I mentioned last week that I was taking a hiatus from public writing for a while. That includes all my regular websites — although I will be devoting some time privately to working on a couple new novels. But during this time, I’m going to concentrate more on my art — mainly because it’s a terrific de-stressor, and that’s a must for me right now. So I thought I’d at least post a link to my new art website, in case you’d like to hop over and visit there. That site has no text and no stress — just happy pictures of my own original art. Here’s the link:
What’s stronger than Corona Virus?
The Word of God
The Blood of Jesus
The Name of Jesus
Our Redemption From the Curse (which includes all sickness of every conceivable kind.)
The Word tells us in Galatians Chapter 3 that we who belong to Jesus Christ are redeemed from all sickness and disease (the curse of the broken law).
The Word tell us that we are healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 53:4-5 & 1 Peter 2:24)
The Word tells us that we are protected from all sickness and disease in God’s “secret place” (Psalm 91)
The Word tell us that we have power and authority over ALL the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19).
So let’s do a better job of acting like we really do believe our Father’s Word. We who truly believe what the Word of God says need to be binding ourselves into strong agreement in prayer, taking authority over the Corona Virus and commanding it to stop it’s progression in our nation. Yes, it’s true that everyone who lives here is not a believer, but we as believers — who live in a nation ordained by God for His own purposes — have the spiritual authority to bind that disease from our land and keep everyone here safe from it — even those who don’t believe. The medical community has already admitted that they cannot overcome this thing. But we, the church of Jesus Christ, can. SO LET’S DO IT!!!
These are a little shadowy in places because they are in a sketch book, and I can’t close the scanner lid all the way when I scan them into the computer. Sorry about that. But I sketched them for today, and I’m posting them as my Valentine cards for all my readers.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
I do not make New Year’s resolutions. But each year, I do look to the Lord and seek His face and His heart to learn what His plans are for my upcoming year, and what He wants from me during that time. And, of course, there are things that I want for myself as well. This year, I decided to just make a list of all the things I’m wanting to accomplish in 2020. Some of them are on God’s list as well as mine, and some of them — well — they’re probably on my list only — but God will tolerate them out of His merciful love for me. 🙂
Here’s my list — so far:
1. Eating lots of chocolate No surprise there, right?)
2 . Drinking gallons of great coffee You didn’t think I’d forget coffee, did you?
3 . Finishing the three novels that got shelved after my best friend/best editor died. I’ve recovered from the grief of losing my best friend, who was also my most trusted and efficient editor — and my reservoir for all kinds of creative ideas. But even though I don’t deal with the intense pain of the loss as much, I’ve still found it impossible to let my creativity flow back into those projects that he was working on with me. I know I’ll be able to do so eventually, and I’m trusting the Lord that this year will see a breakthrough.
4. Writing scores of Cinquain. I do love Cinquain — as most of my readers know. And I can’t wait to dive into all kinds of subject matter that can be disciplined into this wonderful poetic form this year.
5. Writing scores of Tso’i. This new poetic form that I created last year is still a challenge. Of course, it had to be somewhat intricate in order to be a genuinely “new” form. If I had followed the disciplines that are comfortable, I’d have been staying in the same groove of all the forms I’ve written in all my life. So, I accept the challenge to write loads more Tso’i in 2020.
6. Writing a new series of Christmas stories I haven’t written anything holiday-themed in a couple years, and that’s surprising, considering how much I love Christmas. I did put out my Holiday Planning Journal last year, and that was loads of fun. But this year, I want to do some more short stories that relate the special excitement, warmth, and love that belong to the Christmas season.
7. Painting more than I did last year and arranging for a showing of some of my work. During this past year, some people have been encouraging me to do a showing of my artwork at a couple local places, but I haven’t had the confidence in my work that they seem to have. However, I think it’s time I considered it seriously. This venture is more a “maybe” than a sure thing, but I’m definitely going to consider it.
8. Making connections with more Christian artists. I’ve taken the first steps in getting this goal accomplished by creating a brand new Facebook group called “Art From God’s Word.” It looks like there are quite a few other Christian artists out there who want to participate. Twice a month, I’ll post a scripture prompt on that FB page, and all the members will meditate on that scripture and then create artwork that the verse inspires. They are free to use any medium and form of art that they choose, as long as it relates to the scripture passage. It’s a way to focus on God’s Word and fellowship with others who are like-spirited and want their gifts to glorify the Lord.
9. Teaching more”Writing Poetry” classes. It’s been hard to get people to sign up for the “Writing Poetry” classes. They come to other creative writing classes, but the poetry always lags behind in enrollment. It’s such a fun class, and if people realized that, they’d want to come. So, I need to work more diligently this year at making them understand how much fun it really is.
10. Taping a number of live videos, where I teach in front of the camera. Except for a very few, my Bible teaching videos are mainly audio teaching — with the help of a few pictures or graphics for people to look at as they listen. I’ve never been photogenic, and have a complex about being on camera — video or stationary cameras either one — so I’ve held off on this venture. But I do believe the Lord says its time — maybe past time — that I got this part of the ministry off the back burner. As long as I don’t go back and look at the old live videos that I do have of myself, I think I’ll be able to accomplish this goal in 2020.
11. Increasing my focus on the Lord and becoming more conscious of His presence within me. This desire is last on my list in this post, but it is certainly not least. In fact, it is the most important thing I will do this year. And, in truth, unless I do manage to accomplish this one, most of the others will probably fall by the wayside unfinished. But I have faith that this year will be a year of new growth — even great growth — for me spiritually. So, with the Lord’s help, I’m expecting to get this last item on the list accomplished, as well as the other nine.
If you’d like to share your goals, desires, or plans for this new year, please do. Use the “Comment” windows below to tell us about them — or put a link there to a post on your own blog where you share in more detail.
Graphics courtesy of Elisa Riva @ pixabay.com (edited for this post)
It’s New Year’s Day.
Two thousand, twenty’s come:
New opportunities abound.
Original photo courtesy of Ooceey @ pixabay.com (Some text added for this post)
Well, I’ved dithered, and dallied, and delayed for a year. I had all kinds of excuses and reasons — some good, some not so good. But all that’s behind me now, and I FINALLY have the enlarged second edition of my short short story anthology ready for public consumption. 🙂
Yep, it’s out there: STORIES THAT LEAVE YOU THINKING … (A Collection of Diverse and Slightly Unconventional Short Short Stories)
Some of you helped me choose which stories needed to be included. Many of you have read several of them over the past few years, and your response played a part in decideding which stories to include and which to leave for another project. The book contains 20 stories in all. Three of them are also featured in my Christmas anthology, but the other 17 have not been published previously in book form.
Even though the book is actually a totally new entity and will replace the old, smaller version completely, I still wanted to use the same cover. My great friend, professional photographer Bob Mielke, generously gave me permission to use his amazing work. This cover photo inspired one of the first stories to go into the book, and, as far as I was concerned, it just HAD to be the front cover. Thank again, Bob. You’re one of the “good guys.”
Here’s the blurb to tell you a little more about what you can expect if you pick up a copy of STORIES THAT LEAVE YOU THINKING … . And I hope you do — one for you and one for a friend. It’s currently available in paperback only.
“Have you ever come to the words “The End” when reading and just couldn’t seem to turn off your own imagination? Did your mind keep working on the plot and planning out possible ways in which the story could continue? Did you enjoy the process? Then you’ve come to the right book. The stories included here, on a wide variety of subjects and themes, offer the reader the opportunity to keep thinking past “The End.” Each story comes to a stop, to be sure, but most of them will tempt the reader to let his own imagination get involved and do some thinking about what would happen next – if the story continued. A refreshing approach to short story telling.”
The following is a quote of my dad’s own words as he explained his personal response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941:
“The dramatic part of my life began, as that of so many members of the armed forces did, on one of the most infamous days in U. S. history — at Pearl Harbor. Even though I was only 17, I talked my dad and step-mom into signing their permission for me to enter the Marine Corps and do as much as I could to help win that war and make it as short as possible.
“Actually, I had always wanted to be a Marine. All through high school, it was my dream. At the age of 15, I’d felt the call of God on my heart to become a preacher of the Gospel, but as far as I could tell, that wouldn’t preclude my serving my country as well. And if I were going to serve, I was going to be a Marine!”
My father went forward — as did thousands of other brave and committed men and women — to engage in horrific and often mortal combat with the enemies of freedom and human integrity. He and his Marine unit faced every conceivable type of warfare — including a direct hit by a Japanese Kamikazi plane. which caused their LST to be engulfed in flames.
The Lord protected my dad and all the men in his unit, for which I’m enormously grateful. But the price he paid — and the even higher price so many others paid — is something we must never lose sight of. They did it to keep us free and safe from all those forces that would enslave us to inhumane and deadly control by totalitarinan governments.
May we never forget. And may we never allow our nation to be deceived into giving up all that they sacrificed to give us.
Part of this post is a repeat from a couple years ago. I just felt like giving it another day of recognition.
Thanksgiving in the U. S. is exactly three weeks from today, so I think it’s only appropriate that I revisit some of my Thanksgiving poems from over the years — and maybe even write a new one.
This week I’ll begin the series with two: one quite serious and one just for fun. Hope you enjoy them, and if you’re one of my own countrymen, I hope they add to your expectations for a happy Thanksgiving celebration.
AH, THANKSGIVING, HOW I LOVE YOU!
Ah, Thanksgiving, how I love you!
Golden crowning jewel of Fall,
Beacon of warmth and cam’raderie,
Sending glad invitation to all:
“Gather to worship; gather to visit;
Gather to focus on all that’s worthwhile;
Feast from tables resplendent with harvest;
Feast on the love in a touch and a smile.”
All the year’s labors weigh heavy upon us.
All the world’s problems seem bigger by far.
But out from that wearisome struggle you call us,
And laying it down, we run to where you are.
And whether in cottages, mansions, or churches,
Community buildings, or tables in parks,
We gather with gratitude full – overflowing;
To the Giver of blessings lift voices and hearts.
Then we return to life’s pattern awaiting.
Filled up with joy, we set off on our way,
Warmer and richer and kinder in spirit
For pausing to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
I spot him there, behind the barn,
A full-plumed, regal bird.
He looks up, straight into my eyes.
I speak no single word.
It’s happened thus, in passing years —
At least for two or three:
Each mid-November I’ve set my mind;
He’s been there to greet me.
Now, lifting his head in challenge strong,
He gobbles loud and long.
I lower my gun and heave a sigh:
To kill him would be wrong!
So, wrestling with my double mind,
I trek home to my wife
To explain why, once again this year,
Ham will greet the carving knife.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Do you prefer reading books digitally? Well, then this offer is for you. SET FREE TO LOVE, which is Book # 1 in The Smoky Mountain Series, is available for the next four days absolutely free in digital format.
The book normally sells for $3.99, but since Amazon and I are focusing on The Smoky Mountain Series promotions this month, we’re offering the first book free — for the next 4 days only.
Also, if you don’t own a Kindle device, you can download a free Kindle app for any device that you use. You’ll find the download on the same page where you order the book.
If you enjoy inspirational fiction, I hope you’ll check out Private Detective Maddison Holt’s story in SET FREE TO LOVE. Click on the title to link to the product page for a description and to make your purchase.
For the past few years, WordPress has put a little box at the very bottom of our posts with the notice “Sometimes, visitors may see an advertisement here.” That implies — and it used to be the case — that they would place ads at the bottom of our posts. And, of course, they’ve always told us that if we are logged into our account, we won’t see the ads.
However, this year, WP has begun to put large ads all throughout our posts. Even though they still “say” that an add might appear at the very bottom — which implies that the bottom is the only place ads will go — they are popping ads into our posts in as much as 4 or 5 places, interrupting our text, and then throwing in more ads at the bottom of the post.
I don’t argue that they have a right to put in an ad or two if they offer the web space free, but, in my opinion, they have been very deceptive about the whole thing since the changes this year, and — also in my opinion — one or two ads at the bottom of the page should be sufficient. Moreover, some of the ads are offensive and vulgar, and can, at times, seriously conflict with the purpose and tone of the blog itself.
So, folks, don’t stay in the dark about your blog or website. Be sure you log out of WP and then pull up your site while you’re logged out. Do it regularly. You need to be aware of what the general public sees whey they visit your site.
Other WordPress users are not supposed to see your ads either — although several times recently I’ve seen them even when logged in.
But it’s important that you be aware that a whole lot of people visiting your site are being exposed to tons of ads that you may not even agree with at all. At least if you are aware of the specific ads, you can say something to your visitors if necessary — or be prepared if you get any negative feedback or reaction from visitors who may be judging you by the ads they see on your site.
WordPress has really been pushing hard lately to get everyone to purchase a blog rather than use the free service. I understand that they want and need to make money. But these pressure tactics — including deluging our posts with mass advertising — seems a little over the top for good customer relations.
My newest journal project is complete and available for purchase from Amazon. I’ll have a supply soon as well, if you live in my area and want to get them from me.
MY WORD-INSPIRED JOURNAL offers 108 lined pages for personal journaling, interspersed with 12 great pictures and scripture passages to inspire meditation and devotional thought. This journal is perfect to use for personal devotion times or as a prayer journal — or to just record whatever is on your heart every day.
I’ve included a picture of the front cover and one sample of the inside pages as well.
Find MY WORD-INSPIRED JOURNAL at this LINK: