Hello from CAN Secretary Jeanette Hanscome. Like most CAN members, my writing life is often complicated by . . . well . . . life. As I write, edit, and teach I am also dealing with some stuff that will eventually provide riveting material for a novel or devotional book but for now is just plain discouraging and frustrating. As if the circumstance wasn’t upsetting enough on its own, I’ve also had to accept that I can’t do anything now but pray. I’ve argued, debated, and spoken the truth in love only to discover that my gift for words will not change things.
This is Jocelyn Green, and today I have the pleasure of offering a book review of Cheri Cowell’s Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life. Many times, it’s easy to discern a good choice from a bad one. But when neither option is bad or wrong, how does one know which path to choose? While most of us would prefer the proverbial “handwriting on the wall” to show us the way, that kind of unmistakable message from God is rare. But according to Cowell’s book, that’s OK. We don’t need it. In fact, instead of trying to guess what God’s will is, she writes, we should instead focus on discerning His “way.” When we know God’s way, we’ll be better able to choose our own.
My article last month was titled Organization to go.
Wouldn’t it be nice if things were that simple? Organization could be handed to
us the same way we’re able to get our clothes from the dry cleaners, fast food
from McDonald’s, and prescriptions from Walgreens. But it’s not that simple. We
have to work for it.
As mentioned in last month’s article, we all have the same
twenty-four hours in a day. Have you ever been amazed at how some people can
get so much done during the day? I’m a big fan of to do lists and prioritizing.
With the explosion of PDA’s and smartphones there are many ways to organize
your time, you could even call it organization-to-go, after all. Some hold the
opinion that it takes too much time to figure out these devices and instead,
they rely on the old tried and true method of pen and paper. As long as you
have the list, the format doesn’t matter.
You'd think that since I'm a country gal I'd be the laid back type. Sadly flexibility is not one of my strengths. I always have a plan. And barring flood, famine or threat of death I stick to it. My kids have told me on numerous occasions that I need to be more spontaneous. I’m practicing—honestly.
Jan here, enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon in the foothills of the Sierras. Today I’m considering the readers of the books we are writing–the essential person that we must keep in mind.
Over the years I’ve critiqued quite a few nonfiction proposals and manuscripts. The writers pored out their souls in their manuscripts, sometimes to the point of (figuratively) bleeding on the page. Each hoped their story would make a difference in the lives of others who had experienced similar struggles.
I found the ideas of many of the stories compelling. And yet, for some, the delivery left me feeling alienated from or cautious about the heart of the message. Why?