James 1:22, 27 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ...to look after orphans and widows in their distress...
I sponsor a little girl in Mexico, and in her latest letter to me, she asked me to pray that her father wouldn't have to go the US to find work. What would happen to her family if he did have to leave them?
Recent frigid temperatures and less than ideal driving conditions forced our family to huddle around the television in our cozy home. I held my children close, one under each arm, as we searched Netflix for an engaging show. A documentary called Which Way Home showing the plights of children in Latin America whose parents fled to the US for work caught my attention. I promised my kids we'd just watch a few minutes.
My kids groaned. They wanted to see animation, comedy, or action. But the opening scene captured their attention, and they sat transfixed throughout the show.
Our hearts crumbled when an orphaned seventeen-year-old boy, dangerously riding atop a US bound train, told the producer what he searched for in the US. He wanted to find a woman to adopt him. This boy was risking his life for a fantasy. In reality, this boy, almost a man, would most likely be detained at the border.
A pair of nine-year-olds, a boy and a girl, traveled by foot and train, with their ultimate destination New York, where the girl's mother resided, awaiting her arrival, so she believed. Three years had passed since the girl had seen her mom. Tears trailed down her dirty cheeks as she told her story.
I wanted to scream for the producer to protect these children. Find them a safe home! But when the camera spanned out, dozens of children came into view. These children are amidst the thousands detained at the border each year. Some children don't make it to the border alive.
Somebody has to do something about this. God, you have to stop this nonsense. What can I possibly do? Then it occurred to me that I can do something. We can all do something. God is working through His people to protect these vulnerable children--one child at a time. Through organizations like Compassion International.
I've been working on writing a letter to the little girl I sponsor in Mexico for a couple weeks now. The letter sits on my counter as I procrastinate on sending it. This letter hasn't been a priority in my mind. She doesn't need this letter. She has a mom and a dad and even a sibling. She goes to school. She's pretty well taken care of, I presume.
But that's exactly why I need to send this letter. That's exactly why I need to sponsor her. She needs to know she is loved, supported, and cherished. She needs to be sponsored so that she can stay with her family. By sponsoring her, I am doing the work God called has called me to do. James 4:17 states: Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
God has a purpose for each of us. My callings, the tugs on my heart, may be different than yours.
What is God calling you to do? Help the homeless, immigrants, single parents, elderly?? Donate time, money, or prayer??
I'm off to send that letter.
To learn how you can sponsor a child, click the button below.
Snow and ice are so pretty in the movie Frozen. Ok, so it's pretty here in Minnesota too. But I can't dance around in the snow like on the movie because it's dangerously cold and dangerously icy out there. I'd love to build a snowman with my 4-year-old, but he'd probably get frostbite on his chubby cheeks before we'd get the giant snowballs stacked. So I'm forced to stay indoors, and I'm going a little bit stir crazy.
Last week, my preschooler had a beach day at school--actually school was canceled that day due to a snow storm. But the plan was for the kids to bring swimsuits, sandals, and beach towels. They were going to turn up the heat in the classroom and splash around in a wading pool. I like that idea. I decided to pretend it's summer here at my house today.
While I'm not donning my swim suit, I am soaking up the sun's rays that are shining through my sliding glass door. We'll have turkey burgers and lemonade for lunch. My son is watching the movie Madagascar, and I fully intend to read a book that will fully immerse my imagination in summertime. The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks perhaps. Or Ann Brashares' The Last Summer (of You & Me). Any suggestions?
You know those American Idol contestants at the beginning of the season. The ones who face the judges proudly, belt out their song - and blow America away. But not in a good way. They sound horrible! Why didn't someone tell those poor kids they can't sing? I would want someone to tell me.
As a novice author, I welcome honest critiques. Please tell me if my manuscript stinks! Only when my flaws are exposed can I work to fix them.
Well, that's what I said before I ever had my writing critiqued. In reality, critques sting! After being told my protagonist lacks complexity, I need to show and not tell, and I need to study scene structure, discouragement inevitably has ensued. These are not easy problems to fix. These "flaws" may take years of study and practice to remedy. But I want my manuscript published now!
My devotion today instructs me to come to God with my plans in abeyance. I typed the word "abeyance" into my dictionary, read the meaning, and harrumphed. I was being reminded to set my plans aside while I trust in God's plans for this day. Ironically, this is a strong message infused in my novel. Apparently this is a lesson I have yet to learn.
Thank you to Sarah Young for your devotion book entitled Jesus Calling. And thank you to my sister, Laura, for giving it to me for my birthday!
Discover God's plans for you today! And be courageous to follow!
AS the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
I'm dedicating this post to potty training. Because I hate it! If you are feeling mislead, having believed that this website is about a budding author's experiences--you are correct. Simply put, in attempt to write on my blog more frequently, I've decided to write about my life experiences.
House training my puppy was a piece of cake. The day after we adopted Lulu, I saw her sniff around my carpet and assume the position. I picked up the little white fur ball, ran out the front door, and plopped her in the grass. "Go potty," I said. And she did.
The puppy training technique doesn't work with my son. He assumes the position-- standing next to the coffee table. I rip off his pants, set the potty chair behind him, and plop him onto it. "Go potty," I say. And he clenches.
Now I'm not afraid to bribe a kid for a good cause. My son has earned everything from stickers to marshmallow santas for going #1. He's got the #1 thing down pat. But we need a bigger prize for #2. So I took my little guy to Target and we picked out several cheaper,yet awesome, toys he can choose from after he goes poop on the potty. Plan backfired. Apparently, a just-turned-three year old doesn't have the cognitive capability to plan for the future and wait in the meantime. He wants his cars NOW. I have a college degree. I should've known this.
It breaks my heart when the innocent child looks at me with those clear blue eyes, thru a sheen of tears, and says. "Mommy, where is my new car I got at Target?" I cheerfully explain again and again that he can have it after he goes poop on the potty. But he just doesn't get it. Should I just give him the cars and try plan B with the potty training? (By the way, have yet to think up plan B)
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (tee hee:))
National November Writing Month is coming to a close. I'm hoping all you participating writers have great stories written. I've been working on a romance novella, but unless I come up with 40,000 words in the next 29 hours, I will not meet my lofty goal of writing 50,000 words in one month. Epic fail? Perhaps, but I prefer to think of it as a learning experience.
Excuses--I mean Reasons I did not reach my goal:
1. Can't resist scrounging through the thesaurus in search of the perfect word.
2. My toddler broke his leg, resulting in numerous dr. appointments and hours of TLC
3. I was reading a great book called The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter
4. Can't stop myself self-editing
5. Full time job...
6. ...working nights
7. My toddler broke his other foot (wish I were making that up)
8. Hallmark Channel started their sappy Christmas romances that I can't resist
9. Baked 10 dozen Christmas cookies for annual exchange
10. I haven't fallen in love with the story I'm currently working on
I'd love to hear what you wrote this November! Your success will be my inspiration.
Psalm 51: 10-12 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
You remember the scene in Hope Floats. Sandra Bullock's character rushes to her daughter's school to deliver a forgotten lunch. The little girl is mortified that her unkempt mother is not dressed for the day, yet is at her school, calling her name--embarrassing her in front of her school mates.
I sympathized with the poor child. How humiliating! I would never do that to my child. The fictional mother did have a good excuse though. Her husband had just ditched her on national television.
Well, you know how Monday mornings are--rush, rush, rush. The kids are finishing homework at the breakfast table that they neglected on Friday afternoon. They can't find a clean pair of jeans since the laundry was also neglected over the weekend (In my defense, we were traveling over the weekend. And the jeans were clean, the kids just couldn't find them in the dryer).
To make a long story short, this morning I threw on a jacket and drove the kids to school, still clad in purple striped pajama pants. I have to admit, it wasn't even the first time. Do other parents do this? Or is it just me?
Not only did I drive the kids to school dressed in pj's, but I also went through the Starbucks drive thru. And I returned a library book in the drop box. I feel that I pushed it too far today. Soon I'll find myself on an episode of What Not to Wear.
Please make me feel better by admitting that you too have driven your kids to school donning pj's.
"She is clothed in fine linen and purple." Proverbs 31:22
NaNoWriMo word count: 4,000
November is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November, especially for those aspiring to write a novel but just never get around to it.
Slapping 50,000 words down on my computer screen with a fresh new story-good or not-sounds like fun.
I'm up for the challenge. How 'bout you? I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Valuable writing time is ticking away.
Fall break has come to a close. We've trekked through the Mall of America, rolled through a bowling alley, and hiked the trails of Lebanon Hills. And still, I managed to finish my manuscript...again...for now.
My freelance editor is currently reviewing it for a contest. Most likely, this will spur another round of rewrites, edits, and self-doubts--which will only serve to strengthen the story in the end.
In the meantime, I will move on to the next project. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps my debut novel will become the first in a series. I'm so curious to know what my original characters are up to these days. I'll be keeping my eyes open for inspiration in my day to day life. Quirky people, uncomfortable situations, God performing miracles here and now--all the stuff great books are made of.
What great story ideas have you seen in your day to day life?
It's still summer! Just because Labor Day has come and gone, and the kids are back in school, that doesn't mean the summer is over.
Each September, I protest this unofficial end to summer by filling the kiddie pool for the kids to splash around in after a long day of school, and I try to schedule in one last family boating excursion. But the boat collects dust as the weekends are filled with football games and visits to the apple orchard (not too bad, I admit), and the kiddie pool no longer holds any attraction for my children. My attempts at sustaining the air of summer become frustrating.
This year, I am trying something new. I have decided to embrace fall (even though it's still summer!). Minnesota falls are beautiful, after all. They're nothing to be afraid of (although the MN winter lurking close behind is terrifying!)
How will I embrace fall? By planning that trip to the apple orchard in advance instead at the last minute when the weather is suddenly too cold to take the boat on the water, and buying football tickets for the Gopher game of our choice.
I also need to set goals with deadlines in order to accomplish anything. So it is my goal to have my proposal for my manuscript polished to the best of my ability by the end of September. I have found a publisher seeking manuscripts that fit the description of my novel to a T! I am praying for patience to carefully and thoroughly prepare my proposal. Someone wise once said that an aspiring author has a 100% chance of having a well-written novel published. That is, if the writer has followed a publishers requests 100% and has the exact manuscript that the publisher is seeking at that time. Perhaps 100% may be an exaggeration, but the odds are in my favor...
What are your goals for fall?
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
Many people have asked if my book is published. My optimistic answer to that is "not yet." I am currently researching about breaking into the publishing world, looking up agents, and putting together a proposal. I will keep my website updated with any exciting developments.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25 (NIV)