Changes, Easter, and Helping a Young Writer

Dear Reader,

What a beautiful weekend I’ve experienced. Good Friday worship service was phenomenal. Not only was it uplifting and humbling, but I found myself on my knees, literally, praying in thanksgiving. Easter service was beautiful. When I arrived the parking lot was filled on all three sides of the church as the first service had not yet been dismissed. Through the walls I heard music and voices lifted in praise! I cannot describe the joy this gave me. There is nothing to compare to the voices of the church praising God.

My son-in-love cooked the Easter dinner. I didn’t have to make a single dish. It was a small gathering of me, my daughter, son-in-love, and grandson. Food tastes so much better shared with family!

Now it is Monday morning and I’m looking across the bright green landscape. The mowers did their job on Saturday which makes everything look lush and beautiful. The geese are flying overhead making their way from another pond to ours. All is calm and peaceful. Looking through my window there is no indication of how chaotic this world is. I’m grateful.

I’ve decided not to post every single day as I have been doing, but to scale back to two or three times a week. I’m nearly finished writing Katy’s Heart and I’ll tell you more about the book in an upcoming blog post. Yesterday, at church, I connected with a young writer I’ve been working with for several years. After graduating college, she spent time in Korea working with children. What a wonderful experience for her! But it is nice to see her back in church again. She is focusing now on writing a Y.A. book and hopes to make this her career. I’m excited to be her encourager and supporter, offering whatever knowledge of writing I can.

I may be aging, but aren’t we all? God doesn’t look at age as being a deterrent in life. And neither do I. When He calls, I will answer. Helping a young writer is a calling. I’m honored to say yes. And so, dear reader, this is me signing off until next time.

Love, Carol Ann

What About Routines?

Without meaning or planning to fall into a morning routine, it happened. Perhaps Templeton, my cat, helped. His brother, Wilbur, used to wake me every morning, but at a later hour. After Wilbur crossed Rainbow Bridge, Templeton took over being an unnecessary alarm clock. The twice a year time changes have confused him. He insists I rise no later than 6:15 am. I’d like to sleep another hour. But I digress.

My morning routine begins with a hungry cat’s insistence on his human putting feet on the floor immediately after a few words of thanksgiving to God. I stumble a little blurry-eyed into the “cat” bathroom to clean the litter boxes and vacuum the debris. Next I vacuum the rest of the house. Feeding the furry guy is next and requires watching where I step due to his eagerness to eat. Then I can turn my attention to my needs. Mostly the morning cup of tea. Decaffeinated or herbal. Breakfast before entering the office where I write a weekday blog post, then over to Facebook for a few minutes.

Kitchen cleaned, I brush the feline. Another thing he is insistent I accomplish before 30 minutes of exercise followed by a shower. It’s a routine. It works. Since I have no interruptions because Templeton and I live alone now. He prepares for his morning nap while I shower and dress for the day. He likes the routine and I’ve gotten used to it. Times when I have to change my routine due to other factors, I admit feeling a little stressed, which causes a lack of sleep the night before. Sigh.

As for writing, I’ve learned I’m most productive before lunch. Even writing has become part of my routine. After shower comes writing. Usually two hours in the morning. Then I need to break for lunch and give my back a rest. My writing goal is 1,000 words every weekday.

The flexibility in my day happens in the afternoon. I look forward for those hours when I can choose to color, diamond paint, read or work a jigsaw puzzle. Then the cat wakes from a long nap. Hungry. Insistent. I comply. During this time, I settle into the recliner and wait for him to jump into my lap when he has licked the last bit of food from his dish. It’s petting time. There’s something peaceful and comforting about rocking with a purring cat in one’s lap. It’s a time for introspection, for happy memories, for prayer.

When furry companion decides he’s had enough attention, he heads off to choose a place for an afternoon nap. It’s my quiet time to spend with God. To read scripture and learn as He opens my mind and heart and leads me into researching for more information. Personal insights are captured by writing notes in my Bible.

After dinner I allow a couple hours to watch television, usually podcasts like Unashamed with Phil and Jase Robertson. Templeton joins me on the sofa until my eyes begin to grow heavy and we head to bed.

Not an exciting routine by any means. I doubt many of my faithful readers, both of the blog and books, would picture a writer having such a dull routine. Such a “boring” kind of day. At my age, it works. I no longer have to rise early to head to an 8 hour job, and then have to fit everything else into the few hours left. Though, even then I had a routine. Looking back, throughout life, I’ve always had a routine. I believe we all do.

I’m happy in my routine, though I do wish I could talk Templeton into sleeping in an extra hour!

I Am a Writer

I’m a writer, but sometimes there are no words. Times when I sit here in the morning and wonder what God wants me to say. Because the words aren’t mine. Without Him, there are no words.

Writing sessions can be this way. Painful. Meaningless dribble onto the page. Write and delete. No gain. I sometimes wonder how some authors release book after book continuously. Theoretically I could produce three books per year. The numbers show the possibility. If I stick to writing at least 5 days a week, 1,000 words per day, a book could be written every 13 weeks. My plan, not God’s. My gift from God.

Writing, and life in general, is not in my control. If I try to take God’s place, I fail. And so prayer is vital. I seek His guidance. I ask for Him to give me the words which will bring Him glory, not me. I pray I get out of the way so I don’t become a stumbling block.

Somehow God provides the words. My fingers move on the keyboard, but the words are not mine. I praise Him for everything. For breath, for life, for the gift of each day, and for words.

When there are no words, He provides. I am a writer.

Aging Gracefully as a Writer

I pray for God to lead me when I write, whether it be a blog post, a Facebook post, or a book scene. I’m nothing without Him. He called me to be a writer long ago. Even though I’ve said no and turned my back on doing His will many times, He is still faithful. My senior years provide uninterrupted time to devote to writing, and writing makes me happy. Through writing for Him, I am blessed.

Yesterday I was grateful when my characters took the lead, surprising me with whose point of view I’d write in! I wasn’t sure how the scene would play out or end. The scene seemed to write itself. I’ve learned long ago, to let God lead my characters through my writing. After all He is the Author of Creation!

Having lived through more than half of last century and over twenty years in this one, I’ve learned lessons along the way. God teaches me through daily life because I’m willing and eager to grow and become the person He wants me to be. Why now when I am considered old?

Younger people might see me as having already lived my life, as one who is resting each day, rocking and waiting to join Jesus. I do rest each day, and I do rock. I’ve always loved to rock. I rocked my babies, my grandbabies, and now I rock to meditate and to read. Those times, though, do not dominate my daily routine, but are vital to do my best. With my eyes open, the Holy Spirit shows me opportunities missed and those I didn’t. And I learn from these moments. I learn I’m still a work in progress, and God’s given purpose for me has not yet been completed. It’s all part of aging gracefully.

Writing on an April Shower Day

So far April is living up to “April showers bring May flowers.” I don’t mind as long as I see a bit of sunshine peek in from time to time. Looking ahead to next week, more rain is expected. I enjoy writing on rainy days. Especially the most emotional scenes.

I’m writing the last chapters of the book which include several emotional scenes. Today I will be drawn into summoning memories of deep emotion to add to the pages I’ll write. The rain helps to set the mood.

After completing such a scene, I need to stop and recuperate. I listen to Christian music because singing praises to God lifts my spirits tremendously. Music soothes my soul without fail.

Writers pull from their experiences which might be why some say you’ll find a piece of every author in each of their books. I know it’s truth about me. As this current book is drawing to an end, other plots are running through my mind for what I’ll write next! But for today I will welcome the April showers and simply enjoy the writing process.