Monday, June 1, 2020

Overnight Success?


      I have been fortunate to see some exciting things happening in my writing practice. In the past few weeks, I have received my first check for a magazine piece to be published in October, received contributor's copies of an anthology, and seen a true story published in a magazine. I have eagerly shared these successes with family, friends, and fellow writers. I hope my small successes will be encouragement for others to keep digging for their own dreams.
      Because it doesn’t happen overnight. The anthology story was submitted a year ago. One of the magazine stories was submitted in January, the other in March. By the way, several other pieces have been submitted since that anthology story last year and received no response at all. It can get discouraging.
       But to mix a metaphor, anything worth doing is worth the wait. Never give up; never quit trying to reach that next milestone.
       There’s no such thing as overnight success.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

THE BIG PICTURE



If my people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

     We hear this quoted and see it posted on social media frequently, especially during trying times. The current COVID 19 pandemic has many people frightened, and many are turning to this verse for comfort and reassurance.  With constant news updates and opinion pieces available around the clock, the big picture is overwhelming.
 
      And sadly, I see many of the same people who share this and other verses of comfort and reassurance also sharing scathing, hate-filled posts denigrating one side or the other of the political leadership of our nation. And while criticism is warranted, the constant focus on the negative of the big picture keeps us from fulfilling our part of the agreement implied in the verse.

      If we truly are his people, our command is to humble ourselves and pray, turn from our wicked ways.  That’s directed to us, you and me. It means stop spreading hate. We can’t humble ourselves and turn from our wickedness while still filled with hate, whether it’s hate for our brother, our neighbor or our elected officials. Even if we are sure we’re justified, hate is hate, and it goes against God
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      The verse doesn’t say “If our leaders in Washington,” or “If our President.”  That’s the big picture. We need to focus on the small picture, our own personal sinful ways. Focus on the neighbor you haven’t checked in on. Focus on the family member you need to forgive. Focus on the small ats of kindness you see around you. Focus on your own attitude, the small picture. We need a revival in this country, but it’s not going to start at the top. Change doesn’t start with the big picture. Change starts in the individual heart, the small picture. And the small picture is what God is interested in, when he calls us to seek his face.

     Turn off the news and quit focusing on the big picture. Stop focusing on and spreading fear and hatred. Love your family, love your neighbor, take care of the small picture and leave the big picture to God.
  

Saturday, February 29, 2020

LEAP DAY


The quadrennial February day fell on a Saturday this year, so it really was like having an extra day. And after the rainy, cold, dreary January and February we’ve had, the warm sunny day was an extra blessing.
            This morning my eyes popped open to sunlight coming through the bedroom shade. Remembering it was Saturday, I rolled over, intent on staying another half-hour at least. But my brain had already registered sunlight!
            My desk was a mess. More than twelve hours later, it still is. My to-do list didn’t get a single check mark today. Oh, but my heart did.
            After what felt like months of drizzly, windy, too-cold-to-stick-my-head-outside weather, here was a day just shouting, “Come out and play!” We spent the morning in our neglected yard, raking, pruning, burning. After a few hours we shed the jackets and worked in short sleeves.
            While raking, I discovered one tiny purple hyacinth and a brilliant yellow crocus peeking through the dead leaves and brown grass. Daffodils bloomed in patches all around the yard, sunny yellow and full of hope. Tiny leaves covered the branches of the weeping willow. The purple plum tree offered a few tiny pinkish-white blooms. The crisp air smelled clean and refreshing, alive.
            The yard work will never be finished, of course. But that’s not really what today was about. Today was about renewal, recharging. Reminding myself that Spring is coming, and that I should never allow myself to get too busy to appreciate a sunny Saturday in February.
            I hope you made the most of your Leap Day.