Saturday, March 31, 2018

Waiting On The Lord

C.S. Lewis expressed the sadness of the time after the death of the Aslan, who is symbolic of the Savior, so eloquently in The Witch, The Lion and The Wardrobe".. 


"I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you've been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again..."



Those who loved him endured an awful waiting. Waiting is a mortal experience. Uncertainty washes over us and our unruly minds go wild with the "what ifs". What if this is the end of the teachings of Jesus. What if the Jewish authorities come after all the new Christians? What if the Romans come after them? How will we live without the comfort of Jesus? What if?

What if........it is true?

What if tomorrow he rises from death?

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Alive

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."



I really thought the word for Five Minute Friday would be "good". Yet, it was "alive". I was prepared to write about Good Friday and how Holy Week was constantly in my thoughts. Now I see that Jesus really has been alive for me this week as I've followed the events of his last mortal days.





There are many ways that I am more alive to the spirit than I was in years past. Some habits have died, and some are waiting to die as I muster the strength to leave behind those sins that make me less than wholehearted




I wince at seeing his suffering. Yet, I rejoice that he willingly submitted  for my sake. 




"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene."

To all the Marys who gave him so much comfort. Take heart. There will be Sunday. And he will be alive.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easter Week- The Longest, Hardest Day

   "During the first of the days of unleavened bread, which was on Thursday, some of the Twelve inquired of Jesus where they should make preparations for the paschal meal."

While reading the story of Passover, going into the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of the Jewish authorities, I marvel at the emotional connection Jesus has in the midst of anxiety ridden events. As I am learning more of wholeheartedness and integrating emotions into our very identity, I look at Jesus as the model of all I desire in wholehearted living. I'll be using some definitions of emotion to make my points. 

 Anxiety- Uncertainty, overwhelming fear, competing demands on our time, or social discomfort.

There was an awful certainty about what would transpire and I believe a God who can know us completely would be required to feel the emotions of mortality. I believe he felt fear and anxiety but was fully anchored in his sense of belonging and connection to His Father. His resilience was divine.


Resentment- An emotion we experience when we fail to set boundaries, when boundaries are ignored, or when expectations let us down because they were based on things we can't control, like what others think. what they feel, or how they're going to react.

Surely he felt some resentment towards others who responded awkwardly to him, not fully understanding all that he was offering in this life and in the next. Yet, he responded with patience and love.




To me he fully exemplifies a wholehearted self. His thinking, feeling, and doing were fully integrated.










Heartbreak- More than just a particularly hard form of disappointment or failure. It hurts in an entirely different way because heartbreak is always connected to love and belonging.

I hurt for him because he hurt for me, fully submitting to carry my pain, suffering, lack, evil, and my just plain misfortune. In a desire for me to belong to him and connected to his Father, he knelt in Gethsemane and paid the awful price for justice to be served.


What an astounding day this was for him and for us all. And Friday will come.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easter Week- A Day To Withdraw

"But now it is Wednesday and tomorrow is the day for the slaying of the thousands of Paschal lambs. Today is a day devoted to his intimate friends."


Jesus passed this day of rest and retirement with his disciples. How could they not know that the end of a perfect ministry was coming? He had proclaimed it 12 times in the there previous years.

  1. At the first Passover, three years before. "Destroy this temple and after three days I will raise it up. (John 2)
  2. To Nicodemus he said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. (John 3)
  3. To the disciples of John he said, "The days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them ." (Matt. 9) 
  4. To the sign seeking scribes and Pharisees he said, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12)
  5. To the Twelve he said, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt 10)
  6. In the Sermon on the bread of life he said, "And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world." (John 6)
  7. After Peter's stirring testimony it is written, "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how he must go uno Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." (Matt. 16)
  8. On the Mount of Transfiguration he discussed his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9)
  9. Coming down from the mount he said, "The Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the hands of men; And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again." (Matt, 17)
  10. En route to Jerusalem he said, "They shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again." (Matt. 20)
  11. In the teachings of the Good Shepard he said, "I am the good shepherd; and the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.." (John 10)
  12. In the parable of the wicked husbandmen he said. "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize his inheritance." (Matt. 21)

On this day, alone with them and others, like Mary and Martha, he taught them all that they were then able to receive about his coming ordeal and the all that would result therefrom. 


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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Easter Week- His Last Public Discourse At The Temple


"On the following day, that is on Tuesday, He returned to the temple with the Twelve, teaching all who would listen."


The chief priests and some of the scribes came upon him as a body. They asked him by what authority did he do his works. They knew the authority he claimed; their question was of sinister purpose. Jesus chose to answer their question with a question. Was the baptism of John from heaven or of men. Since the opinions of men swayed what the authorities would do they were forced into silence. "We cannot tell."



Jesus continued to teach, parable upon parable, all pointing to the self-betrayal of the chief authorities. The Parable of The Two Sons showed how true repentance was more effectual than lip service. The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen pointed to the deceit of them that killed the son of the householder and stole his inheritance. Truly. how could they not get his message? Then he told the Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast. The guests refused to come and spurned their royal invitation only to be destroyed for heir lack of loyalty. If this story was to be an allegorical presentation of true events, then it passes into the future as the destruction of Jerusalem post dated Jesus by several decades.


This Parable was the last spoken by our Lord to the public. Jesus would now turn his attention on his apostles who he would instruct and support in the coming days.

"Many are called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world,..."

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Easter Week- Cleansing The Temple

" Now, within four days of the cross. He cleared the courts again by casting out all "them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves."



    This act had strong emotion attached to the action. This was his father's house and it was also His house. Worldly commerce was not allowed because in this house the power of godliness was manifest. By that I mean, the sacrifices made, the prayers uttered, the promises entered into within these walls were done in similitude of the atonement, showing that only in Jesus could sins be made "white as snow' and all brought back into correct alignment with Heavenly Father.
     After the indignation came the calmness of healing those in the courts who were blind, lame and otherwise afflicted. His power was always used for binding, healing, and connecting. 
    As the common people gathered around him, the enraged officials were silenced by the press of the crowd. Little children. who perceived his power, spontaneously burst onto praise, calling him truthfully, the Son of David. 
   That evening he left Jerusalem and retired to Bethany. His hour was near, but not yet.


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easter Week- Palm Sunday

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee; and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foul of an ass."
Zechariah 9:9



As prophesied Jesus entered the city to the tumult of praising. His pathway was strewn with clothing and palm branches. Some pharisees urges him to rebuke the outcry of his disciples but he answered them by saying that if he made them hold their peace even the stones would begin to cry out praise. Many would realize much later how the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled that day. 
   Jesus knew his days were numbered and he urged his disciples to believe in the light while the light was still among them that they would be called children of light.


Believing, receiving, be open
To the truth which makes you 
Loving, and caring, and feeling,
That ye may be his child.

The savior said, "I am the light",
Come, follow me, just reach for my hand.
Your heavy burdens I will share,
My arms enfold you.

Believing, Receiving, Be Open
To the truth which makes you 
Loving, and caring, and feeling,
That ye may be his child.

His light illuminates the path
Warms every heart, each flickering shadow.
Go forth in faith, remove all doubt,
His arms enfold you.

Believing, receiving, be open
To the truth which makes you 
Loving, and caring, and feeling,
That ye may be the children of light.

Words to a song I wrote decades ago as a family motto. To be wholehearted has been a desire of mine for a long time. It seems, sometimes, to be just outside of reach but I do want to be a child of light so that the salvation Jesus brings is mine.

Other Days In This Last Week
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Friday, March 23, 2018

Routine

The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.
Marcus Aurelius

Dear Writer Friends,
She time ago, longer than I thought, I joined FMF to take an online writing class from Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. We read their book On Being A Writer together. I still read the blogs of those of you who took the class. You are still writing which means you have a routine in your life that includes the written word. If there was one thing that I have treasured up in my study it was to arrange my life so I can write a little bit every day. Now that is obvious.




What wasn't so obvious was the importance of place. I write in two places; on the couch, with my computer on my lap or at the kitchen table. I installed a lamp that casts a soft glow on the space, which I really love. The space must call out to you. Come, come tell your story (w)right here. My routine for starting "the write" is to make some tea, stash a small snack near by, and open my computer to the Scriverner App. The app alone makes me feel like a professional. Thank you Kate Motaung for the suggestion.
   
"These rituals create space and rhythm"
On Being A Writer




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A piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Who wanted that document enough to kill? 













Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Physical Ways That Ground A Scene

Your character communicates who she is through her physical actions.

I just finished a writing class and one of the critiques I received many times was to "show not tell". That seems obvious but not easy. Another level of observation starts when I imagine how my characters are moving or how they are physically responding. In Rubato, my mystery novel, I have a pragmatic, logical thinking male homicide detective who is more smart than macho. He is working with a right brained, feeling partner who once aspired to be a concert pianist. They have a case where her knowledge of the music world gives her an upper hand. Below is a scene where they are together eating dinner after a long day. Do I have enough description of their actions to show you more of who they are?




           Stevie continued through to the kitchen and he heard her open a fridge. He walked through the living room and beyond into what was surely a music room. Open french doors with gauzy curtains separated the two spaces. He was drawn to the piano and gently touched the black and white keys. There was a grandeur to the shiny black instrument. He moved his hands across the smooth surface. The black body seemed to be longer than his car.
      “This is a big piano.” he said, hearing Stevie come in.
       “It is my mother’s six foot concert grand.” She joined Reggie on the piano bench. He could smell her light citrus perfume. 
       “What is a trouble clef?” he asked.
       “You mean the coat rack?” Stevie laughed. “It isn’t trouble but treble and it's a musical sign that indicates higher notes on the staff. My mother had the large wooden one made to amuse her piano students.”
       A blue music booklet entitled, Consolations by Franz Liszt, lay open to view on the stand in front of them. 
       Reggie reached up and touched the book."Have you been playing his music?”
       “I have. These pieces called Consolations have been rumbling around my head throughout the last few days.”
       “Does this Liszt guy offer consolation to the nasty work of murder?”
       “Surprisingly, he does.” Stevie stood and took his arm firmly, nudging Reggie to his feet. “Come on into the kitchen. I’m reheating some lasagna from Sunday.” 
        The kitchen had bright yellow walls and frilly patterned curtains. A round kitchen table was nestled into the bay window which looked out to the garden. Reggie thought that his mother would have loved a kitchen just like this. The garden outside was barely discernible as dusk fell. 
       “I can’t get used to the fact that it’s dark at 5:00 o'clock. It feels like the middle of the night.” Reggie said. 
       Stevie handed him two placemats and two white china plates. 
     “Can you grab two glasses out of the cupboard there?” With her head she motioned to the cupboard by the sink. She balanced a steaming platter of noodles with sauce and cheese in her hands. 
       He carefully brought the glasses to the table and seated himself across from Stevie.
      “You look hungry. Let me dish you up a big plate.”
      “Looks really good. Thank you.” He suddenly felt a little self-conscious eating in front of his work partner. Reggie picked up his fork and without further hesitation commenced devouring the food. It was delicious and it’s warmth made him relax. 
     “You have a tiny splat of tomato sauce on your lip.” She picked up her napkin but Reggie saw her stop herself from bringing the napkin to his face.
       “I’ve got it.” he said,as he brushed the napkin across his mouth. 

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A piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Who wanted that document enough to kill? 













Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Umkehr and Starting Fresh Everyday

"Getting a fresh start doesn't mean starting over--it could mean simply seeing the current project with new eyes, trying something different, or coming at the story from a different angle."
Shawn Smucker, author of The Day The Angels Fell


When doing something everyday there is a risk that the doing will become stale. If you are exercising the routine may become boring, if you are eating differently, the foods you made with gusto in week one may be suddenly too blah. Writing everyday certainly has that risk. I come to my book everyday knowing my weaknesses in the story and trying to look at them with new perspective. 


The quote above is by a writer who sends an e-mail out every weekday with motivating words from his own writing desk. He is currently writing a novel and his e-mails demonstrate the everyday struggle. I can relate to all his words. I find the promise of seeing anew very captivating. I can't control it, but I will be working on a paragraph which is not right and an idea will come which brings a new energy to my vision. Suddenly the words almost write themselves. I love that moment! 








I see on my chart that Thursdays are not working as writing days. That's fine. My day begins when I leave the house at 6 am and when I'm home from work it just doesn't happen. Seventeen out of twenty is just peachy and I feel satisfied. What are you trying to do everyday? Is it working? Could you look at it from a new perspective? 

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A piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Who wanted that document enough to kill? 













Friday, March 16, 2018

Provide

"The Lord my pasture will prepare

And feed me with a shepherd’s care.
His presence will my want supply
And guard me with a watchful eye.
My noonday walks he will attend
And all my silent midnight hours defend."

The Lord has provided for me. I have evidence. He has blessed my family with enough to progress spiritually and physically. I used to tell my husband that God always grants us enough, but just enough, because he knows we would squander our gifts if we had more than enough. Many times when we were struggling financially my husband would be asked to do overtime hours. My greedy little mind would add together the extra income and I would pre-spend the excess. Then we would receive an unexpected bill and the extra money would just cover the new expense. Just enough.





That "just enough" provision was not mirrored in my spiritual life. There God granted more than enough. When my emotional health flagged he would open my eyes to see beauty. Even in a sunrise he would teach me that he had more than enough to flood my senses. I am ever so grateful for his provisions and I desire to have more faith. You see, I still after all these years worry that I might not have enough in the future.



****************************************************************************
My Novel Rubato

A Mystery With a Musical Theme.

A piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Where did it come from and why was it so valuable?









Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Point Of View

"Point of view is a decision a writer makes that will determine through whose eyes the story is going to be told."
    Elizabeth George Write Away

Point of view is a difficult tool for me. I was aware of it from a long ago look as an English major in college. When it came to writing my novel I found myself in a quandary about who should tell the story. I settled on multiple narrators because I needed the story to come out through several sets of eyes. Here is a short vignette about an adventure I had with my grandchildren. I am writing in the point of view of my eight year old granddaughter.



   We arrived at my grandma's house really early because my mother was leaving for the day. I had the dog on a leash as we arrived and before I could take off my shoes and coat, Grandma announced we would be going to see a sunrise. I understand that the sun rises everyday but really, we needed to go see it happen?


 Grandma picked the beach as a viewpoint. I love the beach, but it was cold. Rex, the dog, was over joyed to visit those sandy shores. He pushed ahead making me pick up speed. When we arrived at the sand his nose was digging up new smells. I was afraid he would run away if we let him off leash, but he really would have liked to be free. He made the strangest motion when he started digging with his hind legs. When back legs far apart, he pushed away the sand to uncover who knows what?



Grandma kept telling us to look at the horizon. The sun would soon come over the far away mountains. I liked the sound of the waves lapping up on the rocks. I noticed Rex carefully stepping into the cold watery foam. I got as close as I could, avoiding wet feet. Wet feet would make me unbearably cold.



Then the light grew brighter and an actual yellow ball rose up. At first it was like a fiery fan shape and then within seconds it popped up over the hill. Wow! Beautiful! A river of gold made a pathway over the water almost to my feet. This happens everyday while I'm asleep? The cold made me agreeable to Grandma's call to go home. She made us shake the sand off our shoes and off the dog's paws before we got into her car. Breakfast does taste better after seeing a sunrise, and the hot chocolate is the best ending to a truly great adventure.




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In my novel Rubato a piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Who wanted that document enough to kill? 











Monday, March 12, 2018

Umkehr and Fighting Resistance

"The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you-and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it."

Have you read The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield? This little book encapsulates the opposition we might feel to doing something everyday for a month. Pressfield makes a through case for all the normal and odd resistance we can encounter for getting our work done. From procrastination to embracing drama to avoid doing our work, we as mortals seem to have an undoer on our tail all the time. I think of resistance as sticky sludge. Each day I wade through this strange entity and it never gets easier. Once my everyday goal of writing has commenced, in earnest, I love it and I feel in sync with my true desires. 





What does Pressfield say about overcoming resistance? Nothing that we haven't heard before. See yourself as a professional in what you are trying to do, be patient, recognize your limitations, seek help, show up everyday, self-evaluate, don't take your failure personally, and one that it hard for me, dedicate yourself to mastering technique. I have this crazy notion that if something doesn't come easily then you might not have talent. A lie. Keep coming back with new tools. To come back, that is the key. 

UMKEHR




"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance."







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A piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Who wanted that document enough to kill?