Saturday, October 31, 2015

Exalted

Original Art by Cecilia Marie Pulliam
Jesus said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

When I first began art lessons, my dad encouraged me and gave me a challenge with each painting. “That’s good, Sisser, but not as good as Jackson.”

Jackson was a regional artist whose large painting hung in our living room. For years I worked hard to be as good an artist as Jackson. Then one day, I gave my dad a painting of one of his favorite subjects: a ponderosa pine, an old cabin, and mountains draped in snow.

My dad said, “It’s just as good as Jackson’s.”

I was thrilled, I wanted to burst into song and dance.

Then he added, “But not as good as Charles Russell.”

Friday, October 23, 2015

Oh Discipline, Where Art Thou?


It’s 5:44 in the morning. It’s still night outside. The stars are bright. The moon has gone to bed. My husband and Scout are still sleeping. The fireplace is lit. The coffee brewed and my devotions read. I'm now making plans for the day, once again vowing to be more disciplined in my diet, exercise, and other personal choices.

Will it be like yesterday, a day filled with good intentions partially fulfilled? My plan of using diet "money" has helped, some. I managed to stay within my calorie count until several hours after dinner. Then a gnawing, empty feeling struck, demanding I eat something before bed.

Where did that come from? I never used to snack after dinner.

The experts say it takes thirty days to implement a life change. So far, I haven’t made three days. However, I did better yesterday than the day before, so maybe today will be better than yesterday. It won't get any better if I give up, so I must renew my resolve every single day, or every hour if I must. 

I am not alone in my struggles. My devotions today quoted St. Paul. “For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do.” Romans 7:19.


Perhaps today I will do more good than evil, to both my body and my soul. After all, miracles do happen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

That Four-Letter Word: D. I. E. T.


Yeah. That word. I’ve played with it all my life. I used to be good at it, and I was slim — and young. Those two go together. Because, let’s face it, we older folks are at a disadvantage when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.

After being very slim, (okay, skinny) for most of my life, this post-menopausal weight gain has devastated my self-esteem (all right, ego.) I always felt a bit superior for being, and staying, so slim. I think part of my weight gain was God shaking a finger at me. I now have far more empathy for others in this war on weight, and a much healthier idea of what constitutes the right body weight.

I always thought I was fat, even when my ribs were showing. No, I wasn’t anorexic, but every time I gained a little weight, I’d get sick, and I’d lose ten pounds in one week. Yeah, I kinda miss the ability to lose like that, but I don’t miss feeling ill most of the time. Obviously being slim does not mean being healthy. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Christian Fiction Friday: October 9th

Thank you Hallee Bridgeman and Alana Terry for another fun round of Christian Fiction Friday.

For my first post with this blog hop, I am sharing a snippet from the book I am currently working on. It is the third book in my Lions and Lamb series. (Cover is still in the concept stage and the image has not been purchased. Please excuse the watermark).

Maize Gasko lay alone in the dilapidated room, helpless and terrified, praying for mercy from a God she had not spoken to for most of her life. Did He still care after all the things she had done to rouse His anger? In her fevered mind, she saw the child, the sweet lamb who could save her ― if she came in time.

Another searing pain coursed through her midsection, driving the air from her lungs and nearly forcing her spirit from her body. Perhaps the old prophet was wrong. It appeared her time was over. She had failed the one important task asked of her and God was surely too angry to give her another chance.

Maize closed her eyes. Yes, she had been stubborn and allowed worldly pleasures to tempt her, particularly Ivan. Oh how she had loved the man. Still did. Had he really been so wrong for her?

Opening her eyes, she scanned the shabby room, taking in the dirt and the decay. This wasn’t what God had intended for her. He had planned something much different, but she hadn’t listened, hadn’t obeyed, and now it was too late. She was dying. What waited for her on the other side? Would she be condemned to the horrid place she had seen in her vision?

The image of an old Indian appeared at the foot of her bed. He held the hand of the sweetest, most innocent child Maize had ever seen.

“She’s the one?”

The old Indian nodded. “Trust.”

The vision faded, but not the joy, or the hope of its message.


Maize closed her eyes. Tears spilled down her cheeks and soaked into the stained pillow beneath her. God is good. God is merciful. She would not fail this time. She would not lose this second chance ― if the child came in time.  


Now it’s your turn! Just link your Christian Fiction Friday! Here are the rules:

1. Christian Fiction Friday is a blog hop where authors post short (400-ish words or less) snippets from their current works in progress (not published pieces).

2. Keep it PG-13 or lower. No swearing, no sex scenes. If you have a particularly violent scene or deal with a heavy or controversial subject matter, please include a disclaimer at the beginning of your post.

Suggestions:

1. Visit at least some of the other Christian Fiction Friday authors each week and comment on their blogs.

2. Don’t offer critiques unless the author specifically asks for it in his or her post.

3. Please include this blurb at the end of your weekly post:

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Apples, Oranges, and Lemons: the Stuff of Nightmares

Night terrors. They come at bedtime, in the middle of the night, and sometimes early in the morning, terrifying images robbing me of sleep, and peace of mind. Some are so frightening they force me out of bed.

Several tricks help to eradicate these scenes: Solitaire, a book, and a few simple computer games. These, however, are only momentary distractions. It is Scripture that usually exterminates them — for a while.

After a particularly rough night of self-accusation, I rose, went into my study, and opened that day’s devotions. In Living Faith, Fr. Martin Pable, O.F.M. talked about humility. Alcoholics Anonymous gives their members this definition: “Humility means not to make comparisons.” 

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's Done!

Finally, after months of editing and rewriting, the revised edition is out. It was a huge learning curve on what to leave in and what to take out (to the tune of over 20,000 words deleted). Yes, I killed many, many darlings. However, I didn't weep. They needed to go. The new scenes are better.

Is it perfect? No, but at least a giant step up from the first version.

I am not the first author to rewrite an already published book. Tolkien rewrote The Hobbit. In the first version, the ring wasn't as emphasized as much as in in the rewrite. Other authors have bit the same piece of bitter fruit and revisited earlier works. Admitting the need is the biggest hurdle.


New Synopsis:


What would you risk to save a child?


Half a world away in Zimbabwe, Africa, a demon-god roared in rage. His ancient priest flinched, eyed the rising flames of his cooking fire, and scuttled back.  

The demon narrowed his eyes. “So, my old enemy, Raphael, has once again disguised his angelic form as that old Indian and now woos the woman to interfere!”

With the movement of a gnarled limb, he sent the old priest sprawling toward the fire. The old man screamed and scurried backward.


“I’ll destroy her just as I have destroyed all who have dared to oppose me! She’s weak. Her faith won’t hold when she’s alone and terrified. She’ll falter, just as they all have. And then, I will take her.”

The old priest nodded, rose, and entered his hut. He descended the rickety wooden ladder into the ceremonial chamber. The nganga, the cauldron filled with blood, animal parts, and things unimaginable, simmered over a small fire. The ceremonial sticks leaned against the near wall. The old priest brushed his hand over the rough surface of the wooden altar.

The demon’s raspy voice whispered. “Yes. Let it run red.”