Friday, April 30, 2010

Short Story Contest Honorable Mention

In September of 2009 I entered a short story contest with Athanatos Publishing.  Winners were announced today and I received an Honorable Mention!  An affirmation is a wonderful thing.

Shattered Neon

Contest Winners

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Useless Thoughts

“Useless thoughts spoil all. Mischief begins here.” Brother Lawrence.

 Brother Lawrence was a 17th century monk who followed a path that allowed him to continually walk with God. He shared his wisdom in four conversations and fifteen letters under the title The Practice of the Presence of God.  Robin Khoury recently took the writings of Brother Lawrence and wrote a Christian children’s book called The Grumpy Monk.

There are many treasures in his discourse but the first that caught my eye was his statement that “useless thoughts spoil all. Mischief begins here.” On my personal journey with God I have had to practice ‘not mulling’ over things. When a situation would disturb me I could spend great amounts of time with useless thoughts mulling over unlikely scenarios.

God brought this unfortunate practice to my attention so I could discontinue it. Brother Lawrence is right; ‘mulling time’ is wasted time and where it is allowed mischief can begin. Rarely did the conversations I spent so much time practicing come to pass, more often, the situation changed and all I had thought to say no longer applied. Rarely were my thoughts kind and loving but instead negative and angry.

Brother Lawrence’s method of change worked for him worked for me and will work for you. “Reject useless thoughts quickly and return to our communion with God.” Keeping God present with us is a discipline that takes a diligence of mind and spirit. When useless thoughts invade call God in. I have spent afternoons throwing useless thoughts aside and calling on God, over and over, until the practice of calling on God is my habit.

I would like to tell you that once you are quick to identify ‘useless thoughts’ the practice of mulling them over is conquered but like all habits this will take continuous practice. Your achievement is that mulling time becomes less and less and you find yourself in the presence of God more and more.

Romans 3:1  Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.  NIV

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Treasures of the Heart

My son, L., is at the end of his junior year in high school. We have been discussing college prospects and gathering the information we’ll need for the endless application process. I was filling out a form that asked for his awards and achievements.

Back when L. was in kindergarten, his teacher was in this same college process with her daughter and shared a wonderful bit of wisdom. She said to start now keeping a log of the things your child does in school. Keep the log updated and in a place easy to retrieve because she had been going through boxes of past school items digging up all the awards and achievements. I took this advice to heart and began that journal. I had this same journal open in front of me listing out the required items.

My husband, D., was busy in the same room and I was sharing what I was writing. The next question was to share an anecdote about our child. I turned to another section in the journal as I also had listed things that happened to L., or things he said that I wanted to remember. I began reading many entries aloud to my husband and we marveled and wept at the swiftness of time and the things forgotten.

D. indicated my journal and said, “That holds the treasures of your heart.” He was referring to Luke 2:51, “51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” NIV

I thought that was an appropriate description of my journal. The back was a useful tool of yearly achievements and awards but the front held entries of moments from L.’s youth that I wanted to remember and treasure.

This is the first entry dated New Year’s Eve 2003:

Sitting around the table with Grandpa and Grandma, Mom and Dad and L. Five glasses of sparkling grape juice had been poured and the concept of toasting the New Year explained. We started with Grandma and went around the table leaving L. for last so he could get examples. Grandma toasted us being together, Dad health and family, Mom health and family, Grandpa 1999 (he was confused). L. thought for a moment and then asked if he could use 2001. We explained toasting the New Year but he could reference 2001. L.’s toast was “May all those people who had family die in the 9/11 have good years from now on.” Apparently, L. understood toasting better than we thought.

Do you have a place to put the treasures of your heart?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"The End," she wrote.

1:38pm this afternoon I typed "The End" for the novel The Boulangerie.  It was in chapter 13.  I posted chapter 11 yesterday therefore for those who have been traveling with me in two weeks you'll have the end. 

There is a novel contest that I will send this manuscript in to.  It is the same group that has my short story, "Shattered Neon".  The deadline is in September, between now and then I'll print off the manuscript and do another full edit and reformat.  When that is complete I'll post the whole manuscript as one link and put it out for any who are interested.

There is a completed first draft manuscript (untitled) that tells the story of Sarah and Jared as the romance with Toby and his father as the villian.  I'm contemplating whether that should come out, be revised, reworked and offered up.  Once The Boulangerie is submitted it will get some serious consideration.

The next story is already percolating in my mind.  Anyone who would like to offer up what that might be, after reading chapter 13, add a comment to this post.  Those who are right I'll send you a free copy of The Boulangerie if/when it gets published.

The method of posting a chapter per week has been very beneficial for keeping up the pace and getting work done.  I appreciate all who have been here cheering me on and invite you to join me when we start the next one.  Write on!