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Showing posts from November, 2017

And

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'And' is a little word that we use a lot in speech, but should we use it so much in our writing? There are alternatives for some situations.

While - Instead of writing 'Terry played guitar and Andy the drums', try 'Terry played the guitar while Andy played the drums'. 'While' cannot be used all the time, but it's useful in some situations.

Punctuation - No, not the word, those little bits of magic that divide sentences, paragraphs, phrases etc. You could use a comma, a colon or a dash as in the following:
Terry played the guitar, Andy the drums.
Terry played a tuneful riff on the guitar: Andy hit the drums hard.

Ampersand - Okay, I know this is the same as an and, but when written it helps disinguish between an 'and' as a join and an 'and' as part of a name. 'Marks & Spencers and Dobbins & Sons played 'Land of Hope & Glory' over their tannoys at closing time.' It can cover a number of things that help make th…

The Joys in the Christian Life

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Image Credit:  All images are from Pixabay

What are the special moments in your Christian life?  Your welcome into church membership?  Your baptism?  The first time you read a lesson in church and especially if you got through it without stumbling over the words?  Your realising over time more of just what agonies our Lord went through for you?
I think as you go through painful experiences in life, it can open your eyes up more to what He must have gone through and so to a deeper appreciation of His sacrifice.  Maybe that is part of the point of painful experiences.  (In a way I hope so.  I’ve always found suffering that seems pointless to be especially difficult to bear.  Where something good can come out of a situation… well there is comfort to be had there and usually at a time when you need it).


My special moments include my full immersion baptism as I was a member of a Baptist church for a long time.  The water was cold incidentally and our minister at the time came down with a n…

When Words Simply Fail to Convey by Trevor Thorn

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Just at the end of last week, we  caught up with friends in Dominica. They are living in a wasteland brought about by Hurricane Marie on 18th September. For a considerable time after the hurricane’s devastating and terrifying passage over the island, there were no communications with the outside world at all. Every radio mast, like many, many buildings had been smashed to pieces by the brute force of the wind and horrific rain.
Slowly, painfully slowly, some aspects of normality are creeping back: but nine weeks after that most horrific night the hurricane struck, the only available WiFi link in Roseau, the capital, is in the local hotel.
Our friends, who have been through experiences of previous hurricanes and tropical storm Erica in 2015, from which the island was still recovering, are extremely resourceful but this catastrophe has massively traumatized them and they are living among a completely traumatised population. Everyone has a hideous story they can tell of that night – so wh…

(Not so) Great Expectations? by Lucy Mills

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Encouragement can come in unexpected ways from unexpected places.  Have you found that?

But have you also discovered its opposite - that discouragement can come from places where you would presume to have found encouragement?

This can feel particularly tough. There are those in our lives who we simply assume will support us. They love us, don't they?  Of course they will be interested in our lives.

It can cut very deeply when we find, instead, that they are very disinterested. At least, this is how it feels.

We writers can experience this as we practise our craft. And the craft can feel much harder when we are dampened by discouragement - from those we care about.

We have to do a rapid re-ordering of our expectations in order to cope, build defences where we never thought they would be necessary.

But what I find equally astonishing is that there are those who balance this out. Those who pull out all stops to support us, when we hardly feel our relationship with them merits it. Thos…

Writing With a 'Message' in Fiction

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by Fiona Veitch Smith
There is an ongoing debate in Christian writing circles about how appropriate it is to consciously have a ‘message’ to communicate through fictional stories. Some writers of overtly Christian Fiction readily admit they write in order to share God’s love and to hopefully lead readers to salvation. Then there are writers of Christian Fiction who want to write stories for other Christians that reflect Biblical values and standards that aren’t found in ‘secular’ novels.
Further along the spectrum are authors like me* who prefer to describe ourselves as writing general fiction from a ‘Christian worldview,’ where themes of forgiveness and redemption are subtly woven into the plot but are never the main point of the story, and the thought of proselytizing our readers is not something we are comfortable with. Then there are writers who are Christians who write completely secular novels and their lives – not their books – are their witness. (*This relates to my adult books.…

Staying out of range, by Eve Lockett

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Recently, we were offered the chance to stay in a Welsh cottage on the Pembrokeshire coast. The house was among trees, and a short walk to a secluded bay. Wonderful and refreshing. What I hadn’t anticipated was the effect on me of being out of internet and mobile phone range. I don’t have a smart phone, so I had no alternative access to my emails, and nor could I do any research on the internet. To begin with, I felt anxious, even irresponsible. What if someone set up a Doodle and needed to know my availability? What if something happened to a friend, and we didn’t hear about it? What if I wanted to buy a book on Kindle? Embracing the situation positively, I set out a pattern of writing, walking, cooking and visiting local sites of interest. I turned to the revision of a story I’d written a few years ago and had begun to reshape. After two hours of uninterrupted work, I realised that my imaginative concentration had improved, and also my joy in creative writing had returned. Not onl…

Reversing into Advent

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To my mind, one of the most important questions on any conference booking form is the one about any special dietary requirements. I confess that my instinctive answer is always: Yes, food – and lots of it! When I was growing up, my dad, my brother and I used to have heated debates about who got to eat the most roast potatoes at Sunday lunch. Which is probably why, 30 years and three children later, I’m no longer as slim as I used to be.


However, for the past couple of years or so, I’ve been trying to think more carefully about what I eat. (Apart from when we went to Brittany this summer, where the lure of cheese, crêpes and French cider was too much for my feeble will power.) So, I’ve felt rather exasperated for the past few weeks as our local supermarket has insisted on stacking huge tins of chocolates right by the entrance.


This week, when I went in, the confectionery goodies had been moved. Hurrah! In their place were rows and rows of Advent calendars…or, to put it more accurately, …

Hidden Stories 4—Desire and Slander

I’ve been digging buried stories out of the Letter of James, but I have to admit that this is not really a hidden story. I have invented it as an imaginary background to the teaching of  chapters 3 and 4. I hope that you will enjoy it as part of the continuing saga of Sophron the follower of Mashiach Yeshua. If you missed it, the last episode was here.

Part 1

Next door to Sophron’s expanding business in the Jerusalem market there’s a tiny shop, not much bigger than a cupboard. It belongs to Hannah the widow of Talmai, who also worships at the synagogue of Mashiach Yeshua where Sophron is an assistant pastor. Hannah scrapes a living making and selling baskets, and she’s not well off at all. ‘It’s hard on Widow Hannah,’ thinks Sophron, ‘because I also sell baskets, which, to be honest, are better than Hannah’s, since I don’t make them myself—I wouldn’t have the time or the skill—but purchase them from specialists. So we are in competition, definitely to her disadvantage. Wouldn’t it make …