching the stories of Lena Grove, Joanna Burden, Joe Christmas, the McEacherns, Lucas Burch, Byron Bunch, Reverend Gail Hightower, Doc Hines and several others. Faulkner tells of Lena's pregnancy and her search to find the father of her baby who left when he heard of her condition. It tells of Joe Christmas, an orphaned child who lives as a white man, but thinks he has black blood. The book images his struggle to accept his life and his search to silence his history. It tells of  a Presbyterian minister and a Baptist minister, both failing for different reasons. They meet in Jefferson in Yoknapatawpha County.
Faulkner's characters are beautifully imagined, but they remain on the page entrenched in a hopeless human struggle with little grace or true charity. They are almost caricatures, so firmly are they held by Faulkner's pen. I noticed that, while the characters all meet, they scarcely interact. Their situations impact each other through the reader rather than through each other. The reader is distant from the characters and the characters are distant from each other.
While I wouldn't call this Dark in August, I might consider the title separately. Faulkner describes the light in many places in this book, but I see the golden joy of August's light differently. It is light that quickens the harvest, no longer as fierce as the sun of July. But if he had titled the book, the Fierce Light of July, it just wouldn't have worked, accuracy notwithstanding.
As I mentioned earlier, I have read Faulkner before and enjoyed his rich voice, but I don't remember the stories as much as the images and a sense of personal victory upon completing one of his books along with a desire to return to it at a later date.
Read Light in August for the poetry and the mastery of Faulkner's rich voice. Read it to be drawn into grateful prayer for the Good News of Salvation.
Also posted on bacoots.com, Goodreads and writingroguesrant.blogspot.com
Thanks for reading BEV

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Children's Church and Day Five Scripture Challenge

Today in Children's church I had prepared 2 Samuel 9:1-7 for the fruit of the Spirit covering kindness, but when we went to the chapel with only two youngsters, one bearing a beautiful bag stuffed with coloring books, I couldn't help myself. I decided to play on the floor coloring and drawing. Payton and Stella were the best and the kindness Stella showed to share her lovely books was a far better example that I could pull from a dry talk. The best part was that the kindness of both young women was shown to me.
In the prepared passage, King David, coming back from a remarkable victory, does the unthinkable. He searches out his opponent's grandson son and shows kindness by promising to restore the lands of his father and grant this grandson a permanent place at the King's table.
I read a book recently that used a southern vernacular in dialogue, often stating that 'it would be a great kindness,' or, 'you would show me a true kindness' by allowing a particular turn of events. It led me to consider the difference between tolerance and kindness. Tolerance requires little of a person. You may simply tune out another who disagrees with you allowing them to go their own way, but with kindness, we must interact. It is a gift, one to another. You may disagree fervently and still demonstrate kindness.
Here are my beautiful drawings from Payton and Stella. Thank you both for your kindness to me.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Something Lost, Bible Challenge Day 4

Peter Pan's Lost Boys from Disney Studios
This week my son lost his wallet. Happily there wasn't much in it, but we had to replace his driver's license. Then, last night I lost a diamond earring. It is replaceable, but I have been musing on those people and things that aren't replaceable. Jesus tells three parables of loss in Luke 15, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son. The first two speak of rejoicing over the sinner who repents. The parable of the lost son, rejoices over the son returned, but moves on to instruct the one who stayed behind.
I don't like losing things, but I also don't like taking risks. This limits God's miracles in my life. I've got the bases covered, so to speak, and I can rest easy, but, in today's world we are all at risk, from terrorists to malignant souls who seek to destroy another's peace simply because the don't have the same. How much simpler to find peace and rest in God's word and in prayer than to not take risks.
Thanks for reading. BEV

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hagerman Bible Study, Priscilla Shirer, The Gift

Monday we listened to Priscilla Shirer's message entitled the Gift. She spoke from Luke 9:1-2,10-16, and the feeding of the five-thousand. This fit beautifully with Stephen's message on the feeding the five-thousand from John.
Shirer began her message with thanksgiving for those who taught her Scripture, who illuminated it for her when she was young. How delightful to be so praised. I was taught by so many, beginning with my parents and childhood friends and still today to our church and the many ministries available on the internet and in books. I am thankful that we can worship freely in this country.
She went on to marvel at the fact that there were five-thousand heads of household, but we have no idea how many children and wives were also fed. What we do know is that Jesus blessed the bread and broke it and the fish and all were fed, moreover they were satisfied.
Illustrating satisfaction, Shirer spoke of her son and the tooth fairy, how he received a gift of gummy bears and five dollars for a tooth one year. She wasn't exactly happy with the money. It was too much. A quarter or a couple of dimes would have been sufficient, but then she learned that the five dollars had come from her son's birthday money which his father had stashed away. She delighted in the turn of events, not least because, something her son had not cared about had become a new treasure. She asked how often do we stash away God's gifts without consideration, only to find later we are abundantly blessed?
Entering a segue in the message, she spoke of how the disciples were tired and seeking rest, that Jesus knew this and called them to Him for that purpose, but they ended up in a multitude with what they perceived as scarce resources. They wanted to turn the crowds away. They wanted to try and find resources in town. She asked how often we do the same with opportunities for God to show His love and generosity. We turn from difficulty and wish away the multitude. The feeding of the five-thousand was not only about the five-thousand, but more clearly about the disciples.
She said that we should endeavor to give our figurative five loaves and two fish to God so that He could magnify His blessing and our ability. She spoke to my heart when she said we never want to face a Red Sea, nevertheless, God calls us into the deep water with Him. We accept that, in our hands, the five loaves and two fish are not enough, but in God's it is all sufficient according to His purposes.
As I said in my last post, how big is our God?
Thank you for reading. BEV

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sunday's Message Thursday, The fragrance of Jesus

Preaching Sunday from John 6:1-13 and from 2 Corinthians 9:6-5, Stephen opened with a great image; that of a baby being passed around. I remembered one such dinner not long after my son was born, our family celebrated my niece's graduation. My son was handed from aunt to aunt to grandmother. When he returned I could smell several fragrances pleasantly clinging to his Onesie. Similarly, Stephen explained, we ought to have the fragrance of Jesus. We would be close to Him, and we would be held by Him in order to share his scent.
One of the fragrances of God is generosity, Stephen went on to say. I can see how this is true. The word implies magnanimity and abundance. God is abundant in grace and love. The question I ask myself is; am I generous in any form? What does that look like? How do I share the fragrance of Jesus?
A similar word, charity is listed as a fruit of the Spirit in some translations of the Bible. In charity I think of willingness to give, and a heart for God. My father used to say of me that I wasn't just frugal, I was hermetically sealed. He meant it as a compliment and I still see it that way, but perish the thought of having a Spirit that is hermetically sealed. It would shortly wither and die.
Continuing the theme of generosity and abundance, Stephen spoke of John 6 and the feeding of the five-thousand. He noted how Jesus tested the disciples by asking where are we to buy bread that these people may eat. I was struck with the notion of a twinkle in Jesus' eye as He asked the question. Where indeed? The disciples turned to town for the answer, not pausing to consider Jesus. I wonder how often I turn to town in need. When I'm spiritually hungry or tired, I seek solace in a story or entertainment. It begs the question, how big is my God?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hagerman Bible Study, Priscilla Shrirer, The Armor of God

 This week in Bible Study we listened to  Priscilla Shirer's the Armor of God. She began with prayer, acknowledging that the God of the universe would let us hear from Him. She went on to tell of a black woman entering a convenience store in Dallas after the recent violence killed five police officers in that city. In the front of the store, two white male officers chatted with a white female clerk. Their conversation stopped when the black woman walked in. Eventually, one of the police officers asked how the customer was doing. She replied that she was fine, but the officer looked closely at the woman and asked, "no really, how are you?" She responded that she was tired. He said that he was tired also, then went on to remark that he guessed it wasn't easy being either of them. Then he hugged her. The woman was moved enough to post the incident.
As I listened to Priscilla Shirer, I thought how true that must be for so many of us. When I visited Dallas last week I noticed faces, black, white and Hispanic. As a older, tall, white woman with a face so wholesome it could possibly sell bread and not much else, I was nervous, not wanting to stand out. I was worried for the city, and wanted so strongly to reach out tired hands if just to hold another's. But I noticed in the city, a calm peace. People spoke. Not everyone was friendly, but guards were down. People met each other, not so much in difference, but in awe of their lives. It was Texas after all.
Shirer spoke about the invisible enemy, the one we can't see who is banking on us forgetting him. We concern ourselves with what we can see, the tangible hurts and fears. We strike out against what we know, forgetting our anger and fear are tools of the enemy. She said our culture and country are under attack, but so are our homes and businesses and that while we turn our attention to the tangible, we waste all of our time and energy offering the wrong solutions in the wrong places. I couldn't help but think how often my anger stems from old hurts that I want to fix. I want revenge or to put things right, but especially to put things, and even people, in their place. I forget God, that I am loved by Him, I am forgiven and held safe in His hold.
She went on to say that God has given us His armor for the war against His enemy. Speaking from Ephesians 6:10-18, Shirer talked about the whole armor of God that we, the Church, can stand firm as gate keepers, not by our strength, but by God's power. She spoke of how Paul spends the first chapters of Ephesians telling us who we are in the eyes of God, of His bigness in choosing us so that later in Ephesians we can stand strong wearing the armor of God. She goes through the pieces of armor, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the Gospel of peace on your feet, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. She added also prayer, because that is how we may live in the abundance of our God.
Referencing Isaiah 59:15-17, she spoke of God's armor and how God used it against an unfaithful Israel, and that we are like Israel. We live in an unrepentant culture that wants to replace lies for truth and take our focus from God in order that we may live according to our standards rather than His. But God gave us His very armor, that sin and deceit will not win. She said God doesn't ride on the backs of donkeys or elephants, pointing to the current political battle. She said, "God did not come to take sides. He came to take over." She spoke of the Bible as the compass for your life, that it's not always a popular stand, but it is the only stand.
This message spoke to my heart. Thank you Priscilla Shirer.
Thank you for reading. More later. BEV

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Children's Church, PEACE, Session 4 of the Fruit of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5: 22-23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self‑control; against such things there is no law.
Session Four
Let's open in song

I like bananas, I know that mangoes are sweet
I like papayas (PAPAYAS!), but nothing can beat
The sweet love of God

I was walking round in circles five miles an hour
Tryin' to find my way back to the Heavenly Father
The world tasted sweet, but soon it turned sour
And then I asked Him in and received His power (1,2,3!)

You can search for the tropics to find a fruit that's new
You can swim in the ocean, until your face turns blue
But look no further, I'll tell you what to do
Just open your bible to Galatians 5:22

The fruit of the spirit, from love to self‑control
If you plant it in your heart it'll strengthen your soul
So guard your fruit for also we are told
That you fruit will rot if it's left out in the cold (1,2,3!)
CHORUS Thank you DLTK for the song

Philippians 4:4-9 begins rejoice in the the Lord always.
What things keep you from rejoicing? How can we switch our focus from those things to the list Paul gives us: true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? Can you give any examples of these?
Let's pray
Dear God most high, hear and bless
Thy beasts and singing birds
And guard with tenderness
Small things that have no words.
Let's sing 

Final prayer

Lord may we be Your children. May we know the joy of Your salvation. Thank you for our parents, teachers and care givers. Thank you for our country. Be with us this week. Amen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review, The Abbey by James Martin, SJ

The Abbey is James Martin's first work of fiction, and it's my first time reading his books. One reviewer suggested an actual story was missing. I chuckled. I enjoyed the book even without much story.
Martin switches points of view between three protagonists, a divorced single mom struggling with the death of her young son, a former architect whose career is in shambles, and the Abbot of Saint Philip and James, otherwise known as PB & J. The book reads more as three intertwined short stories of faith and healing. The characters interact to weave a story that the reader pieces together without the characters much realizing the whole.
Set in an abbey, the PB & J Abbey that rightly makes jam, reading the descriptions and following the author through the halls, placed me firmly in the location, a location reserved for prayer study, work and devotion. The monks make jam. I like jam. The monks work hard and pray harder. This delights me even as I write.
The villain of the book is scarcely actualized. He/she/it comes from within each character. For the single mom, it's her own grief that turned to bitterness, for the young architect it's his appetites, and for the Abbot it's occasional regrets and nostalgia for the outside world.
While The Abbey might be more accurately described as a novella I enjoyed it mostly for the love Martin clearly demonstrated for his fictional flock. He doesn't force them into a sudden acceptance of Christ. Instead he nudges, suggests prays and they do what people do, they muddle around, get lost, rage, stumble, pray and wonder.
Read this book for the setting. Read this book for an experience of being part of a cherished flock.
Thank you for reading. BEV
Also posted at bacoots.com and Goodreads and reblogged to writingroguesrant.blogspot.com 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hagerman Bible Study, Prayer Hats Prayer Hearts

I tell the kiddos in Children's Church to make prayer hats and prayer hearts before we pray. It serves to settle their attention, at least sometimes. We form our prayer hands over our heads as a hat pointing to Heaven, then settle them at our hearts, focusing our love on God. As I listened to Bill Hybels message from Luke 11 and Matthew 6, I couldn't help, but think about young ones praying with their hats and hearts and why older ones stop the practice.
When I was very young, I prayed for simple problems to be fixed, often unconcerned with the outcome as my world changed from day to day. I prayed memorized-prayers at night and before meals and turned every difficulty over to God. As I grew older, I looked for results and usually found them, but my prayer life slowly diminished over time until I married and had a son. That's when I learned a new meaning of prayer.
Hybel's message began with the disciples asking the Lord to teach them how to pray. They saw something they wanted in watching Jesus relate to The Father. I too have prayed with people who have a strong, active prayer life. I come away touched, moved to strengthen my own relationship to God.
Hybel gave several reasons why our prayer life might diminish: lack of consistency, clinging to sin, and disillusionment with God. He says that life gets in the way, or maybe we don't want to confront our disobedience, or maybe we've prayed for something we believe God would want, but it hasn't happened. The example he used was of a mother finally accepting Christ after twenty years of prayers from a daughter for it to happen. The daughter almost gave up more than once.
Hybel interspersed the sermon with several ways to keep our prayer-lives from suffering with the highs and lows of day to day. He says to pick a time, a place, pray in private, and be honest with God avoiding vain repetitions.
I'll close here with one of Hybel's statements that took my breath away. "You have no idea how much your conversation means to God. ... Every time we pray it's the same thing. God says, 'Before you go any further, it's great just to hear your voice.'"
Our prayers go out today to the Dallas Police Department and the City of Dallas.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for praying.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sunday's Message by Thursday, Small Rivers, Big Requests

Jordan River courtesy of looklex.com
Sunday, Stephen spoke from 2 Kings 5:1-14. In this passage, the powerful Syrian military commander, Naaman, seeks healing from leprosy. He takes a letter from his king to the King of Israel along with gold and silver. The King of Israel thinks Naaman is looking for an argument and Israel's king despairs, only Elisha the prophet sends word that Naaman should come to Elisha so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.
Elisha tells Naaman to bathe seven times in the Jordon. He doesn't even meet with the powerful commander, but sends a messenger.
Naaman pitches a fit. I'm not sure if I would have reacted any differently. I'd want to meet this prophet and see how he'd worked. Lights, clouds of smoke, big wind, none of that happens, just a message to take a certain simple action.
As I listened to this passage again, it struck me, not so much what I would have done, but how I obey any instruction. The first thing I do is question the instruction, and anyone in this day and age is probably wise to do so. Does it make sense? Can I take this action? I don't believe God asks us not to question, but I do know He asks us to test our actions against the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and when we doubt our ability to discern the Holy Spirit, we have Scripture, the full word of God.
Stephen paired the passage in 2 Kings to Psalm 23, which gives us confidence as we walk with the Spirit.
Here are some final few words. I was struck not at Naaman's fit, but at his willingness to first seek healing from another nation and then to obey someone he hadn't even met. He had to have opened his heart. He had to have listened for God. I hope that I too, listen for God.
Let me sign off with this passage from Isaiah 1:16-20. Thanks for reading.