Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bible People: Present in the Hand of God


[Note from Mary: One of the beauties and blessings of Christmas comes as many of us enjoy the present of The Present, which this poem, "Turning Handsprings," hopefully expresses. May our holy days – and every day – be blessedly held in the hand of God.]

Bible People: Present in the Hand of God

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Day 10 ~ Keep it Simple


[Note from Mary: Each of these simple steps could make a good article and more! More importantly, let's pray for God to help us simplify our lives and our writing to be more accessible to our readers and those close to us and, especially, to be more present in the present in Jesus' Name.]

Day 10 ~ Keep it Simple by Kurt W Bubna

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Getting your writing off to a God start


Many members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook said they find starting a new project the hardest part of writing. After further discussion, the following article resulted and might help other poets, writers, or communicators for Christ too. To protect privacy, last names have been removed, and to clarify or complete sentences, italicized words have been added in parentheses, whereas ... shows words omitted.


QUESTION: You all have said you often have trouble getting started writing, so this time, let's talk solutions! What gets your writing off to a good start and/ or what gets you started writing?

Marie Prayer and worship of the Lord Almighty God!

Anne Sometimes when I have trouble getting started, I do a free write, letting anything and everything flow out of my brain onto the paper without editing. Those words have a tendency to crowd together by the door of my mind. Letting them out freely helps. Then those who really want to show their face get pushed out when the word stampede starts. Afterwards I mine through the words and keep those I want, promising the others I will let them know if I have need for them later.

Mary LOL!

Dawn I find whenever I have my quiet time, the Lord impresses something on my heart, and the writing is an outflow. Sometimes it's something from His Word or His insight on a life lesson. As I bring it before Him, He opens my eyes and shows me things, gives me words, or somehow allows me words to write. Otherwise, I just write in my journal regularly, and that writing habit keeps me from getting "blocked."

Julia If I have a story started, once I start writing or plotting, it gets rolling and keeps going.

Christine Knitting often helps me focus.

Stan Taking a look through the Gospels (helps me, and) I get some ideas by vision or dream. I will be given a topic or sometimes actual ideas for lines in a poem. When this happens, I try to get up and write things down as I have MS and poor short term memory. We think we will remember when we awaken, but I never can.

Adeline I find that when I'm facing a challenge my spirit yearns for release. When I am emotionally open and vulnerable before the Lord, it's like a dam is broken, and there's an outflow of thoughts, honest expression, and also compassion for others. This sets the stage for that wonderful feeling of “flow.”

Christian When I went to college, my English professor said, when first starting to write, keep going and don't stop. (After writing down) all your ideas, use periods, commas, punctuation, etc. Then have... a beginning, middle, and ending. Sometimes it takes a bit. But you will get there.

Dan I think my most inspirational times to write (occur) after I take the time to actually look around where I am, who I am with, and just ask, "Why?" Of all the people I could have communicated with today, why these? Of all the things I could have seen or heard, why the things that I did?

Proverbs 3:5-6 is absolutely amazing: "In all thy ways (things I see, places I go, people I meet, things I do) acknowledge (search for or discover) Him (God) and He shall direct thy paths.”

So really it is an awareness of what is going on around me. An example: I was driving to work Friday and this sign caught my eye. It is a pyramid. It is a symbol that means awareness. I started looking. The car in front of me had a license plate that brought Acts 10:25 to mind. I looked it up and (found) the passage where Peter is directed to Cornelius, who is asking a question of God that Peter was sent to answer. As I pulled into work, there was a man parked next to me with his window down. I said hello, and we began talking…. I asked him if there was something he had been asking God about, and he began to tear up. He said, "it's odd that you ask me that because for the last week I have been asking God why he allowed my great-grandson to die of leukemia." Wow! This turned into a beautiful conversation, and I had the privilege of offering words of comfort and prayer. So, for me, it is being aware. Not everyone has the same processes, but this is mine.

Mary What a great example of being led by the Holy Spirit in our writing lives!

Dawn God inspires me through nature. My porch faces the mountains. During my morning devotions, I will see an image or grab a thought that the Holy Spirit puts in my mind and write it down. I particularly enjoy searching for a subject. When I find one that interests me, especially a scripture, I will write my take on it and post it in different groups on Facebook to encourage people. Its hard to get started. However, once I do, the words flow and give me a sense of accomplishment to keep going.

DiVoran I'm going to think about that one.

Gloria Journaling one verse of Proverbs a day (or as close to one a day as I can) inspires me to consider the various angles of the subject matter in the verse. This has been very fruitful. I can usually fill several pages in my journal on just one verse. The Word of God sets my mind to think deeply.

Eileen A solid story concept boosts my beginning. Outlining each scene definitely helps, but I can only do that so long. I'd say my approach is a mix of planning and spontaneity. I like to see where the characters take me. I often go to bed at night imagining the beginnings of the next scene.

Nellie Hmm!! This may sound ridiculous but just being alive. Things pop into my head, and I write about them. It happens when I least expect it.

Mary Writing as the Spirit moves us – awesome!

Joy After the good stuff – reading the Word, praying, singing, walking – if I'm still struggling to start, I look at old photos I've taken, or I doodle. Doing creative things inspires the words.

Mary Yes! I also find that one creative outlet or adventure leads to another.

Kathleen Getting my house clean!

Mary Yes, and physical work that frees the mind can get us going too! When I wrote inspirational romance novels, lines of dialogue arrived as I hung clothes on the line.

Theresa For me, I begin to pray and worship after everyone leaves the house. Spending time with God and going deeply into personal prayer seems to unlock me. I meditate on scriptures about his love, and it brings me into this overwhelming place of thanksgiving. On those are days that I actually have the morning to myself after my son gets on the school bus, I simply stay here, and before long, I can feel the ink "running through my veins" so-to-speak. It just flows, even if it’s not the topic I was hoping to be able to write about, but it often leaves me in a place of adoration for God for the rest of the day or longer. The next place that I find this kind of breakthrough is in nature… something about making a connection with God outside of the noise of life that just does it for me. And finally, community. Being among other writers similar to myself and who love prayer helps. I have a group that I meet with, and we have writing prompts that challenge our spirituality. I've found some release there.

Kathryn Reading gets me writing! Inspiration lives between the lines of prose. Whether it's Bible reading, blog reading, novel reading, or non-fiction interest, as I read, an idea will spark. This means it's Journal Time! I make note of the idea and quote the lines that inspired it. Often, what I'm reading becomes a picture in my imagination, and I find myself drifting to metaphorical comparisons to cement the meaning. This leads to story formulation and eventually to the concept I want to explore in my own words. Sometimes I'll randomly roam into rhyme and use poetic language, while other times I need more research before I can start my writing – which may enfold in a narrative fiction or expository non-fiction end product.

Last week, I read an interesting post on Facebook about a giraffe and watched the video of a baby giraffe being birthed, rising, and walking. Immediately I started to write, and it became the final installment of my Making Masterpieces series about the creative process. Not what I'd first intended, but far better than I'd planned. I love those moments of inspired thought after reading or viewing the works of another. To that end, is there anything truly original, or are all our words and works just the next organic element of the inspired creation that came before us beginning with God's own words, "Let there be Light!"

Maxine I find I am forever taking notes from the Holy Spirit. Even when I'm out and about or busy doing chores, ideas come to me to note.

Dawn Inspiration from the Holy Spirit normally gets me started writing a blog post or whatever else.

Doug When I experience a new situation, I try to replay it and see what God was trying to teach me. Then I write it as a devotional I hope will help and bless others. This has worked for me in writing for Guideposts as well as Standard Publishing and Judson Press.

Marsha My writing almost always starts from journaling my dreams from the night before. I process my emotions and connect to the symbols in a way that brings healing. I trust God is working in and through me as dreams are "Unopened Letters from God."

Ashley (What helps my writing get started is) talking to people, engaging in conversations with strangers, people observing, or watching the news and seeing what the troubles are and how Jesus can bring peace into those situations. Reading the Word, of course, or reflecting upon my personal journal notes; listening to music; taking a prayer walk, or even asking God, "What do you want me to write?" – are all things I use most often.

Dianne To start with, it's being in my home office at the break of day, giving thanks for the gift of life and humble beginnings. At sunrise, blessings are plentiful as I see nature awakening while (I sip) hot tea at my desk overlooking my beautiful front yard here in the country. By about noon or so, I make it a point to take my hubby away from his work out to a quiet luncheon. After taking him back, I am out and about enjoying chatting with people – total strangers from all walks of life (while) …running errands and such. By day’s end I'm reflecting on past hardships, trials, disappointments, and shortcomings that have taken place in my life, while, at the same time, giving thanks for the gift of experience and everything life has taught me about being grateful, humble, and loyal. There's never a day that my heart, imagination, or pen runs dry. God is great!

Taris When I listen to music that helps me a lot with my writing. I also have a lot of words in my mind already that I don't speak. I encourage people through my blog with the word, scriptures, and Gospel music, so I always have something to write about.

Songaye Sometimes I feel I need 30 hours in a day! Time spent with my Creator gets the words flowing in prayer or in prose.

Michael A walk along the beach to appreciate God's beauty (gets my writing started.)

Mary Did you all notice how much we rely on God to get our writing started – whether by mind-clearing, house-cleaning, nature-walking, Bible-reading, praying, or letting creativity and unexpected moments speak to us? Each of these work especially well in writing poems, devotionals, blog articles, or other short manuscripts that inspire others as we've been inspired.

Getting started each day on the next pages of a book-length project might begin with prayer then editing the prior day's work or picturing the next scene or re-reading the last chapter then going on from there. However, I keep trying to free time for writing poetry, so your responses have been a blessing to me personally, and I'm sure other readers as well.

Lord willing, I'll post a new question soon for us to discuss, but if you have questions you would like to see addressed in a group discussion or future post, let me know in the Comments section below. Then Follow this blog, so you won’t miss a thing!

Thanks and blessings to you all.

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church and an active poet, writer, and author of 27 traditionally published books in all genres.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Men are Leaving Church - SecondIron's Blog


[Note from Mary: As we understand where each other is coming from as a church or as an individual, we can address concerns, consider options, and overcome misunderstandings through our writings in all genres.]

Why Men are Leaving Church - SecondIron's Blog by Charles Johnston 

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In a Christian Writer's Life: The church: where we’re coming from and where we’ve been


[Note from Mary: People often wonder where the church is going, and, Lord willing, we’ll consider that soon, but first, let’s look at where the church is coming from and where it’s been. In the Crossway book, God Has Spoken: A History of Christian Theology, Gerald Bray provides a well-guided tour through time and the development of denominational and shared beliefs that make up God’s Family. The more we understand what happened and why, the more we know where we and the churches are coming from as individual parts of the Body of Christ.]

In a Christian Writer's Life: The church: where we’re coming from and where we’ve been

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Welcome to the Manger – Let Us Stand in the Sacred Circle


Note from Mary:

"In returning and rest you shall be saved.
  In quietness and trust you'll find your strength," Isaiah 30:15.

If that verse speaks to you, this poetic post will bring a special blessing:

Welcome to the Manger – Let Us Stand in the Sacred Circle by Christine Sine

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Bible Prayers: Prayer of praise to God


[Note from Mary: This poem of praise offers a prayer-a-phrase of today’s Bible reading in Psalm 150.]

Bible Prayers: Prayer of praise to God

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Soaking in the Presence of God Brings Refreshment


[Note from Mary: Staying in God's presence refreshes, encourages, and strengthens us in our writings and in our lives in Christ.]

Soaking in the Presence of God Brings Refreshment by Karin Peavy

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Light THAT Fire! | In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose


[Note from Mary: This post helps us to notice how we're influenced and how we can influence others.]

Light THAT Fire! | In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose by Martha Shaw

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Bible Reviewer: Reading The Jerusalem Bible


[Note from Mary: After Vatican II, The Jerusalem Bible (JB) came to us as one of the first contemporary translations – first in French, then in English, but as other versions became available, this went out of print for a decade. Then as the 21st Century began, Doubleday produced the “First Doubleday Reader’s Edition” with shortened notes and introductions to clarify what we read and with the language of the original JB to retain accuracy, maintain a lively tone, and make the text as fresh as the living word is meant to be. Even if you choose not to use this particular edition, reading the review will, hopefully, be an ecumenical endeavor as we aim to minister healing to the church in all parts of the Body of Christ.]



Bible Reviewer: Reading The Jerusalem Bible

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What the Bible Says about Love: Jesus Christ says, I love you!


[Note from Mary: This poem prayer-a-phrases Christ’s word of love to us in Revelation 3 from today’s Bible reading.]

What the Bible Says about Love: Jesus Christ says, I love you!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

It is Written – A Journey Through the New Testament | Lynn Dove's Journey Thoughts


[Note from Mary: These scriptures can jumpstart your poems, articles, devotionals, and other manuscripts.]

It is Written – A Journey Through the New Testament | Lynn Dove's Journey Thoughts

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Next Generation Evangelistic Network: Two Sides of a Coin: Self-Promotion and Jealousy


[Note from Mary: Most of us grew up hearing we're not to toot our own horn and other cliches that present only a negative view. However, we're also to let our light shine for Christ as this post reminds.]

Next Generation Evangelistic Network: Two Sides of a Coin: Self-Promotion and Jealousy by Terry Dorsett

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Defining the Church in the 21st Century | Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books


[Note from Mary: As Christian poets and writers, we have the opportunity to draw others to Christ through our writings and also to up-build the Body of Christ on earth. This post helps us to see the church in all its parts - large and small.]

Defining the Church in the 21st Century | Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books by Eileen Hinkle Rife

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Poetry Editor & Poetry: Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching


[Note from MaryIf you would love to be in a crowd of poets where each literary artist gives you a woman's perspective on writing, revising, publishing, and teaching poetry, this is it!]

Poetry Editor & Poetry: Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching

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The Writing on the Wall: A Fire in my Bones


[Note from Mary: Thank God for opportunities to speak of God -- in our writings and in our lives.]

The Writing on the Wall: A Fire in my Bones by Vicky Kaseorg

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Praying For Dry Places | Prophetic Writing Mentorship & The Prophetic School of the Scribe | Voices of Christ Literary Ministries International


[Note from Mary: This post shows the importance of spending time alone with God.]

Praying For Dry Places | Prophetic Writing Mentorship & The Prophetic School of the Scribe | Voices of Christ Literary Ministries International by Theresa Johnson

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Florida Bookstore Day at The Book Rack - Rebekah Lyn Books


[Note from Mary: A delightful response to a book signing event!]

Florida Bookstore Day at The Book Rack - Rebekah Lyn Books by DiVoran Lites

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Writing on the Wall: Being Entertained by Angels


[Note from Mary: Most of us couldn't be there for Vicky's book signing in NYC, but we can enjoy and learn from her experience through this post.]

The Writing on the Wall: Being Entertained by Angels by Vicky Kaseorg

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No Walls Needed: The Ten Commandments, Evangelism by Force and Walking Away from Christianity


[Note from Mary: In Christ, love replaces force. May God give us winsome ways of writing, speaking, and communicating Christ to others in Jesus' Name.]

No Walls Needed: The Ten Commandments, Evangelism by Force and Walking Away from Christianity  by Jeff Clarke


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetry, prayer, and discussions about writing - Mary Harwell Sayler



Poetry, prayer, and discussions about writing - Mary Harwell Sayler


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6 Steps to Bouncing Back When Life Knocks You Down | C STAR


[Note from Mary: Not only does this article uplift us, it provides an excellent example of a well-written manuscript - clear, concise, and to the point.]


6 Steps to Bouncing Back When Life Knocks You Down | C STAR  by Jonathan Anu Thompson


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Bible Prayers: Praying for God’s Word to be in me


[Note from Mary: Psalm 119, the longest Psalm in the Bible, encourages us to read, learn, and obey God’s Word with prayer for God’s help as shown by this prayer-a-phrased poem.]

Bible Prayers: Praying for God’s Word to be in me


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Faith Log: Random Thoughts


[Note from Mary: These insights give us much to think about, pray about, and write about in Jesus' Name.]

The Faith Log: Random Thoughts by Jeff Doles


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