Tuesday, January 30, 2018

1/12 Writing Update

Has the first month of 2018 passed already? (okay, almost passed... one day left) It went by in a haze for me! January did not go at all how I had hoped or planned, but it was still a good month in which the Lord taught me many lessons.

Goals from January
Before the whole month's update, let's see what was done last week.
  • Goal: Write 1,000 words
    • 275 words
  • Goal: Edit Leviathan
    • made about halfway progress in editing
  • Goal: Read 20 pages in The Bowyer's Bible
    • Read 21 pages (ha! ;) )
  • Goal: Start another research book
    • Eh... not really
So yeah, this last week was not a very productive week in the writing realm. Life had other things in store (like teaching 2 1/2 days, attending a Piano Festival, an out-of-state day trip, and being wiped out for 2 days), so I'm really okay with not having accomplished as much. Considering the week I had, I am truly grateful for what I did accomplish!

I'm once again hesitant to put out goals for this coming week, but let's try same goals as last week.
  • Edit Leviathan
  • Write 1,000 words
  • Read 20 pages in Bowyer's Bible
We shall see what the Lord allows to happen. :)

Now, the fun part. What was I able to do in the month of January?
  • Finished rough drafts for two short stories
    • "Quest for Leviathan"
    • "Finding Christmas Joy"
  • Got  "Quest for Leviathan" out to beta readers and received their feedback!
  • Wrote 7,355 words total
    • Which makes a bit over 200/words-a-day average!
  • Finished reading one book on the writing craft
  • Finished reading one research book
  • Kept regularly updated on social media
    • For the most part. ;) This makes four consecutive Tuesdays in a row posting writing updates on the blog, so yay! And my FaceBook and Instagram have been more active...maybe not consistent, but better than last month, so that counts for something!
Honestly, considering that I operated at about 50% energy level the entire month (HUGE praise: this past Sunday, I was able to play piano with wonderful energy!!! I have really missed my piano! as well as pretty much every other aspect of life that takes energy to live ;) ), I really am thankful for this progress--and appreciate so many people praying for me!

Now for the extra-fun part: 
What did the Lord enable you to do this month? How many goals did you reach?

I know that it may seem a bit monotonous to have goals posted weekly, but it has really helped me to accomplish much more than I would have been inclined to do otherwise. So thanks for bearing with me in the goals!

From my Feed
I wasn't as active on social media (for reasons given above), but here's a glimpse!

From Monday:

From Friday:

Me: getting on Leviathan to resolve to “just two” of these comments.
Also me: hoping I’ll just get caught up in editing 
and will have energy to finish it all tonight.

Who else edits best at night?

From Saturday:

Also on Saturday (that night)
True story: my sister and I have both been reading
 paperbacks by Kindle-light tonight. 
Please tell me we’re not alone here!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Becoming a Writing Student Again | Wordquill article

Posting over at Wordquill today!

Writing is one of my passions. Another passion is teaching. Primarily, I teach piano and violin lessons. Throughout the years, I have had students that were difficult to teach. It was not because they didn’t have talent or ability—many of these students had a great potential they could have reached. But they would struggle in the same area for months—not because I didn’t give them solutions or didn’t work with them through problems, but because they never applied the solutions to themselves. They enjoyed where they were as a musician and didn’t really aspire to be much more than where they were.

So why am I mentioning this to a group of writers? Because recently, I have found myself exhibit the tendencies that I’ve seen in my students: an unteachable spirit. This one thing is powerful enough to keep us back from reaching our full potential, no matter what subject we are trying to learn.

Lately, I have been pondering a few questions in my writing life.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sonrise Stable | First Lines and Author Interview!

Last fall, I virtually met author Vicki Watson. Since then, I've been able to read and review her entire Sonrise Stable series. I'm in my mid-twenties, but I still love reading a good, solid Christian children's series. And that is exactly what the Sonrise Stable books were for me. I loved that I could hand them over to my younger sisters without any worries about a bad influence coming across the pages.

All of that being said, I've got a whole herd of first lines for y'all today, as we're going to flip open the first pages of each book in this series!! :) But don't stop there. Continue reading for a thoughtful interview with Vicki!

"There's Grandma's house!" Rosie's mother was the 
only other person in the car,
 so there was no need for this announcement.

Add book one to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.
Get your own eBook for free here!

As the pickup truck traveled down the freeway, 
Carrie turned and searched for Bandit's 
head through the small window in 
the stock trailer behind them.

Add book two to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.

"Eohippus was the first horse. He lived 
sixty million years ago." Emily paused and 
smiled broadly as she pointed to a small 
creature on her 4-H poster.

Add book three to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.
Note for those concerned: this book features discussions about evolution and refuting its common claims.

The straw felt soft beneath me as I lay 
on my side and stretched my legs.

Add book four to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.

Rosie beamed with pride as she led her 
brown-and-white foal out of the back of the trailer.

Add book five to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.

"Help! He's running away with me!" 
Rosie's arms flapped wildly.

Add book six to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.

Rosie leaned over the side of the bed 
and pressed one hand against the hardwood floor.

Add book seven to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.

"How about this one?" Rosie led the way 
to the next pen at the livestock auction barn.

Add book eight to your Goodreads here. Find my review here.

I encourage you all to keep reading through Vicki's testimony. It blessed me to read her answers!
Before I share the interview though, wanted to slip in a mention of the lovely other bloggers I do First Line Fridays with over at Hoarding Books! Hop over and connect with your first line!

Also, feel free to comment here!
What is your favorite animal to see featured in a book?
What is a first line from your current read (or the book closest to you)?
How do you identify with Vicki?

Interview with Vicki
(follow Vicki on Goodreads!)

Me: When did you decide to write the Sonrise Stable books?
Vicki: When my mother died in 2006, I began to contemplate what kind of long-term impact our lives have - whether anything we do lives on after us - here or in eternity. At that time, I was approaching fifty. Suddenly, the brevity of life filled me with a sense of urgency to accomplish something worthwhile. I wasn't sure what that "something" might be. It had never been a life-long dream to write a book. 

An idea came to me one day about a girl and her pony, and how I could use a story about them to make the Gospel message real to kids. I immediately rejected it, reasoning that I didn't know how to write a book, and even if I did write the story, no one would read it. The problem was, the idea would not leave me alone! For months, I couldn't get it out of my mind. Finally, to relieve myself of that mental torment, I sat down and wrote what I thought would be a short story for a picture book. The funny thing was, after writing those thoughts, I got another idea, and then another. It quickly turned into a chapter book, which became Rosie and Scamper, the first in the Sonrise Stable series.

Me: What was your inspiration for this series?
I homeschooled my daughters through high school. One of my most satisfying experiences was teaching them each how to read. As they became voracious readers, it was important to me to monitor what they were putting into their hearts and minds. I scrutinized the books they selected and was often dismayed at the content, even sometimes from Christian publishers. What I found particularly troublesome was the increasingly child-centric focus that often depicted children as smarter than the parents and able to function relatively independently from them. The books frequently had one or both parents missing, children disrespecting their elders, and siblings not getting along with each other. I really wasn't interested in having my daughters read such warped representations of family life.

I guess that was a negative inspiration, however, once I started writing, I was determined not to write books that followed that trend. I've often thought of my books as a mixture of Black Beauty, The Waltons, and a bit of Grandma's Attic, with me being the grandmother. God set up the family structure for a reason. I think kids today would be comforted in knowing that they don't have to solve all their problems on their own. That doesn't mean that adults dominate the Sonrise Stable series. The main characters are children, but they manage to get along with their siblings and respect their parents and grandmother - at least most of the time - as did my own daughters.

Me: Which Sonrise Stable book is closest to your heart? Why?
Vicki: There are parts of each book that stick out to me, but if I had to pick one, it would be Operation Christmas Spirit. Although there are many picture books about Christmas, there are few chapter books, and not many of those have a spiritual focus. After resolving to write a Christmas book, I felt a terrible weight descend on me. To write a meaningful and accurate story about the birth of our Savior seemed like such a daunting task, that my mind went blank for a long time. Then one day I read a short story by Pearl S. Buck, Christmas Day in the Morning. I cried at the emotions it stirred in me. And with that as a jumpstart, I began to write. 

Me: I loved how you included so many details in the family's life--like ASL, horse rescue, and camp life. When (and how) did you decide to add these into your series?
Vicki: As I look back, it's interesting to see how God prepared me over the years to write these books. I was painfully shy when I was younger. I did a lot of thinking and very little talking. I had extensive conversations in my head, with me coming up with the words everyone said. Not surprisingly, dialog is one of the easiest things for me to write!

As a horse lover from as far back as I can remember, horses have been an important part of my life. Some of my happiest childhood memories involved horses. My daughters and I share many memories of 4-H, county fairs, horse shows, and trail rides together. Many of those experiences found their way into the books. My oldest daughter is in fact a nurse. And my middle daughter is an ASL interpreter. My youngest, who was only about thirteen when the first book was written, did stay involved with horses longer than the other two. She did not become a horse trainer - however she would make a good one. She is currently studying engineering in college and still owns the horse Scamper was based on.

Years ago, I attended a Sermon on the Mount presentation by horse trainer and counselor, Lew Sterrett. He demonstrated how the relationship between a horse and its master is similar to our relationship with God. That opened my eyes to seeing spiritual lessons in my own dealings with horses. Sterrett's presentations was aimed at an adult audience. I realized that I could use my own experiences with horses to bring similar lessons down to a level that young people could understand. At that time, writing a book hadn't occurred to me, but my daughters and I started the Christian Cowgirl Club, a day camp for neighborhood girls.  In those camps, the girls learned to ride and take care of horses, and I passed on some of the spiritual lessons connected to horses, that I was learning myself.

Me: I'd love for my readers to "get to know you" a little better. What are three of your favorite things to do?
Vicki: I am down to one pony, Toby, which my eight-year-old foster daughter and I purchased at an Amish auction this summer. We enjoy driving him around in the pony cart. I enjoy having children over to help take care of the pony and learn how to harness him for driving.

I used to be a jogger, but now enjoy walking, hiking, and biking. I work as a freelance web designer and computer programmer. I love that combination of logic and creativity, and it allows me to work from home on my own schedule. I wouldn't call myself a nerd though. I definitely view the computer as a creative tool rather than an entertainment device. My mind is like an idea factory. Sometimes I feel bombarded with all the ideas I have for projects - more than I'll ever be able to accomplish in this lifetime.

Me: Would you please share your salvation testimony with us?
Vicki: I grew up in the 70's, when the women's liberation movement was really taking off. It all sounded great to me at the time. In a class of about one hundred at the public high school I attended, there was only one student that I would have identified as a Christian. She never witnessed to me, but the fact that she was willing to be different stuck in my mind. It was an atmosphere where what was wrong was made to seem good, and what was good was made to seem wrong.

I attended a liberal, mainline denominational church - because my mom made me, but the gospel was never clearly or strongly presented. I didn't see anything different in the lives of the people who attended there. I went through the membership class at age eleven or twelve because that was the thing to do in that church. I thought I would feel something different after joining the church, but I didn't. If anyone had asked whether I was a Christian, I would have said yes, but there was no certainty. That experience left me feeling empty and confused. Was that all there was to Christianity? 

Ironically, the few people in my life who I was reasonably sure were Christians, never spoke to me about it. Outwardly, I was a kind, sensitive person, so I guess they equated that with Christianity. Inside, however, I felt lost and unloved. I floundered my way through my early to mid-twenties, half-heartedly seeking God, but never fully committing to him. Looking back, I realize that God had His hand on me from a young age, and it was His steering and nudging that kept me from going too far astray. 

At twenty-seven, I was married and expecting my first child. In the months before her birth, I resolved to read all the way through the Bible, for the first time in my life. I didn't understand most of it, but I made it all the way through Revelation before she arrived. God used that baby girl to finally break down the barrier that surrounded my heart. That might sound strange, but it makes sense. After all, He showed His love for all of us in a similar way - by sending a baby Boy to Bethlehem. 

Suddenly, my whole world was different. Things that had seemed right to me before, I knew were wrong. I had a fire and passion for God and His word. I began reading my Bible, not because of some resolution I had made, but because I wanted to - and it was beginning to make sense!

Soon after that, I went back to the church I'd grown up in, excited to tell those people that there was more to Christianity. I begged the pastor to start a Bible study, but he refused. He actually told me that my experience was just emotion and it would pass. Thirty years later, that fire for God and His word has only grown stronger.

I've often wondered why no one witnessed to me when I was younger. I was a lost and lonely girl, seeking a true relationship with God. If someone had reached out to me then, it might have kept me from making some costly mistakes in my life. That's part of the reason why the books in the Sonrise Stable series have explicitly Christian messages. As a young person, I was aching to know truth, and no one would share it with me. I don't want to make that same mistake. As an author, I don't have anything better to offer young readers than the eternal truths found in God's word.

Me: Who is your favorite author to read?
Vicki: After I became a Christian, since I attended a church that oddly enough, didn't have Bible studies, I began studying on my own. For the next fifteen years, I devoured commentary after commentary. During that time, I read very little fiction, other than what I read to my daughters. I remember, in particular, reading  The Genesis Record by Henry Morris. That book opened my eyes to the truth of creation versus evolution. 

After fifteen years, I finally commentaried myself out. The problem then was that I couldn't find many good Christian fiction writers. I think there's a huge need in this area. I remember scaring myself silly, late one night, reading Frank Peretti's, This Present Darkness. Many people criticize the Left Behind series, however those books were a huge influence on me. They may or may not be correct in their interpretation of end-time events, and their literary quality can be debated, however the series filled me with a sense of urgency to witness to people.

These days my reading consists primarily of weighty tomes on php, javascript, html, css, and other equally exciting topics!

Me: Thank you so much, Vicki! I loved reading the answers to your questions and get to know you better! Your books have been a blessing, and I pray that God will continue to use them in the lives of many young readers!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Decisions and Following God (Part 2)

Yesterday, I shared about some of the first steps in making decisions and following God (read part 1). As I wrote down my thoughts, I realize that there are also some things we need to remember in this time of life.

Remember: Not all Decisions are Life-Changing
When I was stressing out over some “big for me” decisions recently, one of my friends pointed out, “This isn’t getting married. It’s not like you’re deciding this for life.” That perspective released a lot of stress and tension, because it was true. While all decisions affect our lives, there are many decisions that are not completely life-changing. There have been several times in my life when I was praying about a decision and came back with a frustrated, “I don’t get an answer! I don’t have a peace about a ‘no’—so does that mean I should accept this as a ‘yes’?”

I am not saying that it’s impossible to know God’s will in every situation—I personally believe that God is intimately interested in every miniscule decision of our lives. How do I know this? Verses such as Psalm 37:23-24: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with His hand.”

 However, if you look at God’s Word, you will not find, “Thou shalt not work at Walmart, thou shalt be a bank teller.” Yeah. If only it were that easy, right? But we do find principles. Read Proverbs and you’ll find plenty of direction with ways to take or to avoid (Two quick examples: “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” [Proverbs 13:11] and “He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.” [Proverbs 28:8]).

Remember: Don’t Solo It
Part of God’s way to give us direction and guidance is through counselors. We can be foolish if we try to make rash decisions. It really doesn’t matter what age we are: going to others who are living active Christian lives is a wise decision. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few verses to clarify:

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)

“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”
(Proverbs 15:22)

Oh, and one more:
“Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.” (Psalms 119:24)
Yes, that goes back to a point earlier: seek God’s Word in these decisions. It is impossible to follow God and disobey God’s Word.

Remember: Life Goes by in Seasons
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

This passage is a familiar one, outlining the many opposites of life: birth and death, planting and plucking up, killing and healing, breaking down and building up, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, casting away and gathering together…

No matter where we are in life, we’ll find ourselves in this list of “seasons.” It is easy to get hung up in the “here and now” that we forget that life is made up of many seasons. There are seasons of busyness and seasons of relaxation, seasons of ministry and seasons of meditation, seasons of singleness and seasons of marriage. Guess what? We’re in a season right now. How we’re living today very likely won’t be how we’re living 365 days from now. You know what else? One special passage applies to every single season of life: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

It may be a fantastic season. It may be a puzzling season. It may be a sorrowful season. But no matter the season, God’s mercy is with us, His faithfulness surrounds us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Remember: Keep a Proper Perspective
One of the struggles I’ve had in this whole “making decisions” is my focus. It is so easy to become consumed in temporal things—making ends meet, in climbing the ladder, in making more money, getting better things, accomplishing more, saving more—that we’ll forget one very important thing. Let me direct you back to the first point I covered with this verse: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Sure, we can make plans and take steps, but ultimately, our focus should never waver from following God and seeking Him first. Sometimes, He’ll lead us to do some scary things that may seem contradictory to where we feel He is leading us (“If I give this money to missions, then how will I have enough for _______?”). This is where my favorite passage comes in: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Remember Abraham? God had promised him that Isaac His covenant would be established (Genesis 17:21, “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”). Yet just a few years later—before Isaac was married and had children of his own—God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering! (Genesis 22:2) We know the end of the story, how God provided a substitution sacrifice—yet many times, our lives feel like Abraham’s in that moment between the promise and command.

If our focus gets off any of these points, our steps will be angled toward paths of destruction.

Sure, we can get excited about where God is leading us. Sure, we can take the steps He has lined out for us. And sure, we can make some plans. But, in doing so, let us not forget to keep seeking God. Let us remind our hearts to trust in Him. And, in whatever we do, may our desire be to “do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

I'd love to hear...
What are some ways the Lord has helped you in decision-making?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Decisions and Following God (Part 1)

We all know the verses and the Christian thing to do: seek God. Sometimes, we know that we have to just wait on the Lord. But then, there are those times when we just might need to do the “follow God” part. And sometimes, that’s where life seems to suddenly get a little tricky.

Or am I the only one?

The last few months have been a seesaw of ideas, counsel, and decisions. And praying. Lots of praying. Why? Because for me, now is a time for taking active steps and changing. There aren’t really huge decisions being made right now—I’m not buying a house (yet), and no, I’m not about to get married—but I’m the girl who likes life to stay the same. The one who would prefer to just continue life in my own little (er, big) family, taking life as it comes at me. For me, this time of decision-making has been a whirlwind. Like I told one friend, “I’m not considering change because I like it or because I want to, but because it’s the next step I truly believe God is leading me to do.”

But enough about me and my feelings. Because I know I’m not the only one in this boat. Whether you are eighteen, twenty-eight, thirty-eight, in between, under, or above, you’ll go through seasons in life where God leads and change must happen. Decisions must be made. Steps must be taken. How do we know we’re staying on target in these times?

We all know this one: “Just pray about it.” In fact, if you have a good circle of friends, they’ll encourage you to be praying about decisions. They’ll even pray with you and for you. But just because it’s the common Christian answer, I’m not going to skip over it.

There is nothing too big nor too small, but that we should pray about it. We see many examples of godly men and women in the Bible who did this very thing. When the Amalekites invaded Ziklag, burned it, and took captive the women and children, David paused to seek the Lord (1 Samuel 30). He made the time—in the midst of a “time sensitive” matter!—to seek God for the next step he was to take. On the contrary part, we see that King Rehoboam did evil “because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 12:14) Psalm 105:4 exhorts us to “Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore.” (“Evermore” means constant, regular, continuance).

Prayer isn’t just an optional step to do when we feel like it, or if the issue feels bigger than we are. Prayer is important! If you’re trying to make decisions, but haven’t consciously stopped to pray about this decision, stop now. Set apart some dedicated prayer time. Communicate with God about your plans. It’s not wrong to make plans and decisions. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man's heart deviseth his way…” but it doesn’t stop there. It continues with, “but the Lord directeth his steps.” How are we going to know God is directing our steps if we won’t even ask Him about it?

Do What You Know is Right
Sometimes, instead of seeing a clear path paved in front of us, we hear the Lord reminding us to wait on Him. Okay…now what? A time of waiting is not always a time of inactivity. Instead, do the things you know are Biblically right to do. Go to church. Dig into God’s Word. Pray. Be like Job: “My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined.  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:11-12)

We can’t expect God to bless us if we aren’t even trying to follow the commands He has established in His Word. And, if we are doing what we know to do is right, let us not be discouraged! God’s timing and His ways are always perfect. But we’ve got to trust Him in that (Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.”)

Remember: if God’s Word is in your heart, He will establish your steps. Psalm 37:31 promises such: “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”

Take the Next Step
Then, like I indicated earlier, there are those times to take the next step. This is honestly where I struggle the most. I like being active, I like making progress, but I do not always like being the one to decide when those active steps need to be taken. Believe it or not, I’m not a big dreamer. Just let me do my little hobbies and teach my wonderful students, and I’m happy. But that’s not always the step God wants me to stay on.

One example that stands out clearly to me is the start of With a Joyful Noise. Running a music company wasn’t really on my agenda—which is why I’m grateful that many times, God places those next steps in front of me. I began talking music with a missionary, and she asked if there was a way that I could teach one of their locals via video correspondence. That got my brain turning with ideas. It also really scared me. It was an exciting possibility, yes, but also a huge step for little, local-minded me. I talked with my parents, did a ton of praying, and that one conversation with the missionary broadened my perspective. Because of that one conversation, I began offering video lessons, digitally published my sheet music (which then led to later physically publishing it), and set up a website. Oh, and you know what? The plans to teach via the missionary fell through. I never took that step that I thought I would. But instead, God used it to lead me to a place where I took many other steps that I never would have considered without that idea sparked on by the missionary.

 Reminding myself of that example helps me when I’m facing decisions today. For example, I’m praying about doing some circuit teaching (setting up a studio about an hour away, once a week). The first step is to save for and purchase my own vehicle. The second step may be to get some long-distance studios set up. Or…God may change the direction after I take my first step. I don’t have to know what God is planning on doing in the future. I just have to take this step that He has led me to today.

Some verses that encourage me when I’m in this “next step” phase are:
Psalm 18:32—It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
Psalm 37:5—Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 142:3—When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.
Psalm 143:8—Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Proverbs 16:3—Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. 

Come back tomorrow for Part 2... some things to remember.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Slow and Steady

In usual life, I'm the hare. I don't mean to say that proudly (cause we all know, the tortoise won the race ;) ), but truly. I like to do things in a jiffy. Just... get them done already. 

But, as I indicated last week, there are weeks to slow down. And for some reason, the whole month of January has been that "week(s) of slowing down." I may write an article about it someday, but it's actually been a good month. God's grace has been sufficient for a more relaxed pace, and I have gotten work accomplished. I've just also had days when I had energy to do literally nothing. But that's okay. Still taking life one day at a time--and I have a new sympathy for people who struggle with chronic fatigue, and am grateful that this is but a season of life!

That being said... I did get my goal accomplished from last week, praise God!

Goals from Last Week
  • Write 1,000 words
    • Wrote 1,370! (does that make up for being a little short my goal last week? ;))
  • Read 30 pages in The Bowyer's Bible
    • See images below, but yep! Check!!
  • Received beta-reader notes back for "Quest for Leviathan!"
I was also able to do some unexpected projects:
  • Wrote a 4k-word article (being posted this week)
  • Edited and scheduled a writing post for Wordquill (will link to that on Saturday)
Goals for This Week
This week looks a little busy for me. I'll pretty much only be home with a clear schedule for 1 1/2 days. And, given that the other days are extremely busy, I may need to use a good portion of time to just relax and rest up (that "tortoise" part I don't know how to do very well--anyone with me here? ;) ). But! I'm going to try for some goals!
  • Edit "Quest for Leviathan"
  • Write 1,000 words
  • Read 20 more pages in The Bowyer's Bible
  • Start another research book
    • (hopefully one that is easier to read and understand than the bow book ;) )

From my Feed
Glimpses of those 30 pages I had to read...

And the one day in which I made significant progress:

(Yes, I got my goal in just one day, and only 200 words in another day... was that cheating??)

And other writerly/readerly posts...

Finally! My most-anticipated-read of January 2018 came in the mail! 
Courtesy of Bethany House for review. 

One of Thursday's projects: getting an interview schedule for my the blog! 
Author Vicki Watson sent me her charming children’s series to review. 
Sonrise Stable books were a delight to read and I highly recommend them for children!
{look for these on Friday!}

Writing sometimes takes a very personal turn. 
Friday, I worked on an article about following God’s direction—
and the lessons I’ve been learning there. 
It required some reflection, a lot of Scripture look-ups, and transparent sharing. 
I’m eager to share the truths I’ve learned (and am trying to learn)! 
Proverbs 3:5-7 has been my anchor through SO MANY 
decision-making times. What passage do you turn to in these tricky times?
{being posted tomorrow/Thursday!}

Just for my brother... 
because he accuses me of posting “nothing but books.” 
Here! A picture of ME—and... a book... 

Now, from you!
What are some praises you have from last week?
What are some projects you're anticipating this week?
What's one of your most-anticipated read for 2018?
Do you find research books tough to read?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Scripture Graphics #76

And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. (Genesis 41:1, 39-40)
A lot can happen in just two years. In two years, Joseph could have become calloused against God in bitterness. He could have decided it wasn’t worth giving credit to God for his wisdom (after all, the last dreams he interpreted only kept him in prison). But here we see evidence of him staying faithful to God—and being rewarded about 700 days later. When it’s hard to stay faithful, we need to remember the testimonies of others before us.

And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. (Exodus 3:11-12)
God didn’t answer Moses’ question of “Who am I?” Instead, He reassured Moses of His presence, faithfulness, and ability. It is never important who we are, or what our ability are. It is always important that we follow our powerful, mighty God.

And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD. (Exodus 8:7-8)
The magicians could repeat some of the acts of God, but never could they undo the miracles.

And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. (Exodus 13:8-9)
The Passover was a memorial—an opportunity for parents to testify to their children of God’s deliverance, and by so doing, they would be inclined of gratitude to keep God’s law. We have every reason to do the same with salvation. Every Sunday (by going to church) is not too often to purposefully remember God’s deliverance of us, to testify it to others, and to be reminded of the merciful God Whose Word we should be inclined to keep.

What reminders have you had from God's Word this week?
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