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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas!!   We will resume the devotionals with the new year.  Be safe and warm!

Keep These Things

 By Robin Bayne




The gifts were many, each a treasure

Some of wealth, more of the heart.


The greetings robust, yet hushed

And filled with awe.


The star shimmered still, even

As morning neared.


Her body drained, Mary sighed, breathing in scents

Of pungent hay, and sheep, and donkey.

Her pulse quickened again at the wonder—

Her new son, her Jesus, who would be Lord.


She knew the Scriptures and held them dear.


Her stomach clenched, overwhelmed at being chosen.

Her, a common girl, not worthy, not ready.


The baby fussed, and Mary hugged Him to her chest. A breeze

Tickled the hairs on her arm, and she smiled.

She thought of the Angel’s words, the shepherd’s words.

The voices lifted in praise.


Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.

She held them dear.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week Twelve: Marilyn Eudaly

What God Gives

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ( NIV)

Timidity. Timidity can keep writers from success. That lack of self-assurance that what is written is worth reading can stop us in our tracks. Allowing our work to be critiqued by other writers assures us that we don’t have what it takes. But, God did not give us a spirit of timidity. If not a spirit of timidity, then what did he give us?

Power. The God-given ability to accomplish the task, to reach the goal, to be published. God gave us the power to rise above the critiques, the rejection slips, the editors and agents who have providence over our submissions. We have a power greater even than the writing community to help us over any hurdles.

Love. Love for the written word. A love to write something that will inspire, entertain, or educate others. The writer’s joy when the words are on the page, of having written. Love for fellow writers. God’s love for us, the most divine love of all.
Self-discipline. The ability to set the seat of our pants in the chair and put words on paper. The ability to do what it takes to make a deadline. Will power to persevere to “The End.” God
gives us the self-discipline to do what we know we can do. Self- discipline to get ourselves going whether we write full-time or just on weekends or whenever we can grab a minute between our other responsibilities.

Turning to God removes the timidity, gives us power, showers us with love and provides us with self-discipline. With God on our side, we can write. We can be published. We will be read!

Marilyn Eudaly a writer of devotions, personal essays and Christian fiction, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, past president of the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers, and the Faith, Hope and Love online chapter of Romance Writers of America She has a personal story published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter’s Soul.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Week Eleven: Nancy Sonneman

Write It Clearly

Then the LORD answered me and said, Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. Habakkuk 2:2 (NAS)

Since the invention of the typewriter in 1873, the pen-and-ink folks have become understandably nervous. America’s love of pushing buttons (or in this case, keys) has only escalated over the decades. Now, it’s e-mail and text-messaging. Pen and paper are still being sold, however, and appear to be doing well.

Teachers complain that students prefer to use the “computerese” that is readily acceptable in the chat rooms and telephone screens. Things like “LOL” for “laughing out loud” and the like are making their way into homework across the land. If the teachers can read it, that’s it.

One of the biggest problems around (at least in my humble opinion. Notice that I quelched the urge to say “IMHO” here?) is that penmanship has gone by the wayside. I suppose it is assumed no one writes anymore. At least not the old fashioned way.

That’s where writers like me come along.

A pen accompanies me wherever I go (unless I have a checkbook with me, then the pen gets lost somehow or other. Someday, I’ll have it so “together” that I’ll actually carry both checkbook and pen.), even from room to room in my house.

I write in books I’m reading. Fiction books don’t stand a chance with me as I am constantly writing in the margin what a wonderful turn of phrase or use of sensory image the author has written.
Bibles and non-fiction Christian living books never stay clean, either. Not only do I write the date on which something struck me, but I also underline (I don’t like highlighters, they often bleed through the pages), and in some instances I have underlined the entire page. When the book isn’t mine (from a library or a friend), I keep a notebook beside me.

When I start a new (especially book) project, I get out a file folder and start making notes. I usually fill at least one legal pad with notes such as Scripture references, possible titles, progress reports, etc. I also write “sticky notes” to myself with where I left off, page numbers in reference books to look back at and the like.

Then something strange happens when the next morning comes. I was in such a rush when I wrote some of those notes it is as though a chimpanzee wrote them.
I now have to waste my time trying to decode the mess and trying to think up a believable excuse that the pen actually did it, or was it the paper? Maybe the sun got in my eyes? Some of the notes, however, are not legible at all, and must be crossed out or the liquid correcting fluid that smells like a cross between someone’s gym socks and turpentine used on them. I sigh to myself as I realize I have now lost important data as well as time.

If I had only taken my time and written legibly in the first place, the frustration of not accomplishing anything that day would be nonexistent.

Nancy Sonneman is the author of the book “Patches of Sunshine (A Daily Devotional for Fibromyalgia Patients) January 2002. Visit her on the web: at

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Week Ten: Kate Dolan

When You Don't Know What to Write

“Sow your seed in the morning,
And at evening let not your hands be idle, For you do not know which will succeed, Whether this or that, Or whether both will do equally well.”- Ecclesiastes 11:6 (NIV)

As the Nike ads used to say “just do it.” For me, writing—or any endeavor involving creativity—usually begins with perspiration rather than inspiration. While many people readily admit that a successful endeavor requires a lot of work to back up a great idea, they expect
the great idea to come first. They wait for inspiration. And maybe it comes, but waiting for inspiration is a lot like waiting to win the lottery. It would be nice, but you can’t count on it.

So while I will sometimes find myself fortunate enough to have a great idea for part of a story or the lead for an article, the reverse is far more often the case. I have no idea what to write, but I have procrastinated all that my extremely lenient conscience will allow. It is time to write.

I look at the blank screen and write...what ever pops into my head.
Sometimes I like it. Usually, I don’t. But when I keep going, when I ignore the little (but vehement) discouraging voice in my head, wonderful words often begin to bloom. In fiction, my characters will sometimes invent solutions, or better yet, new problems for themselves. In my nonfiction writing, I may develop a new understanding of a topic which I thought I’d considered to
exhaustion. And no one is more surprised than myself.

The key to these breakthroughs is to keep going. If I do not let [my] hands be idle, then I come up with a complete body of work, a paragraph or a scene I can evaluate.  And perhaps, on
later reflection, I may decide the little discouraging voice was right. What I wrote doesn’t work at all. Most of the time, however, I’ll find that a little adjustment is all that is necessary to bring the words together in the right way.

And then I have this bit of writing that I can add to other bits of writing to make a a whole. If I had sat around waiting for inspiration, or if I had given up when the words sounded silly, I would have nothing on the screen but a blinking cursor.

Yes, every seed I sow will not come to fruition, and every word I write will not be printed. And I certainly do not take the verse literally and work from dawn to dusk without ceasing. Our lives have many facets, and to remain balanced, we cannot devote too much of our energy to one facet for too long. But when it is time to write or create, it is important to “just do it.” For we do not know ‘which will succeed,’ until we try.

Kate Dolan writes historical fiction and romance under her own name and contemporary Christian mysteries and children's books under the name K.D. Hays. When not writing, she can be found coaching jump rope, cooking over an open hearth at a historical site, walking her dogs or riding roller coasters with her daughter. She loves to connect with readers at or on Facebook.