Tag: inspiration

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!

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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.)

Book Review: How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All Your Life, by Darryl Dash

how to grow
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life
Author:   Darryl Dash
Genre:   Christian
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

I want to call you to do ordinary things that will make an extraordinary difference, not just in your life but in the lives of others.

This quotation sums up the entire book in one simple sentence. This isn’t a complex book, full of convoluted to-do lists. Instead, the author offers simple, basic tenets of faith—praying, reading the Bible, involvement in a church—to build a foundation on, followed by “extra” things that can be added on after the basics are mastered. (Hint:  the basics are never completely mastered.) The conversational tone and examples from the author’s life make this easy to read and apply. I highly recommend it.

Darryl Dash is an author, pastor, and church planter in Toronto. How to Grow is his new book.

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

Book Review: Do Something Beautiful, by R. York Moore

 

do something beautiful
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   Do Something Beautiful
Author:   R. York Moore
Genre:   Christian/Inspirational
Rating:   4 out of 5

As individuals, we are always searching for more; something bigger, better, more meaningful. No matter what we have, we want more. We want our lives to matter more, to be about more, to experience the grand, larger-than-life moments.

Do Something Beautiful shows you how to take the simple, everyday moments in your life and look at them differently, turning “ordinary” into “beautiful.”

The voice in the book is conversational, putting the reader at ease and making it feel like a chat with a friend—not an academic lecture. Anecdotes from the author’s life and stories from people he’s met bring his points to life, making this an engrossing and eye-opening read.

R. York Moore is an evangelist, a speaker, a revivalist, an abolitionist, and an author. Do Something Beautiful is his newest book.

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

Book Review: Hurricane Season, by Lauren K. Denton

Hurricane Season
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Title:  Hurricane Season
Author:  Lauren K. Denton
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  4.5/5

Betsy and Ty Franklin run a dairy farm in southern Alabama. Ty is busy with the cows, while Betsy works constantly to manage the farm’s operations. They have a good life, although their inability to have children is tearing them apart. . When Betsy’s younger sister, Jenna, drops her two daughters off at the farm so she can attend a two-week art retreat, their quiet life at the dairy is turned upside down.

Jenna’s free-spirited days are over. Instead, she spends her days managing a coffee shop and caring for her daughters. She yearns for the days when she pursued photography, but that dream took a back seat when she got pregnant and her boyfriend split. Now, she’s offered a two-week stay at the Halcyon artist retreat, and a chance to pursue her dreams and change her life.

With the most active hurricane season on record underway, Betsy and Ty try to save their marriage, while caring for the girls and working to keep the dairy safe from approaching storms. Their lives are in turmoil, and they must wait on Jenna to decide her course before they can move past the storms that fill the hot summer air.

I loved this book! These two sisters are so different, but they both struggle against the truth of their lives—and what they will do about those truths. Betsy and Ty’s relationship is troubled now, but their love for each other shines strong even in the darkness. I related to Jenna and her dreams—and her struggle to decide between chasing those dreams, and the life she has now.

Lauren K. Denton is a USA Today bestselling-author. Hurricane Season is her newest novel.

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

Book Review: The Heart Between Us, by Lindsay Harrel

HeartBetweenUs2
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Megan Jacobs spent her life being careful, being in the hospital, and watching her sister, Crystal, live life to the fullest, while Megan dreamed about the future, what she would do when she was no longer sick. Three years ago, Megan got a heart transplant, but she’s still playing it safe, living with her parents and working at the library while she yearns for more.

Then, Megan’s heart donor’s parents give her their daughter’s journal, and Megan finds someone she identifies with in the pages. She also finds an unfinished bucket list and decides to fulfill all the items on the list, pushing past her comfort zone as she fights her tendency to play it safe.

When Crystal decides to come with her, Megan hopes they can repair their fragile relationship. With Crystal at her side and her old friend Caleb—a fellow heart transplant recipient—encouraging her, Megan thinks she has all the support she needs to complete her audacious journey. But will she be able to overcome her fears and embrace her new heart?

I related to Megan so much. Her fear of change and of new things is so familiar, as is her desire to travel and to write. So familiar. She’s been through so much, and it’s easier to coast along with the status quo, than to risk failure. Even when Megan has stepped out in faith, she still falters, but the love of those around her propels her forward. This is Crystal’s story, too, the “perfect” sister who is driven by her ambitions even while her marriage is failing. Stepping out in faith and changing is just as hard for Crystal as it is for her sister, but the two don’t even realize they have this in common. I loved this book and highly recommend it!

Lindsay Harrel writes inspirational fiction. The Heart Between Us is her newest novel.

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

Book Review: Where I End, by Katherine Elizabeth Clark

where I end
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

When you’re on the playground with your kids, you expect to have fun and be silly. You don’t expect your entire life to change in an instant, when a small boy jumps off the jungle gym and lands on your head, breaking your neck, but that is what happened to Katherine Clark in May 2009.

Katherine was paralyzed from the neck down, and doctors diagnosed her with quadriplegia and said she’d never walk again. She had emergency spinal surgery that night, but the doctors told her husband she was no longer the same person. They expected her to be a burden for the rest of her life. They expected her to feel sorry for herself and accept her new, horrifying reality. They were wrong.

Instead, God worked a tremendous miracle in Katherine’s life. Her time in a rehab hospital was marked with frustration and tears, but her trust in God was accompanied by progress every day. By the middle of July, Katherine had learned to walk again and returned home. She experienced the deep, abiding love of God, even in the midst of overwhelming pain and trouble, and she clung to Him and His truths to see her through.

I wanted to read Where I End because of the similarities to my own medical history (a stroke 4 ½ years ago because of an unsuspected birth defect, given a 98% fatality rate, told by a doctor “You’ll never be normal again.”) It is terrifying when your life changes in a single instant, but the experience can be a profound blessing. Katherine Clark tells her story with openness and honesty, and the reader feels her pain and her fear, as well as her hope and her joy. If you need something uplifting in your life, this is the book for you!

Katherine Elizabeth Clark is a mother, a wife to a theologian, and a writer. Where I End is her true story.

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