Thursday, August 26, 2010

BEE Fulfilled: An Unfailing Love

"Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

~Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)~

The more I spend time with God in prayer and in His Word, the deeper my love grows for Him. What grips my heart and soul is God's compassion and unfailing love for us. He loves you and me more than our minds can comprehend. Think about the person you love the most. God loves you so much more than that. And that love remains the same, even in our failings. Mind boggling, isn't it?! Yet, it's so comforting and encouraging to know God's love never fades.

I'd like to share with you a prayer I wrote this morning from three Scriptures in the Bible. For the past several weeks, I've participated in a Bible study at my church using Beth Moore's Living Free book. As part of the study, Beth Moore introduces the practice of praying God's Word. She describes praying God's Word as "speaking His language. It means talking to Him using His words." My assignment for this morning's study on experiencing God's peace involved choosing from a list of Scriptures and spending time praying God's Word using those Scriptures.

May the truths in this prayer be a comfort and encouragement to you today. :-)

Heavenly Father, I call on You, for I know You will answer me. Give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonder of Your great love. You save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. Lord, keep me in the apple of Your eye. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalms 17: 6-8)

Father, show me Your ways and teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God, my Savior. My hope is in You all day long. Remember Your mercy and love, for You say in Your Word they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways. According to your love, remember me, for You are good, O Lord. (Psalms 25:4-7)

Lord, You say in Your Word that though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, your unfailing love for me will not be shaken nor will Your covenant of peace be removed. Thank you, Lord, for Your unfailing love and the peace You give. (Isaiah 54:10) I love you, Father! In Your glorious and precious name . . . Amen.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BEEsy Writer: The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

"Sun Tzu wrote: 'He wins a battle by making no mistakes.' My hope is that this manual will help you avoid the mistakes and write stronger books and win the battle to get and stay published."

~James Scott Bell in The Art of War for Writers~

In his most recent book on writing, James Scott Bell shares with writers what he has learned in his 20 plus years as a fiction writer. The Art of War for Writers consists of 77 short chapters organized under the following three sections:

Part I:Reconnaissance focuses on the mental game of writing.

Part II: Tactics offers tactics and techniques on the craft that help "you go deeper, to do things that will set you apart from the vanilla slush that's poured into the offices of tired editors and agents."

Part III: Strategy includes advice on the publishing business.

This compact red book surprised me with the abundance of wise and practical advice it offers to writers. I particularly found the "Reconnaissance" section helpful as it addresses many of the mental battles we writers face on our journeys. Some of the chapters included in this section include:

  • The writer must understand the essentials of success for a long-term writing career, and count the cost accordingly.
  • A foundation in discipline is always the first step toward victory.
  • "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."
  • Status, worry, and comparisons are the ways to madness, not victory.
  • Stay hungry so your determination will not flag.
  • Finish your novel, because you learn more that way than any other.

I highly recommend this book to all writers, especially beginning writers. I've placed this book near my computer and plan to refer to it often as I continue on my journey as a writer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BEEtween the Pages: The Dragon and the Turtle by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark

Padraig landed on a branch and popped a bug into his mouth. He grinned as he chewed. The bug was crunchy on the outside and squishy on the inside, and it tasted like nuts and sweet oranges.

~Opening lines of The Dragon and the Turtle
by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark~

Released in bookstores today, The Dragon and the Turtle by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark tells a sweet story about prioritizing the needs of a new friend over your own. After embarking on a pirate adventure, a young turtle named Roger cannot find his home and seeks help from his newfound friend, Padraig the dragon. Padraig flies high in the sky in search of a home that looks, sounds, smells, feels, and tastes like the one described by Roger. Padraig is hungry for crunchy, squishy, nutty bugs, but he sets asides his needs to help his friend find his home.

My four-year-old son, Hayden, and I have read this book many times since we received a copy from the authors a month ago. This delightful and entertaining story, which is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Nguyen, tugs at the heartstrings of boys with its description of Padraig's favorite food (crunchy, squishy, nutty bugs) and Roger's love for playing pirates. Parents will especially find helpful the guide at the end of the book, which gives parents ideas on how they can teach their children the valuable lessons about friendship conveyed in the book. And with a recipe included at the back of the book, parents and children alike can indulge in making the Chocolate Chip Snappers that Roger's mama makes for the young turtle and his dragon friend.

For more information about this book and the authors, please visit The Dragon and the Turtle website.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for the purpose of reviewing it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BEEtween the Pages: Thicker than Blood by C.J. Darlington

"Christy Williams didn't see the cop until his red lights flashed in her rearview mirror. By then it was too late. He was tailing her, and she had no choice but to ease her Honda Accord onto the snowy shoulder of the freeway and let the cruiser slide in behind."

~Opening lines in C.J. Darlington's
Thicker than Blood

May Williams has not seen her older sister, Christy, in fifteen years after Christy ran away following their parents' deaths. May yearns to be reunited with her sister. But ashamed about the path her life has taken, Christy avoids her younger sister, too afraid that May will not accept her. As Christy faces a series of events that threaten her livelihood and life, including an accusation that she stole a first edition Hemingway book, Christy flees her home to the only place she feels she will be safe--May's ranch in Southern Colorado. But the two sisters soon must confront the deep pain and uncertainties each faces in their own lives and in their relationship.

Winner of the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel, Thicker than Blood delivers a heartfelt story about forgiveness, God's grace, and second chances. Blending solid storytelling with an interesting cast of character, this story kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen, especially toward the end of the book with a couple of gripping action scenes. I also found the messages about God's grace to be refreshing and encouraging. I recommend this book to readers and look forward to future books from C.J. Darlington.

For more information about this book, please visit Tyndale Houses Web site.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for the purpose of reviewing it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

BEE Mine: Thirteen Years Ago

Thirteen years ago, I awoke to a beautiful summer morning in Western Colorado, knowing the special day ahead would mark the beginning of a new life with my beloved Ryan.

Thirteen years ago, I joined my family and friends for breakfast at the hotel where Ryan and I met each other two and a half years earlier. (We both worked at the front desk of the hotel. But how we met . . . Well, that's a story for another time. :-)

Thirteen years ago, I was a giddy bride, getting all dolled up for the big event.

Thirteen years ago, a friend who I thought was not able to make it to the wedding surprised me by showing up at the church just hours before the ceremony. (She planned the surprise with Ryan months before the wedding. What a wonderful moment that was for me!)

Thirteen years ago, I stood in the lobby of the church with my dad, waiting for the signal to begin our procession down the aisle. Tears filled my eyes when the music began and my dad linked his arm with mine just before we entered the church's sanctuary.

Thirteen years ago, my dad gave me away to Ryan in front of our family and friends, a sweet moment I will cherish always.

Thirteen years ago, I stood next to Ryan at the front of that small church and vowed to love him for my lifetime.

Thirteen years ago, Ryan and I exchanged wedding rings and shared "the kiss," both symbols of the lifelong commitment we made to each other.

Thirteen years ago, my wedding gown swayed back and forth as Ryan and I hurried down the aisle toward the church's lobby, clutching each other's hand and laughing and smiling along the way.

Thirteen years ago, my brother chauffered us to the reception hall in a red convertible. My brother played the role well in his ultra-cool sunglasses and tuxedo.

Thirteen years ago, we danced and laughed and celebrated the glorious event with our friends and family.

Thirteen years ago, I married the man I love deeply and cherish as a friend, so much then and even more now.