Categories
Encouragement Writing craft

Finding God at the Spelling Bee

JulieLavenderheadshot2.jpg
Julie Lavender

Most of my newspaper bylines result from faith-based stories that I locate on my own. I enjoy sharing God-stories in the newspaper.

As a newspaper stringer, however, I often have the opportunity to cover news-related stories, and I can honestly say I enjoy most of those stories, too. Some are a bit of a yawner, though, and three-and-a-half hours of spelling words fell in that category when I covered a school district contest a couple of years ago. Towards the end, two young brilliant boys went back and forth for thirty-five rounds before Elikem Gato stumbled on the word “mukhtar,” and Eric Lim was declared the winner. 

Oh, dear – Elikem’s back, I mumbled quietly when I entered the auditorium to cover another spelling contest. This could go on forever.

I was lulled into amazement at the kids’ performance, just like last time, with the first pronunciation. 

When “folksiness” tripped up seventh-grader Nicholas Cortes, Elikem Gato correctly spelled “beneath” and “flail” to become the spelling bee champion. 

Gathering my journalist’s paraphernalia, I made my way to the winner. I snapped the obligatory trophy shot with his school principal and grabbed cute shots with his family, too. Both parents and two brothers congratulated Elikem and beamed with pride. 

All I need is a couple of quotes from the champion, and I’m outta here.

 “How did you prepare for the spelling bee, Elikem?

“I study a lot with my brothers – in the car, after school, at home. We call out words to each other. We grew up memorizing Bible verses at home, so memorizing words comes a lot easier for us.”

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Elikem Gato with his parents–and the championship trophy.

I paused from my writing and made eye contact with the youngster. His dad, a college professor, added in his beautiful Ghana-cadence, “We try to train our kids to live out their faith, to let the them know the importance of knowing Jesus and trying to live for him as best as God can help us.”

My grin widened almost as much as the trophy-holding champion’s, and I chatted with the family until the maintenance guy turned off the lights in the auditorium as a not-so-subtle hint.

I had my God-story for the newspaper after all, about a champion of words and the Word, and I couldn’t wait to get home to write the article.

Thank you, God, for reminding me that you’re with me in everything I write. Even when I don’t expect to find you there! 

BIO: Julie Lavender, author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories (Revell), loves finding God in the little stories and the big stories with each newspaper article she pens. Author, journalist, and former homeschooling mom, Julie is a wife, mother of four, and grandmommy of one.

Categories
Humor

On Horses and Storylines

Christie & Cosmo in Vegas
Christie & Cosmo in Vegas

Miss Christie’s little black ears twitch at each note as morning birds serenade us. We start most mornings (God, weather, and coffee supply willing) in our treetop screened porch, nestled under blankets, Bible and journal nearby. Very soon, Miss Christie and I will begin our days from the pleasurable confines of Cosmo, my Class B RV.

The three of us are hitting the road on Memorial Day, heading to Oklahoma City, where we will reside in an RV lot for a ten-day horse show. The Amazing Miss Clara—my nine-year-old quarter horse mare, Jess, our trainer and several other dear friends will meet us there.  Anticipation has my arthritis flaring already and I am giddy as a schoolgirl in June.

After way too many weeks of COVID, Netflix, and Cheezits, I am beyond

Miss Clara
Miss Clara

ready for a road trip. And for the blood, sweat, tears, joy, and laughter of enjoying every second of my equine love affair. Few things make me happier than spending time with Clara. I know all of her little secrets, where she loves to be scratched, how best to brush her in all her favorite places. I know her smell, her nicker, and the feel of her body in any number of communication modes.

Just thinking about her makes me happy. As I was plotting my current novel, I wanted to throw in this kind of passionate love and demonstrate how it could morph into an addiction. For extra fun, I propelled the whole idea into the near future and asked how that addiction could be played out in VR (virtual reality). Having set the stage, I wondered what that addiction might look like at a fancy dinner party where my heroine finds herself a bit on the bored side. Cool things happen—but that’s a story for another day.

Interesting storylines come from everyday occasions. And from our best of friends—four-legged and otherwise.

Catherine Finger
Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Her newest novel, Capsized by Death, is the fourth book in her award-winning Jo Oliver thriller series. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineFingerAuthor/

 

Categories
Marketing Writing Business

Oprah Works For Me

Oprah Winfrey is onSusy w guide doge of the world’s most successful and influential women. Her TV show is broadcast to 145 countries across the globe. Oprah’s Book Club has over 2 million online members and can make a book an instant bestseller. Oprah’s website averages 7.5 million unique visitors a month. Her satellite radio show draws millions more. And next fall Oprah launches her own TV network called OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). So it might be a surprise that Oprah works for me.

Categories
Writing craft

Story Part II: Where To Begin

Gail Gaymer Martin Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin@aol.com While you read this, I am in Germany on tour singing with a Christian chorale. I love Germany so this is a special treat for me. And though I’m there, I didn’t want to leave out the next  part of the Story Series which I’m providing for writers and readers alike.

Story is taking an idea and bringing it to life by transporting the reader from one world to another through the experiences of a character on a mission striving to reach a goal with a purpose. It captures the reader along with the characters so they can also experience the journey through the emotion, trials and joys of the main character they’ve grown to love. The next question is where to begin?