Judging by Appearances

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by Yvonne Ortega Oh, no, I need a nickel for my four pennies. I can’t leave the kiosk with one gallon of water in the two-gallon jug. The kiosk won’t take pennies.   I looked for well-groomed men and women, who walked in or out of the grocery store by the kiosk. I tried to get their attention. Why did they turn away from me? That morning, I took a shower, shampooed my hair, and wore clean clothes that matched. With the words, ma’am, or sir, I addressed each adult with respect to no avail. Maybe someone put a sign…

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God Uses Unusual Teachers!

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by Ava Pennington We always had dogs during our forty-year marriage. And every dog had a very distinctive personality, much like people. My current dog is no exception. But ever since my husband died several years ago, Daisy has raised her antics to a whole new level. Daisy is an eight-year-old boxer who is both a blessing to my writing and a curse. Well, maybe not a curse, but she can definitely be a trial. Don’t get me wrong, I love her and her antics. But there have been times when I’m in the middle of writing and the words are flowing…

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How a Cat Changes its…um…Fur

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Today’s edition of Fascinating Fridays comes from CAN member Robin Currie. Thank you for bringing us your animals’ eyewitness account of the Nativity story today, Robin! I published Eyewitness Animals, Christmas Story, (Standard Publishing, now out of print) in the summer of 1997 about the Nativity story though the eyes of seven different animals who may have been there. They did not talk to humans but observed them and made internal comments. The animals all had names that described them. The usual ones were Clomper, Donkey, Wooly Lamb, and Sandy Camel. Then I added Twitter Sparrow observing angel activity in Galilee,…

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Start Your Morning Write

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Today’s timely message of encouragement comes Linda Goldfarb–CAN member, author, speaker, coach and dear friend to many who shares from the heart on her morning practice of daily writing. Thank you, Linda! I’ve written short term pieces daily for more than a decade. I began for my eyes only, as I’m a speaker who writes, you see. Until I chose to heed the Spirit to share my writings and now it seems I’ve started a fire of sorts. Not too hot for pre-believers, yet challenging, I hope, for those who have ears to hear. Here’s a taste. I pray its…

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A CASE OF TOO MUCH CONCENTRATION

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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…

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A Season with a Different Harvest

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I used to enjoy public speaking. I was thrilled when, during my senior year in high school, I was chosen to emcee our school Homecoming festivities. Although I must admit it wasn’t for a particularly good reason. According to Mrs. Monroe, who was my high school English teacher, my voice carried across the classroom. Even when I was trying not to be heard. Apparently, that made me a good choice for Homecoming emcee, because the sound system hadn’t yet been installed in our new high school gymnasium. Soon after that, I was emceeing at music festivals and churches across three…

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Finding a Balance That’s Just Right

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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,…

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First Impressions

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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…

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Collected

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            The bear showed up again last night, and trash lay all over the driveway and front lawn.              Black bears start bulking up from midsummer through fall before they hibernate for the winter here in the Sierra Valley. It’s easier for them to forage through people’s dumpsters than through the forest that surrounds our mountain valley, so they wander from neighborhood to neighborhood looking for fridge castaways.             Groaning, I began the gross and time-consuming task of collecting the litter. One more thing. It was one more thing on my cluttered to-do plate.             After a four-day conference halfway across the country, I…

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Asthma Treatments in History

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In the process of writing Testing Tessa, I learned that asthma is not a recent affliction but has been around for thousands of years. First mentioned in Chinese records around 2600 B.C.,  the disease wasn’t given its current name until around 600 B.C. when Hippocrates linked the symptoms to environmental triggers. He recommended a concoction of owl’s blood and wine to alleviate symptoms, not recognizing that asthma was, in fact, a disease. Through the years, other cultures attempted other treatments, including heating of herbs on a brick and then inhaling the fumes in 1500 B.C. Pliny the Elder, in 50 B.C., realized pollen…

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