I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life. [1 John 5:13]

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Getting Things In Order

I loaded free Quickbooks software on the computer last night in preparation for all the record keeping I'll no doubt be doing in 2009! I'm going to start on the tutorials tonight as I want everything up and running for the new year. This is kind of like a challenge to myself as well as a sign of my certainty that God will be presenting me with many opportunities to minister and to make an income.

I'm going to be updating 2009 writing goals in light of TRW column and the time requirements. Will continue with free lance work that actually generates income, but I feel pretty strongly that the new column will serve both of my purposes -- and hopefully will also serve God's.

I also want to make up a reading list - books I'm currently reading and books I would like to read--again, to keep me on track.

I drafted out my first God's Wonder Woman column yesterday. I had originally thought I might stop sending out the Divinely Designed newsletter as it costs me money each month to send out, but I think I'll wait and see how things go doing both in a month. I can't have duplicate articles, so I'll have to see if I can do that much writing as well, and still enter contests, etc.

I'm ready to be done with 2008 and am excited and optimistic about what lies ahead in 2009.

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.[Proverbs 19:21]

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.[Jer 29:11]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December Storytelling Character Ready

This afternoon I rehearsed "Rhoda" for the final time. She is the fictional wife of Joseph's cousin (they are the innkeeper, his wife and some of their family are included in the story). I've changed my storyline a bit from the original plan, but I like this one and think it will work well.

I decided I wanted a narrator for the story as some of the background information wasn't really suitable to use as a person conversing with others. My son said he would do it so we ran through it this evening and he said he thought it would be great - and he found it very interesting:-) When a 20-year old tells you that, you know you've hit on something. My husband has decided he wants to go with us tomorrow to meet the "little old ladies" I will be telling the story to so it will be a real family affair!

Now I need to develop another character for January, although that may be delayed until March if I participate in the Epiphany program (sort of like Emmaus for young men (juveniles) in jail). It will be quite a commitment of 4 Saturdays for preparation and training and then one full weekend in February to actually work the program.

I may be a speaker or a "table mom" or fill some other role as I have told the director of the program I will do whatever is needed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

God's Wonder Woman and Column topics

I have been thinking and praying about the name for my column on Take Root and Write that begins in January.

I've settled on calling the column "God's Wonder Woman," expanding upon the theme I've used for a couple of articles, my monthly email newsletter and a retreat workshop.

I was led to focus on the beatitudes. I'm not sure on the exact direction yet, but I am pretty sure that's what I'm supposed to explore first in the column. It should be quite fascinating to see where the column goes on the topic.

I'm so amazed that even in the midst of all the busyness of the past few days,God still manages to break through to me, sending the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide me.

for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." [Luke 12:12]

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Character Developed for Storytelling

Well, I've been really praying and thinking about a new character to portray in my storytelling. On the 28th (yes, 3 days after Christmas!) I will be delivering the message at a retirement home in town. They really liked my portrayal of the Samaritan Woman at the Well and I knew they would prefer a Story versus a traditional 'sermon.'

I wanted it to be a Christmas story, without going into 'Easter.' In other words, I wanted it to be about the birth of the Christ child and not the crucifixion, etc. I've just been stumped, but this morning, in the midst of painting Christmas ornaments with the toddlers I nanny for and cooking chicken nuggets, etc., I hit upon my character!

I'm going to portray the Innkeeper's widowed mother and present it as if my son and I sat up with Joseph while Mary gained strength and then they stayed with us until they left for Egypt. I can claim Joseph told us his (and Mary's) whole story while we sat up nights together. I can cover the shepherds, the magi, etc. I'm so pleased the Holy Spirit has revealed the storyline to me! Now I can just fine tune and craft it a bit with some research, scripture reading and prayer!

I've also had another article published for pay at Associated Content and it looks like the free-lance writing work will remain fairly steady for the next few months. God is so very good!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An Offer to Join the TRW Team

I am so pleased to have received an invitation to join the Take Root and Write team as a columnist! I had indicated I would be interested in the theme of God's Wonder Woman series and I've been asked to proceed!

From their site: Take Root and Write is: Christian Women in collaboration to compose words of encouragement, insight, and thought for your journey and ours.

Woo Hoo!! That's all I can say. God has been working in my life in some mighty powerful ways and I am feeling like I'm on a precipice and I've got one foot just over the edge. That first step is coming and I can't wait to have that feeling of flying in the power of God's will and divinely designed plans.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oops! I did it again!

I really don't like that song - or the singer, but the phrase is appropriate! What did I do? I started stressing over whether or not Woman at the Well would be printed and ready to mail to my family in time for them to have them by Christmas.

You might not think it's so bad to be stressed over that. Understandable that I want to have the to my family by Christmas, you probably think. Well, in some ways it's not that big a deal to stress, but for me, it's been a very unhealthy habit and a mindset that does not allow me to bear fruit as God desires.

I am working very hard to turn over everything to God -- my sister-in-law is really good about this. She contends we should pray daily about everything in our lives - do it, don't do it, how to do it, when to do it, anything about "it" - we should be praying about. Once we've prayed we can let go of stress and worry over "it" because we've given it to God.

So . . . here "it" is! I'm giving this one to God. I know that He has a perfect plan and that His timing is always perfect. Besides I have a lot things much more within my control that I really should be stressing about: what am I going to fix for dinner tonight? How in the world am I going to get my house in any kind of condition for the Christmas Eve Open House?

More important . . . never mind!

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" [Matthew 6:25 NIV]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Article Published For Pay at Associated Content!

It's been quite a while since I did any serious writing-for-pay for the website associatedcontent.com. I submitted two articles last week and received an offer on the first one this afternoon. I'm hoping the second one will merit a cash offer as well, as I thought it was actually a bit more "unique" than this one.

The nice thing about Associated Content is that even if I do/don't receive an offer for upfront payment, I benefit from page view revenues. Even without submitting anything lately, I've been passively been earning a few dollars a month.

Once the articles are published at Associated Content, I will submit them to a couple of other sites as well, since they are 'non-exclusive.' One of the sites will allow me to make a live link back to the articles, so I'll benefit even more.

That was a nice little surprise! I also received a call from a Christian sister who encouraged me a couple of years ago at a time when I was still feeling very frightened about declaring myself a writer. Now she is in need of a bit of encouragement and help making a plan and implementing it. What a blessing to be able to give back to her.

God is so good and I have lately felt blessed beyond words to be used as an encourager to others who are called to share the GOOD NEWS - each in their own words, divinely and uniquely crafted - as are each of us.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,[Romans 15:5 NIV]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We Have A Winner!

Wow! That was really fun! Half of the fun was finding out who the winner of the journal would be! I'm not going to publish her name here until I ask her permission to do so. I'll deliver the journal to her on Sunday at church.

I have set up yet another blog! I've called it the Crayon Chronicles. It's still set on private viewing so far until I decide whether or not I will be able to make a go of it. Most of the posts will be about the 3 children I nanny for three days a week. I've been with their family for almost 2 years now. Oh, my gosh! Time flies. The little girl is four years old today! Her twin brothers will be two in January. Yep. Lots of drama in that house!!!!

I'll keep you posted on the new blog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It Came In The Mail Today!

I received my "proof" copy of Woman at the Well in the mail today! I still can't believe it's really done! Well . . . I made a couple of changes and will hopefully receive the "new" proof copy early next week. I hope so since I wanted to give out several copies as Christmas gifts to family and a couple of friends.

Since so many individuals and websites are giving away freebies, I decided I would sponsor one in my newsletter this month. The fifth person who emails me that they have NOT finished their Christmas shopping will be the winner of a copy of Inspiration, Imagination and Faith blank journal! (Click on the link to go my lulu.com storefront and preview the journal.) I've received four emails so far. Either everyone is so busy finishing their Christmas shopping, or they're too busy to check their email! Of course it hasn't even been 24 hours, yet.

I think next month I'll give away a copy of my book, and then do other items in following months. One more reason for people to subscribe to the newsletter:-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Few Random Writing Prompts and Ideas

Jesus is a verb. My husband saw over my shoulder that I had jotted that on a scrap of paper and said, "no, Jesus is a noun." We'll see if I can convince him of my idea and so bring him around to my line of thinking:-)

I'm going to post the colors and imagery I have been thinking about as I made the last two trips to the Staunton area to pick up my son from school. I've been in a "Crayola" frame of mind and I'm going to do some research to try to find the exact color of the foliage three weeks ago - long after the splendor of autumn. Burnt something . . . sienna . . . I'll let you know.

I'll be receiving the "proof copy" of my book in a couple of days and once its approved I can start advertising that it's available for purchase. Guess what my entire family and four of my best friends are receiving for Christmas this year!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Christmas Gift To Myself

I just uploaded Woman at the Well to lulu.com!!

This is an accomplishment that I have worked toward, longed for and one which has afforded meunderstanding of truly waiting on God. His timing is perfect, and because I waited, I believe the final copy is better than what I ever could have imagined!

It will be available for sale soon and a big announcement will be forthcoming!

I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God. [Psalm 38:15 NIV]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Spirit-Inspired Ideas

I've been rolling around in my head the idea of doing a series of articles on parenting. Today the culmination of a couple of readings and issues that have been on my heart lately came into clearer focus. I think I'm going to call the series Godly Parents, Godly Children. I already have 5-6 titles/topics in mind and will probably add more. The series will be biblically based and was inspired by the concept addressed by Chips Ingram in his book, Effective Parenting in a Defective World.

The initial topics I have in mind are: (1) Absolute Obedience; (2)Wanting for Nothing (desiring God above all else); (3) Praying Through Life; (4) Developing Sound Judgement; (5) Clothed in the Full Armor of God; and a couple of others. My thought is that in order for our children to grow into godly adults, in order for us to adequately equip them for life as adults in the world, we must begin early and be intentional. We also must model what we teach. I'm going to use as my key scripture, Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. [Job 27:11 NIV]

Another article or series of articles I'm going to work on is on blogs and websites that are focused on, managed by, intended to uplift women.

The third idea that the Spirit gave to me today is to interview some of the amazing Christian women I know and write articles on them and their stories.

I also may create an e-book of my journaling course available for download through lulu.com.

It's pretty exciting to be back on track! "Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes! [1 Samuel 12:16 TNIV]

I shared on my Divinely Designed blog that I'm praying the Prayer of Jabez every day and God's answering my request: He is enlarging my boundaries (territory)! I'm going to have be sure to take my vitamins every day if the current rate at which He's growing my ministry continues!

Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that thou wouldst bless me and enlarge my border, and that thy hand might be with me, and that thou wouldst keep me from harm so that it might not hurt me!" And God granted what he asked. [1 Chronicles 4:10 RSV]

Friday, November 28, 2008

A New Story

Well I received a call today from a lovely woman who lives in an assisted living facility where I preached some time ago. She called to ask me if I could come back in January to recite another story! The last time I preached there I incorporated acting out the Samaritan Woman at the Well and the residents said they enjoyed it very much. I guess it was well-received after all!

I am scheduled to preach at the facility in December as part of my Lay Speaking duties and I haven't decided yet if I'll come up with yet another character to portray, either as the message or as part of the message in December. Since my writing goals do include developing one character per month, I imagine I'll begin working on December's soon!

I had considered developing the character of the Innkeeper's wife for January, but I may move do her story in December - I'm scheduled for the Sunday after Christmas so it would be very appropriate and timely.

I thought I would also offer to tell a story at one of the United Methodist Men's meetings next year. One of the men had suggested it, I may contact the program director to get on their calendar. At the time it was suggested I immediately knew I wanted to portray the wife of someone in the bible so I could be a little bit humorous and play the 'long-suffering' wife. Not sure if I'll take that approach or not, but I'll see.

After I met with one of my friends the other night to help her set up her blog, she emailed me to say she already had tons of ideas for blog posts! I am excited for her, even though I realized I had better be 'practicing what I preach' when it comes to maintaining blogs--post often!

I mentioned in Divinely Designed blog that I have been praying the Prayer of Jabez, asking God to expand/enlarge my ministry. I believe the phone call I received this morning confirms that He has already begun to answer that prayer and I imagine He will continue to do so.

How blessed I am!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fitting God In Just Published at CWAHM

I just received an email from a wonderful Christian 'friend'! I put friend in single quotes because we have never met in person but have corresponded for several months. Takeila Bynum has several websites, a podcast and is one busy lady - public speaker, wife of a pastor, mom to three active pre-teens, in other words - one of God's Wonder Women!

She has generously and graciously offered me many opportunities to contribute to her sites - a book review, several devotionals and most lately, an article on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: God’s Wonder Woman: Religious and Spiritual Tips for Women . I originally wrote this piece as part of a women's retreat presentation I did some time ago and it has been the foundation of and framework for my women's ministry since then.

God is so amazingly good to put me in contact with such godly "wonder women" on my journey! You might want to stop by her site and see what she's up to!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back to Basics

I had gotten out of the habit of carrying a notebook with me. I have my daytimer with me everywhere, all the time, but I used to keep a spiral notebook handy to jot down ideas for articles or poems.

This week I grabbed a brand new spiral notebook that has been sitting on the shelf and I've already filled up about 5 pages! Some of the entries are just addresses for article submissions. Sometimes I've written a sentence or most of paragraph so I'll be able to recall what I thought of later on (essential when I'm in the midst of a day with the 3 little ones I nanny for!)

I have 3 articles already written that I plan to submit as reprints to Parents Magazine!

The other night I "made up" a recipe (adapted from someone else's on line) and my husband raved about how good it was that he suggested I submit it to contest! So I did! I figured while I'm in the contest searching/submitting mode, I might as well go for it!

I'm really thinking seriously about the "godly child" series. This weekend I'm going to do a bible search on all the 'parenting' biblical references and fit the bullet points I've already developed to them and see where things go from there.

I also think that as soon as I get Woman at the Well uploaded to lulu.com I'm going to upload all my frugal cooking/household articles into a free e-book format.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Woman at the Well

I've been working on Woman at the Well (poetry and devotional book) for a long time! A couple of times I felt as if "this is ready" only to find that God had other plans - either by way of a comment or suggestion from a friend or from some scripture that resonated with me or a new poem. I'll upload the files to lulu.com this week if all goes as planned.

Yesterday I made what I believe is the final edit and hope to have it printed within a week or so. I'm not stressing about it because each time I have been delayed in my plan, I found that God had a better one, so I'll wait:-)

After the annual RCWW dinner, I'm psyched and have set some ambitious writing goals for myself! I have no doubt I will miss some goals and/or modify some over the months ahead, but I have learned the importance of at least having a benchmark. I want to get back in the habit of submitting to contests and pick several publications to focus on for submissions.

Also Takeila Bynum has indicated she has several contacts that may be interested in some parenting artices, so I started on what may be a "single" or first in a series article today.

One goal I didn't post on the side bar: do 15 minutes of cleaning for every hour of writing! That will be a change and will afford us a cleaner house!