Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10: How Can You Seize Life?

Dress festively...don't skimp on scarves

7 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes — God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
8 Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors and scarves. 9 Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! 10 Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed. 

Eccl 9:7-10(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002.)

When I retired, the school gave me a beautiful silver and gold tennis bracelet. The two metals wrapped around each other in gentles swirls. It was elegant. Tasteful. Refined. I closed up the box and tucked it into my jewelry drawer. It was far too fine to use.

But wait a minute. They gave it to me to use. Why would I tuck it away?

We all know people like me, who given a wonderful gift, lovingly wrap it up and stow it away. And how often do we do this to God? He gave us life...and we squirrel it away and refuse to enjoy it. At least, when I die, my daughter Sarah will get to wear my bracelet. But who will wear my life when I'm dead?

So, how can you seize your life?
  • wear your nicest clothes, even if it's only your husband who will see it
  • women--wear make-up, fix your hair. Rejoice in the husband of your youth
  • take time to cook a fine meal. It doesn't have to be gourmet, but hamburger seven days a week does not make one relish life. (Even if you put relish on it!)
  • bundle up and walk in the sub-zero sunshine. Too often gray skies fill our winters...weave the golden rays into a bracing walk
  • love your job. It pays the bills at the very least, and because of that, you have a roof over your head. You spend most of your life love it.
  • contact your friends--beyond facebook
  • dance
  • sing
  • play with a baby
Bad stuff is going to come our make the most of each day. Let me know how you seize life.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Anger and Fool's Bosoms

Angry Talk (Comic Style)
Angry Talk (Comic Style) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap (bosom NKJ) of fools" ( Eccl 7:9, NIV)

At work, things went awry. Badly. Filling in as a long-term substitute teacher for a friend, I discovered I didn't have enough books to teach the proposed lesson. The old school procedures had been forgotten by this addled brain of mine. I had more preparations than time to do it in. And I had no worksheets run-off as my superior intellect assumed I should have had.

Mix into the the hodgepodge a few snide remarks made by colleagues. Near the end of the second day, I allowed myself to become angry. I ranted against the system, complained to one and all about my plight, and generally became unpleasant to be around.

That evening we were to study Ecclesiastes 7. Again. (I think God wants me to memorize this chapter because we have been unable to move past it since Christmas.) I can across verse 9. Like Alice or Thumbelina, I shrunk in shame. I knew I had been a fool. My anger unveiled pride and taught me the truth about Ecclesiastes 7:9 in ways I hadn't seen before.
  1. It demonstrated: Ego. I wanted to look good before my students. These were things beyond my control, and it was, afterall, only the second day.
  2. It created: Misery Have you ever enjoyed a movie or performance or lesson or a book or the company of a unique individual and then have someone grouse about it/her? They're not fun people to be friends with.
  3.  It ruined: Fun. I am typically hard on myself. It was only day two. People, students included, would cut me some slack. And this number goes back to #1--pride. The day before was delightful. By day two, I knew I'd have a LONG 10 week teaching stint.
  4. It could have been: Controlled. I could have stopped myself. I took a willful step and said, "I don't care." And then I let it rip.
In the end, I, who railed against my friend, proved that I was the incompetent one. I was the failure. I was a fool. It had been said that he who points a finger has three facing himself. That's a truth. 

How else does anger reside in the bosom of fools? Have you battled it?

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blog Tour: My book

Here're a few things writerly about me. Once you read them, visit the other blogs and learn more.
1. What is the working title of your book?
My latest contemporary is called Threefold Cord.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started out as a romance of a couple who married on the spur of the moment. Never worked out. I wanted to set a story in Rennsaelareville, NY because it was a quaint town, and it went from there.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. What's the synopsis of your book?
A drunk is rescued by a paramedic and their pasts collide along with their present. With a common friend, their lives intertwine and none can find happiness without the other.

5. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
 An agency.

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Thirty days

7. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Dandelion Summer, A White Rose

8. What else about your book might pique a reader's interest?
Interwoven with the serious issues is a healthy dose of humor--a writing voice I'm good with. The reader will learn much about EMS services, especially with paramedics.
I hope each reader sees a part of themselves in the three characters and takes action to correct her own flaws.
 Check out these blogs:  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Better the Rebuke of the Wise: Eccl. 7:6

"It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool" Eccl. 7:6

I recently started a new novel. Writing on a roll, I had a dynamic opening: fire, poverty, death of a toddler. Who could resist this intro? Apparently, my mentor could.

English: Pink emoticon cryingI had enrolled in the Journeyman course, offered by the Christian Writers' Guild, because I knew I needed to hone my skills. My writing performed well on contests, received positive feedback from others, but I never nabbed an award or agent--let alone a book contract. Thus the need for the course.

I submitted my first assignment and waited to hear from Yvonne. And when she returned my work, I discovered I did not awe her. Quite the contrary with the list of concerns she mentioned. Not wanting to aggravate her over the six months of this course, I reworked my masterpiece. The end result shone. All my regular crit partners loved it. (Even my mother).

Many a time I returned critiques to my crit partners feeling as though I bashed them. I apologized in my emails and cringed as I hit send. But I wanted their work to shine, and I had to tell the truth. So too, I took this course because I haven't made the grade. If I didn't trust the wisdom of an established writer, then I was no better than the crackling fool of Ecclesiastes 7:6.  Impartial criticism is better than fatuous praise.

Think of your own life. Do you want some fool to say?
  1. The dress/shirt looks lovely on you, when, in fact, you look like a Ringling Brother employee.
  2. I like the haircut. And after wearing that style for three years realize you looked like Marge Simpson or Cosmo Kramer.
  3. You sing wonderfully. Then you step out and audition for community choir.
  4. I love this meal. Well, the complimentor pays the price on this one because you keep cooking it.
A fool is loud, firy, and soon burned out.  A wise person endures.

Isn't criticism (done in love) better than the ravings of a fool?