Thursday, October 31, 2013

Because everyone has an opinion

I was not going to write about Halloween. It simply wasn't something I wanted to "get into." In the past two weeks I've seen so many FB posts linking articles arguing for and against it that I swear it's given me a slight case of vertigo! As the saying goes, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist" to know it's a controversial subject. Overall, I just find it sad. Sad that it has become such a source of division. It's a source of division within the Christian community, and it's a source of division between Christians and non-Christians. And it is exactly this division that Satan is rejoicing over. How pleased he must be.

Obviously, each one must be convicted in their own heart what to do with Halloween. (Romans 14) For us, our response, in fact, has changed over the years. Because of this, I give grace to those who believe differently and have also concluded that disagreement should not negate the necessary respect in response to those differences.

For our family, the decision about Halloween has evolved to three basic questions: 1) Is dressing up in costume on this particular day a sin? 2) Is going door-to-door to collect candy a sin? 3) Are we worshiping Satan or celebrating darkness and evil? We have concluded a resounding “No” in reply to all three of these.


Whatever your convictions, you can know that if you are seeking God's will He will direct your steps. He will provide the information and resources necessary to make a right choice that brings peace to you and your family. I'm thankful for His grace, His forgiveness, and His direction.

Below is a wonderful list of resources compiled by an acquaintance of mine. Kara is a woman after God's own heart and has shared their family's thoughts regarding Halloween with transparency and grace. God's word says that He rewards those who seek Him.(Heb.11:6) May you be blessed by His presence as you seek Him! 

What If We Approached Halloween as Christians On Mission? (From Piper’s church– Bethlehem Baptist)
John Piper on Halloween (video question and answer, but also in print)
What Christians Should Know About Halloween– (The Resurgence)
Christians and Halloween (from John MacArthur’s website–Grace To You)
Halloween and Leaving the Light On (Justin Taylor/The Gospel Coalition)
A Christian View On Halloween (from Courtney at Women Living Well)
Halloween Fast Approaches (Tim Challies)
Halloween– Trick or Retreat? (another by Tim Challies)
7 Reasons Halloween Judgment Houses Miss the Mark (Russell Moore)
We Do Not Celebrate Halloween (Many helpful resources listed explaining why a Christian would choose not to participate from a mom/writer whose genuine desire is to please God, not men).
Halloween (thoughts from Doug Wilson)
Luther Put a Nail in the Heart of Bad Religion–And 3 Other Holidays (from The Resurgence)
A Lens on Halloween  (from Adam’s The Gospel Lens)
Evangelical Definition and Halloween (Russell Moore at First Things…all in good fun)
Rethinking Halloween– (by my friend Elizabeth Johnson)
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?– (a thought-provoking post by Ashley Schnarr)
Why our Family Doesn’t Celebrate Halloween– (from Lisa Pennington)
What Christians Should Know About Halloween– (Justin Holcomb)


Friday, October 25, 2013

Children's Author Blog Hop

Quite surprisingly, I was asked this week if I would take part in a blog hop. My first thought was, "A what?" Thankfully, an explanation followed. It sounded like a lot of fun, and though I'm not a published author (yet), I decided it was definitely something I wanted to do.



In short, a blog hop is a way authors/bloggers can promote one another and share their writing experience by answering several questions (usually three or four). Janice tagged me in her blog earlier this week, and I in turn have tagged three more bloggers at the end of this post. I hope you'll enjoy hopping around and finding other children's authors (and their books) through the Children's Author Blog Hop! Now for the questions:

What are you working on right now?
I'm currently working on my second children's picture book titled The Troublesome Tooth. The story is finished, but now it's on to the revisions. (I'm beginning to realize that a book is never really done until it's in print!) The Troublesome Tooth is the story of a cautious, almost six-year-old girl named Anna who loses her first tooth in a most unconventional way.

How does your writing process work?
Oh, my word. Do I have to answer this one? Truth be told, I am consistently inconsistent. I write whenever and wherever I get the chance! I almost never leave home without my iPad or laptop because I try to make the most out of every opportunity that may arise, whether it happens to present itself in a mere ten minutes waiting for a prescription to be filled or during a fast-flying hour waiting for a couple children to pound out their piano lessons. Most of the time, however, I write while our youngest is falling asleep in his room with me sitting adjacent on his brother's bed, laptop on my lap.

Who are authors you most admire?
I dread answering this because it's like asking me which of my seven children is my favorite! I don't have a favorite author (or child!), but I do admire each one for their own unique style and personality. We've had plenty of books, however, that have gotten read repeatedly over the years. Books by Arnold Lobel, Jez Alborough, Mo Willems, Cynthia Rylant, and Phyllis Root have all pretty much been memorized.

Where do you turn for instruction and inspiration?
When I'm in need of inspiration I turn to reading. Reading books from authors I admire almost always inspires me and gives me the motivation to get back to writing. For instruction, writing conferences and workshops are an invaluable tool! It's been a wonderful blessing to be involved in a critique group, as well.

Here are three more bloggers who I hope you will visit as they go on tour next. Click on their names to go to their main blogs. Happy Blog Hopping!

Aileen StewartAileen Stewart is a stay at home mom and wife, as well as the author of Fern Valley - A Collection Of Short Stories. Her sequel, Return To Fern Valley will be releasing summer of 2014. In addition, she is a blogger, public speaker, and a children's workshop host.
 
Cindy LovenA life long reader, Cindy Loven has often dreamed of writing a book. She is now seeing that dream fulfilled as she is under contract with Abingdon for a Quilts of Love Series book, which she has co-authored (awaiting edits) with Laura V. Hilton. She also has authored three finished children's stories (unpublished) and has several more she is working on. The wife of a minister, Cindy has one son who is a home school graduate and she is very active volunteering at church. She also has lost a son to a dangerous ‘game’ and is an advocate for educating parents about the dangers of the choking game (www.gaspinfo.com). Married for twenty seven years, she and her husband look forward to the new challenges of parenting an adult child.

Pam Halter As an author, Pam is honored to have her writing published and is looking forward to more projects in print. It's her goal to show God's truths in story form. She works hard to never preach, but to engage and entertain her readers. She's also learning about herself as she goes along. Pam is also the parent of a special needs child and offers an understanding ear on her special needs blog.

Thanks for blog hopping, everyone. I hope you enjoy the ride!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why do I write?



I was watching the 2012 GLS DVD this week featuring Patrick Lencioni's session titled, "The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else." He stated that organizations must answer six critical questions, and "the absence of answering any of those can destroy clarity in our organizations."

The first of the six questions was, "Why do we exist?" Though the question was posed within the scope of leadership, it holds merit for every day life. This first question for me morphed into, "Why do I write?" After chuckling and thinking "That's like asking me why do I breathe," I gave it more lengthy thought.

There is a bit of truth to my facetious answer, however. I write because I have to. It's a need for me. It's how I release pressure, stress, and tension. It's how I express joy and work out confusion and perplexing questions. Writing clarifies things for me. It is how I communicate.

Truth be told, though, my motive for writing is pretty selfish. I don't necessary write for other people, but I certainly enjoy sharing what I write. However, I also acknowledge that whatever talent I have is from God. He has, in fact, given each of His children at least one unique and special gift. I believe, too, that sharing these gifts with others glorifies Him. Have you discovered your gift? Are you using it? Are you developing it?

I've received some wonderful comments on my writing, but they're often followed by a statement like: "But I'm not good at  __________." (You fill in the blank.) Gifts aren't to be compared. They are to be shared. Are you sharing your gift?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fun Friday: Guest Post!

I'm excited to kick off today's post with a guest!

The following post is a guest blog post by a new acquaintance of mine whom I met through my FB critique group, author Allia Zobel Nolan. She was very gracious in sending me a copy of her new book, Whatever: Livin’ the True, Noble, Totally Excellent Life, published by Zondervan. (The Kindle edition of Allia's book is just $4.27 on Amazon.) Allia can be found at: www.AlliaWrites.com

 Isn’t He Lovely? 

 
I recently canvassed a youth group of tweens for a devotional I was writing. I wanted to get their opinion on a certain word. “Okay, guys,” I said, “How many out there use the word “lovely?” Extra points if you can give me an example. No smart phones, please. Brains only.”
Blank stares, then sniggers.
Okay, so lovely isn’t a word young girls hear that often—much less use in conversation. Oh, a girl might catch her grandmother calling a summer’s day lovely. But, she wouldn’t tell her bff the pair of five-inch heels with spikes she just bought are lovely. They may be cool, awesome, or totally hot. But lovely….nah.
Maybe, I thought, we can get some comments if I find out what they think isn’t lovely.
So I said, “Let’s try it this way: So was Miley Cyrus’s twerking gyrations at the VMA awards, well, were they lovely?”
No,” my test group answered. (That’s a good start, I thought.)
Okay, okay, then, what if you saw a girl walking down the street with short shorts on, and you could see more flesh than shorts, could you say she looked “lovely?”
Ah… no,” the group replied. (Two for two, I thought.)
Okay, guys,” I said, “What about a reality show that has brides throwing tantrums and cursing? Brides are supposed to be lovely aren’t they?” I said. “So, by association, maybe we can call that show lovely?”
Nooooooo,” they all screamed. (Wow, now we’re cooking.)
Okay, so we know what’s not lovely. So what is lovely?
“Something’s that lovely,” said one girl sauntering in with her head in her smart phone (she wasn’t in the room to hear me ban them) is ‘something that…or someone who…inspires love,’” she said, giving us all the proper definition.
“Spot on”, I said. “Can anyone give me an example? Who is lovely? Who inspires love?”
“Justine Timberlake,” A.J., a girl in the back, shouted out. Laughs all around.
“Not exactly who I was looking for,” I said.
“Jesus,” one girl offered in a voice so low it was like a breath. “Jesus inspires love…doesn’t he?”
“Bingo,” I screamed, a little louder than I anticipated.
“’Lovely’ describes Jesus in every sense of the word,” I said. Anybody know why?” (I was really reaching now.)”
“Well,” said one girl, “Jesus died for us. He took our punishment. That inspires love, doesn’t it?”
“You bet,” I said, “Jesus was his loveliest on the cross. Because he poured out all his love for us and made us lovely to God.”
“Wow, I never thought of it that way,” one girl blurted out.
“Okay,” I said. “Well now at least we know one person who is lovely; who inspires love. Want to know some others?”
As long as it’s quick,” A.J. yelled out. The group cracked up.
Well, A.J., I’m here to tell you: YOU are lovely, and the girl next to you, and everyone in this room is lovely in God’s eyes.
“And that’s why we owe it to Jesus to act lovely,” I said. “Take our cues from Jesus…not from stars, reality shows, books, and stuff like that—which is anything but lovely.”
“So no Miley Cyrus gyrations,” A.J. said. Again the group laughed. “But, hey,” she said, “I think twerking’s pretty gross anyway.”
“Glad to hear it A.J,” I said, as the group dispersed.
“Oh, and Allia,” A.J. said, taking the last word. “Thanks. This was lovely.”
Allia Zobel Nolan is author of WHATEVER:LIVIN’ THE TRUE, NOBLE, TOTALLY EXCELLENT LIFE, a tween devotional book. (The blog above based on page 180.)

My 13yo. daughter is currently enjoying reading Allia's book. Thank you so much, Allia, for allowing me to have you as a guest on my blog today! (Isn't the 'net great?! We got together and didn't even leave our houses.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rhythm

I absolutely loved this blog post!

Jack's Typewriter

And if you don't know what a typewriter is....part of me is saying, "Puulleeeaaasse!" And the other part of me is saying, "Well, thank God there's Google and Wikipedia!"

I'm still working at finding my rhythm.