Inkwell Inspirations

Hey y’all!

I’m excited to be part of a new group blog of award-winning, not-yet-published writers that goes live TODAY. We call our blog Inkwell Inspirations. I think it will be a fun, challenging, and informative place for readers and writers. We’d love to have you visit—and stay awhile, if you like!

Those who comment will be entered in daily prize drawings through September and October.

I’ll still post here, but a couple of times a month, I’ll post over there. And don’t worry. I’ll always let you know when.


To Be Like Jesus

Isaiah 11 tells of the coming of the Messiah. The beginning of this chapter was quite familiar to me—a stem of Jesse, the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—but a couple of verses down it describes Jesus this way:

And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make decisions by what His ears hear. (Isaiah 11:3)

Oh, that I would be like Jesus in these ways!


The Writing Spa

Who would have thought that seven years ago when two wonderful ladies asked me to be in a weekly critique group with them (a group we named Life Sentence) that it would lead to this.

My dear friend Mary DeMuth, then an unpublished author, now a multi-published one, recently started an editing and mentoring service called The Writing Spa. And as of this month, Leslie Wilson and I are joining her team!

I can officially say that I am a freelance editor. Not a destination I ever imagined for myself, and yet one that seems to fit nicely, like a good pair of shoes. If you are a writer in need of some help, come check out The Writing Spa.


Clash of Cultures

Jeff and I will use any excuse to tour a historical site. And to stay over night in one? Well, that’s even better!

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the history of southern Louisiana. In the space of a few hours, we got to glimpse the clash of cultures in that region firsthand. In the morning, we toured a Creole plantation house. It was built by a French family. That afternoon, we toured a plantation house built by an English-speaking family originally from North Carolina. A fascinating contrast!

Besides the obvious—French-speaking vs. English-speaking, Catholic vs. protestant—there were some other interesting differences. For instance, Creole houses were painted in bright colors. They had no hallways—one room flowed directly into another. The center doors were not used, though they often stood open. The planters conducted business from their bedrooms, only later using a small dressing room off the bedroom as a designated office space (because their more Americanized counterparts were not comfortable conducting business in a bedroom).

On the other hand, most homes of English-speaking people were painted white. The particular house we visited (and stayed in overnight!) was classic Greek revival with white columns, a large center door opening into a central hall and staircase. Very Gone With the Wind-ish. While in both houses the dining room comprised the largest of the rooms, this house sported two parlors and a library besides the various bedrooms.

Each family viewed their dwelling as differently as they built them. The English-speaking family lived in their house. It was home. For many French-speakers, the plantation house was business, a place to live during planting and harvesting seasons. Many considered “home” to be a house in New Orleans. Not true for all, but more common than for their more American counterparts.

The history represented in both houses is the kind of history I love. To me, the “big” historical events pale in comparison to how daily life was lived out. I love family histories and pictures and memoirs. I loved staying in that historical home and imaging what it would have been like to live there in 1850, 1880, 1910, 1950. We had a lovely adventure into the past at both plantations. I’m glad we got to visit them in the same day.


Beginnings of Change

The season is beginning its change around our house. No, the leaves aren’t putting on their autumn colors or fluttering to the ground. And yet just as sure as new blades of grass signal the advent of spring, we are on the cusp of transformation.

Our oldest is leaving for college. Her departure is the first cold front that promises winter, the first 100-degree May day that warns of summer’s heat. In four short years we will have an empty nest. While we will enjoy the last years of our children in our house on a daily basis, we also plan to prepare for what lies ahead for just the two of us.

The season is changing. And I find that instead of wanting to hold on to the season that has passed, I’m embracing the one to come.


Ten Days

I’ve hit that point in my summer where I am ready for school to begin. I’m tired of no set schedule. I’m ready for things to settle into a routine. It’s not really that I want my kids to go away (which is usually the case), but more that I need some real structure to my life again.

Ten more days. I just have to hold on for ten more days.


Psalm 23

We went over Psalm 23 a few weeks ago in Sunday school. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about it since then. What struck me, on this reading, was the first verse: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

I’ve always read that verse in context of today’s definition of “want”: desire, crave. Reading with that definition, the onus for the act of not wanting is on my shoulders. But that is not what God meant at all. The Hebrew word for “want” in this verse is the older definition: to lack. “I shall not lack” puts the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Shepherd.

I’ve been thinking about that difference in terms of specifics. Look at it in these two sentences:

I shall not crave peace.

I shall not lack peace.

Wow. “I shall not want” does require something of me. It requires me to stop striving. To rest. To trust. To keep my eyes off the things around me—both the good and the bad—and keep them on Jesus, my Shepherd, my Provider. And yet it goes beyond “me,” too. This same statement is made to every believer, so I don’t have to worry that my brother or sister in Christ won’t have everything they need, when they need it. They won’t lack, if Christ is their Shepherd, just as I won’t lack.

I think there is great freedom in realizing “I will not lack” versus “I will not desire.” Our flesh still desires so many things. But the way to combat that flaw of sinful man is by knowing, believing, clinging to the fact that “I will not lack” something vital and necessary to my life because the Lord is my Shepherd.

I’m sure I’ve heard a pastor say all this at some point in my life, but sometimes it takes me a while to get it. And I’m still not sure I get it completely. But isn’t that the best part? I will not lack for understanding—even when it comes a little at a time over the course of many, many years.


Grace for the Moment

Last summer I went on an organizational frenzy. I cleaned out all the closets, cabinets, and panty—even my side of the garage! I found a calendar and filing system that worked for me. I had a place for everything and everything in its place. Why? Because something stirred strong inside of me, pushing me to get it done, telling me I’d be sorry during the school year if I didn’t. Yes, it was the Holy Spirit.

I confess, at the time I thought it might be because something would happen with my book. Halfway through the school year I realized it had nothing to do with that at all. It was simply God’s grace to prepare me for an extremely busy year that was partly of my own making (by not saying no to a few things) and partly the nature of having a senior as well as other kids still in school.

This summer, I haven’t had any fits of cleaning out, but in spite of the fact that clutter and disorganization usually make me crazy, I haven’t been bothered by it. Not yet, anyway. Again, I see God’s grace for the moment. I have been able to focus on writing my book and being with my family and God’s grace has tamped down my normal stress over everything else.

I’m learning that the Lord provides grace in each day. And grace that prepares for what we don’t know that lies ahead. It’s just a matter of learning to recognize it for what it is.


I'm Back!

Yes, I’ve been away for a while. Not away from home. Hunkered down at home, actually, finishing my latest manuscript. It’s off for a last look by my critique partner and after I fix what she finds, it will wing its way into the world.

I’ll have more to say about what I’ve learned through that process later on. For now, I just wanted to say that I should be blogging again more regularly now.

Thanks for sticking around!