My dear friend Brenda Anderson has graciously featured me on her blog to help promote Sweet Release. I'm thankful to her for her support both prayerfully and promotionally. One person will win a free e-copy of Sweet Release by answering a question for me over there. Thank you, Bren!
Father, please continue to bless Bren with your love, kindness, mercy, and grace. May she receive all that you have for her. Keep her safe from all harm and please watch over her family. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
This is the before kitchen in the home we bought just three months ago on the 25th of February. Are you ready for the after? Here we go!
I do wish you could see the view and the rest of the windows. More pictures will follow. The final addition to this room will be new windows and not these blinds. Also, I'm hoping to have more pictures which will give you a better look at the wall colors and the fireplace area. This particular shot doesn't do that area justice. The two accent walls to the right of the fireplace and around the pantry doors (and also the color of the door you can't see leading to the deck) are painted in Ralph Lauren's Metallic Gilt Bronze. The other walls are Miller Paint's Mantra. The countertops are Corian's Hickory Smoke. The porcelain floor which looks like tile is Venetian Reale's Desert Slate, Indian Dark. The cabinetry is by Aristokraft, Shaker style, color Fawn. Pantry doors are Douglas Fir stained to match/complement cabinets/countertops and trim. (The lighting in some of these pictures doesn't quite capture the wall colors in places.)
So, your thoughts?
God in heaven, you have been and are so amazingly gracious to us in spite of us. There is no way we can express our gratitude. We fall short at every turn and try, but we are so eternally grateful first for your saving grace and then for all you've given us throughout our lives even before we knew you. No words to effectively express your humbling benevolence. Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
One of those days Jesus went out to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
The most disappointing of series television is Person of Interest. Not because of the plot or its bleak outlook but because it suddenly felt compelled to use the two female characters in a lesbian liaison and to feature a sex scene to establish it. Now most every show on television is rushing to include gay characters and plot points. Rarely does this enhance the storyline nor does it encourage more viewers. Yet there it is: the politically correct episodes and characters in a corrupted crazy world with the intentions of forcing you to accept that this is how it's gonna be from now on. No thanks.
Father, we love people but we do not love what your Truth declares as sin. We're all sinners and struggle in various ways with it. We desire repentance and forgiveness and the grace and courage to fight on. Thank you for saving us. We're desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
This is the month when most of the regular programming for the big three networks conclude their seasons. In some cases the final episodes of a series will usher "The End" to a long-running favorite. Monday evening gave viewers the concluding episode to the popular but cancelled Castle which lasted for 8 seasons - a considerable time for series TV. The renewed NCIS said goodbye on Tuesday evening to one of its well-liked co-stars Michael Weatherly who played the lovable, obnoxious, tender but tough, movie buff Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. The also renewed spin-off NCIS New Orleans gave a thrilling finale to its season as did the earlier finale of the NCIS-LA version, also renewed.
Castle's series finale was one of the worst, ranking right up there with the conclusion of the old series M.A.S.H., both ruining an otherwise good plot with a ridiculous ending in the last minute or two. It's impossible to imagine how the writers decided these endings could work. Unfitting conclusions to otherwise successful series.
NCIS ended well for the season and was very well done - emotionally charged as it should've been. Tony's character will be thoroughly missed and will definitely change the fabric of the series. Gibbs will no longer have a rebellious sidekick to head-slap. Timothy McGee won't have to contend with the harassment he endured from the "senior" agent. And things just won't be the same without Tony.
Michael Weatherly will rebound immediately in a new series titled Bull.
Father, the only One who matters in this vast existence is you. We're all desperate for you whether we know it or not. Apart from you, we can do nothing. Please help us all to know you more. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Okay. So in relation to writing, I'm tired of learning. I know. I know. Some of your jaws just dropped. And some of you smirk thinking, "Well no wonder she doesn't sell many books." Hey, it's true. But after a point and seven plus novels which aren't in and of themselves good reasons to abandon "learning" about how to write good fiction, I'm tired of the same instructions said in different ways, the rules and their adaptations depending on who's giving them, and the overall "keys" to making a story pop.
While learning the basics is valuable and necessary, again, after a point, it becomes tedious and routine to hear "nothing new under the sun". In the end, although some would vehemently disagree, it's all subjective, a matter of opinion. Sometimes success is marketing induced. Sometimes it results from superb writing - which is also subjective. And sometimes it's because a story takes off because it's unique. For all the successful publishers, there are many folding their tents and moving on. For all the massive amounts of novels produced, according to statistics, many more are deemed unsuccessful than successful.
Call me stubborn - it's a fact - but I'm tired of listening to the clichéd instructions and, in some cases, demands of professionals and those that rather self-righteously proclaim how to write a good story. After awhile, all you're learning is how to separate opinions.
Father, you're the One from whom I need to learn. Apart from you, I can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
. . .
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who are in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
"'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
When a story takes too long to develop and telegraphs exactly what's going to happen but not how, it can get boring. How soon does an author reveal the connections to future actions in the story? When it's done, how long do you as a reader want to wait? In the meantime that crisis dangles there in the background while the forefront of the story carries on without that knowledge and the reader knows all you-know-what is going to erupt and send everyone reeling into pain and suffering before it's all resolved.
I can't tell you how long the lapse between events should be. I only know when it's boring to read because I'm tired of waiting for the chaotic moment. The sad revelations, the offense and deep hurts, the "what should I do?" foolishness. I'm bored. Timing is everything as "they" say, and clearly some books don't have it. Much like many intangibles in writing fiction, there is no firm answer or directive. What works for one reader doesn't come close to satisfying another.
What I do know is if the author takes too long, stalls the crisis, I'm not good with it. Experiencing that now . . .
Father, it's hard to write well and create good stories, even those you give to us to tell. We try to honor you and do what you've called us to do. Help us, Lord. Apart from you, we can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
There is the faintest outline of Mt. Rainier in this before photo of the back side of the house before we lived here.
In this after shot, you see more of the house and not the spectacular view. That particular hose holder is gone along with the ladder. The fence is added. That bunch of rhododendrons is in an advanced stage of bloom. It's a good shot of the true colors.
I'll never run out of thank yous, Lord. Too much. Thank you endlessly for who you are and what you've done and what you do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
This doesn't give us a big picture of the whole kitchen, but there are some really nice features here which combine rustic with modern. The floor, ceiling, and meandering stairway off to the right, the stools, and stone/brick pillar and wall work provide an interesting and attractive combination. Perhaps someone can translate the French on the big board over the refrigerator. Décor definitely feels European but looks American. Ah, but see picture below of the rest of the kitchen from another view.
Lord, you inspire beauty in every area of life. If it's beautiful, it's because of you. Thank you for it all. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
On the Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?
Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or destroy it?"
He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
You've seen the after. Now you can see the before. The metal sides in the before are green. In the after they are the same color as the newly painted body. The before doors (both man and garage/shop) were a chocolate brown and are now black.
The outbuildings you see in the before picture are now the same colors as the body and trim of the shop, garage, and house. We're very happy with the results.
Thank you, Lord. So inadequate but thank you from our hearts. Apart from you, we can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The ancient basketball hoop is no longer there. The black cyclone fence is new. The garage doors are new. And what a spectacular paint job, huh? Thank you, Lord. And kudos to the employees of Wheeler Painting and Restoration. So talented!
God in heaven, what you have done for us is nothing short of amazing. Your grace and benevolence are incomprehensible. Too big for my small imagination. As always, thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
He [Jesus] told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.'"
Some writers still use the trusty pen/pencil to author that book in its initial draft. Although most use laptops/PCs these days, longhand still serves its purpose if it gets words on paper.
Talking fiction here, I know from personal experience how much discipline it takes to construct a novel. Some authors use intricate outlines, others use detailed notes and pictures, and some of us "fly by the seat of our pants" and scramble to get those words computed before the inspiration passes. The combination of these methods suits many writers well. I don't do outlines and I don't use pictures, but occasionally I need to write notes or record a scene that happens later than the current moment of the one I'm writing. As the well-used cliché states: To each his own.
Most of us writers have heard these "suggestions" many times once it's known we have actually written a book: "You should write a book about my experiences" or "I should write a book" or "You should get together with so-and-so and write their story". So many responses come to mind during these conversations and sometimes the responses aren't polite. It's all I can do to write the ones I've written and fight through the personal delays which rob me of my discipline to finish the ones I've started. Discipline isn't easy where it concerns being stationary and focused for long periods of time.
In my case (and, honestly, I believe in everyone's case) apart from the inspiration from the Lord, I can do or write nothing. Period. Now I could write to be writing, but I know when the Lord guides my words and stories and he's given me a personal instruction about that. I put it on my business cards: If you pick up the pen, I'll give you the words. That came during the final leg of my 8 and 1/2 year journey to write my first mega-novel at several of the most discouraging times along the way. I'm trusting that particular instruction still applies. I just need the go ahead signal to return to the stories I've begun. I feel it's not too far away.
So. If you're tempted to write that book, realize among the multiple obvious keys is this important factor: Discipline with a capital D. You can't complete a book without it. Certainly some authors are more disciplined than others. And don't allow anyone else to define what discipline looks like for you. Try several methods to maintain it, but ultimately use what works best for you. No one can tell you what you must do to write. Only the Lord can dictate such an important methodology. He made you. He'll do it. In the process you'll learn all about writing that book.
Father, I thank you for every day of writing you've given me. I ask that you would continue to give me those days. Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.