Blog Administration, Daily Work, personal

Dealing With The Day

Today, I re-started my practice of writing daily devotionals. I had a little hiccough in the process, though. I use an adblocker because, well, ads, slow machines, etc. There are many ads that are presented responsibly – adblocker stops those that are the most annoying. The site I use to keep track of my Bible Reading wouldn’t let me open it unless I paid them money or allowed ads. After allowing ads, the page took forever to load. (Yes folks, that’s why I use an adblocker.) Eventually got the page loaded and then, because the site broke verses into a and b sections, the whole thing didn’t show because those designations mess up the search algorithm and I had to work around that. ::sigh:: But, the devotional got written. If you read devotionals, you can check it out at Unmet Expectations or a Better Plan

I finally put that picture clicky thing you see in the upper right corner of the blog that will allow you to download a free copy of the July August devotionals. They are a bit longer than the new style I started today.

I actually did some work around the house: laundry, tree trimming, and grocery shopping. I still haven’t gotten back into photography. It’s a little harder to try and do when you have a dog around. I’m not saying the dog was a challenge to work with, but I did encourage my wife to suggest that her college have a “Take Your Dog to Work” day. She didn’t sound too hopeful. Oh, and I spent deliberate time reading a book by one of my favorite authors: R.R. Virdi.  He’s on my “buy it” list whenever he releases something. While this wasn’t my favorite work of his, he’s still one of my favorite authors.

Today was just a day…but God was in it throughout the day.

Daily Work, personal

Life Happens – Stating the Year Over Again

I started this year with good intentions. I had plans. I was going to do a lot of work on promoting my devotional books. I was going to use this blog as a showcase for writing and for my photography, as well as giving people a behind the scenes look into the mind of one person who writes. (I can’t speak for all writers of course, just myself, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at what I’ve done and not been able to understand it.) Then life happened.

There’s an old saying that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I don’t think God laughed and said, “You think so? Watch this!” I don’t even think God laughed, believing as I do that God foreknew all that would happen. I think God took me by the hand and said, “Get ready my child, life is going to go out of your control, but it will never be out of my control. Stay with me.”

In early January, my mother passed away. She was 90. She’d lived an amazing life. She beat death twice in previous incidents. There were tears, of course, but during this time, I learned a lot about lamenting. I didn’t even realize I was lamenting until my pastor mentioned the process in a sermon and I realized that he was describing what I was dealing with emotionally.

Then, an event that was planned a few months earlier came to pass: my daughter’s wedding. I had the honor and privilege of performing the ceremony as my daughter married an outstanding young man. I knew him before he started dating her and I thought he was amazing before. When I saw what great taste he had in choosing a life mate, how could I not see him for the amazing young man that he is. He comes from a great family too.

Life’s about to get crazier, because the next week, we flew to Orlando, Florida to celebrate my wife’s graduation as Dr. James. I joke about her letting me call her Dr. Wife, but she is just “Lucy” to anyone who knows her. I won’t go into all that she endured in the process of getting this doctorate, most people think that battling breast cancer and spitting in cancer’s eye during this time is amazing enough.

Then came the dog. When my daughter moved away, after her marriage, she took her dog with her. My wife had grown accustomed to petting her dog, so, we decided that we would finally get a dog that wouldn’t bother her allergies. She was younger than we thought. Rather than attaching herself to my wife, she attaches herself to me. But we do have a new boss of the family now.

When my wife went for her six-month checkup with her oncologist, she mentioned a concern. The doctor arranged for her to stop taking meds for a couple of weeks, because they might cause the pain she was experiencing. Lucy did that and then had no relief, so they did a bone scan. They found an area of concern. They did a CT. We are now awaiting a needle biopsy, tomorrow, and then the results.

In short, life happened, and a lot of my plans went astray. As I thought about those possibilities, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to start the year over in July? Maybe you’ve had a rough year and you haven’t lived up to your own expectations, because life happened to you, too. One area that easily gets dropped is our spiritual growth. That’s why I’ve been promoting my July-August devotional book this last month. It is free for those of you who use any kind of eReader. If you want to re-start your year spiritually as you seek God, I want to help. Click on this link and download your free copy of “Daily Enduring Truth: July-August.” If you like those devotionals, you can buy the other volumes later. If you decide these aren’t for you, you haven’t lost anything. Accept this free gift and start the year over.

Daily Work

Meet God in the Morning – Use this Free eBook to help.

A lot of times, people take stock of where they are spiritually at the beginning of the year. They make resolutions to do different things that will help them draw closer to God throughout the year. Have you ever stopped in the middle of the year to evaluate how well you’re doing in meeting that goal? That’s an easy goal to let go of and forget because there are so many distractions. If you made that kind of goal at the beginning of the year and you’ve fallen behind, take heart. Our God gives second and third and fiftieth and one hundredth chances. If you want to begin to work on that again, let me introduce you to my devotional book series. I’d like to offer you a free eBook where you can spend five to ten minutes a day reading and contemplating God’s presence in your life. This site won’t even collect an email address! If you don’t know how to send a book to your Kindle, I can help you do that. Gain a habit that will enrich your every day life.

Daily Work, personal

C’mon Baby Light My Fire

There is a spark! Over the last few months, while I’ve done some kind of writing or another, it felt like I was going through the motions. I’m in a writing challenge where I have to write four hundred words a day, and I was trying to find ways to get to four hundred. If I was writing part of a story and I hit four hundred, I’d finish my thought and stop rather than letting the writing flow. For those of you who read them, I stopped writing my devotionals. They were losing their freshness and I needed to step away from them for a time. I’ll explain what I’ve learned about myself in this time on the day before I return to writing them.

There was no life, no spark, to my writing. I wasn’t enjoying it and I did it because I had to. That’s not all bad, because there’s something to be said for perseverance in times like that. I have saved everything I’ve done during this dry period because one of my rules about writing is that there’s no such thing as good writing; there’s only good re-writing.

I got a chuckle out of seeing my books on that pirate site because, well, let’s face it – I’m not much of a marketer and my books haven’t sold many copies. That can be a bit discouraging. That’s another reason for the lack of emotion in my writing recently. Not only have sales been non-existant,  I just started this book funnel program and haven’t been able to give my book away. I’ve had two downloads so far – and one of them was me testing the process. The lack of sales can lead to a lot of self-doubt. The only one who seemed to enjoy the devotionals was my mom and, well, she’s my mom. When she died, I had no fans of the writing and no one encouraging me.

This isn’t meant to be a pity party, I’m just telling you where I am, rather where I was, on my writing. Today, though, I found a project that excites me. Someone described a common trope in writing and suggested a twist. I smiled as I thought about it. Then, as I thought more about it, I realized that the twist that got people excited had already been written before – in the Bible. As I enjoyed that revelation, I began thinking about how to revamp the story, it would be the Moses story, in a modern setting. As the ideas fell into place, I began plotting out the story. Let me repeat that: I began plotting out the story! If you’re wondering what makes that such a big deal, let me explain.

There are three approaches to writing novels: the plotter, the pantser, and the plantser. The plotter approach is to outline the story, usually in great detail. Characters ae fleshed out before the writing begins. Plot lines are developed. A good plotter could start writing the story at chapter three, or chapter ten with no problem because they already know the rest of the flow of the story. The pantser on the other hand has a vague idea of what he/she wants to write about. They may have a few character names. They may have a vague idea of how the story will end. The pantser writes things on the fly and will often learn about their characters during the story. This is how I tend to write. The plantser is a combination of the two other approaches. They may have an outline of where they’re going, but a character may surprise them and do something they didn’t expect. Sometimes plantsers make it through their outlines, sometimes they make it through the first chapter of their outline before everything blows up and they either go with the flow of their new story or they stop and re-outline.

The fact that I began plotting today is so out of character for me, but it happened because I fell in love with the concept. I know I haven’t told you much about the story, and I won’t just yet, but if I’m doing research, you have to know I’m excited about the story. I’ll probably share excerpts in days to come as I work on this story, but I finally have a spark to write again!

Daily Work

Random Thoughts About Finality

These last few months have moved too quickly, and too slowly at the same time. A little over a month ago, the four siblings divided up the estate. The hardest part was dealing with the memories attached to items. I mentioned something about that earlier in my post about Grammy’s chair. My parents had lots of nice stuff, but the one thing that I really wanted, I didn’t get. I figure that since I’ve lived these last 45 years without it, though, I can keep living without it, view it in my mind, and still keep the good memories.

As we divided up one set of memorable items, I was number four in a three person round. Later, one of my siblings asked if I really wanted one of those three things. They represented an important part of my childhood, but I honestly couldn’t think of a good way to use or display them. I told her that as cool as that thing might have been, I didn’t really see a way I could use it. She had mentioned a cool plan that I thought would be a much better use for it than anything I could do.

My elder sister is the executor of the estate and she’s worked hard to make sure that everything was distributed as fairly as possible. She’s also had the job of cleaning up the condo, arranging to ship items to my other sister and I. That’s what brought this to mind today: she sent me the bill of lading for the shipment of memories coming in. As we talked about some of the things that were coming, she had mentioned that while some things might look nice, they’ probably wouldn’t be too valuable. I don’t think there’s anything that I’d be willing to sell though. There wasn’t enough furniture to fulfill my grandmother’s comment, but the sentiment is true: “Hemingways don’t buy furniture, they inherit it.”

One of the responsibilities we’ll have is making a list of where this furniture, especially, will go when we die. That will happen! We don’t want there to be any confusion after we leave this earth. We have our wills for a general look at the distribution of the estate, but with this new influx of memories coming in, we’ll have to look at things again.

Another reason these thoughts have come to mind is that a friend asked us to hold a copy of their wills in case anything happens to them. They wanted to make sure that the wills would be readily available in that instance.

So, my question for you is, are you prepared for the end of life? Do you have wills made? Do you have any kind of distribution list for furniture or special items? Have you avoided making your will because you were worried that you might have to use it as soon as you made it? (I’ve heard people say things like, “As soon as I make a will, you know I’m gonna die.”) What are some suggestions you might have to make sure that your wants and wishes are known when the end of this life comes? Let me know in the comments.

Just some random thoughts that have come to mind as I thought about recent events.