Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday inspiration: I Welcome the Created Light of this New Day (Celtic Poem)

I welcome the created light of this new day,
So that I may enter more fully
Into the uncreated light of eternity;
I welcome the wind
That blows away all that is not rooted, 
So that I may enter unencumbered,
Into the Source of all;
I welcome the dark storm clouds, 
So that I may never make light
Of the mysterious Presence; 
I welcome the cold,
so that I may always search
for the warming fire of God's love.

Poem taken from 40 Prayers from Celtic Christianity. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

IWSG: How I celebrate after completing an important writing goal


It's hard to reconcile that another month's rolled by, but February is short and we took two trips--one to Sacramento and the other to Chicago. 

Regarding this month's question, which asks how we celebrate after completing an important writing goal. I ran across this nice article, The Best Rewards to keep you Motivated, which talks about small and large rewards after completing small and large goals. 

I've done many of the suggestions over the years, such as going out to dinner, watching a movie or a favorite TV show, doing some retail therapy, doing something relaxing, taking a day off, reconnecting with friends. 

I haven't taken a class or a trip as a result, and I've never bought flowers, but I'm pretty sure I've spent time working in my flower garden and gotten all kinds of pleasure out of it. 

I'm currently completing a revision of a YA romance, with plans to send it to a targeted publisher. 

So just reaching that goal will be an incredible reward, in and of itself. Nope, I will need no other reward than to upload the manuscript and then to hit the send button. 

What about you? How do you reward yourself after completing an important writing goal?

Hosted by: Insecure Writer's Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

Friday, March 02, 2018

A Visit to Chicago (Celebrate the Small Things Blog Hop)

Hubby and I had the opportunity to spend a day in Chicago this past Monday. For us, it's not a small thing at all, considering that we live just under 1800 miles away from the city. Here are some memories:

View of Lake Michigan from Brother Tom's brother, Joe's 17th floor condo. 

Another picture of Lake Michigan and Lakeshore Drive.

Chicago Skyline with park below.

This is us in front of the Bean with Sister Cheryl and Brother Tom.

Mike and I in front of the Bean.

This was one of my favorite pictures from the Chicago Art Museum.  

Chicago Art Museum from the outside. 

After visiting the art museum, it was dusk. We crossed the street and had coffee at Starbucks. Then, our friends took us to Midway Airport and we flew home. 

Many thanks to Sr. Cheryl and Bro. Tom for a great day. 

What are you celebrating today?

To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is visit the Celebrate page on Lexa’s Blog for the rules, and then post every Friday about something you’re grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life. This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! (Originated by VikLit)
Along with Lexa, her wonderful co-hosts of Celebrate the Small Things are:
L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Monthly Wrap-up for February 2018

What a whirlwind month February was. We don't usually travel much this time of year, but this year proved different.

Things about my life in February:

It started with a long-awaited, overnight visit from some dear friends. They had been attempting to visit us since June, but twice, their plans fell through. Then a few days after their visit, hubby and I drove to Sacramento for a Bible Student convention, where he had the honor of being asked to speak. We got home on a Wednesday, and then on Saturday, we boarded a plane for Chicago, where he repeated the honor of being invited to speak. Both trips were like love feasts, visiting with Christian friends who, in some cases, we hadn't seen in three years. Between the visit from our friends and our travels, that took up fully two weeks of February.

Online presence:

# of blog posts: 20
# of comments on the blog: 90 (Close to half would've been my replies to others.)
Most popular post: from Book Blogger Hop: Have you met any authors? If so, who?
Books acquired: 9. This was an extremely low book-buying month, and I am proud of myself.
Books reviewed: 8

Christian Nonfiction:
Lost World of the FloodMirror for the Soul; Recapturing the Wonder; All things New; 52 Ways to Grow your Faith; 52 Weeks through the Bible
Dare you To; The Ambassador's Daughter
Favorite book reviewed:
Recapturing the Wonder
Features or discussions:
New Routines (Celebrate the Small things); Book Blogger Hop: Have you met any authors and if so, who?; IWSG: What I love about the Romance genre; A Remodeled Scrapbooking Room (Celebrate the Small things)

Links you shouldn't miss (especially if you're a writer):
  1. From Edie Melson, yet one more informative article about Facebook changes: Facebook Changes, Terminology, and Best Practices Screencast.
  2. Again from Edie Melson, a guest post by Cathy Fyock: What no one told you about becoming an author. Great tips!
  3. From Marketing for Romance Writers: Advice for Authors Doing Blog Tours. 
  4. From Vanetta Chapman what to do: When a Book Releases. She includes tips I hadn't considered before. 
  5. From Seekerville, a guest post by DiAnn Mills: Proactive Marketing and Promotion. DiAnn is an uber-promoter with so many tricks up her sleeves.
  6. From the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood, Building Worlds. A lot more goes into world-building than date and location. 


On Sundays, I've been posting an image matched with an inspiring quote, which I call Sunday Inspiration. I've collected 365 images and nearly as many inspiring quotes. Someday, I hope to match up all images with quotes and to roll them out, one each day, on Instagram.

For now, I'm rolling them out at a rate of one each week, here on the blog and on Instagram. If you missed them, here are the posts for February:

So Fair the Sky was ...
Lord Teach me ...
May you know love ...
How do you measure yourself? 

Reading Challenge Updates:

Operation Deepen Faith:

I read and wrote reviews for 6 Christian nonfiction books (see above).

NetGalley Reading Challenge: All of the books I reviewed this month were NetGalley books. I am happy to say that my review rate is now at 80%, which is the sweet spot that everyone likes. NetGalley gave me a badge, which disappears from my blog once the rate drops below 80%. I've placed the badge in the upper left corner of my left sidebar.

Writing update:

I did absolutely no writing in February!

Some things I'm looking forward to next month:

  1. In a week, we're taking a third trip, this time to New Orleans, where hubby will speak at another Bible Student convention. We plan to take a couple of extra days to do some sight-seeing. We visited New Orleans only once before, and that was back in the 1990's. 
  2. I'm also looking forward to ordering some perennials for my perennial flower garden. 
  3. And I'm looking forward to warmer weather, longer days. 
Favorite quote from a book I read this month:

This is from The Case for Miracles by Lee Strobel: "Before praying with someone to receive Christ, many leaders in the Middle East will ask two questions. First, are you willing to suffer for Jesus? And, second, are you willing to die for Jesus?"

I will be reviewing this soon, with information about how Jesus is bringing Muslims to Christ via dreams ...

A post I wish had gotten more love:

I wish all of my Sunday Inspiration posts had gotten more love. I love collecting the images and the quotes and matching image to quote and making them on Canva!

How was your February? Is there anything you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Top Writing Links for February 2018

This was a month for great articles. When I looked back over my saved links, I saw I had collected 60 articles. But the point of content curation is to save only the best, so I was determined to narrow it down to only the top 10% ... or six links. 

Here are what I found especially worthy of saving for future reference: 

From Edie Melson, yet one more informative article about Facebook changes: Facebook Changes, Terminology, and Best Practices Screencast.

Again from Edie Melson, a guest post by Cathy Fyock: What no one told you about becoming an author. Great tips!

From Marketing for Romance Writers: Advice for Authors Doing Blog Tours. 

From Vanetta Chapman what to do: When a Book Releases. She includes tips I hadn't considered before. 

From Seekerville, a guest post by DiAnn Mills: Proactive Marketing and Promotion. DiAnn is an uber-promoter with so many tricks up her sleeves.

From the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood, Building Worlds. A lot more goes into world-building than date and location. 

Lost world of the flood by Tremper Longman III & John H. Walton

Book description"The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth . . . and the ark floated on the face of the waters" (Gen 6:17-18 NRSV).   In our modern age the Genesis flood account has been probed and analyzed for answers to scientific, apologetic, and historical questions. It is a text that has called forth flood geology, fueled searches for remnants of the ark on Mount Ararat, and inspired a full-size replica of Noah's ark in a biblical theme park. Some claim that the very veracity of Scripture hinges on a particular reading of the flood narrative. But do we understand what we are reading? Longman and Walton urge us to hit the pause button and ask, what might the biblical author have been saying to his ancient audience? The answer to our quest to rediscover the biblical flood requires that we set aside our own cultural and interpretive assumptions and visit the distant world of the ancient Near East. Responsible interpretation calls for the patient examination of the text within its ancient context of language, literature, and thought structures. And as we return from that lost world to our own, we will need to ask whether geological science supports the notion of flood geology. The story of Noah and the flood will continue to invite questions and explorations. But to read Longman and Walton is put our feet on firmer interpretive ground. Without attempting to answer all of our questions, they lift the fog of modernity and allow the sunlight to reveal the true contours of the text. As with other books in the Lost World series, The Lost World of the Flood is an informative and enlightening journey toward a more responsible reading of a timeless biblical narrative.

My thoughts: I read this book with great anticipation for gleaning numerous insights on the culture of the ANE (Ancient Near East) in general and the ancient Israelites in particular. I did gain a few insights, but overall, the book was astonishingly repetitive, which means that there isn't nearly as much in it as I had hoped. The authors could've shortened it by at least 50% and probably more, had they removed the repetitions.

As to the flood itself, they believe a large flood happened, which was written about in numerous ANE sources, including the Bible.

They do not believe the flood covered the entire earth. They believe the Biblical authors were using hyperbole to describe this big flood. That the flood did not cover the earth is not the point of the Biblical narrative, they argue. So even if it did not cover the world, that doesn't make the story less true.

The important point is the inspired reaction to the flood by the author of the book of Genesis, which helped to shape the ancient Israelites' view of God, a view that was much different from other ANE cultures. For example, whereas other ANE cultures were polytheistic, the ancient Israelites believed in one God.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Mirror for the soul by Alice Fryling

Mirror for the soul: a Christian guide to the Enneagram by Alice Fryling

Print Length: 179 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (August 7, 2017)
  • Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Book descriptionThe Enneagram is like a mirror, reflecting dimensions of ourselves that are sometimes hard to see. In this helpful guide, spiritual director and Enneagram teacher Alice Fryling offers an introduction to each number of the Enneagram and the respective triads into which they're organized. More than just helping us discern our number, Fryling shows how knowing it can lead to transformation by revealing to us both our false and our true selves. She writes:

"Knowledge of the Enneagram has led me to the grace of God. I discovered through the Enneagram that I am not just my gifts, I am not just my failures. . . . I am a person created by God, loved by God, and uniquely gifted to love others with God's merciful and gracious love. Through the Enneagram God has taught me that I am not exactly who I think I am. . . . The Enneagram itself does not make me a different person. But knowledge of the Enneagram does help me see who I truly am and offers me words to describe how I would like to be transformed by God's grace."

With questions for reflection and personal meditations aimed at leading you into deeper self-awareness, Mirror for the Soul will give you new perspective on yourself and reveal how you can experience God’s love more abundantly.

My thoughts

As an avid reader of Enneagram books, I was excited to read the third book released that claims to view the Enneagram through a Christian lens. The other books are The Road back to You by Ian Morgan Chron and Suzanne Stabile, and Self to Lose, Self to Find: a Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types by Marilyn Vancil. Each of these books places its emphasis in different areas. IVP Press published both The Road back to You and, about a year later, Mirror for the Soul

First off, if you are new to the Enneagram, read almost any other Enneagram book first. 

Mrs. Fryling does not spend much time describing the types or in helping you to figure out your own type. That's okay, there are plenty of Enneagram books that do. 

She also does a drive-by through the triads, the wings and the growth/disintegration points. I suspect the brief treatment of each aspect is more confusing than helpful to Enneagram newbies. So look for another book to explain these things in more depth. 

Then, as if she hadn't already tried to cram too much (albeit abbreviated) information into too few pages, she added a chapter on spiritual direction for each type. 

Thank goodness she didn't try to discuss the entire ball of wax, which means she would've included the 27 instinctual subtypes, in this very short, 179-page book. 

Around 60% of the way through, she gets into the meat I'd been waiting for, which was her attempt to attach the ideas and possible uses of the Enneagram to some Biblical truths about human nature. 
Though what she said has merit in a psychological/spiritual sense, I personally found it rather repelling, sorry to say. 

When I read the Bible, I want God's words to radiate from it. I don't want to think about how Enneagram psychology can be shoehorned into it. 

Maybe you need to be a counselor, coach, or spiritual director to fully appreciate Mrs. Fryling's book. 

If you're one of the above, go ahead, read it. 

If you just want an introduction to the Enneagram, please red my all-time favorite, by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, entitled, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...