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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Setbacks


"My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition to the king; 
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."

            Psalm 45:1

Yesterday I had the privilege of helping dear friends pack for a move. This is their third relocation in about as many years. It's exciting and scary at the same time. This represents a new beginning, with all that goes with it.

In this case, a happy reason sparked the change - a new career. Oftentimes, however, new beginnings stem from setbacks. I, myself, am in the midst of one. I'm rewriting my novel, Belabored, having gleaned advice from wise and gentle shepherds, who assured me my concept is strong, but the delivery needs some tweaking.

Over the past few months, while praying about how to revise my book, I did a lot of reading. I especially enjoy biographies, as they inspire me to persevere through difficulties. In God's wisdom, He steered me to the life stories of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, all of whom faced rejection and revision challenges time and again. In studying the details of Wilder's publishing journey, I was surprised to learn her editor insisted she completely rewrite her second book after her first met with great success. I've somehow always subscribed to the notion that great writers, once having "made it," cause such a stir that publishers come clamoring for their every word, even random scribbling on restaurant napkins.

It doesn't seem to work that way. 

I have to say I'm rejoicing in the journey. As the rejection slips mount up for my "firstborn," a collection of essays entitled, Unleashed: Reflections of a Dog Walker, and articles I submit seem to vanish into cyberspace with nary a whimper of interest, I feel undaunted. The latest casualty was a long and tortuous application I compiled for a friend who is more than deserving of professional recognition. The thumbs down came last Friday.

Why am I so happy? I feel positively ebullient. Whereas I've been low on energy since the school year began, at this point I can't wait to get home to my keyboard to start tapping away. The words are literally right at my fingertips, and ideas awaken me at night and have to be recorded. Like an injured athlete tasked with relearning all that was once second nature to him, I feel myself rising with defeat - inspired, optimistic, expectant.

This must be what success feels like.

"It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you must also complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there may also be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have."
                              2 Corinthians 8:10-12

For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Endings and Beginnings

Morsels for Meditation...: Endings and Beginnings Part 2

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dump Cake ...

... is an easy, delectable dessert made up of layered ingredients, each yummy in its own right, which when combined, make for a sensory splurge rivaled only by little wonders like Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.

Fear not. The above will be the only mention of confections, so you won't have to go scurrying into the kitchen to break any dieting endeavors. I use it only as a metaphor for the varied morsels I plan to serve up in this post. I've been away from blogging for a few weeks, concentrating instead on a book proposal for my "firstborn," a collection of essays entitled Unleashed: Reflections of a Dog Walker. In the interim, God has been hurling little idea pellets my way, any of which could warrant its own article. Since I don't have time for that at the moment, I'm going to fling them all your way and hope together they form a tasty treat worthy of the read.


Tasty Treat #1: Turtle Soup

"Pray without ceasing..." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

"Be prepared in season and out of season... 
 2 Timothy 4:2

If there were a tortoise and hare competition, I would definitely be rooting for the former. I'm one of those annoying people who gets wet in the pool one fingernail at a time, complaining all the while about the frigidity of the water. When at long last I'm immersed, I'm immediately ready to jump ship, head for shore, and snuggle in my beach towel.



While this spectacle may be amusing at the swim club, it's a hindrance in other aspects of life wherein one is called upon for swift, sustained action. When we have the luxury of time to make a decision, it is appropriate to proceed cautiously and prayerfully. Sometimes, though, life comes at us fast and furious, and we have to draw on a bank of prayer which we have amassed preemptively to make a split second decision. It is at those times we have to shrug off the turtle in us and make room for the hare.



Tasty Treat #2: Facebook Fricassee

"We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Acts 6:4

"Without ceasing, I make mention of you always in 
my prayers ..." Romans 1:9


Facebook is nothing if not a great time waster. I've emerged dazed and disgusted with myself more than once when I realize I've just thrown away an hour of my life scanning meaningless status updates about what someone on the other side of town cooked for dinner. Meanwhile, my own pots and pans remain silent as I sit glued to an electronic social life that is anything but.

On occasion, though, I get it right. These are the times I respond to someone's cry for prayer, right then and there. Anyone can promise to pray, but how likely are we to remember after we move immediately on to the next person's new profile pics and shared files? How much better to heed the following suggestion:

"Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere and every way
Every moment of the day it is the right time
For the father above, He is listening with love
And He wants to answer us, so let us pray"

~ "Let Us Pray" by Stephen Curtis Chapman

I find it expedient to drop everything and utter a prayer right over the air waves, so to speak. If, as we proclaim, we are not ashamed of the gospel and of being ministers of that gospel, why not type an actual prayer in response to someone's request for it?

Along the same lines, I was shocked to realize the other day how many times I laid aside time with God to check my phone. Either I received a text or thought of one I simply had to send immediately, before the impulse left me. When all was said and done, I had interrupted my business meeting with God no less than a dozen times to attend to fleeting earthly business. Imagine how ridiculous I would look if I reversed the dynamic and told my employer I needed time out from my job every time I felt the inclination to pray or encourage a believer. I'd be job hunting in a heartbeat! Yet, I thought nothing of putting God on hold so I could foster earthly relationships. With His help, I aim to improve in this area.

That's all for today, readers. I hope my musings are not too scattered or diverse for you. I suspect your palates are eclectic and can handle the buffet I laid out in this somewhat random fashion, knowing I tried to offer savory samples that would both nourish and satisfy.