Monday, October 27, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--October 27, 2014--The Stone of Discouragement

A Step in the Write Direction
October 27, 2014

Update: As I shared in my book The Freedom of Letting Go, I’ve been able to let go of my yesterdays.  However, I’m having more trouble letting go of my tomorrows! This past week with 3 new health issues for my husband, my sister’s eyesight worsening, and my daughter and family moving back here from Oklahoma and waiting for word on a church opening, I’ve found myself trying to figure out how to solve these problems on my own. One sleepless night, it’s as though the Lord said to me, “Are you trying to do My job again?” Then I happened to think of the words of a poem my mother wrote years ago when my dad left her after 22 years of marriage: “One day at a time.” So that’s my new prayer. (In fact, it might even be the old song, “Moment by Moment.”) Maybe that’s what one of you need today too, so I’ll be praying for each one who reads this.

Thought for Today: “As thy day, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

Song for Today:
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here.
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest….
The protector of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on himself He laid,
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
—“Day by Day,” Carolina V. Sandell-Berg

Laugh for Today:
Wife to husband: What do you think of your new secretary’s typing skills?
Husband: Well, she does use the biblical method.
Wife: What? ‘Seek and ye shall find?’        
Husband: No, she doesn't let her left hand know what her right hand is doing.

Writer’s Tips: (from unpublished writer’s devotional book)

Rolling Away the Stone
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was
very large, had been rolled away (Mark 16:4).

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus. But as they neared the tomb, they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” Good question! How could they have known that the stone had already been rolled away?!

Have you ever felt that a huge stone blocks your dream to be a writer? Perhaps it’s the Stone of Discouragement. Luke 3:5-6 tells the story of Peter, a professional fisherman. When Jesus told him to let down the nets, he said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”

Does this sound familiar? “Lord, I went to a conference. The editors told me to send them my book manuscripts. I did, but I’ve heard nothing.” “Lord, I’ve submitted my book fifteen times, and every time it comes back with a form rejection. They don’t even tell me why.” “Lord, I sent out twelve articles a month ago and haven’t sold anything.” “Lord, I’m quitting. My nets are empty.”

The note on this passage in the Nelson Study Bible (nkjv) says, “This is Peter’s statement of faith. The fisherman noted that he and his companions had just failed to make a catch at the best time for fishing, the evening. The circumstances were not good for a catch at the time of Jesus’ command.”

But what was Peter’s response? “Because you say so, I will let down the nets [again]” (emphasis added). And what happened? He “caught such a large number of fish that [his] net began to break.” So many fish that he had to call his partners in other boats to come and help him, and they “filled both boats so full that they began to sink” (v. 7).

Let down your net again. Only the Lord knows what you will pull up this time!

                        Chance is always powerful.
                        Let your hook be always cast.
                        In the pool where you least expect it
                        will be a fish. (Ovid)

If the stone of discouragement is blocking you today, find a scripture to hang onto and write it down where you can see it often.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--October 20, 2014--Time Management

A Step in the Write Direction
October 20, 2014

Update: The Bible says that we don’t know what a day may bring forth (Proverbs 27:1). How true! Friday I hung up the phone after talking to my brother, and my husband said, “Something’s wrong. You’d better take me to the E.R.” Well, all you women know that when a man says that, something is wrong. I let him off at the E.R. door,  parked the car, and by the time I got in there, they had him in a exam room. Took a lot of tests and it turned out his magnesium level was low (never heard of this) and he had a bladder infection. Seven hours later we went home with a prescription for antibiotics. He’s better now, just real tired….Two more weeks and our daughter and family will be moving back here from Oklahoma. They’re still waiting for word on a church opening. Appreciate your prayers!...Sent in a one-page proposal for the caregiver book. If that passes the committee, then they want a full proposal, so I need to get busy and get a couple of chapters ready, just in case.

Thought for the Day: The only way God can show us He’s in control is to put us in situations we can’t control (unknown).

Song for Today:
Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus is the same.
All may change, but Jesus never!
Glory to His name!
            “Yesterday, Today, Forever,” Albert A. Simpson

Laugh for Today:
Auctioneer: What am I offered for this beautiful bust of Robert Burns?
Man in crowd: That ain't Burns, that's Shakespeare.
Auctioneer: Well, that shows how little I know about the Bible.

Comment on last week’s blog: Beautiful, Donna....your opening really spoke to me. We have a strange guy attending our church. Don't know what's wrong with him but he stands right in front of the big screen because he can't see well, his equilibrium is off, wears strange clothes and one time didn't take his meds and had to be dealt with strongly and left church. BUT one day I chatted with him...he was the most gentle, humble soul and I felt a love for him at once. The deacons watch him closely for signs of trouble but the more we learn about him, the more we understand. Thanks!

Writer’s Tip: (from unpublished writer’s devotional book)

“I Don’t Have Time”

There is a time for everything, and a season for
for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Would-be writers, and even those that sell on a regular basis, all complain they don’t have enough time. The following three words will help in this area.

1. Goals. Make a list of your long-range goals. Do you have an idea for a book? Make a list of what needs to be done before you can start writing. Will you need to send out surveys? Write down the questions and the names of people you want to interview.  How about research? Plan a trip to the library and note the books and reference material available. Jot down a list of Internet resources. Then set a goal for each month; i.e., by the end of January you’ll complete research or send out surveys for chapter 1, and so on. Other long-range goals can include sending out a specific number of articles or queries a month, taking a correspondence course in writing, or setting up a marketing file.

2. Priorities. A pastor told his congregation that their lives could be changed in a week if they formed the habit of making a daily list of things to be done, and then rearranging them in order of priorities. Is writing on your list of priorities, or is it something you do only when you have some spare time? This may depend on how you view your writing—as a hobby or a calling. Harold Ivan Smith says, “We are called to write and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment for the people who are hurting that we could have helped but didn’t because we didn’t write what God laid on our hearts to write.”

3. Planning. Plan your day in advance. If you have to be away from your computer for a while and have some waiting time, take along a writing book or a rough draft to edit, or take a writing pad and begin something new. Time spent waiting in a car or in a doctor’s office can be fruitful moments. Study the people around you; develop character sketches; jot down conversations to use in future stories. While waiting in line at the supermarket, check out magazines for possible markets.

The minutes are there waiting. Make the best use of them. You are called to write, and God will help you make time for this important calling.

List today’s tasks in order of priority. Where is writing on your list?

Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"A Step in the Write Direction"--October 13, 2014--How You Influence Others Without Knowing It

A Step in the Write Direction
October 13, 2014

Update: We attended the memorial service Saturday of a man from our church, thinking there wouldn’t be very many there. Although he had attended our church for 16 years and never missed a service (wearing his motorcycle jacket), and I saw his name every week on the prayer chain, I had never taken the time to get to know him because he was a little “odd” as one person put it. (I found out during the eulogy that this was due to a traumatic brain injury when he was in his early twenties.) Imagine my surprise to see the sanctuary almost completely filled, including three or four rows of CMA members (Christian Motorcyclists Association). Several paid tribute to his life, his dependability—even walking 9 miles one day to work when his cycle broke down, and especially his knowledge of the Bible. “I wouldn’t argue the Bible with him; he knew more than I did,” one man said. And even the pastor remarked that Stephen often corrected him when he made a mistake. I left the service with regret, sorry that I hadn’t taken the time to get to know him better. It was truly my loss!

 Thought for the Day: Remember, we usually can't choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it. Make yours a beautiful memory (Anonymous; taken from Wes Tracy’s “Manna Morsels”).

Song for the Day:
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
            —Stuart Townend, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”

Laugh for the Day:
A woman  traveling by train was talking with her seatmate.  "I've been to San Jo-say," she said. 

"You pronounce that wrong," he told her.  "It is San Ho-say.  In California you pronounce all J's as H's.  When were you there?" 

The lady hesitated, then said, "In Hune and Huly."

Writer’s Tips: (from unpublished writer’s devotional book)

The Other Side of the Fence
Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper
time we will reap . . . if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

Sometimes we wonder if our writing helps anyone. We pour out our hearts in a book, an article, or a poem, but unless readers respond, we don’t know what effect—if any—our words have had.

A young woman who loved flowers set out a rare vine beside her back fence. Day after day she cultivated it, but it did not bloom. One morning an invalid neighbor, whose back lot adjoined the young woman’s, called her saying, “You can’t imagine how much I enjoy the blossoms of the vine you planted.”

Walking around to the neighbor’s backyard, the mass of luxurious flowers on the other side of the fence amazed the young woman. They were blooming—but she could not see them from her own yard!

A friend received a call from her sister who said, “I had a nice visit with you last night.” She had taken her husband to the hospital for emergency surgery. “While I sat in the waiting room,” she said, “I picked up a magazine and read one of your poems about Christ riding through the storm with us. Those words encouraged me until my husband came through the surgery with no complications.” My friend told me, “Little did I know when I wrote that poem while I was going through a trial years before, that one day it would help my sister 2,000 miles away.”

We may never know how many people our writing has touched until we get to
heaven. This is illustrated by a song titled “Faces” by Rodney Griffin in which he didn’t think he had done anything that would last eternally. But when he got to heaven, God told him to turn around and “Then He showed me the faces of the ones who’d come because of me.”

Can you remember a time you were tempted to quit because you didn’t see any results?
How can you encourage a fellow writer experiencing a discouraging season?

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"
"The Freedom of Letting Go"
"Preparing Your Heart for Christmas--31 Advent Devotions"
"The Little Book of Big Laughs"--105 pages of clean jokes

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction, October 6, 2014--The Red Sea Place in Your Life

A Step in the Write Direction
October 6, 2014

Update:  When I was younger, I saw the definition of FAITH as: Forsaking All I Take Him. But I saw another on Facebook recently I like even more: Forwarding All Issues to Heaven….I often say that my husband is a “professional worrier,” and that if worry was an Olympic sport, he’d take home a gold medal….Such a good sermon yesterday: “Remember not the former things…Behold I will do a new thing…I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Today, do you have the Red Sea in front of you and armies behind you—nowhere to go? You’re blocked in? Stand still! He’s still the God who makes a way through the sea!

Thought for the Day: When you can’t see it or feel it, He’s still doing something! (Pastor Ira Brown).

Song for the Day:
Stand still and let God move, 
Standing still is hard to do 
When you feel you have reached the end, 
He'll make a way for you 
Stand still and let God move
                        --Bill & Gloria Gaither

Laugh for the Day:
A man in the deep South was about to jump from a bridge when a passerby saw him and tried to talk him out of it.  "For the sake of your mother, don't do it," the passerby pleaded. …"I don't have a mother."  … "Then think of your father."  … "Don't have a father."  … "Well, then, think of Robert E. Lee."  … "Robert E. Lee.  Who's he?"  … "Never mind, Yankee, go ahead and jump."

Writer’s Tips (from unpublished devotional book for writers):

“I’m O.K., You’re O.K.”

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life
(Galatians 6:4-5 the message).

The first writers group I attended was made up of mostly beginning secular writers. More than a critique group, it was as the old song says, a “mutual admiration society.” No matter how poorly something was written, it received the response “That was great! You should have it published!”

Later I attended another group of professional secular writers. Unlike the first group, these writers were grateful for helpful suggestions to make their work better. They had all sold—and boy! had they sold. You could hear it in every meeting, each one attempting to surpass the other in the number of queries and sales. (Unfortunately, I often hear the same thing at Christian writers’ conferences as each one sitting around a table tries to outdo the others in the amount of sales and contracts.)

Beginning writers are often awed by the successes of those around them—almost to the point that they hesitate to submit anything. They don’t realize that the others have been writing for years, or they may have had more advantages that make writing a little easier for them (it’s never easy). Or some may envy their fellow writers who have written and sold books, while they are writing only devotionals and short stories.

God has not called us to the same type of writing. Our talents are diverse. Thus, we should not compare ourselves with others; rather, we should be faithful in writing what He has called us to write.

In the Olympic games, many countries are represented, but there is only one torch. As the games end, the athletes from these countries stand together for the closing ceremony—no longer in competition but as one. The athlete who barely qualified may stand next to the one with the gold medal.

When we arrive in heaven, we’re not going to be divided into neighborhoods labeled published” and “unpublished,” “book writers,” and “devotional writers.” We’ll all be together, and God will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant[s]” (Matthew 25:23).

We have different writing talents, but we carry only one torch—the banner of Jesus Christ.

Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"