Be HIS

Be HIS–A Valentine’s Devotional
By LauraLee Shaw

I’ll never forget receiving the candy hearts on Valentine’s Day when I was in middle school. You know, the ones that taste a little bit like Pepto-Bismol? My friends and I would tear our little bitty envelopes open to see which hearts someone put inside with the generic card. Reading into every phrase, we fantasized of that special someone spending tireless efforts to make sure he delivered the perfect message and emotion to each of us. It was dreamy.

It didn’t take me too many years to realize that the boys’ mamas probably just threw them in an envelope for them, OR worst case scenario, picked out the girl SHE wanted for him to like via pepto-heart-a-grams. So much for dreamy.

The reality of the analogy the Lord laid on my heart today was not so dreamy either. I realized that He has written His message on my heart. It is forever inscribed and perfectly perfect, which is a beautiful truth. But when others look at my heart, so often I have covered up His words with my own unintentional messages.

Sometimes my heart begs, “Be mine,” when it really should cry out, “Be His.” Often it shouts out, “Love me,” when God begs me to “Love them” or “Love Him” instead. The mixed messages my heart delivers to others can leave them with mixed feelings about the heart of God.

This is deep stuff, I know, but bear with me. Luke 6:45b says, “for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” It’s saying that the ‘stuff’ we stuff into our minds gets stored in the treasury of our hearts, and eventually it begins to flow out of the heart via tunnel of the mouth. Then it is spread to others, and “round and round it goes, where it stops?”

When I complain frequently, I have probably listened to a bunch of complaints. As I throw out a zinger in the name of humor, I realize I have maybe seen a few too many sit-coms. During those moments of pouring out flattery to others, could it be that I have enjoyed the empty, false praise that I have indeed received myself? What ‘line’ do others see displayed on the tablet of your life?

All the static this world has to offer us can cloud the message he has carved on our hearts:

Hebrews 8:10b
“I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Do you see His Valentine’s message for us? ***BE MINE*** Make HIM our True Love. Let’s not mix His message with overflow from the world’s waste. Instead, let’s spread His Word, the Word that He has written front and center in bold letters on our heart– the Word that we have fallen in love with so that we could keep from sin and love others God’s way.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded, friends. I know I do. The way we spend our time matters. The people we allow to rub off on us are important. The shows we watch and the websites we visit and the novels we read–it has an affect on us. Pray about it, allow the Lord to lead and guide you into the perfect balance of freedom and works. It is then, and only then that our hearts–the new ones He gave us when we became a Christian–will show the world that we are His.

Psalm 86:11
“Teach me YOUR way, O LORD, and I will walk in Your Truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”

Copyright 2008 Laura L. Shaw

LauraLee Shaw: Daughter of the Almighty, wife of 22 yrs. to Brian, Mama bear & taxi driver to 3 stinkers, mentor, sister, friend, writer & speaker. I long to be authentic & share the Word of Truth in person and online.

I’ve been writing, leading worship, performing, directing and acting in front of audiences since childhood. God has recently called me to use the gifts He’s given me to speak to Christian women.

I like to mix my life experiences–the big, the small, the great & the ugly–with a bit of dramatic humor in order to show how the Lord has been up close and personal each step of the way.

Whether it’s parenting toddlers or teens, being a church volunteer, trying to make sense of the marriage thing, or overcoming tragedies or struggles–past or present, I hope to communicate God’s largeness through it all.

http://faithcoloredglasses.com

http://facebook.com/FaithColoredGlasses

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITER

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Just for Fun: Those Sneaky Austrians

Do you struggle with with distraction when you are trying to write? I’m guessing it isn’t as extreme as this scenario I made up a few years ago for the FaithWriters Writing Challenge.

Those Sneaky Austrians

By Joanne Sher

12:54pm Well, today’s the day. My professor told me that I just needed to set some time aside and protect it, and my goal will be within reach.

So, I did. Three hours once a month, starting in about five minutes. The phone will be off the hook. Email, Facebook, Twitter, and my cell phone will be off limits. This time, the kids will have The Sound of Music and Jenny from down the street to keep them company.

One hundred and eighty minutes to sit in my recliner: computer on my lap and reference books (and snacks) to my left and right. Three glorious hours to let my muse take over and actually make some progress on my novel. Ten thousand eight hundred precious seconds of uninterrupted writing time. I can hardly wait. Better get started. Jenny has to leave at 4pm sharp.

**
1:10pm Remind me to close the door next time. Apparently, while I was making breakfast for the kids, Evan came in and…um…reorganized my stack of books. I’ve found about half of them so far, and the cover has only been torn off one (praise God it wasn’t a library book). Glad I hadn’t opened my can of root beer, though it appears my drink choice will still have to change. Better find the rest of these books before any more time is wasted.

**
1:45pm Well, I found my thesaurus: under Lily’s rear end on the living room couch. That was when I remembered how much I loved this movie. Watching Julie Andrews sing “I Have Confidence” was enough to boost my own-self esteem, and I couldn’t possibly get to writing when I knew the scene with the children marching down those stairs was coming so soon. Finally tore myself away when the family finished dinner.

Doesn’t mean I’m not humming “My Favorite Things” as I get settled.

2:10pm I wish they’d turn down the volume on that TV. The soundtrack is lousy background music for my murder mystery. Every time I get into the ambiance and start writing those words, I hear the Von Trapps singing, or catch a favorite line from the movie. Totally ruins the mood.

Wish I had earplugs.

2:30pm For future reference: as odd as it may seem, stuffing cheetos in your ears is actually a very effective way to block out background noise.

3:05pm I am SOOO tempted to check Facebook. I just remembered Yvonne had a doctor’s appointment about her hip, and I’m sure there’s an update there now. Besides, I just found the most remarkable quote on writing in my reference book. Totally tweetable.

No, girl. Time is running out. The muse rules.

3:15pm The muse lost. Yvonne needs to have surgery. And I’ve already had 3 RTs on that quote. Good marketing, right? Getting my name out is important too – isn’t it?

3:30pm Okay – really buckling down now. I will write out this scene. Half an hour? Plenty of time.

3:55pm I did it! Got my scene done. Certainly not as much as I’d hoped for three hours ago, but at least the scene is done.

But wait. I don’t remember a hike through the Austrian Alps in my outline.

**

How do you deal with distractions?

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Respect your Readers

Respect your Readers

by Megan DiMaria

This 2008 Associate Press news article caught my eye, and I think it has an application to writing.

Trust me, I’ll explain. But first, here’s the story:

Woman Shoots Self While Trying to Kill Mice

POTTER VALLEY, Calif. — A Mendocino County woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person.

The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff’s officials said.

But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman’s kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man’s groin before ending up in his coin pocket.

Authorities did not release the shooting victims’ names.

The mice escaped the shooting unharmed.

Okay, here’s my take on this bizarre connection: writers need to respect their readers. When tempted to take out the big guns (READ: over explain or add too much unnecessary detail), don’t do it! Our readers are smart people. They like nuance, they like to use their imagination when reading a scene. All the dots do not need to be connected to be understood.

Sometimes the big guns just backfire!

megan dimariaMegan DiMaria is an author and speaker who enjoys cheering on other writers. One of her speaking presentations is an in-depth study designed to encourage, refresh, and minister to writers as they pursue the journey of publication. She’d love to join to your next writer’s retreat and share the (hard-earned!) wisdom and encouragement she’s accumulated on her own writing journey.

Megan is an active member of several writers groups and is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands. Visit Megan online at her blog at http://www.megandimaria.blogspot.com/

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It’s Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week!

Have you ever written for children? A lot of people seem to think it is easier to do than writing for adults – but, as someone who has spent the past year or so learning about the genre, I do not agree. In fact, I think it is harder.

Writing so kids can understand without talking down to them. Including a “message” without them feeling preached to. Rich description with a MUCH shorter word count. Writing relatable stories for an audience several decades younger than you. In fact, one of my favorite quotes about children’s writing (picture books in particular) has this to say:

Writing a picture book is like writing War and Peace in haiku. Mem Fox

Despite the difficulty, there is a wide variety of opportunities for children’s writers – and considering that most people become Christ-followers before they enter adulthood, this age group is a prime audience for witnessing and conversion. If you are interested in looking into this genre, you can check out the Children’s Author’s Network (the sponsor of Children’ Authors and Illustrators Week – held the first full week of February each year) and/or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Have you tried writing for children? What is your favorite children’s book?

 

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An Opportunity for Publication :)

It is almost time for the second Mixed Blessings book to release – with the theme of Classically Inspired – and even if you didn’t have an entry in this particular book, there is still one opportunity for your work to be in the next FaithWriters Writing Challenge anthology.

Writing Challenge Coordinator Deb Porter has put out a call for a “gap filler” entry for the book, due to the slight possibility of a copyright infringement issue on one of the winning entries. The normal Writing Challenge guidelines for length (between 150 and 750 words) apply. The topic is “The Importance of Being Earnest” (though not on the play of that name). Please check out the Breath of Fresh Air Press website for specific details, including how to submit your entry.

But don’t take TOO much time – the deadline to enter is this coming Tuesday, February 3! Deb will choose one entry from those submitted to be included in the book.

Got an idea? Plan to enter?

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7 Things to do NOW to be Ready when Writing Inspiration Hits

7 Things to do NOW to be Ready when Writing Inspiration Hits

by Edie Melson

As writers, we know that inspiration is a fickle thing. And while we all need to keep writing whether we’re inspired or not, that rush of creativity is nice. What’s not nice is not being ready.
There’s nothing as disheartening as those times happens when inspiration strikes and we’re not ready to capitalize on it.
So today I’m sharing 7 things to do now to be ready when writing inspiration strikes.

1. Always keep a notebook nearby.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a digital app or a physical book filled with actual paper. All too often I’ve thought I’d remember an idea or a new twist without writing it down. I rarely do. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time and angst trying to remember the brilliant idea.

2. When driving, make sure you have a voice recorder within arms reach.

My darling husband decreed note-taking off limits to me while driving—even if I was stopped at a red light. Because of that, I used to keep a digital recorder with me. Now that I have my smart phone, I use that to capture fleeting thoughts.

3. Snag headlines and news stories that intrigue you.

You can take a screenshot of digital articles, or use a program like Evernote. For newspaper headlines, use old-fashioned scissors and a manila file folder to keep track.

4. When you snap or snip an interesting article, be sure to include notes to remind yourself why that particular piece caught your attention.

Continue Reading…

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Some “Sinful” Writing Challenge Topics

Well, we are working our way through the FaithWriters Writing Challenge‘s first quarter of 2015, and the topics are certainly different from most of the ones we have had in the past. There’s a reason it’s called the Writing CHALLENGE.

The winners for Lust were announced yesterday, and entries for Gluttony are now available for view and comments. And, if you feel like writing an entry, the new topic is Greed. So stretch those writing muscles!

Not familiar with the challenge, or need a refresher? On Thursdays at 11am ET, a new topic is announced. Simply write an entry in any genre between 150 and 750 words (with a Christian worldview) on the topic for the week and enter it in the appropriate level (click here for guidelines for choosing a level). The following Thursday, the entries are available for viewing and comments on the Writing Challenge portion of the website. Go by and give others’ comments – and watch for the brick throwing thread in the forums, which allows you to post a direct link to your entry (wait for this post before you do so!). The FOLLOWING Thursday, winners are announced.

Gold and Platinum members can enter the challenge every week if they choose. Silver members can give it a try a total of four times.

So, what are you waiting for?

 

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Naming Characters

Sometimes, finding just the right name for your character can be tricky. Here, author Suzanne Hartmann shares some ways authors come up with names for their characters.

Naming Characters

By Suzanne Hartmann

Based on the responses I received from questioning authors at a couple of writing forums, the following were the top 10 responses to how writers name their characters.

1) Many characters come to authors already named. Somehow they just know what the character’s name is.

2) Use on-line name lists. Here are a few:
http://www.freedict.com/onldict/lat.html
http://www.justmommies.com/baby-names
http://www.searchforancestors.com/surnames/origin/
http://www.babynames.com

http://www.behindthename.com

3) Use roots of languages like Latin and Greek to build a meaning behind a character’s name.
Examples:
for an antagonist – mal means “bad,” so you could create a last name like Malter or Termal or use a first name like Malia or Malin.
a character who is famous – aster means “star” It would make an excellent last name or could become a woman’s name, Asteria.

4) Create a name based on a person’s work or a main character trait in a foreign language. You can use an on-line translator such as babelfish.yahoo.com where you can type in the English word, choose the language to translate to, and it will give you the foreign equivalent. Do translations until you find one that can easily be tweaked into a good name.
Examples:
Accountant is “contable” in Spanish and “contablista” in Portuguese, so a good last name might be Conta or maybe Blista or Ablist.
Engineer is “ingeniero” in Spanish and “Ingenieur” in German, so a good first name for a woman might be Genni, or maybe a last name of Geniero.

Continue Reading…

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There is a Day for Everything…

I can guarantee you that every single day has a significance – and I’m not just talking in God’s eyes. If you check out this website, you will find that there are “holidays” and/or “observances” (often more than one!) for every day of the week – and some of them are pretty silly.

For instance, did you know that this past Sunday was “No Pants Subway Ride Day?” (I hope you didn’t celebrate it LOL) And next Tuesday is “Penguin Awareness Day?” Trust me – if you are ever in need of writing inspiration, give the holiday website a look – I can pretty much guarantee something will grab your interest.

Like I said, there is a day for everything – and there is even a day for nothing. And that, my dear writing friends, is today. Yes, January 16 is National Nothing Day. How will YOU celebrate? Personally, it sounds like a good excuse for a nap. ;)

What Unusual Places Have Inspired You?

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Writing Deeper Characters

WRITING DEEPER CHARACTERS

by Randy Ingermanson

Deep characters are not deep merely because there’s something magical about them that sets them apart from other characters.

Deep characters are deep because the author chose to go deep with them. The author could have chosen to go shallow, and the result would have been shallow characters.

Any character can be a deep character. Any character can be a shallow character.

It’s not about who your characters are, it’s about what you choose to do with them.

I’m convinced that a very powerful way to go deep with your characters is to interview them.

Set up the interview in Q and A format. Ask your character a question. Then get inside the character’s skin and answer the question—in that character’s voice.

This works for several reasons:

It Alternates Between Analysis and Creation

Asking questions gives you a chance to put on your analyst’s hat. You get to ask the hard questions about motivation and values. You can probe as much as you want into your character’s mind.

Answering those hard questions gives you a chance to put on your creative hat. You get to become the character, exactly as you would if you were writing a scene from that character’s point of view.

Continue Reading…

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