The Heart of God in a Daddy

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The morning air nipped at our senses, reminding me it was too early for me to be out on a Saturday. But, we were on a mission. So with our hands stuffed in our sweatshirts, we walked to the park. It was race day at Firestone, supporting a fabulous cause—my son’s Christian school. I entered my children for the fun run, a breeze for my son but a challenge for my daughter. The girl has cheetah running skills, but my concern was about her focus.

She never participated in anything organized and for that reason I chose to run with her. The children lined up, and I positioned behind my daughter. 3…2…1. They’re off. The traipsing of small feet and fluttering of high-pitched giggles, played upon the frigid air, my daughter being the loudest. She lagged behind, absorbing the moment, glancing in various directions. The first half of the race was uphill. My calves were burning and by that time each breath stabbed at my lungs. (Very pathetic, but true nonetheless.) We rounded the orange cone and the last leg of the race was, you guessed it down hill. By now, this out-of-shape mama was concentrating not to trip over her feet and roll to the finish line. So I slowed my pace and let her finish by her self. This is when the moment of moments started.

My husband waited at the finish line, cheering her on. The endearment in his face and the encouragement in his voice was so moving. After the race was over, we meandered a bit and then started home. The cold air marked our girl, reddening her nose and hands. Without hesitation my husband took off his jacket, wrapped her up, and pressed a kiss to her temple. Now the man was in short sleeves, but he didn’t complain. (Later he told me he was actually warmer after that action. Isn’t God good :)) She stopped and turned to her daddy. “Hold me.” He scooped her up and carried her the rest of the way. (I took the picture, not knowing I was going to use it for a post. I wanted to capture the moment.)

As I reflected on the morning, I had an aha moment! That’s how my Father God is with me every day. When the winds of circumstance carry I chill I can’t endure, he wraps me in his promises. I will never leave you. He kisses my thoughts. I love you with an everlasting love.  When life’s road makes me weary, He carries me on wings as of eagles. He stands at the finish line, calling my name, cheering me on.

I saw God’s heart in my husband that morning. What about you? Was there a time you seen God in the life of another person? Share below.

Thanks for reading, friend 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fix My Fiction

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Highlight’s magazine has been around since I could remember. My seven-year-old self loved the day it arrived in our weather-beaten mailbox. The back cover was my expertise. The words—What’s wrong with this picture—in bold colors at the top of a chaotic picture pulled my interest. The challenge began. I would then search to spot a boy walking an elephant. Then I’d spy a small child holding a waffle cone with a baseball on top instead of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Remember that? Ah, memories. Anyways, I thought I would do that for today’s blog post. Fix my Fiction.

The other day I was searching files on my laptop and stumbled on some old scenes from my early writing days. Because I have no pride, or sense :), I am going to show it to you. Prepare yourself; it is awful. But the game couldn’t commence if it wasn’t ridiculous, right? So friend, I ask you—What’s wrong with this writing? Can you spot it?

After the excerpt I will tell you the answers and then show a revised version.

 

Fix My Fiction

 

Kelley Springs, Illinois

October 23, 1848

“Will?” Mable Everett’s eyes were veiled in darkness.

“Right here.” Her husband, Dr. William Everett, gently took her hand. With his other arm around her back, he propelled her through the house. “Trust me, Mable, I got you.”

“I can’t believe I let you blindfold me!”

“I promise I won’t let you fall.”

“Or run into anything.” His wife felt the need to add.   “I am entirely at your mercy, you know.”

“Precisely; I’m every man’s envy.” His emerald eyes were bright with amusement. He stood back and watched a faint blush appear on his wife’s pretty face. The desire to kiss his bride of only two months was strong, but now wasn’t the time. He did, however, allow his eyes to linger on her shapely frame cloaked in a lavender day dress. He prefers her in that color; it makes her complexion glow. The image of her honey-colored locks trapped under a dark blue handkerchief, brought his attention back to the purpose of this fun diversion.

“Are we in the parlor, yet?”

“Yes.”

“Can you remove the blindfold, now?”

“I suppose.” He smiled as he untied the cloth that blocked his bride’s vision. “Well, what do you think?” He stepped aside and watched his wife open her eyes to see the newly wallpapered parlor.

“Oh, Will. It’s beautiful!” Her face radiated as she looked around with delight.   The walls were decorated with a simple design of dark green leaves that was contrasted by a light green background. “It looks far better than I envisioned.” She turned and flashed a smile to her husband, “I like when that happens.”

“Me, too.” The tall gentleman pulled her to his side and kissed the top of her head.

Mable smiled as her mind checked off yet another project complete. Why she imagined that remodeling an old house would be a breeze, she’d never know.   It was proving to be a lot of work and a little more costly than she was comfortable with. They were pinching pennies, but making it happen. She had a lot of help from her neighbors across the street, which coincidently happened to be Will’s parents, Peter and Ruth Everett.

 

Boy-oh-boy, that was a dandy wasn’t it? Did you catch the errors? Here are the answers, but not in any particular order.

  1. Point of View. The scene starts with Will’s point of view and ends with Mable’s. This is a fiction No No. It’s called head-jumping. It confuses the reader, and that’s a bad thing.
  2. Lot’s of information dumping. Does the reader need to know who lives across the street? Or that the renovations were costly? Only put in what’s necessary.
  3. No tie ins. Yes, the date above said October, 1848, but the excerpt itself gave no relevance to the era. Or the season. This scene could have taken place in Pittsburgh, PA in the summer of 1983 and none would be wiser.
  4. It was just plain boooooring! No emotion. No reader draw-in. The dialogue was average at best.

 

Now here’s a revision.

Kelley Springs, Illinois

October 23, 1848

 

“Will, don’t leave me.” Mable pressed a finger to the cloth that blinded her vision.

“No cheating.” His laughter floated in her ear. Calloused fingers wrapped around her right elbow. “Trust me.” Mable forced a smile, but inwardly she cringed. If only he knew.

The steady breeze carried autumn on its airy wings, teasing her senses with the fragrance of leaves and…well…ether. There was no ridding that potent smell from her. It was a permanent fixture in a doctor’s home.

A large hand swallowed the span of her lower back. “Walk, darling, I have you.”

“Promise you won’t let me fall.” She couldn’t take a spill. Lord, help me. “I shouldn’t have allowed this.”

“Relax. It’ll be over in a minute.” His gentle timbre only stung her soul with guilt. He may have blindfolded her, but she was the one who left him in the dark. “Take a step. There you go. One more.”

“I am entirely at your mercy, you know.”

“Precisely. I’m every man’s envy.” He squeezed her waist, an affectionate gesture she didn’t deserve. He guided her several more steps, the floorboards squeaking beneath her boots.

Tell him, Mable. “Are we in the parlor, yet?” Coward.

“Yes.”

“Can I remove the blindfold, now?”

“I suppose.”

Without hesitation, she pulled it from her face. She collapsed her shoulders and released the breath that stilled in her chest.

“What do you think, dear Mrs. Everett?” He stepped aside and made a grand gesture toward the massive new addition to the room.

“Its…It’s beautiful.” The grandfather clock she saw at Tuesday’s auction. Its dark mahogany complemented the gold tones of the pendulum. It ticked a steady beat; a vast contrast to the violent pounding of her heart.

“I know what you’re thinking.”

Hardly.

“You think it’s too extravagant. That we can’t afford it.” He rocked on his heels and smiled, showcasing the handsome dimples that could lure a female three counties away. “With having a few patients a week and the extra you’d be putting in over at Sarah’s, we’d recover nicely. Not a worry.”

“I quit.”

His eyes flickered. “I thought we agreed to this. That you’d help Sarah serve tables until we had children. Look, darling,” He reached for her hand but Mable tucked it behind her back. “I know working at the hotel isn’t the prestige you’re accustomed to, but we have no choice. My practice will pick up. I promise. Then we can start a family.”

“It’s already started.” She rested a hand on her abdomen.

His chiseled jaw went slack. Her heart sank into her gut. Would she ever stop being a disappointment?

“Sarah told me I couldn’t work there if I was with child. Your mother agreed.”

He raked a hand through his wavy hair and regarded her with a look she’d never seen before. “So, I’m the last to know?”

 

 

Okay, so hopefully I spruced it up a little, tying in the setting to the story and giving the reader something of interest. This is what I have been doing in my current work in progress. Well, trying to accomplish anyway. So on to the drawing. I combined both my facebook and blog comments and used the scientific approach of pulling a name out of a hat. Congratulations, Amanda! You’re the winner! I will contact you to get your email address.

Thanks for reading, friend 🙂

For the Love of Books

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Quiz time. What national week is it? Do ya know? So yeah, it’s IRS crunch week, but beyond that depression is something more cheerful. It’s National Library Week! Most say big whoop, but for me, I am about to dish out some major library love. ❤

For years, I’ve told my husband my dream job would be a librarian. I know, I’m weird, but there’s something to be said about a room full of books and silence. And I am kind of fascinated with the smell of paper. Again, I know I’m weird.

But seriously, I love my local library. The librarians there are fabulous. They are kind to my child when the noise level is excessive, they don’t mind holding over ten books at a time for me, and they never nag me about my fines. (I’m not the promptest when it comes to returning books) My children participate in their summer reading program, and this past fall, my son took an awesome art class there.

And I am happy to say I have passed my love of libraries to my children! *grins * My son always begs me to take him there, and I confess I have used the library trip as an ultimatum. Clean your room or no library- works every time 🙂

So for the love of books, let me ask you. What keeps you turning the pages? What is it that draws you into a story? Or the opposite, what makes you close the book and never finish? I love books with vivid, larger-than-life characters. If a character is dry and boring the story is, too. Also, I get lost in lengthy descriptions. And don’t get me started on insta-love romances. But, I am a sucker for well-written and heated dialogue. That’s a few of mine. What’s yours?

(And yes, there is an angle in these questions given that I am currently editing my story and could use all the feedback I can get.)

Let me know your answer in a comment below and I will put your name in a drawing to win a cup of coffee via Starbucks. Because coffee and books are a happy blend! 🙂

I’ll announce the winner on next week’s blog post.

Thanks for reading, friend.

Why I Write Romance Stories

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Why do I write romance stories? Okay the first reason being—I am a BIG sap! Yep, I’ve been known to get misty-eyed during lame jewelry commercials, and snuggle to hubby’s arm during the ooey gooey parts of movies. So yes, I love…well, love. The second reason is the awesome parallel between Jesus and the church. How Jesus gave up Himself up for the church. Gave up everything to bring life to the dead.

I heard this once. The difference between lust and love. Lust sacrifices others to benefit itself. Love sacrifices itself to benefit others. Those definitions have purged my motives many times.

In my novel, the hero’s objective is to convince the heroine that true love does exist. That it’s not a feeling, not something you fall in and out of, but it’s a commitment. Love is a choice.

Reality is, I would have no clue to how to write a romance without the influence of hubby. He showed me the definition of unconditional love. Like when we were first married, he suffered through all my cooking flops, taking the charred, unrecognizable scraps of meat for himself and giving me the best portions. People, that was love. There’s so many examples of how he’d sacrifice over and over for me.

He’s loved me at my worst, held me during life’s darkest moments, and cheered as my number one fan at my successes. And he buys me chocolate.

Early in our marriage, we decided on one thing. No matter how heated an argument gets, no matter how furious we are, even if we’re breathing fire, we NEVER use the D-word. Divorce. We agreed to never threaten one another with that cruel, gut-wrenching ultimatum. That we both in this thing together. For the long haul. Not that we argue a lot. Honestly, it’s a very rare occurrence. But if we do, we hold true to our pact, and to each other.

So why do I write romance? Because I believe that love never fails. I believe that beauty is unearthed in a strong, steadfast relationship. So I read romance. I write romance. But greater than that, I live romance with my forever-crush!