For the first time in many years, I am designing my own Christmas Card. I am on design #3 at least. Here’s one of them.
The first draft of Volume II is complete!! It’s rather rough in spots, but my goal of having the rough draft done by the end of November has been reached. I really feel like celebrating.
Psalms 73 through 83 were very difficult for me. These are The Psalms of Asaph. These were probably the initial inspiration for the project. I could never get all the way through these Psalms. Somewhere in this set, I would quit. I just didn’t like them, and couldn’t relate. Psalms 96-99 (Some include in the collection of The Royal Psalms) are mostly about the scary God. I had trouble writing those also. I am uncomfortable with that image of God (except when I need him to come in and fight my battles ). I wanted to abandon this project a few times in the last month or so, but God jumped in with inspiration every time I thought I couldn’t do it.
I took a glance at what I will have to deal with in Volume III (101-150), reminding myself of their content. Most of them are Psalms of Praise, many are Psalms of David (my favorite Psalms writer, with Solomon a very close second) and I realize that indeed “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I actually wrote a few of them a couple of years ago, so I even have a head start.
My “reflection” for Psalm 100 is a song titled, “Make a Joyful Noise”. It has a bit of a native flair to it. I began this composition with a drum-like instrument I bought in Guatemala. I wanted it to be upbeat and joyous. For now, I only have a melody. I now need to do the hard part and work on the harmony.
Here are the lyrics: (Don’t forget it’s a very rough draft. I wrote this 5 minutes ago. I share only because I feel like celebrating)
Make a joyful noise!
Make a joyful noise!
Make a joyful noise to our God
Serve him with joy
Make a joyful noise
The Lord’s been good to me
Formed us with his hands
Thrills us with his plans
Bless His holy name
He loves you so
His mercy he will show
From age to age the same
This Psalm always comes to me as a camp song I learned as a teenager. Some Psalms need no help. This has been on my top 5 list for most of my life:
King James Version (KJV)
1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
( I went in order this time as I wrote my reflections. This should give you a clue as to my progress. More to follow soon)
A few weeks ago, I joined Crossreads Reviewers. It is a group of Christian writers who support each other’s writing. I have read and reviewed three books since joining. My reviews are below.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was given this book for review purposes and LOVED it. I’m a former teacher and was imagining reading this to my students as I read it. The characters are delightful, the illustrations beautiful, the story well developed and engaging. It teaches the value of bravery, honesty, loyalty and so much more. Even as an adult I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to sharing it with my young nieces
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. Initially, I had trouble connecting with the characters in this book. They were flawed, and not so likeable at first. By the time I got to Benny, however, I was hooked. The flaws in her characters ended up being what made them really special and eventually got me to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. Linda Rondeau does an excellent job telling the painful tales that each character has to tell. Her characters are very real, their pain understandable, and their growth inspirational.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Crowded is a book that I would highly recommend for high school youth groups (especially those dealing with 14-16 year old students ). I think it would make a great book for discussion around bullying (including online bullying), abortion, eating disorders and other issues that teens wrestle with. The author developed complex characters who have much to deal with and who are attempting to deal with them through the lens of Christianity. They are flawed humans as we all are, who learn much about forgiveness of self and of others. As one reviewer noted, there are some grammatical errors, but they do not interfere with the enjoyment of the book.
Perfect forgiveness is a story that tells a difficult tale of a student who was bullied by most everyone he knew. He cannot seem to find a friend who doesn’t mistreat him until he meets the characters from the first book in the series, Crowded. They try to make him feel welcome, and invite him to church and to play Laser Tag, but it’s too late. He has already made plans to stop the bullying, and can’t seem to back out. I was impressed that the writer could make a character who should be hated one that I empathized with instead. When he does the unforgivable, the other characters must find a way to forgive him and help him to feel the love of Christ. This book would be perfect for Church youth groups, especially those serving 14-16 year old students. It does an excellent job showing the consequences of bullying, and the value of forgiveness.
This post from Writer Unboxed is definitely worth reading if you are a bit stuck. I’m planning to try some of this ideas with the story I am currently trying to make improvements to.
Great advice on choosing character names.
I tend to follow #1, 2 and 7. I look into the meaning of a name I want to use. When looking for names, I sometimes go through most popular names for the time period of my story. I am really careful about the antagonist name, especially if it is a story that has a factual basis.
This morning I read a post from Fireblade Publishers. It really speaks to my current struggle. I want my readers to know the important background on a character, yet I understand the importance of “showing not telling” to maintain the reader’s interest. This struggle is the reason why I am rewriting the beginning of several of my stories this week.