Categories
Encouragement General Inspiration for Writers

Collected

            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 came home to a cluttered desk, writing deadlines, numerous Zoom meetings, and shopping and other prep for a four-day writing retreat I would host just a few days later.

            I felt as scattered as the trail of trash spread out in front of me. If I could only collect myself, I muttered as I picked up eggshell fragments and cans of Dinty Moore beef stew–my husband’s go-to meal when I’m gone.

            How would I get it all done? Why did I say yes to so many responsibilities? What was I possibly forgetting?

            Back inside a half hour later, I determined to clear my desk. After I filed away receipts, bills, and sticky note reminders, I saw what I had forgotten. My Bible sat there waiting for me to read that God collects scattered people (Jeremiah 28:25-26). He patiently allows me to blow away in the winds of struggle and hardship and even prideful too-much-to-do, so that I get to the place where I just cannot pull things together on my own. And then he gathers to himself those fragments of me that I have become, sets me securely in the place he has made for me, and gives me the security of his arms.

            And somehow he makes beauty out of a collection of litter.

Janet McHenry is an award-winning speaker and author of 24 books—six on prayer, including the best-selling PrayerWalk. A former high school English teacher, she and her husband Craig raised four children in the Sierra Valley, where he is a rancher. She would love to connect with you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.

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
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
Writing craft

Writing the Truth

"MaryAnn

We writers have a tremendous responsibility to write the truth. Look at what has happened to our country because the media, as a group, has refused to write and speak the truth. This failure to write and speak the truth has brought our great country to the brink of tyranny.