Thursday, August 27, 2009
Okay, crazy week here. Life crammed together so tight I'm only just now getting to my regular Wednesday blog post. Alas! It's not right! Between school starting, the baby getting more and more active, the horse getting colic, as well as all the regular "crazy," I'm in serious need of a nice, hot white mocha with peppermint from Starbucks!
Anyway, as I was thinking about this week, I was reminded of a story I think I've talked about before, but I really needed to ponder it again. So, I thought I'd share it here to help me remember (and maybe some of y'all too :-)) that I really need to have "white space" in my life, and when I don't, well, that ain't pretty.
Here's my thoughts on that, in the form of a little story:
“This is crazy!” I threw the papers onto the table and dropped back to my chair. “I know I said I would critique this article, but I can’t.”
Bryan strolled into the room with a mug in his hand. The smell of coffee permeated the air. “Isn’t that the last one?” He sat on the couch and motioned to the papers now scattered across the tabletop.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I was supposed to be reviewing articles for a writer’s seminar the next day. I’d finished the other fourteen, but not this one. I had read only a page before tossing it onto the table. “Yes, it’s the last one. But still . . .”
He shrugged and sipped the coffee. “So, just do it and get it over with.”
“I know.” I sighed. “I don’t have time to waste. I need to get it done so I can study my Greek, write that paper, pack my bag for tomorrow, feed the baby, and fold the laundry.”
Bryan raised his eyebrows. “Well, you’d better get to it, then.”
“I tried.” I peeked at the article through one eye. “Have you seen it?”
Bryan set down his mug and gathered the papers. He glanced at them. “Oh, wow.”
“There aren’t any paragraphs.”
I rubbed my temples. “Single-spaced, small type, no paragraphs, tiny margins. It exhausts me to just look at it.”
Bryan tapped the papers together, then handed them back to me. “White space.”
“There isn’t any white space. People don’t like to read things that don’t have white space.”
Of course. I knew that. “So what should I do?”
Bryan stood up. “Tell the person to put in white space next time. That should be the first thing on your critique list.” He started toward the door to the kitchen, then paused and tossed a final comment over his shoulder. “By the way, that article isn’t the only thing that lacks white space around here.”
“What do you mean?”
He didn’t answer. The door swung shut as he disappeared beyond it.
Silly man. I shook my head and forced myself to focus on the tight print before me. A few minutes later, I found an error and clicked my red pen. But there was no space to make a correction. Further on, I would have made a comment, but again, I had no room. The lack of white space not only made me tired, but it didn’t allow for the improvements I wanted to suggest either.
I finally finished the article, made some comments on the back of one of the sheets, then turned to my to-do list. The length of it made my head spin.
I looked at the list again -- activities crammed together, things to do, tasks to accomplish. I frowned. Was this what Bryan was talking about? Maybe my life lacked white space in the same way the article had. Single-spaced, no paragraphs, small margins. No wonder I was exhausted.
I glanced at the laundry, my Greek book, and my half-packed bag. Then, I looked at my Bible, lying on the footstool near the couch. Just yesterday I had read in Leviticus about the Sabbath and a list of festivals that God prescribed for his people. At the time, I had skimmed over the reading, thinking it had little to do with my life. But now, as I pondered the idea of the Sabbath and the festivals, I saw in them a rhythm to the life God ordered for Israel, a rhythm that included breaks, rests, and celebration. A rhythm that had plenty of white space.
As I picked up my Bible and placed it into my bag, I began to understand the wisdom of God’s command for rest, and the foolishness of my tight-print, no paragraph life. I, too, needed space for my eyes to rest, room in my life for direction from God, empty places where He could write His comments, suggestions, and corrections on my heart. I needed time to rest, and listen, and simply “be.”
Since then, I’ve learned that white space is as important as words, for there is where God speaks into the silence.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Got a nice review of If Tomorrow Never Comes over at the Cleveland Christian Books Examiner. If you get a chance, feel free to pop over there and leave a comment. Here's the link:
Meanwhile, may your day be filled with the WONDER of God's grace!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Well, Jayden is very happy about his new mobility. He's crawling all around and pulling himself up on all kinds of things. And now, he's no longer happy just swinging in his swing or jumping in his bouncer. He used to think his bouncer was the greatest thing in the world, but now it's not enough. He wants to go more places, do more things, explore and stretch his newfound abilities. Today he was even working on conquering the stairs.
And he does all this even though on Monday, the morning after he first learned to pull himself to a stand, he clunked his face twice in a row and gave himself a fat lip. He cried loud and hard, and then he was back at it again. Working, stretching, striving to do more, grow more in his new skills.
He reminded me that I want to be like that in my walk with God, too. I want to be stretching, growing, wanting to be more like Him every day. And when I get a "clunk" on the face, I ought to just have a good cry, then keep trying, and not let past hurt stop me from pushing forward in the things that God would have me grow in.
I think too often as adults we let past pain hold us back. We worry too much about being hurt again and forget the wonder of finding new freedom in being like Christ. We love and are hurt, so we're relunctant to love sacrificially again. We try to follow what we think God wants and fail, so we're hesitant to try again. Someone clunks us when we attempt to help, so we back off and look out for number one.
But Jayden is teaching me to forget past hurt and press on, keep trying to follow God better, grow in Him, and keep looking forward to stretching myself to be more and more like Him.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Yay, it worked! So, the pot starts to tip and that's why the video gets blurry and stops there at the end, as I'm jumping to make sure it doesn't fall over.
Last week he starts crawling, and this week he's pulling himself up. May I exhibit such eagerness to grow and develop in Christ, huh? :-)
Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.
Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?
About the Author ~
Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, and the New York Times best-sellers When the Morning Comes and When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of more than thirty years.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Lots of fun firsts this week. Jayden started crawling. He's been working up to it for a week, and finally figured out how to get all the "pieces" together.
Here's Jayna on the horse.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week:
HER INHERITANCE FOREVER
TEXAS: Star of Destiny
By Lyn Cote
HER INHERITANCE FOREVER (Avon Inspire, Trade Paperback Original, On Sale: August 18, 2009, ISBN: 9780061373435, $12.99) is book two of the Texas: Star of Destiny series.
In 1836 Texas, Alandra Sandoval is the Tejano lady of Rancho Sandoval. She is determined to show the world of men that she, a woman, can run the ranch successfully without a male by her side. Yet she still longs for future love and a family. Scully Falconer, a loner, is the top hand on a nearby ranch. He has given his loyalty to the Quinn family and doesn’t ask more than honest pay for an honest day’s work. Alandra, the lady of Mexican descent, and Scully, the American cowboy, think they have very different paths set before them. But greedy relatives burst onto the scene, threatening to change their way of life. And when General Santa Anna crosses the Rio Grande and marches north to keep his rendezvous with destiny at the Alamo, Alandra and Scully’s lives will never be the same.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
LYN COTE is an award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance. She speaks at state, regional and national writer’s conferences and is an active member of RWA and the American Christian Fiction Authors. Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn’s “Women of Ivy Manor” series published by FaithWords was a 2006 Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National Readers Choice Contest. She is also one the top-selling authors in Harlequin’s Love Inspired category line. Lyn and her husband live in Wisconsin.