Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Cinema Saturday-- The 41 Most Unexpected Cat Jumps of All Time
      Why do jumping cats freak us out so much? And why do we laugh so hard at people who are freaking out?I'm one of those awkward laughers--someone who laughs at inappropriate times, such as when my husband does the splits on an icy sidewalk or when my child runs smack-dab into a doorpost. Unfortunately, compassion is not my go-to emotion. I do eventually f […]
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
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    • Congratulation To Our Book Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. I know you want to know ... WHO WON?But before we announce our five winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:Laura Hilton who offered her  Amish Romance  Awakened Love.Valerie Goree who offered her  Suspense  Colors of Deceit. Annslee Urban who offered her  Romantic Su […]
    • Ohio Author Lillian Duncan
      Welcome back to the Book Loft, Lillian! Is there a story behind your latest book DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS?Three things happened within a few days of each other to inspire DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS. First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense […]
    • Deadly Communications by Lillian Duncan
      Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder! Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture. When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven disco […]
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    • NEW JUNE RELEASES for this month's CLASH of the TITLES
      It's a NEW CLASH!The best of summer reading - all in one list for you here. Find a New Author to love...I have.I'll apologize in advance...I could not cut anyone from the list, so we have MEGA LIST this month.You'll see what I mean: everything from spies, cloak and dagger to medieval to early Americana. Whew!The QUESTION ALWAYS IS:Based on the […]
    • O'Barr's Latest: Tender Shadows
      Author Ann Gaylia O'Barr visits today!She brings with her, in the form of her latest novel, all her experience as a Foreign Service officer in the turbulent Middle East. Tender Shadows is one of seven such novels and will appeal to lovers of foreign lands, culture, adventure, and romance.PURCHASEAmazonAbout Tender Shadows:When Beth Wilhite’s U.S. State […]
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      And the winner is.....OF THE PERSECUTED by Angie BrashearCongratulations, Angie!This month's clash was a record-breaker from day one. As a hostess, one of the greatest things is seeing the voting numbers climb higher and higher. And I was thrilled to see so many turn out to vote during my clash. I love it! So thank you to everyone who voted and to our c […]
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    • Taking A Break
      If you are a regular reader you'll know I didn't post last week. We had just gotten home from vacation. Yellowstone National Park is fantastic. You know how things go when you get back. Well, that was the way it was for me. Add in an unplanned dental event and an 8 hour round trip to Chicago for a TV interview about Seeing The Life and you can prob […]
    • Sin Still Makes You Stupid and Your Stupidity  Ripples, Floods, or Tsunamis  
      A couple of years ago I wrote posts entitled Sin Makes You Stupid and The Ripple Effect. It's one of those truths that seem to be forgotten or glossed over. It's a truth we should be aware of and watch for within ourselves and others. The stupidity of sinning overflows into the lives of others. The consequences to ourselves is often increased expon […]
    • What's Next?
      Seeing The Life is off to a great start. It is garnering 5 star reviews and good publicity. Rhubarb Fest this year was good, even though I don't eat rhubarb. I left at noon on Saturday when the radar showed rain coming. I didn't want the books I had to get wet.So, what's next? I keep getting asked that question. When's your next book comi […]
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    • Christian Writers Conference
      Country  Memories Farm Christian Writing ConferenceAugust 8-9 in Manitowoc, WisconsinWe have wonderful speakers again this year: Becky Melby Ben Wolf  Kathryn SpringerFriday evening critiques by Susan Baganz  On-the-farm networking social "getting writers together" Please check us out at www.countrymemoriesfarm.com.Joy,http://LisaLickel.com […]
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      Hope DeferredBy Elizabeth MaddreyAbout the Book:Christian fiction for women. It's been a tough year. Twin sisters June and July and their husbands spent the last year trying to start a family. Now, as the sisters work with fertility specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, each must determine what treatment is right for them in the midst […]
    • Book Review: As Is by Wendy Oleston
      As IsBy Wendy OlestonA Wisconsin Author!.99 Kindle12.99 printISBN-13:978-1499781335Buy on AmazonFrom the publisher:Life is hard for Mara Shaw. One bad relationship after another has left her a single mother with no faith in anything. She is unable to trust in anyone . . . including herself. She decides to start afresh, and never allow herself to be hurt agai […]
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    • Book Review—The Last to Know by Melissa Hill
      This women’s fiction book centers on three women whose lives intertwine as they look for happiness in love. Anna is engaged but can’t seem to set a date and then she finds out she’s pregnant.  Eve has lived with Liam for years and has children by him but isn’t married. All she wants is to be loved by Liam, be his wife and raise his children. Sam is a success […]
    • Book Giveaway: The Love Story by Stenetta
      Today I present children’s author Stenetta Anthony whose children’s book The Love Story released on May 6, 2014. This is her first publication; however, she is currently in the process of writing another children’s book.Stenetta Anthony resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She uses her talents as a dramatic storytell […]
    • BOOK REVIEW: BETRAYAL BAY KAREN FENECH
      I like historical romances but haven’t read a medieval one. I’m pleased with this one so I’ll definitely look for more set during this time period and by Fenech.  The story centers on Lady Katherine Stanfield whose own castle and holdings have been invaded by the power hungry Ranulf. In the dead of night she rushes to De Lauren, her former fiancé for aid. Wh […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Five secrets to live a joyous, clean life.

Posted by janeteckles on December 8, 2012

12-3-12QuinoaBy: Janet Perez Eckles

I sat at the kitchen table in my friends’ lovely home. “Have you tried quinoa?” I asked them.

“Yes,” they chorused. “We don’t like it!”

“Don’t like it? It’s the best thing around,” I protested. “So nutritious and delicious—depending how you prepare it, that is.”

“It tasted so very sour,” they said. “It was awful, too bitter.”

As details and comments bounced back and forth I learned their big ‘no-no’—they cooked the quinoa without thoroughly rinsing it first. Each grain has a covering (bitter to the taste) to keep birds from eating it.

“C’mon, friends,” I said, rolling up my sleeves, “let’s do it right. Need to wash it well first.”

And sure enough, they prepared it correctly and when cooked, we added a little almond milk, some honey and a dash of cinnamon—delicious!

Here’s a question for you: Is your life delicious or just a bit sour and bitter? Maybe it’s because of the coating of stress and fear that covers up your joy.

We all have those times, those stages and seasons. I say, let’s jump in under the faucet of God’s grace and figure out how to rinse those things that keep us from enjoying, really enjoying life.

Here are five ways to live a clean, healthy, happy and hugely joyous life:

1. Stand under the living water Jesus offers.
2. Rub off stains of sin. Use the brush of repentance if necessary.
3. For more stubborn stains of sin, pour the bleach of His grace.
4. And if the whole garment of your life is soiled, soak in His Word night and day.
5. Press clean item with the iron of contentment and good choices.

Like quinoa, the sour and bitter taste will be washed away. And, our life, clean and fresh, will be ready to be used by God for His purpose, for His glory and for the beautiful plans He has for us.

And like quinoa, David also needed rinsing. He was the king of messes. But He soaked one night in the bleach of repentance. And as he did, he probably repeated, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness…” (Psalm 51:5-7).

Father, I too want to hear joy and gladness. I commit to begin again, clean, free from the bitter covering of sin. I thank you that you gave us the way to find the clarity of joy, the cleansing of peace and the shining newness of a new beginning. In Jesus’ name, amen

• Any rinsing needed in your life today?
• What keeps you from starting over, clean and free?
• How does it feel to stand under the refreshing, living water Jesus offers?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Hope, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christmas Cotton Balls

Posted by elainemcooper on December 7, 2012

Note from Author Elaine Marie Cooper: This is a re-post from last year. I received so many positive responses, I wanted to share it with you again. I hope this story blesses you.

DSCN1154

When I was little, my favorite Christmas tradition was the cotton balls. Now these fluffy white puffs might not seem significant in and of themselves. But my mother wisely used them to represent a tangible that you could not see: doing kind deeds for others.

Our instructions were simple enough. During Advent, each of us six children was advised to take a cotton ball every time we did something nice for someone else. Without anyone else’s knowledge, we were instructed to put one cotton ball into a jar. But it was very important that no one see us, Mom said. Only God would know.

I still remember looking over my shoulder more than once to see if anyone was looking. With five older siblings, that was not an easy task. Someone was usually hanging around, spying!

As the days leading up to Christmas slipped by, the jar of cotton balls slowly began to fill up. I would stare in wonder at the growing mound, amazed that my ornery siblings and I had managed to do that many kind deeds! It was probably a good thing there were so many of us. :)

But grow it did and by Christmas Eve, the jar was usually quite full.

DSCN1147

And then came the best part. Mom removed all the cotton balls that evening and set them in our manger. Then, with eyes wide with wonder, we watched her place the ceramic baby Jesus right on top of the cotton mound. We now had given our gift to Him so that he would be warm in the cold stable.

Recalling this scene brings tears to my eyes as I think of the wisdom my Mom had in showing that what we do out of love, we are doing for Christ. Our sacrifice for others is a warm gift to His heart.

This Christmas season, give a gift of the heart to someone, and share His love. He is the ultimate gift.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted in Encouragment, Family | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Slow Your Heart

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 6, 2012

Another college semester is near its end, and with every end comes a variety of emotions. No semester seems to end on a bland note. Maybe that’s just me, but luckily, this semester’s end is looking quite bright, and I’ve found happiness in my work and my friendships. In my battle with depression over the past few years, I would tell people, “I have my good nights and my bad nights.” However, in the past month or so, I can’t recall having what I would consider a “bad night.”

Still, I come to this sort of happiness and it’s almost like I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to react to it, because it’s been a while since it’s stuck around long enough for me to notice. My emotions reach a new height, but they come to a screeching halt when I realize I don’t know what to do with myself in this state.

My initial thought is to give thanks to God for providing me with this happiness, so I pray. I pray and pray and pray and give thanks until I run out of words, but my mind is still restless, trying to find an appropriate way to express how I feel.

So, what must I do? Have I literally been TOO happy lately? Does anyone around me even notice a difference? Is there supposed to be a difference? What do I do with this? How do I react?

Well, for anyone who has a similar issue, vague as it may sound, I believe it’s time to slow your heart. We’ve all let our emotions drive us from time to time, and I think I’ve spent so long letting negative emotion linger in me that I’m at a loss for logic. I’m happy now, but there’s still one thing I feel I should do to truly feel happy, to feel joyful. I need to slow my heart.

I need to find peace in my Lord, in His love for me, in His will for me. When a friend or family member gives you a gift, do you just thank them and run off? No! You thank them, then spend time with them. To me, it’s the same deal with God. God will bless you in ways you won’t even notice, and if you just thank Him and try to move on with your life without any sense of direction, your happiness will meet its limit soon after.

Another way to explain would be to compare this to a first date. On my first date, and many dates following with the same girl for that matter, my heart used to beat like crazy for hours. So much so that it made me physically sick. I couldn’t even eat anything when I was this girl because I was too excited to be with her! I think it’s easy to get so excited over what God does for you that you don’t take a moment to sit and rest your heart. You can’t concentrate, you can’t interact calmly, you can’t stop running around in circles. It’s okay to get excited, but we need peace as well. We need to slow our hearts.

So, try to find peace with God when He blesses you. Spend time with Him. Don’t just tell Him you’re thankful, show Him you’re thankful! Read The Word, soak it in, spend time in silence thinking on it. I hope this made sense to anybody other than me, thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christmas Commercialism

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 5, 2012

Man nails Santa to cross to protest commercialism

 

My pastor showed a picture like this during his sermon, after he shooed the children away for Sunday School. I wavered between confusion, shock, amusement, guilt, dismay, being creeped out. Even now I’m just not sure about it. Pastor Dave’s point was that we treat Santa too much like God. He used the words of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to show similarities in what we profess about Christ, and what we expect Santa will do, and I have to admit I was impressed at the eerily similar spin.

 

Santa might be the only Jesus some kids know. How bad would that be?

Here’s the article that goes with the picture. http://www.katu.com/news/12774337.html

I have had an ornament like this one below for many years. It’s ceramic, colorful, reverent. I remember the first time I saw it, I was entranced. Yes, I thought—that’s it! That’s exactly it.

 

I was one of those parents who taught my kids that Nicholaus was a real person, and told them his story and the reason we give gifts to others today, to show our great love to each other because of the gift Jesus gave us. If other kids want to believe that Santa Claus brings them presents Christmas morning, they shouldn’t make fun or say anything mean. Someday they’ll learn the truth.

 

Some kids already know where their presents come from: Social Services or some other charity. No illusions there. The gifts I most want to give the kid whose name I pluck from the giving tree is hope, passion, grit, compassion. I pick out a t-shirt and a couple of toys, and a candy cane with the Christian story of what the stripes mean tied to it. Someone you’ve never met wants to give you a dream, and someone you’ve never met will pray for you, and love you. This anonymous child has a story for sure. Characteristics to add to my file, make up a story about how we influenced each other. Imagination amok—beware, writer on board.

 

So, what do you believe about commercialism, telling children about Santa, gift giving, enjoying family time, showing love?

Posted in Authors, Encouragment | 3 Comments »

Tuesday Promotion in Motion: Madily In Love by Lynda Lee Schab

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 4, 2012

About the Book:

All Madi Lee McCall wants is to fall madly in love again…with her husband.

After a rough patch, Madi’s determined to get her marriage back on track. She’s even taking a romance class at church and getting great suggestions…that fail miserably. The distractions are plenty. She has just reentered the workplace as a health spa receptionist. Her 16-year-old daughter, Christina, is pushing the limits, and Christina’s twin, Max, has fallen hard for a girl who isn’t Madi’s picture of a perfect match for her son. Even younger daughter, Emily, is developing a teenager-ish attitude.

When her mother-in-law moves in—temporarily, of course—the stress starts to drive Madi a little crazier than normal. What she wants, more than anything, is some peace among the chaos.

OakTara

c. 2012

ISBN: 9781602903562

$17.95

Buy from the publisher

Buy from Amazon

“Lynda Schab captures what’s real in women, taking us up and down the roller coaster of Madi’s life with wit and wisdom.” -Christa Allan, author of Walking on Broken Glass and The Edge of Grace
The Madi Series
Delightful. Witty. Entertaining. Real. Poignant.
Light-hearted Women’s Fiction at Its Best

 

About the Author:

 Lynda Lee Schab got her writing start in greeting cards (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring) and from there went on to write articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home & School) and in many places online (including http://www.examiner.com/ and http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/). As a freelance writer, she works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com. She is also the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com and a staff writer for http://www.sharedsorrows.com/. Mind Over Madi placed second in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, chick lit category, received a highly commended award in the FaithWriters Page Turner contest, and was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest. Madily in Love was a semi-finalist in the 2011 ACFW Genesis contest. Lynda admits she has a lot in common with the character of Madi. Not only are they both addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games, they struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan.

Connect with Lynda:

A brief interview with the author:

What do you love about this book?

I love the whole series, mainly because of one thing. It’s the same reason I’ve been hearing from readers: It’s real. Okay, so some events are a bit dramatized and over-the-top, but generally, Madi is every woman. She’s definitely me. Her addiction to chocolate, her poor attempts at handling stress, her sometimes not-so-Christianly responses to people and situations. I wanted to show that our weaknesses, our mistakes, our foolishness can’t erase the fact that God loves us. Such a revelation!

 

Tell us what new thing you learned during the research, writing, or publication process of this particular book.

That I really can meet a deadline! Hoping that will also be the case with the third book in the series. As of right now, I’m way behind schedule. I have lots of work to do!

 

What should your readers discover and want to share with their family and friends after reading this book? 

Besides the reminder that God loves them despite their quirks and failures, I hope readers remember one of the recurring phrases in the book: Embrace this Place. In other words, even when life gets ridiculously crazy and overwhelming, we need to remember that “this too shall pass.” And, most likely, we’ll realize how that craziness was exactly what we needed to change and grow into who God wants us to be or learn something He wants to teach us.

Oh, and one more thing: I hope readers take away the fun—and not the frustration—of trying to add a little spice to their marriages!

 

Posted in Author Marketing | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Market Monday: Excuses, Excuses, not to promote

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 3, 2012

10 Marketing Excuses That Can Kill Your Book and Career

(And Their Remedies!)

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

 

Here are excuses many authors use not to promote, killers all. Each includes advice that will help a writer salvage his book and career from wrong thinking.

  • “My book is doing well enough. My career is on an upturn. I can easily take a year off from promoting to write.”

Advice: Cut back if you must but slot in some time to keep the efforts you’ve already made at least at a simmer.

 

  • “I hear everyone is cutting back on promotion so why shouldn’t I?”

Advice: Didn’t your mother ever ask you, “If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?” Look at those authors. If they’re selling lots of books, it’s because somebody (their publisher, bookstores, their publicists) is promoting them. I’ll bet, though, that most of the authors saying this aren’t selling very many. Look at your situation. If you don’t do it, who will do it for you?

 

  • “I like Carolyn’s Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) idea so I’m going to only do things that cost no money at all.”

Advice: Hey! Frugal is one thing. Cheap is another. Some of the best things you can do cost some money. An example is American Booksellers Association Advance Access program. Find it at www.bookweb.org. Careful though. Always weigh the “rightness” of any program for your particular book.

 

  • “I’m gong to examine everything I’m doing and only continue what I can prove is working.”

Advice: You may not be able to prove much, if anything. That’s not the way marketing works. Judge how well your entire campaign is going only after you have given it plenty of time to work. If one thing is working well, maybe it is because your title or name is being seen elsewhere. Balance your campaign, yes. Try new things, yes. Cut back on a few only if you must. Keep in mind that book sales are not necessarily the most valid way to evaluate your promotion.

 

  • “Nothing I’ve tried works. I’m giving up.”

Advice. You may be on the brink. Or maybe you’ve been giving up on each aspect of your campaign too early. Any marketing plan must be many-pronged, frequent and long-term.

 

  • “If I cut back on promotion and find my sales slipping, I can always gear up again.”

Advice: Yikes! Good publicity and promotion build. It’s like skipping rocks on a pond. With each stone, ripples wave out, out, out. Eventually, after you’ve skipped lots and lots of stones, the results start coming back to you in waves. If you stop whipping those stones into the water, the results dissipate. It will take a long time to get enough stones dancing across the water again to match what you’ve done and, once you lose momentum, you may never get it back.

——

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo), The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor) and an Amazon Short, “The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less.” Learn more at http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/. She tweets writing and promotion tips at www.twitter.com/FrugalBookPromo

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program  
Web site: http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/
E-mail:
HoJoNews@aol.com

Carolyn’s award-winning poetry chapbook would make a lovely Christmas gift!

Posted in Author Marketing | Tagged: | Comments Off

Power Steering, God’s Way

Posted by elainemcooper on November 30, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

“It’s going to cost HOW MUCH?”

The poor mechanic on the other end of the phone must have trembled at my shrill voice.

His hesitantly-spoken, high-priced answer left me speechless.

So much for Christmas shopping plans.

It was bad enough that the power steering on my six-year-old car needed a major repair, but this same vehicle had been in the shop for big repairs three previous times in the last two months. Of course, my computer laptop battery decided to quit at the same time as the steering mechanism in my car broke down. My outlook on dealing with mechanical disasters was edging toward despair.

When would the repairs end? Not likely any time soon since we live in such an imperfect world.

I admit, I was depressed. I had plans to shop.

But God soon reminded me Who exactly is in control. I had to give up my will to His because, not only do I not have a choice, but it is foolish to dwell on my desires when He clearly had another plan for this Christmas.

And was this Christmas really going to be empty of gifts? Going through the checklist for the grandkids, are things really that bad?

Jammies? Check.

Jackets?  Check.

Books? Check.

Toys? Check.

Still working on the afghans…Check.

There are kids in this country and around the world that may receive nothing this Christmas.

Reality…check.

Putting aside my manic desire to shop for so much more—well-intentioned as it may be—I submitted to God’s Power. I rested in His plans.

I’m so glad HE controls my steering.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Posted in Encouragment | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Regarding Art School

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 29, 2012

Last night, I got asked a pretty blunt question, one which I’d expect to have been asked by now, but never took the time to come up with a good answer for. Until now. A friend asked me, “Why did you choose to go to school for art?”

Now, I could answer by saying, I like drawing, and wanted to become better at it and find a career in it. However, I know a handful of people who are fantastic artists who either didn’t stay in school for art, or never went in the first place. I don’t NEED art school to get better; just motivation and the will to learn more about my practice. It wasn’t until today that I really thought up good reasons for going to school for art.

I’ll admit, when people ask what I’m studying, and I tell them “fine arts,” I’ve grown accustomed to the looks of pity people give me. Probably thinking, “You’ll never find a job in that in Ohio, or anywhere else, ever,” which I can understand. I’ll have people tell me they admire my artistic talent, but I can tell what they’re thinking. Or rather, some people vocalize what they’re thinking. It’s generally accepted that artists have to really know their stuff to get anywhere in life (which is why I’m also a writer, ‘cause that’s one of those ambitious occupations people seek too, yes?), and I’m not offended by the notion. It makes sense. One doesn’t just draw pictures and sell them to people, although that’s what I’ve started with as an art career, so to speak. You have to develop your own style, figure out who wants to see it, what you could use it for or who else could use it, all that stuff that goes into making a business of any sort.

All that to say, I definitely understand why people might look down on an arts degree, or why any art students change their majors and/or drop out. Making a living off art is tough, hence why I’m also in food service and, again, writing novels. So, thinking on all the cons of being an art student, finding a specific, logical reason as to why I chose it is actually kind of hard.

But here’s what I’ve come up with, so hear me out.

Art school isn’t just about painting pretty pictures, or learning how to paint pretty pictures. It’s not all about methods or style. And it sure as beans isn’t about picking an ‘easier’ degree to aim for just to make a name for yourself, because trust me, everyone I know who went into art school expecting it to be easy was thoroughly disappointed.

The things I’ve learned as an art student, people don’t just pick up on in whatever daily life routines. When I tell people some of the things I do or think on, they look at me like I’m an alien, because people just don’t do those things. For example, being an art student has turned me into an all-out detail-nut. I pick up on things about people that they don’t even notice about themselves. Facial features, smells, mannerisms, BONE STRUCTURES. I remember my friends by all kinds of little things that I’ve begun to look for in reality the way I would look for details in a piece of artwork to find meaning or message.

Oddly enough, being an art student has given me a passion for learning about a lot of stuff that I went to art school assuming I could avoid. Science, philosophy, history, there are a handful of subjects I didn’t expect to WANT to learn more about, not that I ever hated them. But now, after spending night after night conjuring images with paper and pencils, my brain grows restless, and I crave new information, about totally random stuff! As a writer, I research specific things in order to compose a seemingly-authentic story that people can relate with, but as an artist, I’m stuck with whatever my brain comes up with, and I NEED MORE.

One last great aspect of being an art student, at least, one for me personally, is that I can express my love for God and Bible stories in ways that have been around since people. God’s message used to be spread through art by nearly every well-known ‘master’ artist such as Michelangelo and Caravaggio (my personal favorite), and people don’t seem to think about that anymore so much as, “Wow, artists back then were crazy-ambitious.” I can change that, I can bring back God’s message through art, and I can do it my own way to reach out to all kinds of people. To non-Christian art students, the equivalent is simply, one can reach out to people with wonderful, meaningful messages that are just as useful in life as any doctor, policeman, scientist or construction worker. Don’t go to art school just so you can get better at drawing stuff, go to discover a message within yourself that needs to be spread!

I hope this is informative for anybody wanting to pursue an art career or become an art student, and that it encourages my art-student-friends. Although art school is a bit difficult, it’s worth it to learn all the non-art related things that sneak into your mind. Thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Keeping It All Straight

Posted by April W Gardner on November 28, 2012

Over the years I’ve been a writer, a lot of advice has come my way. Guidance, tips, sharing what works and what doesn’t—all of it is ALWAYS welcome in April World.

A good portion of those tips revolve around keeping organized. Organization is a must for a writer. Even “by the seat of your pantsers” need a certain amount of it to keep their to-dos straight.

The never ending To-Do List kicked my tush for years. The List hung as a perpetual nebulous weight about my neck.

Was I forgetting something? How much of this project should I work on before moving on to the next? What about all those things that I keep putting off? When will I EVER find time for them when so many other things are more important?

Such were my thoughts until twice in one week, someone randomly suggested using a spiral bound notebook.

I’d tried every gadget, app, and program to help me keep myself on-task, but until I pulled out an ugly, half-used spiral notebook, I failed to maintain any sort of consistency in keeping track of what needed doing.

To be fair, I did try this once before. My mistake that time? The lovely notebook didn’t stay open to the current page. If The List isn’t staring me in the face, I forget about it. (Hey, you in the front! No laughing!) If my pen doesn’t stay laying right on top so I can snatch it up and jot down a thought, it doesn’t happen.

My notebook rules?

  1. Keep it short term. I don’t write anything beyond what needs to be done the next day in my notebook. I do this because I can’t handle anything beyond today. It bogs me down, overwhelms me. God gave us today to worry about, and for me, that’s especially true. At the end of today (or even tomorrow morning over breakfast), I’ll write what I intend to accomplish THAT DAY. I’m NOT advocating ditching long term planning and goals. That has its place in my life too. The notebook is used solely for what I intend to accomplish TODAY.
  2. Permission to write sloppy. Remnants of my dyslexia display themselves most in my handwriting. Despite repeated attempts to reteach my hand to form pretty letters, my handwriting continues to be an endless source of embarrassment. So much so, that I worry about what the bank teller will think when she receives our mortgage check! Sad, huh? That’s why I allow myself to be as sloppy as I want in my To-Do notebook.
  3. Use the notebook for any extra notes. Coach calls with Saturday’s game time? It goes into the notebook. Think of the next blog post topic or tonight’s meal? Into the notebook it goes. Because it’s a tall notebook, and because I usually haven’t started filling out the next day’s to-do, I can use all the paper I want to take copious (sloppy) notes. And they’re always there to reference—with the day’s date scribbled across the top.
  4. Write down only what can be realistically accomplished that day. Small goals that are met are inspiring. Check Mark is my best friend!
  5. Do ONLY what’s on the list, and once they’re accomplished, consider work done for the day. I can walk away from the stack guilt-free because I did everything I was supposed to. Talk about liberating!

It seems simplistic and obvious, but for me, it’s exactly what I need to keep my thoughts and tasks organized. And another bonus? It’s cheap!

What do you use to keep your day organized?

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Promotion in Motion: dwashington-jones, the runaway Christmas tree

Posted by Lisa Lickel on November 27, 2012

Welcome d. washington-jones, who talks about writing and her children’s book.

About the Author:

d. washington-jones is a writer and an educator who teaches business and economics courses.  She is also a mother of four and an avid “story teller” as was her mother before her.  Although “The Runaway Christmas Tree” is a children’s E-Book, she explores writing in many genres.  She exemplifies a conspicuous writing style of humor, discovery and adventure. She has won numerous awards in education and also writes songs, poetry, business plans and seminars.

From the Book:  

The Kent family wants to purchase a real Christmas tree this year.  When they finally pick one from Nick’s Magic Christmas Tree Grove, they get more than what they bargained for.  They wanted a real tree, but just how does one define “real?”  That is precisely what the Kent family is about to find out!

An Interveiw with d.washington-jones

When did you first begin to write?

In junior-high school, I wrote a short story that everyone seemed to like and it started others to write stories all over the school.  I wrote the story in one weekend and I was hooked from there.  Although I never got it officially published, I consider it one of my greatest achievements because of its impact.  From there, I began to write songs, poetry and plays.  One of my plays was entered in a talent show and I won first place!

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Discipline, hands down.  The most difficult thing for me is actually sitting down to write.  So many other things take precedence some times and I have learned that a heart that is full of anxiety is not free to write.

What was the inspiration (motivation) behind the book? 

My youngest son, now 15, was nine years old when I began writing

this book.  He brought home a story starter that his teacher had given him. I thought it was such a cute idea and that it had the potential for a great little book for children.

What is the hardest part about self-publishing a book?

The hardest part is marketing.  Even if you have a great story, it could just sit on Amazon’s shelf along with millions of other books, because it is difficult to get the word out that it is there.  It can become one book, lost in a sea of many.

What do you like best about your E-Book and why do you think others will like it?

I believe that the story-line is really great and that it has “classic” Christmas story potential.  I could actually see it play alongside “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” or even “Rudolph” on television. It is also based around the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas.  The cast of characters are charming and are very unique like no other classic before it and the illustrations, done by Joe Parrie, are excellent.

How exactly do you feel about your book being an E-Book as opposed to a paperback book? 

Well, I’d love to see it in paperback one day, but for now, my book is a statement to the opportunities available for writers through self-publishing and this is a vital part of what I like to call, “The Digital Revolution.”  More people are buying E-readers and are reading E-Books as one in five households have read an E-Book in the last 12 months according to a Pew Research study done recently. Besides Kindle, Kindle Fire and Nook, my E-book can actually be downloaded by way of a free Kindle app for the I Pad, I Phone, Android and other electronic devices.  This is a new day and as a writer, I am excited to be a part of it.

What can your readers be in store for in the future?

I’m excited to announce that I am writing a sequel, The Runaway Christmas Tree Goes to London. I have a mystery series that I am working on for children, a love-story and a few other things that are in the works.  I’m excited about these projects and can’t wait to see them in print, or E-Book form and out of my head! (Writers will certainly understand that one).

Where can your readers connect with you?

Readers can connect with me on Facebook, twitter, through our website, blog and the following:

http://www.facebook.com/dwashingtonjones

http://www.twitter.com/dwashingtonjone

http://www.therunawaychristmastree.com

The Runaway Christmas Tree website and launch page or even through my inspirational blog at www.dwashingtonjones.com.

To purchase the book on Amazon

Here is the link to purchase it on Barnes and Noble

                                                             

Posted in Author Marketing, Author Spotlight, Encouragment, Writing | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

 
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