Author's Life · Writer's Journal

Rainy Day Writing

Today is supposed to be a very rainy day. Thinking about this, a scene suddenly came to mind. I’m excited to write it when the timing is perfect. If I’m experiencing a real downpour, or a storm, I’ll be able to portray that to my readers through the next scene in the book.

Writing is fun, or it can be. What I find is not having anyone to report to on a finish date but myself, allows the flexibility to write with the weather sometimes. A monotonous weather forecast makes for a monotonous setting in my writing.

For instance, it is difficult to write about winter and snowstorms when the sun is shining and it is in the middle of summer. When the weather is cloudy, it helps to put me in a mood to write something emotional.

What fun it would be if we could simply write scenes according to the weather and then put them all together. But that seems an impossible idea. We need structure and an outline to follow. The scene I am currently writing is coming to a close. I can so easily see it ending with being disrupted by a sudden rainstorm! Why not? This is the exciting part of writing. Finding something a little different to add a visual for the reader. I think all of us have been caught unexpectedly by a sudden storm. I know there have been many times this has happened to me. Sometimes it’s a downpour and sometimes a gentle spring rain. I remember being totally drenched and cold, and also standing under a tree in a gentle rain.

As writers, we need to look around us and not just stay focused on the white screen. Add some excitement and flair to our settings. Make our readers feel what is happening to the characters. I’m welcoming this new day as I always do with thanks to God. And I thank Him for providing the perfect setting for writing “what comes next.”

Author's Life

Mommies and Pets

I’ve always had pets. When I lived with my grandparents, the pets were goldfish. Later, there were cats and dogs, and even a parakeet. I believe God was using those years to teach me to be a mommy.

During the years I raised my children, there were still pets included. They seem synonymous with one another. God groomed me to be a mommy, and it stood to reason when my babies grew up and started their own families, I still needed some living being to care for. That person was my husband for a few years. Then God called him home.

I became a widow, living alone, but God…had provided three cats prior to my husband’s passing. I cared for them another nine years before they left after a long life to play at Rainbow Bridge. Yes, I know this is only a mystical place which came into being through the mind of poets sometime in the 1980’s or 90’s, but how better to think of a place where our beloved pets go upon death?

During the three months after the loss of my beloved Templeton, I felt a mixture of pain and relief. Caring for an elderly and sick animal can be heartbreaking, but it doesn’t compare with the pain and grief of making the best decision to let go. I didn’t want to go through that again, so I told myself I didn’t want to get another pet.

But God…mommies are meant to care for a living being. I had none. I did my best to convince myself life was good. I had no responsibilities except to care for myself. I filled my hours with hobbies to keep my hands and mind busy, but I knew this wasn’t enough. I wasn’t meant to live alone, no matter how many times during the busy years and moods of children I wanted to escape to a cabin alone in a secluded place.

Then came Finnegan. God put a beautiful cat in my life. A loving companion to fill the sometimes empty hours. And I realized God created me to care for others. He gave me a very compassionate heart for animals, and for people who cannot speak for themselves. My heart aches when I see a dead animal on the roads. The other day I traveled my normal route past a pond filled with Canadian geese and I saw one lying in the middle of the road. It had been struck by a car and left to die. The blood around its head was fresh. Tears spilled from my eyes. I don’t know why God created me this way, but I don’t question it.

God created me to love and care for others, whether human or furry or feathery. I’m blessed and I’m grateful.

Author's Life · Writer's Journal

The Blank, Empty Space

I’m a writer. There is a need to fill a blank empty space with words.

Yet, sometimes I stare at the pristine space and no words come to mind. I begin to write the thoughts at the moment, just as I am right now, wondering what words God will guide me to write. For He always does.

The first online writing class I took was titled “Write From the Heart.” I’ve heard many times since that long ago class to “write what you know.” At first I mistook what this meant. My life hasn’t been extraordinary at all. I’ve never excelled at any one thing. I just lived life. I did my best to raise my children and teach them right from wrong. I worked to bring in money to pay our daily living costs. How could I write about any of these things? I might write about them, but who would even care enough to read?

I wrote books at a time when God led me to use my gift from Him. I wrote books that were geared to readers who wanted a good romantic suspense story with a little steam. Two books. And then I just couldn’t do it any longer. I was forcing something just to fit into what all the other writers of this genre was doing. I was writing what I knew about the books on the shelves, but not writing from my heart.

My third book was from my heart. I write about what I know, and I write them from my heart. And, look, I’ve just filled a blank empty space with words. These were not in my mind when I put my fingers on the keyboard. My mind was blank. Where do these words come from? I believe they come from God. He leads me and guides me in every aspect of my life. And I’m grateful. May your week be filled with His blessings.


Turning Ashes into Beauty

Our Pastor is doing a sermon series in February about the gods of marriage. The first one, yesterday, focused on a “controlling” relationship. For me, this was a trigger bringing back PTSD flashes from my first marriage. Out of the 25 things listed as being in a controlling relationship, my marriage met 21 of them (we didn’t have mobile phones at that time).

However, one thing stood out to me. We can only be controlled to the extent that we “allow” this to happen. I was a woman who lived with low self worth. I wanted to be loved. I dreamed of a fairy tale marriage. The dream didn’t come true, though I don’t think any one of us ever has a fairy tale relationship. We don’t see in fairy tales what happens after the happily ever after scene.

I say I tried to get out of the situation I was in, but I was weak and kept going back. It took therapy to help me see what I had to do. But God never left me during this time. I often turned my back on Him! So what did I learn during those 16 years? I learned God brought something beautiful from those years of suffering: Four children – the greatest blessings of my life. When I finally gained the courage to say no more and we divorced, God brought a new man into my life. And that’s when I learned what love was and what love wasn’t.

Why am I writing this? I’ve spoken out publicly before about being a survivor. Unfortunately it was about me instead of about God. I would not have survived those years without Him. I would not have seen the true destruction of family without Him. I would not have walked away from the security of money without Him. No matter how many times I let go of his hand, He followed me. I was the one sheep He left the 99 to save.

Perhaps yesterday’s sermon was to help me shine light on that time of my life and appreciate the good parts, the blessings, and to see how God was present the entire time. I was simply wearing blinders. I am living in the Light now, and I write stories about people who are dealing with life trials. My books show how letting go and letting God will change hearts and lives. They are books of hope and inspiration. Because God has brought me through many trials in my life, I can tell my stories through fictional characters and situations. All glory to Him! He has turned my ashes into beauty.

Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”

Author's Life

Where the Words are Created

As I writer, I see and feel things, which to me require capturing in written form. It’s like my fingers are connected to my heart. I suppose that’s true in a kind of literal sense, but when I sit with my hands on a keyboard, my eyes are open to visual stimulation and mind pictures. I’m not sure how other writers feel. Some are quite intentional about what they write.

A story forms in their mind, and they carefully plan, build characters and worlds and write about these. For me, the pattern is different. I write down things that touch me and capture them in a small journal. These are the triggers for emotions that soon attach themselves to characters and a story begins to form.

Sometimes I journal my feelings because I can’t help myself. God gave me a gift to paint pictures with words and when I write, the words seem to come from outside myself. From God? I don’t believe He is speaking directly to me to write specific words, but I do believe He provides the fodder that grows into a story, showing emotions He stimulates through life experiences of various forms.

I am a writer. Words caress my soul. And I want to give back to God, using my gift to honor Him. Just as God gave gifts to the craftsmen who created the first tabernacle in the desert, He has equipped me as an artisan of sorts. They created with their gifts according to God’s instructions to Moses. I have not received such a direct command, yet I am urged to write through God speaking to me in different ways. In the beauty of a morning sunrise, in silent suffering, in the joys and pain of dearly loved ones, in the beauty and ugliness of the world. God opens my heart and fills me with the desire to spill out the emotions onto paper. Sometimes in a journal, sometimes in a story.

And I’m grateful.