Career Recipe for Writers

2597109669_d8b0b519e9_zJust for fun—and for a little introspection and insight—let’s write a recipe today.  Let’s make it a recipe for whatever our careers or main job descriptions are at this point in our lives. You game?

Here’s my recipe for being a writer:

1 computer

1 printer/scanner/copier/fax

1 direct line to God the Father (aka prayer)

2 heaping c. of “learn the ropes”

4 c. BIC (butt in chair) time (aka writing, writing, writing)

2 c. reading widely

1 writers market guide

1 c. ongoing education and conferences

½ c. business know-how/record keeping

½ c. critique group

1/2 c. business emails

1 thick skin

2 c. positive outlook

8 c. perseverance and determination

1 1/2 c. blogging

½ c. Facebook and other social media

1 T. fellowship at monthly writers group

1/8 c. networking on other blogs

Mix all together and let simmer.  Add humor and journaling to taste and eat chocolate as needed. Do this every work day.

So what does it take to do your job? What would your recipe look like? As you consider the ingredients for your recipe, do you see anything in your life that needs to be altered?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by DeaPeaJay, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Hanging on His Words

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“…all the people hung on his words.” Luke 19:48b

Not long ago, in remembrance of what Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection, I read through several chapters of Luke’s account of those holy events, starting with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Luke tells us that every day Jesus taught at the temple and then concludes that particular paragraph with “all the people hung on his words.”

I already had that phrased underlined in my Bible, but I’ve got to tell you, those words captured my attention again. I could picture the people listening intently, straining to hear every word, hungry for the life-giving words and wisdom of Jesus.

So let me simply ask today, what about us? Are we hanging on His words? Are we listening intently, straining to hear everything He says to us? Are we hungry for the life-giving words and wisdom of Jesus, for the truth, instruction, and comfort of the Word of God?

In other words, who or what is our lifeline? To whom are we listening? May we be found hanging on His words!

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from April 2011 was a blessing to you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter comes out next week, and author Suzie Eller has graciously offered to give one of my subscribers a copy of Come With Me, her new book coming out in May. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now is a great time to do so. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by [derekmswanson], Creative Commons License

Scattering Seeds and Watching God Give Growth

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“He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.’” Mark 4:26-27

As I mentioned in a post earlier this month, Jesus specialized in telling stories from familiar daily life, stories that his listeners could relate to and draw spiritual lessons from. These stories are known as the parables of Jesus.

One of the parables Jesus told was the parable of the growing seed (the first part of it appears above.) He alerted his listeners right away that an important spiritual truth was about to follow when he basically said hey listen up, this is the way the kingdom of God works. I can just see the disciples and others nearby cocking their heads and leaning in to listen carefully, can’t you?

Jesus then reminded the people that once they scatter seeds, the seeds will sprout and grow on their own (compliments of the sun and moisture God provides and his divine design for plant growth, of course.) We are not the ones who cause seeds to grow. God is the one who gives growth.

And since Jesus said that this is how the kingdom of God works, we can see that the power to give spiritual birth and growth does not come from us. That power comes from God alone. The gospel holds power. The Word of God holds power. Our God is all powerful, and he can indeed bring life and change.

So if it’s our responsibility to plant spiritual seeds while trusting God to give them life and growth, how are we doing? Are we fulfilling our role? Are we actively scattering and planting spiritual seeds of the gospel and other spiritual truths from God’s Word? Do we need to be more alert to opportunities or more aware of just exactly how we can do this work of scattering seeds of truth?

Here are a few ways we can scatter spiritual seeds: through family devotions, by sharing scripture verses on our social media sites or in everyday conversations, leaving gospel tracts where they might be found, giving the gift of a Bible or contributing to an organization that distributes free Bibles, teaching Sunday School or VBS, etc., financially supporting missionaries and others in ministry, playing Christian music in our homes or places of business, going on mission outreaches and actively sharing the gospel, and by giving God glory for the blessings of life and answered prayers. And these are just a few ways.

Let’s give some thought to how we might be able scatter spiritual seeds this week, this month, this year. Let’s be aware and then be alert to opportunities. Let’s do our part—and then watch God give life and growth!

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants or he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

*What are some other ways we can scatter spiritual seeds?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by –Tico–, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Is Rest Calling Your Name?

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Earlier this week when my husband Don headed out the door for work, he groaned and said, “Somebody stop the world. I want to get off.” The semester is winding down for him, and he’s feeling the crunch. I bet many of you can identify for reasons of your own. I know I can.

Do I hear rest calling our names? When stress mounts and demands keep coming, sometimes we just need to step back for a few moments and breathe. Let’s take a breather today and soak in the following thoughts expressed through this REST acrostic:

Retreat and refresh with a whispered prayer and a few moments of silence.

Energize by going outside and drinking in the beauty of nature.

Soothe your body and spirit as you relax with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

Take time to count your blessings and thank God for being your Rock and Refuge.

Let’s do it, friends. Let’s rest.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

*What are some of your favorite ways to catch a little rest?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Simon Matzinger, Creative Commons License

Mother of the Bride Book Coming Soon!

3D photo with reflectionFriends, it’s almost here. Mother of the Bride—Refreshment and Wisdom for Mothers of the Bride releases July 1! Those of you who are on my Life Notes email list (sign-up is free and to the right!) and those of you who follow me on Facebook got your first look at the cover a few days ago, but I wanted to be sure to post it here as well. I absolutely love it!

BroadStreet Publishing has done an amazing job of bringing my vision for the book to life. Last summer when I spoke to them about it, I told them I wanted the book to be beautiful, something that would pamper and minister to MOBs by just holding it in their hands. And I think they hit the ball out of the park. I’m so pleased to be able to offer mothers of the bride a beautiful hardcover book designed especially for them.

Mother of the Bride is at the printer (and is actually available for preorder now), and I am busy with all kinds of marketing preparations. I plan to have a local launch party for the book so if you live anywhere in the vicinity, I’d love to have you join me for that. Closer to time, I’ll create a Facebook event to keep you informed of date, time, and place. Very exciting, huh?!

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to God for the incredible blessing of seeing this book published. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to all who read it and that many, whether mother of the bride or not, will decide to make it their go-to gift for mothers of the bride they know now and in the years to come. Thanks for joining in my joy!

“Come let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving . . .” Psalm 95:1-2a

Here’s a more detailed description of the book for those who are interested:

When women become mothers of the bride, they take on a delightful but demanding new role. While trying to maintain life as they knew it before their daughters’ big announcements, mothers of the bride are also called upon to magically morph into wedding planners, help their daughters navigate the journey to the altar, and establish new and loving relationships with their prospective sons-in-law and their families. With all focus and finances dedicated to the brides and the weddings themselves, the needs of mothers of the bride are often overlooked.

Mother of the Bride helps these special women step away from the hurried pace of daily life complicated by their challenging new role. It offers them the refreshment found in discovering community as they take time for themselves—time to be encouraged, to gain helpful insight and practical tips, and to enjoy the feminine beauty of a book designed just for them.

Through essays featuring relevant quotes or Scriptures, personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, simple suggestions for personal pampering, journaling opportunities, communication aids, and practical tips for wedding planning, Mother of the Bride will nurture the all-important but too often neglected mother of the bride.

*Have you ever been a mother of the bride? Will you be one in the future? Do you know an MOB now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!