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

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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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Persistence is as important as talent – guest blog post by Alice K. Boatwright — Trish Hopkinson

In a writer’s life, persistence is as important as talent When I began sending my first book out to publishers and it was rejected, I was devastated. I had received an MFA from Columbia for my manuscript, and I expected success that would immediately change me from a bookstore clerk and waitress into a respected […]

via Persistence is as important as talent – guest blog post by Alice K. Boatwright — Trish Hopkinson

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

A Little Happy

This was one of my first blog drafts. I’ve gone back-and-forth with finishing it for 3 years because of the obvious–who wants to put their two-cents in regarding anything about Muslims? But I feel I have to publish it. I know I’m not a well-known blogger, only about 100 people will even see this. But for my own heart I want to get this out there.

I have had the pleasure of living near two major metropolitan areas, Miami and Washington, D.C. If it hadn’t been for these experiences, I probably wouldn’t know any Muslim families personally. Growing up in the deep South, it’s just not a culture you run into frequently. When you don’t run into something frequently the natural inclination is fear. And fear often turns to hate.

When I was young I would go to my mom’s dance studio and play an old Kris Kristofferson record. My…

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Have a life checkup–four areas of concern

Regular checkups call for a SWOT analysis. Look at your Strengths–these can be used in God’s service or corrupted by honoring the world rather than God. If I have a strong, healthy body, do I use it in humble tasks to bring glory to God or do I seek to impress the world? If I am of sound mind, what do I look upon, read, study, use in my intellectual pursuits?

Weaknesses–the W part of the analysis. To what area am I prone to fail? Where are my limitations? Weaknesses are not necessarily flaws; these areas may be challenges for us to grow. “The proper study of mankind is man,” according to Alexander Pope: ‘Know then thyself, presume not God to scan/ The proper study of mankind is Man.”   I like the sound of those words, but I disagree with them in overall content; don’t be so self-absorbed in looking at yourself that you fail in asking God to “Search me and try me, oh, Lord.” Psalm 139:23-24 puts it this way (NIV) Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

O stands for Opportunities–look around the place you are planted; ask God to show you needs, and how you could or should meet those needs. There are needs that may become priorities for you; there may be some that could and should be delegated or left to others. Remember you also have needs; see how people or circumstances can help you to meet those needs. How can I best honor God in knowing of this need? I have a stamped, addressed envelope with a blank card inside, made out to the couple that lost their child last month. I will write it and send it; I have texted encouragement; I have supported through phone calls. Others are physically there; because there are steps to their home, I cannot visit. I pray regularly for them and for others who have lost their loved ones. I have made my counseling service available.

As a young person, one has to take care of his own growth and not be caught up in the drama of others much worse off. It is being a friend to tell an adult of others’ problems rather than seeing problems as a reminder to get involved in providing personal help. It is a balancing act. We depend on God’s spirit guiding our actions. If we are praying for someone and God’s spirit whispers an action we can take, then we must act.

All of this points to a need for us to look at Time. Timing plays a key role in considering our actions and decisions. A young person can decide to be a journalist, but he is not to quit high school to launch his career. It is time to hone the craft, learn the words, consider others’ philosophies, and practice writing. Time may mean that I need to shore up weaknesses in any area now, not later. Many times, we have good ideas, but the timing is not right, and the opportunities do not exist without other people’s involvement. There are areas I prayed for many years that I am now seeing being fulfilled by my local church. However, my only involvement is in praying. They are more involved on missions; they have home church on Sunday nights. They do cooperatively what I could not do alone. I helped plant and water through WMU and mission organization. People are hurting, so there is an opportunity. I will pray to see if others support current timing, After all of this analysis, I make myself available to be used. There are other areas where I wanted to be involved, a Lay Renewal ministry for one. I started praying to be a part in the 1980’s when our children were small. It did not happen until ten plus years later. Charles and I were selected to be members of Sidney and Mary Lou Ellis’s team once the girls were grown, and we were experiencing empty nests. God both used us and met our needs. “Wait on the Lord; again, I say, wait.”

No one, including yourself, will ever be the person you want him to be. We need to have the regular checkups mainly for ourselves but also give ourselves the grace to know we will not be perfect on this Earth, and the grace to others that they will not be what you want or expect them to be. The greatest good you can do of others is to talk to God about your concerns for them and ask God to change their hearts or yours. He is willing if we would only ask.

A compliment from a colleague came my way many years ago. Charlotte Ashley told me, “I like the way you talk about your husband.” I was unsure of her meaning, but she pointed out that when other teachers in the lounge were fault finding regarding their husbands, I did not join them. I will not say that Charles and I were always of one accord, and we had many verbal battles to prove my point. However, after I surrendered my life to Jesus fully, I can remember being hurt at something he had said or done. Instead of engaging or correcting him, I withdrew and prayed for him. Shortly, he came to me with an apology. Again, God is willing–but we need to pray for His will, not our want.

Michael Jordan’s words of advice: “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.” This advice is also a matter of timing. There are pursuits that have to be worked on intermittently because of either timing or urgent events. If I feel led to try anew area, I don’t just give up. One of the key benefits of being in this weakened body is that I carefully plan my activities, charting our time for spiritual, creative, physical, and mental pursuits. I also have to figure out how to accomplish activities of daily life I once took for granted; if one way offers the real possibility of falling, then I think through the actions to consider what else might work.

John C. Maxwell gives us words of wisdom from Pablo Picasso:   “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”            Think of yourself as a gift to the world. How does God want you to employ your gifts? Ignore any pressure that would cause you to be a doormat. I have found purpose in writing for now; that may change. My husband Charles acts as a care-partner and, more and more, is moving into a caregiver role. This role for him is not something I want, but I have been grateful for his help and could not manage my life without it. However, I sometimes find myself wincing when he is not as gentle as I want him to be. I have to remind myself that he is also tired and old and is doing the best he can.

In our marriage, we are each other’s gifts from God for romance, companionship, and now caregiving. 
The roles are defined in the marriage vows we took to love, honor, cherish each other in sickness and in health until death parts us. His view is that I took care of him for years, and now it is his turn to take care of me.

 

 

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