Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Welfare? No, Thanks!

On Friday, January 17th (last week) my mother went home to be with Jesus. She was 87 years old, so had lived a long life. Regardless of the age, you’re never prepared to lose a parent. I thank God Mom’s passing was peaceful, and I was by her bedside when she took her last breath.

I learned many lesson from Mom. She only had an eighth grade education, and wasn’t an academic genius by any means. My dad was the intellectual of the two, but both my parents were hard workers and resourceful.

I grew up in a time when the welfare system as we know it today didn’t exist. I praise God for that because I learned valuable lessons on how to make ends meet. My dad was in the construction business, and back in the 50’s, my dad would say construction was a “feast or famine” occupation.

For families to survive during financially lean times, people had to be creative. Both my parents were. I don’t remember how many summers we packed up after school let out. We headed to California or Washington to work in summer crops. In Phoenix, my parents worked in the citrus or picking cotton. Somehow we made it.

I also grew up with parental roles in our household being interchangeable. My dad could cook, iron and clean house if he needed. My mom could paint, pour cement, and climb on the roof for repairs if necessary.

Mom would take things others discarded and make something out of it to sale. We tagged along with her through alleys, junk yards, and dump sites. When I was young, it was an adventure. As I grew older, it was an embarrassment. “Digging through garbage at the dump, Mom! How embarrassing!”

But I’m grateful now. We didn’t survive because the government supported us. We survived because my parents found ways to generate income.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Encouraging Writers With Scripture

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

No matter how much I pray or give myself little pep talks, discouragement hits me over my writing career (or lack of one). I have my pity parties and wail to God. And because He is a loving Father, He’ll send bits of encouragement. And, yes, God is okay with our whining and pity parties as long as we don’t allow it to rule our lives. He created our emotions, so He understands them.

I’ve written one book, Like a Cedar In Lebanon, and subsidy published it. It is my baby, yet I know I broke all the rules for proper writing technique. I didn’t know any better. Therefore, I feel it’s the ugly child only a mother could love. Occasionally, in my discouragement over my "baby," I'll get a good report about my book.

God reminds me continually that He has called me to write at this juncture in my life. He does so by comforting me with His assurance, leading me to particular scriptures, and sending people along to bolster my fledgling ego. I encourage you to trust His word; He does have a plan for you and me.

Remain confident, my writer friend. God has it all under control.  “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Persevere, my fellow writers. Do you write to share a message of hope with your readers? “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

Is your desire and passion to be a writer? Involve God into your writing, if you haven’t already. No one will be a greater champion of your efforts than Him.  “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NIV    “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  Psalm 84:11 KJV

God is on your side. He's got your back. You can do this! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Christian Writers of the West (CWOW) Workshop

As a writer, I just love workshops and conferences. Well, if you are in the Phoenix area, we have a good one for you. On January 25th one of the groups  I belong to, CWOW (Christian Writers of the West), a local chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), is sponsoring and all day mini conference/workshop with author and editor C.S. Lakin.

You can check out CWOW's website and C.S. Lakin's blog on our website at the following.

Always stay informed and determine to constantly be learning.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Words! Weigh What You Say!

Words! Written or spoken, the Bible has much to say about the power of words. 

NIV Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

We live in a time when everyone seems to have a chip on their shoulder. I imagine tiny creatures called Word Police who are constantly on the lookout for someone to say something that can be used against them. In an era when our words and actions can instantly be viewed by others via technology, this is easy to do.

Conservatives are ready to pounce on liberals and vice-versa. We’ve just gone through a holiday season where, again, there was the big debate over saying, “Merry Christmas.” Say Happy Holidays if you want, but don’t criticize my right to say Merry Christmas.

We also heard plenty about dear Phil, who got into hot water with his quote of scripture and speaking his personal belief and opinion. It seems to me that no matter what the topic of discussion today, there are those who deliberately bait a conservative or Christian with questions about same-sex marriage. Case in point is Piers Morgan interviewing Rick Warren on his son’s recent suicide. So, why did Piers, in that context, feel the need to ask Rick about same sex marriage?

If the whole sum of my life, or anyone’s life, can be measured only by a view on same-sex marriage, gun control, whether it’s appropriate to say Merry Christmas, legalize marijuana, or any number of controversial topics, it makes me shake my head in anguish. Those that scream tolerance the loudest are usually the most intolerant of those who disagree with them. God loves us all, but let’s not mistake His love for approval.

If we’re honest, we’ve all – conservative and liberal, Christian and atheist, homosexual or heterosexual – been guilty of spewing hatred by our words and actions against those who differ from us.

I admonish you to weigh your words, both spoken and written. When you must speak the truth, do it in love. Once something is out there, it can’t be taken back. 1 Peter 4:8 NIV says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Let’s determine in 2014 to let our words be motivated by love truth and love.