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General Humor Inspiration for Writers

A CASE OF TOO MUCH CONCENTRATION

I’m the kind of writer who tends to be totally absorbed in what I’m working on as if on a cloud of inattentiveness to anything else. 

This can prove dangerous at times or outright funny. This was especially true when I lived alone in a small housing project while in Jacksonville, Florida. Since no harm was actually done, I laughed at the absurdity.

I had just settled in to tackle long overdue writing projects when the phone rang. My neighbor had called to give me a heads up.

“Got some bad news to tell you.”

I didn’t want to hear any bad news, but something told me I needed to. “Go ahead.”

“There’s been another break-in attempt.”

“On Mother’s Day?”

“Oh, yes. About 9:30 in the evening. On the other side of you.”

“Alvin and Lourdes’s house?”

“The rascals cut the wires underneath the meter box, disarming the alarm and power. Then they tried to break-in with a screwdriver. Both Alvin and Lourdes were home at the time.”

I shivered with the realization. Not only did the attempted robbery happen within a few feet of me, I had been totally unaware what was going on. Blissfully at my computer, I hadn’t noticed a thing—not even the police and the power company when they had reportedly arrived soon after.

We laughed over my ostrich lifestyle. My wonderful neighbor said if my house catches on fire, she’ll be sure to call me and let me know so I can get out. Then again, I have a bad habit of leaving my phone somewhere else than where I’m writing.

Glad I have a Lord who knows my weakness and keeps me safe from inattentiveness.

Categories
Encouragement General Humor Inspiration for Writers

Finding a Balance That’s Just Right

Goldilocks had the right idea: neither extreme worked for her—she chose the one that was just right. 

The same is true of social and civic commitments. Too many commitments cause us anxiety and stress and result in poor performance in one or more areas of our lives. Often, that’s the area that affects our family. We might wish we could be a superwoman and do it all, but we can’t. 

Something will suffer—our health or our family’s well-being, a relationship with a friend, or maybe even our position at work. Saying yes too frequently can lead to anger and resentment, if that yes causes us unnecessary stress or makes us put our family in second place. 

Before giving an automatic yes to a request, we women need to learn to first say, “Let me pray about that decision.” Sometimes saying yes is the easy way to keep peace or get the job done. 

But at times, saying yes means robbing someone else of the blessing of taking on that role or responsibility.

We need to pray diligently, read God’s Word, and seek counsel from mentors, if necessary, before making a decision that might over-commit us. And to abide in his will, we just might have to learn to say no more often.

On the flip-side, too few commitments don’t benefit us, either. God commands us to serve others. Even if we’re busy with work and family, we need to seek a balance so that we can still find ways to bless and serve those around us in some manner. Volunteering at places like a women’s shelter, homeless shelter, fostering organization, our child’s classroom, or church takes our mind off the stresses in our lives and brings a peace that comes from obedience to God’s instructions. Helping others helps us even more. 

Be like Goldilocks (aside from the breaking and entering, of course) and find a balance that is “just right” for you. 

Julie Lavender is the author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories (Revell) and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime (Z Kids/Penguin Random House). She’s had seasons of balance, and seasons of chaos, but she’s happiest when she allows the God of peace to reign in her love, equipping her with everything GOOD for doing his will. The above story is an excerpt from Be Still and Take a Bubblebath, a devotional she co-wrote with Michelle Sauter Cox. 

Categories
Encouragement General Humor Inspiration for Writers

First Impressions

Today’s Fascinating Friday insight comes to us from award-winning author Linda Rooks.

It was my first book to be published, and I was excited about flying to Colorado Springs to meet my publishers at their headquarters. 

Coming from Florida and having been warned of the possibility of a late spring snowstorm in Colorado, I carefully picked out my clothes for the trip to make the best impression, strategic about packing a separate suitcase for cold weather and snow.  But the next day when the plane arrived in Colorado, my suitcase with my cold weather gear was missing.

I awoke the next morning to find a blanket of freshly fallen snow outside my hotel window. Wanting to look my best, I donned my new suit, fussed with my hair, then pondered what to do about shoes. My boots were in the cold weather suitcase that had been lost, and all I had otherwise were the open toe shoes I wore in Florida. One with high heels, one with low. I decided to go with the low. 

When I arrived at my publishers, I was surprised at the long winding snow-covered walkway leading from the parking lot to the front entrance. I looked at my open-toe shoes and the distance to the front entrance and sighed. 

Nevertheless, raising my umbrella to protect my carefully coifed hairdo from the falling snow and blustery weather, I gingerly stepped onto the snowy path. My feet immediately sank into two inches of snow.

Halfway up the walkway, a gust of wind seized my umbrella and pulled it inside out. 

Mustering all the confidence that every new author should have, I continued slushing through two inches of snow in open-toe shoes, with my umbrella inside out and my button-less coat flapping back and forth in the wind. 

And there they were, watching from the front door and holding it open—all smiles— with a large banner behind, saying, “Welcome Author Linda W. Rooks.”

Yes, my publishers all had a good laugh at this Florida girl wearing open-toe shoes on the worst snow day of the year. My only consolation was that I had enough sense not to wear high heels. 

 Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her award winning book, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated, and her first book, Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation walk with those in the midst of marital breakdown to bring hope and practical guidance to those desiring reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family, HomeLife, and Today’s Christian Woman. Linda has participated in numerous radio and television interviews across the North American continent. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry and the classes they lead.

Categories
General Humor Inspiration for Writers

God’s Humor Is Pretty Fascinating

I’m always fascinated when I read the Bible and identify God’s humor. That’s what happened when I was writing God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-written with my husband, Larry). Our book examines the questions God asks in the Bible. His questions are fascinating because He asks as if He doesn’t know the answers. But of course, He does and that’s what makes it humorous. He knows everything and asks questions to make people think and examine their motives and comprehension.

The book of Job is filled with God asking questions. They are fascinating because many of them are asked with humorous tongue-in-cheek. After God allowed Job to vent his frustration, He pointed things out in His created universe that are pretty outrageous. In Job 38:4, God says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

It would be easy to picture God as a vindictive, sarcastic, and mean-spirited being because of this wording. But knowing God as a lovingly-purposed God gives us confidence He responds to us in only redemptive and loving ways—even when He’s using humorous, huge contrasts to point out His outrageous obvious deeds—and our lack of power. He’s saying, “Have you forgotten the beyond-comprehension things I’ve done and how it contrasts with you? You can trust in Me. If I can lay the foundation of the earth, I’m in charge. But let me know where you were at the time. Maybe I didn’t see you.”

Thankfully, Job responds with humility after God compares Job’s abilities to God’s incredible works. I don’t have any trouble imaging God’s huge smile as He’s asking His question. He smiles at us also when we understand how He is reaching out to us.

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books and a thousand blog posts and articles. She has spoken in 9 foreign countries and over 30 US States. Her books include women’s Bible studies, devotions, Christian living topics, and commentaries. She and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Categories
Encouragement Humor

What’s Wrong With These Boots?

Author Yvonne Ortega blesses us with today’s Fascinating Friday post!

Ouch! What’s going on? These boots are supposed to be my comfortable ones. The rain is attacking me vertically and horizontally. I need to get the trash can to the curb for pickup. Gremlins must have put nails in my knee-high rain boots. 

They were buried in the back of the hall closet. Only gremlins could get in there. 

I looked down at those shiny black boots. My other shoes fit. My snow boots fit, and the company that made them made the rain boots in the same size. 

Forget the logic. That’s for mathematicians and scientists. I prefer languages, music, and dancing. I would do well as Mary Poppins.  

Help me, Lord. I can sing and dance in the rain but to suffer for an unknown reason seems unfair. Your servant Moses put up with those grumblers in the desert for forty years. For one act of disobedience, you didn’t let him go into the Promised Land. What did I do wrong?

I have writing deadlines to meet. Either stop the rain or the pain without taking me home early. Please find me a remedy.

Hmm. Last year, women saturated their legs in Vaseline to slide into tight jeans. This year, they wear yoga pants. I can coat my feet with Vaseline before I wear those boots again. 

Once back in the house, I removed those torture chambers.

I put my hand into the left boot. Out came a balled-up plastic bag. The same thing happened with the right boot. I remembered a trip to Canada before the pandemic. It rained. On my return, it didn’t. To prevent crushing the boots in my suitcase, I put a plastic bag in the toe of each one.

The boots look great. My feet are crushed, but I can write.

Yvonne Ortega speaks with honesty and humor as she shares her struggles to help women find freedom, joy and peace in life’s challenges. She’s multi-interviewed for her Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Book Series. Yvonne celebrates life at the beach where she walks, blows bubbles, builds sandcastles, and dances.

Categories
Humor Writing craft

My Notorious Mind Game

Today’s Fascinating Friday post comes from Joan C. Benson. Thank you, Joan!

The quirks of this writer are about to be laid bare before the world. Oh, no! What will they think? After years of self-analysis, I reached an “Ah ha!” moment not long ago. My trick may amuse you, or even better, might help you in your creative endeavors. I hope my revelation will at least be fascinating since this is a “Fascinating Friday” post.

Have you known people who set their clocks ahead so they won’t be late? I used to laugh at this ploy. I was sure my brain would override the trick and think, “Oh, no worries. I have an extra ten minutes.” 

For the backstory to my discovery, I confess. I began as a contract writer. I was hired, mostly by educational publishers, who always seemed behind schedule. There would be scopes and sequences, outlines and projections, but the project was often behind when it began. The managers, editors, and supervisors, from my observation, lived in a constant state of stress.

As a novelist, I had no high-pressure stakes. I had learned how to keep deadlines because paychecks were tied to nailing guidelines and deadlines. I even worked ahead of schedule whenever possible. To do this, I mapped out my due dates on the calendar for each aspect of my writing. However, when I faced my own creative projects, no structure focused my writing. I lost momentum. The conclusion in this quirky story is I had to “set my clock ahead” to trick my brain! I had to devise deadlines on my own. Otherwise, every little squeaky wheel became a saboteur. 

Perhaps this has made you grimace, giggle, or acknowledge how challenging time management can be. Working from home as an author is not an easy feat when life beckons with demands. I pray this might help you in some small way. Or, give you a laugh.

Joan C Benson is a wife, mother, grandmother, educator, and author/speaker. She has been a freelance writer for over thirty years. Her debut historical fiction novel, His Gift, was released by Elk Lake Publishing in 2020. She has been published in magazines and on CBN.com. She is a blogger and you can find her at www.joancbenson.com

Categories
Encouragement Humor

On Reading

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

Reading—and the love for it—is not a genetic trait. Parents who read wish it was. However, reading is developed as a love, a passion, or it is shunned just like any other activity. Find me a person who loves to read, and I can find that person’s antithesis who would rather wait for the movie or TV show to come out.

Or just play video games instead. (Maybe “evil twin” is a more apropos term for this character…Just kidding!)

Case in point. I’m a writer. I have three daughters. Two of them like to read. One hates it and does it out of necessity, not enjoyment. All three grew up in the same house, had the same parents—one of them an author in the children’s later years.

The other day, I was at the home of the one who isn’t a reader. She proudly showed me her new bookshelf in their new office area of their new home. On the top shelf sat a copy of all my books, save two (one of them a reprint copy, so we won’t hold that against her). She thought she had them all.

The Letters

She talked about how she recommends them, although she’s never read all of them. She says it with a smile. We understand each other, although I know reading would enhance her life in ways she has yet to experience.

She’s proud of her daddy, and that means a lot. She supports me—her father, the author—whenever she can. But no matter what the book, even my latest novel (and she has read it, by the way, albeit the first pre-publication manuscript), my daughter still smiles and make no bones about her unwillingness to read, even though The Letters was just nominated as a finalist for a prestigious award and came in Second Place is another prestigious award.

Would I love her more if she did read all of them? No. Of course not.

We’d just have more to talk about, that’s all.

 

Kevin Thompson is a former English teacher who believed that if he was going to teach students about writing, he should put his money where his mouth was. Since that time, he has written three award-winning novels and serves now as an assistant principal at a public high school.

Website:                                  www.ckevinthompson.com/

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:           www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/

Facebook:                               C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page

Twitter:                                   @CKevinThompson

Instagram:                               ckevinthompson

Pinterest:                                 ckevinthompsonauthor

ACFW Fiction Finder:           https://www.fictionfinder.com/author/detail/595

BookBub:                                C. Kevin Thompson

 

 

 

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Mining For Gold

Miss Wetherham's Wedding
Miss Wetherham’s Wedding

We think of gold primarily as either bullion or jewelry, but the precious metal has many other uses. In the old days, it was used for tooth fillings and even the odd false tooth. Nowadays, uses range from industrial to medical, to agricultural. For instance, gold is used to treat pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It is liquefied, injected into muscle tissue, and reportedly helpful in 70 percent of cases. 

Writing historical fiction doesn’t only mean researching the time period of the book’s setting. For my newest release, Miss Wetherham’s Wedding, my heroine owns the controlling number of shares in a tunneling gold mining venture that’s gone dry. As I dug up whatever I could find on gold mining, I came across some interesting facts most of us probably aren’t aware of.

Another interesting tidbit is that 10 billion tons of gold circle the world in seawater! Before you start panning, the gold isn’t just floating around in specks or nuggets. In fact, the cost of recovering it unfortunately exceeds its value.  

And here’s something to wrap your brain around:  worldwide, the amount of steel poured in just one hour is more than the amount of gold that’s been extracted in all of recorded history! That’s how rare gold is. 

In my book, Miss Wetherham has neither the money to explore the mine for more gold, or the heart to try it even if she did, for there is danger involved. For these reasons, she finds herself in precarious financial straits–the perfect place to introduce a hero, even if he is, by all report, a rogue. 🙂       

Linore Rose Burkard An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense, contemporary romance, and romantic short stories. Linore resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots. 

Categories
Encouragement Humor Marketing Writing Business

Mistaken Identity, Grateful Heart

Thank you to CAN member and contributor Michelle Medlock Adams for today’s edition of Fascinating Fridays!

I had just finished signing my latest children’s book at the Guideposts Booth at the largest Christian Book Show. To celebrate my signing, my mom and my sister took me to lunch at a beautiful restaurant in downtown Atlanta. As we studied the menu, I couldn’t help but notice a group of women sitting at a nearby table. You know why I noticed them? Because they were all staring at me.

I tried to ignore them, but their staring turned to pointing and whispering. I started feeling a little self-conscious. Just as the waitress brought our food, I watched as one of the ladies slowly walked toward our table.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said, “but I just had to meet you. Your book literally changed my life.”

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

People often ask me where I get the inspiration for my stories. The truth is, I never know! Sometimes, it comes from anarticle in a magazine. Other times, it may be an interesting photo, a visit to a museum, or a treasure scooped up at a garage sale. I once got the idea for a historical romance while touring an abandoned silver mine in Calico, California! But one thing I can say for certain—the best ideas have always come from personal experience. That includes the inspiration for my latest mystery, Dairy Disaster, part of the Mysteries of Lancaster County series from Guideposts Publications.

I was very fortunate to have knowledgeable friends I could reach out to when researching this story. My childhood was spent in a very rural corner of Michigan, a fertile land ripe with fruit orchards and dairy farms. Though many of the circumstances were very different from those in my book, the staff at Country Dairy in Shelby, Michigan, were a huge help in getting some of the facts straight regarding the processing of milk and I am very thankful for their willingness to share information. For example, did you know that a cow’s diet can affect what the milk on your table tastes like? Or thatall females are called heifers until their first pregnancy? After birth they become “cows” and must be bred every year to continue producing milk.

Country Dairy is a family owned business whose history stretches as far back as the 1880’s. Today, the business employs about 125 people in the production of cheese, milk, ice cream and other dairy related products. In 2004, they opened their first retail store on the farm—an interesting tidbit that I incorporated into the writing of my story. Country Dairy’s Farm Store and Moo School have become field trip destinations for school children and a tourist stop for guests from around the world. If you’d like to learn more, please visit https://www.countrydairy.com/ and schedule a tour. Tell them I sent you.

 

Elizabeth Ludwig
Elizabeth Ludwig

Elizabeth Ludwig is a USA Today bestselling author and speaker. Besides writing, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and curling up with a good book. Recently, she was honored to be named a double finalist in the 2020 Selah Awards, one for Garage Sale Secrets, part of the of Lancaster County series from Guideposts and the second for her contribution to The Coffee Club Mysteries collection from Barbour Publishing. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.