Showing posts from November, 2018

Achieving Goals

Did you set any writing goals at the start of the year?  As we rapidly approach the end of another 12 months, how many of those goals did you achieve or are on the way to achieving? Someone set some kind of goal here but I've yet to see this one achieved!  Pixabay image If it is any comfort, I haven’t met all of mine either (though a number are underway).  I like to set some targets for the year because I’ve found having something positive to work towards incredibly helpful.  I am much more likely to achieve something having done that.   I suppose the goals seem more real when written down so it makes me get on with them. Setting goals is a good idea.  You know what you're aiming for.   Pixabay image. Do I “beat myself up” when it comes to NOT achieving all I would have liked to have done?  Absolutely not.  Life DOES get in the way at times and it can be a question of writing what you can when you can and hopefully getting to do more at a later date.  I

How Can I Keep From Singing? by Trevor Thorn

In the summer, I was introduced to a lovely old song which has American roots, called ‘How Can I Keep from Singing'. I felt I wanted to re-construct the song bearing in mind those who through their personal darknesses find it difficult to ‘keep on singing’, when it is widely accepted that singing builds a sense of well-being. Here is what emerged. I hope it will be helpful to some and enjoyed by others. The tune can be found in a number of hymnaries including Common Ground No 51:  Worship & Rejoice 2003 - 424 :  Lift Up Your Hearts 443   Evangelical Lutheran 2006 - 763   Also in a Sankey and Moody book No 356 . Sing Of The East Tune: How can I keep from singing. (These verses are written in a sequence which follows the daily path of the sun in the northern hemisphere. If sung in the southern hemisphere, north and south need to be reversed: east and west remain as they are positioned in the hymn as both hemispheres rotate in the same direction.) Sing of the east, as

In the know by Tracy Williamson

The power of words to create a deeper understanding of what cannot be easily seen is an amazing reality and responsibility.  Some say that a picture speaks more than a 1000 words and I agree that it is very powerful.  I have pictures all over my house, most of them chosen because they have stirred a deep response within me.  A picture truly can get to the heart of an emotion or give the shape and form to what has only previously been imagined.  Yes there is something about words and the way they are put together that enable you to understand, empathise and identify.  So those of us who write novels will create characters whose viewpoint becomes our lens on life even if personality wise they are very different to us. Somehow the act of creating that character enables their feelings and experiences to be opened up so that we are seeing them from within not just gazing at the external view. Not all of us are novelists (I've never written one myself though I would love to) but the pr

Heaven’s High Achievers, by Eve Lockett

As Advent approaches, our home group is studying some of the parables Jesus told about his coming again in glory. Among them is the parable of the talents, a parable that could be said to speak very directly to gifted and artistic people. Or does it? A talent used to be the term for a weight measure of precious metal and then became an amount of money. It is the parable itself that has given us the term ‘talented’ to mean gifted or skilled. In the parable, those servants entrusted with talents were, on their master’s return, honoured for putting them to productive use, while the servant who hid his talent in the ground was rejected. Is Jesus telling us that we should use our gifts to the full, and that those who have talents and don’t use them are displeasing to God? I live in an area where people are terrifyingly high achievers. They have distinguished professions, successful children, lovely homes, creative output, a strong work ethic and a moral, responsible outlook on life.

Forty years on ..... by Eileen Padmore

Last month we took ourselves off to a remote stretch of Northumbrian coastline to mark our fortieth wedding anniversary.  Cosied up in a little stone cottage perched on the cliff edge – with sea views from every window and overlooking its own beach – we wallowed in the memories. A tad unsociable?  The thing is, there are so many happy, hilarious, poignant, sad (even devastating) moments special to us that would send others into glazed boredom. First, we waded through a minefield of cliches like:  'Where has the time gone?'  'It only feels like yesterday.'  'How can we be forty years older when we haven't changed a bit (inside)?' We have changed a lot, of course, by stealth.  A comparison of photos then and now blows apart any illusion that we haven't aged as much as our peers.  So what does the Bible say about forty years?  According to an online search, it signifies a time of 'testing, trial and probation'. Well that's not wrong!  I

Something More Than Writing

I have a confession to make. Let me put it like this. What do you do if: You believe that the Christian writer’s calling is to share in the church’s prophetic ministry   You feel a burning message in your bones   Other Christians seem unaware of it   You have no platform, not being a minister, priest, preacher, or recognised speaker or writer on Christian matters? Well, that is me. In 2016 the message was only a mild foreboding. I wrote a piece of fiction at the Scargill Writer’s Weekend about a German Christian taking the inventory of a Jewish businessman detained (with his full approval) by the new Nazi government, who is shocked to learn that the Jew has become a fellow Christian. I posted it on the ACW blog just before the Brexit vote, adding ‘You will probably know by now the outcome of the EU referendum. This piece may or may not be relevant. I rather hope not .’ Embed from Getty Images It had begun: the awareness of the approac

Tall trees and abject terror - by Helen Murray

I had a moment the other day. A 'kairos' moment, where things suddenly become clear, or a moment where the penny finally drops and something that you've known intellectually crystallises into something that you understand on a profound level. Whatever they're known as - I had one of those.  "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus...: Hebrews 12:2 Keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus has been my aim for many years now, with hugely varying degrees of success. There are times when I glimpse Him, times when I can't find Him, times when I stop looking completely, but I have carried this exhortation with me since the early days of my faith. I've understood it in abstract terms; I should keep in mind the things of God, I should look to Jesus for my example of how to live, I should look at Him rather than allow my eyes to wander and lead me into temptations of all kinds. All those things. And then there came the day

What's Your Trombone? By Emily Owen

Last weekend, I watched a programme about the composers Vaughan Williams and Holst. The programme detailed the life and work of the two composers.   They were opposites in many ways, and yet their love of music brought them together. Holst suffered from weak lungs all his life and learned to play the trombone when he was young, in the hope it would help. As a composer, he took the unusual step of giving the trombone section of the orchestra opportunity for solo parts, as well as giving the same opportunity to other sections.   Unusual, because the trombone section tends to have more of a supporting the whole role. I thought, what’s my Trombone Equivalent? What have I had to learn to do as a result of (perceived) weakness? For me, one answer is rest.   I am unable to keep going as much as I might like to, which used to frustrate me.   Ok, if I’m honest, it still does frustrate me at times. But, by treating rest as Holst treated his trombone section, it frustrates me less.

Embrace your destiny

"As you come to him the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God, and precious to him - you also like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house... "     1 Peter 2:4 Many lives have been invested in writing books with the dream that among the millions published each day ours will be found.   My desire in writing books to romance the soul and spirit is to reveal God’s love for His people and draw them to become part of His spiritual house.    With that in mind my husband and I recently invested in a Destiny Activation Course believing it would assist us to see, with the Lord’s help, how that could become a reality.  We found every participant on the Course had a different call to serve the Lord, but sadly their church didn’t provide encouragement, prayer or financial support to help them.   One couple, with two sets of twins, had in faith, sold up their home called to join a farming project in India.   At best, many

Living Ideas

I mentioned last month that by now I'd be in the throes of NaNoWriMo. I'm delighted to say that it's going really well. The prep was well worth it, and all the thinking an notetaking paid off. I diarised writing time and have been able to stick to it about 80\90% of the time. Also, instead of doing the avg word count per day (1667), I'm doing what's called 'Reverse NaNo', where you start with a much higher daily word count - in the 3000s and the following weeks, the daily counts go down. It really helped to get the high word count in the first 10 days, and as you read this, I'll be heading for 40,000 words. It's been fun so far, but I need to get finished by the 26th as I'm going away! So no faffing about for me :) Here's a peak at my draft cover. The other November writing joy was the South Wales Christian Writers Day in Porthcawl. Bridgend. The main speaker was Mandy Bayton . She shared about the opportunities God has opened up for he

More About the Power of Words by Georgie Tennant

Contrary to popular belief, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is not the longest word in the English language.   This new-found knowledge ruined my children’s week when I told them; it’s going to take them some time to master its replacement, which, in case you were wondering, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis , - a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of fine silica particles from a volcano.   SWIMS still says SWIMS when you look at it upside down (try not to crick your neck as you contort to see if this is true). Around 1000 new words are added to the dictionary every year (my excuse for being so out of touch with the language of the ‘yoof’ I teach). These little gems (and I know, I’m safe, amongst fellow word-admirers, to reveal my inner geek and call them that) made themselves known to me as I gathered some thoughts for a sermon I preached last week, about the power of words (should you wish to spend a further 16 minutes dwelling on the topic, m

Francine Rivers on writing by Claire Musters

I recently had the enormous pleasure of interviewing Francine Rivers for Premier Christianity magazine. Having devoured most of her books, getting a chance to meet Francine was definitely up there on my bucket list! The magazine article featured in the November issue, but, as Francine rarely gives talks or interviews anymore, I wanted to share with you some of the other insights she gave into her writing life that we simply couldn't fit into the article. Francine began her writing career as a writer of steamy historical novels. She reminisced about how, once she became a Christian, she experienced writers’ block – and it changed the focus of her work: “I couldn’t write for about three years and I couldn’t figure out why and I think that writing had really become an idol in my life…In that three year period that’s when I started reading the Bible and seeking the Lord, and I realized that he was basically saying to me: ‘You say you want to be my child but you don’t ev