Saturday, August 6, 2022

Writing Prompts and a Manicured Life

A small group of us have been meeting at the bookstore twice a month for several months. We pray together. We read our work and critique. We share good books and information about writing, the writing process and upcoming events. For those of us without a manuscript in process, we read from "writing prompts". They are fun and they help us to stay in the writing mode between projects and oftentimes, they are quite moving. We are learning about one another and about writing style and about direction. For example, one week we were prompted: I started to write the truth...

I started to write the truth about my life but my neighbor's truth seems so much prettier. Our yards alone tell the difference between a well-put-together life and one that is simply the beginning of many projects. Their trees are meticulously mulched around the bases while ours sprout unsightly, random vines. Their gardens are tended with the perfect mix of annuals and perennials and dark green shrubs, while ours have a slight buzz cut from a skimming by the weed eater. Even their driveway is groomed with a trench along each side making a clear runway from the street to a garage for cars and bikes and tricycles. The cracks in our pavement where weeds have been doused with gasoline cause the kids to serpentine as they ride from the street to a garage too full to enter. Bikes and tricycles must be moved to get the cars into their parking spots outside where the hot sun has faded the roof of our truck. 

You get the idea. It's fun. You should try it! It's great to help hold on to memories or to create new ideas or just to practice writing with our own voice and style. Several times I've read and people have commented that I'm funny. Who knew? I think that can be very helpful for my future writing. Have you ever used a writing prompt and discovered something great you can use later? Has it helped to polish your work or even manicure your life?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

One Big Crowd

"Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them."  Hebrews 7:25

"Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him."  Mark 3:8-10

Original - Jean D. Dortch
Today we find people coming from far away places to touch Jesus and to listen to Him speak about God. Everything about both readings this morning remind me of my visit to see Pope John Paul II while backpacking through Europe after college. Fr. Thoni had told us to get to the Vatican early and stand our ground at the barricades. When we arrived, there was no one. Nothing. Crickets. As time passed people began to trickle toward us as if we knew what we were doing. An hour before the Pope-mobile was to arrive, the square was packed with people pushing to get to the front. By the time the Pope was driven around to our side, people were passing their children up to us to get Pope John Paul II to touch them. The entire moment was surreal. When he reached down and took my hand, I understood from that touch what all the hoopla was about and I knew I had been touched by one whom God had sent. The crowd had come from far away places and in order for the Pope not to be crushed, there were barricades and a glassed-in vehicle. Everyone in the crowd that day wanted to touch him, not because he could cure, but because we knew that before us was a man who truly would intercede for us to God. We knew that the man before us was sincere when he said he would pray for our healing, for our needs, for our children and our parents, for us. The entire pressing crowd knew that his words were guided by the Spirit and through his touch we knew that he was sent to make a difference.
Jesus was sent to save us. He was sent to intercede for us to God. He was sent to heal us and to deeply touch our lives. Despite the crowds, the difficulties, the pressing of others in this world not to believe, we are called to go to Him and allow Him to save us. Be a part of the incredible crowd of believers and arrive early. He will intercede and your life will be changed forever.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Healing Touch

"Do not touch anything in this store." "Hands in your pockets. I mean it." "No. No. Don't touch." Seems we are constantly on our children about keeping their hands to themselves, especially in certain stores where if they break something, it becomes ours. Touching can lead to ownership. Simple.

Today as Fr. Mark read the Gospel about Jesus healing the leper and referred to yesterday's reading of the healing of Simon's mother-in-law, he commented on the importance of Jesus' touch. He could have just said the words and they would have been healed but instead He touched them. My mind immediately went to the idea of telling my children a million times not to touch things that did not belong to them. But these people, people everywhere, kept coming to Jesus because they wanted to belong to Him. Jesus owned up to the power to heal the sick and the lost and they bought into all He had to offer. Who wouldn't?

Many times I have thought before giving money to a street person, "If I give it to him, he will expect it every time I see him." If I touch him now, he's mine. I've bought into his misery and his need. Well, so what! So what if I have to give him a little something every time I see him. Maybe it's time for me to get my hands out of my pockets and touch someone. I certainly cannot heal with these hands but God can work through them some other way. We're all so worried about breaking something. Well, it's already broken so let's work together to fix it. Let's touch someone today and maybe tomorrow and who knows, maybe all week. Let's not worry about what others think and start making a difference. Let's buy into these Gospel messages and own up to our beliefs. It's not easy. People we touch may rely on us again and again. And then again, that may be just the ticket we need.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Year of W's

With my oldest daughter's wedding quickly approaching, I have decided to make the year 2017 a year of W'S.
Wake - each day happy, healthy and ready
Word - read and pray the word of God daily
Write - blog, journal, manuscript
Walk - a little every day
Water - 8 glasses a day
Work - physical, mental, spiritual
Website - new, improved, personal and bookstore
Wife - be a better partner
Win - be an example of positive thinking
Wise - read, study, learn something new every day
Wait - work on patience
Wonder - allow myself to be a child at heart
Wander - roam, travel, journey
Want - stay hungry for something better
Waste - nothing
Watch - be aware of others, be open
Whole - be complete, all God's intention, full potential
Wedding - March 4th, incredibly special, cannot wait to share their day, gaining a son

I know I will extend this list as the months pass but for now, I am focused on these W's. What about you? Any W's for your year or any other resolutions? Thank the good Lord that every day is a new day and a fresh start. Happy 2017