ACW

ACW

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Naming the Day


 
From Images of Grace by Jacqui Grace
The question, “What day is it?” used to have seven obvious answers to choose from. Social media hashtags have increased the number beyond imagination. There are innumerable days for one cause or another. Just a few I have noticed in recent months are #NationalRobinDay, #PenguinAwarenessDay ( both for wildlife), #WinniethePoohDay (for fun?), #NationalPoetryDay, #CumbriaDay, #AustraliaDay, (all to raise awareness).
Others I have known about for some time include #TimeToTalkDay (for mental health awareness) #BlogActionDay (for activism) #WorldBookDay for children’s books

Sometimes these hashtags appear in the Trending lists. (For those of you, who do not use Twitter, these are the most popular hashtags or topics at a particular time.)

I have used some of these hashtags in the past, but for very popular ones, such as #NationalPoetryDay, I wondered whether my tweets were lost in the multitude of tweets from prominent poets and Twitter users with thousands or tens of thousands of followers, some of whom might retweet their heroes’ every Tweet.

One hashtag I have used and am likely to be using again from tomorrow is #AtoZChallenge. My post here in January explained what that is about. Now the theme reveal is over and the participants are poised to begin. Some may be improvising as they go along. Others have been planning for months.

My favourite use of hashtags is not so much for Tweeting, but for finding relevant Tweets. For this I find Tweetdeck useful. This is a part of Twitter, where it is possible to set up columns and keep track of different subjects all at once, instead of looking at a single stream of Tweets. It is also useful for scheduling Tweets - a practice, which is effective in saving time and effort. I schedule a Tweet as soon as I have scheduled a blog post to announce its existence. Twitter is to be found at https://twitter.com/ and Tweetdeck at https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/  ̵  it works well on a computer or possibly a tablet. I can’t imagine using it on a phone!

Hootsuite is another tool for scheduling Tweets, but I find Tweetdeck straightforward to use and reliable, so have not tried Hootsuite.

Some hashtags belong to particular organisations. They are registered at a site called Twubs.  Capitalisation of hashtags makes them more easily read. Sometimes it avoids awkward ambiguity. SparePair and SpaRepair have the same letters, but very different meanings. (I thought this one up as an example, so the second meaning is rather odd. If you have the time and inclination, you might find others!) Since writing this I have learned that text-reading apps work better with every word in a hashtag capitalised. Many people on Twitter benefit from these.

So what day is 31 March?

Wikipedia lists 31 March as World Backup Day - a day to raise awareness of the need to safeguard one’s data. Do you back up your writing regularly? That is a whole subject on its own.

31 March is the day I go out into the garden with a notebook and ballpoint pen to do a survey. I have blogged about that elsewhere in the past!

This year 31 March falls on a Saturday. The one between Good Friday and Easter Day. In the Book of Common Prayer it is known as Easter Even. A day of suspense.

Tomorrow will be #EasterDay and #AprilFoolsDay! (In a year when #AshWednesday and #StValentinesDay have been vying for precedence.)

Whatever else we might call it, "This is the Day that the Lord has made".

Friday, 30 March 2018

Writing Diaries


Do you have one of these? Nope, neither do I.

There are writers who keep a personal diary of events in their lives, others who keep one with ideas for future stories. The idea being that they can refer to it should they run out of ideas or need a way to describe something. Others use it for practice.

I've tried keeping a diary, but have never managed to get enough enthusiasm to keep it properly. I've looked at my previous attempt and the last entry was in June 2014.

What I do instead is sit down, lights out, eyes closed, enjoy the peace and let my mind wander. I remember the days gone past, what I did well, badly or failed to do at all. I tell myself jokes that make me smile, try out comedy routines, run through hypothetical situations or mentally puncture a voodoo doll of someone who's annoyed me.

These then become part of my mind, which is not always a good thing as in the case of the doll.

I find that, after a while, these become part of my writing in a way that written diaries never have. I can see these thoughts come through my fingers onto the page in front of me.

Diaries are useful for some but not for others. We all write in different ways, have different personalities, attributes and methods.

My mind is my writing diary, and I fill it as often as possible.







Thursday, 29 March 2018

Real Writing = Real Character

I've mentioned before my favourite disciples are Peter and Thomas. The Bible doesn't mince its words about their failings. It is blunt about all of our weaknesses.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4 v 12 NIV).

This is what I love about the Bible - there is no hiding from God as to what we are yet it is also clear God loves us.

The Bible is blunt in its assessment of human nature - image via Pixabay

Keeping it Real - image via Pixabay

Are you like this with your characters? I loathe some of mine, while others if I could meet them in the flesh, well, we'd get along famously.

I guess this confirms my love of real characters coming through from the page, audio book or what have you. It is typical of our human nature that so often it is our characters' failings which are the big "draw".
If your characters are real enough, being drawn to their world is simpler.  Image via Pixabay
Finding out what happens next to your "real" characters.  Image via Pixabay
Sometimes that is due to our sympathising with those faults; sometimes it is relief, maybe pride, we are nothing like that. I know I've felt that way with characters as diverse as Fagin, Gollum and Scarlett O'Hara!

The irony is as people we may play down or hide our failings, but as writers we must be honest about how we portray our characters. If they've got a rotten temper, that's exactly what our readers need to see. We too must not mince our words if our people/alien beings/robot dogs or other species of choice are going to come across convincingly.

Real books = real characters = taking you to the heights.  Image via Pixabay
If the characters grip you, time will fly by.  Image via Pixabay
As ever, the best approach is to show your people showing their best and/or worst sides. (In flash fiction, my genre, there's only room to show one major trait but I've still got to portray it honestly. This can mean not worrying about what Great Aunt Jane or the minister thinks!).

The great thing from a writing viewpoint is you must know your characters in depth for you to be able to write for/about them well. I ask myself questions about my people/alien beings/robot dogs etc as part of my outline. Yes, I outline flash fiction! Okay, 90% of what I draft never makes it into the final story, but the first reader I've got to convince is me.  I am only convinced once I’ve written that outline.

Where will your characters take you and your readers?  Image via Pixabay
Are your characters pressing on towards the light or away from it?  Image via Pixabay

Also, some of what I jot down for one character may be useful for another in a different piece. Little is wasted overall.

So keep it real. Keep your characters real. This is where write what you know does come in, no matter how bizarre your setting. We know what human nature is like and if in doubt, refer back to the Bible. It shows it up so well!



Wednesday, 28 March 2018

‘Hosanna’ to ‘Crucify’: Why? by Trevor Thorn

I have often wondered why the people of Jerusalem turned from ‘Hosanna’ to ‘Crucify’ in the inside of a week. There will, of course be many reasons, some personal, many, many more I suspect, political.

But this imagined rant might be among them - and what an ideal day to publish it - Wednesday in Holy Week! And, guess what - it has money at its root.


Credit: Image found on 
'Word On Fire website.


A Temple Trader’s Rant

'I've always loathed those Galileans:
Rough lot from up north.
Uncouth, stroppy. Ought to stay in their own territory.
And this one: well, he came from Nazareth.
Nazareth! I ask you. Anything good ever come out of there?
You could tell by his accent.
Not pure like those brung up in Jerusalem.
Yes! Even us temple traders talk nicer than that.

It was trouble from the moment he appeared.
He sort of strode in
With a glint in his eye and his jaw set.
Came determined to make trouble if you ask me.

Now, we the Jerusalem Shekelovers have been Temple traders for generations.
Father, his father and his father before him
And maybe even before that.
Each of us handing on the pitch from father to son
And each of us building up the contacts with the animal breeders 
So we knew, and still know, we sell the very purest
Of animals for sacrifice.
Not a single blemish on our animals!
A bit pricey but as perfect as you'd find
anywhere in the Temple courtyards.
So we've built up our reputation over the years - ain't we?
AND so - got a right to be there, we have
And I’d fight anyone who says we 'aven't

So there we are, me and my brother
On one of the best-likely trading days of the year.
Passover only days away and the wealthy ones
streaming in anxiousto buy the best possible sacrifice.
Well, yes! Granted we had pushed the prices up a bit:
Ok, maybe - a big bit
But who wouldn't. Common sense ain't it?
'Cos it's not like this all year round
So we have to make the money to provide against leaner times.
And here we were, looking forward to a really profitable day.

Then, as I said, in he strides
With a whip in his hands. Rough sort of weapon really
Looked as if he'd made it himself.
And blow me
He starts to thrash the cattle and the sheep -
All our beautiful stock.
Can you imagine the chaos?
The bleating, the bellowing - and the muck.
Terrified animals everywhere.
In no time, the floor as slippery as you can imagine
The cows slithered, the sheep crashed into each other.
I got in the way of an enraged cow
and that damnable Nazarene's whip.
Just kept laying about the animals - and us if we got in the way.

Bit of a nutter, I reckon - and he certainly made us mad
And the din. Shouting all round; obscenities, oaths -
Not quite the language of the temple.
Then above the racket
His strange Galilean voice rang out
'You have dared to make my Father's house a den of thieves'.

The very idea. Us. Thieves.
I’d have liked to have smashed his head
against one of the Temple pillars.
But he was wild, wild, wild
So I wasn't going to tangle with him
And anyway, I needed to get out and find the animals he'd driven away.

Personally, I blame the temple authorities, we pay ‘em enough.
Should have their guards at the porches
More alert to spotting troublemakers
Although in truth, I'm not sure anyone could have held him down.
Manic!

Lost four beautiful lambs
And two totally unblemished calves that day.
It'll take weeks to recover that money.
Just thinking about it makes me mad again.

That blaspheming so-and-so. Deserves to be damned well crucified.

This story has a companion piece, 'A Temple Trader’s Glee' which you can find HERE

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The search for inspiration


Sometimes finding inspiration can be so hard!  If I am in a 'blank' mode I panic and use every delaying tactic possible to avoid having to sit in front of my screen not knowing what to type.  The irony is that I love new notebooks and journals and when in a stationers may pick up one beautifully bound journal after another exulting in the clean unblemished pages, imagining the words that might soon adorn them.      

Words that might be powerful to inspire others, release laughter, bring comfort, move to tears, encourage, thrill, excite or challenge...How exciting to think that as I write (or type) one letter after another, forming words, sentences and paragraphs, that those who ultimately read them might be so changed - What a privilege?
So why then do I go blank just when I need to write and where can I find my inspiration?  Beating my brain up just gives me a headache, staring at the screen makes me cross eyed. I search frantically within, thinking how can I say I'm a writer when I've no words to write? Is my inspiration hiding in a drawer?  Will I find it in someone else's words?  Well, they may inspire me but I still need to find my own voice.  Shall I intercede in tongues or get all my friends to pray? Make that 10th cup of tea or have yet another piece of chocolate? 
Well, all of these may help (especially the chocolate!) But what I really need is to relax in living my day, for that treasure of inspiration is within me, just as surely as God's Spirit is within me. In fact, it's so often His Spirit's whisper that brings alive the fleeting glimpse of an idea,  a noticing of something that is there but I haven't seen yet; a turning of my attention like a butterfly bobbing from one flower to another. If I follow that fleeting glimpse, where will it lead me?
So often I just dismiss it; I'm busy cleaning or trying to look busy writing...  Why take note of random thoughts that just waste time? But repeatedly I find its that very random thought that I need to capture.  It just may be the beginning of inspiration, a wonderfully unexpected path to explore.
When I walk Goldie, my dog, any gap in a fence is an enticement.  No matter that the path we're already on is full of interesting sights and smells, he must explore the unknown, so he squeezes through that gap and is gone - a minute, five minutes or more until he returns satisfied. That's my lesson in finding inspiration.  Will I dare to notice that gap, go through and follow to see where it leads me?  Just a minute or five minutes and I may be amazed at what I discover.

Tracy Williamson lives in Kent, sharing a home with her friend and ministry partner Marilyn Baker, plus Tracy's Hearing Dog, Goldie and Marilyn's Guide Dog.  Tracy has written several books about Hearing God's voice and experiencing inner transformation.  She has a blog www.journeyingod.blogspot.co.uk  and her ministry website is: www.mbm-ministries.org
                 

Monday, 26 March 2018

Making Money as a Writer



Sixteen years ago I left my full-time job as a journalist with the intention of taking up a career as a creative writer. What I naively didn’t realise was that I would never again earn a full-time salary with pension, holiday or sick leave. My earnings now – enough to keep the wolf from the door - are cobbled together from multiple sources and, like every other freelance I know, a good chunk of my time is spent sourcing income streams and pitching for paying work.

Now I understand that not all writers expect to or need to earn a living wage from their writing. Some of you reading this might have alternative income sources, are supported by a partner, or write only as a hobby or ‘ministry’. But for others like me, and new writers starting out, wondering how at all they can survive financially, here are some of the many ways I try to earn money from my writing:


Advances

Most commercial publishers offer an advance once a book has been accepted for publication. If you are fortunate enough to get that manuscript taken on and published, you should be paid something in advance. This is usually split into 2 payments: on acceptance of MS and then on publication. What the advance is varies from publisher to publisher – and author to author - and can be anything from hundreds to thousands of pounds. The advance must then be ‘earned back’ by the publisher through sales of your book before royalties start to be paid. (Note, sometimes very small publishers offer a royalty-only deal. The down side is you don’t get anything up front, but you start earning on it as soon as books start to sell.)


Royalties

Royalties are an agreed percentage of the profits. This again varies from publisher to publisher, but they average 10 - 12%  for print books. Ebooks pay a royalty between 25 – 40%.  For children’s books with illustrations, royalties are split equally between the author and the illustrator, so you will only get half what you would get for an adult book. Royalties for books published through co-publishing or self-publishing service providers (eg Create Space, Matador, Instant Apostle etc) – where you cover the costs of publication yourself – the royalty rate is considerably higher (30 - 60%).  Remember, conventional publishers don’t ask you to pay anything towards the cost of publication, so have to recoup that from sales before they pay you. I currently have books with three different publishers. Two of them pay royalties twice a year; one of them pays once a year. My self-published book via Create Space pays out once a month.


PLR & ALCS

If an author’s book is borrowed from a library in the UK or Ireland, the author is paid a small fee (around 8p). Authors need to register their books for Public Lending Right (PLR). Note authors must live within the European Economic Area to qualify. Payments are made once a year. More information here. Money can also be earned when your work is photocopied or used under some kind of copyright licence. This is collected by the Author Licensing Collection Service (ALCS) and paid twice a year.


One-off fees for articles

If you write freelance articles for periodicals, magazines and newspapers, or, as a number of ACW members do, contribute to devotional booklets, you will be paid a flat one-off fee. This differs from publication to publication and is negotiated up front. Sometimes ezines and blogs pay for content too, but not always. Articles and contributions to anthologies and booklets also qualify for ALCS payments, so don’t forget to register them.


Appearance / workshop fees

Authors are sometimes asked to give talks at various events. Payment for these things is patchy. Sometimes a fee is offered, sometimes not. The Society of Authors encourages authors to always ask for a fee. It’s up to you whether you are prepared to do it for nothing or not (for a charity for instance). But you should always ask for an opportunity to sell your books at the event.


Amazon affiliate programme

Amazon offer a commission on books sold via your website if you sign up to their affiliate programme. These are not just your books, but any books (or products) that you link to on your various websites or social media platforms. I get paid monthly for this. More information here.  


Google Adsense

You can allow Google advertising on your various websites. How much or how little is up to you. You can also request the removal of any ads that you do not like. I get paid monthly for this. More information here.


Fiona Veitch Smith is a writer and writing tutor, based in Newcastle upon Tyne.. Her mystery novel The Jazz Files, the first in the Poppy Denby Investigates Series (Lion Fiction) was shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger award in 2016. The second book, The Kill Fee was a finalist for the Foreword Review mystery novel of the year 2016/17, and the third, The Death Beat, is out now. Her novel Pilate’s Daughter  a historical love story set in Roman Palestine, is published by Endeavour Press and her coming-of-age literary thriller about apartheid South Africa, The Peace Garden, is self-published under the Crafty Publishing imprint. Her children’s books The Young David Series and the Young Joseph Series  are published by SPCK.


Sunday, 25 March 2018

Monster Taming for Writers, by Fiona Lloyd


When I first started writing, I hadn’t realised what a dangerous occupation it can be. Having spent some time researching this issue, I feel it now my duty to warn you of some of the scarier creatures you are likely to encounter at some stage in your writing career.

The Deadline Dragon likes it best when he can sneak up on you undetected. His favourite ploy is to lull his victim into a false sense of security by waiting at a safe distance and pretending to be harmless. The unsuspecting writer may be aware of the deadline dragon lurking on the periphery of his calendar, but reasons that he is so far away that there is no need to worry about it. As soon as the poor writer relaxes his guard, however, the deadline dragon pounces, causing terror, panic and sleepless nights. For some malevolent reason known only to themselves, deadline dragons often prefer to work in twos or threes, thus exponentially increasing the fear level.

The deadline dragon can be alarming even for the most experienced writer, but experts agree that it helps to be prepared, so aim to keep half an eye on them at all times.

The Bad-Review Bogeyman is one of the meanest creatures the writer is likely to come across, and he tends to strike without warning. He’s always happiest when his victim is reduced to a blubbering heap on the floor, particularly if she can be made to utter phrases along the lines of “I’ll never be any good at anything” or “Maybe I should take up bog-snorkelling instead”. The bad-review bogeyman strengthens his attack by nit-picking, by deliberately misunderstanding the writer’s work and – if he’s being really vicious – by making wildly untrue statements.

Because of the apparently arbitrary nature of his assaults, it’s difficult for the writer to fully protect herself against the bad-review bogeyman. Having a list of good reviews or compliments to throw back at him can lessen the impact. It’s also worth stocking up on medicinal supplies such as wine and chocolate.

Computer Critters also attack seemingly at random, although the discerning writer may notice them becoming more active when the deadline dragon is on the prowl. They like to create mischief by eating large portions of text, or by crashing the computer when the long-suffering writer is in the middle of something VERY IMPORTANT. They’ve been known to play elaborate games of hunt-the-thimble by moving files around the computer during the night, inducing early-morning meltdowns for the writer. The computer critter is believed to be a distant relative of the Phone-call Pixie, who can be relied upon to interrupt just when the writer has got into the flow of a particularly tricky sentence.

Computer critters are extremely irritating, but tend to have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Show them who’s boss by regularly saving and backing-up work – emailing it to yourself is a good strategy – and they will almost certainly retreat to a corner and sulk.


So, I trust this information has been helpful … are there any others I’ve missed?


Fiona Lloyd is vice-chair of the Association of Christian Writers and is married with three grown-up children. Her first novel, The Diary of a (trying to be holy) Mum, was published by Instant Apostle in January 2018. Fiona has also had short stories published in Woman Alive and Writers’ News and has written articles for Christian Writer and Together Magazine. Fiona works part-time as a music teacher, and is a member of the worship-leading team at her local church.
Twitter: @FionaJLloyd & @FionaLloyd16


Friday, 23 March 2018

Aggressive lemons and divine reassurances - by Helen Murray

I had an idea the other day.  I was in the middle of writing something and an additional idea at that moment was inconvenient.  I was completely focused, and then this idea sneaked up and wanted my attention. I swiped it away, fobbing it off with 'In a minute...' and it was so offended that it disappeared and hasn't been back.

I knew I should have written it down. I should have humoured it. I should have made a mental (better still physical) note of what I was doing, suspended that thought process for a moment or two and scribbled down the idea before resuming task one.

Silly me.

Now I'm left with a nagging sense that it was A Great Idea. One of the best. And now it's gone.

Two ideas came at the same time, you see, and I was flummoxed. Like waiting for ages and ages at a bus stop and then two buses come at once. As I clamber on the first, fumbling for my bus pass, the second sails on by. I will never know what it might have been like to ride on that bus; who I might have met, what I might have seen - because I got on the first one.

Can't think why I didn't make a note. I am such a compulsive note-writer that my desk, every handbag I own, the kitchen counter and bedside drawer all house multiple notebooks. I have scraps of paper all over the place, in cardigan pockets, stuck to cupboard doors, sticking out of books. I keep a notepad by my bed in which I regularly attempt to capture something that comes to me in the hours of darkness; a dream, an idea, a snatch of dialogue, or some vague and random thought that I don't want to let go of.

This Notebook By The Bed technique has been met with variable degrees of success. I have tried not putting the light on, to avoid waking the husband, or indeed to avoid waking myself up too much, but this is not to be advised. You can very easily find that you've written a paragraph, but with each line overlaying the first and rendering them unintelligible. Or the first three words are on the notepad, the rest on the bedside table or the library book. Or, as a friend of mine shared, it turned out that the pen had no ink and you're left trying to decipher the indentations.

But such a shame to risk missing the possibility of divine inspiration in those moments when consciousness is at its most mysterious and, potentially, creative. I heard that Thomas Edison was so convinced that new ideas would occur in those twilight moments between wakefulness and sleep that he used to doze in his chair with a pen in his hand so that as he nodded off, the pen would fall and wake him, just in time to recall and write down the revelation (when he retrieved the pen from under his chair).

Perhaps it worked for Mr Edison. For me - not so much, as they say. Very often my nocturnal scrawlings are illegible come the clear light of day; whatever it was that was burning in my brain did not translate down the neural pathway to my hand. Of the messages I could read, however, I have captured some remarkable insights that I thought I might share with you.

Consider the possibilities of the following:
'The lard in the bushes is too eggy. But THIS WILL BE ALRIGHT. It will be ALRIGHT!!'
or:
'Try putting ALL of them in.' 
Alternatively, this could be a fascinating story prompt:
'He asks her, and she just stares at him. It was too late.' 
No idea who he is, or who she is, or what he asked her, but the drama of those two sentences! Breaks your heart, doesn't it?

For sheer frustration value, I can't beat the following:
'THIS IS IT! THIS IS DEFINITELY IT.'
What?! What?!  I actually wrote that. What on earth was going on in my head?

Or then there's the terror of waking to find this written large on the notepad next to you:
"Don't do it."
On a lighter note, my husband once told me that I stirred as he came to bed after watching a late film. Without waking completely, I grasped his hand in both of mine and said with some urgency:
'The blue ones. You've got to watch the blue ones.' 
He wrote that one down, after he'd finished laughing.

Then there are the myriad of notes that I can't read. Excerpts include (and this is just what they look like - could be accurate, knowing my propensity to scrawl things that make no sense):
'Lemons. All of them used to be fussy lemons but now they're aggressive, unpleasant.' 
'Get your act together.'
Yes indeed. If only.

My absolute favourite, however, is the time I awoke and reached for the notepad, and wrote the following:
'No worries.' 
I even underlined it, and added a smiley face. It was clearly discernible as a smiley face, even though the eyes were slightly offset in a cubist kind of way.
'No worries. :-)' 
I like to think that one was from God.




Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, two daughters and her mum.

As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims, breeds Aloe Vera plants and collects ceramic penguins.

Helen has a blog: Are We Nearly There Yet? where she writes about life and faith.

You can also find her here:

Pinterest: @HelenMMurray
Twitter: @helenmurray01

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Psalm 121 Glasses by Emily Owen


My six year old niece and I were chatting recently, mostly about books. I’m pleased to say the family has a budding bookworm.
Then she said something I didn’t quite catch (I am deaf and need to lip-read).
“Pardon?”
She looked at me and said,
“Aunty Emily, you need to put your glasses on so you can read me.”

She hadn’t noticed I wasn’t wearing my glasses until something went a bit wrong.

She’s not the only one.
I think I sometimes forget I’m not wearing my glasses, too.
Not my real glasses – if I’m not chatting to six year olds about books, my real glasses are usually firmly on my nose – but my Psalm 121 glasses.
My ‘lift your eyes up’ glasses.
I forget.
A pair of glasses and a pen on an open notebook next to a laptop
As I sit,
frustrated,
staring at a blank screen,
not quite catching the words I reach for,
I forget.
Forget to put those glasses on,
so I can read Him.
What is God asking me to write?

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
Certainly not from a blank screen.
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
The One who made me.
He will not let my foot slip—
he who watches over me will not slumber.
The One who knows me.
Indeed, he who watches over me
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The One who sees me.
The Lord watches over me—
the Lord is my shade at my right hand;
The One who protects me.
The sun will not harm me by day,
nor the moon by night.
The One who guides me.
The Lord will keep me from all harm—
he will watch over my life;
My blank screen life when I forget, yes.
And my Psalm 121 life, too, when I remember.
The Lord will watch over my coming and going
- my eyes behind my glasses meet His gaze -
both now and forevermore.
(Based on Psalm 121)

“Aunty Emily, you need to put your glasses on so you can read me.”

My glasses don’t miraculously turn me into a lip reader who never makes mistakes.
Who always catches things first time.
Who never, in trying to follow someone’s speech, draws a blank.
But they certainly help.
Because, so long as I am looking in the right direction,
they help me see.
Just like Psalm 121 glasses, in fact….


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

"What is God saying to His People?"

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God, They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'"    Ps.92:12-15




Since my last blog Billy Graham has changed his earthly address to a heavenly one!   I was sent a link to his funeral service, and asked when viewing it to consider “What is God saying to you?”

Billy Graham preached the Gospel, nothing more, nothing less.  He lived a quiet life with his family, his joy was to talk of, and read from, the Bible.  I heard him speak twice at Earls Court and once in Bristol.  It wasn’t what he said, or how he said it, but the mantle of God he carried that anointed his words to touch and change hearts. In 1984 I worked each night behind the scenes to process letters written to those who committed their lives to Christ.  At 3.00 am those letters were collected for delivery later that day.  As they left the Holy Spirit filled us with His joy unspeakable, likened to the experience of the disciples in Acts.

I, among many others, feel God is preparing His people for another outpouring of His Spirit, and despite the negativity around us, anticipation is rising of what God is about to do in our nation. In November last year under the title 'Planted',  Psalm 92:12  became the focus of my church.  This same scripture in March was the basis of a prophetic word from Lara Vawser on the Elijah List. I've felt to copy this excerpt below to encourage, not just the elderly among us, but all who are waiting upon the Lord.

"The Lord showed me a fresh baptism of fire coming upon those 55 and over. A fresh baptism of the fire of His presence and fire of His love, such a beautiful deeper branding of His presence and love. Things that have attempted to hold you back, will be burnt away. Things that have laid dormant, will suddenly be ignited. A great activation is upon you, and a great birthing is taking place. The Lord is positioning you for the more. The preparation, the positioning, the purification, the pruning for what is upon us right now in the body of Christ. Many of you have been through an time of intense fire, and just when you thought you were coming out, the fire got hotter. The Lord showed me that major breakthrough is upon you. There is a DOUBLE PORTION is being released TO YOU and THROUGH YOU. I saw such powerful moves of the Spirit of God through you, signs, wonders and miracles and it awakened the fire in you for MORE. It awakened passion for Jesus like never before. Many of you being SUDDENLY awakened to what you carry and the weightiness of what you carry. Things that have tried to hide you, lie to you or lack of direction, suddenly falling off as you are awakened to what is possible in Jesus and the awakening of dreaming again, free from disappointment or regret of the past. It woke you out of any slumber, and filled you with a sense of excitement in greater ways for the plans the Lord has for you, that it is not over, it’s just the beginning."
                                                                 Ruth Johnson