Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Compassion for Today

Compassion for today

            As many of you know, I have been praying for peace in the Congo.  I’m not sure how it happened ,but Jesus washed me in compassion for them.  I think of the Congolese women who suffer daily just trying to gather sticks to make fires to cook their family food.  They are raped on the way to the market place where they hope to find bread and fruit for their families.  They are outcast after they are raped because they are termed “unclean” and their husbands no longer want them.  Just existing becomes an uphill battle for them.  I have concern for them in my heart.  So, I painted this painting that depicts them forgotten.  I will give this painting to the church’s silent auction to gain more funds for peacemakers in the Congo. 
            I know that peacemaking is a way of showing compassion.  We hurt so much for someone that we try to help him or her find peace.  Peace comes in different forms and levels.  For example, as a child my mother was abusive verbally and sometimes physically to me.  After she lost her temper, she couldn’t say, “ I’m sorry.”  She just didn’t know how, but she would make my favorite pie or cake and give to me.  Sometimes she would take me shopping and buy me something.  It was her way of making peace with me.  She didn’t have the tools she needed.  Anger control was not taught or monitored in the forties, fifties, or sixties.  I feared her as a child; yet, I can remember feeling so sad for her after such a rage.  I wanted her to be happy again. I felt compassion even though I was unsure why.
            I think that is how God builds compassion within us.  The scripture says He crowns us with compassion and He has compassion on us.  I feel His presence and know that He imparts His compassion into me at funerals, tragic accidents, with troubled teens, or when my family is suffering.  I remember clearly walking into the cancer center with my husband, Denny, last year.  As I looked at the room full of cancer patients, young and old, my heart ached for them.  I didn’t know their whole story, but I felt great empathy toward them.  My heart crumbled when Denny was diagnosed, but through God’s compassion and strength, he came through this battle miraculously.  Compassion is a dynamic in life that is sometimes forgotten. 
            Just like the Congolese women I painted on this clothesline.  They are real women, with personal stories, ambitions, and hope, but they need compassion. They need active compassion.  They need our prayers of intervention for peace.  They need tools for peacemaking.  That is why I am walking the race September 28th, so I can add to the funding to reach out to these women.  Thank you   friends, who have given to the funds for Congo out of compassion.  Jesus is Lord of all and compassionate for His children. Let us follow His example.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Water and Writing Aerobics

Water and Writing Aerobics
While in water aerobics, I start with vigor.  Here we go.  Hit it girl.  I repeat these thoughts and get myself into the teacher’s routine.  Each class is a bit different.  About half way through, I wish for  a magic remote that I can push and move the hands of the clock closer to the top of the hour because then the class would be completed.  Kate, my teacher, keeps calling out new positions, demands we jump higher, kick longer, and leap over an invisible log, and on and on.  I push my remote to no avail.  Only if I continue to move and stretch even when I do not want to continue, will I complete the class.  I know the class has cardio benefits as well as building and maintaining my muscle mass.  I look at the clock and only four minutes have passed.  Why do I keep on? 
Kate  is reminding my body it can stretch more, work longer, and be strong tomorrow.  I will draw on the stamina built this day.  I wish Kate was sitting at my desk when I write.  She could call out,"internal conflict, unexpected ending needed, rewrite this scene, cut out all those extra words."  However, writing is a lonely business.  There is no Kate to direct my stretches.
Why do writers keep on writing?  It is a zone that stretches us into places that we have not been or experienced, nor even understand at times.  Writing lets me know myself more deeply, lets me have more of myself.  It forces me to look within and be honest at what I see, what I know and don’t know.  Each writing time is as difficult as my ongoing water class, yet just as beneficial.  I write because I want to describe feelings, create believable characters, and understand motivation.  I write because it is like putting together the most difficult puzzle with no picture on the box.  It is a call, a mission, and a constant nudging to complete my novel and share these lessons on life.  My writing pushes me to be stronger and work longer.  Perhaps I should call my writing sessions, writing aerobics.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Influence of Light

Today I have been meditating on light.  I am realizing how light influences my thinking.  Since I was a small child in Florida, I loved watching the beacon of the sun turn the sea into a glittering mass.  The light created fresh, new beauty. By watching the light each day, I quickly learned that it was the angle of the light that mattered.

Many years later, I am realizing the same truth.  The amount of light outside directly influences my mood, my thinking, and  even my creative energy.  More importantly, I understand how the absence of divine light affects me.  Without a daily dose of scriptural light and understanding, my day becomes askew, obscure, and out of perspective. My lens are blurred. I see things in a shadow, instead of being focused.

I can best explain this when I am painting.  I must have clear daylight in order to create images on the canvas that are in perspective.  The angle of the light in the painting creates understanding to the viewer.  I need correct lighting to paint accurately and see clearly. Without light , a painting would be a dark shapeless mass.

When writing, my slant, my voice, my choice of characters and scenes are created by me, the writer.  My excitement is generated through the dialogue of the character.  My fears are demonstrated in my characters inability to take certain risks. My internal light and understanding propels the story and helps  develop a lasting impression on my reader.

I realize it is the angle of light that changes my focus and perspective each day.  I no longer view life and its problems with shortsighted limitations when I read the Bible.  Instead, the amount of light I take in from meditation and reading God’s word influences my eternal perspective and sheds light in my creative realm.  The amount of light within and without directly relates to my ability to create and live life abundantly.

Perhaps this is why I am eager for each new day that breaks the darkness of the night.  New light brings fresh perspective.  I pray that others might see the grace and light of my communion with God in my writing, painting, and daily living.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stop and start again!

Starting my manuscript in 2011.

A writer friend, Patti Digh, posted that her child said from the back seat, “Stop struggling and get it done.”  I decided this statement would be the renewal ticket to my blog.

I have been struggling with how to make time again for my blog.  I loved writing it and hearing from you.  It was a worthwhile action. I loved it.  So, why did I STOP? 

I’ve been writing, rewriting, editing, soliciting readers to read my manuscript, and I am still not finished with my book.  It is getting better but the process has exhausted me.  Not the writing, I enjoyed recalling the memories of my first classroom in the inner city of New Orleans. I basked in the writing zone for the last two years. It is the editing that makes me crazy. Next hurdle, how will I get it published?

First, it is humbling for an English teacher of thirty-three years to make so many manuscript errors.  One of my key problems is spacing and managing Word.  I should have taken typing.  I should have taken a class on how to use Word.  I didn’t.  I always think I can figure it out.  Well, I should have taken time to take those classes.

Secondly, everyone that reads my story gives me affirmation and advice.  For example, son Adam said to cut out parts about Denny and me because the story was to focus on the challenge of integrating schools in 1967 for a first year teacher.  That was great advice.  So, I did that.  Next reader, my sweet daughter-in-law, Christine, who is a voracious reader said, “ I need to see more of you and see what you look like.”  She was right.  I had not described me, the main character, because it was in three of the chapters Adam and Holly suggested to cut.  Holly Miller, my established author and editor friend, had given similar advice as Adam and suggested I start at the most exciting point.  So, I did, but those cut chapters were about Denny and me.  All of this wisdom was right and needed.  However, now I am rewriting the beginning and adding more about me.  Another writer friend, Diane Drake, suggested I put in more inner conflict.  That is what I am dong in my edits now. 
I wanted you to know that I have inner conflict about not keeping up my blog.  So, I am going “ to stop struggling and get it done.”  Yep, every Friday you can expect a post from me.  Please comment and push “follow” to help me build some reader members.  In order for a publisher to even want to read my manuscript, they need to see I have followers.  Thank you for those who have followed me.  It’s going to happen.  Thanks for reading every Friday. 
Now, I have made a commitment, I will get it done.