Reflections at Christmas

Reflections at Christmas

Mary, a not-so-average teenager How would you react in Mary’s shoes? You’re a girl of about 14 told you’re pregnant, even though you’re engaged (and you know you’ve been a good girl.) Mary had been raised all her life with the hope of the Messiah’s arrival. She fully understood the honor she had received by being chosen to bear the Son of God. We might expect her to be fearful, embarrassed, to dread, to shun inconvenience. But her reaction contained none of these. Rather, her song of praise in...
Limping, Strolling, or Running

Limping, Strolling, or Running

There are different ways that people come to God. Not just initially, but along the way as they journey through their lives with him. First, there’s the limp. Life has beaten us up. We’re emptied out and bruised all over. Maybe not even sure God has noticed or cares, but we still go, limping toward him. Our journey may be slower because of it, but that’s okay. We get there. And we get a lot of TLC along the way as he meets us in often surprising ways. Or maybe limping demands more effort than...
Become: An Intriguing Word

Become: An Intriguing Word

When I lived in Paris, I used to walk regularly to a gym near my apartment. One day as I was passing a construction site, something unusual caught my eye. In the middle of the sidewalk sat a temporary street lamp which was anchored by a massive concrete block. Someone had stenciled this word in red on the block: Become. I never learned who painted this word on a block of concrete or why, but I was amused and intrigued. A few weeks later I was on a different street not too far from the first...

Hurt People Heal People

The other day I was thinking about a good friend who has a lifelong health issue. As someone who is talented, intelligent, and likeable, he might have ended up arrogant, in which case we would not have become friends! But the “thorn” he carries around day by day has made him a good listener, sensitive, someone who knows how to value others. A good friend.

They say that hurt people hurt people. A hurt person might easily hurt someone else as an expression of his brokenness, not necessarily because he is a terrible person. Knowing he has been hurt doesn’t help much, if he has hurt us or someone we care about. I’ve found that it does help to soften my view of him and possibly lead me to forgiveness.

Just Do the Next Thing…

I’m at that point again. Well, I get to that point often, I hate to admit. The point I’m talking about is when the details of what I need to do swirl around me like a meteor shower, with its corresponding lack of visibility. Not that I’ve been in one. But it seems like one.

So before my blood pressure and anxiety begin to rise, I frantically reach for the steno pad I always have on my desk. I think, I have to make a list. What’s my priority?

When I want to improve in fiction and I know there are a dozen tasks I could do toward this goal— read a book on craft, get a novel from the library and study it, work on my own writing, study editing, work on description, etc. I could benefit from all of these, but what to do first?

Five Questions for the New Year

Here we are in the midst of the colorful, festive Christmas season. Each year I get as much  enjoyment welcoming the New Year as I do in Yuletide caloric merriment, purchasing, giving, visiting, singing, and decorating. As the year nears its sunset, I begin casting some thoughts in the direction of what’s coming as I cross the threshold.

Really. No Christmas blues, no wistful sadness. I feel a shimmer of anticipation and my mind is already darting to things I want to improve or try or experience or master in the coming year. I have a whole year as a canvas to play with.

For years I have been a goal-setter. But rather than create a list of resolutions the length of the Appalachian Trail, I set quarterly objectives, based on my annual goals (which fall into a few basic areas, like health, spiritual, fiction, personal, etc.). I review these quarterly. For me, it’s just more bite-sized and I don’t get discouraged as easily. It keeps me on target, and there’s nothing to prevent my adding new goals that weren’t there at the outset. Or taking some away. Or adapting some.