Tag: inspiration

Book Review: Redwoods and Whales: Becoming Who You Actually Are, by Phil Joel

 

redwoods and whales
Image belongs to Emanate Books/Thomas Nelson.

Title:  Redwoods and Whales: Becoming Who You Actually Are
Author: Phil Joel
Genre:  Spiritual, Christian
Rating:   5 out of 5

Redwoods and Whales offers a warning and a promise:

The warning: Don’t become that beached whale, trying to live in a foreign environment.

The promise: You will find freedom when your identity is centered under the safety of the Divine.

Life is tough. Depression, addiction, suicide, violence…they’re all commonplace in our society, and they make it hard to know where to turn. Despite the “connectedness” of our social media word, many people feel alone and adrift. But we have a choice:  we can choose to seek God and His true nature, and we can choose to live healthy, purpose-filled lives.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book, but Redwoods and Whales brought inspiration and hope while acknowledging the sometimes-bleak world around us. The casual tone combined with the chatting-with-a-friend feel of the book makes it easier to soak in the deep message in this book.

Phil Joel is a musician and an artist. Redwoods and Whales:  Becoming Who You Actually Are is his debut book.

(Galley courtesy of Emanate Books/Thomas Nelson via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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Sundays are for Writing #14

Not only did I get in three writing days this week—a bit over my goal of 2,250 words—but I also finished up two lessons in HTWAN! So I hit both goals for the week!

Writing-wise, I’m still wandering, as I have only a bare idea of plot, but my goal for this week—in addition to word count—is to outline five scenes (sentence per scene), so I have some idea where I’m going. I know from experience that I wander when I don’t outline, so it’s time to correct that.

Words. No wandering.

 

Sundays are for Writing #13

This week was crazy busy. Seriously. But, I still got in two writing days!

About 1,500 words of fiction this week. (Ah…10,000-word days are such a fond/unbelievable memory now. Thank you, NaNo!). I also wrote five book reviews this week (three of those were written and scheduled on Thursday, before I left for my conference.)

For accountability purposes:  in addition to three writing days this week (or 2,200 words), my goal is also to get two lessons done in HTWAN, because I am woefully behind.

How was everyone else’s writing this week?

Sundays are for Writing #12

Confession time:  I think I only wrote about 600 words this week. Yep. Two 10-minute sessions and that’s it.

But…at least it’s writing. And I did do academic writing. Like…two decently long discussion board posts, and a 5-page paper that kind of made me want to bang my head on my desk. And three book reviews. So, at least there was writing.

Here’s to a better week.

Anyone else getting any writing done?

Sundays are for Writing #10

Ten weeks. I’ve done some writing every week for ten weeks!

That’s a huge victory for me. I used to write all the time, but the last six years have been sporadic at best. Writing fiction has become a habit again, along with writing articles for class and honing those skills.

At least 750 words three days this week, which is my goal. Yay!

Sundays are for Writing #6

Rough week at work, so I planned to do no writing until the weekend. I started yesterday morning with a 10-minute session—I find that if I try to write for longer than that, my brain wanders, but I can focus for 10 minutes—re-doing the first scene of my story (since my hard drive died the week before last, taking everything with it.

I’ve had an online backup program, Mozy, for years, but I didn’t realize it stopped working 6 or 8 months ago. My file download took two days to finish, but when it did finish yesterday morning, there was the first 3k of my story draft!

Do I wish it had been more? Absolutely. Will I be better about keeping an eye on the program to make sure it keeps working? You better believe it! But, it’s better than nothing.

I only recently wrote the other 5k words, so it’s pretty fresh in my mind. My goal is to get back to where I was over the next two weeks, and to work through Lessons 7 and 8 of HTWAN. I did get another 500 or so words added on to my recovered file, so there’s that.

Happy writing!

Sundays are for Writing #3

I think the accountability of posting here ever week is keeping me motivated to make progress of some sort in my writing ever week. At least…it’s worked for three weeks straight now, so I’ll take it.

Tuesday, I worked my way through lesson 5 of HTWAN. I completed the worksheets, but I wasn’t super happy with my answers. I wrote 1,000 words or so on the accompanying draft, but the world just wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t making me happy.

Thursday, I opened the 3,000 words I had written for the original story idea and read through it. I was much, much happier with that draft. The flow felt more natural. Less stilted. So, I decided to return to my original story idea, and the Muse was happy with that plan.

Yesterday and today I wrote an easy 500 words both days. I still have only the fuzziest of ideas where the story is going—and I could easily be wrong—but the easy Southern fiction voice feels right.

Sundays are for Writing #2

Look at me:  for the second Sunday in a row I’m talking about writing! Yay for New Year’s goals that last longer than a week…

The truth is, I haven’t started actually writing this story yet. But I’ve completed five weeks’ worth of worksheets for Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Novel Class, and now I have an actual idea (or three) of what this story is about, in addition to knowing more about my characters and the conflicts. (To be fair, what I knew about them before this class was basically zero.)

And I know what my first scene is—along with my second. This story is not about quite what I thought it was, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. I’ll be starting the first draft this week, so here’s to hitting my writing goals…the same week my semester starts.

 

 

 

Book Review: The Ministry of Ordinary Places, by Shannan Martin

 

ministry of ordinary places
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

 

Title:  The Ministry of Ordinary Places
Author:   Shannan Martin
Genre:   Nonfiction, Christian
Rating:   5 out of 5

Many people dream of big ministries in places they feel at home in, surrounded by people like them. Shannan Martin found that that sort of ministry wasn’t her destiny at all. Instead, she ended up in a working-class neighborhood in Goshen, Indiana—okay, a neighborhood where sometimes finding a job to work at is hard—an ordinary place, surrounded by ordinary people who might be wildly different on the surface, but who are alike at heart:  struggling and in need of love.

Truly paying attention to both the big things and the small can open your eyes to the truth in the world around you, and Shannan built a home amidst people who were willing to do life together—no matter how hard that is at times. Sometimes, when God calls people to ministry, it’s not a Billy Graham-style of ministry. Instead, it’s smaller, quieter, and has a profound effect on the people around us, the people who make up our lives.

This book. This book. Usually when I read nonfiction, I can only read a few pages at a time, but I wanted to read large chunks of this at a time. Shannan’s writing is so powerful and evocative, full of truth that touches the heart and opens the mind to broader ideas of home—and what that can look like.

Shannan Martin is a writer and speaker. The Ministry of Ordinary Places is her newest book.

(Galley provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: God Speaks Your Love Language, by Gary Chapman

God Speaks
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   God Speaks Your Love Language
Author:   Gary Chapman
Genre:   Christian
Rating:   4 out of 5

Millions of people say The 5 Love Languages saved their marriage. Now Gary Chapman applies those love languages to God and those who follow Him.

Some people see God as an impersonal, far away deity, but He is really an up-close-and-personal Father who chooses to speak to us in the language we are most comfortable with. This book both reveals ways that God speaks to us in each love language and shows us ways we can speak to Him and learn new love languages.

I’ve never read The 5 Love Languages (Yet. But I did just buy it, after reading this), yet the author speaks so candidly and simply that all the concepts are easy to understand and relate to. I loved the sections on different forms of worship!

Gary Chapman is the author of The 5 Love Languages. His newest book is God Speaks Your Love Language.

(Galley provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)