“SHINE”

 

Shine. One word, a complete sentence-imperative or commanding. It is a biblical commandment. If God commands it, it means living it out behaviorally is possible.   If he says to do it, we can do it.

He created each of us as an individual, and the individual requirements for us differ. God did not make us carbon copies of each other as Christians, but he does want us to become more Christ-like. Would we then be more like other Christians if we become more Christ-like?

Do we have to leave personalities to be more Christ-like? What do you thank happened to the early disciples?   Did careful Thomas become more bold and adventurous like Peter? Did quietly loving John become a money counter, the role of Matthew in his earlier life? What about Paul as he gave up the name Saul?

If you’re familiar with these Biblical examples, you are aware that God takes our personalities as they are as he created us and uses them. Maybe I wanted to be the quietly listening, devoted Mary but I am still trying to have the busy, active, have-to-get-my-attention-to-get-me-to-be-still, Martha.

I am fun and funny; at times, serious. I like attention and I become envious when others receive more attention than I do. Some of this goes back to my family of origin where I was the youngest in the family. Not only was I the youngest, I was the youngest of eight. Words became both a weapon and a defense for me. In physical strength, there was no way to best those older than I. My short, stubby legs did not have the ability to outrun others. I don’t remember terribly well, but in those early years I probably often learned to say,” You better quit. I’m gonna tell Mama.”

Like most of my siblings, I liked school and learning, and I made good grades. I learned early obedience to doing what I was told to do. However, my inward behavior did not match my outward behavior. In our dysfunctional authoritarian family, there was no opportunity to rebel or question or even to show anger. Just because an attitude is not shown on the outside does not mean it is not on the inside.

There was a spark of the rebel in me. Unfortunately, there still is. My friend Juanita says God uses the spicy me I was before I gave my heart and life to Jesus He is the one who has to work on the inner me. There was a very popular children’s Christian song of my girls when they were small that had these words: “He’s still working on me.”   Yes, he is. There are several areas for he continues to be actively engaged in this not-yet-finished Christian.

 

                      “So let your light shine that others may see your good

                           works and glorify your father who is in heaven.”

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One-way: gratitude

cropped-sharecrooerfarmers-house.jpgLook at the trees, anchored down firmly, held in place by gravity and by God’s plan.

I confess to watching reality TV shows. I have been noting a trend in some of them, where a hunter kills an animal, places a hand on the animal, and says, “Thank you.”  Often there will be a further comment, sometimes a voiceover, which states appreciation for the deer’s giving its life.

Do I say thank you to the iron skillet for frying the loin pieces for my dinner? Do I say thank you to the fork for bringing the food to my mouth? Do I thank the hand that holds the fork for participating in feeding me?

Of course not. I thank the true source, our God who provides all things good. There are many things that we take for granted.  I woke up feeling grateful today and began to think of the things and people and events  I take for granted. The list is innumerable. For instance, gravity.

Just imagine you start to fall, a too-frequent occurrence for someone with a muscular dystrophy. We can be thankful for falling down to the floor or ground instead of floating away out of sight. I don’t like falling down, but today I’m thankful for gravity.

The child of a young friend of mine recently got into legal trouble, was found guilty, and sentenced to years in a correctional facility.  I could be judgmental and thankful that it was my friend and not me. Yet, I feel sad that this event happened.  I feel grateful that he is given the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and maybe change the course of his life.

God is to be praised in all circumstances.  It sounds a little Pollyanna-ish, but I have reached the age to realize God’s hand is at work if we don’t see it and that “these things happen so that [His] child may learn.” Even when we. don’t understand, we can praise God for his wisdom and His all-surpassing knowledge reatly exceeding our own.

I am grateful for answered prayer; I’m grateful for the answers already on their way before I even voice my prayers.

I am grateful for the visit from an old friend, a former student, who shared some venison sausage with us. Note I’m grateful to God for  these things, not to the deer for sacrificing his life.

As this month of Thanksgiving ends,  one way of finding joy in our lives is that of being grateful.  Practice the presence of God by saying thank you. You become more aware of his actions in your life. If you come to recognize his hand, you will begin to see his heart.

 

Why Writing Novels Matters by Grant Faulkner

Nerdy Book Club

When I was a teenager, growing up in a small Iowa town, I was a reader, and I was a writer, but it never once occurred to me to write a novel. Novels were big things that other people wrote. Adults. People who lived in New York City. People who had gone to war or lived exotic lives. I wrote in my journal, and I wrote the occasional poem or short story, but writing something as big and ambitious as a novel just wasn’t something teens did.

So, it’s interesting to me now when I talk to kids and teens who have participated in National Novel Writing Month’s Young Writers Program. I hear how they have written five, six, or seven novels—and sometimes even published one or two of them. I see a glow of accomplishment in their eyes. I see a zeal to create on the page and…

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SHINE

THAT’S IT.  NO MORE INFORMATION.  WHY?  via Daily Prompt: Shine

As Christians, we are concerned about appearances needlessly. If we are doing the righteous things for righteous reasons, we have no need to concern ourselves how the activity appears to others.  We are the message.  Yes, we want our Message of Jesus’ grace to be forefront, uppercase, bold print, in whatever color is most visible, but we are intended to shine.  

Shine in the ways we think

Shine in the ways we act

Shine in our confessions of failure

Shine in our honesty and integrity.

It’s not a NewYear’s Resolution, but a reminder to do those things we were left on Earth after our salvation to do.  So,

Shine

Shine

Shine

Shine

A Doggy Adventure

Microadventuring sounds like the way to go.

Will Bryan

Many of my ‘Challenges & Adventures’ from this year have been large undertakings which require a lot of planning, training and dedication. Although reflecting on these projects is profoundly rewarding, it doesn’t take much to notice that these were largely based on endurance rather than enjoyment. Of course enjoyment has also been a factor, but in the moment its hard to enjoy something that really tests and pushes your body and minds capabilities whilst battling everything that mother nature has to throw at you.

I felt it was time to take things back to basics, so within five minutes had thought up a plan for a microadventure! The plan was to cycle the perimeter of Cannock Chase, a beautiful AONB near to where I live. The trip would take two days and best of all, it would include my best friend and partner in crime Wolfred, my one year old Jack Russell & Shi Tzu…

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Dot Day’s Reviews — Social Engineer Social Engineer by Ian Sutherland Social Engineer (Brody Taylor Thrillers, #1) by Ian Sutherland (Goodreads Author) F 50×66 Dot Day’s review Oct 18, 2016 · edit really liked it Read from October 16 to 17, 2016. I first read an Advanced Review Copy of Sutherland’s new book, Taking Up Serpents,a thriller featuring his cyber expert, Brody Taylor. Brody’s life is in danger and his choices put also at risk his significant other, a detective who helps him through the thrilling dangers. I am not doing credit to this extremely well-written thriller. I halfheartedly expected to be bored or confused because I am only a step beyond computer novice. Neither adjective applies, however. The author does an excellent job with the technical explanations. While I could not explain his actions or replicate them, at least I understood what Brody was doing because his actions were brilliantly, i.e.,simply presented. The pacing of the story was fast, and the characters were realistic. Yes, snakes do figure into the novel, and yes, Brody has the opportunity to avert world-wide disaster. ‘Nuff said, I hope,to pique your interest. I do encourage you to buy this book when it becomes available on Amazon the 27th. When I am able to review, it will be a definite 5 stars. I then read his short story, Social Engineer, his first work presenting this character. It is a good introduction to his character and the situations he encounters. The love interest is not the same and I can see a growth in some of the relationships Brody has from this first one to the latest one. Brody has the potential to be a Jack Reacher. I do hope to see this character in films.

Review of Blake Pierce’s 1st Mackenzie White Novel

Although the author puts Mackenzie in a difficult situation, she rises above her circumstances, use her gut and her intelligence to find the
serial killer and rescue –oops, too much. Pierce does have a heavy hand in her having to fight her way to the respect of other policemen. I am sure that even in 1999 women in the traditionally male-dominated law enforcement did face stereotypical comments and attitudes, but it seemed a bit excessive. However, I enjoyed her as a strong main character and will continue to read the series.   4 of 5 stars

Review of Charlie Spillers’s Nonfiction Memoir

Confessions of an Undercover Agent: Adventures, Close Calls, and the Toll of a Double Life
5 stars
This nonfiction book could be the stimulus for so many fiction books. Great characters, real dialogue, life-and-death situations, unbelievably incredible pacing–all make for a great story. Charlie lived the life of an undercover agent 10+ years, and these are the people and the places where he lived out his role while attempting to keep separate his home life with wife and young son. He was actively involved in from-page news bringing down crooked politicians, other public officials, and lay enforcement cohorts. Yes, sometimes he took down the lower level of criminals, but his goal was to bring down the big guys. Spillers had to be a skilled actor with others working with him who were not as skilled. One of my favorite stories concerns two women who become confidential informants to bring down a drug dealer because he had molested the child of a friend. I will not spoil the story by telling the process, the juke joint threat, but I will say these two women kept him from being maimed or killed.

The book is extremely well-written, and the author comes across as brilliant man who lets us in on a life serving and protecting in a Mississippi/Louisiana milieu that is part swamp, part jungle, part urban plantation, and shows us this setting at night when the monsters are out and the good folks sleep. Thank you, Charlie, for your service.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/7003927-dot-day”>View all my reviews</a>

My Friend, Fear

Obsessive-Compulsive? Why? A fear driven response to uncertainty in oneself needs to be overcome, and that means getting outside of yourself and getting into life. Best wishes for Elly Swartz’s new book. Try it!

EMU's Debuts

fear-quotes-growth

Fear is a fickle friend. I mean at first glance it’s hard to imagine her as your lunch buddy, but as time goes on, you understand her subtle ways. Confession – I’m not always the bravest. I’m scared of hairy/crunchy/large bugs, heights, the dark, mice crawling over my sandals at the movies. You get the picture. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as publication for my debut mg novel, Finding Perfect, inches closer, so does fear. She visits with some regularity these days. She accompanies me when I hit send to my editor and when I venture into uncharted territory, like this week at the New England Independent Bookseller Association Author Reception. This is me at the reception hanging with Gillian Kohli, owner of the amazing Wellesley Books and president of NEIBA. (Fear aside, the night was amazing.)

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Fear tugs at my chest as the years/months to…

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