Something To Look Forward To

I always look forward to the arrival of an e-newsletter I subscribe to called “British Missives” by my friend Therese Stenzel. Besides various tidbits of British life, she also makes book recommendations for those of us to love to read stories in and about England and Scotland. Today I got SO excited when I read the title of the up and coming Liz Curtis Higgs novel, Here Burns My Candle. 

I immediately searched for a blurb and release date, and found one here. It is the story of Ruth, retold in 1745 Scotland. If that sounds strange to you, then you obviously haven’t experienced Liz’s other Scotland books—all retelling of Biblical stories in a completely different age and location yet with all the character and truth of the originals. Love, love, love those books! So now I’m looking forward to March 2010. I just wish it wasn’t nearly a year away!


For Me?

It is a dark and stormy day. What a great day to write! And I actually have the day, since the rain will knock out the early afternoon baseball game. Just when I think I’ll fly to pieces because my schedule has been so kid-heavy and writing-light (ok, non-existent!), along comes the gift of a day without obligation. I know the Lord doesn’t orchestrate rainy days for my benefit alone, but sometimes it feels like it!


Why No Posts?

Last week and this week: 8 ball games, a fundraising dinner, prom, booster club meeting, and 2 track meets. The track meets and 2 of the games were over an hour away!

So yes, I'm still here, but I'm too overwhelmed with kid stuff to have anything constructive to say about anything else! But it's all winding down. I think.


Miss Match

Do you love the old black and white movies of the 40s, like I do? Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Myrna Loy. P.I.’s tracking down bad guys. Nazis on the decline, Russians on the rise. If you want to read a book that puts you in mind of watching those great films, pick up one (or both) of the Allie Fortune mysteries by Sara Mills. 

Miss Fortune, the first book in the series and Sara Mills’s debut novel, came out last year. It was such a fun read. Now the second book has arrived—Miss Match—which I liked even better than the first. Allie Fortune is a lady P.I. in New York City just a couple of years after the end of World War II. Not only does she search out problems and bad guys, she also has to walk a fine line with her matchmaking mother. When I read these books, I see them played out before me in black and white. The characters are memorable, the mysteries intriguing. 

If this time period appeals to you, pick up one of these books. I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.


Jeroboam's Lesson

I read the story of Jeroboam recently. Are you saying, “Who?” Jeroboam, the first king of Israel after Israel and Judah split into two kingdoms. (See First Kings 11-13.) Jeroboam’s story starts out so well. 

Because of Solomon’s sin, God tells Jeroboam He will give him the kingdom, instead, although Solomon’s son will keep the tribe of Judah. After Jeroboam hears this word from the Lord, he must go into exile in Egypt until Solomon’s death. Solomon dies. Jeroboam returns and, through Solomon’s son’s foolishness, finally receives the kingdom, just as the Lord had said. 

When the Lord takes us into a new realm of success—maybe even power or authority—how do we respond? Jeroboam suddenly became afraid the Lord would take the kingdom out of his hand, which shows us two things: 1) he now felt he “deserved” that place and 2) he trusted the Lord to get him there, but not to keep him there. Now he had to devise his own plans to hold his people and his power. And he did it by setting up two golden calves for his people to worship. 

Now we may not set up idols for others, but how often do we grasp to keep the things—whether possessions or positions—God has graciously bestowed on us? Those things may be for a lifetime or for a season, but if they are gifts from God, held at His say. We cannot devise ways in the flesh to hold on to them. Well, we can devise ways, but those ways never work! In the end, what did Jeroboam get for all his striving to force the loyalty of the hearts of Israel to him? The house of Jeroboam was blotted out and destroyed from the face of the earth. (I Kings 13:34) 

If God has given you something to hold, be it a possession or a position, won’t you trust Him with it—whether it is to last for a moment or for a lifetime? 



The school year of saying yes when I shouldn’t have is coming to a close. Finally. I have floundered in my writing because I said yes to a volunteer job I shouldn’t have, to a job I thought would be no big deal but grew into a monster that ate my time and energy. My husband told me not to take the position, but I didn’t listen. Then I literally had to set aside my writing from September to January and March to May.  I thought, at first, that it was a “denying myself” setting aside. But I’ve figured out it wasn’t. It was disobedience, plain and simple. It was a setting aside of what the Lord called me to do to instead do what man asked of me. So I’ve spent this school year living out the consequence of a wrong choice. 

All I can say is it sure makes me want to obey the voice of the Lord next time. 


The Lamb of God

We’ve been studying the book of Mark in our Sunday School class. As we’ve observed the disciples’ reaction to Jesus and His ministry, their misunderstanding of why He came and what His kingdom would look like, I keep remembering the words of the prophet as Jesus stepped into the public eye: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” 

That statement encompassed it all, and yet no one got it. No one (or very few) equated “the lamb of God” with the physical sacrifices in the temple. They didn’t hear “takes away the sin of the world” and understand atonement or justification. In fact, although Jesus talked throughout His ministry about the kingdom of God and why He came, he did not refer to Himself as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Every time he spoke of lambs and sheep and shepherds, he spoke of Himself as the Shepherd and His people as the sheep. 

So I think even we, like the disciples, tend to forget that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But that is exactly what is on my mind as Easter week begins. The Lamb of God. Who takes away my sin. 

I dare you to mull that over for a few minutes and walk away unchanged.


Begin at the Beginning?

At what point in a story should the audience jump in? That is a question every writer (of books or movies or plays) must grapple with. And it is not as easy as it sounds!In the past few weeks, I’ve run across two examples of writers who made opposite choices. 

The first comes from a book I’ve wanted to read for over a year—a  nice, fat paperback (I love fat books!), a unique retelling of a story I love. But, alas, as I delved into its pages I found myself bored. Why? Because the author began at the beginning of the character’s story. Not at his birth, but at the beginning incident that shaped who he was becoming. But the story of his evolution isn’t nearly as compelling as the story of who he is on the other side of it. I would much rather the author have started the story on about page 350 (of almost 500) and given me the rest in snatches and hints along the way. 

On the other hand, as I drove girls to a softball tournament I again had the experience of “listening” to a familiar movie. This always helps me see things in the writing of the story that I don’t see when I watch it. The opening scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean struck me in where it began each character’s story. In the opening “prologue” type scene, we are introduced to the Elizabeth, Will and the gold coin—the coin being the most important of the three. Then we are drawn into the present day story some years later, meeting these two characters again in different circumstances. When we first meet Jack Sparrow, just a bit later, we learn he is a pirate and his ship is called the Black Pearl, and yet he has no ship. In fact, he is trying to steal one from the British navy! 

The place the screenwriter chose to bring the audience into the story propels the audience through the story by NOT knowing every detail of the characters’ lives to the point that we meet them. A more amateur writer might have started this story when the pirates found the cursed gold or maybe when Captain Barbosa arranged a mutiny to take over the Black Pearl from Captain Jack Sparrow. But both of those beginnings would have made it tedious to get to the real action, to the real story. 

So where to begin? I’m still learning to figure that out!